political biographies – Carleton, Thomas
1735 – 1817
Lieutenant Governor of NB
Born 1735, at Newry, County Down, Ireland of Irish ancestry. Son of Christopher Carleton, Esq., Newry, and his wife, Catherine Ball, daughter of Henry Ball, Esq.
(Paternal grandfather, Launcelot Carelton, was a gentleman of Roseford, near Ennislillen. He married Mary Cathcart, daughter of John Cathcart, and there was a family of six sons. He died about 1693.)
Educated by private tutors.
In 1753, he enlisted in the 20th Regt. of Foot in Glasgow, Scotland. Was promoted to the rank of Ensign, February 12th, 1755, and to that of Lieut. in the same year. Served with the Expedition against Rochfort in 1757; and at St. Malo in 1758. Was present at the Battle of Minden, August 1st, 1759, and was promoted to the rank of Captain. Was present at the attack on Hirchburg; the Siege of Wesel; and the Battle of Compen, Oct. 16th, 1760, under Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick. In 1761, he acted as Aide-de-Camp to Lord Frederick Cavendish, returning to England in 1763 at the conclusion of the Seven Years War.
He served at Gibralter with his Regiment from 1765 until 1769, when it was recalled to England, and in 1772, he was appointed Brevet-Major.
In 1774, he obtained leave of absence to join the Russian Army, and fought against the Turks at Silistria. He returned to England in 1775, and in 1776, was promoted to the rank of Brevet Lieut. Colonel in his own Regt.
On August 2nd, 1776, he was appointed Lieut. Colonel of the 29th Regt. and came to Canada as Quarter-Master General in the Northern Army, commanded by his brother, Sir Guy Carleton. Was present at the naval action on Lake Champlain in which General Benedict Arnold’s Fleet was destroyed. He served in Canada until 1782, when he went to New York, and from there, at the close of the Revolutionary War, to England.
On August 16th, 1784, he was appointed Captain General and Commander-in-Chief of the newly constituted Province of New Brunswick. He sailed from London, September 1st, 1784, for Halifax, N.S., on the vessel "London", accompanied by his wife, and infant daughter, Emma. (Accompanying him were Ward Chipman Sr. (q.v.), and the Rev. Jonathan Odell (q.v.), who were to be associated with him in the Government of the new province.)
The voyage was long and tiresome, lasting over fifty days. The ship docked at Halifax on October 24th, 1784. They proceeded overland to Digby, N.S. where they embarked on the vessel "Ranger", and arrived at Parr Town at the mouth of the St. John River, November 21st, 1784. As the ship sailed up the harbour, they received a salute of seventeen guns from the Lower Cove Battery, and on landing, were greeted by a salute from the Fort Howe Battery with the same number of guns. They took up residence in the house of Colonel George Leonard (q.v.), at the corner of Dock and Union St.
He called the first meeting of his Council the next day, November 22nd, 1784, when he took the Oath of Office along with seven Members of the Council nominated in his instructions: i.e. George D. Ludlow, James Putnam, Abijah Willard, Gabriel G. Ludlow, Isaac Allen, William Hazen, and the REv. Jonathan Odell. (The five other members of Council nominated, who were absent at the time, were subsequently sworn in and took their seats as members of His Majesty’s Council, who were to act in an advisory capacity to the new Governor of the Province. They were Edward Winslow, Guilford Studholm, Daniel Bliss, Joshua Upham, and Col. Beverley Robinson.)
(Col. Beverley Robinson did not take his seat, returning to England, and his son, Beverley Robinson, Jr. was sworn in a member of the Council in 1790 to take his father’s place.)
Governor Carleton applied himself energetically to the task of Administrating the affairs of the new Province, which was divided into eight counties, each county having its own Sheriff and other County officers.
On February 22nd, 1785, he issued instructions for the speedy construction and settlement of a town at St. Anne’s Point, which he had personally visited and selected as the site of the future capital of the Province. The new capital settlement was to be called Frederick Town, in honour of His Royal Highness, Frederick, Prince Bishop of Osnaburgh, second son of King George III. Was designated Duke of York, November 27th, 1784.
On April 29th, 1785, he instructed Acting Attorney General, Ward Chipman, to prepare a Charter, incorporating the towns of Parr and Carleton into one city, which was to be called St. John. On May 18th, 1785, the City of St. John was duly incorporated under the Great Seal of New Brunswick, and officials named.
The first General Election in the Province was held in November 1785, and twenty-six members were elected to form the first House of Assembly, which had its initial meeting at the Mallard House, King St., St. John, on January 3rd, 1786. The second session was also held in the Mallard House.
The third session of the House of Assembly opened in Fredericton, N.B. on July 15th, 1788, in a building owned by Cornelius Ackerman, situated on Queen St., which was rented for this specific purpose for forty punds per annum. The corner-stone for new Parliamentary Buildings was laid by Governor Carleton, May 15th, 1799, and the first session was held in this new building on January 26th, 1802. This building was destroyed by fire, February 25th, 1880.
In October, 1786, Governor Carleton moved with his family from St. John to Fredericton, and took up residence at the Inn of Ackerman & Vanderbeck, Queen St., while the official Mansion was being built.
On May 20th, 1786, his official title was changed to that of Lieutenenat Governor of New Brunswick and Commander-in Chief of the Forces. On October 20th, 1786, he was appointed Brigadier General of His Majesty’s Forces in North America. On October 12th, 1793, he was promoted to the rank of Major General; to that of Lieutenant General, January 1st, 1798; and to the rank of full General, September 25th, 1803.
On July 28th, 1794, he was appointed Honorary Commander of the newly formed Kings’ N.B. Regiment.
Married: (1st), to Miss Anne Howard, daughter of Thomas, the second Earl of Effingham, and eldest sister of Lady Dorchester. By this marriage there was no issue. She died, —–
Married: (2nd), April, 1783, in St. George’s Church, Hanover Square, London, England, to Mrs. Hannah Van Horn Foy. She was an American lady by birth, being the daughter of John Van Horn, Esq., Kills Hall, Somerset County, New jersey, and the widow of Captain Edward Foy, Royal Army, who died or was killed in 1779. He left one son, Capt. Edward Foy who became Governor Carleton’s Aide-de-Camp and Private Secretary. By this marriage there was a family of one son and two daughters.
On October 5th, 1803, he left New Brunswick with his family and went to England, where he resided until his death, although he still retained his official position as Lieut. Governor.
He died, February 17th, 1817, at Ramsgate, England, aged eighty years. Buried in the Family Vault under the Church of St. Swintins, Nately Scures, Hants, England. (Beside his famous brother, Gen. Sir Guy Carleton, Lord Dorchester.)Survived by his widow, one son, and two daughters.
1. Dau: Emma
(b. 1784 – d. Oct.22, 1846)(Unmarried)
2. Dau: Ann Frances
(b. 1786 – d. Jan. 4th, 1827)(Unmarried)
3. Son: William
(b. Dec. 31, 1789 – d. April 9, 1874). Enlisted in the Royal Navy , and attained the rank of Captain. Was a Midshipman on the "Collossus" at the Battle of Trafalgar, October 21, 1805. Mar. Rosamond Orde, dau. of General Orde. No family. Buried in the family vault, Church of Nately Scures, Hants, England.
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