John D. Moore

176 Wellington Street, Adjacent to First Church of the Nazarene


John D. Moore moved to London and settled near the intersection of Grey and Wellington Streets and worked as salesman in 1856. Based on his story, it is likely that Mr. Moore was a free man and moved to Canada to avoid racist treatment in the Northern states.

His story comes from Benjamin Drew’s 1856 book, The Refugee: Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada.


I lived in Pennsylvania and New Jersey some twenty years. I suffered a great deal there solely on account of my color. Many a time, when I had been travelling, and would come to a tavern tired and hungry, I would be told, “We have no accommodations for men of your color,” and I would have to go on. Perhaps I might get a luncheon at a private house,–or at some place kept by a foreigner, who needed the colored man’s money.

I have suffered a great many other ways on account of my color. Several times I wanted to go into business there, but was dissuaded by my white friends, who said I would be mobbed or burned out. I was discouraged in so many ways, that I came to Canada, to see if I could find a place where a colored man could have some privilege. I find it the reverse here from what it was in the States. There is a prejudice here among the low class of people, but they have not got the power to carry it out here that they have in the States. The law here is stronger than the mob–it is not so there. If a man insults me here, he is glad to get out of the way for fear of the law; it was not so in the States where I lived. A ruffian there may insult or throw stones at a colored man, and he must get out of the way–I found no law on my side.

I can’t complain–I am doing well here, and I am satisfied with Canada. I have lived here eighteen months.