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Early Municipal History of Essex County

  • July 24, 1788 Governor General Lord Dorchester divided the Province of Quebec into five districts - Gaspe, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nassau and Hesse
  • District of Hesse consisted of the rest of the Province in the western or inland parts from the southerly to the northerly boundary which included Detroit and Mackinaw, to the south Ohio and westward to the MississippiPortrait of John Graves Simcoe
  • 1791 Lieutenant-Colonel John Graves Simcoe came from England and became the first Lieutenant-Governor of the new province of Upper Canada
  • July 16, 1792, Governor Simcoe divided Upper Canada into nineteen counties
  • September 17, 1792 Governor Simcoe opened the first session of the provincial government at Newark (Niagara-on-the-Lake)
  • By that same proclamation, Governor Simcoe made Essex the 18th of 19 counties in Upper Canada
  • October 15, 1792 the Provincial Legislature renamed the District of Hesse the Western District, made up of the counties of Essex, Kent and Suffolk
  • January 1, 1800 an Act for the Better Division of the Province stated that “The Townships of Rochester, Mersea, Gosfield, Maidstone, Sandwich, Malden, and the tracts of land occupied by the Huron and other Indians upon the Strait, together with such islands as are in Lake Erie, St. Clair and the Straits, do constitute and form the County of Essex and Kent, together with so much of the Province as is not included within any other district thereof, do constitute the Western District”.

map of essex county from 1800