DeMONT: Scholar shares ads displaying #slavery as part of #NovaScotia’s grim past | The Chronicle Herald

For one thing, the number didn’t include any residents of Shelburne, where most of the loyalist slaveholders settled with their slaves. Or the black loyalists who had supposedly been granted their freedom, but lived in de facto slavery in the surrounding areas. Nelson’s research is less about statistics and more about the woeful lives behind each of those numbers. In the Nova Scotia Archives in Halifax she’s learned, for example, that butchers, tailors and merchants, not just men of wealth, owned slaves in Nova Scotia. But some of our most prominent citizens were also slave-owners. At least that is what she surmised after reading a diary entry from Malachy Salter, the merchant, privateer ship owner and office-holder who, when his wife was away in Boston, casually asked her to bring a “negro boy or girl” back to Nova Scotia. Most of her insights, though have come from combing the advertisements in Canadian newspapers about slaves who escaped from their owners. “Sadly, for scholars, this is one of the biggest repositories of information about slave populations,” she told me. “But it comes from the hands and the mouths of those who enslaved them.” There are limitations to the information found in these unbearably grim documents. More men escaped then women, who would not leave their children.

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