Lambton County was named after one of the Englishmen who did more to bring about Confederation in the then widely separate and extremely vulnerable colonies that made up what is now Canada. A commoner who wished to liberalize the Government of Britain to such an extent that House of Lords might be governable, he urged the creation of new peers to liberalize the make up of that extremely hard-shell body. And as a result John George Lambton, Esqure, become the first Earl of Durham. And he became such a radical peer as ore a few of the Laborites who were raised to the Chamber to give the present Government of Britain a voice in that House.
He come out to Canada to study the conditions that led to the Rebellion of 1837. Arriving in Quebec early in 1838, his first act was to amnesty the bulk of the rebels held in custody, and then to rid himself of the Two Governor's Councils in Quebec and Ontario - then Lower and Upper Canada, and to appoint men more in sympathy with the aims of the people of Canada. In the two years, 1838-1839, he made a whirlwind study of conditions and to learn the conditions he visited the country being back in stage-coach and sailing days - to find out for himself. The result of this was the famous Durham Report that led to Union of Upper and Lower Canada and was the transitionary stage between the status of a colony and that of the present Dominion. It liberalized British Colonial Policy to such an extent that he was accused radicalism. But his acts are the reason why a possible rebellion did not sever those ties that have made Britain and Canada the good friends they are today.
When Earl Durham visited this area, it was part of the Western District of Upper Canada, and had not yet become part of Kent County, which was set up later. At that time the center was not Sarnia, which then bore an Indian name, and was to become known first as Port Sarnia before being shortened to the present name. The centre of that was Point Edward, then, as now, a thriving little town, and port.
Not particularly popular with the former Council members and their following, Durham was, however, wildly popular with the common people. So his visit was occasion of a hilarious cerebration. In his honor an arch was set across the street, down which he must travel to the welcoming platform. The arch took the form of a small platform extending from one ton of hay on the left to one ton of hay on the right and on the platform was a lamb. Thus the Earl's family name was symbolized Lambton. From the other platform, Durham was welcomed to the town. To honour the occasion, he gave the name of Lambton to the district. It was some years before the county was set up, and now separate from Kent was called Lambton. Another county vies with Lambton in honouring this man, and that is Durham, in Eastern Ontario.
And until shortly before the end of the last century, the stationary of the county bore a picture of the symbolic scene, the platform set on the two tons of hay, the lamb and the cheering throng.
- County of Lambton, 150th Sesqui-Centennial