Congressman Johnson tours Chester Courthouse

CHESTER – Congressman Bill Johnson visited Meigs County’s first courthouse Thursday afternoon.

Congressman Johnson toured the Chester Courthouse along with members of the Chester-Shade Historical Association and Meigs County Commissioner Randy Smith.

Impressed with the building, Congressman Johnson said government and history classes should make field trips to the courthouse to have class and experience a piece of the past.

“Let them sit in a building that speaks to American History,” Congressman Johnson said as he looked around at the various artifacts in the courthouse, now a museum.

Members of the Chester-Shade Historical Association discussed some of the events that have happened through the years at the courthouse. One of the topics discussed was the idea of bringing back the mock trial program to area schools. The idea has been looked at by several officials and is one of the goals Meigs County Prosecutor James Stanley has mentioned as well.

Congressman Johnson also toured Chester Academy and even rang the bell before leaving.

Through the years multiple grants and donations have been made to preserve the Chester Courthouse. The Chester-Shade Historical Association was formed as well. The Ohio State Harmonica Championship is held in the courthouse along with other events.

Chester-Shade Historical Association board of trustees includes Linda Blosser, Judy Buckley, Dale Coleburn, Kaye Fick, George Morrison, Betty Newell, Mary Powell, Jo Ann Ritchie, Dixie Sayre, David Schatz, Jim Stewart and Dan Will.

The Chester Courthouse is open Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information visit or call 740-985-9822.

Facts about the Chester Courthouse
According to information from the Chester Shade Historical Society a brief timeline of the Chester Courthouse history is as follows:

1821 Levi Steadman donated 30 acres of land, which became the village of Chester and the county seat.

1822 Plans were made in October by the commissioners for Meigs County’s first courthouse.

1823 The Meigs County Courthouse construction is completed in November. The first trials where held in the courthouse.

1841 The County Seat was moved from being Chester to Pomeroy in July of that year.

1869-1919 Civil War veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic as well as other groups used the Chester Courthouse to met for various functions and get togethers.

1926 The Chester Courthouse was used as a community center. During that year, the Return Johnathan Meigs Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) repaired the building and replaced the roof.

1946-1951 Members of the Return Jonathan Meigs DAR used funds from an estate gift of Mary Bennett to make much needed repairs to the old courthouse.

1959 The inside of the Chester Courthouse was renovated and re molded by the Chester Grange. The Chester Grange began meeting in the courthouse.

1976 The Chester Courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the efforts of the Return Jonathan Meigs DAR Chapter.

1995 Pat Holter, Return Jonathan Meigs Regent, asked the Chapter to sponsor extensive restoration. At that time, Mary Powell was named chairperson from the DAR and Dale Colburn as co-chairperson from Ewing Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). The three of them fervently worked to see restoration happen. They involved others to help preserve Meigs County’s First Courthouse.

1996 Through efforts of local individuals, an Appalachian Facilities Grant made it possible to have new bracing, sheathing and roof replacement on the courthouse. The grant was awarded in the amount of $46,000.