Coordinates: 44°48′N 82°24′W / 44.8°N 82.4°W / 44.8;
Huron Tract Purchase also known as the Huron Block, registered as
Crown Treaty Number 29, is a large area of land in southwestern
Ontario bordering on
Lake Huron to the west and
Lake Erie to the east.
The area spans the counties of Huron, Perth, Middlesex and present day
Lambton County, Ontario
Lambton County, Ontario in the Province of Ontario.
Huron Tract was purchased by the
Canada Company, an agent of the
British government, to be distributed to colonial settlers of Upper
Canada. Influenced by William "Tiger" Dunlop, John Galt and other
businessmen formed the
Canada Company. The
Canada Company bought one
million acres (4,000 km2) of land west of the then London
district and called it the Huron Tract. The
Canada Company was the
administrative agent for the Huron Tract.
An Act of Parliament in 1825 incorporated the
Canada Company with the
Huron Tract settlement objective as its primary goal. The Canada
Company received its Charter in 1826, ceased business in 1951 and was
dissolved in December 1953. The administration of the Huron Tract
demonstrates the uniquely North American tendency to allocate to
private enterprise, functions which would normally have been the Crown
prerogative in Britain. Nevertheless, private enterprise and the
ruling elite never quite separated in the case of the Huron Tract, the
Canada Company and the
Family Compact being almost synonymous until
after the Rebellions of 1837.
1 Historic origins
2 Evolution of the Huron Block
2.1 Township name provenance
3 Conditions of sale for parcels of land
4.1 Related plaques
5.3 Land features
5.4 Environmental significance
5.4.1 Conservation authorities
6 See also
8 External links
Crest of the
Anishinaabe people — First Nation people of the Huron
An oil painting by Paul Kane depicting an
Ojibwa camp on the shores of
Georgian Bay, on
Lake Huron entitled Encampment Among The Islands Of
For 5000 years groups of 25 to 250 Huron, Algonquin and the Ojibwa
historically used this land as tribal summer homes for communal
fishing and hunting. To protect their way of life, the tribes led
explorers north along the Nipissing Passageway. The waterways of
Magnetawan River were the traditional access routes to Georgian Bay
and the Ottawa River. Outside the Long Wood Purchase, the Crown wished
also to purchase a larger tract of land known as the Huron Tract. The
Chippewas of Chenail Ecarte, the Ausable River, and St. Clair River
negotiated with John Askin, then Superintendent of Indian Affairs, for
The practice of distribution of
Upper Canada land through government
agencies began with John Graves Simcoe, first Lieutenant Governor of
Upper Canada toward the end of the 18th century. In an attempt to
discourage speculation and distribute land according to the prevailing
Upper Canada was divided into three separate categories:
crown, clergy and township. 19 counties where identified with
townships contained 200-acre (0.81 km2) lots with concession
While the land distribution scheme of
John Graves Simcoe
John Graves Simcoe worked well
for a few years, the issues of settlement became more complex and
required more land. Moreover, the issue of Clergy Reserves became a
controversial issue. Efforts to streamline the land distribution
process resulted in the private enterprise
Canada Company, while the
Crown pursued the purchase of more Native land resulting in the Huron
Tract among others.
Evolution of the Huron Block
From the land bordering the Lake Huron, the following were selected by
the First Nation Chiefs as reserved for their exclusive use:
Upper Reserve on the
St. Clair River
St. Clair River (Sarnia)
10,280 acres (41.6 km2)
Lower Reserve on the
St. Clair River
St. Clair River (Moore Township)
2,575 acres (10.42 km2)
Mouth of the River aux Sable on Lake Huron
2,650 acres (10.7 km2)
Kettle Point on Lake Huron
2,446 acres (9.90 km2)
Canada Company acquired 1,000,000 acres (4,000 km2) of the
Huron Block, which came to be known as the Huron Tract. The tract,
together with the Crown Reserves not leased in townships surveyed
before March 1, 1824, formed the lands that they intended to sell.
In 1835, the Huron Block townships were transferred into the following
Townships surveyed in the
Huron Tract (1835)
Kent County (Now in Lambton County)
The townships of the original Huron County have since devolved to the
The inclusion of the portions of land known as the Clergy Reserves
were the most controversial and were cause for concern in the colony
where the decisions about the
Huron Tract had been made in isolation
in Britain. The
Family Compact and the Anglican Church in
John Strachan opposed this inclusion. After much lobbying,
the influential bishop was able to return the lands to the Church. One
of the seeds of discontent that led to the
Rebellion of 1837
Rebellion of 1837 was sown
in this decision.
Township name provenance
Huron Tract was divided into 21 townships in 1824. Five townships
were named for senior members of the British government: Colborne,
Goderich, Hay, Stanley and Stephen. The remaining townships were named
for members of the
Canada Company Provisional Committee. The exception
Easthope Townships which were divided into North and South, as it
was felt that the original division was too large. The original
surveys were conducted by Deputy Provincial Surveyor John McDonald,
although Goderich Township was surveyed by Deputy Provincial Surveyor
Directors Edward Ellice, Simon McGillivrary, Hart Logan and Henry
Usborne, had lived in
Canada at various times. Edward Stanley, the
14th Earl of Derby visited
Canada in 1824.
