Thomas Lovejoy Rankin

Male 1839 - 1915

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  • Name  Thomas Lovejoy Rankin 
    Born  16 Jun 1839  Ripley, Brown Co., OH Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender  Male 
    Occupation  some 2 yrs with the 23rd Knoxville with Burnsides 
    Died  12 Nov 1915  Sacket Harbor, New York Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • 1879 letter--Thomas is in NY
      marvelous anecdote
      They [Jn & Jean] had lived in Lyndon with their youngest son for several years.

      Arizona Republican, Phoenix, AZ April 17, 1902
      Article of Incorporation of the Appalachian Mining Furnace Company ...Isaac M. Taylor, of the Burough of Manhattan City, county and State of New York and Thomas L. Rankin of Denver, Colorado...formed a corporation under the laws of the territory of Arizona....

      History of the Republican Party in Ohio page 783:...Thomas L. [Rankin], now living in the state of New York, who was for three years in the wagon-train service.
    • Lengthy obituary typed by Sharon Kouns
      Syracuse Herald, New York November 14, 1915
      In The Home Of Thomas L. Rankin's Father, Facts For Uncle Tom's Cabin Were Obtained

      Watertown, Nov. 13 - Thomas L. Rankin, a son of the famous abolitionist leader of the decade preceding the Civil war, the Rev. John Rankin of Kentucky, to whose home the "Eliza" of Uncle Tom's Cabin fame fled with her little son across the ice of the Ohio, died last evening at his home at Sacket Harbor where for the past 26 years, he had spent the summer months, after a three weeks' illness from hardening of the arteries, aged 76 years and five months. Mr. Rankin, who was an inventor of several hundred successful devices and who had long ago been able to retire from active business, had for the past twenty-six years made Sacket Harbor his home in summer, spending his winters in different sections of the South.

      He was intimately connected with the establishment of the principle of refrigeration in the shipment of produce to market and as an inventor had been more or less associated with the manufacture of refrigerating machinery. When the application of refrigeration was first being made to commercial use, Mr. Rankin, to illustrate the operation of refrigeration by the brine process, flooded and froze over the interior of Madison Square Garden in New York and used it for a public skating rink for about a month. He also maintained an ice railway at the Chicago's Worlds Fair and later at Coney Island. The latter railway was wrecked by a severe storm and tidal wave at a loss of about $60,000.

      He was a member of Sacket Harbor Lodge, No. 135, F. & A.M., and of Sacket Harbor Chapter, R.A.M. He leaves besides his widow, Mrs. Alice Rankin, one son, John T. Rankin of Quenemo, California; and three daughters - Mrs. T. W. Baird of Denver, Colorado; Miss Lottie J. Rankin, a teacher of Spirit Lake, Idaho, and Mrs. O. R. Ashby, of Cadoa, Colorado.

      Thomas L. Rankin was born in Ripley, Ohio, and was the last remaining member of the family of 13 children of the Rev. John Rankin, Presbyterian clergyman, abolitionist advocate, and prominent educator of the southwest in the days before the war. The funeral arrangements have not yet been made.

      The Rankin family previous to the war lived in Tennessee and Kentucky, but owing to the abolition efforts of the Rev. John Rankin he was forced to take refuge in the free State of Ohio, locating on the north bank of the river at the little town of Ripley, midway between Portsmouth and Cincinnati.

      The home of the Rev. John Rankin stood at the very pinnacle of the high bluff along the northern side of the Ohio River, on which the village of Ripley was situated, the point towering 450 feet above the southern, or Kentucky shore at that point. Beside his house John Rankin, with the aid of his abolitionist neighbors, erected about 1840 a lofty pole seventy-five feet high, fitted with halyards, and it was the custom every evening to haul to the top of this pole a big fish oil latern, the light of which could be seen for many miles across the Kentucky blue grass bottom lands. In a short time this beacon became known to the slaves on every Kentucky plantation and news of it was imparted by them to runaway slaves fleeing northward for Canada, where under the Union Jack, all men were free and equal. Hiding in cane brakes, or secreted in negro cabins by day, the fugitive slaves at night plodded across tobacco fields and through swamps toward Rankin's beacon of liberty.

