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Birchtown go backgo upgo to next Annapolis Road

Other free black settlements were located at Tracadie, Guysborough County and Brindley Town. The Black Loyalists who came to Nova Scotia were promised they would receive the same treatment as the white Loyalists. This was not the case. Blacks were forced to settle in areas located outside of the main towns. They also had great difficulties in securing their land grants.

The settlement at Tracadie actually began in Port Mouton, Shelburne County. The settlers at Port Mouton came with the great migration in 1783. They named their settlement Guysborough in honour of Sir Guy Carleton. This settlement was home to 588 Black Loyalists; but a fire the following spring destroyed the town and everything was lost. The government moved the people to Chedabucto Bay, where they again named their new settlement Guysborough.

In 1786, two years later, the Black Loyalists at Guysborough were still awaiting their land grants. Their leader, a man by the name of Thomas Brownspriggs, organized a seventy-four signature petition which requested that they receive their land. He presented this petition to the government and in September of that year, the families were granted 3000 acres located in Tracadie, on the other side of the province and deep in the interior. This grant allowed each family to have a farm lot of forty acres. The land was poor and isolated, but ultimately, poor land was better than no land at all. Still, it seems that many of the grantees abandoned their farms, and by 1799,  2,720 of the 3000 acres that were granted was reallocated to a group of twenty-eight Acadians and Blacks.

Brindley Town was located near the main settlement at Digby. The Black Loyalists who were settled there had great difficulty receiving their land grants. They were relocated twice, once due to the fact that they had settled on land that had previously been set aside as church lands. They were also troubled when attempting to have their land surveyed. The government had ceased to continue paying the surveyor, and therefore it took much longer for him to bother surveying their plots. The settlers had to pay from their own pockets to have their land surveyed, and their pockets were nearly empty.

Large numbers of blacks settled in and around Halifax. Halifax was the largest market for labour in the province. It was the easiest place to find work and many blacks who had trouble in other areas of the province migrated there. A number of blacks were settled in Preston, an area to the northeast of Dartmouth. 50 families received 40 acre farm lots in 1785. The land was poor, but at least they were close enough to the Halifax markets to sell some of their produce. Share cropping was very common in Preston, as there was a large group of white landowners with grants too large for a single family to farm. Since uncleared land would be confiscated by the government, the easy thing to do was to hire poor blacks to work on it, then reclaim the land once your title was secure.

In Windsor and throughout the Annapolis Valley, there were communities where this type of arrangement was common.

Many blacks also settled in the Saint John River valley in what is now New Brunswick. There were several black communities around Saint John (then known as Parrtown) and Fredericton. Probably the largest was Loch Lomond, a community of about 200 blacks near Saint John.

There are still descendants of the original Black Loyalists living in the communities of Tracadie and Digby. The history of these two communities is a testament to how difficult land settlement was for blacks.

Birchtown go backgo upgo to next Annapolis Road
Map of Nova Scotia Showing Black Communities
Some of the area's Black Loyalist communities.

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Thomas Peters

Thomas Brownspriggs




Brindley Town


Surveying Brindley Town

Muster at Annapolis and Brindley Town