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.


It is generally accepted that John McFarlane, who opened the first general store at the north end of the village, was the person responsible for giving Aberfoyle its name. McFarlane's birthplace was in Aberfoyle, Perthshire, Scotland from which he emigrated in 1834. In the spring of 1841, he bought an acre of land from John Hammersley on lot 17, rear concession 7, on the Brock Road at Aberfoyle,across from where the old school was (part way up the hill, on the east side). He built a house on it and went there to live. There, in 1842 he opened his store and acted as a general. He also built several other buildings. In 1842, he rented a building to David McFarlin, a weaver from Johnstown, Scotland. Robert McLeod, shoemaker, rented a second building for .75 cents a month. He may have called Aberfoyle store or he may have have christened the town when the Brock Road was being improved at the end of his life in 1848. He was no longer alive when the post office opened in 1854, although his memory may have been honoured at that time.

The village of Aberfoyle seems to date from the upgrading of the Brock Road in 1848; yet there had been two different centres of activity within its borders for almost twenty years before that. George Shatz, who had first settled in Morriston, realized the possibility of a viable town located around the mill privilege the surveyor had identified on Mill Creek close to the trail that led from Guelph to Dundas. As early as 1831, he built a sawmill on the small water privilege granted to him by Peter Mahon, and it, along with the lumber business generated by the saw mill, became a thriving business, providing building materials to settlers in the surrounding country. He also laid out land in lots on both sides of the survey of the old Brock Road, which he sold to several German families, including a tailor, who located there. The settlement was first called Schatzville. Shatz built a foundry which was not profitable, so the machinery was sold in 1850, and the foundry converted into a tannery. It promised to become a more lucrative business until it was destroyed by fire. Schatz also opened a brickyard, turning out both red and white bricks. He envisioned a village with a tavern, extensive wagon shops, and a store. Mahon still had done nothing but build a drainage ditch. If Shatz had the mill privilege, he would have developed it! But in July 1854, George Shatz died of cholera and it fell to the executors of his estate to find revenue to support his young family. One admirer wrote of George Schatz, saying his energy did much to develop the country between Guelph and Dundas. He was cut down in the hour of his success. He contracted cholera while attending some German emigrants. He was a real pioneer, giving his life in the path of service.

The site's central location in the township was another advantage. The first Town Meetings in the mid-1830's were held in the barn at Flynn's Tavern, on the way up the hill on the west side of Brock Road. The tavern became the regular meeting place for Puslinch meetings and gave the settlement the added aura of municipal sanction.

The first agricultural fair in Puslinch was held on top of the hill on the Hammersley farm on a cold windy day, possibly in 1847.


The village Blacksmith, who also did repairs and light manufacturing, was a very important link in the development of the early economy of a rural district. There were three shops in Aberfoyle. On the north west corner of the intersection with present day County Road 34, Alexander McKenzie from Lochbroom, Rosshire opened the first blacksmith shop in 1833. Likely on the same site was the shop owned by John Binckley, which later became Fred Hamilton's home and business. Walter Warren, familiarly known as "Watty", operated the shop located in the bottom of the house occupied by the Hamiltons. When the late Harold Bell, born just before the turn of the 20th century, was six or seven years old, "Watty" made him a hoop with an attached rod. The hoop was one-of-a -kind and Harold must have been the envy of all the children in the village, as he raced his hoop up and down the wooden sidewalks creating such a racket you could hear him from one end of Aberfoyle to the other.

Quirks were on the farm behind the corner. Part of this area had been Allan McIntyre's lumber yard which supplied lumber for township hall. Also, the brick parsonage for the Methodist church was on the corner. Bells rented a house right here which was part of the farm, where Johnsons lived, from Alex Ord's mother. There was also a log house in behind .

In the village, the first blacksmith was Mr. McGibbon, followed by his son Duncan and later run by Edward Taylor, then James Gilmour, and finally James Leachman. There were still three blacksmiths in Aberfoyle at the beginning of the century. All were kept busy shoeing horses and repairing farm implement. Ed Taylor operated his shop where the Aberfoyle Snowmobile was later located. Ed was born in Yorkshire England and was only one year old when he came to Canada. He was raised in Nassagaweya Township and came to Puslinch in 1885. He purchased the Duncan McGibbon shop. Mr. Taylor was also trustee of Aberfoyle School for three years and in 1905 was appointed collector of the Township.

