|This area of Ontario is covered by Simcoe County GenWeb. The information presented below is merely an outline of the county and does not include what is available for genealogical research for this area. For information on genealogical research of this area please visit Simcoe County GenWeb.|
Simcoe County was established in 1798 and named for Upper Canada's first Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe.
Though established in 1798 it did not attain county status until 1850. From 1821-1850 it was Simcoe District.
The area was once known as 'Huronia' and was inhabitated by the Huron Indians.
The first Europeans to reach this area arrived in the early 1600's. Etienne Brule was the first white man to visit the area and famed explorer Samuel de Champlain himself visited and wintered in the area in 1615.
In 1626 a Jesuit mission was established near what is now Penetanguishene.
In 1649 "a war party of Iroquois numbering one thousand, entered Huron country. Before dawn, on the 16th of March, they suprised the fortified village of St. Ignace on the Sturgeon River just south of present-day Waubaushene, and within a few minutes had massacred the inhabitants."2
The next day the Hurons retaliated but lost. They retreated to Christian Island and the Jesuit missionaries abandoned the area in 1650 and returned to Quebec.
After this brutal period the area was uninhabitated for many years. The Ojibways later settled in the area.
The first settlers arrived in the late 1700's. They were mostly fur traders.
In 1798 the area in Northern Simcoe, including the three islands, was purchased from the Indians by the Canadian government. The southern part of the area was taken by the government in 1815 and prepared for settlers, mostly military veterans and descendants of Loyalists who had been granted land. Later that year several Scottish settlers arrived from Lord Selkirk's failed Red River Settlement.
Most of the county didn't see settlers until the 1830's. Until then the area was inhabited by its original native inhabitants.
In the 1850's Simcoe County was quite large and included areas that are now part of Grey County, Dufferin County, Muskoka District and Parry Sound District. By 1881 Simcoe County had 'shrunk' to its current size.
"Population 27,165 in 1852 and 217,306 in 1980."3
Simcoe County is located in Southern Ontario.
Prior to 1800 - Home District
1800-1843 - part of Home District
1843-1849 - part of Simcoe District
More maps of this area
Questions & Answers
2 Places In Ontario by Nick & Helma Mika, 1977
3 Place Names of Ontario by Floreen Carter, 1984
5 Place Names of Ontario by Alan Rayburn, 1997
6 A Statutory Chronology of Eastern Ontario, 1788-1981 by Thomas A. Hillman