The Arkell Schoolhouse Centennial Celebration Programme









The Centennial Celebration Programme

September 1st 1962.



3 p.m.

Parade through the village of Arkell to school grounds.



4-5 p.m.

Meet your friends at the school.



5-7 p.m.

Picnic Supper.

Expression of thanks - Rev. R. B. Hadcock, Minister of Arkell United Church.

Address of Welcome - Richard Starkey.

Introduction of Teachers, Inspectors and Trustees.



7-9 p.m.

Scottish dances - Joanne MacPhail, Janice Pentelow & Jane Anne Staples.

Square dance group from Guelph.

Square dance group from Fergus.

Vocal Solo-Mrs. M. Tolton.


9-12 p.m.

Dance in the school.






The Arkell School Centennial Celebration

1862 – 1962






“That man has had a liberal education who has been so trained in youth that his body is the servant of his will, who has learned to love all beauty, whether of nature or of art, and to respect others as himself.”


Author Unknown






The Arkell stone school house as we view it today, September 1st 1962, stands before us as a reminder of the interest of the settlers in the education of their children.


Not one of us will ever realize the long hours of hard work and the sacrifices the pioneers gave to promote the welfare of the young folk in this area.


One’s most vigorous imagination cannot hope to visualize the struggles of the pioneers, the results of which have given us pleasant working days, some hours of leisure, a Canadian citizen­ship and a spiritual endowment.


It was here, in this school, that we are honouring today, that many a child was sheltered and tutored by an inspired and respected teacher.  The school days may have been endured or enjoyed, but most important - the pupils were favoured with “the little log school house” for their early basic studies of the 3 R’s, and later this substantial stone building.  There were friends made, rules of life learned, and ideals formed, not forgetting the fun from school time pranks.


Following are the names of the oldest living pupils:

Mr. William Richardson

Mrs. John Tolton Sr.

Miss Rachel Petty

Mr. Robert Murray






In July of this year, Mrs. John Tolton Sr. wrote this message for the Centennial.  We take pride in publishing her words:


“On this very happy occasion, the 100th birthday of the old school, we think of the many pupils that have crossed the thres­hold in those intervening years, 1862-1962, pupils that have been and are now scattered over this wide continent, carrying with them memories of the old school, some of them happy ones and others not so pleasant, the stress of learning, and the rules of dis­cipline.


We think of the many teachers who have left their “impresse”, bearing fruit, of which the question can be asked but cannot be answered.


Hoping this celebration will revive happy recollections.


Mrs. John Tolton

(née Lydia Decker)






With available school books, such as registers, annual meet­ing reports, treasurer’s account books and deeds, the book com­mittee has endeavoured to compile interesting facts which are as authentic as the records offer.  Also, we are grateful for those word-of-mouth stories which are passed on from year to year. 


If names of persons have been omitted, or mistakes noted, kindly forgive the committee.


The first indenture for purchase of land for a “common school” was dated November 29th 1850.  The parcel of land was used for a school house, and one pound, five shillings, lawful money of Canada, was paid to James Hewer of the Township of Puslinch in the County of Waterloo and Province of Canada.  The land was measured in chains and links. The deed was registered September 16th 1854, at two o’ clock and recorded in the Registry Office of the County of Wellington at the town of Guelph.  The trustees were James Hewer, Adam Hume, John Iles, and Joseph Dory.


The second deed for sales of land, from Mr. Charles Willoughby, was dated 1857 but not recorded in the Registry Office in County of Wellington until 17th of February, 1864 at 1:30 o’ clock.  The land was measured in chains and links and bought for £15.  This indenture was signed by the school trustees Robert Cook, John Petty, Henry Haines.


The third indenture states that land, measured in chains and links, was purchased for additional school ground from Mr. George Duthie on September 26th 1882 for 75 dollars of lawful money of Canada in the Township of Puslinch in the County of Welling­ton and Province of Ontario.  The trustees were John Iles, William J. Rudd, William Hume and registration was in the Registry Office for the County of Wellington at 2:15 o’ clock, December 23rd 1882.


On 19th December, 1907, additional land measured in feet was purchased from Mr. Walter Grieve for $75.  No trustees’ signatures on the registered deed.






Conflicting records tell us that the first log school was opened in 1830.  The Atlas, published in 1906 for the County of Welling­ton, reads the first school (log) built in Farnham, 1839.  And yet another handwritten record reports that 1838 was the year of the first school in School Section One Puslinch.  However, we do know the situation was Farnham, on the north-east corner of the field adjoining Farnham Cemetery.  The land is presently owned by Mr. Stewart Houlding.


