Wilson Ruffin Abbott

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Wilson Ruffin Abbott
Born 1801
Richmond, Virginia
Died 1876 (aged 74–75)
Toronto, Ontario
Resting place Necropolis Cemetery
43°40′06″N 79°21′37″W / 43.668282°N 79.360259°W / 43.668282; -79.360259
Occupation Businessman
Spouse(s) Ellen Toyer

Wilson Ruffin Abbott (1801–1876) was an American-born African Canadian and successful businessman and landowner in Toronto, Ontario. He was the father of Anderson Ruffin Abbott, Canada's first African physician.

Born to a Scotch-Irish father and a free West African mother in Richmond, Virginia, Abbott left home when he was aged 15 to work as a steward on a Mississippi River steamer.[1]

He married Ellen Toyer, and moved to Mobile, Alabama, where he opened a general grocery store, but left in 1834 after receiving a warning that his store was to be pillaged.[1] In late 1835 or early 1836, he moved to Toronto, Canada, where he prospered as a businessman.[1]

His son Anderson Ruffin Abbott became the first African Canadian to practice medicine.


  1. ^ a b c Winks, Robin W. (1972). "Wilson Ruffin Abbott". Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. X. Toronto. ISBN 0-8020-3287-7.