Rankin House, Ohio

John Rankin was a Presbyterian minister and educator who devoted much of his life to the antislavery movement. In 1826 he published an antislavery book, “Letters on American Slavery,” and in 1834 he founded the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society. From 1825 to 1865 Rankin and his wife Jean sheltered more than 2,000 escaping slaves in Brown County, Ohio. The house sat on a high hill over the Ohio River, the border between the free state of Ohio and the slave state of Kentucky. A beacon in the attic window supposedly guided fleeing slaves across the river. Harriet Beecher Stowe visited the house in 1834, and John Rankin’s stories of escaping slaves influenced “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The Rankin house is a National Historic Landmark, and is now maintained by the Ohio Historical Society. Outside is a reconstruction of the stairway used by the fugitives to climb up to the house from the banks of the Ohio River.

Location Map and Directions Click Here

Links: Rankin House State Historic Site

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