The Fugitive Slave Chapel of London,
Ontario

As it appears today

From London Advertiser, May 8, 1926

Saving London’s Hi...
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The fugitive slave chapel of london

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The fugitive slave chapel of london

  1. 1. The Fugitive Slave Chapel of London, Ontario As it appears today From London Advertiser, May 8, 1926 Saving London’s Historical Landmark Built in 1848, the Fugitive Slave Chapel served as a place of worship from 1848 – 1869 In 1926 London’s Fugitive Slave Chapel was rediscovered. Since the British Methodist Episcopal Church Sold it in 1869 it had been used as a residence. The Congregation moved to new facilities on Grey Street at that time. May 8, 1926 the London Advertiser printed a lengthy article that stated that the old church was thought to have been torn down but had recently been rediscovered and was being used as a residence. They traced land records, that are still available today, to prove that this building was the old Chapel. A plaque was installed August 11, 1986. Above shows the unveiling ceremony. (These pictures of the 1986 Plaque unveiling are copyrighted by London Free Press Collection of Photographic Negatives, The University of Western Ontario Archives, Aug. 11, 1986. Thanks go to Barry Arnott & Theresa Regnier of the Western Archives. Used with permission, do not copy) David Jenkins shows us the revealed plaque during the 1986 unveiling ceremony. This Plaque disappeared from the Fugitive Slave Chapel in 2001. Attempts are still being made to recover it. Connection With History The Fugitive Slave Chapel ties in with the History of the Underground Railroad. This was a series of safe houses and conductors that would aid the fugitives by giving them food and rest on the long perilous journey from slavery in the South to freedom in Canada. Many would travel at night by foot until they reached the next “terminal” on the Underground Railroad, where they could eat and rest before they spent another night avoiding slave catchers, escaping blood hounds and facing whatever weather conditions prevailed and whatever wild animals lurked. They had to avoid public roads and often only had the stars to guide them northward. London was one of many destinies for the Underground Railroad. Slave catchers would come across the border in grab fugitive to take back to slavery, but London, being more distant from borders and lakes was regarded as a safer place away from this menace. Abolitionist John Brown is rumored to have been in the Chapel on Thames Street. The reporter who wrote 1926 London Advertiser article claims to have interviewed people who remember the meeting. Only those with a password were admitted and the object of the meeting was to recruit soldiers to be trained and join other trained soldiers to fight for the freedom of the slaves in the USA. How Can You Help? It will take the efforts of many to save the Fugitive Slave Chapel. Plans are in the works to bring the chapel home. 144 years ago the congregation moved to Grey Street. In 2013 their original building will follow them. Beth Emanuel BME Church owns a vacant lot next door to the present chapel. The old chapel will be moved there to again be used as a place of worship, a museum and a community center. Already a huge army of angels has arisen to take on this task, but there is room for more. Funds are needed to expedite the move, assist in renovations, and pay for ongoing operating expenses. You can read more and donate on line at www.fscpp.ca. You can also send a cheque made out to the “Fugitive Slave Chapel Preservation Project” to Beth Emanuel Church, 430 Grey Street, London, Ontario, N6B 1H3. There will also be opportunities to donate at fundraising and other community events. Look for us at farmers markets and various events in London, Ontario. Besides giving financially, volunteers can give a gift of time. There is a volunteer form on the web site or you can let any committee member know that you want to help out. Invite us to speak to your group. We have many competent speakers that can speak on various aspects of the Fugitive Slave Chapel. Pray for us. This may be the most important activity as we have already seen evidence of Divine intervention and we feel that this project is in God’s Hands. The Fugitive Slave Chapel Preservation Project Watch for a book about the Fugitive Slave Chapel to be released soon. Contact us: c/o Beth Emanuel Church 430 Grey St. London, Ontario N6B 1H3 On line at www.fscpp.ca. The Fugitive Slave Chapel of London, Ontario It’s History, Significance and Future Use.

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