Early Settlement

While it is debatable that Thomas Talbot was the first European settler in what is now Elgin County, his position as Father of the Talbot Settlement is not. Although Talbot had been resident in the area now occupied by Port Stanley in 1801, Talbot's arrival at Port Talbot on May 21st, 1803 is seen as the beginning of the Talbot Regime, and of systematic European settlement in Southwestern Ontario.


Between Talbot's arrival, and the arrival of the railways in the 1850's marks the era of early settlement. These pages tell the stories of those people that created Elgin County from a hostile wilderness. Struggles against the environment were only one threat facing the pioneers of the Talbot Settlement. The War of 1812, economic upheaval, political and religious divisions, as well as the capricious Talbot, and his stranglehold on the levers of the legal system all conspired against the common settler.


We hope you will enjoy exploring the people and places that have shaped Elgin into what it is today.