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Ripley, West Virginia facts for kids

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Ripley, West Virginia
North Court Street in downtown Ripley in 2007
North Court Street in downtown Ripley in 2007
Location of Ripley in Jackson County, West Virginia.
Location of Ripley in Jackson County, West Virginia.
Country  United States
State  West Virginia
County Jackson
 • Type City Council/Mayor
 • Total 3.29 sq mi (8.51 km2)
 • Land 3.18 sq mi (8.23 km2)
 • Water 0.11 sq mi (0.28 km2)
614 ft (187 m)
 • Total 3,252
 • Estimate 
 • Density 994.33/sq mi (383.96/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 304
FIPS code 54-68596
GNIS feature ID 1545757

Ripley is a city in and the county seat of Jackson County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 3,252 at the 2010 census.


Ripley was originally owned and settled by William, John, and Lewis Rodgers. They received a grant of 400 acres (1.6 km2) in 1768 where "Sycamore Creek joins Big Mill Creek" (the current site of Ripley). The land was later sold to Jacob (and Ann) Starcher, most probably in 1803. Jacob Starcher erected a grist mill in 1824 and laid out the town in 1830, naming it in honor of Harry Ripley, a young minister who was to be married, but drowned in Big Mill Creek, about one and a half miles north of the town, shortly before the ceremony took place.

When Jackson County was formed in 1831, the residents of the county could not decide where to locate the county seat. The people who lived along the Ohio River near the Ravenswood settlement favored that location. The people who lived farther inland objected. The Virginia General Assembly appointed an independent commission to make the final decision which selected Ripley. In 1832, the Starchers donated 8 acres (32,000 m2) of land to the county, 2 acres (8,100 m2) for the location of the county courthouse and jail, and six for the general use of the new county (a public school and a cemetery were later located on the land). The town was chartered by the Virginia General Assembly in 1832.

The post office was established in 1832 with the name Jackson Court House. The name was shortened in 1893 to Jackson. In 1897 the name became Ripley.

During the Civil War, Ripley remained under control of the Union except for a brief incursion by Confederate General Albert G. Jenkins in September 1862.

In 1990, the Ravenswood Aluminum Corporation locked out its 1,700 workers, most living in Ravenswood, at least a third had lived in Ripley at the time. The workers went on strike and eventually were let back in 1993.

In 2008, former president Bill Clinton gave a speech at the fire station on behalf of his wife Hillary Clinton during her campaign for the Democratic nomination for President.


Ripley is located at 38°49′16″N 81°42′51″W / 38.82111°N 81.71417°W / 38.82111; -81.71417 (38.821078, -81.714264), along Mill Creek.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.28 square miles (8.50 km2), of which, 3.17 square miles (8.21 km2) is land and 0.11 square miles (0.28 km2) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 226
1880 425 88.1%
1890 417 −1.9%
1900 579 38.8%
1910 591 2.1%
1920 580 −1.9%
1930 669 15.3%
1940 759 13.5%
1950 1,813 138.9%
1960 2,756 52.0%
1970 3,244 17.7%
1980 3,464 6.8%
1990 3,023 −12.7%
2000 3,263 7.9%
2010 3,252 −0.3%
2019 (est.) 3,159 −2.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
Jackson County Courthouse Ripley
The Jackson County Courthouse in Ripley in 2007
The Jackson County Courthouse in Ripley in 2012

2010 census

At the 2010 census, there were 3,252 people, 1,476 households and 854 families living in the city. The population density was 1,025.9 per square mile (396.1/km2). There were 1,614 housing units at an average density of 509.1 per square mile (196.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.2% White, 0.2% African American, 0.4% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 0.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.5% of the population.

There were 1,476 households, of which 24.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.1% were non-families. 39.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 19.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.12 and the average family size was 2.81.

The median age was 46.1 years. 19.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.7% were from 25 to 44; 26.2% were from 45 to 64; and 25% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 44.6% male and 55.4% female.

Fourth of July celebration

Ripley claims to host the "Biggest Small Town Fourth of July Celebration" in the nation. On July 4, 2002, then President George W. Bush gave a public speech at the town's courthouse.


Ripley is served by the Jackson County School District. Schools located in Ripley are:

  • Ripley High School (grades 9 through 12)
  • Ripley Middle School (grades 6 through 8)
  • Ripley Elementary School (grades PreK through 5)
  • Fairplain Elementary School (grades PreK through 5)
  • Jackson County Center of West Virginia University at Parkersburg

Notable people

  • Dee Caperton Kessel- Miss West Virginia 1964
  • Kane Davis - Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Charles C. Lanham - West Virginia State Senator and businessman, was born in Ripley.
  • Warren Miller - U.S. Representative from West Virginia
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