All information here is attributed to A Stolen Life: searching for Richard Pierpoint, David Meyler and Peter Meyler, Natural Heritage Books, Toronto, 1999. I thought it useful to make a timeline. The copy I used is in the St. Catharines Public Library and this book, now published by Dundurn, can be purchased here.
This book is wonderful for many reasons. I found the description of life in the time of Johnson and Brant fascinating in its description of the social and military interaction between Haudenosaunee, British, and Africans.
I recognize that the timeline uses the language, “reward” and “grants” of land in Niagara and Haldimand. The Haldimand Treaty of 1784 was a result of the “loss” of the American Colonies including Mohawk Valley, and compensation/re-settlement by the British to Haudensaunee supporters to the Haldimand Tract. This tract consisted of 950,000 acres and today the Six Nations Reserve is 48,000 acres. [source: sixnations.ca] Please visit the Traditional Territory page under the Explore tab and its links.
Native of Bondu in West Africa (present day Senegal), possibly Fulbe ethnicity, sold as a slave in America to a British officer, possibly first lived in Connecticut (where there was a prominent Pierpoint family, slaves often given the name of owners), age 16. Probably sold again soon after; time of French-Indian War (fall of New France) and Seven Year’s War of which it was a part.
Historical traces of a Richard Pierpoint/Lincoln, who may or may not have been our Pierpoint, escaped while fighting for the Loyalists at Rhode Island
Listed as one of Butler’s Rangers at Fort Niagara, likely married, likely a run-away slave
January 18, 1791
Richard Parepoint, a pioneer of the Butler’s Rangers, was granted a land board certificate for lots 13 and 14 on the sixth concession in Grantham Township (misspellings not uncommon). This is the land that led to the naming of the waterway on it, Dick’s Creek. – see Earliest Map of Grantham
June 29, 1794
19 African men from the Niagara region, soldiers who served the British in the American Revolution, including Richard Pierpoint, petition Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe for grant of a settlement area together, separate from whites. Denied.
November 11, 1806
Pierpoint’s Lot 13 passes to Robert Hamilton, head of the land office, Lot 12 traded to Garret Schram for 100 acres, part of lots 7 and 8, second concession, Township of Louth
That land lost for reason unknown, nothing known about Pierpoint.
Petitions General Brock to form an all-African military unit. This petition is presumed denied, however, such a unit was formed.
Captain Robert Runchey (white man considered dubious by his contemporaries), made commander of Captain Runchey’s Company of Coloured Men
September 1, 1812
Joins militia for War of 1812 (age 68), served in the rank of Private of Captain Runchey’s Company of Coloured Men; average of 27-30 free black residents of Niagara served through the War of 1812, close connections with Lincoln militia and veterans of Butler’s Rangers
Known to be well-travelled, role of ‘griot’ (oral historian)
Coloured Corps recognized with rewards of 100 acre land grant along Grand River, age 76
July 21, 1821
Pierpoint visits Adjunct General’s office in Fort York with petition to return to Bondou as reward for military service in American Revolutionary War and “late American War”. Denied.
July 30, 1822
Captain Dick (Pierpoint)’s lot located Garafraxa Township (age 78), assisted by Deaf Moses (hearing lost in War of 1812), many black settlers
until 1837 or 1838
Pierpoint played major community roles in black communities of Garafraxa and Niagara, he likely wintered in Niagara
late 1837 or early 1838
Died (age 94), no living family, place of death unknown but unlikely it was in Niagara
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