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On March 14, 1793, Chloe Cooley, an enslaved Black woman was violently bound with a rope and placed in a boat to transport her across the Niagara River to sell in New York. Her enslaver Adam Vrooman enlisted the assistance of his brother Isaac and two other men to restrain her. Chloe resisted and her screams alerted Peter Martin, a Black Loyalist, who was nearby. Peter along with witness William Grisley, a white labourer for Vrooman, reported the incident to members of the Executive Council of the Parliament of Upper Canada, which included Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe. Simcoe and Attorney General John White used the Chloe Cooley incident to introduce legislation to abolish slavery in Upper Canada.

Black and white drawing with a brown border
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Drawing of Adam Vrooman and son, 1810, Object ID: 970.819.1
© Niagara on the Lake Museum

Photograph of a plaque in Niagara
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This plaque, located on Niagara Parkway in Niagara-on-the-Lake, marks the spot where Chloe Cooley was forced across the river to be sold.
© Ontario Heritage Trust

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