Rush Sloane was an important nineteenth century northern Ohio political and business leader.
Sloane was born in 1828 in Sandusky, Ohio. He studied law with F.D. Parish, a local attorney and abolitionist. Sloane became a lawyer in 1849 and established his own practice in Sandusky.
Sloane was one of Ohio's most prominent abolitionists during the 1850s. He utilized his Sandusky home as a safe house for fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad. In 1852, Sloane defended seven fugitive slaves against their owners. Sloane secured the slaves' release, but one of the slaveholders proved his ownership of the African Americans. Federal officials arrested Sloane for interfering with the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. Tried by the U.S. District Court in Columbus, Ohio, he was found guilty and fined $4,330.30. In appreciation of his efforts, local African Americans presented him with a silver-headed cane.
Many years later, Sloane said that the name Underground Railroad originated in 1831, when Tice Davids, a fugitive from slavery, crossed the Ohio River from Kentucky with his owner in pursuit. Upon reaching the Ohio side of the river, Davids' owner lost the trail of his slave and said that he "must of gone off on an underground road."
In 1855, Sloane became a probate judge in Erie County. Six years later, he became an agent for the United States Post Office in Chicago, Illinois. While in Chicago, Sloane became quite wealthy from his real estate investments. In 1865, he purchased Cedar Point and took the first steps to convert the site into a vacation spot. In 1867, Sloane became the president of the Sandusky, Dayton, and Cincinnati Railroad. In 1879, he was elected mayor of Sandusky. Sloane died in 1908.