Elgin Settlement, Ontario

Reverend William King, a Presbyterian minister trained in Scotland, married a Southern belle in Louisiana where he had been teaching. Upon the deaths of his wife, child, and later his father-in-law, King, an abolitionist, found himself the owner of a number of slaves. He opposed slavery, but he could neither sell them nor leave them since they would be re-enslaved, so he opted to take them to Canada West where the Presbyterian Church had placed him. He arranged for the fertile lands near Chatham, Ontario to be purchased through the Elgin Association. King, along with the 15 former enslaved Africans, formed the Elgin Settlement, or Buxton.

The new residents were provided with many rules and advice about how to create and sustain the community. The school he operated provided a high level of education with graduates going on to study at the University of Toronto. The success of this Black community in agriculture, coupled with the reputation of the school, led to a rise in the population. By the 1860s at least 2,000 people lived there. The success of this Black settlement has been commemorated; it is now a national historic site, a cultural landscape of early African-Canadian life preserved in rural Ontario.

Elgin Settlement
The Elgin Settlement, other Black communities in Canada and more. From The Kids' Site of Canadian Settlement.

Buxton National Historic Site and Museum
About the history of the Elgin Settlement, local churches, the Underground Railroad, and much more.

Elgin (Buxton) Settlement
A map of the Elgin (Buxton) Settlement. Click on the arrows at the bottom of the page for more information on related topics. From Parks Canada.

Chatham-Kent
Information about anti-slavery initiatives, the Underground Railroad, the Buxton National Historic Site, and the Elgin Settlement. From The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society
About the history of the Black community in the Chatham-Kent region. Click on the menu at the top left of the page for details about prominent people and places.