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Ripley is a village in Brown Countymarker, Ohiomarker, United Statesmarker, along the Ohio River 50 miles southeast of Cincinnatimarker. The population was 1,745 at the 2000 census.


Colonel James Poage, a veteran of the American Revolution, arrived in the free state of Ohio from Staunton, Virginiamarker in 1804 to claim the 1000 acres (4 km²) 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 Kentuckymarker 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 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 [19438] 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.


Ripley is located at (38.739416, -83.841102). 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 1.1 square miles (2.8 km²), of which, 1.0 square miles (2.6 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (5.56%) is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 1,745 people, 745 households, and 467 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,722.2 people per square mile (667.1/km²). There were 896 housing units at an average density of 884.3/sq mi (342.5/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 91.69% White, 6.65% African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 0.17% from other races, and 1.26% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.69% of the population.

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

In the village the population was 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 were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 83.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.8 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $30,000, and the median income for a family was $39,330. Males had a median income of $29,318 versus $20,977 for females. The per capita income for the village was $15,268. About 11.7% of families and 15.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.9% of those under age 18 and 15.7% of those age 65 or over. The village celebrates an annual "Tobacco Festival" to celebrate tobacco, the primary source of income in the area for decades.

Notable residents

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