George Coles 1810-1875

Son of a farmer, Coles became a merchant, brewer and politician. Politically active for 27 years, Coles was the first, and to many historians the best, Premier of Prince Edward Island, initially assuming that role in 1851. He was a major proponent of responsible government but not in favour of… [Read more]

John Hamilton Gray 1811-1887

Photo by Nation Archives Gray was famous in the British Army as well as in Island politics. A soldier with service in India and South Africa, he returned to the Island after a 21-year military career and was soon asked to enter political life. Strongly in favour of Confederation, Gray… [Read more]

Thomas Heath Haviland 1822-1895

A lawyer by profession, Haviland was called to the bar in 1846. He was also a Colonel in the local militia. In his 30-year political career (1846-1876), Haviland served on executive council and as speaker for the Legislative Assembly. Subsequently, Thomas Haviland was Lieutenant-General of PEI and Mayor of Charlottetown.… [Read more]

Edward Palmer 1809-1889

Palmer was a lawyer, landed proprietor, politician, then judge. The son of an attorney, Palmer was called to the bar in 1830. His political year spanned 38 years, largely uninterrupted. After 10 years as leader of the Tory party, he became Premier in 1859 and resigned four years later due… [Read more]

William Henry Pope 1825-1879

Pope studied law in London, called to the Island bar in 1847, then served as a land agent for absentee landlords. He became known for a real estate deal in which he and three others profited big time at the expense of his employer. In his 30s to early 40s,… [Read more]

Andrew Archibald Macdonald 1829-1912

Macdonald, a merchant and ship owner, was the youngest Father of Confederation. He entered politics at 25 years of age as a member of the Island Assembly. Subsequently, in 1863, he joined the newly created Legislative Assembly, where he remained until the Island’s joined Confederation in 1873. Following his political… [Read more]

Edward Whelan 1824-1867

Sometimes known as the angriest Father of Confederation, Edward Whelan came to PEI via Halifax, to which he emigrated from Ireland with his mother in 1831. After gaining newspaper experience in Halifax at the hand of Joseph Howe, Whelan moved to the Island at age 19 and started his own… [Read more]