Biography - Richard Ripley

RICHARD W. RIPLEY, a prominent and representative farmer and stock-raiser of section 21, Pitman Township, is a native son of the Prairie State. He was born in St. Clair County, Ill., November 4, 1839. On the maternal side of the family, our subject can trace his family back to a grandfather who came into Illinois in 1811, and was one of the first settlers in the State. He became a prominent man there and had charge of the first land office at Edwardsville. The mother of our subject, Martha P. Randel, was at that time two years of age, and she grew up in a pioneer family and was prepared for the life of her future, for the most of it was spent as the wife of a pioneer still farther West. The ancestors of the Ripley family were probably of Irish descent, and the father of our subject came to this region and entered Government land in what is now Madison County and resided there from 1847 until 1855, when his busy life was closed.
The members of the family of our subject who lived and bore their part in the upbuilding of the history of the State are Josiah R., now a resident of Staunton, Ill.; Richard W.; and Mary L., who is now a resident of Macoupin County. The mother and one of her brothers are yet living. Our subject when about eight years old, with his parents, moved to Macoupin County, Ill., and resided there a short time and then, with them, removed into Madison County and was there reared to maturity. His home was on wild prairie land and his life that of the pioneer boy of the section and time. He attended the subscription schools of the district when it was possible, but there were so many duties that a lad of about his size could perform, that often his education was sadly neglected. He was determined to gain knowledge, and embraced every opportunity and finally entered college at Marshall, Ill., in the winter of 1860.
Just at this time, the great Civil War broke out, and our subject, with the enthusiasm of youth, enlisted in Company F, Seventh Illinois Infantry, and served three months. He was employed on guard duty at Alton and Cairo and was also sent to Mound City. He re-enlisted when his time had expired, in Company L, Third Illinois Infantry, and was then sent to Southwest Missouri. He was one of the boys in blue who bore the brunt of the battle at Pea Ridge and was on all of the long and tiresome marches, and in all of the fighting in that campaign whose history is known to every American school boy. He went through the siege of Vicksburg and was under Gen. Grant; he was subsequently in the army commanded by "Old Pap Thomas" at Nashville and there was mustered out of the army, December 16, 1864, when his term of service had expired.
Tired of military life, our subject returned to his native State and engaged as a clerk at Staunton, Ill., and remained in this employment for several months. He then felt like trying an agricultural life and made the venture in Madison County where he continued until 1871, when his health began to show him that a different climate or a change of life in some way was necessary. His trip to California, which occupied several months, was the result of this conviction, and he came back from the Pacific Coast much improved. At Staunton, Ill., he opened a hardware and implement business and continued there for several years and subsequently became Cashier of the private bank of Wall, Taylor & Co., at Staunton, Ill., and held that position for several years.
Mr. Ripley subsequently came to Litchfield, Ill., and engaged in the hardware and implement business for a time, after which he came to Bois D'Arc Township and engaged in farming there for five years. In the year 1886, he came to Pitman Township and has since remained here. He was married, in 1872, to Sarah E. Kirkland, a native of Jersey County, Ill., who was a daughter of Thomas C. Kirkland, now a resident of Litchfield. Her mother was Edith Irwin. By this union there were born five children, Hilary T., William H., Nora A., Benjamin J. and Edward W.
While living in Macoupin County, our subject served as Collector for several years and for two years was Highway Commissioner of Pitman Township. In politics, Mr. Ripley is a Republican and is in favor of all improvements in the county. Mrs. Ripley is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Waggoner and both Mr. and Mrs. Ripley are prominent members of society. He is a member of the Order of Modern Woodmen at Waggoner and is now serving as Venerable Consul in Grand Prairie Camp No. 677, at Waggoner, Ill., and is also identified with the S. B. Phillips Post No. 379, G. A. R., at Litchfield, Ill.

Extracted 04 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 207-208.

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