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OK, last ‘women of Ripley history’ story for a while! When we were looking for interesting but little-known women of Ripley, we took a look into the patents that were filed in Ripley over the years. (The library has a notebook of many of the earlier patents done in Ripley as well as other areas in Brown County). Lo and behold, on January 18, 1887 Patent no. 356,327 was issued to S.A. Perry, or better known in Ripley as Sarah A. Perry. The Patent was for a pencil drawer for school desks.
So, who was this inventor? Sarah Perry was born in 1852, graduated in 1870 from the Ripley Union High School, part of the first senior class to graduate from this school with two other young ladies. In the fall of 1870, she began teaching at the colored school in Hestoria (now considered part of Ripley, east of Red Oak Creek). She then taught at the Ripley High School for many years, and was principal multiple times. She also taught in other locations, including Delaware, Ohio in 1884 and a college in Sharpsburg in 1894. She also taught music at the Ripley Presbyterian church. She married William Stevenson in 1892. Lived in Kentucky for some years, but both moved to Winchester around 1915. According to the papers, ‘Miss Sarah’ visited Ripley often, and was faithful in returning to alumni gatherings. She died in 1935, with the headline “Death Claims Oldest Alumnus And Ex-Principal of R.H.S.” She was considered a smart and well-respected teacher, and was friends with many of her students. Did her patent ever go into production? Are there some old Ripley desks with her pencil drawer still attached? Don’t know, but would be pretty cool to find one, and a good example of seeing a need in your profession and coming up with a solution.
Last week’s lady prompted a question about Flora Patterson’s children. Dr. Edwin W. Patterson passed away before Flora did in December of 1927. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He had been married twice. As a military doctor, he had served in the Philippines as well as different areas in the United States. Second wife Evelyn died in 1943. Their daughter Evelyn was born in 1916 and died in 1996. Younger brother Henry Sells Patterson was born in 1874, stayed on the East Coast most of his adult life, either in Washington D.C., Maryland or New York. He was in the sales business with a concentration in electrical supplies. He passed away on December 7, 1941 and is buried in Dayton, Ohio.