Ohio History Journal

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A quadroon girl, in Sunday best, strolled down the quiet

little main street of Ripley, in southern Ohio, not long since, and

coming to the crest of the bluff, whence the long descent begins

to the river, she rested her arms on an immaculately white monu-

ment, set to the famous old abolitionists of Ripley,-the place

where Eliza crossed the ice, in the story-and waved a hand-

kerchief, in signal to some dusky paramour on the other side.

Behind the girl there lay, as back-ground to the picture, the

quiet by-ways of Ripley; behind these, in turn, rose a ridge of

hills, the banks these of the prehistoric Ohio.

Crowning this crest and visible by day from afar for a flag

and staff recently set there, and by night for a lantern hoisted

on that same flagpole, from the portico of an old homestead other

folk were waving to kin, likewise in Kentucky, and that these,

too, understood and heeded was made evident by the ferry cross-

ing, shortly after, and bringing them to this side.

So simple, so easy, today, this crossing of the Ohio on the

filthy ferryboat there at Ripley; but what a trip it was to the

ancestors of the same quadroon girl, to whom the Ohio shore

spelled liberty, and freedom! With what eager eye, too, by way

of contrast did old man Rankin and his stalwart sons, watch,

from that home there on the heights, the negroes working their

way, by aid of some staunch log more frequently than not, 'cross

the river and to the shore; there to be helped by one friendly

to their cause and come up here, to be sped on to Sandusky and

the North. Just recently a son of Ripley, who went out in his

early youth and who is now established at Cleveland, having

returned for its centennial home-coming week, commemorated his

visit by erecting a series of tablets, here, there and elsewhere

about the town, and a flagpole there on the heights, upon which