Anderson Ruffin Abbott
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Anderson Ruffin Abbott
Not only was Anderson Ruffin Abbott the first black man to graduate from medical school in Canada (University of Toronto, 1861), he is described in a US history textbook as "probably the most famous British North American-born surgeon to serve coloured soldiers during the Civil War." He was also a close friend of Abraham Lincoln, whose widow presented him with the shawl Lincoln wore to his first inauguration.
While in Canada, Dr. Abbott was very involved in community affairs, as president of Wilberforce Educational Institute from 1873 to 1880. He was the Associate Editor of the Missionary Messenger, a monthly paper published by the British Methodist Episcopal Church(5), and president of the Chatham Literary and Debating Society (6). For one year, 1878, he was President of Chatham's Medical Society and one of the first Coroner's for the County of Kent. Dr. Abbott's office was in the Hunton Block on William Street, where he practiced medicine while in Chatham.
In 1881, he moved from Chatham to Dundas after a fruitful decade in this area. Dr. Abbott died in December 1913.