Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
This local historic place is a small plot of land representing land grants issued by the Crown in 1787 to Black Loyalists. A part of an original 1150 acre grant to a group of free black petitioners, this place lies near the junction of Highway 177 and Highway 102.
The Black Loyalist Land Grants is designated a local historic place as its landscape represents a little-documented chapter of the history of Grand Bay-Westfield and the history of black settlers in the Province. It recognizes the trials, disappointments and harsh lives of this group of free Black Loyalists who arrived in Saint John about 1783 and made their way to settle in the Grand Bay-Westfield area.
This designation is also recognition of group petitions submitted in 1785 by black Loyalists from the Saint John area to receive land they had been promised. Richard Wheeler led one such petition representing over 50 blacks, including several he had met aboard the Clinton en route from New Jersey. While known locally as Richard Wheeler, his African name was Corankapone. He and 31 petitioners were eventually issued grants of 50 acres each in Westfield near Negro and Robin Hood Lakes. By 1790 most of the black settlers had relocated to Saint John and their grants were sold or reverted to the Crown to be redistributed to white settlers.
Further, there is heritage value of this local historic place in its association with the migration of black settlers from New Brunswick to Halifax and onwards to the new British colony of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Discouraged and in search of a better life, Wheeler and four companions walked from Westfield to Halifax in December 1791 to board a transport ship bound for Sierra Leone. Other black setters who attempted the journey from New Brunswick to Halifax perished along the way. More died at sea before reaching Africa, and those who arrived safely struggled to acquire land to support themselves and their families. Still others were recaptured and sold into the slave trade. Richard Wheeler, having spent eight years in New Brunswick, became a constable in Freetown, Sierra Leone and an important community leader.
Source: Grand Bay-Westfield Historic Place files: Black Loyalist Land Grants
- location in proximity to Negro Lake;
- association with Richard (Corankapone) Wheeler;
- association with the history of early black settlers in Grand Bay-Westfield.
Local Governments (NB)
Heritage Conservation Act
Local Historic Place (municipal)
1787/01/01 to 1787/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Undetermined (archaeological site)
- Buried Site
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Grand Bay-Westfield Historic Places files, Town Hall, 609 River Valley Dive, Grand Bay-Westfield, NB
Cross-Reference to Collection