Sunday, 1 May 2016

Toronto: Slavery, Ships and Regiments

While researching for information on Toronto in the 1840s for a fellow genealogist, I came across some unusual references to slavery that I didn't expect to find. The index reveals some additional real treasures, along with references to names of ships plying the waters around Toronto, and the presence of various military regiments.

It is a very interesting read of Toronto in the early days and gives an idea of the population, what was happening in the politics of the time, the commuting that took place and the hardships of living in the area. As noted in the 'Forward', most of the illustrations are taken from the Canadian Illustrated News.

Online at
Title: Toronto from Trading Post to Great City,  author: Edwin C. Guillet, published in 1934.
See the end of this article for a copy of the Table of Contents.

Chapter entitled 'Two Centuries of Progress' briefly states the crimes of three slaves:

Jan.16, 1801, Kitty, a slave of William Jarvis who was Chairman of the Court. Kitty was charged with assault but she pleaded not guilty and was ordered to return to her 'duty'. But she stated she would not return and was sentenced to prison. (If she returned, she would be whipped.) (p.17)

Jarvis presents a new case in 1811 when Thomas Ridout was Chairman of the Court, stating that two of his slaves, a negro boy and negro girl had stolen some gold from him with the support of 'Coakley', a free Negro. The decision was to send the negro boy to prison, the negro girl was returned to her master and Coackley discharged. (p.17)

The index also provides these names of ships working in the harbours and waterways of Toronto:

Sailing Ships: Christina, Echo, Eliza, Highland Chief, Mohawk, Omar Pasha, Onandaga

Steam Ships: Bowanville, Britannia, Citizen, Chief Justice Robinson, City of Toronto, Foundation Scarborough, Frontenac, Great Britain, Monarch, Niagara, Princess Royal, Queen, Southern Belle, Transit

Regiments: (also noted in the index are references to regiments)
Garrison Battery of Artillery, Governor General's Body Guard, Provincial Cavalry, Queen's Foresters, Queen's Rangers, Queen's Own Rifles, Royal Canadian Dragoons, Royal Canadian Rifles, Royal Engineers, Royal Grenadiers, 13th Hussars, 29th Regiment, 43rd Light Infantry, 66th Regiment, 71st Highland Light Infantry, 71st Regiment, 78th Highland Regiment, 79th Highland Regiment, 93rd Highland Regiment (also known as Sutherland Highlanders).

Table of Contents:
Two Centuries of Progress
The Harbour
The Island and the Ferry Service
The Don and its Early Bridges
Toll Roads (discusses the state of the roads and charges for various vehicles)
Streets and Sidewalks
Cart, Pleasure Waggon, Cab and Ominbus (this chapter is interesting for information regarding travel to the outlying communities)
Horse Railway and Trolley Car
The Old Town Pump - and its Successors
From Candle to Electric Light
Fire-Fighters of Old
The Police Force
Public Executions
Among the Merchants
Tradesmen and Manufacturers
Fairs and Exhibitions
Inns and Taverns
Old-time Elections
Schools of other Days
'The Mechanics' Institute
'A city of churches'
The 'Glorious Twelfth'
Memories of old St. Lawrence Hall
The Pageant of Social Life

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