Ripley, Ohio

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Main Street ends at the Ohio River in Ripley, Ohio
Main Street ends at the Ohio River in Ripley, Ohio

Ripley is a village located in Brown County, Ohio, 50 miles southeast of Cincinnati, along the Ohio River. As of the 2000 census, the village had a total population of 1,745.



Colonel James Poage, a veteran of the American Revolution, arrived in the free state of Ohio from Staunton, Virginia in 1804 to claim the 1000 acres he had been granted in what was then the Virginia Military District. Poage was among a large group of veterans who received land grants beyond the Ohio for their service and freed their slaves when they settled there. Poage and his family laid out the town of Staunton in 1812; it was renamed in 1816 to honor an American officer in the War of 1812, General Eleazar Wheelock Ripley.

The proximity of the river and of the slave state of Kentucky on the opposite shore led to Ripley's role as an early stop on the Underground railroad, a network of citizens sympathetic to slaves escaping north to freedom. A number of prominent abolitionists lived in the town in the 1800s, mainly on Front Street near the river, including Reverend John Rankin, former slave John Parker, Thomas McCague, Thomas Collins and Dr. Alexander Campbell.

Rankin moved from Kentucky to Ripley in 1822 and later built a house (now a National Historic Landmark) on Liberty Hill overlooking the town, the river and the Kentucky shore. There he was able to signal escaping slaves with a lantern on a flagpole [1] and provide them shelter. A slave woman that crossed the frozen river to Ripley and stayed in his house in 1838 became the model for the character Eliza in Harriet Beecher Stowe's landmark book, Uncle Tom's Cabin. Rankin was the minister at the Ripley Presbyterian Church for twenty-four years.


Location of Ripley, Ohio

Ripley is located at 38°44'22" North, 83°50'28" West (38.739416, -83.841102)1. The town is surrounded by steep, rolling hills on the northeast, Red Oak Creek on the southeast, and the Ohio River on the southwest.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 2.8 km² (1.1 mi²). 2.6 km² (1.0 mi²) of it is land and 0.2 km² (0.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 5.56% water.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 1,745 people, 745 households, and 467 families residing in the village. The population density is 667.1/km² (1,722.2/mi²). There are 896 housing units at an average density of 342.5/km² (884.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the village is 91.69% White, 6.65% African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 1.26% from two or more races. 0.69% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 745 households out of which 28.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.0% are married couples living together, 16.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% are non-families. 32.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 16.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.34 and the average family size is 2.97.

In the village the population is spread out with 24.9% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 17.8% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 83.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 79.8 males.

The median income for a household in the village is $30,000, and the median income for a family is $39,330. Males have a median income of $29,318 versus $20,977 for females. The per capita income for the village is $15,268. 15.5% of the population and 11.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 21.9% of those under the age of 18 and 15.7% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

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