Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Town Called Riptown

When I was a kid, Ken Whited's grocery store, Bud Wyan's service station, Willard Spitler's insurance office, Bob Cox's trailers and trucks and his law office all made up Riptown. In fact, it wasn't much more than a cross in the road. But it was the hub of rural activity.

I'm not sure if Riptown was the nickname for Painter Creek or if Riptown became Painter Creek. For most of my life, it was Riptown.

Riptown has a distinction that I didn't realize until I did some research today. In 1880, a Riptown resident named Monroe Roberson murdered his hired hand. The cause for the death seemed to stem from a quarrel run amok. The fight took place in the then saloon/grocery store. Roberson was the only person legally hanged to death in Darke County. A distinction I'm sure he would gladly decline.

First of all, I had no idea that there was a saloon in Riptown. I was surprised to know that there had been one in Red River. Evidently, booze were rampant in Franklin Township. A far cry from the Darke County I knew.

The old building that housed Riptown's saloon was next to the location of Ken Whited's grocery store. My sister and I argue over the location of Ken's store. She says that since Bev was her best friend, and Ken's daughter, she should know the true location. June swears it was across from Bud's garage. I say it was across the street and that we used to watch outdoor movies in the field across from Bud's. It really doesn't matter. The grocery was a favorite spot for everyone. Neighbors chatted, kids ate penny candy, and we often splurged for a soda.

Whited's store caught fire when I was in grade school. A local meeting place was gone. We all mourned the loss of the store. Ken and his family moved away. June was separated from a good friend and Riptown got a bit smaller.

Ah, sweet memories. A piece of history. I'm glad I'm passing them on. Maybe you think about handing out a little history, too.


Unknown said...

I remember Bud Wion...he had a garage and he worked on buses and cars.. He had talking crows. He was a character...My uncle Bill would take me there. Uncle Bill was the milk man. My Grandpa Bud Kendall lived on the edge of town. When I was a kid the store was run by Johnny Crissman. I lived there when I was born. 1953. Ed Welbaum was an old man that I remember. Uncle Loyd Kendall. I would spend summers at Grandpa's house. My dad, Robert Kendall grew up there.

Pamela Loxley Drake said...

So you are Bill's nephew. Bill was a fixture at our house. He always just walked in and put the milk away often stopping for a cup of coffee and Mom's fresh baked pie. Before Crissman's we shopped at Whited's grocery. What wonderful memories. Thank you for writing and giving me a smile.