Interestingly, this all appeared in the American abolitionist press, in a Boston Liberator article of February 23, 18 33, washing the dirty laundry of the African Canadian community in public.
Surprisingly, in a couple of years, the question of whether Brown had committed fraud would be moot. By 1840, almost every Black settler at Colbornesburg had left Woolwich Township. Only four of the original seven Black households were still in the settlement in 1833, although two new ones were added to the list of the assessment rolls for the township. Morris Jackson and his family of four and Lewis Crague (sic) were now living at Colbomesburg, along with Lewis Howard, Paola Brown, John Johnson, and John Brown. Between 1832- 33, Paola Brown had also apparently taken a bride, for he is shown on the tax assessment roll as having a female aged sixteen or older living in his household. The 1851 census recorded that Catherine Brown was fifteen years his junior, and hailed from the United Kingdom.25 By 1837, only John Brown, Lewis Craig, and Lewis Howard of the original inhabitants were left, and the latter two were recorded as having no land either cultivated or uncultivated. Another Black settler, John Jackson, was also on the list with no land.26 In 1840, only John Jackson and Jonathan Butler were still living in Woolwich Township.
Neither of whom had been in the original settlement. Moreover, Butler was located west of the Grand River, clearly not on Colbornesburg land. Colbornesburg was no longer.27
Of the original settlers who dispersed to other areas, one family was Joseph or Josephus and Lucinda Brown Mallet and their children. They relocated to Bloomingdale, near the village of Waterloo. Several families moved and joined the scattered settlements throughout the Queen’s Bush Settlement, about eighteen miles north of Waterloo. This included Lewis Howard and his family and Daniel Banks.28 Solomon Connaway and his family moved to Hamilton and settled on the Mountain.29 As for Paola Brown, he also moved to Hamilton, where he became a leader and very visible member of the Black community there. It is unclear why the Colbornesburg Settlement that began with such promises disbanded so quickly. For one thing, no record of any land deals exist for Crooks Tract involving the families. Perhaps, as with the case of the Queen’s Bush, the families squatted on land hoping to establish productive farms that would enable them to eventually purchase their lots. Paola Brown hinted at the transient nature of the settlement in his above-mentioned circular in 1832. Referring to the other Black settlement of Wilberforce, he noted: “Though our two settlements are at present separate, I believe there is a great likelihood, from my having lately met with Mr. Nathan (sic) Lewis, the Agent for Wilberforce Settlement, of both being united, which will form a bond of harmony and strength, that cannot fail to be of benefit to both …”30.