It has stood at 83 Essex Street Guelph since its base stones were set in late June 1880. Its cornerstone was set on September 17 1880 as recorded in the Guelph Mercury and Advertiser. The contents of the cornerstone were described in that article, "Copy of the Holy Scriptures, Hymn Book of the BME Church, copy of the Missionary Messenger - the organ of the church; and copies of the Mercury and Herald." Presumably, the contents had already been placed inside a tin box, hermetically sealed and then painted over before being placed in a carved-out section of the cornerstone, then covered with sand and mortared under the stone above it. The Mercury report noted that the structure was already twelve feet high, with half the basement four feet in the ground and the other four feet above it. The base stones of the church could well be mortared directly onto the same ridge of limestone that extends across the road to where the ground drops behind the southside homes and into a remnant of the quarry from which many of the nearby stone houses had also come. The Guelph BME was, by the 1880's, one of the last stone structures erected in the neighbourhood. The quarry had been owned by the man who had been awarded the contract to raise the church, William Slater, listed in the 1881 city directory as a stone cutter.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Next Book Event: Ottawa Sunday February 21 2 pm

Sunday, February 22, 2015
2:00pm-4:00pm (Book signing 1:00-2:00pm)
St. Albans Anglican Church, 454 King Edward Avenue, corner King Edward and Daly Avenue
The 16th annual Reconciliation Day in Ottawa, presents Underground Railroad Refugees & their First Nations Guides.
 Keynote Speaker: Jerry Prager, author,  "Laying the Bed: The Native Origins of the Underground Railroad" and "Exodus and Arrivals: Fugitive Roads to Guelph and Beyond". Mr. Prager explores, - the role of First Nations people in guiding the Underground refugees up the Grand River. - The roots of the Idle No More and its struggles for treaty rights. - The story of North American Christianity’s finest hour, from the days when abolitionists were called terrorists by slave-owners; days when schism divided every church but one, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, precursor of the B.M.E., its Canadian offspring;  and gives credit where it is due; i.e., to Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists; and above all to the Hicksite Quakers, creators of the Underground Railroad”. FREE ADMISSION

Successful Guelph Launch

The room was filled.
Thank you Bill Barrett and staff for hosting, your regular customers for adjusting, Big John Leacock for the introduction and for helping me from the beginning of my research, Transition Guelph and Christoper Currie for the use of the PA, Handel Callender from CRFU for recording the event, and to all those who came out to listen, and to those who bought books. A special thanks to Denise Francis from the Guelph Black Heritage Society for her support from the beginning of this project. 

photo: Bill Barrett

Photo: John Leacock

Must be the jacket that makes my legs look so short.

photo: Scott Cameron
love being in front of the old map

cover for Laying the Bed

cover for Laying the Bed
designed by Brenan Pangborn