Heritage Museum Overview
Prior to the 1980s, state law required the county sheriff and their family to live on the premises of the jail. The sheriff’s residence provided for that. Every county had one and they were connected to the jail in some way. In Belmont County, the residence was in service from 1890 until 1976. After that, it became county offices until 1996 when it was vacated. Thank-fully a group of preservationists rallied to save the building. The Belmont County Commissioners utilized grant funding from the Ohio Department of Transportation, Economic Development funds, and local funding from the Belmont County Tourism Council. The building is now a museum dedicated to county history.
Sheriff’s History: people have served as Belmont County Sheriff. Our current sheriff is David Lucas. Belmont County had the honor of having Kathy Crumbley as sheriff. In 1976, she became the first female in the country to be nominated by a political party and be elected on a contested ballot (meaning she had com-petition for the position). Because of that and her personality, she appeared on several national TV shows such as Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas and Hee-Haw. She served from 1976 until 1981. Kathy was not Belmont County’s first female sheriff. Mary K. Dunfee filled in for her husband after his untimely death while on duty. Ms. Dunfee finished out her husband’s term from 1926 to 1927.
Federal Judge Isaac Parker was from Barnesville, Ohio. He was elected to two terms in Congress in the 1870s. He was known as the hanging judge. Ironically, he was opposed to capital punishment, however, he was unable to do anything about compulsory death sentences.
He was appointed by Ulysses S. Grant at Fort Smith in 1875. Parker tried 13,490 cases with 9,954 of them resulting in convictions. Despite thousands of convictions he only sen-tenced 160 people to death which included four women. Of the people sentenced to death, 79 men were executed on the gallows. His jurisdiction included the entire Indian Terri-tory, over 74,000 miles.