“Trials, Tragedies & Triumphs” is a new documentary celebrating the 100-year history of the Jackson County Courthouse.
The 30-minute documentary was produced by the Ripley Convention & Visitors Bureau in conjunction with the Jackson County Commission. It was directed by Carson Broom, assisted by Connor Isner. It was written by CVB Director Mike Ruben.
“The courthouse is a wonderful building,” said Ruben. “It has been the site of so many interesting stories through its first century.”
Three courthouse buildings have been located on essentially the same site since Jackson County was formed in 1832. The main part of the existing building was dedicated in March of 1920, although the date inscribed on the building’s façade is 1918.
Actors Jeanie and J.J. Mahan serve as narrators for the production. They connect the various stories as shared by historian and Assessor Brian Thomas, retired Judge Tom Evans, long-time deputy and Circuit Clerk Bruce DeWees, storytelling historian Susanna Holstein, and retired Magistrate Tom Reynolds.
Devin Casey shares the bizarre story of how his great-grandfather, Roy Shamblin, was murdered in a 1933 shootout in southern Jackson County. Shamblin, who was a Kanawha County deputy, was transporting a prisoner to the WV Penitentiary in Moundville.
Broom and Isner recreated the various stories through the talents of local actors.
Acquisition of the courthouse land features Suzette Lowe, David Broom, Clarita and Nelson Fisher. Stonemason Arthur Frodt’s fatal fall in 1919 is portrayed by Steve Casto, Trenton and Tyler Hilbert.
“That scene is a prime example of the quality of the documentary,” Ruben said. “It is not easy to realistically depict a fall from a three-story building. That took a considerable planning by the directors and great acting, too.”
The courtroom mural painting scene features Kelsey Hill, Suzy McGinley, and Mark McComas. Adventures of unwelcome visitor to the county jail is portrayed by Eric Voiers and Ripley Policeman Logan Skurupey.
To obtain a copy of the DVD, send $25 (includes postage) to Ripley CVB, 115 N. Church Street, Suite 4, Ripley, WV 25271.