John Small (1746-1831)

Major John Small, J.P., of Toronto; Chief Clerk of the Executive Council

Associated Houses

Berkeley House


He was born either at Cirencester or Berkeley in Gloucestershire. He was the brother of one of the King's chaplains, Rev. Joseph Atwell Small, and brother-in-law of Rev. Charles Coxwell who succeeded to Ablington Manor. Through the influence of his patron, the 5th Earl of Berkeley (Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire), the Home Secretary secured John a position with Simcoe's government in Upper Canada and he arrived there in 1792 as chief clerk to the Executive Council. Simcoe described him in his memoirs as, “a Gentleman who possesses and is entitled to my highest confidence”. However, he failed to win an elective office as a direct result of the scandal that had surrounded the duel in which he killed Attorney-General White in 1800, described in the history of his home. But, he was later appointed to the judicial position of Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas. He lived at Berkeley House and by virtue of his government position he amassed a small fortune through land speculation which gave him a personal estate of 472-acres. He married Eliza Goldsmith of Broadstairs, Kent, and they had 3-sons.  
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 03/09/2020 and last updated on 03/09/2020.