Remembering Black Loyalists, Black Communities in Nova Scotia
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Margaret and Stephen Blucke

argaret and Stephen Blucke, Birchtown, are intriguing individuals. Margaret was born in New York, where most of her family were free and well-off. She bought her own freedom at age 14, and then the freedom of a younger girl, Isabella Gibbons. A letter written by Margaret indicates that she was well educated and religious. At age 40, in 1783, Margaret left New York on L'Abondance with her 31-year-old husband Stephen, born free in Barbados, and the 20-year-old Isabella.

Stephen Blucke took over the command of a much-feared military unit in New Jersey after the previous commander, Colonel Tye (a runaway slave), died from wounds in 1780. In September 1784, Blucke was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the Black Militia in Shelburne District by Governor Parr of Nova Scotia. He also became the local schoolmaster.

Margaret left him and returned to New York by 1789. Stephen had a daughter, Frances, with Isabella Gibbons, who stayed behind. An archaeological dig at what may have been his "spacious house" has revealed a superior level of furnishings. If these things did in fact belong to Stephen Blucke, they suggest that he liked the good life. His fortune probably dwindled when most of his students left Nova Scotia to relocate in Sierra Leone. One night he just disappeared. Some believed he was killed by wild animals because they found his torn clothes on Pell Road. But his end remains a mystery.

Related: Excavation at Acker site
Related: Detective Activity