By Martha B. Jacob –
The First Presbyterian Church in Ripley is currently looking for a new organist, as its current organist Linda Fulton has retired.
“We’re going to miss Linda, she has done a wonderful job these past 14 years,” said Lay-Pastor Wayne Reveal with the First Presbyterian Church. “Like the Village of Ripley, this pipe organ in our church has a rich history.”
The old pipe organ (and Opus 472 of the A.B.Felgemaker Company of Erie, Pennsylvania) was built in 1885 and installed in the church in the autumn of 1886.
“This beautiful pipe organ was actually built for the First Scots Presbyterian Church in Charleston, South Carolina,” Pastor Reveal said. “The organ was being transported down the Ohio River set to be delivered to the South Carolina church. The captain of the boat has stopped at a dock in Ripley when he was notified the intended church had been hit by a severe earthquake and to sell the organ as quickly as he could to the first buyer. That earthquake took place in August of 1886.”
Pastor Reveal said that a small group of people from the Ripley First Presbyterian Church negotiated with the boat captain and bought the pipe organ for $1,500. At today’s rates, that would be approximately $45,000.
“This pipe organ has two manuals and pedal, 12 ranks of pipes (662 altogether) and is housed in a beautiful walnut case,” Pastor Reveal said. “It has mechanical actions and was originally hand-pumped. Today it has an electric blower to provide the wind and a set of electronic chimes. Those are the only alterations it has received to the original instrument.”
Pastor Reveal is currently advertising for a new organist and anxious to hear the beautiful sounds once again that the instrument is capable of.
For more information on the position and learning more about the history of the pipe organ, please call (937) 513-4252.