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Roads and Settlement

  • Colonel Talbot helped the development of Essex County by sending Mahlon Burwell to survey Talbot Road (now Highway 3)
  • Work on the road started in 1809Early drawing of Essex County showing Tecumseh, Talbot and Middle Roads
  • Interrupted by War of 1812, but reached Essex County in 1818
  • Talbot Road surveyed to follow a natural ridge of glacial moraine stretching from Windsor to Point Pelee
  • Termed a “corduroy” road because in swampy areas three inch planks, flattened on the upward side, were laid down side by side across the road
  • Roads of Essex County in early 1800’s followed Indian trails
  • 1820’s the Ridge leading to Leamington began housing settlers
  • This section opened as Talbot Road and developed from Maidstone, Essex, Cottam and Ruthven
  • Talbot surveyed the Middle Road (Highway 98, now Essex County Road 46) and it was completed in 1823
  • These roads were necessary for the development of Leamington and surrounding area in the 1830’s
  • Settlers on Middle Road (Essex County Road 46) were from the Old Country especially Ireland
  • During the 1840’s,the potato famine brought heavy migration to Essex County
  • A long Middle Road and up toward Lake St. Clair the “Irish Settlement” grew and fourth and fifth generation descendants remain today
  • The Village of Maidstone was the centre of the Irish community
  • East of Middle Road was a small colony of Germans who were political refugeesLog Home built by early settlers in Essex County
  • Between Puce and Pike Creeks, was called the “Scotch Colony”
  • For the next few decades, the “back concessions” filled with settlers, many from families already in Essex County and immigrants from Great Britain and the United States.