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.

anniversarylogoIn 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. The Rev. 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.

In 1998 the County of Kent and the city of Chatham were amalgamated to form the Municipality of Chatham-Kent. Some say this controversial move has had a negative impact on small-town Ontario, where the province shifted financial responsibility unto the individual municipalities, and taxes and infrastructure suffered as a result. The Municipality of Chatham-Kent currently consists of 23 communities.

Here are some of our communities with-in Chatham-Kent.

Blenheim (2011 population 4,563)

Chatham (approx population 43,000)

Erieau (2011 population: 397)

Ridgetown (2011 population 3,117)

Shrewsbury (approx population 125)

Thamesville (2011 population: 928)

Tilbury (2006 population 4,809)

Dresden (2011 population 2,446)

Wallaceburg (2011 population 10,163)

For complete community information visit

Obrien Robertson Realty 28 Talbot St. Blenheim 519-676-9541 | 55 Dover St. Chatham 519-365-9703