For many years, there were at least two other shops, one on property which abutted Lehlan Hotel lot on lot 21 R.7, just east of the hotel, operated by Joseph Roach, who opened the shop about 1887. He and his family lived in the first house north of the Community Centre with a shop just north of the house, and close to the sidewalk. Margaret Gilmour, youngest daughter of John Gilmour, married Joseph Roach in 1860. The shop was open 1887-1907 and there were two others there at the same time. The Roaches left for Hamilton in 1907. No trace of this shop remains.


The Wagon and Carriage Shop located on the west side of the Brock Road just across from the Blacksmith's shop owned by James Leachman was a flourishing business in Aberfoyle for many years. Paul Ross was an early name associated with the wagon shop. A poem, presumably written by him, describes his business.

"Good day my friends! I've come at last
To thank you all for favours past.
And hope when you the Brock Road travel
That fine macadamize and gravel,
At Aberfoyle you'll surely stop
And come and view my carriage shop.
I'll make or mend your ploughs and harrows
Your gigs, your carts, and your wheelbarrows,
And carriages of all descriptions,
In them I'll warrant no deceptions.
And buggies, too, the very best.
There's none can beat them in the west.
In this great age of tailored speed,
My friends you will a carriage need.
Your wives and daughters labour hard
‘Tis fit they should have some reward.
And you who lead a single life,
Come, buy one ere you seek a wife;
For when that you your produce sell
You get more cash than you can tell.
Bring it along, give me a call.
I'm sure that I can suit you all.
O more your time and labour waste.
I'll please the most fastidious taste;
For I've the best and latest style
At my ol' stand in Aberfoyle.

In the late 1860's, a blacksmith's shop was located on the west side of Brock Road just south-east of where the old wagon shop was formerly located, and run by Robert Earon; In 1873 it was taken over by W. F. Stephenson who manufactured several kinds of farm supplies such as wagons, buggies, sleighs and many other kinds of smaller farm equipment. In 1881 he moved to Guelph, and established a business on Perth Street. The shop in Aberfoyle was sold to John Nicklin who carried on a very useful business for very many years. Mr. Nicklin was deaf and dumb, but this did not appear to handicap him any in conducting his business. "Dummy" Nicklin operated the wagon shop On this wood working shop a belfry was built and the community had a bell placed in it which was rung by the owners at 7 in the morning, 12 at noon and 6 at night for practically all the years until shortly before the building was sold and taken down. Mr. Nicklin made the entire wagon from start to finish with the metal work being done by Ed Taylor, the blacksmith. The last wagon he made was exhibited and sold at the Aberfoyle Fall Fair in 1904 or 1905.


This district was well supplied with hotels. The first to be established was one known as the Centre Inn, on lot lot 17 Rear Concession 7. It accommodated the first township meeting in 1836, and it was almost destroyed in the fight which followed the election. Lacking any other accommodation, Puslinch Council continued to use that facility for its meetings until 1867 when they erected their own township building. In the early 1860's, McLaren built and operated a Tavern located on the east side of the Brock Road, a short distance south of the blacksmith's shop (Arctic Cat). Later it was acquired by Frank Hamilton who carried on for a time until it was burned to the ground and never re-built.

Another hotel was located on the west side of the Brock Road on the corner lot of highway 6 and County Rd 34, down 100 yards from corner of old road.. It was operated by a man name Sinclair for a number of years. It was then acquired by Ignatius Lehman who also operated it for quite a number of years into the early 1900's. His wife called him "Gnats". Known locally as the Jack Cole property, it wasthen owned by Joseph Von Dhen. The Hotel was the size of a double house and "Gnats" ran a flourishing business, catering to the local people as well as travellers and pedlars on the Old Brock Road. Hucksters from Grimsby often stopped overnight before travelling on to Guelph with their covered wagons full of fruit and produce. The big event of the year was the Fall Fair and the Hotel was then filled to capacity. The fair only lasted one day, but some patrons managed to whoop it up for two or three.

