The Travel Professor
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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Another Underground Railroad stop in Ripley OH

At the bottom of Rankin Hill is the John P. Parker House another important stop on the Underground Railroad. Today it is a museum owned by the John P. Parker Historical Society.

During our visit we discovered that John Parker was born a slave. In 1845, he purchased his freedom and eventually made his way to Indiana and Ohio, settling in Ripley in 1850. He opened an iron foundry and eventually purchased a brick home. Parker also became active in the Underground Railroad, commonly traveling across the Ohio River and helping fugitive slaves from Kentucky escape to the North. Parker routinely took the fugitives to John Rankin, another abolitionist who resided in Ripley. Rankin hid the runaway slaves and assisted them in their journey further north. During the American Civil War, Parker served as a recruiter for the 27th Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops. With the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the end of slavery in 1865, Parker devoted his energies to his foundry business.

Since the late 1990s, the John P. Parker Historical Society has owned the Parker House. This organization has diligently worked to preserve the home. The John P. Parker Historical Society has also formed alliances with numerous other educational and preservationist groups to educate people about the Underground Railroad and John Parker's role in it. Since 2002 the society has opened the home to visitors and they can be contacted at 937.392.4188.

Our next stop is for lunch at Cohearts Riverhouse 18 N Front St, Ripley, OH 45167
937.392.4819. They're located along the beautifully restored riverfront boardwalk in historic downtown Ripley. After lunch we're going to cross the Ohio and continue our tour in Mason County Kentucky.

For more information on Brown County Ohio tourism call 937.378.1970.