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Published 27 September 2011

"Preservation of The Public Morals" (poster) Perth County, Canada West [Ontario] 1859
By Rick Roberts, Global Genealogy

Last month's article about a poster that laid out the rules for the Norfolk County Poor House was a hit with our readers. This month I've included something for those with Perth County, Ontario roots.


Perth County is located in the south western part of present day Ontario. Between 1831 and 1867 Ontario was known as Canada West, hence the abbreviation on the poster of "C.W.".

Perth County was officially created in January 1850 out of the former Huron and Wellington Districts. Prior to 1850 the boundaries of the county existed however there was no administrative authority at the county level. Previously authority for courts, land registration and other functions was at the District level which encompassed more than one county. Districts were abolished by legislation in 1849 but it took many for some counties to establish the necessary infrastructure.

The original townships that made up the Perth County included:
  • Blanshard Township
  • Downie Township
  • North Easthope Township
  • South Easthope Township
  • Ellice Township
  • Elma Township
  • Fullarton Township
  • Hibbert Township
  • Logan Township
  • Mornington Township
  • Wallace Township
Five towns were incorporated in the early years of the county including Stratford, St. Marys, Mitchell, Listowel and Milverton. By 1997 there were 14 fourteen municipalities. However at the beginning of 1998 the county, with "encouragement" from the province amalgamated their 14 municipalities into four (North Perth; Perth East; Perth South; West Perth). Only the City of Stratford and the Town of St. Marys were unaffected by the amalgamation.

POSTER - "Preservation of the Public Morals" County of Perth, Canada West 1859

This poster, like the Norfolk County poster, defines the social norms of a time that was very different from ours. These examples help us understand the cultural influences that existed in the times of our ancestors.

One of my favorites is rule number 5: "It will be unlawful for any person to play Marbles, Cricket, Skittles, Ball, Racket, or any noisy game, or to gamble with Dice or otherwise, on Sunday."

You have to watch out for those rowdy Marble players, they'll ruin the neighborhood :)

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