The Leamans raised their own pigs in the large barn beside the Hotel and also did the butchering and smoking. The shed attached to the barn was used to tie up the horses and buggies, although some of the regular customers preferred the hitching posts at the front of the Hotel - not so far to walk when it came time to go home. The proximity of the hotel to the Fair Grounds made it a natural spot for eating. For days before the fair, the local women were hired to peel potatoes, and apples for pies. Pigs were raised on the property and smoked in the smoke house in preparation for the inflow of customers. Sausage and sauerkraut were also made right on the premises to be served in the hotel dining room. When Lehmans left the Hotel, Pat Kehoe carried on. Then local option came in, and he moved to Freelton. George McPherson lived in residence. Tom Amos ran a temperance house, with ice cream and pop. Angus McPherson lived in a few months, Russell McCaig started a garage in the hotel shed; which later sold to Tom Haines, then George Carr. Lehman hotel burned in late 30's

The 1871 census listing for Aberfoyle indicates two other establishments. R. Fleming was the proprietor of the Anglo Amercan Hotel, on R7, lot 22. This would be the old hotel Alex Ord referred to as being at the corner of Mill St and #6 Highway. There was also the Queen's Arms Hotel on R7 Lot 18, which would have been on the site of the former Flynn/ McMeekin hotel already mentioned.


When the Puslinch Agricultural Society petitioned Council for a permanent building for its annual fair, Council suggested a joint venture which would also house a township meeting place. Despite controversy the Township Hall was built in 1867. It was a 32x60 foot frame hall, erected on a stone rubble foundation, with an attached 20x18 foot council chamber. In 1927, township residents dug out a basement for the hall by hand and poured a concrete basement. Over the years, in addition to the fall fair, the town hall was the scene of scores of social and political township events. By 1978, the building was closed due to deterioration. Controversy swirled until finally in 1981 Council separated the plan into two projects. Plans for a Community centre on the original site in Abefoyle were chosen with a separate municipal facility on County Road 34 went ahead. The old hall was relocated to the outdoor Agricultural Museum in Milton and restored. (That facility is now known as Heritage Museum). In 1987 Puslinch Township put up a new 2,700 square foot building to be rented to the County for a library, on its property at Aberfoyle.


Samuel Falconbridge, who had kept a Post Office and General Store at Niagara Falls with his father came to the village in 1851 and leased a General Store from Kenneth McKenzie along the old Brock Road, which he operated. September 6, 1851 he was appointed postmaster.He held the position until 1887. Vestiges of the Old Brock Road can still be seen winding its way through properties. Hammond's lane, immediately west of #6 Highway on County Road 34, was old road and went on down past township hall past Aberfoyle School. It came out by the Firehall in the old green shed and crossed the present highway. Since it would have run into the Mill Pond. When the Western Survey of the Brock Road went through, Falconbridge moved his store to the west side of the new Brock Road, on property south of the Township Hall, where he later erected a brick dwelling to the rear of the store. His sons, Blair and Pelham worked with their father and Blair's son Arkell continued the tradition. Blair was Post Master 1888-1905. James Blair who managed the store, was also postmaster 1905 until 1908. Then Arkell Falconbridge took over until 1914. This store handled a wide variety of supplies necessary for rural districts and we are told that in the early days it, like other country stores of the time sold whisky at 25 Cents per gallon. In the early 1900's there were two general stores in Aberfoyle, one was operated by Jim McLean, and the other by Blair Falconbridge. William Reed ran the latter grocery store.

When Mr. Lewis first started in the grocery business at the turn of the century, taking over the Falconbridge business, he didn't wait for the customers to come to the store. "He had a covered wagon and a team, with which he toured the township, starting in the morning and finishing each night." A bench on the store porch provided a comfortable meeting place for the village folk.

Lyla Hayden, long time member of Puslinch Historical Society wrote a story in the Puslinch Pioneer "Life in a Country Store" In 1914 when I was a few months old, my parents, Mr. & Mrs. George Lewis, bought the Aberfoyle General Store and we moved from the farm at Puslinch, now owned by Jack Smith. It was not a new adventure for my father as he had worked there when he and my mother were married in 1902, and had lived in the house where my sister Edna Bell now lives. So, my life was spent seeing the changes as I grew older.

