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Lambton County, Ontario Canada Origins

The territory now called by the name of The County of Lambton, was originally part of The District of Hesse, which was bounded, according to the Proclamation of his Excellency the Governor-General, Guy, Lord Dorchester, dated 24th July, 1788, in the twenty-eighth year of the reign of His Majesty, George III, as follows:

"The District of Hesse, which is to comprehend all the residue of our said Province in the Western or inland parts thereof, of the entire breadth thereof, from the Southerly to the Northerly boundaries of the same."

As the District of Naussau was the next District to Hesse in the East and extended "so far Westerly as to a North and South line, intersecting the extreme projection of Long Point into the Lake Erie, on the Northerly side of said Lake Erie," the District of Hesse took in all the rest of the lands to the West of Long Point.

By 31 George III. (Imperial) Chapter 31 (1791) section 14, the Lieutenant-Governor, in the absence of the Governor-General, received power to divide the Province into Counties or Districts. In pursuance of this Act, his Excellency the Lieutenant. Governor, Colonel John Graves Simcoe, by proclamation dated 16th July, 1792, divided the Province of Upper Canada into nineteen Counties, namely : Glengarry, Stormont, Dundas, Grenville, Leeds, Frontenac, Ontario, Addington, Lennox, Prince Edward, Hastings, Northumberland, Durham, York, Lincoln, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent, the. nineteenth being called by the name of The County of Kent, which County is to comprehend all the 'Country, (not being Territories of the Indians) not already included in the several Counties hereinbefore described, extending Northward to the boundary line of Hudson's Bay, including all the territory to the Westward and Southward of the said line, to the utmost extent of the country commonly called or known by the name of Canada."

The County of Essex was the adjoining County to Kent, and its Westerly boundary is described in Governor Simcoe's Proclamation as bounded "on the west by the River Detroit to Maisonville's Mill, from thence by a line running parallel to the River Detroit and Lake St. Clair, at the distance of four miles until it meets the River La Tranche, or Thames, and thence up the said River to the Northwest boundary of the County of Suffolk."

All the territory therefore, now known as the County of Lambton, was then part of the County of Kent, which, by Proclamation, was to be represented by two members in the Legislative Assembly of Canada; but by the Redistribution Act (Upper Canada) 40 George III. Chapter 3, passed 4th July 1800, the County of Kent was to be represented by one member only.

By 32 George III. (Upper Canada) Chapter 8, section 5, passed 15th October, 1792, the name of the District was changed, and thereafter it was called The Western District.

By 38 George III. Chapter 5, (1798) assented to 1st January, 1800, Essex and Kent, together with so much of the Province as is not included within any other District thereof, "were formed into the Western District."

By 2 George IV. Chapter 3, 'Section 12, passed 14th April, 1821, (being the first Session in that year) "The following New Townships in the Western District were attached to the County of Kent, namely: the Townships of Zone, Dawn, Sombra and Saint Clair." The last named Township was changed to Sarnia, probably in Sir John Colborne's time, 1839, as that was the Roman name of the Island of Guernsey, with which Sir John was identified.

By 4 William IV., Chapter 55 (1834) assented to 5th May, 1835, which recited that a certain tract of land situate in the Western District had been lately surveyed and laid off into Townships, the Townships of Moore and Sarnia (formerly St. Clair), Plympton, Enniskillen, Warwick, Brooke and Bosanquet, were attached to and formed part of the County of Kent, in the Western District.

The Revised Statutes of 1841 contain no mention of Lambton and reprint the Act of 1821, 2 George IV., Chapter 3, as being in full force.

By 4 and 5 Victoria, Chapter 10 (1841), which went into operation 1st January, 1842, a District Council for the Western District was formed, and it met, for the first time, at Sandwich on 11th February, 1842, representatives being present from Essex and Kent, in which latter County, as we have seen, the territory now known as Lambton County then formed a part.

By 10 and 11 Victoria, Chapter 39, assented to 9th July, 1847, the County of Kent ceased to be part of the Western District, and became known as the District of Kent.

By 12 Victoria, Chapter 78, assented to 30th May, 1849, Districts were abolished and by section 30, Kent and "Lambton" were formed as provisional Counties, and by section 31, as soon as the Court House and Gaol then "in the course of being erected, shall have been completed, the Governor of the Province may issue a Proclamation dissolving the union between the United Counties of Kent and Lambton and the County of Essex, and from thenceforth the said United Counties of Kent and Lambton shall form a union of Counties." This is the first time the name "Lambton", as a County, appears officially.

Under this Act certain Counties were to remain united until the Junior County should have a population of not less than fifteen thousand souls, (section 10), in which case it became entitled to a separate establishment of Court and County institutions. Kent and Lambton were so united as we have seen, Lambton being the Junior County, but from its geographical position it was deemed expedient to make provision for its separation, before it had attained the population required by law to entitle it to sever the judicial union between it and the County of Kent.

By 12 Victoria, Chapter 79, assented to May 30th, 1849, the County of Lambton was declared to include the Townships of Brooke, Dawn, Bosanquet, Enniskillen, Euphemia, Moore, Plympton, Sarnia, Sombra and Warwick, and were united with Kent for the purpose of representation in the Legislative Assembly of Canada and a union of Counties made between Kent, Lambton and Essex.

The County of Kent withdrew in 1851, and Essex and Lambton were then known as "The United Counties of Essex and Lambton," the municipal Capital being at Sandwich, now the County seat of the County of Essex.
In 1914 the Dominion Archivist, Dr. Doughty, published the Constitutional History of Canada from 1791 to 1818, in which there is a map of Upper Canada drawn by W. Chewett, D. P,. surveyor, by order of His Excellency John Graves Simcoe, the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, which shows the County of Kent, as referred to in the Proclamation of 1792. It extended from the mouth of the Detroit River Northeastwards to the Westerly boundary of the County of Hastings, on the Trent River, and North as far as the North Pole, seemingly. It also took in what are now Michigan and Illinois, as well as Lakes Michigan and Superior, and even went West of that, as far as Canada then extended. Certainly the County of Kent was the largest County in Canada in those days.

Lambton County


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