Parks Canada recognizes Chloe Cooley for her courage, determination in her 1793 forced transporation

Asha Bajaj
3 min readFeb 10, 2024
Chloe Cooley. Image credit: X/@Aburgfreedom

Ottawa/CMEDIA: Parks Canada has reportedly recognized the national historic significance of Chloe Cooley for her courage, and determination during her 1793 forced transportation.

To honor Chloe Cooley, the Government of Canada held a special plaque unveiling ceremony at Navy Hall in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

The commemoration was made by Chris Bittle, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for St. Catharines, on behalf of Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada.

An enslaved woman of African descent living in Queenston, Upper Canada, in March 1793, her enslaver Adam Vrooman arranged to sell Cooley to an American in upstate New York.

Following her resistance to forced transportation, Cooley was bound with rope to prevent her escape and gagged to silence her protest.

With the assistance of his brother Isaac Vrooman and a son of Loyalist McGregory Van Every, Adam Vrooman violently forced Cooley into a small boat and transported her across the Niagara River to the American shore.

In Spite of her continued resistance, Cooley was ultimately unable to escape, but nevertheless Peter Martin, a free man of African descent and a veteran of the American Revolutionary War, and William Grisley (Crisley), Vrooman’s white employee, were strongly impressed by Cooley’s resistance.

The two men later testified to her capture before Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe and two members of the Executive Council of Upper Canada.

Although Attorney General John White was instructed to prosecute Adam Vrooman, no charges were laid as he was acting within his legal rights in selling Cooley.

As a result, Simceo instructed the Attorney General to draft legislation imposing limits on enslavement in Upper Canada.

Cooley’s resistance led to legislative changes resulting in the 1793 Act to prevent further introduction of Slaves, and to limit the Term of Contracts for Servitude within this Province, leading to the extension of



Asha Bajaj

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