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Museum to host open house Sunday

NEW ADDITION — Sandy Judy, secretary of the Richmond Community Historical Society, provided a program about Richmond’s first mayor, Adam C. Stewart, during the group’s June meeting held in the main shelterhouse at Richmond Park. Stewart was a carpenter by trade who made various furniture items, one of which is part of the museum’s decor. -- Janice Kiaski

RICHMOND — Sunday will mark the first of hopefully several more open houses this summer at the Crew House Museum at 34 W. Main St.

Hosted by the Richmond Community Historical Society, it will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

What is the museum today was home to the Crew family for 146 years. It and the store next door were constructed in 1825-26. Before the Civil War, runaway slaves were occasionally hidden in the third-floor space that connected to the store, according to the society’s website. The museum features a variety of town memorabilia and includes a second floor dedicated to Jefferson Union High School items of interest.

Plans for Sunday’s open house and others — including one on July 26, also from noon to 4 p.m. — came during the organization’s June 16 meeting attended by 21 members and held at the Richmond Park’s main shelterhouse.

It was the group’s first meeting held since Feb. 18 when plans were in place for its St. Patrick’s Day dance in March and groundwork laid for the annual town Memorial Day parade it sponsors.

Neither happened, though, as the coronavirus pandemic brought safety precautions and guidelines and ultimately event cancellations.

The meeting led by President Phil Judy included a treasurer’s report by Wendy Byers and the reading of February minutes by Sandy Judy, secretary.

In addition to the discussion of open houses, the historical society hopes to hold its annual Quaker Day festivities on Sept. 26.

Sandy Judy provided a brief program explaining a framed photo and information about a large cabinet on the museum’s main floor. It was made by Adam C. Stewart, a carpenter by trade who served as Richmond’s first mayor in the early 1800s.

Stewart was born Nov. 27, 1794, in Frederick County, Md., and came westward to the newly formed state of Ohio with his parents in 1807 when he was about 13. He lived in Manchester. After his wife, Sophia, died, leaving him with a baby daughter, Stewart gave up his farm there and settled in Richmond, where where he lived the rest of his life.

On May 20, 1823, Stewart remarried in Jefferson County, wedding Sarah Beebout. They had eight children together, seven of whom grew to adulthood.

In January 1835, Richmond village, which had been laid out in 1815 and where Stewart was living, was incorporated. Its first election was held that April. At that time there were 47 voters living there (i.e. adult males) with an estimated total population of 200.

Stewart was elected mayor. In the following several decades, Richmond became a bustling town with a hotel, post office, physicians and trades of all sorts. There was even a private school, first called Richmond Classical Institute, and then Richmond College, which flourished for a time, Judy said.

A carpenter by trade, Stewart made furniture for the rapidly growing town, and as a woodworker, also was called upon to make coffins, thus becoming de facto undertaker for the settlement as well, Judy explained. Stewart’s son Hudson continued the profession after his father.

Adam Stewart was 75 when he died on Christmas Day 1870. His grave is in the Richmond United Presbyterian Cemetery.

The historical society’s next meeting will be held at 7 p.m on July 21, hopefully at the Crew House Museum or again at the shelterhouse, depending on meeting restrictions.

For information, call Phil Judy at (740) 765-4534.

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