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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
St. Catharines in Niagara Region, Ontario — Central Canada
 

BME Church

National Historic Site

 
 
BME Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, June 11, 2012
1. BME Church Marker
Inscription. [Text on left side of marker]:

The Salem Chapel, British Methodist Episcopal Church was the first Black church in St. Catharines. Originally known as the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the name was changed to reflect their loyalty to the British Empire. In 1793, the "Upper Canada Act Against Slavery" was passed, allowing Blacks aged 25 years and older freedom from slavery in Canada. This created a safe haven for African American runaway slaves and made Canada the destination for many who fled. As a result, hundreds of escaped slaves settled in St. Catharines and created a vibrant Black community.

The original church was a small log building that held about 70 members and was built on the land behind today's church. The freedom seekers who settled in St. Catharines constructed this church, dedicated in 1855, to replace the smaller one. Some of the original pews that they built are still in use on the balcony level. The BME Salem Chapel is also significant for its ties to Harriet Tubman, nicknamed "Black Moses". This brave freedom fighter was instrumental in freeing hundreds of slaves using the Underground Railroad system. Harriet Tubman called St. Catharines and the BME Church home for almost a decade. In 2000, this church became the first National Historic Site in St. Catharines.

[Text on
BME Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, June 11, 2012
2. BME Church Marker
View of the BME Church with a distant view of the historical marker situated at the foremost front corner of the church.
right side of marker]:


1855

The BME Church is known for
its ties to Harriet Tubman,
a brave freedom-fighter
who freed hundreds of
slaves using the
Underground Railroad.

 
Erected by Ontario and the City of St. Catharines.
 
Location. 43° 9.908′ N, 79° 14.406′ W. Marker is in St. Catharines, Ontario, in Niagara Region. Marker is at the intersection of Geneva Street and North Street, on the right when traveling north on Geneva Street. Click for map. This historic marker is located on the northeast side of the intersection, near the front southwest corner of the church. Marker is at or near this postal address: 92 Geneva Street, St. Catharines, Ontario L2R 4K9, Canada.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Harriet Tubman (a few steps from this marker); Salem Chapel, British Methodist Episcopal Church (a few steps from this marker); Harriet Ross Tubman c. 1820-1913 (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Harriet Tubman (a few steps from this marker); St. Catharines (approx. 0.4 kilometers away); St. Paul Street United Church
BME Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, June 11, 2012
3. BME Church Marker
View, looking north along Geneva Street, of the historical marker in the foreground, with a view of the southern set of front steps, near the historical marker, that go to the front entrance of the church.
(approx. half a kilometer away); The First Welland Canal 1824-1833 (approx. 0.6 kilometers away); Private Alexander Watson (approx. 0.8 kilometers away). Click for a list of all markers in St. Catharines.
 
Also see . . .
1. British Methodist Episcopal Church. This is a link to information provided by Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (Submitted on June 17, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 

2. British Methodist Episcopal Church, Salem Chapel. This is a link to information provided by The Corporation of the City of St. Catharines' website. (Submitted on June 17, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 

3. Salem Chapel BME Church Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad NHS Canada. This is a link to information provided by The Salem Chapel, BME Church's website. (Submitted on June 17, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 

4. Harriet Tubman. This is a link to information provided by Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (Submitted on June 17, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 

5. Harriet Tubman timeline. This is a link to information provided by The Circle Association. (Submitted on June 17, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 
 
Categories. Abolition & Underground RRAfrican AmericansChurches, Etc.
 
BME Church image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, June 11, 2012
4. BME Church
View of a marker affixed to the front wall of the church that indicates that this church is part of the St. Catharines Heritage Corridor.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. This page has been viewed 502 times since then and 12 times this year. Last updated on , by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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