: This 8" x 10" (20.32 x 25.4 cm) photograph was taken from the John Rankin House near Ripley, Ohio. The house, located on a hill overlooking the Ohio River, provided Reverend John Rankin with a view into Kentucky, a slaveholding state. Fugitive slaves who crossed the Ohio River from Kentucky were welcome at the Rankin House. The John Rankin House later became a museum, part of the Ohio History Connection's statewide network of historic sites. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Rankin and his family are credited with helping thousands of slaves escape to freedom. John Rankin (1793-1886) was a Presbyterian minister and educator who devoted much of his life to the antislavery movement. His home has several secret rooms in which fugitive slaves were hidden. A light was placed in the window of the house to indicate that it was safe for slaves to approach. The character of Eliza in Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was reportedly inspired by a story of a woman who crossed the partially-frozen Ohio River with a baby in her arms, making it safely to Rankin's house. View on Ohio Memory.
: Om3178_3813005_001 Subjects
: Civil Liberties; African American Ohioans; Architecture; Geography and Natural Resources; Underground Railroad; Ohio River; Fugitive slaves; Rankin, John, 1793-1886 Places
: Ripley (Ohio); Brown County (Ohio)