Before 1998, each town had their own fire department.It then became the Chatham-Kent Fire Department upon amalgamation.Mostly rural, its population centres are Chatham, Wallaceburg, Tilbury, Blenheim, Ridgetown, Wheatley and Dresden.

In the War of 1812, the Battle of the Thames took place between Moraviantown and Thamesville on October 5, 1813.

During the 19th century, the area was part of the Underground Railroad.

As a result, Chatham-Kent is now part of the African-Canadian Heritage Tour.

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.

The road between London and Amherstburg was open, and transportation by stagecoach was available.

A fast boat also provided transportation to Detroit and Buffalo.

Nearby Dresden and Buxton were also home to thousands of land-owning black residents.

However, after the abolition of slavery in the United States, many black families left the area.

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

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 1846, the town of Chatham had a population of about 1500, with part of it called Chatham North.