Last Stop: Refugee Slaves Friend Society Constitution

This page is part of the Last Stop: In Their Own Words exhibition on display at the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre, 2022.

Founded in 1852, the Refugee Slaves’ Friend Society was one organization that brought the community together to gather support for refugees and rally the anti-slavery message across the world. Founded by the Reverend Hiram Wilson, known to be the station master in St. Catharines, the group took their work seriously and helped to organize financial support, employment opportunities, shelter, food, clothing, education, and healthcare for refugees arriving in St. Catharines. Community members like William Hamilton Merritt, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines and Mayor Elias Smith Adams were members. Jermain Loguen, station master at Syracuse, was made a member and benefited from assistance organized by the society. Harriet Tubman was also made an honourary member during her stay in the city. 

In this way, refugees were not completely on their own when they arrived and were supported by these organizations until they could establish themselves.  

Read the constitution and founding resolution of the society below:

St. Catharines Journal, April 1852.

St. Catharines Journal, April 1852.