Ripley, established in 1832, was named for a minister who had drowned nearby. In 1835 Joseph Martin called it “a flourishing village” and noted that in addition to the county buildings “substantially built of brick,” it contained twelve dwelling houses and a population of about 120. Ripley remains a quintessential American courthouse town, though not quite as bucolic as the 1941 WPA guide described it: “Automobiles share the street with droves of kine, heavy farm wagons, and an occasional oxcart. The clean fresh scent of broken earth pervades the town.” In recent years contemporary commerce has moved from Main Street and Courthouse Square toward the Ripley interchange of I-77, just west of town.
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