Harley Township is believed to be named to commemorate Archibald Harley, once the MP for South Oxford. The township was incorporated in 1904 and is six miles by six miles, beginning five miles north of New Liskeard. It borders on the Townships of Dymond, Kerns, Casey, and Hilliard, with part of the village of Thornloe in the northwest corner.
On Nov. 16, 1895, the road leading north out of New Liskeard was named the North Dymond and Harley Road, later the Ferguson Highway and, in 1937, Highway 11.
In 1896, the township was opened for settlement. Prior to this, access was by water, by means of the Wabi River to a location called Broughton’s landing at the opening of Bear Creek. On Oct. 13, 1896, George and Thomas Broughton made critical payments on Lot 4, Concession 1 and James Cockburn on Lot 5, Concession 1. Over the next few years, Harley was active with pioneers, settling on land covered with spruce, tamarack, cedar, and poplar.
By 1901, names such as Alderdice, Broughton, Chrest, Doupe, Faulkner, Fowler, Hayes, Hermeston, Jickells, Levent, Loach, MacArthur, Nairn, Peddie, Pringle, Rutherford and White were settled in the township, with other land owners living in New Liskeard.
In the early years there were larger settlements at Uno Park in the southwest corner, Maybrook with its railway station on Concession 4, Thornloe in the northwest corner, Couttsville in the north Central corner and Hanbury in the south along Highway 11.
For several years logging was a mainstay in the economic growth of the township, but today it is predominantly farming with several new businesses opening at the recent Industrial Park.