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Fidelia Coburn 

Fidelia Coburn

Female 1805 - Yes, date unknown

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  • Birth  1805  , Maine Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender  Female 
    Occupation  1844  Woolwich Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    school teacher 
    Eby ID Number  Waterloo-55355 
    Died  Yes, date unknown 
    Person ID  I55355  Generations
    Last Modified  29 Aug 2017 

  • Photos
    Fidelia Coburn early teacher Wellesley
    Fidelia Coburn early teacher Wellesley
    From The Queen's Bush Settlement Black Pioneers 1839-1865

  • Notes 
    • During these troubling times in February 1844, Fidelia Coburn, a thirty-nine-year-old woman from Maine and her escort travelled over the snow-covered roads leading northward to the Queen's Bush. A staunch abolitionist, she was on her way to the community to reopen the school for Black pupils. Born February 2, 1805, Coburn was the daughter of Eleazer and Mary Weston Coburn. Her father, a Baptist, was a highly respected businessman and justice of the peace in Bloomfield, Maine, a bustling town on the Kennebec River in Somerset County. ..., the notion of a woman travelling to a foreign country to teach fugitive slaves was a remarkable plan in an era when the accepted customs dictated that women restrict themselves to the home and the care of their families. Given these social norms, Coburn's decision to defy convention and move to Upper Canada demonstrates her wholehearted commitment to aiding fugitive slaves. In the ensuing years, Coburn repeatedly received praise for her devotion and her missionary work.'

      Coburn had actually arrived in Canada West in the spring of 1842 with an invitation from Hiram Wilson to teach at the British-American Institute, located on the Sydenham River near Chatham. Wilson had co-founded the school with fugitive slave Josiah Henson"' and James Cannines Fuller, a Quaker philanthropist in Skaneateles, New York. However, when Coburn arrived at the Institute she discovered that the schoolhouse had not yet been completed and that there were no lodging facilities available for the teachers. Wilson's small 4x5 metre (about 13x16 feet) log cabin was the only shelter and so Coburn moved in with Wilson, his wife Hannah,' and two teachers from Massachusetts, Wesleyan Methodist minister, Reverend Elias E. Kirkland and his wife, Elizabeth C., also known as Fanny. Coburn and the Kirklands made the best of the cramped quarters and slept on mounds of straw in a corner of the cabin. Undaunted, the teachers enthusiastically set to work to finish the school. On December 12, after months of preparations, the British-American Institute opened with nine young men enrolled as its first students....1a

      1aThe Queen's Bush Settlement Black Pioneers 1839-1865 by Linda Brown-Kubisch, pg 67-69

  • Event Map
    Event
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - school teacher - 1844 - Woolwich Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario Link to Google Earth
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