General Store meant everything from coal, to shoes for the whole family, material and accessories for ladies' clothes and men's overalls, smocks and shirts, to groceries. Groceries did not come in packages. Raisins and currants were in large wooden boxes, candy in wooden pails, sugar and oatmeal in 100 pound bags, and peanut butter in a tin pail. Large and small wooden drawers were built into one side of the store. These held rice, tapioca, icing sugar, cream of tartar, baking powder and baking soda, etc. Whatever amount you wanted was weighed up in paper bags. Large wooden barrels held the sugar and oatmeal. Bananas hung from the ceiling from the stalk they had grown on. They came in a tall basket about 5 feet high. I still have one in my garage. The candy which came in large wooden pails was then taken out in small quantities and put on trays in a large glass case. In one cellar were barrels which held white and cider vinegar and this was pumped out with a small wooden pump. Molasses had a wooden tap at the bottom of its barrel and as the old saying goes ... "It ran as slow as molasses in February." People brought their own containers for these. In another cellar was the coal oil tank and this was pumped up by an iron pump into a room at the back of the store.

My father had a large wagon like the conestoga wagon and a beautiful team of horses and he covered a large area of Puslinch Township once a week with this wagon full of groceries. The wagon was all fitted with cupboards and two large wooden boxes the width of the wagon. These boxes were fitted with drawers that lifted out and I can remember that in the top drawer of one were all the plugs of chewing and smoking tobacco. The box at the front was covered with a buffalo robe and that was where my father sat. On Monday he went to Badenoch and had dinner at the Wattie Elliott's, Tuesday it was Downey's, where the Hanlon Highway now runs through, and he ate at Mulrooney's. Wednesday morning he went to Guelph and took eggs and butter to the Guelph merchants. Wednesday afternoon to the 2nd conc. where at that time he went to Dan McFarlane's, Wigwood's, Roszell's, Kennedy's and Martin's and the Neubauer's. That was the only trip we ever went on as it was just a half day. Thursday it was Crieff and Duncan McDonald's. Friday was spent getting ready for Guelph Market on Saturday. Very seldom were groceries paid in cash. Eggs and butter were given in exchange. They would pay the balance when the sold their pigs or cattle. I can remember hearing my mother say of one customer, "I am sure their pigs must be very fat - they haven't paid up in a year." In the winter a sleigh was used for deliveries and my father wore a fur coat and cap. When he would come in at night, long icicles were hanging from his moustache. One of the horses died and by this time motor vehicles were around, so my brother Charlie used the truck. He took the orders in the morning and each one was put in a box and delivered in the afternoon.

A local girl clerked in the store in the daytime, a couple of these were Mary Maltby (Mrs. Andrew Ord) and Margaret Black (Mrs. Jim Leachman.) As youngsters, we weren't allowed in the store. Behind the door was the rack which held the horse whips and the clerks were told to chase us out with these. One clerk whipped it around our legs when we were testing. It sure did sting. Peanut butter in the large tin pail, with a long handled wooden spoon in it, was one thing we could take and get away with. We (George and I) would slap a spoonful onto our hand and then run out the door that went into the house, and outside would sit on the grass and lick our fingers for a long time.

In the evening, all the men from the village would walk to the store for an hour of chatting. In the winter they sat on a bench or on nail kegs around the pot bellied stove and chewed their tobacco. There was one old bachelor, Isaac Kidd, who would sit at one end of the bench and spit into the coal scuttle at the other end and never miss. Another one was not allowed to chew at home so when he was ready to go home he would take out his handkerchief and wipe all traces off his face and head home to his wife. As the generations changed, so did their habits. By the time I was a teenager, a card table was set up and the men played euchre.

In the winter, the ice had to be cut on the Aberfoyle Dam to fill the ice houses for summer use. The ice was pulled out by a large derrick, hand operated by two men, and put on sleighs. The real large ice house was called "The Cold Storage"and it was on the property where my mother built her home when she retired from the store. The eggs and butter were kept in this one and the small one, for the ice in the store, was where Edna now has her garden. It would take a day cutting the blocks which would average about 18" x 24"; this was done with a large ice saw pulled by horses. It took two days to fill the buildings and also Mason's Butcher shop. The Cold storage was filled by horses pulling the blocks up on a pulley with two men putting them into place. The blocks were pushed by hand up a slide into the small one. The ice was packed in sawdust from Paddock's Saw Mill. In the summer when a block was taken out it had to be washed clean before putting it in the ice box. The weigh scale was directly across the road from the store and all pigs and cattle sold by the farmers were weighed here. Two or three men would stand at the side of the scale with sticks to make sure that each foot of the animal was on the scale. They wanted to make sure they got the correct price for their stock.

Election night was a big night for the Township officials. The old hall had no telephone and the results were phoned into the store. Killean was the exception for reporting, because that was long distance, so they had to wait until the ballot box was delivered. The results were put on a large blackboard, but you could scarcely see them because the store was packed with men, each one smoking a pipe. When all the results were in, they would then walk over to the hall to get the results officially and hear the speeches.

