Former Township of West Luther

The former Township of West Luther was originally in the possession of the Mississauga Indians but became part of a tract of land signed over by them to the government in 1818. In 1854, George McPhillips surveyed the land. At the same time he was surveying Melancthon Township and he decided that they were the worst two townships he had ever surveyed. Being a Roman Catholic, McPhillips named the townships after Martin Luther and Philip Melancthon, two of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. It is a good story; however, Luther received its name several years before McPhillips surveyed the area.

Progress of the Township was very slow because Luther was almost covered completely with timber and swamps. In the early 1870s, during a dry summer, fires broke out over the Township, which burnt off the muck and leveled most of the timber, which improved development. The township developed rapidly once the Toronto, Grey & Bruce Railway was built in 1871.

The Grand River runs through the whole length of East Luther, therefore they needed many bridges, unlike West Luther, who needed roads badly. For a long time, the people of East Luther were able to elect a majority in Council and money was spent on building bridges, which caused problems that eventually led to the separation of the township. In 1879, the West elected a majority and quickly prepared a bill to separate the township. In 1881, the Ontario Legislature passed a bill dividing Luther Township into separate townships, West and East Luther.

In 1915, High Tension Hydro Lines supplied local residents with power if they were interested, but it wasn’t until 1950 that hydro became widespread through the rural areas of Luther.

Information in this section courtesy of: Jean Hutchinson's The History of Wellington County and Paul O'Donnell & Frank Coffey's A History of the Arthur Area