Bio: Ripley, Lucian V. (1914)
Surnames: Ripley, Klein, Cornell, Brooks, Burdette, Chase
----Source: History of Eau Claire County, Wisconsin (1914) pages 844-845
Lucian V. Ripley is known today as an influential and substantial business man of Eau Claire, but the history of his life's work is woven into the annals of the development of the great timber lands of America. The story of his life is au epic of the woods. Even as a boy he was familiar with the forest, the lumber camp and the hardy woodmen, among whom he was destined to become a leader. He was not one of those who began life with ample means to insure success; he started out for himself with only the woodcraft he had learned in his father's lumber camps for capital, and by his ability, hardihood and labor he achieved success and won the confidence of men of large affairs.
He was born in St. Clair county, Michigan, October 8, 1842, and is of English and German descent. His parents were Volney A. and Maria (Klein) Ripley. His paternal grandfather, Abner Ripley, was a native of England. He married Abigail Cornell, and to those two belong the honor of establishing this branch of the Ripley family in the United States.
Volney A. Ripley was born in New York and became one of the pioneers of St. Clair county, Michigan, where he was engaged in the lumber business for many years. His children were as follows: Lucian V., Marcus T., Charles, Mary and Joseph, who are living; Ida, Norman and Lillian are deceased. Joseph Ripley is now prominently connected with the enlargement of the Erie canal, and was one of the commissioners connected with the building of the Panama canal, and is the designer of the locks used upon the great interoceanic waterway.
Lucian V. Ripley grew to manhood in St. Clair county, Michigan, receiving his early education in the common schools and taking up the lumber business with his father as soon as he was old enough. Disaster overtook his father's business in 1865 and the following year his father died. Lucian V. Ripley for a time struggled to build a new business out of the wreck of his father's enterprise, but the outlook was not promising, and in 1868 he began to locate pine lands for N. W. Brooks, of Detroit, a gentleman
who had early recognized young Ripley's ability as an appraiser of forest timber, and who had unbounded confidence in his judgment and integrity. He did a great deal of valuable work for Brooks and soon others sought his services, and he has continued in that line of business to the present, operating largely in Michigan and Wisconsin, and also in states bordering on the Mississippi to the West, and in timber states East to the Atlantic ocean. For more than fifty years he has been a prominent factor in the timber business of America, and that fifty years the most marvelous half century the world has ever known in the lumber industry as well as in other lines of exploitation, all of which have set the days of our grandfathers nearer to the dark ages than they are to us. In this great constructive period Mr. Ripley has been not only an active worker but a leader among the leaders. Everywhere he is regarded as an expert in estimating the value of timber lands, and he makes reports for investors and corporations all over the country. The fact that Cornell University is one of his principal patrons is a clear indication
of his knowledge and ability as an appraiser.
Mr. Ripley has been a resident of Eau Claire since 1882 and is one of its leading citizens. He is a man of cultured tastes, engaging personality and felicitous social qualities. At 72 he is a slender man of medium height, active and alert, giving the clear impression that in his prime he was as hardy as an oak and as supple as a willow. For some years he has been interested in farming as well as forestry and has a fine farm near Eau Claire.
On October 20, 1870, Lucian V. Ripley married Belle M. Burdette, daughter of Joseph Burdette, of St. Ignace, Mich. They have three children living, viz: Fred B.; Belle, who is the wife of Dr. R. R. Chase, one of the leading physicians of Eau Claire, and Alie Ripley, who resides with her parents.
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