As the population grew more people settled up the “Hills Road” so the second log school was built some time before 1850 near the site of the present stone school.


The story is told that Susan Iles attended both log schools but preferred the original school at Farnham as it was more comfortable.




As taken from records…

“ . . . Minutes of the yearly school meeting held at the school house on Wednesday the 13th day of January, 1858.  Moved by Mr. John Caulfield, Seconded by Mr. Henry Haines, that Mr. John Iles be appointed Chairman.  Moved by Mr. John Caulfield, Seconded by Mr. James Hewer, that James Coleman be appointed Secretary.  Moved by Mr. Thomas Carter, Seconded by Mr. Louis King, that Mr. James Fulton be appointed trustee.  Moved by Mr. Adam Hume, Seconded by Mr. William Scott, that Mr. James Orme be appointed trustee. On a show of hands being called for, it was decided that Mr. James Fulton had the majority; he was therefore declared elected.  Moved by Mr. Peter Orme, Seconded by Mr. Robert Cook, that the school be conducted in the free system for this year.  Carried unanimously.”


John Iles, Chairman

James Coleman, Secretary.




From minutes of 1864…

“.... Moved by John Starkey, Seconded by Henry Haines, that no shows be held in the school house for money.  Carried.”


It was not until 1933 that a petition was signed requesting the trustees to allow the school to be used for entertainment pur­poses.






Some expense accounts copied from records of 1862:


Digging and building well

$ 26.00

100 rails












Cleaning well


Making large nails


Plan and specifacion (original spelling)




One day’s work on well


Plastering school


Making blackboard








The above are items of expense accounts from treasurer’s book during the year the stone school was built.  Total expenses were $2026.13 which included teacher’s salary of $332.00.  Also, this explanation from account book: “Paid to Mr. Stuart to releive the first not of our borroed monies - $460.00”.       (original spelling)


The municipal grant to the trustees was $55.83.  The legisla­tive grant was $43.89. Mr. William Cockburn, collector of school taxes, received $858.20 for year 1862.


The currency used in an early record, 1855, was pounds, shillings and pence, and continued so until 1858.


Teacher’s salary

13 pounds 10 shillings

Whitewashing log school

10 shillings

Cutting wood

1 pound, 6 shillings, 2 pence

Sealing wax (1864)


Paid to express office, 25c for delivering school maps (1860)


$25 yearly.






Rent for teachers’ dwelling $24 yearly (1862).  One year the dwelling was free as a gift to a teacher, also, a year’s supply of cord wood.


A plank to cover the well cost 60c.


Tin drinking cup 6c.


In 1884, the cost for taking up old floor and laying a new floor was $9.50.


A note in a record book tells us the value of the property in 1879:

Land $100.00. School House $1200.00. Teachers’ House $1100.00.

Maps .60. Library $1.00.


The story is that Mr. W. H. Decker carried the coin money in a bag to Guelph to make payment for the present school house.


In 1856, there was a population of 371 in the school section and 131 children of school age.


At times, there were 100 pupils attending the school.  Often there were two teachers in the class room, and three pupils shared one desk.


Mrs. John Tolton relates that along the front of the school room was a platform where many a pupil was punished and ridiculed.





Of course, only slates were used, as scribblers were not yet in vogue.  Arithmetic questions were written on the slates, the slates carried home where the questions were answered for homework.  Pupils were strapped if slates were used for drawings not to the liking of the teacher.


A teacher in 1877 insisted the pupils thoroughly study British history.  The names of the six wives of Henry VIII were memor­ized!


Summer holidays were of six weeks duration.  The end of June meant a picnic with parents in attendance.  Tables were set up for lunch and then a concert presented.


The teacher’s dwelling or teacherage, as named in the records, leaves us in doubt as to the actual date of its first existence.  It seems a small cottage was erected in 1856 and in 1875 either a top storey was added or an entirely new stone dwelling built.  An expense account of 1875 informs us that “Mr. Lamb was paid $681.50 for building house and extras.”


To refer again to the present school, a much needed addition was built in 1950.  This consisted of a kitchen, toilets, drinking fountain, cloak room and a modern heating plant. The cost, $12,­000.00.  A memorable evening was enjoyed by friends and rate­payers to commemorate the dedication of the new addition.


