Burwell Road

One of the first surveyors

Mahlon Burwell

Burwell Road is named after Colonel Mahlon Burwell, a leading member of Tiger Dunlop's party when they surveyed the proof line through the Huron Tract in May 1827.

Burwell was born in New Jersey, the eldest son of Adam Burwell, a United Empire Loyalist who moved with his family, after the American Revolutionary War, to the vicinity of Fort Erie in Upper Canada. Port Burwell, on Lake Erie, is named after the same family.

Mahlon studied land surveying, and in 1809 was appointed a deputy surveyor. For his professional competence, his personal integrity, and his soundness of judgment, he came to enjoy a high reputation. He and his wife had seven sons and two daughters.

Between 1812 and 1840, he was elected at least five times to the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada, and defeated at least three times. His first constituency included the counties of Middlesex and Oxford, and in 1836 he became the first to represent the new constituency of London, at that time still a village designated as the district town of the London district. Burwell's house at Port Talbot was destroyed during the War of 1812.

In 1827, when he came near to what is now Stratford, Burwell was working for the surveyor general of Upper Canada and John Galt of the Canada Company. Burwell died at his farm near Port Talbot in 1846. A large portion of the western part of the province was surveyed by Burwell. With notes from Stanford Dingman and Burwell bio: Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Port Burwell is named after him Mahlon Burwell. The commemorative plague reads:

Born of Loyalist parents, Burwell became a deputy-surveyor in 1809 and was instructed to lay out the Talbot Road for settlement. He was granted 240 ha of land in Southwold Township where he settled in 1815.

A close associate of Col. Thomas Talbot, Burwell carried out extensive surveys in southwestern Upper Canada which prepared the way for settlement. He served in the War of 1812 as lieutenant-colonel of the 1st Middlesex Militia, was a justice of the peace and for some 20 years represented this area in the legislative assembly. This community, named in his honour, was laid out by Burwell in 1830.

Source: Ontario Plaques.