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Prominent among the extensive land owners and successful farmers of Doniphan county is this gentleman, whose realty holdings are equaled by few others in the commonwealth. Success in business and friendship in social circles have come to him, but he is the same unassuming gentleman who arrived in this county forty-three years ago empty-handed; for in the sympathy, kindliness, charity and uprightness of his nature and his unchangeableness in following in the path of duty, he has so lived as to command the confidence and esteem of all. He is now enjoying a well-earned retirement from the most active business cares, although he yet gives much time to the care of his landed interests. His success in all transactions, however, have brought to him well-merited wealth and has enabled him in the later years of his life to enjoy the benefits and pleasures of travel both in his native land and abroad.

Mr. Rippey was born in Elkhart county, Indiana, upon a farm near the town of Benton, September 28, 1833, his parents being Matthew and Jane (Montgomery) Rippey, both of whom were natives of Ohio. The grandfather, Joseph Rippey, who was a native of Indiana and was of English lineage, was a soldier of 1812. On the maternal side our subject was of Scotch descent, and the family was noted for its ability in accumulating wealth. His maternal grandfather was George M. Montgomery. Matthew Rippey and his wife spent their entire lives on the farm, where they located at a very early day and both have now passed away.

Upon the old family homestead W. D. Rippey was reared, early becoming familiar with all the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist. In his youth he was sent to the district school, later to the Goshen high school, and completed his school course at Fort Wayne College. He afterward engaged in teaching in that locality for a few years, and in 1854 he went to Iowa, where he engaged in surveying in the employ of the government until 1856. At the latter date he came to Doniphan county, Kansas, and preempted one hundred and sixty acres of land lying in Brown county, to which he added until that farm comprised three hundred and twenty acres.

He has always been content to engage in the tilling of the soil and has made farming his life work. Industry may well be termed the keystone of his character, and added to this is the ability to recognize the opportunity of the moment. These qualities have brought him prosperity, and to-day he is one of the largest land owners in the state. He has twenty-five hundred acres of rich and arable land in Doniphan county, all of which is under a high state of cultivation. In addition he has purchased six thousand acres in Anderson county, and almost a township of choice land in the Texas Panhandle. The greater part of the Anderson county land is under cultivation and yields to him an excellent income. His cattle ranch in Texas is well stocked and is now under the management of his son-in-law. For many years he was an extensive shipper of cattle, but the greater part of his time now is devoted to the management of his landed interests.

In June, 1862, Mr. Rippey was united in marriage to Miss Eliza Keeney, who died in 1867, and in January, 1868, he wedded Amanda C. Hopkins, who was born in Genesee county, New York, December 22, 1837. Her parents were James M. and Sally (Chivington) Hopkins, formerly of Vermont. During her early girlhood she accompanied her parents to Elkhart county, Indiana. She was provided with excellent educational privileges, being graduated in Hillsdale College, Michigan, in 1862, while later she pursued a post-graduate course in the State University of Ann Arbor, Michigan. A lady of culture and refinement, she has exerted marked influence in social circles, and is especially active in the work of reform. Both Mr. and Mrs. Rippey hold membership in the Methodist Episcopal church and contribute most liberally and generously to its support. This lady has been especially active in the work of the church, the Sunday-school and along temperance lines. She was a delegate to the interstate Sunday-school convention which met in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1899, and was elected to the general conference which met in New York city in 1888, at which the famous debate occurred relative to the admission of female delegates, resulting in placing the question for decision before the several conferences. She possesses most excellent business and executive ability and at the same time has those social qualities which render her a charming hostess, for her home is pervaded by an air of culture and refinement. Mr. and Mrs. Rippey have traveled quite extensively. Travel is the true source of wisdom in many directions, it broadens and improves one as nothing else does. They have made many pleasant trips into the old Montezuma empire, have spent some time on the California coast and in 1880 they went abroad visiting the places of modern and historic interest in London, England, and then continued their travels to Germany. They visited the interesting old cathedrals of this land, Frankfort on the Main, and saw the beauties of the Rhine, and with minds enriched with memories of the days spent abroad they returned to their home content that they are Americans and that their interests are allied with the greatest republic on the face of the globe. In 1901 Mr. Rippey will go to London, England, as a delegate to the ecumenical conference.