Ontario's Historical Plaques
Learn a little Ontario history as told through its plaques
First Baptist Church, Puce
Photo by Alan L Brown - Posted September, 2004
Photo from Google Street View ©2011 Google - Posted January, 2011
Coordinates: N 42 16.302 W 82 47.146
The origins of First Baptist Church go back to the 1840s, when black settlers from the United States began to form a farming community in this area. Their numbers increased during the 1850s when the Refugee Home Society purchased lands along the Puce River to sell to freedom-seekers from the American South. Religion played an important role in community life. At first Baptists and Methodists worshipped in the same building, but by the early 1860s they had their own churches. This church built in 1964, replaced a frame church that had served the Baptist congregation since 1871. It stands today as a symbol of the cultural and spiritual continuity of the black community at Puce.
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Posted November 15, 2011
In reply to the previous note, you'll be heartened to know there is a federal plaque to Mary and Henry Bibb in Windsor, recognition of their status as persons of national historic significance. They are also mentioned on another provincial plaque to the Puce River Black Community, around the corner from this one. See each one's page on this website. The Underground Railroad and early Black settlement have been identified as historically under-represented themes by both the Ontario Heritage Trust and the national Historic Sites and Monuments Board, which have attempted to make amends in recent years through the designation of sites, events and people, and the unveiling of several plaques. -Wayne
Posted November 12, 2011
Thanks for this. Credit should be given to Henry and Mary Bibb for having the vision to buy the land that became the Refugee Home Society, and so enabled African American freedom seekers a place to call home, having fled from slavery and racial discrimination in the U.S. The Bibbs have not been given enough credit for the work they have done to build Ontario and the Black communities. Even this plaque does not mention their name. But it is a start. Hopefully, one day the folks at the Ontario heritage Trust and the other bodies responsible for plaques will add the names of Henry and Mary Bibb to the plaque.By not naming people we erase them for history, and others step forth and take the credit. It is wonderful however that the plaque is unveiled because it shows that Blacks in Ontario/Canada have a long history in this place and have made mighty contributions to society. Now if we could only get these recognitions and achievements to become part of the schools' curriculum, then Black people would no longer be invisible in Canadian school texts.
Posted December 10, 2009
Beautiful church with the sweet spirit of Jesus inside its doors.
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