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 Confederation. Coles was known to duel to resolve disagreements, was convicted of assault, and spent a month in custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms because he would not retract a statement he made in the assembly. After years of hard work toward prosperity, Coles’ properties were destroyed in a great fire and his ongoing fear that his business would be targeted by arsonists eventually drove him insane. His wife, Mercy Haines, was British-born.
We wish to acknowledge the Dictionary of Canadian Biography as one of the main sources of our information. Read the Coles biography here.
The photo of George Coles appears courtesy of the Public Archives and Records Office of Prince Edward Island, P000903 – Acc2755/120.