Living beside the Aberfoyle show grounds permitted us to see anything going on there. We could step out the back door and not have to pay. A Garden Party was held every summer and before electricity, it was lit at night with coal oil lanterns and later coleman lanterns. We had electricity before the hall and so one year we provided the lighting for one big event. Jack Hohenadel, the electrician strung wires from our house over to really light up the place for one night. Try and do that now!

In the early twenties, just before Aberfoyle show, George and I took the measles and at that time you were quarantined. Johnny Martin, caretaker of Duff's Church, and also working for the Board of Health, came and put the large quarantine sign up on our house. We had to be content to sit at the bedroom window and look out over the show grounds. People felt sorry for us and we had more popcorn and peanuts thrown up to us than if we had been there. That year and 1982 are the only two years I have ever missed the fair.

In 1937, my father passed away and my mother and sister Dorothy ran the store until 1948 when my mother sold it and had bungalow built on the lot where the cold storage had stood. The store was sold to John Newstead who operated it until it was closed.

In the south end of the Village opposite the Mill, James McLean established a grocery store in 1862, having come from Schaw where he had been clerk, bookkeeper and buyer for Squire Leslie Previous to that he had for six years run the store and post office at Campbellville in Nassagaweya. The same year he went into business another George McLean established the mill across the road. His daughter Grace was born at Aberfoyle on September 18, 1872, and lived in the family home there for 75 years until the home and store were burned. Her mother Helen Hyslop married McLean in 1863. She was a sister of Mrs. Evan Macdonald, whose husband was the pioneer farmer who established the 200 acre farm that many years later became the present Cutten Fields. Another of her sisters was Mrs. John Nicklin of Aberfoyle. Eldest of the children of James McLean was the late Mrs. Charles Morison. Her father was best known as Township clerk 1873-1905 just before he died in 1906.. He was also clerk of session and elder at Duff's for 30 years. He was from parish of Insch, born Nov 7, 1822. In 1844 he preceded his parents and siblings to Canada, took up a homestead near Badenoch, in Erin Twp. The rest of the family followed. His mother died about 1860. James in 1844 went to Toronto and became an auctioneer, then was first teacher in Badenoch for 6 years. Grace was post mistress, 1922-1946, after her sister Marjorie (Madge) who was post mistress 1914-until her 1922 death.

John Tully later operated the post office and store 1946 to 1965. Feb 10, 1947 the McLean home and store burned. John Foster, who married Jane Mahon, carried on a butchering business in the village for many years. Tom Evans ccontinued the business, then James Mason, whose daughters toured the area selling meat in a democrat with a box of ice to keep the the meat cold. Village people went nearly every night for next day's meat. The Bartons operated the meat shop, 1937-1952.

Across the Dundas Road the Store maintained a Weigh Scales and Ice Hut. The Hut was a big high frame building which stored ice from mill pond. Then it was packed in salt or saw dust for use in the store, hotel etc. The weigh scales across road from store was used by the store or by anyone else needing them. Farmers drove pigs and cattle over the scales en route to butcher shop.

About 1854, Donald McKenzie and H. Amos, contractors resided in the village. It has also the township hall, a commodious building, with ample grounds for Fair purposes. McLeod's Shoe Repair shop was located on the south-west corner of highway 6 and County Rd 34 and Jim Campbell continued the business. In 1908, the building was moved to the adjacent farm house to be used as a summer kitchen. The shop which rested on log rollers was shifted by a team of horses. As the structure moved slowly over the smoothed round logs, the last logs were quickly moved to the front, and in such a way, the old shop made its way surely to it destination. In 1950, the Ords tore down the Shoe Repair Shop to make way for a new sun porch.

The 4th building south of the Aberfoyle Church served many uses. Perhaps it was built to house a creamery. When that business ceased, it housed a continuation school for three or four years, for township students who had concluded their elementary education, to take an extra year locally without having to travel to Guelph or Galt. Rural students could leave their horse at Lewis' stable. It's last public purpose was as a meeting hall for the Foresters (I.O.O.F.)

The Aberfoyle Athletic Club carried on a program of games and athletics, including club swinging and boxing. The Aberfoyle Progressive club in its day had the second largest membership in the province, sponsoring such activities as public speaking, debating, essay writing, music, drama, and live stock judging. It was this Club's efforts which added a basement and a new floor to the Township Hall.


