History of blacks
Arthur and Bill had halted the team in the yard and they were discussing with Dad the people of the past who had lived in our area. I was quite surprised to hear Arthur tell about the Loyalist Judge Upham bringing slaves with him when he came to live in the valley.
Although this conversation took place in the 1940s, my first thought when I had access to the CD on the Book of Negroes, was to see if I could find information on the slaves, who accompanied him.
The Sir Guy Carleton Branch of the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada in Ottawa created a selected index to the names of loyalists and associated people found in the British Headquarters Papers that comprise about 30,000 manuscipt pages and placed them on a CD.
This index is invaluable for Black History because it contains many names of individuals, previously scattered throughout the documents: loyalist soldiers, and freed or enslaved civilian refugees. The index also includes the so-called "Book of Negroes" which is a register of refugees of colour giving references to 2,372 people many of whom went to Nova Scotia which includes the present day New Brunswick. There is extensive information about them such as their names, sex, health, distinguishing marks, status (free or slave), origins, names of their white associates, and the ships used to carry them.
I was disappointed not to find mention of Judge Upham but I did find lots of information on other folk.
Samuel Wiggins was listed as the Possessor of Cornelius McEntire aged 28, Lissey McEntire aged 24 and little six-year-old Bill who sailed on the ship, ‘The Brothers’, with their destination being the St. John River.
Twenty-year-old Moses Thompson was from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was on board the ‘Sally’ headed for Saint John with his possessor Justice Sherwood.
On board the ‘Symetry’ was sixteen-year-old York Oliphant from Charleston, South Carolina with Saint John as the destination.
Flora Nema of Barbados Neck, New Jersey was forty-eight when she made the trip to the St. John River on the ‘William”. Her possessor being William Wright.
The Rev. John Beardsley was listed as the possessor of twenty-four year old Peter Beardsley who was on the ‘Commerce’.
Some others with a destination listed as the St. John River were: Richard Fowler (25), Luke Spencer (25), Cornelius Moss (30) of Woodbridge, New Jersey and Harry Myers (21).
Among those headed for Saint John were: Babarry Allen (22), Betsy
Brothers (32), Ishmael Colley (23) of Connecticut, Ned Hustus
(22) of South Carolina, Rosania Mott (25), Hector Munro
(23), Simson McGuire (23), Abraham Ness (30), Lucy Ness
(29), Peter Parker (40), Grace Walker (50), Catharine (66)
and Daniel Barber (70)
The book, “The Black Loyalists: The Search For A Promised Land In Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone 1783-1870" by James W. St. G. Walker is most interesting and can be found in the Reference Department at the Saint John Free Public Library and probably in other research institutions.
|Ralph Thomas would like to hear from anyone who would be willing
to share information on Black Families of New Brunswick, whether it be pictures,
family information, historical events, mentions that were made in Church
Records, Civil Registers, Newspapers or Burial Records. He is most anxious
to gather as much information as possible on New Brunswick's Black people.
Ruby is a genealogy buff. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at email@example.com. When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.