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THE WILBERFORCE SETTLEMENT 1830

In 1829 a group of fugitive Negro slaves in Cincinnati decided to seek a more secure refuge in Canada. In 1830, with the help of Quakers in Oberlin, Ohio, they purchased 800 acres of land in this vicinity from the Canada Company. A settlement was established, the first in Biddulph Township, and groups from New England and New York State joined those from Ohio. By 1833 there were thirty-two families, two schools and a sawmill in this settlement, which was named after the great British abolitionist William Wilberforce. One of the earliest Negro colonies in Upper Canada, its population dwindled rapidly in the 1840's although some families remained for more than a generation.

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