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Stories and information on Huron County Townships taken from the book The Settlement of Huron Countyby James Scott, 1916. Ryerson Press, 1966
Wawanosh E.
Wawanosh W.


Usborne was named after one of the first directors of the Canada Company, Henry Usborne who had great faith in the investment potentials of Canada. This Township is bounded on the north by the Township of Tuckersmith, on the east by the Township of Hibbert, Fullarton and Blanchard, all in the County of Perth; on the south by the Township of Biddulph, in the County of Middlesex; and on the west by the Township of Stephen and Hay. It has an irregular shape and contains 42,681 acres. Until 1845 it had only 283 inhabitants but increased to 1,484 by 1852. The major crop ws wheat, then turnips, oats, potatoes, peas and hay. Sheep were important livestock, followed by hogs and cows and a considerable dairy industry was developed in butter and cheese. For many years one of the staple crops in Usborne was maple sugar and maple syrup.

The early settlers in the township were James Willis and William McConnell and who settled in the area that was later called Exeter and largely responsible for the original development of this settlement. Long before Exeter, another area called Devon which was 3 miles to the south of Exeter was developed. In this area a Devonshire man, John Balkwill, cleared four acres about a little over a mile south of Exeter. He returned to England and was so enthusiastic about the prospects of a new and more prosperous life in the Huron Tract that he attempted very successfully to convince a good number of his friends and neighbours to come out to this country. The first of these was his brother-in-law, William May, who arrive with his family in 1832 and registered his land in 1833. Between 1833 and 1835 several of Thomas Balkwill's brothers came out and took up land on both the Usborne and Stephen sides of the London Road. Another Devonshire man, George Snell, settled in Usborne. A brother of James Balkwill who arrived in 1835 was so good in urging new settlers to take up land in this area that the Canada Company made him its constable and agent for the Usborne Township District.

Usborne Township Records

Mary Ann Kehoe McGee Obituary 1855-1945 Usborne Township


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