History Of Ripley


Jackson County was formed from parts of Mason, Wood, and Kanawha counties in what was then Virginia.  A petition to form a new county was presented to the General Assembly of Virginia on December 18, 1830, but the request was not granted until March 31, 1831.  The new county was named Jackson in honor of Andrew Jackson, president of the United States.

On December 19, 1832, a charter was granted and Ripley was designated as the county seat.  Jacob and Ann Staates Starcher donated eight acres of land on which Ripley now stands.  The public buildings were to be built on two acres of this land.  The remaining six acres were to be laid out in lots and sold for the benefits of the town.  Trustees governed the town until 1852 when voters elected a council and mayor.

Photo courtesy of Main Street Ripley

Located in the western part of the state, Ripley is said to be named after Harry Ripley, a circuit riding Methodist minister, who with a wedding license in his pocket, drowned in Mill Creek in 1830.

On December 16, 1897 the last public hanging in West Virginia was executed in Ripley.  John F. Morgan was hung for the murder of Mrs. Chloe Greene and her two children on November 3, 1897.  Morgan was hung before an immense crowd of spectators from Jackson and surrounding counties.

A bill was introduced in the next session of the Legislature to abolish public hangings, which was enacted into a law.  Morgan was the last man in the state to be publicly hanged after a trial by jury.

During the month of June, 1921, work was commenced on the new high school and was completed during the month of September, 1922. Thus for the first time could Ripley rightfully boast of a real high school.  The cost of the building amounted to the sum of $31,000, with all the furnishings in addition.


Downtown Ripley has always been the heart of activity for Jackson County.  Citizens from outlying areas of the county come to Ripley to purchase goods, do banking, and take care of legal matters. Ripley is known for its 4th of July Celebration. It has been notoriously called "The USA's largest small town Independence Day Celebration".


Article courtesy of Main Street Ripley





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