The first Elderslie Township settlers, Simon Orchard and Samuel Rowe, arrived in spring 1851 via the Saugeen River. The township was surveyed in the summer of 1851 and lots opened for official occupation and sale in July 1852.
In 1853, when the United Townships of the County of Bruce dissolved, Elderslie Township united with Arran Township, with Arran as the senior township for municipal governance purposes. As of January 1, 1856, the union was dissolved and Elderslie Township became a separate and independent township.
Within Elderslie Township, the communities of both Chesley and Paisley developed, with Paisley first incorporating as a village by County by-law dated June 7, 1873. Chesley incorporated as a Village through County by-law passed December 12, 1879. In 1906, Chesley became a town.
In January 1999, Elderslie Township, Chesley, Paisley, Arran Township and Tara amalgamated to form the Municipality of Arran-Elderslie in January 1999.
Mika,Nick and Helma Mika. “Places in Ontario: Their Name Origins and History.” Belleville: Mika Publishing Company, 1977.
Robertson, Norman. “The History of the County of Bruce and of the minor municipalities therein.” Toronto: William Briggs, 1906.