“African Episcopal Church” Monumental Transcriptions Vol 1, Central North Simcoe County; Extracted., edited and indexed by Eldon D. Weber Toronto, Ontario: Ontario Genealogical Society, 1977.
History: As many as 40 “coloured” families were believed to have settled in the area, mainly along Line 1, known as Wilberforce Street. They arrived at two different times. The first group consisted of soldiers who received land grants for fighting against the Americans in the War of 1812. It is understood many of these men were ill prepared for pioneer farming in north Simcoe and eventually abandoned their land. The second group were freeman from the northern US.
In 1847, land was purchased from Noah Morris for a burial ground. A church was built in 1849. By the 1930’s, the building was badly neglected. In 1947, the church was renovated. The wooden grave markers were also deteriorating and a memorial was erected to commemorate some 24 of the families who worshiped and were buried here. The last burial was for James Dixon Thompson who died 18 Dec 1949. There is now no evidence of the original markers.
In 2003, the church and burial ground were designated as a national historic site. The church is open to the public on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in July and August. During the remainder of the year, visits may be made by appointment. For further information, please contact Sheila Kirkland firstname.lastname@example.org of the Oro-Medonte History Association.
Based on information from: The Oro African Church, Township of Oro-Medonte, 1999 and Oro-Medonte History Society.