Go to Aberfoyle Mill page


In the early fall of 1874, a group of men motivated by Rev. Ephriam Clements from Mountsberg, gathered in Samuel Falconbridge's general store to organize a congregation of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Canada; Nov 19, 1876 the first service was held in the council Chambers with 15 members present. The original white brick building was built in 10 weeks at a cost of $335. on land close to the location of the second church. They used local tradesmen. Hugh Reid was contractor. Mount Carmel Church was inscribed by George Stephenson for $2.50. Dec. 30, 1877 a service of dedication was held.

At 1925 Church Union, the congregation opted to become United. The growing membership required more space, and it was not possible to put a basement under the church, so they decided to rebuild in 1927. In 1975, the congregation amalgamated with Zion United Chruch in Morriston. In 1987 the building was sold for a family dwelling. It has since become an antique store.

Church Union in 1925 resulted in the Methodist congregations, Aberfoyle, Arkell and Howitt Memorial, becoming United Church. Two years later in 1927, the Aberfoyle congregation built a new sanctuary to enlarge their facilities. In 1968, Morriston joined The United Church of Canada, and Aberfoyle united with Morriston to form Mt. Carmel-Zion in 1975; both buildings were used until 1987 when the Aberfoyle building was sold and the congregation moved to Morriston. The deconsecrated building has been used as a home and is now an Antique Store.


Aberfoyle #4

Phyllis Wingrove wrote in May 1997 Pioneer: Barnet's school was on lot 17.con. 8, probably in 1837. The first school established was a log building said to have been built for a church. Hugh Barnet conducted night classes as early as 1832. He was succeeded by Ebenezer Reid, who continued to conduct the school for several years. The first trustees were John Cockburn, John Hammersly Sr. and Thomas Todd. There are some yet living who recollect a great day of reckoning in Mr. Reid's time. The teacher had the habit of occasionally sitting near the fire-place and in this comfortable position rest his eyelids for a while. The scholars declared he was sleeping. On one occasion, a mischief loving boy tried a practical experiment that resulted in the whole school getting a "licking." He placed a red hot coal of fire on the teacher's boot. When the heat penetrated the shoe and became unbearable, the slumbering master awoke, and as no one would divulge on the offending culprit, the licking followed.

On Dec. 19, 1845 Alexander McGregor was engaged at a salary of fifty pounds by John Cockburn and John Hammersley. In Jan 1846 1/4 acre was purchased on lot 18 conc 8 from Robert Thomas for a school. A year later eleven pounds was paid to Wm Harrison who contracted to build. A frame building was erected and a school rate bill prepared - an assessment of one shilling sixpence per month, and firewood from each scholar during winter at three pence three farthings. September 30, 1848 Archibald McFarlane by; trustees David McFarlane, John Cockburn and James Smith for English reading at 1 pound 3 shillings English Writing & Arithmetic 1 pound 6 shillings; Grammar and Geography 1 pound 9 shillings and one quarter cord of firewood for each scholar in winter. January 1849 Matthew McKirdy was engaged at same rate Jan 1850 it was agreed to assess the SS for 30 pounds towards the teacher's salary. On Jan 9, 1862 it was decided to have a central examination of all the schools in Puslinch, and this was to be held during the year. The five schools were to be represented at this examination an a sum of $10. was set aside for prizes for the pupils. This frame building is still occupied in 1997 by Phyllis Wingrove.

On Oct 23, 1871 it was decided to build a new school, and on March 8, 1872 a meeting was held to decide how to raise the necessary funds and to select a site. The Trustees decided to buy the McFarlane property north of Aberfoyle on the west side of Brock Road near the corner of #34. They then advertised for tenders to erect a stone school house to be 50 x 30;. April 8, 1872 Robert Little's tender was accepted for $1265, to be paid in three instalments. When the mason's work was finished, $400 was to be paid. On completion a further sum was to be paid to equal two thirds of the cost. The final third was to be paid on Jan 1,1873.

