I am going to take a bit of a turn in my narrative of the history of the Black Loyalists. Yesterday afternoon I took a walk on one of the wilderness trails at Delap's Cove. This Bayshore community is located about 15 minutes from Annapolis Royal. This wonderful nature trail descends through a forest to the shore of the Bay of Fundy where you can see across to New Brunswick on a clear day. On the return loop, the trail passes a waterfall which can be quite striking during the Spring. One of the most interesting parts of this trail could easily be missed by many hikers. In fact, at the start of the trail is located one of this region's most important and most unknown cultural landscapes.
As you walk the trail, this spot could easily be bypassed as simply another random collection of moss covered rocks. If you look closely, you can see that there is indeed some order to the rocks. These are the remains of a house in the Black Loyalist community of Delap's Cove.
At the end of the American Revolution, both free and enslaved blacks came to Nova Scotia. This was a relatively secluded community which arose from the fact that Black Loyalists were often granted the worst tracts of land. The people who lived here could have easy access to the amenities of Digby or Annapolis Royal by water but this is not prime agricultural land. The north side of the North Mountain is rocky and harsh. The rocks which made this foundation would have first been removed from any land under cultivation. Additional rocks can be found in the stone fence rows which line the trails.
The foundation is quite small. If I were to guess I would say that the building was about 10 feet square (about 3 meters square). It would be big enough for a fireplace, a table, a few chairs and space to sleep. The larger the family grew the more space would be needed for sleeping. Among the families who once lived in this community were the Simms, Skanks, Pomp (Stephenson), Currie, Johnson and Brothers. One of the later families to arrive is the Marsman family who previously lived in the Halifax area. While one house still stands, there are currently no people living in this part of Delap's Cove.
Once you know who lived here, this is a very moving landscape. These people once lived in slavery. They are the descendants of Africans who were crammed into ships and brought to the New World. Some may have even made this voyage themselves. On receiving their freedom, these people were given very poor land in an inaccessible part of the province. These stones are a testament to their struggle against racism, politics and the elements. Their humble memorial is a moss covered foundation.
All for now,