Jonathan Belcher (jurist)

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Jonathan Belcher
Governor of Nova Scotia
In office
MonarchGeorge III
Preceded byCharles Lawrence
Succeeded byMontague Wilmot
Chief Justice of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court
In office
Succeeded byCharles Morris
Personal details
Born(1710-07-23)July 23, 1710
Boston, Massachusetts
DiedMarch 30, 1776(1776-03-30) (aged 65)
Halifax, Nova Scotia
RelationsJonathan Belcher, father

Jonathan Belcher (July 23, 1710 – March 30, 1776) was a British-American lawyer, chief justice, and Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, the second son of Jonathan Belcher and Mary Partridge, Belcher entered Harvard College, where in 1728 he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1731 he proceeded to Master of Arts, also at Harvard. In 1730, he entered the Middle Temple, London, to read law, and in 1734 was called to the English bar. In the meantime he had been admitted as a fellow-commoner to Trinity College, Cambridge, where in 1733 he received another master's degree in mathematics,[2] he later received a third master's degree from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University).

In 1754, Belcher was sent to Nova Scotia to become the first Chief Justice of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court. Prior to Belcher's arrival Nova Scotia had no formally trained law officers,[3] he also served on the Nova Scotia Council. On July 28, 1755, he published a document which concluded that deportation of the Acadians was both authorized and required under the law.[4] From 1761 to 1763, he was also Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, he negotiated the peace that led to the Burying the Hatchet ceremony in Nova Scotia.

He died in office in 1776, he is buried in the Old Burying Ground in Halifax.


Jonathan's wife Abigail Belcher by John Singleton Copley

Belcher gave his name to Fort Belcher (1761–67), after which Fort Belcher Road, Lower Onslow, Nova Scotia is named; the fort was built at the same time as Fort Ellis.

Belcher married in King's Chapel, Boston, on 8 April 1756 to Abigail Allen. A salver (silver platter) given to them on their wedding day is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art,[5] they had five sons and two daughters.


Governor Belcher's residence (built 1749). (Located on the site of Province House, which still is furnished with his Nova Scotia Council table)
  1. ^
  2. ^ "Belcher, Jonathan (BLCR732J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ Buggey 1979
  4. ^ Bakan, Joel (2010). Canadian constitutional law. Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications. p. 70. ISBN 978-1-55239-332-1.
  5. ^ Early American Silver in The Metropolitan Museum of Art By Wees, Beth Carver, Harvey, Medill Higgins, p. 112