ANNUAL HOMECOMING WEEKEND IN NORTH BUXTON
Visitors come from far and wide to experience the Black History in Chatham-Kent and visit some of the original sites and destinations of the slaves who arrived via the Underground Railway and settled in this area of Chatham-Kent in the mid 1800's.The original Elgin Settlement site, North Buxton was one of the last stops on the Underground Railway and the Buxton National Historic Site and Museum are located on that original location. Chatham-Kent became home to some of the most successful Black settlements and boasted the greatest populace of former slaves in those days. North Buxton holds it's Annual Homecoming Celebration each year on Labour Day Weekend.
This annual homecoming weekend transforms the Historic Village of North Buxton. It swell from about 100 permanent residents to approximately 3000 as visitors gather and renew old acquantances and experience emotional moments as they relive old memories and remember the past. This event was first held in 1924 at the farm of Reginald and Minnie Robbins under a pear tree that still exists. It is a community sponsored event with sports, exhibits, food and craft vendors, a car show and parade and as well as other events. The youth are very involved, a great indication of the importance of keeping their Heritage alive in this small community. There is face painting and rides for the children. Fun for the whole family! The biggest day for the weekend is always Monday, Labour Day, which kicks off with a parade at 12:30. For a schedule of events visit their website. Labour Day 2013, was the 90th Anniversary of the Buxton Homecoming and according to Spencer Alexander, assistant curator for the Buxton Historical Society, visitors attended from across North America swelling the small community to 30 times its population. The parade spanned over three kilometes of people packed streets and lasted well over an hour to the delight of the audience.The Event was a huge success and a nostalgic trip into past History that many would not miss. The Annual Weekend Event provides an opportunity for former residents and their families to return to this community which was at its peak in the 19th century when the population was about 2000.
Many of these residents were slaves who had fled the United States.The numbers began to decline around the time of the Civil War when many of the men served in the Union Army. The ensuing years saw many residents move to the United States. In past years the Jack and Jill of America, a U.S. based group has brought several tour buses from Florida to take part in the festivities. Shannon Price is the curator of the Buxton Museum and serves as liason officer for the Homecoming. The Committee includes members from the Buxton Historical Society, the North Buxton Community Club and the Buxton Next Generation.
Last year's Theme was The American Civil War, as 2015, marked the 150th Anniversary of the end of the U.S. Civil War. Shannon Price Curator of the National Historic Site and Museum points out that many people are unaware that there were Canadians, including Canadian Black men from the Chatham-Kent area who fought in the Civil War.
The Buxton National Historic Site and Museum highlight this most successful settlement of the mid 1800's and its integral part in the Underground Railway. Its many displays touch the hearts of visitors as they witness depictions of the treacherous journey that thousands undertook to escape the terrible bonds of slavery and the heroic bravery of those who put their lives in danger to help them.
Chatham-Kent was a popular destination along the Famous Underground Railway for Slaves fleeing the U.S. Visit Chatham Tourist Attractions for more information on Historic locations in the area.
Uncle Toms' Cabin located near Dresden is another popular destination for visitors to the area. You can visit Rev. Josiah Hensen's cabin, smokehouse, sawmill, the Hensen family cemetary. Pioneer Church and Exhibit inside the visitor's centre. Josiah Hensen was the inspiration for Harriet Beacher Stowe's famous novel Uncle Tom's Cab, telling the story of hardships and triumphs of the original slave settlers. There is an Annual Emancipation Day Celebration close to the beginning of August to mark the abolition of salvery in the British Empire on August 1, 1834. It is always a well attended event with music, tours and a barbeque.
If you are interested in history ,The Story of Chatham's Black Community is a self guided interactive exhibit that highlights the struggles and achievements of blacks during the period of slavery, early settlement in Chatham, the Civil Rights movement and modern times.
Chatham-Kent is a unique destination and one that offered slaves freedom and a place to settle during such a dark period in History.
The John D. Bradley Convention Centre Exhibit Hall was named Freedom Hall in memory of those individuals who found so hard and endured so much for a freedom some of us take for granted.
Chatham-Kent has still so much to offer today. Affordable Lifestyle, Waterfront Properties, many Area Resort Locations along the Great Lakes and many ammenties to enjoy. It is a great place to raise a family, retire, relocate to or purchase a vacation property or visit. Call Wayne Liddy 519-436-4810 Royal LePage Peifer Realty Inc. Brokerage and let me show you property for sale in Chatham-Kent and surrounding area. Visit my Chatham-Kent website and read more about the events and attractions in Chatham-Kent and choice properties for sale.