March 1, 1873, Charles Smith's tender to dig a well was accepted at $1.50 per foot. Also, William Johnston's tender to move the woodshed was accepted at $9. The number of pupils attending school gradually increased, and on Jan 25, 1876, Miss Margaret McBeath was engaged for two months, at $20. to assist Mr. Jamieson. There were now over 70 pupils in attendance. In 1884 the School Board was authorized to buy a dictionary. In 1886, a new pump was installed at a cost of $9. and Jan 4 1888 an agreement was drawn up to run for 99 years between Wm. Johnston and the Trustee Board for a supply of pure water. The spring water on lot 19 con 8 was collected in a cement box and it ran by gravity through pipes to the stone school. This water did not go inside the school, but to a small so called pump house.

Following is a list of some teachers:

1886 Mr. Forester 1918 Miss Jane Thompson
1898 Mr. Duncan Ewart 1923 Miss Weston
1901 Miss Robertson 1924 Miss Julia Garland
1902 Mrs. Gilbert McEachern 1927 Miss Isobel Leslie
1914 Miss Parker 1930 Mr. Duncan Ewart
1915 Mr. Harry Doer 1931 Miss Grace Gray
1916 Mr. Ernest Cox 1936 Miss Helen Johnson
1917 Miss Hindley 1938 Miss Elma Hall

May 11, 1937 a ceremony was held in the school to celebrate the coronation of George VI on May 12. A new course of study was introduced Sept. 1937 the keynote being activity by the pupils. May 29 there was a tulip tea to demonstrate and exhibit the work done by the students under the new course of study. June 6 1939 pupils went to Guelph to observe the visit of George and Elizabeth. Active in war effort. 1940 presented operetta "The sleeping Beauty; profit $25. At another concert Dr. Reaman of OAC was guest speaker and Sheila Crosbie of Toronto Conservatory and Norma McLean noted violinist from Montreal, performed. $80. was collected. When each township in Wellington was asked to buy tags, the pupils of SS 4 sold $20. Puslinch was behind in its quota, and when Reeve Stewart and Mr. Wendall of the Mercury asked No 4 to help, the school planned a box social and concert and made $40. Jr. Farmers generously gave $10. making the total $50. In May 1941 the school was elected to the Ways and Means Committee of Puslinch Red Cross. They had to help fund - eggs given. Eight schools in the tsp had a spring music Festival under Mrs. Elliott. Proceeds were given to the Telegram fund and Canadian Red Cross.

The new regional school with four rooms was built in Aberfoyle in 1957, and after 1965 there were no more school sections. John Diefenbaker visited in October 6, 1965 while Miss Verdella Metcalf was Principal and signed the register.

The youngsters of School Section Four, Puslinch, still went to school in a stone schoolhouse built in 1872 until 1958. The old building reflected the cheapness of fuel in those days. The high-ceiling, one room took plenty of coal to heat. "I went to the old Aberfoyle School, Harold Bell recalled. Every day all winter long, our male teacher played football with the boys. How we enjoyed it! I remember one day his bowler hat was knocked off and rolled in the snow. One of the boys put his foot through it as it tumbled on to the snow. The hat was ruined, but the teacher was not cross!

We had a half hour recess both morning and afternoon as well as the noon hour. The boys never played with the girls. The boys liked to play "deer", a running game, in the bush behind the school. We often pretended we did not hear the school bell ring and would come in an hour late in the afternoon. If we rang the bell really hard, it would turn upside down. The one of the boys had the fun of climbing on top of the school roof to turn it over."

Harold's wife Edna remembers that the girls would play pump, pump, pull away, fox and goose, and prisoner's bar. In those days they did not need a lot of equipment to be entertained. Edna said that after recess on Friday afternoons, they would often have a spelling or geography match which was much enjoyed. Edna said that after recess on Friday afternoons, they would often have a spelling or geography match which was much enjoyed. At the 1958 official opening of Aberfoyle School officials said there has been a school in Aberfoyle since 1837.