      The Rankin house became the principle station on the famous "Underground Railway" of civil war times and hundreds of colored people were here aided and protected in their flight from slavery. It is said that no slave that ever reached Ripley, bound for the Canadian line was ever recaptured. The fame of the Rankin house was widespread throughout the South. The runaway negro knew that he was sure of friendly succor if he could only reach the shelter of its walls. The Southern slaveholders also knew and hated the daring Abolitionists, and for many years preceding the war and until its close the Rankin house was made the target of many a Southern rifle and its occupants were in constant danger of ambush and death. After their removal to Ohio frequent attempts were made by Kentucky slavery adherants to burn the Rankin buildings and kill the members of the household. Capt. R. C. Rankin, one of the sons, was shot through the shoulder one evening whil repelling an attack. But persecution and peril could not drive the intrepid John Rankin from his work and he continued his labors in aiding the slaves to escape from bondage until Lincoln's hand loosened the shackles from the captive limb.

      The Rev. John Rankin continued as pastor of the Presbyterian church at Ripley for forty-four years and he was always fearless and untiring in and out of the pulpit in his efforts to advance the cause of freedom. It was at the Rankin house that Harriet Beecher Stowe gathered the facts of the story of Eliza in her great historic novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Mrs. Stowe was an intimate friend of the Rankins' and made many visits to their hospitable home while writing the famous work.

      The story of Eliza and her thrilling escape across the breaking ice of the swollen waters of the Ohio, is founded on fact and it was at the Rankin house that she found shelter on her wild flight to save her child. Eliza was a mullato woman owened by a kind Kentucky master. By reason of severe financial difficulties, he was about to sell Eliza's two year old boy down the river. Hearing of this Eliza determined to save her child and hurried northward at night. When she reached the Ohio she found that the floating ice in the river was melting and breaking up. Thinking that crossing might be less dangerous in the morning, she decided to remain over night at the home of a friendly family in the south bank of the river, opposite the town of Ripley. But a rumor came of the near approach of her pursuers, and seizing her sleeping babe, she ran to the river and leaped onto the breaking ice. It was a perilous undertaking but at last she reached the Ohio side in safety and was directed to the Rankin household, where she was given shelter, and then hurried northward on the Underground Railway. She was taken to the house of Levi Coffin in Newport, Indiana, where she resided several days and was afterwards taken to Chatham, Canada. While at the home of Mr. Coffin she was given the name of Eliza Harris. Mr. and Mrs. Coffin visited her in later years.
    • Found in the Valley Independent, Monessan, PA, June 15, 1984:
      The first indoor skating rink was built by Thomas L. Rankin at Madison Square Garden, New York City, in 1879. It has 16,000 square feet of surface.

    • 1910 United States Federal Census
      Name: Thomas F Rankins
      [Thomas L Rankin]
      Age in 1910: 70
      Estimated birth year: abt 1840
      Birthplace: Ohio
      Relation to Head of House: Head
      Father's Birth Place: Tennessee
      Mother's Birth Place: Tennessee
      Spouse's name: Alice L
      Home in 1910: Hounsfield, Jefferson, New York
      Marital Status: Married
      Race: White
      Gender: Male
      Neighbors: View others on page
      Household Members: Name Age
      Thomas F [sic] Rankins 70 (born OH)
      Alice L Rankins 62 (born NY)
      Julia Jenks 75 (aunt)

    • 1870 Putnam, Illinois Granville Census
      Rankin, John age 77 Presbyterian Minister b. TN
      Jane age 74 Keeping house b. TN
      Thomas L. age 31 Patent Right Agent b. OH
      Charlotte age 30 keeping house b. OH
      Chas. C [not sure of name -smk] age 7 b. OH
      Loila I ? age 3 b. OH
      Louis B. age 5/12 b. IL
      Tweed, Evaline age 20 b. OH
    Person ID  I110  Powers-Nixon-Rankin
    Last Modified  19 Aug 2007 

    Father  John Thomas Rankin,   b. 4 Feb 1793, Jefferson Co., TN Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Mar 1886, Ironton, OH Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother  Jane Gilfillen Lowry,   b. 01 Dec 1795, Jonesboro, TN /NC (?) Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Dec.1878, Lyndon, KS Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  2 Feb 1816  Jonesboro, TN Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • other 1/2/1814
    • Source: History of the Republican Party in Ohio, page 783 ...It may be well to mention that the wives of the three brothers - Revs. John, Alexander and Robert - were three sisters and were granddaughters of the Rev. Samuel Doake, D. D., who founded the first institution of learning west of the Alleghanies, at Jonesboro, Washington county, east Tennessee. They were also blood relatives of General Sam Houston, of Texas fame, and of Robert McUen, over whose house in Nashville, Tennessee, the stars and stripes floated during the Rebellion.
    Family ID  F9  Group Sheet

    Family  Alice Unknown 
     1. John T. Rankin
     2. Female Rankin
     3. Lottie J. Rankin
     4. Female Rankin
    Last Modified  19 Aug 2007 
    Family ID  F491  Group Sheet