J.P. Plummer lived life with a lust that few understood. During the “Roaring 20’s,” Prohibition and “The Great Depression,” he made over 500 trips across Lake Erie with barrels of rum imported from Cuba by way of Canada. His boat was small so he could sneak past the nightly patrols of “government agents” that seemed to number in the thousands. J.P. would strap 4-6 barrels of “cuban nectar” and, even on the stormiest nights, he would make his way across Lake Erie to bring his cheer to the locals of Ripley, NY and North East, PA.
Try as they might, the agents never caught old J.P. He had many narrow escapes on the fickle waters of the lake, but on one stormy night he met his maker. His boat was f ound at the mouth of Lake Erie near the famed Niagara Falls, still full of rum, but empty of a captain.
They never found J.P. and the locals who knew him mourned his death dearly. But none more so than the charming keeper of the local hotel, Miss Rose O’Brien. As one of J.P.’s most ardent customers, Rose kept a speak-easy in her establishment, as well as J.P.’s favor. Rose and J.P. were inseparable when he was in port, and the news of his demise almost killed her too.
But being of strong Irish stock, with some Latin influence, Rose refused to let her loss destroy her. She celebrated the repeal of Prohibition by opening the doors of her hotel as a full-fledged tavern and renaming it after her one true love, J.P.Plummer. It is rumored that the ghosts of Rose and J.P. can be heard singing a sailor’s ballad late at night some times. And their descendants still run the bar to this day with the same lust for life handed down by the indomitable Rose and the unfortunate J.P which for over 50 years has made Plummer’s “the place where friends meet.”