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Ontario Genealogy - Black Research
Fugitive Slave NarrativesBenjamin Drew wrote about the blacks in Canada 1856 in his 1856 book "A NorthSide View of Slavery. The Refugee: or the Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada. Related by themselves, with an account of the history and condition of the colored population of Upper Canada "
"The colored population of Upper Canada, was estimated in the First Report of the Anti-Slavery Society of Canada, in 1852, at thirty thousand. Of this large number, nearly all the adults, and many of the children, have been fugitive slaves from the United States"
Some Narratives from the book:
THE ELGIN SETTLEMENT, or, as it is more commonly called, KING'S SETTLEMENT, is in Buxton, in the township of Raleigh, county of Kent. The colored population of Buxton numbers eight hundred. Nearly all the adults have, at some time, been slaves, but many resided in the free States before entering Canada.The settlement at Buxton, was first projected by the Rev. Wm. King in 1849. Mr. King was formerly a slaveholder in Louisiana; but not being "to the manner born," he manumitted his own slaves, about fourteen in number, (for whom he had been offered nine thousand dollars,) and brought them with him to Canada, where he settled them on farms or on lands recently purchased of the government.
R. Van BrankenI was born and brought up in New York State. I have suffered in the States somewhat on account of my color: in travelling, not being allowed the same privileges as others, when they took my money: not having cabin fare like others, when I paid cabin passage. If my work was that of an hostler or cook, or any thing of that sort, I did not think that my place was the parlor; but when clean and well dressed, in occupations not offensive, then I think I am as good as anybody, and deserve as good treatment.I have four acres and a half of land here, and a fifty-acre wood-lot on the fourteenth concession, and can make a good living here.
Among some people here, there is as much prejudice as in the States, but they cannot carry it out as they do in the States: the law makes the difference. I am acquainted with many of the colored families here, and they are doing well. We have good schools here.
The separate schools and churches work badly for the colored people in the States and in Canada. In Rochester, N. Y., it injured them very much, although the separate school was petitioned for by a portion of the colored people themselves. In Cleveland, Ohio, they have separate churches, but no separate school. In Chatham, the separate school was by request of themselves. I never was in favor of such a thing.