The obstacles and hardship facing slaves, Black Loyalists, and those who escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad were numerous. Despite this, Canadian settlers of African descent still managed to make many positive contributions to the shaping of this country.

Hattie Rhue Hatchett is one example. She was a talented composer, singer, and pianist. Hattie was one of ten children born in Raleigh Township, Canada West (now Ontario), in 1864. Her parents were escaped slaves from the Miles plantation in Virginia.

As a child, Hattie attended piano lessons at the Elgin Settlement School. The Elgin settlement school was built in 1861, and it was an integrated school – children of both African and European descent attended it. It is the only remaining school in Canada that was built by former fugitive slaves.

Hattie met her husband Millard Hatchett in Kentucky where she was teaching former slaves and their children. Shortly after they married they returned to North Buxton, Ontario.

As a composer, Hattie Hatchett is best known for her religious songs. One of her songs, called "The Sacred Spot", was the official marching song of Canadian WWI soldiers.
Royal Ontario Museum
Historical Advisor: Buxton National Historic Site and Museum
1763 - 1867
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