Oro County’s Black Militia
Cpt Runchey’s Men of Colour

The Oro Black Settlement is an historic ‘social experiment’ whereby Black militiamen who fought in the War of 1812, were granted farm land in Oro along one road, creating a “black farming community” — as of 1819 this must have been a world first.

This Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church  Cemetery, a national historic site, represents  the sacred ground of unknown graves of  veteran Black militiamen of the War of 1812.  Some buried here were likely veterans granted  land for their military service in Oro’s  Wilberforce Settlement.

Veterans and other Black settlers were  buried in unmarked graves here and elsewhere  throughout Ontario, such as in small  cemeteries now lost to time. Often such burials  of would take place on their own homestead, or  on road sides locations now known only to  their Maker.

All Canadians are indebted to those  veterans and other Black pioneers who  struggled in this area for survival, without roads or government assistance, to carve out of the wilderness a harsh and challenging life. It was, however, a life of freedom and racial equality at a time when global Black slavery was still considered “legal and necessary.”

As of 1819, the Oro Black Settlement represented freedom, land ownership and full citizenship a milestone in racial equality.

Rest in peace, with honour, and our gratitude.

[Graveside Team ed — Note that the Date of Death does not represent any actual date but was included because it is a required field for the database.]

Veteran Summary

Oro County Black Militia
Unknown, Captain Runchey's Men of Colour
Place of Birth
, York, Upper Canada
Place of Death
Oro Black Settlement, Oro County, CAN
Died on: 01 JAN 1814
Reason: Unknown
Location of Grave
Oro African Church, 3rd Line & Barrie Road
Oro-Medonte, ON, CAN
Latitude: 44.534336N Longitude: -79.669093