Jarm Logue (later Jarmian Logue) grew into one of the boldest leaders of the Abolition Movement in the 1850s, but he remembered his first days of freedom in Canada as a time of poverty, hunger, loneliness and despair. “There I stood," he wrote later, “a boy of twenty-one years of age…with the assurance that I was at the end of my journey – knowing nobody, and nobody knowing me…” He wasn’t alone in his anxiety.

Many refugees arrived in Canada with literally nothing but the clothes they stood up in. Most couldn’t read or write. Some had trades, but virtually none had experience in finding work or working for wages. For many, Canada’s Black churches gave them what they most needed – food, clothing, shelter and friendship.

Two of the most important Black churches stood on the banks of the Detroit River. Sandwich Baptist Church (built in 1851), worked with a sister congregation in Detroit to move refugees across the river to what is now the community of Windsor. The Nazrey Methodist Church in nearby Amherstburg (1848) was the first Black Methodist congregation to break its ties with its parent church in the United States. Salem Chapel (1855) was the focus of Harriet Tubman’s work in Canada.

The little log-built church at Oro – the poorest of them all – is part of a different story. Here, a group of Black Loyalists settled just south of Georgian Bay after the American Revolution. The poor little log-built Oro Church (1849) speaks of the hardships those refugees faced in trying to farm in a harsh, inhospitable land.


NAZREY METHODIST CHURCH. NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE OF CANADA. DESIGNATED 1999. PLAQUE: AMHERSTBURG, ONTARIO

ORO AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE OF CANADA. DESIGNATED 2000. PLAQUE: EDGAR, ONTARIO

SALEM CHAPEL BRITISH METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE OF CANADA. DESIGNATED 2000. PLAQUE: ST. CATHARINES, ONTARIO

SANDWICH FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH. NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE OF CANADA. DESIGNATED 2000. PLAQUE: WINDSOR, ONTARIO

Janet Uren (WordImage Inc.)
Maggie Fawcett, Claire Brodie, Parks Canada Agency, Multiculturalism Branch / Department of Canadian Heritage

Ontario, CANADA
© 2008, Virtual Museum of Canada. All Rights Reserved.

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