in the centre of it all

History

HISTORY

MIDDLESEX CENTRE IS A SPRAWLING MUNICIPALITY BORN ON JANUARY 1, 1998 AFTER THE
AMALGAMATION OF THE FORMER TOWNSHIPS OF LONDON, LOBO, & DELAWARE.

Introduction

Middlesex Centre is a sprawling municipality born on January 1, 1998 after the amalgamation of the former Townships of London, Lobo, & Delaware.  In the late 1990s, the provincial government encouraged municipal governments to amalgamate with a view that municipal government provide services in the most cost-effective and efficient way possible. The leaders of the former Townships began meeting voluntarily in 1997 with a view to achieve sustainable services for their respective communities.

Although Middlesex Centre as it exists today is in its infancy, the history of its parent Townships shows a rich heritage in community and agriculture with a storied past that has shaped the modern day Municipality of Middlesex Centre.

Brief History

Middlesex Centre was formed on January 1, 1998 after the amalgamation of the former townships of London, Lobo, & Delaware. The Municipality has a history of settlement dating back to 9000 BC, although archaeological data suggest the most intensive period of occupation occurred between 1300 and 1500 AC. Pioneer settlement in what became the province of Ontario began in the mid 1780’s with the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists. As a response to the increasing population, both the London District and Middlesex County were formed in 1800. Middlesex County initially consisted of several townships that are part of modern-day Elgin County, including Alborough, Dunwich, Southwold and Yarmouth. The boundaries also encompassed what is now the southern portion of the current Middlesex County, specifically Delaware, Westminster, North Dorchester and the London townships. The area that become the London Township was established on January 1st, 1800 and was surveyed by Abraham Iredell in the early 1790s. Iredell reported that the land “was the finest for all agricultural purposes in North America.” Under the “chequered plan,” townships in the province were generally 13.5 by 19 km (9 by 12 miles) in area. The London Township differed slight from the basic provincial plan, being 19 by 19 km (12 by 12 miles) in area.


T.E. Scarborough’s smithy on Main Street, Ilderton in 1916 (source: LTHC).


McRae’s Store, on the south side of Ilderton’s main street, was built in 1876 by Robert Little (source: LTHC).

Links

Genealogy & Local History Services through Middlesex County Library
Fanshawe Pioneer Village
Middlesex Centre Archives