The Perth Military Settlement (PMA) was established as one of three strategic defensive outposts along the Rideau Corridor after the War of 1812 to ensure a trained reserve force was available in the event of another conflict with the United States. It was founded in 1816 by disbanded soldiers from the War of 1812 and settlers from Great Britain, who arrived as part of a strategic plan to secure Upper Canada in the event that the United States should again attack British North America. Subsequent to the PMA in 1816, Richmond was founded in 1818, followed by Lanark in 1820.
In disciplined military fashion a town plan was established and surveyed as a one-mile-square series of plots with streets name in honour of military leaders and administrators of the time (Brock, Craig, Drummond and Herriot, etc). By March 1816, a central depot had been established on the Pike River (the Tay River, today). The settlement boasted a superintendent’s office, the King’s Store, and designated locations for a courthouse, grammer school, and a church.
Loyal settlers consisting of discharged soldiers from the Glengarry Light Infantry, the Canadian Fencibles and the Swiss mercenary regiments, as well as civilians from Scotland, England, and Ireland, encamped on Cockburn Island where they awaited their lot allocations and supplies before starting a new life in the newly surveyed townships.