John Rankin (February 5, 1793 – March 18, 1886) was an American Presbyterian minister, educator, and abolitionist. Moving to Ripley, Ohio, in 1822, he became known as one of Ohio’s first and most active “conductors” on the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses established in the United States from the early to mid-18th century. It was used by enslaved African Americans to escape mainly to the free states and Canada. The plan was assisted by abolitionists and other sympathizers with the fugitives’ cause. The enslaved who risked escape and those who helped them are also collectively known as the “Underground Railroad.” In 1829, Rankin moved his wife and nine of his children into a house on top of a 500-foot hill. tall that afforded a sweeping view of the village, the river, and the Kentucky coastline. From there, the family could raise a lantern on a flagpole to signal fleeing slaves in Kentucky when it was safe for them to cross into the free state of Ohio. Rankin also built a stairway leading up the hill to the house for the slaves to climb to safety on their way north. For more than forty years before the Civil War, many of the slaves who escaped to freedom via Ripley’s stayed in the family home. It became known as the Rankin House and is now a US National Historic Landmark.
During a visit by Rankin to Lane Theological Seminary to see one of his sons, he told Professor Calvin Stowe the story of a woman (Eliza) the Rankins had taken in in 1838 after she escaped across the frozen Ohio River with her son in arms. Stowe’s wife (Harriet Beecher Stowe) also heard the tale and later modeled the character Eliza in her book Uncle Tom’s Cabin, after the woman.
Historical Figures, The Real Heroes of Freedom
- Reference: Rev. John Rankin
- Collection:Le Petit Collecction Epic History
- Sculptor:Marco Navas, The Miniaturist
- Material: High Quality Resin
- Measures: 4,33”H x2,16”W – 11cm H X 5,5cm W
- 1/32 Scale-54mm
- Edition: Limited & Numbered to 100 copies