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Fri, 04.07.1837

Anderson R. Abbott, Canadian Physician born

Anderson R. Abbott

*Anderson Ruffin Abbott was born on this date in 1837. He was a Black Canadian physician and soldier.

From Toronto, Canada, his parents were Wilson Ruffin Abbott. and Ellen Toyer Abbott, who had emigrated as "free people of color" from Mobile, Alabama, to Toronto in 1835. Anderson Abbott was educated at Toronto Academy, where he was an honor student, and at Oberlin College, Ohio, from 1856 to 1858. In 1861 he graduated in medicine from Trinity College, University of Toronto. He was licensed with the medical board of Upper Canada in 1862. His mentor Was Dr. Alexander T. Augusta.

On Sept.2, 1863, Dr. Abbott joined the United States Army as an Assistant Surgeon. He was a captain stationed on duty in Washington between 1863 and 1866. He was one of eight Black physicians in the Army Medical Corps and a founder of Freedmen’s Hospital in 1864, where he served several months as chief executive officer.  The name "Freedmen's Hospital" first appeared on the official records on June 15, 1864.

Upon the death of President Lincoln a year later, Mrs. Lincoln presented as a memento to Dr. Abbott the plaid shawl which, "it is alleged, formed part of the disguise which he wore on the occasion." Abbott became director of Abbott Hospital in Freedmen's Village, Virginia, until April 1866, when he returned to Canada. He passed the primary examination for the degree of medicine at Toronto University in 1867, and in 1869 he became a member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Ontario.

In August 1871, Abbott married Mary Ann Casey in Toronto; together, they had five children. Abbott practiced in Chatham, Ontario, Canada. In 1874, he was appointed coroner of Kent County, the first Black man to hold that position in Canada. He was a president of the Kent county medical society and served as acting resident physician of Toronto General Hospital. Citizens on both sides of the Canadian-USA border mourned his death in Toronto on December 29, 1913.

To become a Doctor



Ontario Black History Society
10 Adelaide Street East, Suite 402
Toronto, Ontario, M5C 1J3

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