Ripley sits right on the Ohio River, about 50 miles upstream from Cincinnati. Its small-town status has remained throughout its existence. Its total population never exceeded 2800 people, and today, about 1700 residents call Ripley home. But don’t let its size fool you. The tales you’re about to hear are reflected in the historical record. This little town’s role in ushering people to freedom should make us all proud as Ohioans.
Stories about the Underground Railroad are scattered throughout Ohio’s history. As listeners, we connect with those who yearned for freedom, we’re rapt in the tension and the danger of capture, we’re intrigued by the subterfuge and the glimmer of hope found in the northward journey. What I’m about to present to you carries all these elements, but that’s not all. Be sure to stay tuned for the second half of today’s episode. You’ll learn of a man, a former slave himself, whose courage and devotion to the cause of freedom goes beyond comprehension. I’m saving the best for last.
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Ripley, Ohio as seen from Kentucky's bank. Photo credit: Cindy Drinkwater