Robert Wilson (ship captain)

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Robert Wilson
black and white image of Robert Wilson with beard
Born 1806
Ireland
Died 1888
Occupation Ship Captain
Known for Helping escaped slaves to freedom

Robert Wilson (1806 – 1888)[1] was a Great Lakes ship captain operating out of Oakville, Ontario who helped black slaves escape to freedom as part of the Underground Railroad.[2]

Wilson was born in Ireland. His mother moved the family to Canada in 1817 after the death of her husband.[3]

Wilson was the master of the Lady Colborne, a schooner that shipped grain on the Great Lakes.[4] Slaves would be picked up from Ashtabula, Ohio and hidden in the hold with grain shipments.[5][6] Following the American Civil War, African Americans in the Oakville area celebrated Emancipation Day at George's Square in the town, and would also visit the home of Wilson.[6][7] The home at 279 Lawson St. was known as the "Mariner's Home" as it was open to ill and homeless sailors during the winter.[8]

The Captain R. Wilson Public School is named in his honour.[9][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Captain Robert Wilson, 1806-1888.". images.oakville.halinet.on.ca. Archived from the original on 2009-11-30. Retrieved 30 November 2009. 
  2. ^ Lerech, Deborah. "The Underground Railroad". oakvilletrails.ca. Town of Oakville. Archived from the original on 2009-11-30. Retrieved 30 November 2009. 
  3. ^ "Mariners' Home - 1862 (279 Lawson Street)". Oakville Historical Society. Archived from the original on 2009-11-30. Retrieved 30 November 2009. 
  4. ^ "History of Houses from Old Oakville". oakvillelra.ca. Oakville Lakeside Residents Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-11-30. Retrieved 30 November 2009. 
  5. ^ Winks, Robin W. (1997). The Blacks in Canada: a history. McGill-Queen's Press. p. 245. ISBN 978-0-7735-1632-8. Retrieved 2009-11-30. 
  6. ^ a b Vogt, Roy (1999). Whose Property?: The Deepening Conflict Between Private Property and Democracy in Canada. University of Toronto Press. p. 374. ISBN 978-0-8020-8186-5. Retrieved 2009-11-30. 
  7. ^ "Underground Railway to Oakville". ccah.ca. Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton. 2006-03-30. Archived from the original on 2009-11-30. Retrieved 30 November 2009. 
  8. ^ "Name for new school has foundation in Oakville's history". Oakville Beaver. Metroland Media Group. 2004-04-02. p. 7. Retrieved 30 November 2009. 
  9. ^ "About Captain R. Wilson". Halton District School Board. Archived from the original on 2009-11-30. Retrieved 30 November 2009. 
  10. ^ "What's In A Name?". Halton District School Board. Archived from the original on 2009-11-30. Retrieved 30 November 2009.