In about 1800, Conrad Coon brought his small family from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and settled on a tract of land in what became Big Beaver Township in Beaver County. This area later became part of newly formed Lawrence County in March 1849. In 1833 his son Joseph Coon laid out forty acres of land to start a small settlement initially known as Coontown. At about the same time a post office, known by the name of Irish Ripple, was established just south in nearby Wampum. Political infighting saw this post office relocate over the next forty years or so between Wampum and Coontown, which soon adopted the name of Irish Ripple and later yet became known as Newport. It was probably not until the 1870’s that both locations finally got their own separate postal stations.
The permanent Irish Ripple Post Office was set up in a house owned by postmaster Clark M. Hunter (1845-1917). Hunter, a Civil War veteran, was a leading citizen of Newport and also served as the telegraph operator at the nearby Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) station. The postal office was relatively short-lived and probably closed before the turn of the century, as the once-thriving little settlement waned in importance. Newport is now part of the New Beaver Borough and the old house once used a post office is still in use as a residence by the Hunter family today.
The permanent Irish Ripple Post Office was housed in the residence of postmaster Clark M. Hunter (1845-1917), located just near the PRR train station on Newport Road. Clark Hunter took this photo of the house and some of his family members in c1891. (Photo courtesy of Paul Hunter Sr.) Full Size
Another photo of the Irish Ripple Post Office in Newport in 1905. (Photo courtesy of Paul Hunter Sr.) Full Size
A modern view of the old Irish Ripple Post Office, a longtime residence now under renovation by the Hunter family in 2012. (Photo courtesy of Paul Hunter Sr.) Full Size