Aberfoyle 1871 census

In 1871, a village in Puslinch township, 7 miles from Guelph and 54 miles from Toronto. Average price of $20. Mails daily. Population 150.
Con Lot
John Archibald, weaver R7 19
S. Falconbridge, Postmaster R7 21
Charles Couzens shoemaker R7 22
Robt Little carpenter R7 22
R. Fleming prop. Anglo-American Hotel R7 22
Allan McIntyre, Blacksmith & wagon maker R7 22
William Miller huckster, peddler R7 22
B. Johnston Prop Queen's Arms Hotel R7 18
George McLean, miller R7 21
Peter McGibbon, blacksmith F8 22
Robt. McLeod, shoemaker F8 30
William Ross Miller F8 31
James McIntosh, tailor
C. McIntyre wagon maker
Alex McLeod shoemaker
Alex Watson Blacksmith
Allan McIntyre R7 19
Mungo Chapman R7 19
John Carrothers R7 20
Arthur Lamb R7 20
Neil McLean R7 20
Murdock McLeod R7 20
David Morton R7 21
Ebenezer Langdon R7 21
John & Wm McKenzie R7 21
Wm Smith F8 21
Joseph Roach R7 22
Frederick Chadwick F8 22
John Cross R7 22
Daniel Cain F8 22
Blair Falconbridge R7 22
Andrew Hagarty F8 22
David Vivian was a peddler in 1875 R7 22
John Kitts R7 22
James McLean F7 23
James Ritchie F7 23

Aberfoyle Notes

Alex Ord was interviewed by Puslinch Historical Society for his Aberfoyle memories. He talked about the occupants of the hamlet buildings, beginning on the west side, the progressed north on the east side as he remembered it during the early to latter 20th century.

Further south beside creek, Bill said Shephards lived; also blacksmith's shop on that lot too. Alex remembered the shop.

South of fair grounds a store:Blair Falconbridge, Arkell, George Lewis. Mrs. Lewis retired across road. Sold to Newsteads, the last. Mary Maltby worked for Lewis, and sister Dorothy, sisters of Charlie.
Mrs. Watt's house
The Harold Bell house.
Hayden's house built by John Ellis of Tesky farm lot 19. He was a sawyer with a gas engine on a bob-sleigh. Something new.
Donald and Brian Hayden.
Next south was a grocery store in Alex's youth. Mr. Reeve, who put a gumdrop in spout.
Next Bob & Elaine Gordon.
First Clarence Blair brother of John & William Blair.
Several others.
Next Howie house was the creamery. People brought cream there. Made butter.
Then it was IOOF Foresters Hall. Then Continuation School for 3-4 years.
Next where McLeans are in new house;
Next old house (Flea Market) Peter and Annie Richardson; Mr & Mrs. Harmer.
Next Barton's butcher shop & house. Little log building built by Barton in behind.
St. Hilda Anderson next. Sinclair a relation was a relation (mother).
New houses.
Next Miss Murphey's - daughter of Jim, the miller
Tully's grocery store was Falconbridge, Reid, McLean's store, Grace & Agnes helped. Post Office moved from one to other, depending on the election.
Wm Moore's before Schwartz. Son Russell sold to Schwartz about 1939. Moores moved to Morriston. Daughter Annie m Moffat Cockburn. The farm then became McCaig, whose wife was nee Schwartz.


Across was McPherson house on east side.
Johnnie Reid another family right on corner. Mill.
Lot 23 Peter Black and Bill Black later, related to Alex's mother.
Continuing on east side Sorrowers Mrs. Gertie was nee Worthington, and music teacher.
An old hotel on corner of Mill St. & Dundas St.
Leachman's blacksmith shop. Jimmie Leachman and Frank Paulp who was Polish.
Next where Audrey and Bill Mast live was Marshall Haines house (Margaret Coburn's and Jeffrey Haines father.
Stone Mason & Stuart Tawse house next.
Duncan Clark and Tenie house was torn down.
On corner, Owens lived where Grandpa Ingram lived
Then Blacks, Alex' mother's half sister Marie (a nurse who was Supt at Indian Head) and her mother lived there.
Across corner Kings, Cecil Weekes, tea room operated from stone house where they lived.
Next, Doug & Terri McCaig; Peter Foster previous; a character, just different. An Irishman. Lived with sister Sarah (Sadie); an odd card. Entertaining, good company. Jack Carruthers, stone mason who just shaved once a year. would visit.
Another house Jimmie Gilmour, and Jim Leachman when they ran the blacksmith shop. Cecil Schultz there now.
A couple of new houses.
Last building where Len Ord has his garage. Motorist with leaking gas tank. He went under it to solder it and it exploded while he was in the pit. He suffered asphyxiation. Mithells finished off building for restaurant. It is currently " The Change of Pace"
February 1948 street lights for the first time.
Aberfoyle was a Police Village, at least from 1876-1893.
In the 100 years since the village of Aberfoyle astride the Brock Road between Hamilton and Guelph, the population has varied little. There have always been between 100 and 200 residents.

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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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