The subject of this sketch is a descendant of a very old Dumfriesshire family. The Charteris, of Amisfield, who are believed to have been originally from France, and to have settled in Scotland in the reign of Malcolm IV. (1153), more than seven centuries ago. A large tract of land was granted to the Charteris for important services rendered to the King, in Dumfriesshire, some of which land is still in possession of the family. In that County Charles George Charteris was born, July 25, 1828, and was the youngest son of Charles Charteris, Esq., of Cullirait House, Dumfriesshire, by his wife, Diana, daughter of John Reed, Esq., of Craggs, Northumberland, England. His father was a Captain in the 28th Light Dragoons, who, on the disbandment of that regiment, became Adjutant of the Dumfriesshire Yeomanry Cavalry.
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Our subject was partly educated at the High School of his native County, and partly at a private Academy, in Brampton, England. At eighteen years of age he started out to seek his fortune in the new world; came to Chatharn, and was for some time in the establishment of Witherspoon and Charteris, general merchants, and Agents for the Gore Bank, his cousin Alexander Charteris, being one of the partners; and five or six years later went into the lumber business with William Baxter, continuing in it until 1857, when he was appointed Treasurer of Kent County, an office which he still holds, much to the satisfaction of the people. Very few men in the Province of Ontario have held that position longer than Mr. Charteris, or with more credit to themselves and the County.
He was in the Town Council one or two terms; was the second Mayor of Chatham in 1857.
On the night of April 4, 1603, James VI. slept at Amisfield, on his passage to England. Amisfield has been the seat of the Charteris family from 1165; repaired, and greater part rebuilt, in 1600. The bed on which the King slept is preserved in the Museum of Antiquities, in Edinburgh; also a door on which a hero of Mr. Charteris’ family is represented in the act of tearing the jaws of a lion asunder, the same being a representation of an incident verified in the history of the family.
He was a short time Chairman of the Board of School Trustees, and in various ways has rendered good service to the community.
In politics Mr. Charteris is a Reformer, and has been prominent and quite influential in his party. His religious tenets are Presbyterian.
At one period he was Agent for the Bank of Upper Canada, and when it closed its business at Chatham, he was retained in the management and disposal of its real estate in Kent County.
On the 25th of December, 1849, Elizabeth, daughter of William Baxter, subsequently his partner in business, became the wife of Mr. Charteris, and she has had by him eight children, of whom five are yet living, three sons and two daughters.