AfriGeneas Canada Research Forum
Re: OGS Land Books Project
In Response To: Re: OGS Land Books Project ()
Geez, Louise, did I find a TON of stuff that MAY or may NOT be helpful to you.
The first thing I did was to go through the Upper Canada Land Books Indexes (vols 3 and 4) and found multiple listings for the slave owners you listed. I think it would be best for me to just photocopy those pages and snail mail them to you. Perhaps those original records may shed some light on your ancestors.
The next thing I did was to go through "Amherstburg 1796-1996: The New Town on the Garrison Grounds," book 1, which mentions not only my ancestor (William Lee), but many of the other early black residents of the area. These books (2 vols) were compiled by the Amherstburg Bicentennial Book Committee and are no longer in print. I originally found this book at the FHC in SLC, but last Summer, I was lucky enough to find a copy of the set at the Fort Malden gift shop. This book is a real treasure in that it gives the history of each lot of land in the area (for the most part) and provides EXCELLENT sources that I've used for further research (particularly at the Burton Historical Collection at the Detroit Public Library). HAVE YOU SEEN THIS BOOK? I went through the index looking for your more unusual given names (Hannah, Scipio, and Candis) but only found several Hannah's listed, one (your ancestor), as I'd mentioned before, who was given as a slave to William Lee by Henry Bird, in payment for William's having cleared Bird's land. This is the ONLY reference I've ever seen of a black person owning a slave in Canada.
There is much in this book that may interest you, nonetheless, and I'm more than happy to photocopy the dozens of pages (along with the endnotes and index), if you like.
From there, I consulted "The Windsor Border Region," by Ernest J. Lajeunesse (published by Univ of Toronto Press), a French Professor, who takes a detailed look at the area from the 1600s through 1798 or so. His index, however, leaves a lot to be desired, but one thing this book is good for is the documents (letters, court docs, charts, lists, censuses). He's translated old French and Latin docs into English and has included the entire docs in the book.
These documents mention, for example, when Henry Bird first came to the area (Autumn of 1778) and from where (Niagara) ... facts helpful to me; as well as in a letter from Capt. Hector McLean to James Green (dtd 9/14/1797) in which McLean discusses the holdings of Matthew Elliott ... "He possesses an extensive farm not far from the garrison stock'd with about six or seven hundred head of cattle & I am told employs fifty or sixty persons constantly about his house & farm chiefly slaves. If the question should be asked, 'How these people are fed and cloathed & how his wealth has been accumulated,' I shall undertake to give a positive answer, but the general opinion of people better acquainted with these matters is well known..."
Sound like something you could use in your research?
Lemme know, dear Art. Email me directly with your home address and I'll put this stuff in the mail this week...
Much love and lemme know if there's anything else I can do. Sorry there's not more specific info about the slaves, but perhaps the local newspaper at the time (The Amherstburg Echo) might be of help if you can find an archive (they're still in business after all those years ... amazing.
: The plot thickens:)
: The Licking River was an important avenue for the early exploration
: Your Capt. Henry Bird led the expedition into Martin's Station