Cabin dedicated to General Brock’s reputed daughter opens at Heritage Village

 

Bill Baker, Lisa Wacheski, Richard Meloche, Tom Bain, Jeff Watson and Elise Harding-Davis cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the Esther Malawice Banks Log Cabin at the Canadian Transportation Museum and Heritage Village on May 24. The cabin once stood in Amherstburg.

Bill Baker, Lisa Wacheski, Richard Meloche, Tom Bain, Jeff Watson and Elise Harding-Davis cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the Esther Malawice Banks Log Cabin at the Canadian Transportation Museum and Heritage Village on May 24. The cabin once stood in Amherstburg.

By Adam D’Andrea

 

The Esther Malawice Banks Log Cabin was officially opened to the public at the Canadian Transportation Museum and Heritage Village in Essex last Saturday.

The cabin, which formerly stood in Amherstburg and was moved to the Heritage Village about eight years ago, is dedicated to the woman reputed to be the daughter of Major General Sir Isaac Brock and his cook Almania Malawice, who was a princess from Ghana, West Africa.

Whether or not Esther was Brock’s daughter has been part of folklore due to the fact that proper documentation either never existed or had been lost. However, historian and organizer Elise Harding-Davis said this is no longer the subject of myth and should be considered fact.

“Esther Malawice Banks is the daughter of Canada’s greatest hero from the War of 1812 and her mother, as African royalty, represented roots of all black people around the world and this is what this cabin represents,” said Harding-Davis. “Without positive black history, history is incomplete.”

Brock was never able to officially claim Esther as his daughter, as the War of 1812 began only a few weeks after her birth. She lived with her mother and stepfather in Amherstburg, moved to Michigan at nine years old, and later moved back to Amherstburg.

Harding-Davis said the opening of the cabin was easily one of the highest points of her career.

“I’ve travelled over the entire world. Africa, China, Greece, Caribbean Islands, England, Spain, you name it. And this is a pinnacle, this is a highlight,” said Harding-Davis. “This is what Canada is about, a multicultural nation that honours and respects all of its people.”

Dignitaries present at the grand opening included Windsor Ward 9 Coun. Hilary Payne, Essex Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche, Essex Ward 3 Coun. Bill Baker, Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain and Essex MP Jeff Watson, who said understanding history is critical to understanding our own identities.

“I’m a product of many things. I have descendants, I have context to my life, I have context to who I live with and interact with,” said Watson.

“That’s all history really is, and it’s important not to forget it. In order to know where you’re going you have to know where you’ve been.”

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