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Tue, 06.18.1811

James Mink, Businessman born

James Mink Gravestone

*James Mink was born on this date in 1811.  He was a Black Canadian businessman. 

From Toronto, Ontario, he was the son of Johan Herkimer's slave Mink and was a slave himself for some years. He was an extremely successful businessman from Toronto, owning multiple businesses in the 1840s. He owned the Mansion Inn and Livery on Adelaide Street and stables on Terauley and Queen Streets.  He was even cited as the wealthiest Black Canadian man in Toronto, Canada, in the 1850s. 

The City Council used Mink's livery stables for its horses, while his stagecoach service carried passengers and mail between Toronto and Kingston until the 1860s.  His story was made into a movie in 1996 called Captive Heart.  Mink married a Black woman named Eliza Dennis, not a white woman as depicted in the movie.  

There is no historical proof that James had a daughter named Mary or that he had any daughter that was sold back into slavery. And his brush with politics that is depicted in the film did not actually happen to him, as far as records show, but his brother, George, was actually the one asked to run for Alderman in 1850.  James Mink died on June 18, 1887.  

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