A overview of Black settlement in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Chloe Cooley & the Act to Limit Slavery
In 1793, Chloe Cooley, a slave in Queenston, was forcibly restrained and transported across the Niagara River to be sold by her owner William Vrooman. Peter Martin, a free black man, a former Butler’s Ranger, and a leader in the black community, appeared in front of the legislature to inform  Simcoe of the violence against Chloe. Simcoe became determined to enact legislation that would ban slavery in Upper Canada. Many of the Executive Council members were slave owners, Simcoe was only able to pass a bill that would slowly phase out slavery.  This Act was made into law on July 9, 1793.  The Act did not free existing slaves but it allowed for the gradual abolition of slavery and set the stage for the beginnings of the Underground Railroad. 
Niagara's Black Community  
Niagara is one of the few towns in Ontario that has had black residents since the beginning of the province. However, after the War of 1812, Niagara saw an increase in black immigrants and runaway slaves. The Underground Railroad Movement became increasingly active in 1850 as freedom-seekers found their way into Niagara.
The 'Coloured Village'
 In town, black residents began acquiring property near one another, which was nicknamed the ‘coloured village’. The new residents also joined local church congregations, and Niagara, Queenston, Virgil and St. Davids each saw their Baptist membership grow. Many found work on farms or were labourers, and some became prosperous. Louis Ross owned a barbershop, Daniel Waters owned and operated a livery stable, and his brother, John, was a landlord. In the 1870s, John ran for and was elected as Niagara's first black town councillor; he was re-elected 3 times.  By the late-1800s, the black population moved to larger areas like St. Catharines, but several residents remained in Niagara. Even though the population was small, the Black community influenced the social and political life of the town. 
Many residents found work on farms or were labourers, and some managed to become prosperous. Louis Ross owned a barbershop, Daniel Waters owned and operated a livery stable, and his brother, John, was a landlord. In the 1870s, John ran for and was elected as Niagara's first black town councillor of an all-white ward; he was re-elected 3 times.   
Solomon Moseby
Before the American Civil War, thousands of people enslaved in the United States escaped to find freedom in Canada. Regrettably, not all those who sought freedom were granted it. In 1837, a slave owner from Kentucky came to Niagara demanding the arrest of his slave, Solomon Moseby, for the crime of horse-theft. Moseby was imprisoned in the Niagara jail, where he was to stay until transportation could be arranged back to America.
African Canadians knew that Solomon would be enslaved once again. In order to prevent extradition, residents, both black and white, signed petitions protesting his return. In the days following, more than 200 supporters from communities across the Niagara region gathered in protest at the jail. On the day Solomon was to be taken back to America, a riot occurred. In the commotion, Moseby escaped. Two people were killed during the riot, and are believed to have been buried here, at the "Negro Burial Ground". To this day Solomon Moseby's case has influenced Canada’s extradition and refugee policies. 

This shutter is from the William Stewart Home which was constructed by a former slave who lived in the ‘coloured village’.

The sugar bowl and tea pot are believed to have been brought to Niagara by escaped slaves. Those who escaped brought only small possessions that they could carry.

The last descendant of a slave in Niagara was Winnifred Wesley, who attended Niagara Public School, ca. 1900

Niagara Historical Society & Museum
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