Tombstone Tuesday-Forrest M. & Elvira L. (Baker) Ripley

Ripley, Forrest & Elvira (Baker), Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Forrest M. and Elvira L. (Baker) Ripley, located in row 1 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Elvira L.
Forrest M.

Forrest Malcolm Ripley was born 29 Aug 1896 in Blue Creek Township, Adams County, Indiana, the son of Malcolm Alonzo (1866-1953) and Lillie (Hopf) (1866-1925) Ripley. Forrest’s parents were both born in Mercer County, Ohio, and his mother’s family attended Zion Chatt, where she was baptized on 24 June 1866.

The Malcolm Ripley family in 1900: Malcolm, 33; Lily P, 34; Earl F, 5; Forrest M, 3; Fay, 10 months; and Benford Ripley, 27, brother. Malcolm Ripley was a farmer. [1] By 1910 the Ripley family had grown to include Leland, born in 1904, and Dorothy, born in 1907.

Forrest M. Ripley married Elvira L. Baker at Zion Lutheran Church, Chatt, on 1 Jan 1919. Witnesses to their marriage were Earl Ripley and Luetta L. Baker.

Elvira Lorena Baker was born in Black Creek Township, Mercer County, Ohio, on 12 July 1897, the daughter of Theodore W. (1875-1932) and Mary H. (Bollenbacher) (1875-1961) Baker. 

The Theodore Baker family in 1900: Theodore, 24; Mary, 25; Alvera [Elvira], 2; Leona, 1; and Marie, 4 months. All family members were born in Ohio and Theodore was a farmer. [2] By 1910 the Baker family had grown to include daughter Luetta, born in 1902.

Elvira was confirmed at Zion Chatt on 9 April 1911.

By 1919 the Baker sisters were getting married and leaving home. Elvira married Forrest Ripley in 1919. Her sister Leona married Homer Carr on 14 March 1920, and sister Mary married Oscar F. Schaadt on 14 October 1920.

In 1920, newlyweds Forrest, 23, and Elvira Ripley, 22, resided with Forrest’s parents on Willshire Pike, in Blue Creek Township, Adams County, Indiana. Malcom Ripley’s family in 1920: Malcolm, 53; Lillie, 53; Earl, 24; Fay, 20; Leland, 15; and Dorothy, 12. The census indicates that Malcolm and Lillie were born in Ohio and their children were born in Indiana. Malcolm was a farmer and Forrest was the farm manager. [3]   

Two sons were born to Forrest and Elvira Ripley during the next few years, Laverne, in 1921, and Carl in 1925. Both sons were born in Ohio, so they probably moved to Ohio between 1920-1921.

Forrest Ripley was baptized at Zion Chatt on 25 March 1923.

Forrest’s mother, Lillie Pauline (Hopf) Ripley, died from cancer on 2 Feb 1925, age 58 years. She was buried on the 4th and her funeral in Union Church, Adams County, Indiana, although her burial information is recorded in Zion Chatt’s records. She was survived by her husband, 3 sons, 2 daughters, 5 sisters, and 1 brother. 

In 1930 Forrest and Elvira and their 2 sons, Laverne, 8, and Carl, 4, lived in Black Creek Township, Mercer County, on what was called Baker Pike. [4]

Elvira (Baker) Ripley died in Decatur, Indiana, 30 July 1932, at age 35, from a bowel obstruction. She was buried on 1 August, with S.S. Egger in charge of the funeral arrangements. Her death certificate indicates that she was buried in the Chattanooga Mausoleum. [5]

Ripley, Elvira (Baker), Chattanooga Mausoleum (2017 photo by Karen)

Elvira was survived by her husband, 2 young sons, her parents, and 3 sisters.

1932 continued to be a tragic year for the Theodore Baker family. Elvira’s sister Luetta Louisa Baker, age 30, died 24 October 1932 and the father Theodore William Baker died 14 December 1932.

Elvira’s father, mother, and sister Luetta are also interred in the Chattanooga Mausoleum.

