Main Content


DHPA Jewish Historical Resources

Wayne County MapWayne County

Wayne County Jewish History Richmond, Indiana (Wayne County) is particularly rich in Quaker history and is the home of Earlham College, founded by Quakers in 1847. Even before the establishment of this institution of high learning, the first Jew settled in the county. In 1834 William Brady, a harnesser and saddler, became the first permanent Jewish resident of Richmond; he died in 1872. He was not the only Jew living in the county, but at the moment is the only identified individual. Rabbi Isaac M. Wise, the leader in American Reform Judaism, reported in his German magazine, Die Deborah, on October 14, 1864, that there were Jewish families living in Richmond:

In the State of Indiana there is until now only one (synagogue) in Fort Wayne and a building planned for Evansville; however, communities are found in Indianapolis, Lafayette, and Terre Haute, many Jewish families reside in Vincennes, Logansport, and Richmond.

Over the next several decades, a variety of families from not just German, but also East Europe began arriving. The development of a community, rather than just individuals living in the same town began at a meeting sponsored by the American Jewish Relief Committee in 1919.