When Ripley County was formed in 1818, its name was inspired by the popular War of 1812 hero Eleazer Wheelock Ripley.
He was born April 15, 1782, in Hanover, New Hampshire. Ripley graduated from Dartmouth College (founded by his namesake grandfather) in 1800. He practiced law in Maine, and served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate.
When the War of 1812 broke out, he joined the U.S. Army and was involved in several battles, including Sackett's Harbor, Crysler's Farm, Lundy's Lane, and the Siege of Ft. Erie. He rose to the rank of Brigadier General, and was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
He left the military in the 1820s to continue his career in politics, and moved to Louisiana. Ripley served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Louisiana's 2nd District 1835-1839.
Ripley died March 2, 1839 in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, and is buried in Locust Grove Cemetery in St. Francisville, Louisiana.