GAMBIER — Philander Chase Corp. at Kenyon College tried to make sure the Mescher property remained intact as farmland, but the death of Ruth Mescher in 2011 ended that effort.
Doug Givens was director of the land trust organization for many years, retiring in 2009. He recalled that while he was still at Chase, the Mescher farm was one of several farms Chase tried to get included in the Clean Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program run by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
“We applied on behalf of the Mescher family for several years and while the farm scored highly on the state’s scale, it didn’t score high enough to be accepted,” Givens said. “But each year that went by saw one or more of the other farms we applied for get into the program and I think it was just a matter of a couple more years and the Mescher farm would have finally worked its way up the list and would have gotten in. But Mrs. Mescher passed away before that happened and her family apparently decided to go ahead and sell the farm.”
Christine Matney, a daughter of Mrs. Mescher and an executor of her estate, said, “We didn’t know if we could do it (create a land trust) as her estate like she could have, and didn’t follow up on it. We thought the buyers were perfect and would never break up the land. It was a mistake not to get that in our contract.”
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