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About Local History

Understanding the history of the community in which our ancestors lived helps us to better understand the records that document their lives.

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Early History of Lambton County

Lambton County has a long and interesting history. The first residents in Lambton County were the Attawandarons, which date to the early 17th century. The early French explorers called them the "Neutrals" since they tried to stay neutral during the Huron and Iroquois wars. Unfortunately they were pulled into the conflict and were destroyed and replaced by bands of nomadic Chippewas.

The region remained in French control until the Peace of Paris in 1763 when the British took possession. Early settlers in the area were French and Loyalists from the states after the War of 1812. The first major wave of settlement occurred during the early 1830s when settlers from Lanark came to our area in search of oil in the swamps. The British surveyed the original townships by 1835 and Lambton was incorporated in 1849.

Through various redistricting plans, the area that now occupies our county was part of the District of Hesse, the Western District, and Kent County. It was not until 1849 when Lambton was incorporated as part of Kent County, and by 1851 it was part of the United Counties of Essex and Lambton. Finally, in 1853 Lambton became an independent county with its own council. This is the reason why Lambton "grew" instead of being established in the traditional way.

Lambton County was named in honour of John George Lambton, Lord (Earl of) Durham, a former Governor General of British North America in 1838. The family motto, "La Jour Viendra" (the day will come), is on the county crest.