PHS Research

Township of Puslinch Crest

As part of our ongoing mandate to not only preserve our heritage and history but also to make it accessible to the public we have created this online research portal. Below you will find a wealth of information on the history of Puslinch categorized for easy search. Simply choose a topic below to begin your search.

Rural townships were divided into school sections when public education first began in the mid-nineteenth century. Each area soon became a community of its own and people in Puslinch would say, for example, “We’re from Badenoch.” Immediately other residents would know that they lived in southeast Puslinch. The school sections in the Township were numbered S.S. 1 to 12.

In 2015 the Puslinch Historical Society offered public viewings of their compilation, The Communities in Puslinch. This was presented over 3 evenings, with four of the twelve school districts offered each night.

There have been many requests to see this presentation by people who were unable to attend, so it was decided to post the document on our website. Since the files are mostly pictures – making them large files to download and view – the complete file has been divided into four parts.

Simolmie Borthwick

2011 P.H.S. Spirit Walk, Crown Cemetery

Silomie "called Selina" Finch born 1808 in Armagh County, Northern Ireland of English parents who owned a linen mill in Newry, County Armagh, Ireland. She married in 1830 Charles Borthwick, stone mason, born 1806 Edinburgh, Scotland. Silomie and Charles emigrated to Canada in 1833 with their daughter Elllen who was born in Scotland and her brother-in-law George Borthwick. The journey took about 4 months. They were one of the first families to settle on the 3rd Concession of Puslinch. Silomie purchased Lot 22 Rear.

Matthew McPhatter gathered information from the inhabitants of Puslinch published as "The McPhatter Letters” by the Puslinch Historical Society in 1991.

Selina Finch Borthwick in 1891 at age 88 years, her memory was good wrote, "In moving here (in 1833 Concession 3 lot 22 rear Puslinch), we came by what is now called Galt but then was known as an Indian settlement. Shades Road was north of here, about a mile north of our farm." There were no roads, so Charles had to blaze trails through the forest and he carried a torch to keep the bears away. The land was cleared by cutting and burning, and the Borthwicks's first log cabin was built on the flat field of lot 22, Concession 3. It had a bark roof and a fireplace which Silonie kept going to keep the wolves off the roof.

"The Indians were plentiful in the early days in these parts, They had a wigwam nearby. They were in the habit of visiting our shanty asking for food and sometimes they would pull the turnips out of the turnip patch, roast and eat them."

"In those early days we hauled our flour from Galt on our backs, which we did for many years after we came to Puslinch. We were making maple sugar and maple molasses in those days, and we would make money on selling maple sugar and later we made cheese to sell."

"The wolves were very destructive in these days and would kill the calves and lambs in the neighbourhood. Hunting for the cows in those days was a trying job. Sometimes I would go down to the second concession lot 15, as far as Willie Blue's farm to find them, 5 miles through the bush"

"Mr. Borthwick died in the year 1866. He, being a very intelligent man and belonged to the Freemasons"

Matthew McPhatter wrote about Selina Borthwick in 1891; "Having cleared the farm where they now live, lot 22, 3rd Concession, her husband being a stone mason, always worked at his trade in the summer in Guelph, Toronto, Dundas and Hamilton and Silomie Borthwick always had the responsibility about the farm which she bought from the Crown. They had a family of sons and daughters who grew up as time went on and were able to help to make home more happy."

Charles and Silonie had 10 children, and as the family grew a second log cabin was built on the hill. Sadly three sons, Thomas, Alexander, and George, who born in 1840 all died young.

In 1840 they had 4 male children under 16 and 2 female children under 16

The 1851 Census Puslinch, they had 3 daughters and 4 sons One male child died during 1851, age and cause not known. The Family is living in a one story log house. 3 male children at school.

The 1861 Census Puslinch lists one married daughter, 3 grand children, 4 sons and two daughters

The 1861 Agricultural Census, Charles Borthwick Con. 3 part of lot 22, 94 acres, 60 acres under cultivation, 35 acres under crops, 24 acres pasture, 1 acre under orchard or garden, 34 acres under wood or wild, cash value 4,000.

Charles Borthwick wrote his will 16 Oct 1866, he gave his beloved wife Selina the farm and premises lot 22 3rd concession for her lifetime and devise the same after her death unto my youngest son John Borthwick. I also give unto my wife Selina all my household furniture, farming stock and implements, all personal estate and effects whatsoever and wheresoever. unto my son William I give the sum of one hundred dollars one year after the death of my wife Selina without interest, unto my son Charles I give two hundred dollars after two years after the death of my wife Selina, without interest. unto son Robert I give one hundred dollars after three years after the death of my wife Selina, without interest. unto daughter Helen Dawson I give fifty dollars, after four years after the death of my wife, without interest. unto daughter Selina Borthwick I give one hundred dollars, after 5 years after the death of my wife, without interest. unto daughter Elizabeth Borthwick I give one hundred dollars, after 6 years from the death of my wife, without interest unto grandson Charles William Dawson i give fifty dollars, after seven years after the death of my wife, without interest. I hereby appoint my beloved wife Selina Borthwick sole executrix of this my will.

Charles died one month 6 days later. Selina lived for 35 years after his death.

1871 Census Puslinch Selina is a widow, living with her is her daughter Elizabeth and son John.

1881 Census the widow Selina has her son John, who is farming and daughter Elizabeth living with her.

1891 Census Selina has her son John and his wife Mary, grandchildren Charles, and John and her daughter Elizabeth living with her.

This amazing pioneer, farmer, mother of 10 children, and business woman lived to the age of 93. She died 24 Jan 1901 on her farm the 3rd Concession of Puslinch Lot 22 Rear of heart failure. She is buried here C-164 Crown Cemetery Puslinch.

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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 volunteers, a newsletter and occasional events of historic interest.

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Contact Us


29 Brock Road South
Aberfoyle, Ontario


Puslinch Historical Society
c/o Puslinch Library
29 Brock Road South
Puslinch, ON N0B 2J0

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This is the work of volunteers in the community.
If using any of the content, please acknowledge the Puslinch Historical Society as the source of the material.