The Township of Perth East is a municipality in Perth County, Ontario, Canada and situated north of Stratford. It was created in 1998 when the Ontario government amalgamated the village of Milverton with the surrounding former townships of Ellice, Mornington, North Easthope and South Easthope.
Milverton is the largest community of the township, where the municipal administration is based. The mayor is Bob McMillan. The population in 2016 was 12,261, with 3,993 occupied private dwellings, in a land area of 712.14 km².
Ellice Township. In 1829, the first concession in the Township of Ellice was surveyed and opened for settlement. A cairn still stands marking the site of the first home, at Lot 31, Concession 1, owned by Andrew Seebach from Bavaria. (A cairn has been erected to mark the location.) The Township was named after Edward Ellice, a director of the Canada Company. The local municipal history began in 1842 when John Sebring was appointed to the position of District Councillor (later classified as a Reeve).The first separate school in the Township was opened at Millbrook in 1857 and closed in 1907 when it merged with another local school. In 1908 the Ellice Council purchased the abandoned school and moved it to a site on the County Road where it served as the seat of municipal government until 1960. The building was replaced by the present hall which was built in 1961.
Village of Milverton. The first settler in Milverton was Andrew West, a shoemaker who settled on a farm and opened a hotel in 1851. Other businesses soon followed and the hamlet, then called West's Corners, began to expand. The first Post Office was established in 1854 and the first schoolhouse in 1856.
By 1864, the settlement contained a sawmill, a tannery, two churches and some 200 residents. In about 1871 the name of the village was changed to Milverton, named after Milverton, Somerset in England. The Stratford and Huron Railway reached this area in 1877, making it easy to market the area's agricultural products; the population increased afterwards. Effective January 1, 1881, Milverton was incorporated into a village; its population at the time was 550.
Village of Shakespeare. According to Stratford Heritage, Perth County's first settler was Sebastian Fryfogel from Bavaria, Germany. He first built a log shelter in 1827 while the Canada Company's Huron Road was being surveyed. Still standing, it is part of what is now the village of Shakespeare. In 1844 or 1845, he replaced it with a larger building which served as an inn and stagecoach stop, the Fryfogel Tavern. It maintained this role until about 1856, when the railway became the primary method of transportation. According to Canada's Register of Historic Places, "graves and markers of Sebastian Fryfogel and other Fryfogel family members are located on the property's western portion, as well as a cairn (1928) marking the site's century of occupation".
Mornington Township. The first Township Council meeting was held in 1854. This, and subsequent meetings were held at taverns throughout the municipality. In 1857, only four years after the Township was established, the Township Clerk was fired - Council minutes explain that "the collections roll contained contradicting statements that... money had been collected, the expenditure of which could not be ascertained by the Auditors in a satisfactory manner". In 1876, the Stratford and Huron Railway Company and the Township entered into an agreement to bring the railway into the municipality with two stations.
North Easthope Township. North Easthope Township was named after Sir John Easthope, a Canada Company director. The area was settled around 1832 by two main ethnic groups - Highland Scots and Hessen Darmstadt Deutsch due to the Canada Company's advertisement of the local land in Scottish and German newspapers.
South Easthope Township. The first settler to Southeast Township moved in on Christmas Day in 1828. In 1863, South Easthope was the smallest township in the area with a population of 2,322 and an areas of 9,759 hectares. Council meetings were help in a room leased at a hotel until 1954 when a township hall was opened. In 1959, a Fire Hall was opened housing a volunteer department of 17 men, two fire trucks and a pumper. This department still exists and serves the communities in North and South Easthope.