Kentucky Gateway Museum Middle held a seminar on the historical past of Reverend John Rankin and the newly restored Rankin Home on Saturday, July 15.
Docent of the Rankin Home, Howard McClain addressed what was a properly tended meeting for a wet day within the second flooring analysis library of KYGMC on Saturday morning.
McClain grew up in Georgetown and Sardinia and graduated from Morehead College and double majored in historical past and communication. He mentioned he has at all times had a singular connection to historical past which led to his ardour for the Rankin Home.
Many individuals are aware of the historical past of the Rankin Home and of Rev. John Rankin who was an American Presbyterian minister, educator and abolitionist who moved to Ripley, Ohio in 1822 and have become certainly one of Ohio’s first and most lively ‘conductors’ on the underground railroad (referenced on www.nps.gov).
“Rising up in Georgetown, which is the previous dwelling of Common Ulysses S. Grant, historical past was in my yard—actually. His dwelling was half a block, possibly a block away from my home and as somewhat boy I used to be peeking into home windows continuously, though it was closed a few years. Finally they began letting me in without cost, fortunately, and I had my first tour of the Rankin Home 52 years in the past,” McClain mentioned.
Rising up with a lot historical past round him made McClain understand historical past was in all places, not simply his personal again yard however in everybody else’s as properly, he mentioned.
“I encourage everybody to seek out your personal historical past, discover the place you got here from, discover the place your mother and father got here from,” he mentioned.
McClain encourages mother and father to jot down down occasions for his or her youngsters, their household historical past and to ensure it’s handed down.
“My philosophy of historical past is solely, an important phrase in historical past is the s-t-o-r-y, the story and while you paint that story for individuals paint it with each coloration as a result of historical past just isn’t meant to be fairly it’s meant to be as factual, sincere and true as we will make it. That’s what I attempt to do on the Rankin Home,” he mentioned.
Earlier than attending to Ripley which was his authentic vacation spot Rankin spent 4 years residing and ministering in Carlisle, KY, resulting from monetary circumstances which stranded him on his approach to Ohio, McClain mentioned. Nevertheless, McClain believes Rankin was at all times meant to go to Ripley and circumstances ultimately introduced him there.
In response to McClain there have been really three homes Rankin lived in in Ripley, the primary was a log cabin, the second was really constructed as a house advanced with three dwellings. The third is the well-known historic Rankin Home.
He confirmed photos of the house advanced Rankin constructed the place he and his household lived in a single house and rented the opposite two out for $50 every for the entire yr.
Rankin was not a wealthy man however was one dedicated to his ministry and preaching towards slavery in line with McClain.
“In 1822 he got here throughout the Ohio River with a spouse and 4 youngsters to Ripley to be the minister within the first church constructing particularly constructed as a church. A spouse and 4 youngsters and he takes a job that solely pays $350 a yr,” he mentioned.
McClain mentioned Rankin and his siblings had been taught from an early age that slavery was incorrect.
“Rankin had needed to be a minister his entire life, since he was about 10 years of age. He instructed his father that when he turned a minister he would stand within the pulpit and if these males in entrance of him owned slaves he was going to inform them that they have been sinning towards God, that they wanted to repent of these sins and that they wanted to free these slave. In any other case they have been setting themselves up for everlasting damnation, that was the message of a ten yr previous boy that he carried with him for the following 83 years,” he mentioned.
When Rankin turned a minister he was rejected and run out of Tennessee with threats of being lynched, McClain defined Rankin selected to go to Ripley as a result of it was already well-known that slaves went there and disappeared.
“The individuals of Ripley had been serving to slaves for nearly 20 years by hiding them of their properties and companies away from the bounty hunters who have been pursuing them,” he mentioned.
McClain additionally spoke of how when Rankin discovered by a letter from his brother that he was a profitable man in Virginia who owned slaves he wrote 25 letters outlining why it was incorrect. Rankin had an argument towards each single cause individuals gave in favor of slavery.
Earlier than the letters have been despatched McClain mentioned by happenstance and the correct connections, the letters have been revealed by a number of publishers and papers and have been the primary anti-slavery writings to seem.
Rankin’s brother ultimately obtained the letters and moved to Ohio together with his slaves the place he set them free, in line with McClain.
Copies of Rankins revealed works can be found for buy nonetheless on the Rankin Home, McClain mentioned and excursions are $8 for adults and $5 for college students Okay-12. Rankin Home handle is 6152 Rankin Hill Highway in Ripley, Ohio.