Fonds ID1384 - Tilley family

Title proper

Tilley family

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  • Textual record

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Physical description

2.7 m

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Biographical history

Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley (1818-1896) was born in Gagetown, New Brunswick, and died in Saint John. In 1838 he formed a partnership with his cousin, Thomas W. Peters in a pharmacy. On Peter's retirement in 1848, the pharmacy became Tilley's Drug Store.

Becoming increasingly involved in politics, Tilley sold the business in 1860. He became involved in the temperance movement, the Debating Society and the Mechanics' Institute. He was a founding member of the Railway League.

In the provincial election of 1854, Tilley became the provincial secretary and for over a decade worked as a proponent of Confederation, attending the Charlottetown, Québec, and London Conferences. Tilley is also credited with suggesting the name "dominion" for the official name of Canada, reading Psalm 72:8, "His dominion shall be also from sea to sea." The other attendees of the conferences, who already aspired to expand Canada westward to the Pacific, agreed that the name was appropriate.

In 1867 he began his federal political career as Customs Minister in Sir John A. Macdonald's Conservative government. He was appointed Finance Minister in 1873. With the defeat of the Macdonald government that fall, Tilley was appointed New Brunswick's Lieutenant Governor.

With the return of the Macdonald government in 1878, he again became the Finance Minister with responsibility for the National Policy, the Macdonald government's plan to expand the country's economy by developing its infrastructure and to protect Canadian manufacturers from lower priced American imports by imposing tariffs. Ill health forced Tilley to retire to St. Andrews in 1885. He was reappointed Lieutenant Governor and held this post until 1893.

Tilley had two marriages. In 1843 he married Julia Ann Hanford in Saint John, N.B., and they had eight children. Julia died in March of 1862 after a short illness. His second wife, whom he married in St. Stephen, N.B., in October of 1867, was Alice Starr Chipman, the daughter of a close friend. They had two children together. Alice became involved in numerous women's organizations and benevolent works.

Tilley's son Herbert was a Saint John insurance agent and his son Leonard P.D. Tilley was a Saint John lawyer.

Name of creator

([fl. 1867])

Biographical history

Lady Alice Starr Tilley (neé Chipman) was the second wife of Sir Samuel Tilley, a Father of Confederation and several term Member of Parliament and Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick. She was involved in numerous women's organizations and benevolent works. She and Samuel had two children.

Custodial history

Information about the custody of these records prior to acquisition is incomplete.

Scope and content

This fonds includes political and public correspondence, petitions, reports belonging to Sir Leonard Tilley and papers related to Alice Tilley's involvement in women's and benevolent organizations. There are business and personal correspondence, receipts, leases, and account books of Tilley and his wife.

Statistical information on: Saint John Post Office employees' salaries, 1866, 1872; ships built and registered in New Brunswick, 1863-1871; imports and exports for New Brunswick 1863-1871, all probably assembled as background information for Sir Leonard, is also included.

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Acquired from Mrs. Ronald Mears (Rothesay), 1957


Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

S 75

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No restrictions

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Finding aids

Detailed inventory is available.

Associated materials

Other papers belonging to Sir Leonard can be found in MC2107 at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick: Lady Alice Tilley fonds (MC1085) is also there.

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