The following is a copy of the invitation extended to the ratepayers of the school section at the time of the final meeting of the Arkell School Board:






110th Annual Ratepayers Meeting

School Section No. 1 Puslinch

Wednesday, December 28th

8:00 p.m.


On January 1st 1961, School Section No. 1, Puslinch Township will become part of No. 1 School Area, Puslinch Township and School Section No. 1, as such, will no longer exist.


To commemorate this occasion and to honour those who in the past have endeavoured by their efforts to promote the welfare of our school community, the School Board of S.S. No. 1 Puslinch invites you to attend this, our 110th ANNUAL RATEPAYERS MEETING.


Invitation has been extended to:

No. 1 Area School Board, Puslinch Township

Puslinch Township Council


Representatives of the Department of Education to meet with us on this historic occasion.


A Social Evening will be held after the business of the meet­ing has been transacted.


L. A. Jefferson, Chairman,

J. Starkey, Trustee,

D. Arthur, Trustee,

R. M. Starkey, Secretary.






The school has been a distinct benefit to the community in that it was available with the consent of the trustees for presenta­tions, dances, church services, receptions, auction sales, concerts, teas, euchre parties, suppers, quilting, garden parties, and Pro­vincial and Federal elections.






Teachers of Arkell School 1838-1962


Mr. Foley

Miss A. Boals

Mr. John Coleman

Mr. R. Brooks

Mr. David McFarlane

Mr. J. McAuliffe

Mr. Peter McLaren

Mr. M. Seim

Mr. Paul Marten

Mr. John Smith

Mr. Simon McLennan

Miss E. Flewelling

Mr. W. F. McKenzie

Miss Kovar

Mr. W. J. Kilgour

Miss M. Gallagher

Miss B. Kilgour

Miss V. Glasgow

Miss Cull

Miss H. Potter

Mr. Angus McLean

Mr. G. Herron

Mr. George McNair

Mr. C. Cloke

Mr. J. A. Bruels

Mr. G. Mills

Mrs. Sarah Synder

Mr. H. Lundy

Mr. George Clayton

Miss F. Whale

Miss Mary McLaren

Mrs. B. Green

Mr. A. Reid

Mr. R. Nichol

Miss Playter

Mr. L. Francis

Miss Smith

Miss M. Small

Miss Madill

Mrs. P. Shaw

Mr. R. Boals

Miss J. Ion





Trustees of Arkell School 1850- 1962


Messrs. Joseph Dory

Messrs John Gordon

Adam Hume

William Watson

James Hewer

Henry Arkell

John Iles

James Murray

Thomas Arkell Sr.

Hugh McNally

James Orme

James Starkey Sr.

James Fulton

Walter Grieve

John Caulfield

Thomas Arkell Jr.

Peter Orme

Isaac Knight

Henry Haines

John Tolton

Robert Cook

Peter Iles

John Petty

Stewart Hume

James Gordon

George Rodgers

James Scott

John Rae

Crastor Johnson

Crastor Scott

Joseph Bell

Robert Murray

William Decker

Thomas Carter

Robert Kirby

Alex Plummer

George King

John Fitton

William Leslie

Lynn Lasby

Robert Armstrong

J. Roy Gordon

James Hume

Elton Webb

William Rae

Raymond Tarzwell

Thomas Willoughby

Robert Smith

Thomas Hume

Robert Barnett

George Nichols

Howitt Carter

Andrew Laing

Richard Starkey

William Rudd

Oliver Hume

David Hume

Ralph Sherwood

David Gordon

James Starkey

John Murray

Hugh Ayres

William Nichols

David Arthur


Laurence Jefferson





Present Area Trustees:

Messrs. D. Swartz, W. McCormick, J. Cockburn, J. Wiens, L. Jefferson, (M. Elliot-handwritten addition)


School Inspectors:

Messrs. J. Craig, G. McNabb, W. McVittie, C. Cornwell, (S. Oakes, presently serving)




Through the years, as this history implies, many persons have declared their interest and shared their abilities for the benefit of the school children and the administration of school affairs. 


The Centennial is a noteworthy event, not to be taken lightly but rather thought of as a great and fine milestone in the life of the community.


We do not know what the future holds, what changes the next one hundred years will bring, but the past is ours.


Today, may there be happy memories recalled and may old friends meet in the familiar surroundings of childhood days.






The Book Committee wishes to express sincere apprecia­tion for the assistance and interest extended by the following:



The Area School Board

The Council of Puslinch Township

Those who have shared their information with the Committee

The considerate and gracious persons for the Cover Sketch and final preparation of this booklet.






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