142 NOVA SCOTIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
The county of Kent, in which the Buxton settlement is situated, proved an attractive abiding place for Southern fugitives. The Negro—a child of the sun—found the milder winters of this extreme western section of Ontario much more to his satisfaction than the colder blasts of the country farther to the eastward. Harriet Beecher Stowe's " Uncle Tom" lived at Chatham for some years, and found it the home of many of his race, who were reputed to be "usually quiet. self-respecting, law-abiding, religious people, excellent servants and devoted to the people whom they served". In the county of Kent, and one or two of the adjacent counties, several of such fugitives became successful farmers.
That " belated Covenanter", the good and brave though much abused John Brown, of Harper's Fern-fame, occasionally availed himself of the nearness of Western Ontario for the accomplishment of his purposes as a rescuer of the enslaved. It was at Chatham, on one such occasion, that he took the first of those apparently imprudent steps which cost him his life, but perhaps best served the purpose at which for years he had aimed with an intensity akin to fanaticism. A Massachusetts abolitionist, who with others had met him by appointment in Boston nearly a year earlier, writes : " Brown's plan was simply to penetrate Virginia with a few comrades, to keep utterly clear of all attempts to create slave insurrection, but to get together bands and families of fugitive slaves, and then be guided by events. If he could establish them permanently in those fastnesses [of the Alleghanv Mountains], like the Maroons of Jamaica and Surinam, so much the better ; if not, he would make a break from time to time, and take parties to Canada, by paths already familiar to him. All this he explained to me and others, plainly and calmly, and there was nothing in it that we considered either objectionable or impracticable ; so that his friends in Boston—Theodore Parker, Howe, Stearns, Sanborn, and