Ripley / The John P. Parker House

Ripley / The John P. Parker House (HM2HWI)

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N 38° 44.998', W 83° 50.975'

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Ripley was incorporated as the village of Staunton in 1812. Its name
was changed in 1816 to honor General Eleazer Wheelock Ripley, a hero
of the War of 1812. In the years before railroads. Ripley was
principal Ohio River shipping center. Also important were its extensive
boat-building, tobacco, pork, and timber industries. Ripley too was the
home of saw and planing mills. iron foundries, and a piano factory. Such
varied commerce enabled Ripley to remain vibrant throughout the
nineteenth century.

Although noted as a port, Ripley is best remembered as an abolitionist
stronghold. Many of its citizens, including Rev. John Rankin and John P.
Parker, served as conductors on the famed "Underground Railroad." The
notoriety of Ripley's anti-slavery network perhaps eclipsed that of
nearby Cincinnati, earning the town a reputation as the "Black Hole
of Abolitionism."

This is the restored home of John P. Parker,
a noted African-American entrepreneur, inventor, and abolitionist.
Born into slavery in Virginia in 1827, Parker purchased his freedom
as a young man in Alabama. Parker later settled in Ripley, where
he became a self-trained iron manufacturer, established the Phoenix
Foundry, and invented the Parker Portable Screw Press (for tobacco)
and a soil pulverizer. Parker was one of the

few African-Americans
to obtain a U.S. Patent before 1900.

During the Antebellum years, Parker became an important, if
unheralded, conductor on the Underground Railroad, risking his life
to aid more than nine hundred fugitive slaves in their journey to
freedom. Parker also recruited soldiers for the Fifth United States
Colored Troops during the Civil War. The story of Parker's efforts to
guide escaped slaves across the Ohio River is told in his autobiography, entitled His Promised Land. The Parker House received
designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1997.
Year Placed2001
Placed ByThe Ohio Bicentennial Commission, the Longaberger Company, John P. Parker Historical Society and The Ohio Historical Society
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 at 2:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 252361 N 4292886
Decimal Degrees38.74996667, -83.84958333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 44.998', W 83° 50.975'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 44' 59.88" N, 83° 50' 58.5" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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