James Waters and Humphrey Waters Jr.
Humphrey Sr. and his wife Ann had two sons, James and Humphrey Jr. James was born around 1773, while Humphrey Jr. was born sometime between 1776 and 1780. James married Clarissa Sorrell on 17 December 1811. Humphrey Jr. and Catherine Servos married prior to 1809 when their first child John was born.
An 1843 affidavit for the couple noted that they had been living as husband and wife for 35 years. Both couples are identified in the records of St. Mark as “of colour.” Based on her family lineage, Catherine Servos was white, therefore only Humphrey Jr., who was biracial, had direct African ancestry to pass on to their children. James was biracial, and his wife Clarissa Sorrell is likely the woman baptized by Rev. Addison in 1802, whom he identified as “a negro girl”.
James and Humphrey Waters served with the Coloured Corps during the War of 1812, along with approximately 55 Black men, including Richard Pierpoint. James was appointed Sergeant in the Coloured Corps, while Humphrey Jr. served as a Corporal.
When the Americans attacked Fort George in May of 1813, they took the Town of Niagara and burned it to the ground before retreating in December of that year. During the American occupation, the Town and the surrounding farmland was mostly inhabited by women and children, and men too old to fight. Humphrey Waters’ wife, Catharine, and their three children found themselves destitute when their farm was looted by American soldiers looking for food and clothing. They were driven from their home and had to receive charitable funds and food from Reverend Addison of St. Mark’s Church.
In the spring of 1814, both Catharine and Clarissa gave birth to sons.
Pregnancy and childbirth during wartime would not have been easy. James and Clarissa’s son was baptized by Reverend Addison on 26 June, 1814. Sadly, the child did not live long, and he was buried in November that same year. Humphrey and Catharine’s four sons (Joseph, Daniel, John, William) were baptized by Reverend Addison on September 6 of that year.
In 1816, Humphrey Waters Jr. filed a war compensation claim for property and crops lost during the war. As of June 1823, he still had not received compensation for these losses. Both he and his brother James struggled to rebuild their lives, but eventually their families were able to rebuild their houses and farms.
Humphrey Jr. received a land grant in Oro Township, Simcoe County, which he leased to others. James spent years trying to claim patents for land in the Kingston area which had been owned by their late father. James died around 1840. His brother Humphrey simply disappeared from historical records. There is the possibility that Humphrey Jr. may have been captured and sold into slavery, either while on a visit to New York, or from the Niagara region, where there is evidence that slave catchers were operating even north of the border.