Nova Scotia Archives

African Nova Scotians

in the Age of Slavery and Abolition


"A black wood cutter at Shelburne, Nova Scotia"

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This watercolour sketch by Captain William Booth, Corps of Engineers, is the earliest known image of an African Nova Scotian. He was probably a resident of Birchtown.

According to Booth's description of Birchtown, fishing was the chief occupation for "these poor, but really spirited people." Those who could not get into the fishery worked as labourers, clearing land by the acre, cutting cordwood for fires, and hunting in season.

Date: 1788

Artist: W. Booth

Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives  National Archives of Canada C-040162 W.H. Coverdale Collection of Canadiana