Statement of Significance (as of designation - February 18, 1997):
This was the home of Presbyterian minister John Rankin who is reputed to have been one of Ohio's first and most active "conductors" on the Underground Railroad. In addition, he wrote Letters on American Slavery, first published in book form in 1826, and among the first clearly articulated antislavery views printed west of the Appalachians. Rankin, along with his wife and children, assisted hundreds of escaped slaves in their trek to freedom. Located on the Ohio River, John Rankin's home (and Ripley, Ohio in general) were considered one of the first stations on the Underground Railroad. It was here that Harriet Beecher Stowe heard the escaping slave's story which became the basis for part of her famous work, Uncle Tom's Cabin.