Interviewee: Jennifer Dow
Interviewer: Melynda Jarratt
Location: Upper Queensbury, NB
Courtesy of Melynda Jarratt, Fredericton Region Museum, 2019.
Black Loyalist Solomon Kendall settled in New Brunswick in 1783. His direct descendant, Jennifer Dow tells his story.
Standing in front of a very old barn door, with a rusted horseshoe behind her left shoulder.
[Jennifer Dow (JD)] Hi, I’m Jennifer Dow and right now we’re in Lower Queensbury, New Brunswick, at the Kendall homestead, which is the original property of the Black Loyalist Solomon Kendall, who is my ancestor. I can date this property back to 1825 for sure, that it’s been in the family, but we have reason to believe that the original Solomon Kendall obtained the land earlier than that.
[Melynda Jarratt (MJ)] Can you tell me a little bit about who Solomon Kendall was and why he’s so interesting in terms of Black Loyalist history?
[JD] Solomon Kendall is interesting because he served with the Guides and Pioneers, which was a British Regiment, so he was most likely a slave prior to working for them. I found evidence of him on many of the muster rolls from the time; he was even taken prisoner in South Carolina at one point in time. He would have come in 1783 with the Guides and Pioneers. He doesn’t appear in The Book of Negroes at all, but there is documentation that he came with them, in 1785. I found a document listing all the Guides and Pioneers, who they came with, their family, and where they settled. Solomon is listed as coming with a wife and a child under 10 at the time. According to some deeds that I found, I found that his wife’s name was Priscilla, which we actually see in future generations; children that had the first name Priscilla, named after her, I’m assuming. So Solomon also appears on a couple of other court documents that I had found, where in some he was the defendant and some he was the plaintiff, and those are dated the early 1800s.
[MJ] What did Solomon Kendall do once he came to New Brunswick and sort of became established here?
[JD] He farmed, so he ended up on this land and actually farmed it; but what else he did is he made this kind of a safe haven for any of the Blacks in the area that didn’t have anywhere to go, or couldn’t raise their children, because it was quite often that people would have to move from farm to farm, or go different places to find work, and they were unable to raise their children, so this became the place where many different children from many different families ended up and were actually raised here.
[MJ] And can you tell me a little bit about Solomon Kendall’s descendants and what happened to them and some of their names?
[JD] So some of Solomon’s descendants, there was actually three generations named Solomon Kendall. my line comes from the second generation of Solomon Kendall. His son William Kendall is actually buried on this property, at the gravesite. He married a woman by the name of Mary Jane Heughan, and they were also well known for taking in other people’s children. Basically if anyone needed anything, they didn’t have a lot, but they would do whatever they could. If someone showed up, they’d always invite them in and offer them food. From then, my great-grandmother’s name was Maud Kendall, and she actually married into another Black Loyalist family, William Marr, who was a descendant of Eneas Lupee, who was also a Black Loyalist who came here in 1783. Now, William and Maud actually had three children: there was their daughter Thelma, who married into the Nashs, which is another well-known family in Fredericton; their son [was] Hewlett Marr and their [other] son [was] John Marr. John Marr was my grandfather. John served in World War II, and at that time the story is that he had to actually send back all of his pay to the farm, because they risked losing the farm at the time. So basically everything that he made came back here. Hewlett Marr was actually a blacksmith in the area. He apprenticed under Vic Kelly, who was a well-known blacksmith. He actually went to work at King’s Landing when they first started building King’s Landing. Now, I’ve talked to people at King’s Landing, and Hewlett was known as being one of the best blacksmiths they ever had. Any of the intricate iron work that you see there would be made by him and is supposed to be initialed by him also. He did that for many many years. Actually this horseshoe would be one that Hewlett made because he had a blacksmith shop also here on the property. He would [also] travel around to shoe horses, to different farms and things like that. Hewlett was the last descendant to live on this property, passing away in 1999. In some time in 2000 they burnt down the old house, and since then the land has been vacant. So I’m just trying to make sure it’s not forgotten.
[MJ] What would you like to do what’s your dreams about this property?
[JD] To share the story. I would like to mark the graves, so that [in] future generations nothing will ever happen, so people will know who this property belonged to, who is buried here, and kind of what their story is. It’s just about sharing the story so it’s not forgotten to history.
[MJ] Well you’re doing a very good job I’d say, and the best of luck to you Jennifer. Thank you.