The British colonial rule had its share of English administrators who truly loved
Birth: Sullivan was born in
Indian job: In Aug. 1803, Sullivan, 15-year old then, was nominated for a Writership, a clerical position, in the
Parents: Sullivan’s father joined the Company in 1778 and was the British Resident at the Court of Tanjore (Thanjavur) in 1782. His father, Laurence Sullivan was also been an influential politician, a Director in the Company., and opposed Robert Clive. Stephen Sullivan also possessed the same progressive characteristics of his son and was known for this ‘enlightened zeal in the cause of native education’. Stephen Sullivan had established several schools around Tanjore which promoted the progressive idea of an English-medium education.
A summary of Career of John Sullivan
1788 Born in
1804 Writer, in
1805 Assistant to the Secretary, Revenue and Judicial Dept.
1806 Court Registrar, Chittaput, South Arcot District.
1807 Assistant to the Chief Secretary in the Secret, Political and Foreign Dept.
1809 Now 21 years old, he was Acting Asst. to the British Resident at
1814 Collector at Chingleput (Chengalpattu).
1815 Special Revenue Commissioner in
1815-30 Permanent Collector of Coimbatore (including the Nilgiris).
1819 First two visits to the Nilgiri Hills; built cottage at Dimhatti.
1819-21Administrative work in
1820 Member, Board of Revenue; married Henrietta Cecilia Harington on 2 Feb.
1821 First visit to Ootacamund, Feb. 2; young son dies in
1822 Started building ‘Stonehouse’ at Ootacamund.
1823-27 Mostly in Ootacamund with his family.
1828 Ootacamund made into a military cantonment, and thus taken from Sullivan’s control.
1830-35 On absentee allowance in
1835-36 Resigned his appointment as Member of Council and was made Judge of the Faujdari Adalat and also Senior Member of the Board of Revenue. Being permitted to reside where he liked, he chose Ootacamund.
1836-41 President of the Revenue, Marine, and College boards.
1838 His wife Henrietta and eldest daughter Harriet died in Ootacamund; both buried in St. Stephen’s Church.
1839 Member of the Governor’s Council.
1841 Retired in May from the M.C.S., with an annuity from the Company’s fund; he had seven children to bring up.
1855 Died in
Henrietta Sullivan: Henrietta (Mrs. Sullivan) was carried up from the plains in 1820, then a 17-year-old bride and the first European lady to visit the Nilgiris; in 1822 Harriet Ann, her first surviving child, was born; and in 1823 she started housekeeping in Ootacamund. Henrietta Sullivan was in fact destined to die there, in 1838. There is a memorial to her and two of her children in St. Stephen’s Church. Their eldest son, born in
Retirement: John Sullivan himself retired to
Sullivan’s Son: Henry Edward Sullivan, who was born in
Death: John Sullivan himself died in