A story - like the one I wrote about the Acadians - that has not really been told as it could. Most of us in NS and NB assumed the large black population came up in the underground railroad.
No idea - it was never taught us - that thousands of black people came as free (wo)men with British as loyalists.
Including the family of my friend Myles Martin and Alma his sister (and Mom's eternal friends Mildred and Lil).
Myles was about the most popular guy in school - and was Valedictorian, although he wasn't the best of students. Sadly, he died young.
Myles' ancestors came up with the Loyalist soldiers...
"Sennacherib Martyn was a captain in Winslow's expedition to capture Fort Beausejour. He brought with him to Westmoreland Point, as slaves, a negro family, to whom he afterwards gave their freedom, and gave them also his name (now spelled Martin)."
(From THE CHIGNECTO ISTHMUS AND ITS FIRST SETTLERS BY HOWARD TRUEMAN 1902)
Recently, the Mount Allison Archives received the donation of a handwritten book documenting early and mid-twentieth century black life in Westmorland County, and recording details of the families who lived in the black neighbourhood of Green Hill, at Mount Whatley. The book was a gift of Clyde Gabriel of Amherst, a grandson of its keeper, Burton Martin (1877-1948), whose regional ties in turn can be traced to eighteenth century Westmorland. Mr. Gabriel’s donation presents a rare opportunity to consider what life was like for early black residents in this area.
Burton Martin was a direct descendent of Peter Martin (circa 1790 - 1851). In all probability, Peter was connected to the Martins mentioned in Howard Trueman’s The Chignecto Isthmus and Its First Settlers (1902). As Trueman wrote, “Sennacherib Martyn was a captain in Winslow's expedition to capture Fort Beausejour. He brought with him to Westmoreland Point, as slaves, a negro family, to whom he afterwards gave their freedom, and gave them also his name (now spelled Martin).” By his own account, Peter was born in the United States, almost a decade after Sennacherib’s death (circa 1782), arriving in British North America in 1798. Thus, it would seem he was either informally adopted by those the captain held as slaves, or acquired the last name by proximity.