In 1849 Pastor Ferdinand Sievers of Bay County purchased over fifteen hundred acres of virgin forest here in Tuscola County to establish a colony of immigrants from revolution-torn Germany. A year later two families under the leadership of Pastor Herman Kuehn settled in this area. They named their community Frankenhilf, combining Franconia, a district of Bavaria, and hilf meaning assistance. Despite severe hardships, the colony slowly grew and in 1851 organized St. Michael's Lutheran Church. Vexed by the seemingly odd name of the fertile farm area, postal authorities referred to Frankenhilf as "Richville" which became the village's official name in 1862. St. Michael's Lutheran Church, the nucleus of the early colony, still holds worship services in both English and German.