Thomas Talbot (Upper Canada)

Thomas Talbot (Upper Canada)

Colonel Thomas Talbot (July 19 1771 – February 5 1853) was born at Malahide Castle in Ireland. He was the fourth son of Richard Talbot and his wife Margaret Talbot, 1st Baroness Talbot of Malahide (see the Baron Talbot of Malahide). He emigrated to Canada in 1791, where he became personal secretary to John Graves Simcoe, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. In 1800 he received a grant of 5,000 acres (20 km²) near what is now Port Talbot, Ontario, and eventually was given responsibility for settling 65,000 acres (263 km²) of land on the north shore of Lake Erie, today's counties of Elgin, Essex, Haldimand, Kent, Middlesex and Norfolk. The principal city of this region today is London, Ontario.

Talbot's administration was despotic. He was infamous for registering settlers' names on the local settlement map in pencil and if displeased, was alleged to have erased their entry. However, his insistence on provision of good roads (notably the eponymous Talbot Trail), maintenance of the roads by the settlers, and the removal of Crown and clergy reserves from main roads quickly resulted in the Talbot Settlement becoming the most prosperous part of the province. Eventually, however, he began to make political demands on the settlers, after which his power was reduced by the provincial government. Talbot's abuse of power was a contributing factor in the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837.

Talbot's home in Port Talbot was called Malahide (which was demolished in 1997, generating much public outcry from heritage preservationists). Talbot died in the home of George Macbeth at London, Ontario in 1853 and is interred in the cemetery of St. Peters Anglican Church near Tyrconnell, Ontario in Elgin County.

Talbotville (a community in Southwold, Ontario) and the city of St. Thomas, Ontario were named after him, as well as Colonel Talbot Road and Talbot Street in both London and St. Thomas.

External links

* [http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=4210 Biography at the "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online"]
* [http://www.london.ca City of London Web site]
* [http://www.elginconnects.ca/portal/site/thom/menuitem.40f26fc7b9e58407cf2129201891ef9a/;jsessionid=DT82BLwNbVG202pS2HYT3yhmRZyKq0k9vQnF2nTygkjfZV1LG0Jy!124904825 City of St. Thomas Web site]


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