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Chester County is located in the western part of Tennessee. It was established in the year 1879 and is named after Robert I. Chester, a soldier in the American Civil War and a local legislator. The county encompasses an area of 289 square miles and has a population of over 17,000 people. Here are some interesting facts about the history of Chester County, Tennessee.

1. Early Settlers and Native American History
Chester County was initially inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Chickasaw, Shawnee, and Cherokee. The first non-Indigenous settlers arrived in the region during the late 18th century. These early pioneers found a relatively empty and fertile land that was perfect for agriculture and farming.

2. World Record Watermelon
In 2013, Fred and Cathy Barger cultivated a watermelon that weighed a world-record 350.5 pounds in Chester County. Previously, the biggest watermelon in the world was grown in Oklahoma and weighed 268.8 pounds.

3. Major Industry in the Early 1900s – Cotton
Cotton production played a significant role in the early economies of Chester County. The area was ideal for cotton farming, and the crop quickly replaced tobacco as the number one cash crop. At one point, it was estimated that Chester County was responsible for producing 1/40th of all of the world's cotton.

4. A Unique Jail
Chester County constructed a unique jail in 1890, referred to as the "squirrel cage jail." It featured a rotating drum with cells that could only be accessed once the drum was turned to bring the proper cell to the entrance. This design was considered more secure than traditional jail layouts.

5. Military Training Camp
During World War II, a military training camp known as Camp Tyson was constructed in Chester County to train soldiers. The camp, covering 2,000 acres, was named after Brigadier General Lawrence D. Tyson, a native of Tennessee.

6. Historic Courthouse
The Chester County Courthouse is a two-story brick building constructed in the 1920s. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the centerpiece of the town square. The courthouse also has an impressive clock tower that stands at 84 feet tall.

7. Early Voting Site
Chester County was one of the first counties in Tennessee to establish an early voting location. In 1994, the state started allowing early voting to reduce lines on Election Day. Chester County was among the first to adopt the process.

In conclusion, Chester County has a rich history that spans centuries. From its earliest Native American inhabitants to its more recent cotton industry and military training camp, the county has played a significant role in shaping Tennessee's cultural and historical landscape. Its unique jail and historic courthouse also serve to showcase its unique and diverse history.

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