Ward Chipman and the Abolition of Slavery

Ward Chipman

Ward Chipman and the Abolition of Slavery

Ward Chipman was a distinguished lawyer, public servant, and politician who played a crucial role in the history of New Brunswick. He was born on July 30, 1754, in Marblehead, Massachusetts, to a prominent family. 

Chipman graduated from Harvard College in 1770 and supported the Loyalist forces during the American Revolution. In 1783, he moved to New Brunswick, where he helped organize the agitation that led to the establishment of the province in 1784. He then went on to become the colony’s solicitor general, clerk of the Crown, and crown prosecutor for most criminal cases for over 25 years.

Ward Chipman was a member of the Legislative Assembly from 1785 to 1795 and was appointed to the council in 1806. He became a judge of the Supreme Court in 1809, a position he held until his death.

Chipman was also a skilled negotiator and served as the British agent to two commissions established to determine the boundary with Maine. He successfully defended New Brunswick’s claim to much of the disputed territory.

Ward Chipman’s contributions to the abolition of slavery in New Brunswick are noteworthy. In 1800, he defended a black slave, leading to the gradual elimination of legal slavery in the province.

Ward Chipman Gravestone
Ward Chipman Gravestone, Fernhill Cemetery Saint John

Ward Chipman was a highly respected figure in New Brunswick’s history and played a vital role in the province’s establishment. His law office was renowned for being a Mecca for students, and his arguments in legal cases set precedents that still influence the province’s laws and governance. He died on February 9, 1824, in Fredericton leaving a lasting legacy as one of the province’s most influential founding fathers. 

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