FINALLY, THEY COULD HAVE REAL FAMILIES ANY slaves who fled to Buxton did so not primarily to escape cruel physical punishment but rather to escape something which to many seemed far worse. Unlike the white immigrants who had come to Canada from Scotland or Ireland or from the U.S., the blacks regarded the opportunity to create and raise families as the most precious gem offered by refuge in Canada. In slavery, they had had no real hope of this. A master could at any time sell the children of his slaves. If slave parents objected to the master’s abuse of their children, the parents might be sold away while the children were kept to be further abused. In Canada, having gained freedom and control of themselves and their children, the former slaves and the free blacks who joined them demonstrated a fierce energy and will to succeed. They worked tirelessly throughout the year clearing and farming their land or helping to build the Great Western Railroad which was being extended through the area. Using $3,000 invested by blacks from Toronto and Buffalo, the Buxton settlers formed a cooperative to build a factory for making pearl ash (a type of refined potash), a brickyard and a saw-and-grist mill. The town began producing lumber and barrel staves and selling corn, wheat, oats, tobacco and other crops. Within ten years after the settlement was founded some of the former slaves had paid in full the government price for their land ($2.50 an acre), and some had enough money left to send their children to college Now that these early industries are gone, North Buxton’s wealth is mainly in farmland that has multiplied in value, and in a brilliant history it wants the world to know