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Click Here for: Dawn Settlement Tour Instructions
Dresden is home to the world famous “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” Historic Site.
Josiah Henson inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe’s fictional character “Uncle Tom” in her 1853
novel which later became the basis for songs, musicals, plays and movies. Henson’s association
with the novel has tended to distort our understanding of his real life story.
Henson’s fame also overshadowed other important Underground Railroad figures connected to
the Dawn Settlement. Henson was one great man among many. He was one of a group of men
who founded and developed the Dawn Institute also known as the British-American Institute.
The purpose of this tour is to introduce you to some of those important figures, viewing sites and
artifact buildings linked to them. You will travel around an area which was once the British–
American Institute a place of refuge and learning for fugitive slaves.
We often understand the “fugitives” or “freedom seekers” who came to Canada as slaves who
escaped with little more than the clothes on their backs. While these individuals are a significant
part of the great migration that took place from the 1790s to the 1860s, there were others,
particularly after the passage of the “1850 Fugitive Slave Act” that were Freemen of some means.
Many freemen who settled “Dawn” were important figures in the Underground Railroad and
TOUR DIRECTIONS AND AUDIO AND VIDEO TOURS ATTACHED