Thomas Chandler Haliburton

A Brief History of Windsor, Nova Scotia

6A. Thomas Chandler Haliburton – Overview

Thomas Chandler Haliburton - Age 40

Thomas Chandler Haliburton – Age 40

Thomas Chandler Haliburton

No account of the history of Windsor would be complete without an explanation of its most important citizen of all time, Thomas Chandler Haliburton. He gained greater fame and did more for the town than anybody else before or since his time.

He was born in 1796 and attended King’s College School for Boys, matriculating at age fourteen. He entered King’s College and graduated with a degree in Arts and Law.

He became a lawyer, a judge, a politician, a writer, and is known as The Father of American Humor. In 1829 he created an imaginary Yankee Clockmaker, named Sam Slick, and wrote satirical accounts about him as he travelled through Nova Scotia towns and villages selling his clocks to folks whom he nick-named Bluenoses. Through his writing, he succeeded in drawing the attention of the people and the government to the needs of the town and province as he saw them. He also wrote the first History of Nova Scotia in 1829 when he was 33 years of age.

His accounts of Sam Slick of Slickville appeared regularly in a Halifax newspaper called The Nova Scotian, whose editor was his good friend Joseph Howe who eventually became the premier of the province.

Haliburton also became a member of the Legislature and stimulated Howe to activity that led to the improved highway, the stage coach line, the railway line between Halifax and Windsor, as well as the highway covered bridge across the Avon River, and eventually a train bridge parallel to it, and subsequently an extension of the rail line to the Bay of Fundy communities, thus connecting them to the city of Halifax for trade and transportation. Those things constitute a very great achievement for any one individual in his lifetime. In addition to all of that, Haliburton’s Sam Slick was a very humerous character who used wise sayings to illustrate his many ideas. Those sayings, which Haliburton referred to as ‘wise-saws’ have become universally known. Because they are so often repeated in the writings and spoken words of so many people to this day, Haliburton is the most commonly quoted author in America, and no doubt deserves the title of Father of American Humor.

Copyright – Garth Vaughan December 8, 2000