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By 1869, the population was 3,000 in this industrial area with several mills, foundries, and breweries; a great deal of wood was being produced.

In 1998 the County of Kent and the city of Chatham were amalgamated to form the Municipality of Chatham–Kent. Since then, bus service has begun to serve all of Chatham-Kent.

This celebrates the areas black culture and the roots laid by early black settlers in the Buxton area.

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent currently consists of the communities of Appledore, Arkwood, Bagnall, Baldoon, Bates Subdivision, Bearline, Beechwood, Blenheim, Botany, Bothwell, Bothwell Station, Bradley, Briarwood Estates, Cedar Springs, Charing Cross, Chatham, Clearville, Coatsworth, Croton, Darrell, Dawn Mills, Dealtown, Dover Centre, Doyles, Dresden, Duart, Eatonville, Eberts, Electric, Erie Beach, Erieau, Fargo Station, Fletcher, Florence, Glenwood, Grande Pointe, Guilds, Highgate, Holiday Harbour, Huffman Corners, Jeannette, Jeannette's Creek, Kent Bridge, Kent Centre, Lake Morningstar, Louisville, Mc Kay's Corners, Merlin, Mitchell's Bay, Morpeth, Muirkirk, Mull, New Scotland, North Buxton, North Thamesville, Northwood, Oldfield, Oungah, Ouvry, Pain Court, Palmyra, Pardoville, Pinehurst, Port Alma, Port Crewe, Prairie Siding, Quinn, Raglan, Renwick, Rhodes, Ridgetown, Ringold, Rondeau, Rondeau Bay Estates, Selton, Shrewsbury, Sleepy Hollow, South Buxton, Stevenson, Stewart, Thamesville, Thornecliffe, Tilbury, Troy, Tupperville, Turin, Turnerville, Valetta, Van Horne, Vosburg, Wabash, Wallaceburg, Wheatley, Whitebread and Wilson's Bush.

A fast boat also provided transportation to Detroit and Buffalo.

Chatham had many tradesman, a foundry, two banks, three schools, a tavern and a library where one could read books and newspapers.

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.

John Brown, the abolitionist, planned his raid on the Harpers Ferry Virginia Arsenal in Chatham and recruited local men to participate in the raid.

At 2,458 square kilometres, Chatham-Kent is the 12th largest municipality by area in Canada and the largest in southwestern Ontario.