Plaqued Houses and Buildings
457 Maple Grove Drive - James Wesley Hill and Adeline Shipley Hill
James Wesley Hill was an escaped slave and a "Conductor" on the Underground Railway.
Property Details:
James Wesley Hill was an escaped slave who crossed the Potomac River into Pennsylvania and then across the border in a packing box. He sent his first earnings back to his former owner as payment on his purchase price.

Hill first stayed with his friend Warren Wallace in Bronte. He became employed in Oakville by John Alton around 1850 to remove stumps and clear underbrush from a cleared wood lot. Hill rented a house from Alton and later rented the 100-acre Samuel Harris farm on Ninth Line. He built a house, which still stands today, at 457 Maple Grove Dr. His strawberry farm helped to make Oakville the one time strawberry industry capital of Canada.

Hill made several trips to Maryland, leading an estimated 700-800 African Americans back to Oakville along the Underground Railroad. Hill's reputation as a "Conductor" led to a price being put on his head. In the United States he was wanted "dead or alive".

Hill married Adeline Shipley in Maryland in 1859. His children Ruth and Frank remained in Oakville throughout their lives, and neither married.

Today, Hill's memory continues to be honoured in Montgomery County, Maryland, where he was known as "Canada Jim".

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457 Maple Grove Drive457 Maple Grove Drive
457 Maple Grove Drive Plaque457 Maple Grove Drive Plaque
457 Maple Grove Drive Detail457 Maple Grove Drive Detail
457 Maple Grove Drive - circa 1989457 Maple Grove Drive - circa 1989
Ohs06523 457 Maple Grove Circa 1930sOhs06523 457 Maple Grove Circa 1930s
James Wesley HillJames Wesley Hill
Newspaper article, 1993Newspaper article, 1993
Receipt to John Oakley from James Hill - 1855Receipt to John Oakley from James Hill - 1855