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The community was named after William Smith, a land owner. The first settlers in the area were from New England and they arrived around 1803. In 1812, the settlement became known as "Smithville" when it was incorporated as a police village under that name by an act of parliament (Bill No. 47). It is one of only two villages to be incorporated in Upper Canada outside of Kingston or York (the other being Niagara-on-the-Lake). Incorporated on March 30, 1813 with John Bostwick elected as Reeve and Samuel Street appointed Constable; Smithville's first Council meeting took place at the home of James Rolph on April 2nd following.