February 22nd, 2021
Story by: Tim FitzGerald
Graeme Bachiu is a documentary film maker living in Canfield, ON . While there are many documentary films that cover history surrounding Ontario's larger urban areas, Graeme found that this can not be said of more rural. His career began with community channel TV (including coverage of a Rotary club event along the way), years at CHCH in Hamilton and then upon the reshaping of his industry as an independent film producer in Canfield, ON. You can sample his skills and passion at https://windeckerroadfilms.com/
In 1850 the United States passed the Fugitive Slave Act. Henceforth, both free northern Blacks and fugitive southern slaves no longer felt safe in the northern US states. Slavery in Upper Canada had been abolished by the Act Against Slavery, passed in 1793 - Black emigration to Upper Canada increased during the times of the "Underground Railroad" 1840-1860.
Elsewhere in Ontario there are documented histories of "Freedom Seeker" settlement. But nothing of the 10-15 families that settled in Canfield. Conditions in the United States improved immensely for Blacks in the United States with the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 which abolished slavery - some families returned to the US. Farming  Haldimand's hard clay with an ox and a plough was not an easy life - the settlers survived but no descendants remain today. In modern times, Graeme has scoured the local cemeteries for family trees and has been able to reach out to descendants in Hamilton, Brantford and the like for family history, letters and documents.
Bell TV will be broadcasting Graeme's six part documentary series about the Freedom Seekers in Canfield as early as April 2021 - watch for it!