Lucie (?-1895) and Thornton Blackburn (1812-1890)
Thornton and Lucie Blackburn were escaped slaves from Kentucky who were captured and jailed in Detroit in 1833. Lucie escaped when she covertly changed places and dress with one of her visitors. She was later smuggled into Canada. After that, Thornton was heavily guarded, and shackled. On the day that he was scheduled to be transferred, the city of Detroit rioted. 400 men of all races stormed the jail and snuck Thornton out and across the Detroit River into Windsor. Thornton and Lucie were reunited in Toronto, where they founded the first Taxi company in the city. The company was called “The City” and the colours of their cabs (which were pulled by horse) were yellow and red. These cabs became so synonymous with transportation, that when the TTC opened they chose the same colour scheme. Lucie and Thornton Blackburn became pillars of the community, contributing funds to build Little Trinity Church, and often helped escaped slaves settle in Toronto. Thornton returned to the US to smuggle his mother out of slavery.