Ontario's Historical Plaques 

Discover Ontario's history as told through its plaques

2004 - Now in our 15th Year - 2019

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Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott 1837-1913

Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott

Photo by contributor Dwayne Howard - June 2009

The Provincial Freeman

Photo from Google Street View ©2013 Google - Posted November, 2013

Plaque Location

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent
In Chatham, in a park on the northeast corner of
Wellington Street East and Princess Street South

Coordinates: N 42 24.323 W 82 10.400


Click here for a larger map

Plaque Text

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.

Another plaque at this location
The Provincial Freeman

Related Toronto plaque
Toronto Necropolis


Doctors and Nurses

Black History

Other Plaques in Chatham
The Abolition Movement in British North America
Chatham Blockhouse 1794
David Mills 1831-1903
Emily Ferguson Murphy 1868-1933
Jean McKishnie Blewett 1862-1934
John Brown's Convention 1858
Kent County Court House
Mary Ann Shadd Cary (1823-1893)
Mary Ann Shadd (Cary) (1823-1893)
Old St. Paul's Church & Christ Church
The Provincial Freeman

Chatham-Kent Plaques

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