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A Chronology of Ontario for Family Historians
Article updated: 22 September 2010
By: Rick Roberts,   Biography & Archived Articles

1800.... Addington County Incorporated with Lennox County to become the united counties of Lennox & Addington

1800.... Russell, Simcoe, Prescott, Oxford, Middlesex, Carleton, Haldimand, counties are established.

1800.... Suffolk county and the first county named "Ontario" are abolished

1800.... Johnstown District established by proclamation January 1, 1800, with Johnstown named the District town. On March 16, 1808 District town status was transferred to Brockville

1800.... London District established by proclamation January 1, 1800, with Charlottsville officially named the District town on July 9, 1801. On April 14, 1814, the Quarter Sessions were moved to Tisdale's Mills (renamed Vittoria in 1818) then moved again on January 30, 1826 to London.

1800.... Niagara District established by proclamation January 1, 1800, with Niagara named the District town

1800.... The districts are divided into counties and the boundaries of the various divisions (townships, counties and districts) are regularized so that each township is contained in a single county and each county in a single district

1800..... 20 March. Simcoe grants 8000 acres to Timothy Rogers for a Quaker settlement in York County (King and Whitchurch Townships)

1799 Peter Hunter appointed Lieutenant-Governor

1798.... 7 October. Forty-four refugees from the French Revolution are given land in Uxbridge, Gwillimbury and Whitchurch Townships (York County)

Click to see a larger version
Ontario's Districts - 1798. Source: Archives of Ontario.

1798.... Complete territorial redistribution, several new districts are created and old ones redefined: the Johnstown district is created out of the Eastern District; the London District is created out of the Home and Western Districts; the Newcastle District is created out of the Home District; the Niagara District is created out of the Home District 1798.... New Marriage Act extends the right to perform marriages to Presbyterians, Calvinists and Lutherans

1797.... Land Record Copy Books were created to contain copies of deeds, mortgages, wills, liens etc. From 1797 to 1846 they are organised by county, from 1846 to 1866 by city, town township and village. From 1866 to 1955 the registers contain other items such as power of attorney, probate administrations etc. The archives of Ontario and each Land Registry Office have copies on microfilm. Source - book:

1796.... York (Toronto) becomes the permanent capitol of Upper Canada / Canada West / Ontario. Source - Book: Genealogy In Ontario - Searching The Records. Brenda Dougall Merriman

1796.... Jay's Treaty takes effect regarding boundary with U.S.; British withdrawal from Detroit and Michilimackinac

1796..... 20 February. Yonge Street is opened from York to Pine Fort Landing on Lake Simcoe, 34 miles

1795.... An Act was passed ( 35 geo. III c.5) which provided for the establishment of Land Registry Offices across the province. On July 16 of 1792 each of the Districts had a land board but by October 21 of the same year they were broken up into local land boards to manage the land granting process. Most registrars held responsibility for a single county but there was provision in the early period, for one registrar to oversee more than one one county if in the same District. Registrars were appointees.

1794.... Able Stevens brought 200 baptists from Vermont to settle in Kitley and Bastard townships in Leeds County. Source - book: PERTH: Tradition & Style in Eastern Ontario

1794.... Jay's Treaty between Great Britian and United States. One condition is the ceding of British forts Detroit and Michilimackinac to the United States. Source - Book: Genealogy In Ontario - Searching The Records. Brenda Dougall Merriman

1794.... Samuel Stafford of Saratoga Springs, New York, attracted 24 people to Marlborough, Montague, Oxford and Wolford townships, where 408 inhabitants were residing in the "Rideau Settlement" by 1803. Source - book: PERTH: Tradition & Style in Eastern Ontario

1794.... William Berczy brings German colonists from New York to Markham Township in York County

1793.... Toronto, formerly York, formerly Fort York, is established on 27 August, with the building of Fort York. The Fort was constructed on the orders of John Graves Simcoe, then lieutenant-governor because of the threat of war with the United States. He sought a naval base in order to maintain control of Lake Ontario. The British army maintained a military force at Fort York from 1793 to 1870

1793.... 18 April. The first issue of the Upper Canada Gazette is published at Newark by Louis Roy

1793.... An Act of the Upper Canada legislature passed on 28 September, states that all slave children born in Upper Canada after this time will be free at the age of 25

1793.... Marriage Act: the right to perform marriage is extended to magistrates (justices of the peace) in addition to the exclusive privileges of Catholic and Anglican clergy; “regularization” of existing unions

1793.... Provincial Court of Probate and District Surrogate Courts are established

1792.... The first Parliament of Upper Canada was elected in August of 1792 and it's first session ran from September 17, 1792 to October 15, 1792 at Newark (which later became the modern town of Niagara On The Lake).

1792.... Upper Canada created the first counties in 1792 for election and militia purposes; they were also the basis for the surveying and creation of townships, and for land registration. Counties existed within the districts.

1792.... John Graves Simcoe, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada divided the province into 19 counties (Addington, Dundas, Durham (see book: Historical Atlas of Northumberland & Durham Counties) , Essex, Frontenac, Glengarry, Grenville, Hastings (see book: Historical Atlas of Hastings & Prince Edward Counties) , Kent, Leeds, Lennox, Lincoln, Norfolk, Northumberland (see book: Historical Atlas of Northumberland & Durham Counties) , Ontario (1st), Prince Edward (see book: Historical Atlas of Hastings & Prince Edward Counties), Stormont, Suffolk, York (see book: Historical Atlas of York County) .) and 4 Districts (the 1788 Districts are renamed: Eastern (was Lunenburgh), Midland (was Mecklenburg), Home (was Nassau) and Western (was Hesse)), under the "Proclamation of July 16", in preparation for the election of the first parliament. Districts were the recognised units of local government. Not until 1850 did the County become the unit of local government.