The following townships were named for
Canada Company Provisional
Committee members of 1824.
Biddulph Township for Robert Biddulph.
Bosanquet Township for Charles Bosanquet.
Colborne Township for
Sir John Colborne
Sir John Colborne (later John Colborne, 1st
Downie Township for Robert Downie, MP.
Easthope Township (North & South) for Sir John Easthope, MP.
Ellice Township for Edward Ellice, MP.
Fullarton Township for John Fullarton
Goderich Township for Frederick John Robinson, created Viscount
Goderich of Nocton.
Hibbert Township for William T. Hibbert
Hullett Township for John Hullett
Logan Township for Hart Logan
McGillivray Township for Simon McGillivray
Stanley Township for Edward Stanley,MP
Stephen Township for James Stephen,MP
Williams Township for William Williams,MP
Usborne Township for Henry Usborne
Blanshard Township was named for Richard Blanshard,
Provisional Committee members of 1829.
Hay Township was named for Robert William Hay, 2nd undersecretary of
state for colonies (1825) and later Permanent undersecretary for the
North American department 1828 - 1836.
Conditions of sale for parcels of land
No person, except United Englishmen, Loyalists (on the separation of
the United States from Great Britain, those who preserved their
allegiance to the British Crown and fled to Canada, were entitled to
200 acres of land each, by Act of Parliament), or those entitled by
existing regulations to the Government free grants, can obtain any of
the waste Crown lands otherwise than by purchase. The sales take place
under the direction of a Commissioner on the first and third Tuesday
of every month in the different districts. The lands are put at an
upset price, of which notice is given at the time of advertising the
sale, and the conditions are one-fourth of the purchase-money paid
down; the remainder at three equal annual instalments, with interest
at 6 percent, payable on and with each instalment: when this is
completed, a patent for the lands is issued, free of charge.
The conditions of sale for land in the
Huron Tract were open to
interpretation. Sir John Robinson, 1st Baronet, of Toronto, an
important member of the 9th Parliament of Upper Canada, felt that
those persons who automatically became American citizens after 1783
should be required to renounce their American citizenship to qualify
as a Loyalist. The opposition, the Colborne Clique, had a
different opinion and were able to sway a victory in defiance of the
Family Compact and Sir John Robinson's position. This issue is one of
many that lead to the Rebellion of 1837. Another issue pertinent to
the conditions of sale, was who qualified for the Government free
grants and who did not.
Historic Sites and Monuments Board of
Canada Plaque. Erected 1929.
Pioneers of the
Huron Tract 1828-1928
Commemorating the life work of the men who opened the roads, felled
the forests, builded the farmsteads, tilled the fields, reaped the
harvests—and of the women who made the homes, bore the children,
nursed them, reared them, brightened and ennobled domestic life in the
Huron Tract during a hundred years.
Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
Anthony Van Egmond
Anthony Van Egmond 1778-1838 (Anthony Van Egmond)
The Founding of Goderich (Goderich, Ontario)
Thomas Mercer Jones 1795-1868 (Thomas Mercer Jones)
"Tiger" Dunlop 1792-1848 (William "Tiger" Dunlop)
The Founding of Bayfield (Bayfield, Ontario)
Fryfogel's Inn 1845, Neoclassical architecture Huron Road, Huron
The Wilberforce Settlement 1830 (Wilberforce Colony)
Bruce Trail forest
In 1841, the
Huron Tract was 1,200,000 acres (4,900 km2) with
another parcel about to be added that would take the total to over 1.7
million acres (6,900 km2). The
Huron Tract would eventually total
2,756,960 acres (11,157 km2).
William "Tiger" Dunlop
William "Tiger" Dunlop describes the land as loamy, or, sandy loam
with a limestone gravel on the verge of the lakes. The whole of the
area is characterised as covered with considerable vegetable mold.
Dunlop also describes the bedrock as a recent formation of limestone
varied with sandstone.
Lakeshores featured detached masses of rock of the Serpentine group.
Granite in red, silver and gray were visible.
Pyrite or fools gold
could be seen embedded in clay slate, particularly at Kettle Point.
The major rivers within the
Huron Tract are:
North Branch of the Thames near Stratford, Ontario
Nith River near Canning, Ontario
Thames River (Ontario)
St. Clair River
Ausable River (Lake Huron)
The ecozone of the former
Huron Tract is Mixedwood Plains. Although
very little of the originally heavily forested area still stand, some
isolated pockets of the old forest remain. They consist of eastern
white pine, eastern hemlock, yellow birch, red pine, sugar maple,
Quercus rubra(red oak), bassword and white elm. Historically, the
southwest area of the
Huron Tract contained a small portion of
Carolinian forest or deciduous trees.
