Browse By Migrations Geography Timeline Source Materials Education Materials Search
Canada, the Promised Land
< Up NorthCanada, the Promised LandThe Civil War >
First ImagePrevious ImageImage GalleryNext ImageLast Image
view larger imageview larger image request a copy request a copy

Grey County Archives, Canada

James Henson

James Henson was born Charley Chance, a slave, in Baltimore. As a young man, he escaped and changed his name to James Brown and later took the surname of his brother, William Henson. He married Kate Truitt, a free black woman, and they had three children. In 1850, he moved to Toronto, Canada, with his family. He found it difficult to find work and following the death of a daughter, Kate moved to Lockport, New York. Eventually James found himself alone in Canada. He had heard from a black man named Chauncey Simmons that the Queen was giving fifty acres of land to every man in a place called Artemesia in Grey County, Canada West. Henson and Simmons rushed there only to learn that the last lot had been given away weeks earlier. Henson stayed on and worked as a laborer in Owen Sound until he was in his late eighties. In the 1880s, someone saw a copy of his photograph and realized that his story matched up with that of a family in New Jersey. In 1888 Henson received a letter from his niece, Julia Truitt, which gave him news of what had happened to the family from whom he had parted thirty-six years previously.

Show indexing information
First ImagePrevious ImageImage GalleryNext ImageLast Image
Home About Glossary The New York Public Library
Privacy Policy | Rules & Regulations | Using the Internet | Website Terms & Conditions

© The New York Public Library, 2005.