February 29, 1844 - March 28, 1929
Dr. Richard Orchard Prideaux was the first white settler in Archer County. He was born on February 29, 1844 in Martoch, England. His family came to America in 1855 and eventually settled in Morris, Illinois. He married Sophie Johnson, who had been born in Sweden in 1854. Dr. Prideaux attended University of Michigan, the Eclectic Medical Institute, and he pursued further medical study in Scotland.
Dr. Prideaux traveled through Kansas and Missouri and helped organize Chanute, Kansas in 1870, where he also had a medical practice. He ventured down to Texas on cattle-buying trips and buffalo hunts.
Dr. and Mrs. Prideaux moved to Texas in 1874. They explored this region along some of its waterways, including the Brazos River, the West Fork of the Trinity River, Salt Creek and the Little Wichita before deciding to settle down in Archer County near the West Fork of the Trinity. In Mrs. Prideaux’s diary of the time, she mentioned how terrified she was of the large herds of buffalo they had passed in their travels. They had nine children, their first of which, Nell, was born on their journey to Texas.
Dr. and Mrs. Prideauxs as the first white family to settle in Archer County, built their home in 1875, and soon other families joined them. Dr. Prideaux used his previous experience and knowledge of organizing a city to aid in the effort of establishing Archer County. He became the first County Commissioner for Precinct Two and served as the second County Judge in 1882.
The log cabin that Dr. and Mrs. Prideaux lived in during their first year in the county was utilized later as a school building in 1878. The first teacher of this school was Katy Ingalls, who was only 17 at the time. The home that the Prideaux family built in 1875 is still in use, and it has been expanded.
Dr. Prideaux helped deliver many babies in the early days of the county. He was known to travel long distances and to waive his fee when recipients were unable to afford his medical services.
Dr. Prideaux died in 1929 at the age of 84 in Graham, Texas.