Josiah Melvin Ripple

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III, pg. 66

JOSIAH MELVIN RIPPLE, JR., who is one of the progressive
merchants in the City of Martinsburg, Berkeley County,
was born at Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, October 11, 1883,
and is a son of Josiah Melvin Ripple, Sr., and Virginia
(Smeltz) Ripple. The father was born at Marlowe, Berk-
eley County, Virginia (now West Virginia), and was a son
of William Ripple, who is supposed to have been born in the
same county, where the family was founded when this sec-
tion of West Virginia represented the western frontier of
Virginia. William Ripple was a man of superior education
and was for many years a successful teacher in the schools
of Berkeley County, he having been a venerable and honored
citizen of Marlowe, this county, at the time of his death.
Josiah M. Ripple, Sr., gained much of his youthful educa-
tion under the effective tutorship of his father, and through
apprenticeship he became a skilled workman at the trade of
carriage maker. In connection with his trade he was for
several years foreman of the Thrush & Stoughs carriage
factory at Hagerstown, Maryland. He was successful in his
business activities, and from 1904 until his death, in 1910,
he lived virtually retired at Martinsburg., His marriage
to Miss Virginia Smeltz was solemnized in 1880, and Mrs.
Ripple still maintains her home at Martinsburg. She was
born in Rockingham County, Virginia, as were also her
parents, John and Susanna (Dinkle) Smeltz, the former of
whom died at the venerable age of eighty-eight years and
the latter of whom passed away at the age of sixty-nine
years. Their children were eight in number. John Smeltz,
whose father was a successful planter and slave-owner in
Rockingham County, Virginia, was there reared and edu-
cated, and after the close of the Civil war he came to
Berkeley County, West Virginia, where he became a sub-
stantial farmer and where he passed the remainder of his
life on his old homestead farm, not far distant from the
road leading from Marlowe to Williamsport.

Josiah M, Ripple, Jr., the only child of his parents, gained
his preliminary education in rural schools and thereafter
attended the public schools and also a business college at
Hagerstown, Maryland. Thereafter he made a record of
marked success as a traveling salesman for the Hess Car-
riage Company, which he represented in the states of Penn-
sylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee.
After having been thus engaged five years he engaged in
the book and stationery business at Martinsburg, and in
1920 he purchased the building in which his well equipped
store is now established, on South Queen Street. The Mar-
tinsburg Bank formerly occupied a part of the building,
and since its removal to other quarters in 1922 Mr. Ripple
has utilized the entire ground floor of the building of his
substantial and constantly expanding business. He is a
director of the Shenandoah Valley Bank & Trust Company,
and is one of the loyal and progressive members of the
Martinsburg Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Ripple is a re-
publican in political allegiance, he and his wife are com-
municants of St. John’s Lutheran Church in their home
city, and he is affiliated with Martinsburg Lodge No. 778,
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; Washington
Lodge No. 1, Knights of Pythias; Aghar Temple No. 226,
Dramatic Order Knights of Khorassan; and the local camp
of the Woodmen of the World.

In 1910 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Ripple and
Miss Clandia May Schill, who was born and reared at Mar-
tinsburg, a daughter of George W. and Mary Ellen Sehill.
Mr. and Mrs. Ripple have one son, Melvin Harold.

Submitted by: Valerie Crook