Description: The group of fugitive slaves seen here escaped to freedom in Canada on the Underground Railroad and took up residence in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Their names are listed from left to right as, back row: Mrs. Hunt, Mansfield Smith, Mrs. Seymour; front row: Stevenson, Johnson. The image was collected by Ohio State University professor Wilbur H. Siebert (1866-1961). Siebert began researching the Underground Railroad in the 1890s as a way to interest his students in history. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: AL03237 Subjects: Fugitive slaves; Ohio History--Slavery, Anti-Slavery and Civil Rights; Underground Railroad Places: Windsor, Ontario (Canada)
Ohio River as seen from Rankin House photographSave
Description: 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. Image ID: 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)
Description: This 2.75" x 2.75" (6.99 x 6.99 cm) slide of the John Rankin House near Ripley, Ohio, was taken in the 1960s. 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.
The Rankin House, in Ripley, Ohio, was an Underground Railroad stop run by Presbyterian minister John Rankin with his wife and neighbors. The house stood on a 300-foot-high hill, known as "Liberty Hill," which overlooked the Ohio River. Rankin would signal fugitive slaves in Kentucky with a lantern or candle, letting them know when it was safe to cross the Ohio River. To access Rankin's home on top of Liberty Hill, those seeking their freedom had to climb 100 wooden steps. Rankin would provide the former slaves with sanctuary, keeping them hidden until it was safe for them to travel further north.
John Rankin is believed to have provided shelter and food to as many as 2,000 fugitive slaves during his career with the Underground Railroad; according to several accounts, none of those whom Rankin helped were ever returned to slavery. Harriet Beecher Stowe immortalized Rankin's efforts to help African Americans in her book, "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Rankin's home was the first stop in Ohio for Eliza, one of the book's main characters, as she sought freedom in the North. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: Om3005_3631854_001 Subjects: Antislavery movements--Ohio--History--19th century; Civil Liberties; African American Ohioans; Architecture; Underground Railroad; Fugitive slaves; Rankin, John, 1793-1886; National Register of Historic Places Places: Ripley (Ohio); Brown County (Ohio)
'Quarters Provided for Contrabands' illustrationSave
Description: Illustration depicting the living quarters of former slaves from "The Black Phalanx: A History of the Negro Soldiers of the United States in the Wars of 1775-1812, 1861-'65" by Joseph T. Wilson. Fugitive slaves who left the Confederacy to seek protection in the Union came to be considered prizes of war, or contrabands, during the Civil War. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: blackphalanx_22 Subjects: African American soldiers; Civil War 1861-1865; Fugitive slaves; Slavery
Description: Harriet Tubman, a former fugitive slave herself, worked to free enslaved people on the Underground Railroad. Known as "the Moses of her people," she led more than 300 fugitive slaves to freedom in Canada. This portrait is from the Wilbur H. Siebert Underground Railroad collection, likely taken ca. 1890. Siebert (1866-1961) began researching the Underground Railroad in the 1890s as a way to interest his students in history in his role as a professor at the Ohio State University. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: AL03083 Subjects: Fugitive slaves; Ohio History--Slavery, Anti-Slavery and Civil Rights; Tubman, Harriet, 1820?-1913 Places: New Jersey
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