WENDY MITCHELL July 27, 2012
RIPLEY, Ohio | As plans for its bicentennial emerge, the history of Ripley has become more than a stop on Underground Railroad tours.
The name Belteshazzar Dragoo may not be familiar to some, but to Brown County, and Ripley, Ohio, residents, Dragoo was the first permanent settler of Brown County. He established his home near Eagle Creek at Logan’s Gap in 1794.
Ripley gained a reputation as a place with many prominent citizens active in the Underground Railroad movement and the 55-acre historic district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
Ripley’s bicentennial history began in 1812 when the village was founded by Colonel James Poage when he obtained a 1,000-acre land grant for his service in the Revolutionary War.
Poage originally named the village Staunton in recognition of his hometown, Staunton, Va.; it was changed to Ripley in 1816 honoring General Eleazar Wheelock Ripley, an American commander in the War of 1812.
Starting today, preliminary events will mark the beginning of a celebration recognizing the bicentennial of Ripley.
Sporting events, including cornhole, three-on-three basketball, on Saturday and olde time baseball and olde time children’s games at the elementary school on Sunday.
“The Muffins play baseball the old-fashioned way,” said Bicentennial Chairwoman Betty Campbell, “In the old days there were different rules and ways of playing. It should be fun.”
Paddle wheelers have also been invited to port at Ripley, beginning on Sunday.
Festivities continue Aug 2, with the Miss Ripley Pageant, at 7:30 p.m., at the elementary school.
Friday the official program begins at 7:30 p.m., at the Centenary United Methodist Church with a welcome by Betty Campbell and a performance by the Bicentennial Choir. Descendants of James Poage along with the Mayor of Staunton, Va., and others will be introduced.
Retired Judge Thomas F. Zachman is the keynote speaker, officials said.
For collectors, a postal cancellation is planned for Aug. 4, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., on the library lawn.
The bicentennial store will also be open on the library lawn.
Baby, quilt and pet shows are also scheduled for throughout the day.
Children can participate in a scavenger hunt and a car show is planned to follow the parade.
Parade registration is at 12:30 p.m., at the elementary school with the parade down Second Street to Front Street to beyond the Liberty Monument to the boat launch area, Campbell said.
“There is still time to get a float together, groups and families are all encouraged to participate in the parade,” Campbell said.
The parade begins at 2 p.m.
On Aug. 5, dedication of a cannon will be at 1:30 p.m. On the library lawn, followed by a performance by The Liberty Band at 2 p.m. and closing ceremonies at 3 p.m. at the Liberty Monument.
“We are really excited, there are even people like Tom Wilson, who was part of the sesquicentennial celebration coming to be in the parade,” Campbell said.
For information contact Campbell at 937-392-4044.