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Ripley — Est. 1802

February 5, 2010
Observer Today
The first settler in Ripley, Alexander Cochran, came from Ireland in 1802 and made his land purchase official two years later. Five generations later, his descendant, A. James Cochrane, still owns some of the original acreage purchased by Ripley’s founder.

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,030 people, 418 households, and 285 families residing in the community. The median income for a household is $33,125, and the median income for a family was $37,188.

In 1816, the town was established and named ‘‘Quincy.’’ By 1873, it was renamed Ripley in honor of General Eleazar Wheelock Ripley, who fought in the War of 1812. The town grew slowly until the advent of the Erie Canal, the railroads and the Buffalo and Erie Interurban Trolley Line made the town more accessible. Even with these transportation options and the early days of automobile travel, however, horse and wagon were the most popular and dependable way to get around until Route 20 was paved in 1917.

During the late 19th and 20th centuries, Ripley became known as ‘‘The Marriage Capital of the World’’ because there was no waiting period required in New York state to marry. The town justice was on call day and night to perform wedding ceremonies.

Two Ripley residents found fame more than a century apart. Benjamin Franklin Goodrich, born in Ripley in 1841, founded the first rubber manufacturing company, which evolved into Goodrich Tires. More recently, the world applauded the bravery of John Testrake in 1985 as he went through a 17-day ordeal when the TWA plane he was piloting was hijacked to the Middle East.

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