|District||Lennox and Addington|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
In 1800, one of the first settlers was Albert Williams, the son of a United Empire Loyalist family. The first saw mill was built in 1818 on the Napanee River by Abel Scott at a site upstream of the present town. He sold the rights to the mill to Samuel Clark who moved it to the location we now know as Camden East, and added a wool mill and a grist mill. The community was then called Clark's Mills. In 1832, the post office was built. The name changed to Camden East, after the township which was organized in 1787 and named in honor of Charles Pratt, Earl of Camden, and Lord Chancellor of Great Britain in the late 18th century. At its height, the town contained four hotels and several stores, mills, a carriage factory, a cheese factory, carpenters, cabinet-makers, saddlers, tanners, shoemakers, tailors, bakers, tinsmiths and a fanning-mill maker. However, since the mills closed in the 1950s, the population of the town has decreased significantly.
The oldest building still standing in Camden East is Samuel Clark's house, built circa 1840, in the rare plank-on-plank construction style (also called stacked plank - see American historic carpentry). The house also contains three examples of the Rumford fireplace. Other historic buildings include:
• the one-room schoolhouse built c.1865 at the south end of town,
• a red brick building that used to contain the Farmers Bank until that business went broke in 1910,
• Haydon's General Store - a now empty limestone building kitty-corner to the bank building. This later became Steadman's and then Hartman's General Store.
James M. Lawrence founded Harrowsmith magazine in Camden East in 1976; it was sold to Telemedia in 1988 and relocated to Toronto in the early 1990s. Lawrence also founded Equinox magazine and the publishing company Camden House Publishing Ltd in Camden East. The Harrowsmith headquarters was in the Williams house while Harrowsmith Bookstore was, for many years, located in the limestone building that used to be Haydon's General Store.
A tornado cut through the town in the mid afternoon of the 2nd of August 2020, damaging property, destroying dozens of trees, and ripping the roof off the former bank building that had been housing the daycare and post office.
- Edmund J. G. Hooper ran a general store in Camden East in 1855-1863 and later became an MP in the House of Commons of Canada (1878-1882) representing Lennox (electoral district). In 1882 he resigned his seat to allow Sir John A. Macdonald to represent that riding.
- Sir Gilbert Parker was born in Camden East 23 November 1862. After serving as a clerk in Haydon's General Store as a teenager, he was a journalist in Australia, and then moved to England in 1889. He served as a member of parliament from 1900-1918 and gained considerable reputation writing historical novels. One of his best-known works is The Seats of the Mighty.
- Larry McCormick, Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons of Canada (1993–2004) representing the electoral district of Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington. He was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
- "Camden East Population". Rural Routes. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
- "Camden East History". Rural Routes.
- Edwards, Frank (1984). The Smiling Wilderness: An Illustrated History of Lennox and Addington County. Camden East: Camden House Publishing.
- Herrington, Walter (1913). History of the County of Lennox and Addington. MacMillan Company of Canada.
- Hughes, James, ed. (1967). Camden Township History. Camden Township History Committee.
- Little, James (January 9, 1986). "The Laird of Harrowsmith". Ryerson Review of Journalism (Winter 1986).
- Balogh, Meghan (2 August 2020). "Storm destroys trees, damages buildings in Camden East". The Kingston Whig Standard. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
- "Sir Gilbert Parker Birth". Britannica.
- "Larry McCormick". Parliament of Canada.[permanent dead link]