Thomas Chandler Haliburton was born December 17, 1796 in Windsor, Nova Scotia. He studied Law at King’s College, which was located in Windsor at the time, and upon his graduation in 1820, he established a law practice in Annapolis Royal. In 1826, he was elected to the position of MLA for the area, but he resigned in 1829 to become a judge of the inferior court of common pleas – a post left vacant by his father’s death.
Haliburton was elevated to the Supreme Court in 1841, where he was praised as “conscientious, upright, intelligent, adhering to the spirit rather than to the letter of the law.” He kept this post until he left Canada for England in 1856.
Though he worked as a judge, lawyer, politician, and businessman, it is his writing that made him famous. He published many books during his life, but it was his fictional character, the fast-talking Yankee Sam Slick, who secured his reputation. First published as installments in his friend Joseph Howe’s The Novascotian, the first volume, The Clockmaker, or the Sayings and Doings of Sam Slick of Slickville, has been in print continuously since 1836. He revisited the character of Sam Slick in several works, but his writing ranged from humour to politics to history to anthologies of other writers.
He lived in Nova Scotia until 1856, after which he left for England, meaning to devote himself full-time to his writing. However, he made several visits back to Canada for business and also found time to serve as a British Member of Parliament for several years. He died in 1865.