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The Founding of the County of Lennox and Addington


LA County Map
Source: Archives Ontario. Map No. 21a – The Southern Part of the Province of Ontario Map – (Detail) Lennox and Addington County

Glenn L. Lockwood, a noted Canadian author of local histories, identified the history of a place as how people lived in their local home environment and in their own communities. The importance of home transcends the period of eras, from the first settlers 11,000 years ago, to the present day. Settlers all had similar tenets: banding together to ensure survival, as well the sharing of food and shelter against predators. Each developed their own unique cultural identify whether in language, home abode, or food and customs.

The defined boundary of the County of Lennox and Addington has evolved since the sixteen hundreds.  With the fall of Quebec in 1759, Quebec and lands were reserved for Indigenous use. However in 1783, The Crawford Purchase, where by the British Crown purchased land from the Mississaugas (local indigenous people), began the granting of land to fleeing United Empire Loyalist (UEL) and Indian Allies from the American Revolutionary War in the United States.

Crawford Purchase Plaque, Kingston, Ontario Text

“In October 1783, at Carleton Island near here, Captain William Redford Crawford of the King’s Royal Regiment of New York met with the local Mississauga Indians led by the elderly Mynass. Crawford, acting for the British government, purchased from the Mississaugas for some clothing, ammunition and coloured cloth a large tract of land east of the Bay of Quinte. The land was subsequently settled by United Empire Loyalists and Britain’s Indian allies who had been forced to leave their homes in the new United States”.

In the same year, surveying was commenced in the Quinte area, with settlers arriving in 1784 to settle in the first surveyed land, later known as Adolphustown. By 1788, the land was divided into four districts: Mecklenburg, Nassua, Hesse and Lunenburgh, with Mecklenburg District now known as Lennox. The Constitutional Act of 1791 divided Quebec into Upper (Ontario) and Lower Canada (Quebec). By 1792, the Mecklenburg name is changed to Midland and the separate Counties of Addington and Lennox are named. However, in 1800 Lennox and Addington Counties are joined together, and Upper Canada in 1841 is renamed Canada West.

Midland District is dissolved and the Counties become the major units. Finally, in 1867 with Confederation, Canada West is known as Ontario (“shining waters”).

More townships were surveyed as settlers arrived hoping to improve their life by becoming land owners.  As the front townships land filled rapidly, the land north of them was surveyed to accommodate the new immigrants.

Sources:  In The Rear of Leeds & Lansdowne, The Making of a Community on the Gananoque River Frontier
Publisher: The Corporation of the Rear of Leeds & Grenville 1996
The History of Lennox And Addington by Walter S. Herrington, 1913.
Smiling Wilderness, An Illustrated History Lennox and Addington County by Frank B. Edwards 1984
Lennox and Addington by Orland French, Napanee Beaver Publisher, 2009
Historic Kingston, The Development of Municipal Government in the Bay of Quinte Area, Publisher:
Kingston Historical Society 1974