One of the mysteries in my genealogy is William Smith. We aren't sure where he came from--was it from New England which was the source of most of the settlers of upstate New York, or from Pennsylvania, where most of my ancestors came from.
I bought a history of the First Presbyterian Church of York, PA off E-bay (please use the site, I own stock in the company ;-) ). Not from any real likelihood of finding something, but York's just north of the area Capt John Rippey and Mary Orson lived (about 20 miles according to Google Maps) and there's not likely to be a history of the Lower Chanceford Presbyterian Church available. The history is really short (the history of No. 9 church is longer and more detailed). [tongue in cheek on] But it did mention a "James Smith", both as being prominent in the church and, by the way, a Signer!!
Signer of what, you ask?? Of the Declaration of Independence, of course, you ignoramus! So today I did some googling. Alas and alack, I'm not an heir. [tongue in cheek off] Smith was from Ireland, emigrating with his father, being trained as a lawyer and practicing first in Shippensburg, PA and then in York. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress and an early organizer of the militia in York. Rather interesting guy, if rather different from the usual stereotype of the dour Presbyterian. This was the most complete bio I found (which is downloadable if you have broadband).
So I can say that Capt. John Rippey would have met James Smith, but that's it. But, given the concept of 6 degrees of separation, there's now 6 degrees of historical separation between me and George Washington. (me to grandfather William to Rev. John to Joseph to Capt John to James Smith to George Washington).