Rev Josiah Henson of Dresden Ontario was the inspiration for Uncle Tom, for the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin Dresden © Lucy Izon

Uncle Tom’s Cabin Dresden © Lucy Izon

Dresden, Ontario – This ‘hot spot’ is the site of the ‘real ‘ Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Just outside of the village of Dresden in southwestern Ontario is a 200-acre piece of land that was purchased as a refuge for fugitives from the United States in 1841. Now a Historic Site, you can still see the cabin of Reverend Josiah Henson, a slave for forty-one years who escaped with his family using the Underground Railroad (Historica video) in 1830. He helped to establish the community, the Dawn Institute Settlement, and the British American Institute, a school for the advancement of fugitive slaves. He was the inspiration for the Uncle Tom character in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s famous 1852 anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Dresden is located on the Sydenham River in the 23-community municipality of Chatham-Kent. Visitors can also enjoy harness racing at Dresden Raceway, bird and butterfly watchers should consider also stopping at Point Pelee National Park, and car enthusiasts can plan to visit the region in late May when hundreds of classic car owners showcase their vehicle downtown Chatham. Quick tip: visit the website for instructions for the Dawn Settlement Walking/Driving tour.

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August 1st is Emancipation Day in Ontario, commemorating the abolition of slavery in Upper Canada.


Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site, 29251 Uncle Toms Rd Dresden, Ontario (Chatham-Kent)


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