RHS History


    Richmond has a history of providing an education for many years.  Richmond was formed by the Missouri Legislature to be the site of the new Ray County Courthouse in 1827.  As a result, the community began to grow around the courthouse.  The first public school was a two-room brick structure constructed on East North Main Street in 1859.   Joseph E. Black was the teacher with Cynthia Cole as his assistant.  In the 1860s, the "Presbytery of the Upper Missouri" formed a committee to construct a three-story school building on land to the south of the courthouse.  This area eventually became the main campus of their college.  When financial difficulties arose, and support for the college was withdrawn and focused on Fulton, MO, the building was used as a public school beginning in 1867 with B.F. Winfrey as Superintendent.  In September of 1868, the foundation was laid for a new public school on the same land.  The Superintendent was Samuel J. Huffaker.  There were 7 graduates in 1872,  0 in 1873, 5 in 1874, 0 in 1875, 9 in 1876 , and 5 in 1877.   It is interesting to note that in 1933, the historical information was a bit different:
    "Since 1883 the Richmond School District has maintained a free public high school. Prior to that time secondary school subjects, combined with some college work, were included in the curriculum of Richmond college. During the fifty years it has existed our high school has progressed towards a definite ideal. Difficulties have been encountered and obstacles overcome in the process of making R.R. a first class institution recognized by the State Department of Education and the North Central Association of colleges and secondary schools."
            -Taken from the 1933 edition of the Echo Yearbook, 50th anniversary of Richmond High School
    The following record of graduates has been located:  1882-4, 1884-1, 1887-6, 1888-4, 1889-6, 1890-3, 1891-5, 1892-8, 1893-11, 1894-5, 1895-10, 1896-10, 1897-11, 1898-9, 1899-9, 1900-9.   The graduates remained fairly steady for many years.  In 1910, it was reported that there were 7 graduates with 30 having started in the classs as freshmen.  Richmond High School was housed for many years in the three-story brick structure that first began in 1912.  The Superintendent of Schools from 1910 - 1913 was Samuel A Baker, who later was SUPERINTENDENT OF MISSOURI SCHOOLS in 1918 and then became the GOVERNOR OF MISSOURI from 1924 - 1929!! 
    Forrest Smith, born on a farm near Richmond, later became a teacher and principal of Richmond Grammar School at the time of Samuel A Baker's superintendency.  Forrest Smith later also became GOVERNOR OF MISSOURI from 1949 - 1953.
    RHS expanded into a two-story structure and a one-story Junior High was added.   Richmond began a Junior High School in the 1921-22 school year in it's own building, then later moved into a wing of the High School.  When the current High School was constructed, the Junior High took over the entire building. The Richmond Middle School began in it's new building in 1995.  At that time, the elementary program moved some of its grades into the old high school from an overcrowded Woodson-Dear school.  When the Sunrise Elementary school was constructed, the old high school was vacated and purchased by the City of Richmond.  Currently, the old gymnasium and the one-story wing of the old High School are used as a modern City Hall / Police Station and City Gymnasium.  The City Council meets in the old cafeteria! 
    It is also interesting to note that in the late 1890s and early 1900s, there were over 90 schools in Ray County.  Many of these small schools sent students to the various high schools in the county.  Currently, we only have Richmond, Orrick, Hardin-Central and Lawson with high schools.  Where did all of the schools go?  They were combined (consolidated) and reorganized into the school districts that we currently have.  In the 1940s. 50s. 60s. and 70s, the communities of Rayville, Millville, Knoxville, Henrietta and Camden joined with Richmond to form the Richmond R-XVI School District. The largest graduating classes were in the mid-1970s with 157 graduates in both 1976 and 1977.  In 1983 the student body stood at 496 enrolled (with 119 graduates). In 2008 the total enrollment was 498 students enrolled (with 121 graduates).

    The school was in session a total of 180 days in 1933, and presently the length of the school year is approximately 174 days. The size of the faculty has also grown over the past century. In 1883 there were only 10 faculty members. Fifty years later the staff had grown to about 40. In 1983 there were 50 certified staff members. Today there is a total of about 45 certificated faculty members.

    We have records of 30 Superintendents of Schools for Richmond.  The Superintendent with the longest tenure was Price Collier for 27 years (1922 - 1949).  He also was the band and orchestra director for many years!  We have also located the names of 28 Principals for RHS.  The longest tenured Principal was W. Roy Groce with 13 years (1927 - 1946).

    The first Yearbook was printed for the Class of 1910 and was named the "Echo".  The next "Echo" was printed in 1920.  That class determined that they would like for the yearbook to be published yearly (called an annual).


    If you have any more recollections of how Richmond High School developed, please write them down, and we can add these to our collection.


Richmond College (housing a course of High School study)
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Richmond High School prior to the 2-story addition (which would have been on the left (eastern side) of this building.