Name origin: Named with reference to Ellice Township (Ontario)
Perth County, Ontario
Milverton, Ontario, Stratford, Ontario
43°47′N 80°10′W / 43.783°N 80.167°W / 43.783; -80.167
Forest: Poplar, black ash and silver maple
Serpentine group, granite, pyrite, clay slate
Cypripedium pubescens, Canadian blueberry, Ophioglossum, Eriophorum,
Spiranthes, sumac, serviceberry, willow
Golden-winged warbler, white-tailed deer, cougar (also known as puma,
mountain lion, or eastern panther), snapping turtle
A large cedar swamp was located in the townships of Ellice, Logan,
McKillop, terminating in Hullett.
The largest area is known as the
Ellice Swamp and the Gads Hill Swamp.
Both are located between Milverton and Stratford Ontario. Ellice Swamp
is 2,504 acres (1,013 ha). Gad Hill Swamp is 1,741 acres
(705 ha). Ellice and Gads Hill are primarily owned by the Upper
Thames River Conservation Authority; the northern section of Ellice
Swamp being owned by the Grand River Conservation Authority A
smaller area is known as Hullet Swamp or Hullett Provincial Wildlife
Area. Currently the Hullett Provincial Wildlife Area is 2,200 hectares
(5,400 acres) along the South
Maitland River in the heart of Huron
Huron Tract was once home to significant wetlands, swamps
and one of the largest deer yards in Ontario. Presently 3.4% of the
Huron Tract is wetland.
Ellice Swamp is a Class 2
Provincially Significant wetland. Of other interest in the area are
the Class 1 wetland Dorchester Swamp, the Class 2 wetland Sifton Bog
and Golspie Swamp.
Maitland Valley Conservation Authority
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority
Upper Thames River Conservation Authority
St. Clair Region Conservation Authority
List of cities and towns of Upper Canada
Former colonies and territories in Canada
^ "Heritage Huron East". Archived from the original on May 15, 2009.
Retrieved August 9, 2010.
^ "July 1827 Treaty
Huron Tract Purchase". atlas.nrcan.gc.ca. Archived
from the original on October 3, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2010.
^ "What was the Huron Tract?". Retrieved September 17, 2010.
^ a b Kathleen Macfarlane Lizars, In the days of the
The story of the settlement of the
Huron Tract and a view of the
social life of the period, 1825-1850. Toronto: William Briggs,
^ a b c d Robert C. Lee, The
Canada Company and the Huron Tract,
1826-1853. Toronto, Ont.: Natural Heritage, 2004. Appendix C pp.
Canada in the Making". Retrieved August 29, 2010.
^ "History of Northern Ontario". Archived from the original on June
12, 2010. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
Ontario Heritage Trust". Archived from the original on June 15,
2011. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
^ a b "Ipperwash:General Historical Background" (PDF). Retrieved Sep
^ ">"Huron Tract". Archived from the original on July 6, 2011.
Retrieved August 30, 2010.
^ An Act to form certain Townships in the London District into a
County, and to attach certain Townships to the Counties of Middlesex
and Kent, in the London and Western Districts, S.U.C. 1835, c. 46
^ Johnston, William (1903). History of the County of Perth, from 1825
to 1902. Stratford: The Beacon Office.
^ "The Victorian Web: Literature, History and Culture in the Age of
Victoria". Retrieved Sep 5, 2010.
^ Robert Montgomery Martin, Statistics of the Colonies of the British
Empire in the West Indies, South America, North America, Asia,
Austral-Asia, Africa, and Europe ... of Each Colony with the Charters
and the Engraved Seal from the Official Records of the Colonial
Office. London: Wm H. Allen and Co., 1839, p.209.
^ Charles Walker Robinson. Life of Sir John Beverly Robinson: Bart.,
C.B., D.C.L., Chief-Justice of Upper Canada. BiblioLife: April, 2010.
^ a b "Plaque 24—Huron". Archived from the original on 2011-08-28.
Retrieved Sep 1, 2010.
Ontario Heritage Trust Fryfogel's Inn
^ a b "The Atlas of Canada-Forested Ecozones". Archived from the
original on August 4, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
^ a b c "Thames River Conservation Area" (PDF). Archived from the
original (PDF) on June 15, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
^ "Hullett Wildlife Area". Retrieved November 4, 2010.
Library and Archives Canada: From Colony to Country: A Reader's Guide
to Canadian Military History
Archives of Ontario,
Canada Company Fonds.
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority
Maitland Valley Conservation Authority
Upper Thames River Conservation Authority
St. Clair Region Conservation Authority official website
Canada. "No. 29" in Indian treaties and surrenders, from 1680 to 1890.
(Ottawa : B. Chamberlin, 1891)
Atlas of Canada: Map of the Area of the 10 July 1827 Treaty (Huron