Essex & Community Historical Research Society has been active within the community for more than ten years. We are constantly thriving to maintain the historical integrity within the community by preserving a variety of documents, pictures, and stories about, from and by the community of Essex and surrounding areas.
The settlement of Essex dates back to the 1700s, when the land was surveyed by Thomas Smith. The land included 97 narrow farm lots running inland from Lake Erie between Mill Creek and Malden Township.
Settlement of the area continued throughout the 1800s ultimately creating Colchester Township and then Colchester North and Colchester South in 1879. Inland settlement continued and Harrow was surveyed in 1824 but experienced slow growth, however, after the Lake Erie, Essex and Detroit Railway established a route from Windsor to Kingsville via Harrow, the small community became an active business centre.
Further inland, Essex Centre was following a similar path to development. At the hub of Essex County, Essex Centre came to be when the Canada Southern Railway developed tracks that laid across the Talbot Trail in 1872. The village of Essex Centre was incorporated in January 1884 as the settlement quickly grew with the lumber industry and other key services.
Achieving town status in 1890, the settlement became known as Essex and to distinguish between the urban centre from the municipality, Council re-adopted the name Essex Centre after amalgamation.
The town of Essex known today was officially created on January 1, 1999 when the former towns of Essex and Harrow and the former townships of Colchester North and Colchester South were amalgamated. This merger effectively restored the boundaries of Colchester Township as it had been established in 1792.**
Alexander Cameron purchased the site to be called Essex Village from Timothy Jones.
Timothy was pleased to finally have his land a Town.
**Information from the Essex County website: https://www.essex.ca/en/discover/localhistory.asp
Portrait of Alexander Cameron, courtesy of McCord Museum.