• 1 The Buxton Settlement

    In 1849, Rev. William King (1812-95) established a community for both fugitive slaves and free Blacks under the protection of the British government near Chatham, Canada West (Ontario). Under Rev. King's guidance, and with the assistance of the Presbyterian Church and Canadian abolitionists, nearly 9,000 acres of land were purchased. The initial settlers included a family of former slaves from Rev. King’s wife’s family plantation (brought to Canada from Louisiana) and Isaac Riley, the first Black man to purchase land in the settlement. The newly formed settlement was named Buxton. Rev. King oversaw the establishment of a frame church and the Buxton Mission School in early 1850; the school became so successful that many white settlers sent their children there for classes, creating one of the first integrated schools in North America. By 1852, nearly 350 acres of wilderness had been cleared and was being farmed for corn, tobacco and hemp. The community thrived, with nearly 2,000 inhabitants by the mid-1860s. Following the American Civil War (1861-65) and the abolition of slavery in the United States, a number of Buxton residents returned to America, but many of the original inhabitants’ descendants still live in the area.

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