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Mimi Balard

Hiding slaves
THE ALLARDS BOOK SIX: THE MEDALLION, covers the period 1833-1859, a very interesting time in the history of Detroit. The predominate thread is the abolition question and the underground railroad with its work smuggling runaway slaves across the border into Canada. As a boy I heard my Grandmother’s family tell stories of slaves hidden in barns, but my interest became acute during a special exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum. Reading a collection of documents of the time, I happened upon a list of French-Canadian women, active in the movement. Scrolling down the list name hit me like lightning, Madame Balard (not to confuse with Allard). Elizabeth Balard was my Grandfather’s great-great grandmother. Born Elizabeth Thomas to a English man married to a French-Canadian Detroiter, she is “Mimi” Balard in the book and one of the most outrageous and loveable characters of the story.  Read More 
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