Mount Allison University

Project Synopsis

Ballan "Boyster" Halfkenny (1851-1927) and family, Dorchester, Westmorland, New Brunswick, circa 1900

In the nineteenth-century Westmorland County, in south-east New Brunswick, boasted a small but historically relevant community of black residents, the majority of whom were concentrated in Sackville and Westmorland parishes. By the early twentieth century a significant portion of this community had dispersed, and without a visible presence its existence was for the most part forgotten. Historically excluded from positions of power, black residents were treated in local histories—when they appeared at all—as anomalous, not as independent subjects worthy of study or comment, but rather as footnotes to the stories of white settlers.

This research attempts to: 1) draw attention to the resources available for tracing the lives and contributions of black residents of Westmorland; 2) illuminate aspects of black life in nineteenth-century Westmorland; and 3) demonstrate that an understanding of black life in the region enriches any understanding of Westmorland history more generally.

How to cite this page

Harris, Jennifer. Tracing the Black Presence in Nineteenth-Century Westmorland, New Brunswick. <> 2011. Date accessed.

Funded by CultureWorks
(SSHRC Aid to Small Universities)


Special thanks to Genie Coates, Elizabeth Cooke-Sumbu, Rhianna Edwards of the Mount Allison University Archives, Jessica Emin, Raylene Fairfax, Brenna Clarke Gray, Susan Hill, Michael Liddell, Andrew Nurse, Al Smith, Daniel Vogel, and the Tantramar Heritage Trust and its members.