VF 11 Negro Burial Ground, Niagara on the Lake





The Negro Burial Ground was once the site of the Niagara Baptist Church, formed in 1830. Some bodies in this predominantly African-Canadian congregation rest in the church's graveyard, including Susan Oakley, daughter of the Church's founder Rev. John Oakley. It is also the resting place of George D. Wesley Jr. and his father. Six other bodies lay in the ground here, but their identity is unknown.

Masters (1978) provided anecdotal information about which other residents of the community are buried here, and Canada Genweb (undated) also lists Harriet Wesley as amongst those interred.


A plaque is located onsite. It reads:

Negro Burial Ground 1830

Here stood a Baptist church erected in 1830 through the exertions of a former British soldier, John Oakley, who was white, became pastor of a predominantly Negro congregation. In 1793, Upper Canada had passed an act forbidding further introduction of slaves and freeing the children of those in the colony at twenty-five. This was the first legislation of its kind in the British Empire. A long tradition of tolerance attracted refugee slaves to Niagara, many of whom lie buried here.

Further Information

Canada Genweb.Negro Burial Ground. Undated. Canada GenWeb's Free Cemetery Project for Canadians since 2004. http://geneofun.on.ca/cems//ONLIN12534

Masters, Joseph E. 1978. Niagara Reminiscences - Town of Niagara on the Lake: The Masters Papers - 1978 (digitized 2016 by Steven Baxter from the Maggie Parnall (1997) edition, Vol.1 & Vol. 2.. http://www.niagarahistorical.museum/media/DRAFT-TheMastersPapers.pdf

Thomas, Owen A. (1995). Niagara's Freedom Trail: a guide to African-American History on the Niagara Peninsula. Canada: The Region Niagara Tourist Council.

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