Originally designated as the Parish of St. Paul by the Act creating it in 1758, the name was changed in 1777 to Richmond County in honor of the Duke of Richmond, who, as a member of Parliament, was a zealous supporter of the American cause, advocating independence of the Colonies. It originally included a large part of four other counties: Columbia, Jefferson, McDuffie and Warren. Included within its borders are the incorporated towns of Augusta, the county seat; Hephzibah, formerly Brothersville; Blythe; and McBean.
Originally a trading community dealing in pelfry and tobacco, later its economy rested on numerous industries, principally textile, operated by power developed from its numerous creeks and the Augusta Canal constructed in 1845-1846, and agricultural products from rich arable farm lands. Numerous military engagements occurred here during the Revolutionary War, during which Augusta was twice captured by the British.
During the War Between the States, the United States Arsenal surrendered to State forces without resistance, and a Confederate powder factory, said to the be the second largest then in existence, supplied the Confederate Army and Navy. United States Army encampments, McKenzie, Hancock and Gordon, maintained during the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II, respectively.