Beyond the River The Untold Story of the Heroes of the

Beyond the River brings to brilliant life the dramatic story of the forgotten heroes of the Ripley Ohio line of the Underground RailroadFrom the highest hill above the town of Ripley Ohio you can see five bends in the Ohio River You can see the hills of northern Kentucky and the rooftops of Ripley’s riverfront houses And you can see what the abolitionist John Rankin saw from his house at the top of that hill where for nearly forty years he placed a lantern each night to guide fugitive slaves to freedom beyond the river In Beyond the River Ann Hagedorn tells the remarkable story of the participants in the Ripley line of the Underground Railroad bringing to life the struggles of the men and women black and white who fought “the war before the war” along the Ohio River Determined in their cause Rankin his family and his fellow abolitionists—some of them former slaves themselves—risked their lives to guide thousands of runaways safely across the river into the free state of Ohio even when a sensational trial in Kentucky threatened to expose the Ripley “conductors” Rankin the leader of the Ripley line and one of the early leaders of the antislavery movement became nationally renowned after the publication of his Letters on American Slavery a collection of letters he wrote to persuade his brother in Virginia to renounce slavery A vivid narrative about memorable people Beyond the River is an inspiring story of courage and heroism that transports us to another era and deepens our understanding of the great social movement known as the Underground Railroad


10 thoughts on “Beyond the River The Untold Story of the Heroes of the Underground Railroad

  1. says:

    A fascinating carefully researched history lesson about slavery the abolitionists movement and the Underground Rail Road UGR in Ohio that reads like a novel It is centered on the Ohio River town of Ripley its UGR networks and particularly on the Presbyterian minister John Rankin and his passionately abolitionist family who received and forwarded perhaps three thousand escaping slaves between the 1820s and the Civil War The stories are fascinating especially the famous one of Eliza that inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin Contrary to what the name implied the UGR operations were secret only to its pro slavery enemies Many of its activities took place in full public view not “underground” John Rankin for example erected a thirty foot pole on his top hill house where he or one of his sons would hoist a lantern each night making his mission ever obvious Here for all to see his house was a beacon to runaways and a blunt deliberate provocation to slave hunters who than once attacked it with armed force