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T.C. Haliburton
NS c1800

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Thomas Chandler Haliburton – Chronology
by
Garth Vaughan

Thomas Chandler Haliburton Thomas Chandler Haliburton

"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 many folks do not know who Sam Slick is – or was! I believe this to be entirely true and lamentable, and as a Windsorian, I feel 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 a fictional American character who was a mere product of Haliburton’s great mind.

Tom Haliburton was a real person who stood up for things important to Nova Scotians. Through his constant efforts he made life continually better for his home town and province. The following chronology is prepared in an effort to help us know him better. Hopefully we will come to know and understand Haliburton for his wonderful self and great works, and not merely through the wise saws that he expressed to the world through his imaginary Sam Slick. Sam Slick is fiction. Tom Haliburton was fact.

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 matriculated from King’s
College School at age 14. 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.

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1820 – 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 – He successfully removed "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. He exported 132,000 tons in 1832 – Horse drawn carts on tramway down Park St (Clifton Ave.) and along Albert St. to John Clarke 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.

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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 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.

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 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).

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1835 – Wrote Recollections of Nova Scotia featuring Sam Slick
– Published in Novascotian by Joseph Howe.

1836 – Created Sam Slick who appeared in The Clockmaker (Published The Clockmaker: The Sayings and Doings of Sam Slick )(a fictional Yankee Clock Peddler, noted for humor, outrageous speech and actions)

1836 – Through Sam Slick, Haliburton became the first Canadian author to achieve international acclaim. He became known as "the Father of American Humor".

1836 – Haliburton named Nova Scotians "Bluenoses"

1836 – The Clockmaker was published in England. 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, 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 – Returned to Windsor from England.

1839 – Wrote The Attache – Sam Slick in England.

1840 – In N.S., he was appointed Canada’s youngest Supreme Court Judge- which was an unpopular political appointment at the time.

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1841 – Wife Louisa died.

1843 – The Attache published in England in 4 vols.

1843 – Returned to London for visit.

1849 – Wrote The Old Judge.

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.

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Haliburton’s most famous books are The Clockmaker, The Attache (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.

More on Thomas Chandler Haliburton in Origins Section.

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