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Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Charles George Charteris


CHARLES GEORGE CHARTERIS (deceased),  The death of Charles George Charteris, in February, 1887, at his old homestead in Chatham township, removed from the County of Kent one of her most prominent and useful citizens.  He was born in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, July 25th, 1828, the youngest son of Charles and Diana (Reed) Charteris, the former of whom was of Cullivait House, Dumfriesshire, and the latter a daughter of John Reed, of Craggs, Northumberland, England.

The Charteris family is a very ancient one in the annals of Dumfriesshire, and probably originated in France and settled in Scotland in the reign of Malcolm IV, in 1153.  A large tract of land was granted to members of the family for important services rendered the Crown, and some of this is still occupied by descendants of those early heroes.  Among the family records is found one that certifies that on April 4th,m 1602, James VI slept at Amisfield on his way to England, this being a family castle, and the bed upon which royalty slumbered is now preserved in the Museum of Antiquities at Edinburgh, as is also a door on which a hero of the Charteris family is represented in the act of tearing the jaws of a lion asunder, this being typical of some act of bravery.

Charles Charteris, father of the late Charles George Charteris, was captain in the 28th light Dragoons, and on the disbanding of his regiment was made adjutant of the Dumfriesshire Yeomanry Cavalry.  Besides Charles George he had one son and two daughters:  John Charles, who was an accountant, and died at St Louis, Missouri; Diana Elizabeth, who married Frederick Charteris, of Australia; and Caroline, who died in infancy.

Charles George Charteris obtained his education in part at the high schools of his native locality and in part at a private academy at Brampton, England.  In his eighteenth year he started out to seek his fortune, and emigrated to Ontario, Canada.  At Chatham he entered the employ of Witherspoon & Charteris, general merchants and agents for the Gore Bank, the senior partner of this firm being a cousin.  About five years later he engaged in the lumber business with William Baxter, who later became his father-in-law, and they continued thus until 1857, when Mr. Charteris was appointed treasurer of the County of Kent, which position he filled until his death.  His public career in city and township was conspicuous and honorable.  He sat for two terms in the city council, was the second mayor of Chatham, and acted as chairman of the board of school trustees.  In numerous ways he rendered service to the community, and was esteemed by all who knew him.  In politics he was a man of strong convictions, and supported the Reform party.  At one time he was agent for the Bank of Upper Canada at Chatham, and was retained in the disposal and management of their real estate in the County of Kent.

On December  25th, 1849, Mr. Charteris married Elizabeth Baxter (daughter of William Baxter), born April 20th, 1833, who now resides on the home farm.  Children as follows were born to this marriage:  Caroline died at the age of ten years; Diana is the wife of Edward Colles, of Chicago, the inventor and patentee of a steam heater; Charles George died in infancy; Harriet L. died aged five years; Francis W. is mentioned below; Louisa is the wife of Dr. J.W. Mustard, of Mark Center, Ohio; Dr. Charles R. is a resident of Chatham; Frederick G.Y. is a farmer of Chatham.

Elizabeth (Baxter) Charteris, the esteemed widow of the late Charles George Charteris, was born at Epworth, Lincolnshire, England, a daughter of William and Mary Ann (Hawkins) Baxter  In 1834 Mr. Baxterr removed with his family to Ontario and located in the County of Kent on the present site of Chatham, the city being then represented by a small shanty.  He soon became extensively engaged in lumbering, and erected the first sawmill on the river Thames, in the County of Kent.  Until stricken with paralysis he retained his mental and physical activity.  His death took place in February, 1877, at the age of seventy-two years, and that of his widow in March, 1887, at the age of seventy-six years.  Both lie at rest in Maple Leaf Cemetery, where the remains of Mr. Charteris were also interred.  They were devout members of the Church of England.  They had the following named children:  Thomas H.; Elizabeth, Mrs. Charteris; Jane, Mrs. Isaac Smith, of Chatham; Harriet A., Mrs. H.G. Reed, of Chatham; William R., in the printing business at Chatham; Henry H., of Buffalo, New York; and James H., a farmer in Dakota.

Henry Baxter, paternal grandfather of Mrs. Charteris, was a native of England, and died in that country.  He married Elizabeth Wright, who was born in England, but died in Ontario.  Their children, William, James, Richard, Henry, John, Mary Bella and Ann, all died in Chatham, Ontario.  Mrs. Mary Ann (Hawkins) Baxter, the mother of Mrs. Charteris had two brothers, William and James.  The former came to Ontario, and later went to California, where he died.  James died in England.


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