Church

Church
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.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Research into the Great Dismal Swamp communities


The Great Dismal Swamp is the probable place that the Groat family of Burlington, The Six Nations, the Mississauga of the New Credit, Guelph, and the Queen's Bush settlement established their original connections to the Tuscarora, Great read.

Wherever Africans were enslaved in the world, there were runaways who escaped permanently and lived in free independent settlements. These people and their descendants are known as “maroons.” The term probably comes from the Spanish cimarrón, meaning feral livestock, fugitive slave or something wild and defiant.
Marronage, the process of extricating oneself from slavery, took place all over Latin America and the Caribbean, in the slave islands of the Indian Ocean, in Angola and other parts of Africa. But until recently, the idea that maroons also existed in North America has been rejected by most historians.
“In 2004, when I started talking about large, permanent maroon settlements in the Great Dismal Swamp, most scholars thought I was nuts,” says Sayers. “They thought in terms of runaways, who might hide in the woods or swamps for a while until they got caught, or who might make it to freedom on the Underground Railroad, with the help of Quakers and abolitionists.”
By downplaying American marronage, and valorizing white involvement in the Underground Railroad, historians have shown a racial bias, in Sayers’ opinion, a reluctance to acknowledge the strength of black resistance and initiative. They’ve also revealed the shortcomings of their methods: “Historians are limited to source documents. When it comes to maroons, there isn’t that much on paper. But that doesn’t mean their story should be ignored or overlooked. As archaeologists, we can read it in the ground.”
Not sure I'd call it racial bias to focus on people who escaped into Canada, but this is certainly a much needed area of research.

2 comments:

  1. The Groat family of Burlington (Wellington Square), of whom I am descended, filed a 1794 petition with John Graves Simcoe for land. At that time Michael Grote identified himself as a free negro. H purchased land in that are in 1807. He and his children stayed in the Burlington/Stoney Creek area. My gggrandfather William was born in 1820 in Stoney Creek. I do not know how he came to be situated in Guelph and as of yet, do not know that he was the son or possibly the grandson of Michael. The timing does not seem plausible for the Great Dismal Swamp connection.

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  2. Michael Groat could have defined himself as a free negro simply by having entered Upper Canada in 1794 with the Davis/Ghents with whom he was always associated in Saltfleet where William of Guelph was born, and then in Nelson township (Burlington.) George Washington turned America into a slave prison in 1793 when he passed the first Fugitive slave Act, while that same year Simcoe banned the importation of slaves. The Groats arrived in Upper Canada with the Davis Ghents from North Carolina in 1794, which is why Michael would have been free, even if he had been a slave, and the Davis Ghents are known to have had slaves in America. M. Groat bought the land off of Joseph Brant's family in 1807 (the year Brant died.) Groat moved to Guelph in his 20s two years before his own father's death in 1842. The Groats on the Six Nations Reserve were Tuscarora. Margaret, the wife of an older William Groat, was known to have been a Tuscarora from North Carolina. The Tuscarora left the Great Dismal Swamp after the French Indian wars and arrived in what became Upper New York State (Seneca Land, because the Seneca adopted them.) The Groats in Tuscarora village/township in Brant County were from the Lewistown Reserve.) Michael Groat applied to the British government for war reparations after the WAR Of 1812 because Six Nations warriors had been encamped on Groat land (and on Brant land) Catherine Brant also applied for reparations, and Brant's son John named Michael and Henry Groat as her witnesses. 1814 was the year that William and Margaret's son Abram Groat was born A birth in the aftermath of the Battle of Stoney Creek that could easily have arisen from the large numbers of Haudeonsaunee who hung out with Brant after he left the Six Nations territories and created his home at the head of the Lake. The connections are all detailed in my book Laying the Bed. The connection is more than plausible. If this is Sharon Hewlitt you should already know all this because you have the book, so I don't know what you would write the above.

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cover for Laying the Bed

cover for Laying the Bed
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