Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Labors of Jurden, Negro Servant

A year ago I learned my 8th Great Grandfather, Myndert Frederickse (son of Frederick Van Iveren), owned a slave named Hercules.

My research at the time uncovered the possibility of another, more recent, slave owner in the Van Every family tree, however the status of the individual (slave/servant) was uncertain, so I decided to wait and see if I could uncover any additional information.   Unfortunately, I have been unable to clarify the confusion, but I figured the month of February, and African American History Month had returned, and I would post what I know.

McGregory Van Every, my 5th great grandfather, and the great grandson of Myndert Frederickse, was a United Empire Loyalist, and fled the US after the Revolution, settling in Niagara with his sons.
In 1784, a map was published showing his farm to be in Township I [Niagara Township, Lincoln County] Lots 10 and 37 on the [Niagara] River where he had cleared eight acres and harvested corn with the help of his slave or negro servant, Jurden."(54) McGregory Van Every was age 61 in 1784.
(54.) Niagara Historical Society. Volume 27; and Ottawa Archives State Papers, No. 25.
Source: Warner Cemetery, An Important Piece of Canada's Heritage Worth Preserving, The Loyalist Gazette, Robert Collins McBride, Spring 2000.

Jurden is also mentioned in Mary Blackadar Piersol's, The Records of the Van Every Family, with the same ambiguous definition, and without any additional information.  The original sources don't appear to be online, but obviously they are a bit unclear on Jurden's status.

Our history books tell us that the Canadian territory was a safe-haven for slaves- but while slaves who managed to cross the border may have been guaranteed their freedom upon arrival, apparently slavery wasn't abolished there completely until 1834.
Black slaves lived in the British regions of Canada in the 17th and 18th centuries — 104 were listed in a 1767 census of Nova Scotia, but their numbers were small until the United Empire Loyalist influx after 1783. As white Loyalists fled the new American Republic, they took with them about 2000 black slaves: 1200 to the Maritimes (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island), 300 to Lower Canada (Quebec), and 500 to Upper Canada (Ontario). The Imperial Act of 1790 assured prospective immigrants that their slaves would remain their property. As under French rule, Loyalist slaves were held in small numbers and were employed as domestic servants, farm hands, and skilled artisans. [source.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know of one line of my family where slaves were held. A 4th great grandfather John Smith was murdered by one of the enslaved men in 1812. [Can't say I blame the slave.]

Many records exist due to the murder trial and also John Smith's widow's attempt for years to get a Revolutionary War widow's pension.