Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott 1837-1913

Anderson Ruffin Abbott was born in Toronto in 1837. His parents, Wilson and Ellen Toyer Abbott, were free people of colour who came to Canada in 1835 in pursuit of economic advancement and social justice. Abbott was educated at the Elgin Settlement near Chatham, and then studied at the Toronto School of Medicine. He received his medical licence in 1861, becoming the first Canadian-born doctor of African descent. Upon completing his studies, Dr. Abbott became one of eight Black surgeons to serve in the Union Army during the American Civil War and served with distinction as the surgeon-in-chief at Freedmen's Hospital in Washington, D.C. In 1871, he settled in Chatham, where he established a medical practice and served as president of the Wilberforce Educational Institute. He also became Kent County's first Black coroner, president of the Chatham Medical Society and associate editor of the Missionary Messenger, the official publication of the British Methodist Episcopal Church. Abbott eventually returned to Toronto. He is buried at the Toronto Necropolis.


At the BME Freedom Park, corner of Wellington and Princess streets, Chatham-Kent

Region: Southwestern Ontario

County/District: Municipality of Chatham-Kent (District)

Municipality: Municipality of Chatham-Kent