Chatham-Kent (2011 population 103,671) is a unitary authority in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. Mostly rural, its centres of population are Blenheim, Chatham, Dresden, Ridgetown, Tilbury and Wallaceburg. Modern Chatham-Kent was created in 1998 by the merger of Kent County and its municipalities.
The former city of Chatham began as a naval dockyard in the 1790s, as it straddles the Thames River. The town was named after Chatham, Kent, England, which was also developed around a naval dockyard. In England, the name Chatham came from the British root ceto and the Old English ham thus meaning a forest settlement. Following the American Revolution and the Gnadenhutten Massacre, a group of Christian Munsee Indians settled in what is now Moraviantown.
In the War of 1812, the Battle of the Thames took place between Moraviantown and Thamesville on October 5, 1813.
During the 19th century, the area was part of the Underground Railroad. As a result, Chatham-Kent is now part of the African-Canadian Heritage Tour. Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site is a museum of the Dawn Settlement, established in 1841 by Josiah Henson near Dresden as refuge for the many slaves who escaped to Canada from the United States. John Brown, the abolitionist, planned his raid on the Harpers Ferry Virginia Arsenal in Chatham and recruited local men to participate in the raid. The small village of North Buxton, part of the African Canadian Heritage Tour, also played an important role in the Underground Railroad.
Kent County consisted of the townships of Camden, Chatham, Dover, Harwich, Howard, Orford, Raleigh, Romney, Tilbury East and Zone. In some of Canada’s earliest post-Confederation censuses, some residences in Kent County were incorrectly reported as being in Bothwell “County”, which was a separate electoral district comprising parts of Kent and Lambton counties but not a distinct county in its own right.
In 1998 the County of Kent and the city of Chatham were amalgamated to form the Municipality of Chatham–Kent.
Chatham Kent has many historic festivals throughout the year such as the battle of longwoods reenactment, which takes place on Labour Day weekend at Fairfield Museum on Longwoods road.
Chatham Kent is also home to many historic buildings which are part of an annual ghost tour offered each year at Halloween. The participants go on a guided walk of downtown while the guide informs them of various ghost stories tied to the local buildings in which they pass. Chatham Kent plays host to so much paranormal activity, that numerous books have been published on it.
Chatham Kent was a major part of the underground railroad and as such hosts the Buxton Homecoming each September. This celebrates the areas rich black culture and the roots laid by early black settlers in the Buxton area.
All information about Erieau courtesy of /Wikipedia.