Disputes between Blacks and Whites – Wm. King, 23 of 28

Clearing the land.
Clearing the land.

A white settler ordered a coloured settler off the land they both believed they owned.

The disagreement happened because only the front ½ of the 200 acre lots had been registered by the white owner with the government. The back 100 acres of unsettled land had been sold to Rev. King as part of block he owned. King wrote, “In my absence in Toronto on business, a coloured man had settled on one of the rear lots and began to chop on it and put up a log cabin. He had several of his neighbours helping him; the owner of the front lot, John Rowe came upon him and ordered him off the lot, the coloured man, Mr. Harris showed him the location ticket as his authority for entering on the lot; Mr. Rowe told him that he had bought the lot, and if Harris would not go off he would drive him off by force…In a few days I returned from Toronto and when Informed by my agent what had happened I called Mr. Harris and Mr. Rowe before me and heard their story.”(86)

It turned out that Mr. Rowe had not obtained a deed. Rev. King continued, “ I informed him that he had been cutting some valuable timber on Mr. Harris’s lot.” As it was still there he advised Rowe to take the timber off the lot but to cut no more, nor give Mr. Harris any more trouble. “The first case of dispute between the whites and the blacks was settled amicably.” (87)

The morning that the school opened in the settlement ten coloured children and two white children appeared. King also opened a night school for adults and took charge of it himself. Again, whites attended with coloureds. Over the years more and more white children from the district joined the classes until the common school was closed. King writes, “The whites and blacks mingled freely in the playground and sat together in the school room and stood up in the same class and found that the young coloured children were equal to the whites in learning. Some of the coloured children often stood at the head of the class and came in for a full share of the prizes on the day of examinations. The prejudice which had existed at first against both me and the coloured people was now dying away and the last vestige of it disappeared in the third year after I settled in Raleigh.” (89)

Quotes from Autobiography of Rev. William King, National Library and Archives of Canada.

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