"Welcome, I’m glad you’re here!  I suppose you saw
the lantern shining in the window.  Well, sit down
here by the fire and rest for a while.  You have a
long journey ahead of you.”  
That’s what you would hear if you were a fugitive slave who arrived at Rankin House, the Underground
Railroad station operated by the Reverend John Rankin and his family.  The Rankins lived in Ripley,
Ohio, and they helped over 2,000 runaways escape to freedom from 1825 to 1865.  The Rankin
family and others who aided refugees faced fines, imprisonment, or even death if discovered.  They
answered to a higher law, however: “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them.”  This is
the Golden Rule, found in Matthew 7:12.  The Rankins’ story fascinated me, especially that of their
eldest son, Lowry Rankin.  I wrote about him in Across the Wide River.  Lowry met some very famous
people connected with the antislavery movement during his lifetime, including Lyman Beecher, William
Lloyd Garrison, Henry Ward Beecher, Abraham Lincoln, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.  In future books,
I’ll tell the stories of other Rankin family members.  But for now, look around and find out a bit more
about Lowry and the book I wrote about him.  You can find out a bit about me, too.