John Rankin house photograph   Save
John Rankin House Collection
Description: Photograph of the house of abolitionist John Rankin of Ripley, Ohio, as it appeared in the early twentieth century. 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: AL02871
Subjects: Ohio History--Slavery, Anti-Slavery and Civil Rights; Underground Railroad--Ohio; Abolitionists; Antislavery movements--Ohio--History--19th century
Places: Ripley (Ohio); Brown County (Ohio)