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Elizabeth Russell’s diary describes the “insolent”, “pilfering”, and “lying” behaviour of the Russells’ slaves – Peggy and her children. Peter Russell’s letters and newspaper ads reveal the extent of his efforts to get rid of them.
The difficult behaviour may have been a deliberate ploy. Slaves sometimes used this kind of dissembling as a strategy to get their own way – historians of slavery call this behaviour "slave resistance."
Peter Russell, the Receiver General of Upper Canada, and his sister Elizabeth were the owners of Peggy and her children.
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Unidentified women, [ca. 1875]
Alvin D. McCurdy fonds,
Reference Code: F 2076-16-4-7
Archives of Ontario, I0028819
Most slaves were sold or passed down in families until the abolition legislation came into force. In his will, Colonel John Butler left to his grandson, granddaughter, and son respectively: