Fonds F636 - Cartwright family fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Cartwright family fonds

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Dates of creation area


  • 1719-1959 (Creation)
    Cartwright (family)

Physical description area

Physical description

2 m of textual records, 60 photographs, 4 microfilm reels : positive

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Name of creator


Biographical history

The Hon. Richard Cartwright (1759-1815) was born in Albany, New York. His early years were spent in study, until the outbreak of the American Revolution. In 1777 he left for Canada where he was appointed secretary to Colonel Butler of the Queen's Rangers. He served in that capacity for two years and in 1780 formed a partnership with the Hon. Robert Hamilton. Together they became two of the foremost merchants in Upper Canada. In 1784 the partnership was legally dissolved but they continued to cooperate closely in business affairs and became firmly established in a wholesale mercantile and shipping trade. In 1788, Cartwright was appointed judge of the Court of Common Pleas for the district of Mecklenburgh and in 1792 became a member of the Legislative Council of Upper Canada. During the War of 1812, he was commandant of the Midland District.

James Cartwright (1786-1811) was the eldest son of Richard and Magdalen Cartwright. After being educated by the Reverend John Strachen, James was sent to Quebec in 1803 for legal training and to learn French. In 1811, James and brother Richard Jr. took a journey to the Bahamas, Cuba and the south-eastern United States hoping to improve Richard's health. Richard died during the trip. James died later in 1811.

John Solomon Cartwright (1804-1845) was born in Kingston, Upper Canada, son of Richard Cartwright and twin brother of Rev. Robert Cartwright. He studied law in York (Toronto) and later at Lincoln's Inn, London. In 1831 he became president of the Commercial Bank of Kingston. In 1836 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada and in 1841 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of United Canada for Lennox and Addington. Offered the position of Solicitor General for Governor General Sir James Bagot in 1842, he declined.

Sir Richard Cartwright (1835-1912) was born in Kingston, the son of Rev. Robert David Cartwright and the grandson of the Hon. Richard Cartwright. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and upon returning to Canada became president of the Commercial Bank of the Midland District. In 1863 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly as a Conservative and in 1867 was elected to the Canadian House of Commons. He "crossed the floor" to join the ranks of the Liberal Party and was Minister of Finance in the Alexander Mackenzie administration from 1873 to 1878. In 1896 he became Minister of Trade and Commerce in the Laurier administration and in 1904 was appointed to the Senate, a post he held until his death.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of correspondence, legal documents, diaries, genealogies and photographs from the Honourable Richard Cartwright (1759-1815) to the present generations. Of special interest are the letters and diaries of the Honourable Richard Cartwright's eldest children : James (1786-1811), Richard (1787-1811) and Hannah (1792-1812), and letters from the Rev. John Strachan.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Locator 3183 donated by Judge Ian Cartwright.


Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

MF 2175-2178
F3 B3.4 008
F3 B3.8 015 I26
F3 D7

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Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Public domain

Associated materials

Richard Cartwright fonds

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No further accruals are expected

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Location (use this to request the file)

  • Shelf: 2199
  • Shelf: 3183
  • Shelf: 3183.1
  • Shelf: MF 2175-2178
  • Shelf: F3 B3.4 008
  • Shelf: F3 B3.8 015 I26
  • Shelf: F3 D7
  • Shelf: V005.7