The Puslinch Historical Society is going into its 33rd year. Here is a brief account of our history.
By the 1980's, there were many changes taking place in Puslinch - new people moving in and old timers either moving into town or dying. A sense developed that much of the history of the township would be irretrievably lost unless an organization was created to safeguard it.
In October 1982, half a dozen people met to discuss this. It was decided to hold a public meeting to promote the idea. The inaugural meeting took place on Nov. 30, 1983 at Aberfoyle School with a speaker from the Ontario Historical Society present to explain what affiliation with that group would mean. Marilynn Crow chaired this meeting.
The next meeting was held on February 6, 1984. Jean Barber, since deceased, was elected President. From then on, the meetings were held at the Community Centre. In June, 1986, we incorporated under the umbrella of the Ontario Historical Society.
Early on, a list of the founding members was made, and is kept in our Minute book. Our membership has been fairly modest over the years ,but a small group of dedicated volunteers has kept things going.
In 2000 we published "Puslinch Profiles" , a social history of the previous 150 years. "Puslinch Lake and Its Past" was written by Anna Jackson, now deceased, and published by Puslinch Historical Society in 2002. We send out the occasional newsletter, and hold public meetings with speakers four or five times a year. The "Spirit Walks" in Crown Cemetery we have hosted for the last four years have proved to be very popular. All is done by volunteers.
Our archives were first located at the old library and consisted of just two filing cabinets in a corner. As our collection grew, we needed more space, and for several years we shared a small room at the township office with the OPP. We had a computer donated to us during this time, and Vi Bain, newly retired from teaching, became archivist and took on the task of organizing the collection and establishing a database.
When the new library was to be built, former reeve Brad Whitcombe advocated on our behalf, and we were included in the plans. By the time the library opened, the archives were bursting at the seams. Much new material has been added since then and updating the database has been the first big job facing us. This is an ongoing task, but most of the catching up is now done.
Although not a genealogical society, our collection is predominately of the families of the township. We have a large photo collection and many maps, and data is stored in both digital and hard copy. Information ranges from topics such as the First Nations, military, church and school, geography, architecture, politics and so forth. We depend to a great extent on donations, both monetary and historical.
Several years ago we established a website and Bea Woolsey ran it. In 2012 it was revamped and made much more user-friendly by Dianne Fine. This year it is again being updated, under the guidance of Kevin Johnson so that it can be more easily read on new technological tools, tablets and phones and the like.
In June 2015, the "Spirit Walk" will be at Arkell Cemetery. A series of three talks on the history of different areas of the township will be held at local venues as well this year.
Membership in the society is open to anyone interested in the history of Puslinch Township giving you access to the archives, assistance with your research from committed voluteers, a newsletter and occasional events of historic interest.
29 Brock Road South
Puslinch Historical Society
c/o Puslinch Library
R.R. #3, 29 Brock Road South
Guelph (Aberfoyle), Ontario N1H 6H9