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Henry Lewis escaped from his owner in Newark (Niagara-on-the-Lake), Upper Canada by fleeing to Schenectady, New York. Sometime later he wrote to his ex-owner, William Jarvis, to request he be allowed to buy his own freedom from Jarvis.
Henry Lewis's letter of 1794 provides some indication of his motives:
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Unidentified man, [ca. 1875]
Alvin McCurdy fonds
Reference Code: F 2076-16-4-6
Archives of Ontario, I0024805
Hannah Jarvis incorrectly wrote about the Slave Act that Simcoe . . .
"has by a piece of chacanery freed all the negroes..."
Jarvis was the Provincial Secretary of Upper Canada, one of several in Simcoe's administration who owned slaves.
Slave owners advertised when slaves fled their service, either by offering a reward for return of the slave of warning others not to harbour or employ the recalcitrant slave.
The Reverend John Stuart from Kingston, an Anglican minister, seemed baffled that his slave fled on at least two occasions. The unnamed "negro boy" must have been desperate to get away, fleeing in such terrible weather that his hands and feet froze during the escape.
James Ford was once a slave in the American colonies who had purchased his freedom. Much later, Ford's daughter recalled:
Matthew Elliot, a Loyalist who came from Virginia during the American Revolution, probably had as many as sixty slaves living in the huts behind his home in Fort Malden (now Amherstburg).