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Niagara Baptist Church Burial Ground, The

The Niagara Baptist Church congregation was established in 1829. A meeting house was erected at this site in 1831 through the efforts of John Oakley, a white former British soldier turned teacher and minister. Initially, the church congregation mainly consisted of colonists, with a small number of Black members. The Black population of the Town of Niagara grew to about 100 due to the influx of freedom seekers after Britain passed the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act and the United States enacted the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. By the late 1840s, the church’s membership was predominantly Black and from 1849-56 was led by Black Baptist minister Francis Lacy. There are at least 15 burials in the churchyard, including Herbert Holmes and Jacob Green, who were killed in the Solomon Moseby Affair that took place at the Niagara jail in 1837. Holmes and Green were among Niagara community members who prevented Moseby from being returned to slavery in the United States. After the 1860s, the population declined, and the church closed in 1878. The burial ground is a reminder of the church and the significant Black community in Niagara.

Location

At the site of the former church and its burial ground, adjacent to 494 Mississauga Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake

Region: Niagara Falls and Region

County/District: Regional Municipality of Niagara

Municipality: Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake

Themes