A Brief History of Windsor, Nova Scotia
6B. Thomas Chandler Haliburton – Haliburton Chronology
“Facts are stranger than fiction” – Thomas Chandler Haliburton
Thomas Chandler Haliburton was a great Windsorian. During Windsor’s annual “Sam Slick Days” celebration each August, it has often been suggested that we should be celebrating “Haliburton Days”. Haliburton was a very significant Canadian, and certainly the most important citizen that Windsor has ever had. Sam Slick, on the other hand, is Haliburton’s most famous character.
Through his constant efforts he made life continually better for his home town (of Windsor) and (colony of Nova Scotia) province. The following chronology is prepared in an effort to help us know him better for his wonderful self and great works.
Thomas Chandler Haliburton – A Chronology
1796 – Born at home Dec.17, on Water Street, Windsor, N.S. – Site: Presently occupied by AVR Studio.
– Father: Hon. William Haliburton, a Nova Scotia Tory Judge and M.L.A. – Mother: Lucy, who died when Tom was one year of age. Devoted step-mother Susanna raised Tom.
1810 – Known as “Tom”, an only child, he graduated from King’s Collegiate Preparatory School at age 14, and continued his education at King’s College. Windsor’s population was then 1500 and it was known as “the most aristocratic society outside of England”.
1815 – Acquired B.A. at age 18, King’s College, Windsor.
1816 – Married Louisa Neville – of a family of eleven, three sons and five daughters survived (Three sons died at infancy).
1819 – Finished Studies at King’s College, Windsor, age 23.
1820 – Articled with father, then – Admitted to the Bar – Practiced Law in Windsor briefly, and then in Annapolis until 1830.
1823 – Wrote A General Description of Nova Scotia – a handbook of history of Nova Scotia for immigrants – prelude to 1829 Historical Account of N.S.
1826 – Became Tory M.L.A. of N.S. for Annapolis – was noted for oratory and wit.- MLA for three years.
1826 – One of his successes as M.L.A. was to remove “The Test Oath”, following which Catholics could hold public office in N.S.
1829 – Wrote An Historical and Statistical Account of Nova Scotia, the first history of Nova Scotia at age 33
1829 – Appointed judge and returned to Windsor to live
1830-1856 – Haliburton was involved in the quarrying and exporting of gypsum from Windsor and Newport Landing by ship to New England.
Note: 1850-1890 – Windsor was Canada’s third largest sea port (2nd to Montreal and St. John).
1830 – 56 – Was a landlord who owned several rental properties in Windsor.
1830 – 56 – Owned, leased and operated several gypsum quarries about Hants County.
1832 – He and wife Louisa then had eight children living – five daughters and three sons
1832 – President of Windsor Agricultural Society – the fields of “Clifton” bore abundant crops of vegetables and fruit.
1832 – Built horse-drawn railway from Clifton to the Avon River waterfront. He exported 132,000 tons in 1832 – Horse drawn carts on tramway down Park St (now Clifton Ave.) and along Albert St. to John Clark’s Wharf at present site of N.S.L.C. He built six waterfront gypsum warehouses. It was Nova Scotia’s second mining railway, the first being in Pictou County for coal.
1832 – Donated land and money for a church
1833-36 – Built his home “Clifton”, a wooden villa with spectacular grounds and gardens, named after his wife’s home town in England.
1833-36 – He designed and built a windmill by himself at Clifton.
1833-36 – Horticultural expert – planted a variety of trees and grew flowers and vegetables at Clifton.
1834 – Sold the Acadian Stone House and Henley Farm at Newport Landing, where he had quarried gypsum. (Now owned by Mr.and Mrs. Sherman Hines).
1835 – Wrote Recollections of Nova Scotia featuring Sam Slick – Published in Novascotian by Joseph Howe.
1836 – Created Sam Slick a fictional Yankee Clock Peddler, a humorous character who could “speak for” Haliburton.
1836 – Published The Clockmaker: The Sayings and Doings of Sam Slick
1836 – Through Sam Slick, Haliburton became the first Canadian author to achieve international acclaim. In so doing he became known as “the Father of American Humor”.
1836 – Haliburton named Nova Scotians “Bluenoses”
1836 – Haliburton’s The Clockmaker was published in England. – He toured England and Europe as a literary celebrity, accompanied by Joseph Howe.
1836 – Influenced establishment of trans-Atlantic Cunard Steamship Line
1836 – Influenced Joseph Howe to build Nova Scotia’s longest covered bridge across the Avon River, which made Windsor “The Gateway to the Valley”.
1836-1856 – He lived at Clifton, writing stories which he dictated to secretaries hired from Windsor.
1838 – Wrote the second series of The Clockmaker.
1839 – Visited England.
1840 – In N.S., he was appointed Canada’s youngest Supreme Court Judge – which was an unpopular political appointment at the time.
1841 – Wife Louisa died.
1843 – Returned to England for a visit.
1843 – Wrote The Attaché; Or, Sam Slick in England published in England in 2 vols. 1844 – Published The Attaché; Or, Sam Slick in England – Second Series
1849 – Wrote The Old Judge (or, Life in a Colony).
1856 – Resigned position as judge.
1856 – Wrote Traits of American Humor, Sam Slick’s Wise Saws.
1856 – Sold Clifton to James Pellow – Sailed to England for retirement. Married Sarah Harriet Williams and lived at Gordon House on Thames. (The Clockmaker made another good bargain!)
1857 – Influenced Premier Joseph Howe to build Nova Scotia’s first public railway, the Nova Scotia Railway, commonly known as the Windsor-Halifax Railway
1858 – Received honorary degree from Oxford – very popular in England as writer and humorist. – Elected to British House of Commons.
1862 – Nova Scotia Fruit Growers impressed London – R.G. Haliburton, son of T.C.H. organized the show.
1865 – Became ill and died in August – buried at Isleworth, Middlesex, England.
Haliburton’s most famous books are The Clockmaker, The Attaché (or: Sam Slick In England – four vols.), and The Old Judge. Through his writings he told that boys, as early as 1800, at King’s College School were playing Hurley on Ice and games at base in the fields. Hurley on Ice developed into Ice Hockey in Nova Scotia, and games at base in the fields developed into Baseball in New York State.
Windsor, N.S., the Birthplace of Hockey, and Cooperstown, New York, the Home of Baseball and the Baseball Hall of Fame, became united as twin towns on August 19, 1996.
Because of Sam Slick’s wise sayings (Wise-Saws), to this day Haliburton is America’s most frequently quoted author.