It was common for soldiers to be offered land following their commitment to their country and many settlements began in this way. The Niagara Region (eg. St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Welland, and Fort Erie) with its close proximity to the American border was an important location to maintain control over; many significant military actions occurred in the area.
Richard Pierpoint was among the few Blacks who joined Butler’s Rangers, a military unit that fought like commandos rather than the formal way that most British soldiers fought. The home base for Butler’s Rangers was Fort Niagara. When they were disbanded in 1783, they tried to establish themselves through farming nearby, making them among the first Black settlers in the region.
Other Blacks, learning about the 1784 laws passed by Simcoe in the Niagara Region banning the importation of slaves, would be drawn to live here “under the lion's paw,” or with British protection of their freedom.
Slavery and Freedom in Niagara
Interesting details about former Black Americans who settled in the Niagara Region and Blacks who served in the military. From the Lundy's Lane Historical Museum.
St. Catharines British Methodist Episcopal Church
About the Underground Railroad and the St. Catharines British Methodist Episcopal Church. From Parks Canada.