Widower Forrest Ripley married Helen Laffin on 2 December 1933 at Zion Lutheran Church, married by Rev. Carl Yahl. Helen, age 27, was the daughter of Elza and Florence (Davis) Laffin and was born in Liberty Township on 26 September 1906. She was not previously married. [6]

The Forrest Ripley family in 1940: Forrest, 43, head; Helen P, 33, wife; Laverne, 18, son; and Carl, 14, son. [7]

Forrest and Helen apparently divorced and Forrest married widow Ercie Lucille (Butler) Hower on 27 December 1943 in Indiana. Ercie was born in Tipton County, Indiana, on 16 Feb 1896, the daughter of Jesse M. (1863-1903) and Tempie (Thrailkill) (1875-1963) Butler and she lived in Decatur. [8] Ercie’s first husband Frech C. Hower died in 1938.

Forrest and Ercie lived on 707, west of 49, near the Indiana State Line. Ercie joined the congregation of Zion Lutheran, Chatt, on 15 April 1945. By 1950 Forrest’s two sons had left home and Forrest and Ercie lived by themselves, , along with Walter E. Thatcher, 15, as their farm hand. 

Forrest Malcolm Ripley died of a heart attack at his Black Creek Township home on 2 January 1969, aged 72 years. He was buried on the 5th. He was survived by his wife Ercie, 2 sons, 1 stepson, 2 step-daughters, 1 brother, 1 sister, and 3 grandchildren. His obituary:

Forrest [Ripley], 72, Rt. 1, passed away at 9 a.m., at his home after a coronary attack.

He was the son of Malcolm and Lily (Hopf) Ripley. He married twice. His first wife was Elvira Baker, who preceded him in death. On Dec 28, 1944, he married Ercie Hower, who survived him.

Also surviving were two sons, LaVern and Carl, both Rockford; a stepson, Frech Hower, New Haven, IN; two stepdaughters, Betty Kline, Sarasota, Fl, and Mrs. Donald House, Linton, IN; a brother, Earl, Napoleon; two sisters, Faye (Joseph) Rolley, Redwood Valley, CA, and Dorothy (Earl) McBride, Rockford; and three grandchildren. Deceased is a brother, Leland.

He raced horses for several years, and was a member of the Western Ohio Colt Racing Assoc. and the U.S. National Trotting Assoc. He also was a member of Zion Lutheran Church, Lodge 667, F&AM of Willshire and Chapter 25, Order of the Eastern Star of Willshire.

Funeral services were in the Ketcham-Ripley Funeral Home, with Rev. Ralph Hershberger officiating.

Forrest’s widow Ercie married Rev. Herman Reinking in 1971 and he passed away in 1973. Ercie Lucille (Butler) Hower Ripley Reinking died 8 February 1994 at the Lutheran Home, Allen County, Indiana.

I remember Forrest and Ercie Ripley attending church at Zion Chatt and attending the Farm Council Meetings. The house they lived in on 707 was moved to Sipe Road some years ago.

Forrest and Elvira (Baker) Ripley had the following children:
LaVerne Theodore Ripley (1921-1992), married Rilla Putman
Carl Malcolm Ripley (1925-1990), married Lucille Ketcham

[1] 1900 U.S. Census, Indiana, Adams, Blue Creek, ED 1, p. 10, dwelling 189, family 196, Malcolm C [sic] Ripley;

[2] 1900 U.S. Census, Ohio, Mercer, Black Creek, ED 74, p.9, dwelling & family 196, Dore W Baker;

[3] 1920 U.S. Census, Indiana, Adams, Blue Creek, ED 1, p.6A, dwelling 118, family 118, Forrest Ripley; The Malcolm Ripley was family no. 117.   

[4] 1930 U.S. Census, Ohio,  Mercer, Black Creek, ED 1, p.7B, dwelling & family 165, Forest [sic] M Ripley;  

[5] Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, IN, Indiana Death Certificates, 1932, roll 7, Elvira Ripley, 30 Jul 1932;

[6] Ohio, U.S., County Marriage Records, 1774-1993, Mercer Marriages, Vol. 14, p. 147, Forrest M Ripley & Helen Laffin, 2 Dec 1933;

[7] 1940 U.S. Census, Ohio, Mercer, Black Creek, ED 54-1, p.8B, household 174, Forrest M Ripley;

[8] Indiana, U.S., Marriages, 1810-2001, Forrest M. Ripley & Ercie Hower, 27 December 1943;

[9] Forrest M. Ripley Find a Grave memorial no. 39739608, from The Lima News, Lima, Ohio, 3 Jan 1969;

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