A Blupete Biography Page

Sir Brenton Halliburton

His father was Dr. John Halliburton, who, born in Scotland, came to Newport, Rhode Island to practise medicine. His mother was the daughter of Admiral Sir Jahleel Brenton. John, loyal to the crown, came to Nova Scotia to act as the surgeon at the Naval Hospital. In 1787, John was appointed as a member of Council.1

After a brief military career (7th Foot) under the Duke of Kent at Halifax, Halliburton, resigning his commission, went to England to study law in 1800. Returning to Halifax, he was admitted to the bar in 1803. At the comparatively young age of thirty-three, in 1808, Halliburton became a judge of the Supreme Court. In 1816, he was appointed to Council. (In those days it did not seem to bother anyone that judges should become, as we know them today, a Cabinet Minister; this was to change in 1837.) In 1833 Halliburton was appointed the Chief Justice and ex officio President of the Council.2

His father-in-law, Bishop Inglis, gave part of his Aylesford lands to his daughter, Margaret3, and, as Harris reports4, "the judge moved regularly every spring from Halifax to his valley home, with his horses and servants. The judge called his residence at Halifax, "The Bower"; at Aylesford, "Margaretville."

Certainly he was an old Tory, for we see that he wrote:

"... whether the nation itself will long continue to stand -- has really become a frightful question -- The People of this Country have really gone mad for reform and the Government of the day goading them on. It is most singular that in all companies you find, (with here and there a solitary exception,) every body lamenting the necessity of sacrificing the established Institutions of the Country and yielding to the popular voice."5
In 1859, news was received, at the age of 85, just a year before his death, that Queen Victoria had bestowed a knighthood upon Halliburton.


[1] See Reginald V. Harris' short biographical sketch on Dr. John Halliburton, in Charles Inglis, Missionary, Loyalist, Bishop (Toronto: General Board of Religious Education, 1937) at pp. 167 & 131.

[2] See G. W. Hill's Memoir of Sir Brenton Halliburton (Halifax: Bowes, 1864), particularly at p. 158.

[3] Brenton married Margaret (b.1775) in September of 1799; his sister, Admiral Robert Murray. Brenton and Margaret had four sons and five daughters. One of the daughters, Margaret (1800-1854), married Enos Collins.

[4] At p. 132.

[5] Halliburton's letter to Enos Collins, written from London, found in Letters and Papers of Hon. Enos Collins, pp. 29-39.


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Peter Landry
2012 (2020)