After the American Civil War,
several senior government officials and high-ranking officers of the
Confederate States of America, fearing prosecution as traitors, sought refuge
in Niagara from 1865 to 1869. William Kirby, a known Confederate
sympathizer, noted that the community was very welcoming and the Niagara Mail
reported that it was a “subject of pride to Canadians that they can offer the
hospitality…to so many worthy men who are proscribed and banished from their
homes for no crime”. However, many of the town's black residents might
not have felt the same way. Some of these residents had escaped slavery; others
may have fought against it or even assisted slaves escaping to Canada.
Living among the Confederates who championed slavery would not have been easy.