The Historical Atlas of Middlesex County was first published in 1878 by H. R. Page and Co. On the title page it states that the atlas was dedicated by Special Permission to His Excellency “The Earl of Dufferin K.P. K.C.B. Governor General”. Frederick Temple Hamilton-Temple Blackwood, was Canada’s third Governor General, from 1872 – 1878. Upon his appointment he travelled to every accessible part of Canada, often on horseback and canoe, initiating a tradition which has been followed by his successors.
Within Canada there were over 40 atlases produced between 1874 and 1881, covering most of the eastern part of the Country (Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes). Each of the county atlases consisted of a historical text, township and town maps, portraits, views and patrons’ directory with business cards. But more important, names of residents were marked on the lots of the township maps in these county atlases. Unfortunately only the names of subscribers were recorded on the township maps for the Dominion of Canada supplements. All of these atlases were sold by subscription. Prominent county residents paid an additional sum to have biographical sketches, portraits and views of their residences or businesses included in the atlases (Information from the Canadian County Atlas Digital Project from McGill University).
Within the Middlesex County Atlas you will find sketches relating to the Firemen’s Hall in Strathroy, the Residence of I. B. Burwell (in Caradoc), Alexander Johnston of Kittridge Ave, Strathroy, Richard W. Williams on Longwoods Road Caradoc, and James Manson of Strathroy. Businesses include the Lager Beer Brewery on Caradoc Street Strathroy, and the Albion Hotel in Strathroy.
Personal sketches of some of the prominent Men in the County include Alexander Johnston a general store owner at the age of sixteen in 1860, and Dr. W. B Lindsay, son of Mr. G. H. Lindsay of Mount Brydges. Business sketches include John Heard and Co Artificial Stone Works, Isaac Moore’s Hotel and Bixel Brewery all of Strathroy.
Maps include all of the townships in Middlesex County including and even preliminary village maps that did not come to fruition, like the Village of Adelaide.
The Museum has a number of copies of the Middlesex Atlas and it is a very valuable resource when doing research for genealogy and exhibit purposes. It has since been reproduced in 1972 however even the copies have become scarce over the years.
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