1792.... John Grave Simcoe becomes the first lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada (Ontario). Source - Book: Genealogy In Ontario - Searching The Records. Brenda Dougall Merriman

1792... In the summer of 1792 a tornado crossed the south west portion of Thorold Township ( in the Niagara Peninsula) flattening a path through the forest which became the "Hurrican Road", thus providing a land route from Fonthill to Port Robinson.

1791.... Population of Upper Canada / Ontario = 10,000

1791.... The American Revolution and the arrival of the Loyalists led to the Constitutional Act (1791), which separated the Province of Quebec into Upper Canada (current southern Ontario) and Lower Canada (current southern Quebec).

1791.... On August 24, 1791, The Canada (Consitutional) Act was passed in the court of St. James and created Upper Canada and Lower Canada with the Ottawa River the boundry between the two. This Act became the constitution of Canada for the next 40 years.

1790.... Active congregations are established in the original Loyalist settlement areas; Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian and Lutheran and traveling preachers or missionaries are serving smaller denominations and more isolated communities

1789....Lord Dorchester creates by order-in-council, a Mark of Honour for the Loyalists: UE (Unity of Empire) designation and privileges for Loyalist settlers. Sons of a loyalist received 200 acres. Daughters received 200 acres when married. Source - Book: Genealogy In Ontario - Searching The Records by Brenda Dougall Merriman, and United Empire Loyalists, A Guide to Tracing Loyalist Ancestors in Upper Canada by the same author

1788.... Lord Dorchester formed "Districts" as the basis for local administration and courts, with The Proclamation of 24 July, 1788 organised what is now the southern part of present day Ontario into four Districts ( Lunenburg (renamed Eastern in 1792), Mecklenburg (renamed Midland in 1792), Nassau (renamed Home in 1792) and Hesse (renamed Western in 1792)). The same Proclamation also established the district of Gaspe in what is now Quebec. A judge and a sheriff were appointed for each district. Each district had its own Land Board.

Districts formed the basis for local administration and courts. The first districts, created in 1788. Source: Archives of Ontario.

1788.... "The Scarce Year" The crop failure in Upper Canada / Ontario in 1787 resulted in a province wide famine in 1788 which caused 1788 to be coined "the scarce year".

1787.... Crops failed across the province resulting in a famine in Upper Canada / Ontario in the following year.

1787.... The site of Toronto is purchased from the Mississauga Indians on 23 September.

1787.... The first stage coach service in Ontario is established between Queenston and Fort Erie on 27 December.

1786.... Guy Carleton who later became Lord Dorchester, becomes the Governor of British North America

1786.... The first Methodist minister in Ontario, George Neal, begins to preach in the Niagara area.

1785.... Rev. John Stuart opens the first school in Ontario, at Kingston

1784.... Population of Upper Canada / Ontario = 6000

1784.... Three Macdonell brothers, Archibald, Collachie, and Leek led a group of Loyalists from New York to settle in Glengarry County in 1784. The settlers were Scots who had emigrated from the Glengarry estate in Scotland to New york in 1773. The Revolutionary War in the United States transformed the recent Scots immigrants into Loyalists who sought refuge in present day Ontario. Source - book: THE PEOPLE OF GLENGARRY: Highlanders in Transition 1745 - 1820

1784.... United Empire Loyalists begin settling along the St. Lawrence River and the Bay of Quinte

1784.... The charismatic Indian chief Joseph Brant led about 4000 of his people from the United States to the Grand River Reserve which was granted by the Crown to Brant and his followers for their allegiance and services to Britain during the American Revolution.

1783-4....About 4000 United Empire Loyalists took up residence on land along the north shore of the St Lawrence and the Bay of Quinte.

1784.... On an unrecorded date in 1784 the first recorded apointment of a land surveyor was given to Patrick McNiff

1783.... American Revolutionary War ends 3 September. Royal instructions allow land grants in "Canada" to American who remained loyal to the crown during the American Revolutionary War. Conditions applied. Heads of families receive 100 acres, members of families 50 acres each, single men 50 acres, and non-commissioned officers 200 acres. The first United Empire Loyalists (UELs) begin to arrive in Quebec and Nova Scotia

1783.... Townships in present-day Ontario begin to be surveyed for settlement by United Empire Loyalists

1783.... The census of Niagara was taken on November 30th and December 1, 1783. Source - book: Ontario Register, Vol 1

1781.... United Empire Loyalists consisting of men who had served in Butler's Rangers and their families started to settle in the vicinity of Niagara as early as 1781. Source - book: Ontario Register, Vol 1

1780.... The first post office in the province is opened at Kingston. Until 1855 the post office in all of British North America was managed from England with some field management duties handled by authorities based in Quebec City.

1775.... American Revolutionary War begins.

More Ontario Chronology, by year: pre 1775     1775 - 1800     1801 - 1839     1840 - 1866     1867 - 1940

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