Underground Railroad – Local Connections

Does local history intrigue you?  Do you wonder about the people who traveled creeks, paths and roads from across the Ohio river up through Ripley, Georgetown, Bethel, Red Oak Creek, White Oak Creek, Sardinia, Russellville and Decatur over 175 years ago?  Most everyone has heard about the Underground Railroad, the escape passage to the North for many slaves.  But did you know

*  The Ripley, Ohio line, led by John Rankin, his family and his fellow abolitionists guided thousands of runaways safely across the river from Kentucky into the free state of Ohio.  Read about this true historical account in Beyond the River by Ann Hagedorn and find author information, discussion questions and resource links at Choose to Read Ohio.

*  In 1818, 950 freed slaves from Virginia settled on 2,200 acres north of Ripley, Ohio, called the Gist Settlements.  Read local author Paul Young’s book about the Gist Settlement  held at the genealogy collection at the Batavia branch.

*  Secret codes, camouflaged symbols, and disguised signposts, were used to navigate escapes on the Underground Railroad.  What did the quilt patterns represent?  Find the answers in Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad by Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard.

*  The journey to freedom continued with the Canadian connection, with it’s own “conductors”, “parcels or passengers” and “stations”.  Follow the last tracks of the Underground Railroad in the true historical account From Midnight to Dawn by Jacqueline L. Tobin.

The Bethel Book Group recently read “Beyond the River” by Ann Hagedorn.  One member shared a quilt she made of Underground Railroad symbols represented in each square with one square indicating the meaning behind all the symbols.  Book selections cover a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction titles and genres.  Intrigued?  Join a group today!

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