Thomas Chandler Haliburton


Biography of Thomas Chandler Haliburton

Thomas Chandler Haliburton (December 17, 1796 – August 27, 1865) was a politician, judge, and author in the British Colony of Nova Scotia. He was the first international best-selling author from what is now Canada and played a significant role in the history of Nova Scotia prior to its entry into Confederation.

Haliburton was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia, the son of William Hersey Otis Haliburton, a lawyer, judge and political figure, and Lucy Chandler Grant. His mother died when he was a small child, and his father remarried when he was seven, giving him as stepmother Susanna Davis, the daughter of Michael Francklin, who had been Nova Scotia's Lieutenant Governor. He attended University of King's College in Windsor and became a lawyer, opening a practice in Annapolis Royal, the former capital of the colony.

Haliburton became a noted local businessman and a judge, but his great fame came from his writing. He wrote a number of books on history, politics, and farm improvement. He rose to international fame with his Clockmaker serial, which first appeared in the Novascotian and was later published in book form throughout the British Empire. The books recounted the humorous adventures of the character Sam Slick and became popular light reading.

From 1826 to 1829, Haliburton represented Annapolis County in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly.

Haliburton retired from law and moved to England in 1856. In that same year he married Sarah Harriet Owen Williams. In 1859, Haliburton was elected the Member of Parliament for Launceston, Cornwall as a member of the Conservative minority; he did not stand for re-election in 1865.

Haliburton received an honorary degree from Oxford for service to literature and continued writing until his death on 27 August 1865, at his home in Isleworth, near London.

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