African American rural settlements documented: 1
Ripley County was founded in 1816. From the first federal decennial census for the county in 1820 to 1870, the African American population increased from 2 to 103 people. The black population census numbers fell slightly between 1850 (96) and 1860 (87) before rallying in 1870 and 1880.
U.S. Census Numbers for Ripley County, 1820-1930
|No. of African Americans
Between 1850 and 1870, the majority of the black population lived in Brown and Shelby townships. There appears to have been a black community in Brown Township, near Friendship and Olean. Diane P. Coon's research indicates that there was a trail for this community at Raccoon Creek. Family names in the unnamed settlement included Clark, Green, Lewis, and Rickman.
Diane Perrine Coon. Southeastern Indiana's Underground Railroad routes and operations: a project of the State of Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology and the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Louisville, Ky.: Perrine Enterprises, 
U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852.
U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862
U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.
Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.
By Wilma L. Moore, October 31, 2014