article following is provided by that wonderful publication, the “Puslinch
Pioneer”, which for over thirty years has been dedicated to coverage of
(from the Puslinch Pioneer, v. 10, issue 8, April 1986.)
capsule history is based on an academic paper by the Rev. Leonard J. Chester, a
former member of the congregation, and now Minister of the
Cober Sr. had brought his family to
Most early families had spent a generation living here without a resident minister or a church building. It was in 1868 when representatives of several families and denominations drew up an agreement that would establish a union church. A deed for one acre of land was conveyed from Jacob and Mary Cober to the newly formed Trustees: Cornelius Pannabecker (Mennonite Brethren in Christ), Nicholas Cober (Tunker), and Nicholas P. Cober (German Baptist).
Part of the stipulation in the giving of the deed by Jacob Cober was that the subsequent church would be for use and benefit of all denominations according to the Trustees’ wisdom. The pattern of having the above three denominations represented as Trustees continued, with Old Mennonites also taking part. Fourteen men of the community attended this inaugural meeting.
It was decided that the denomination that contributed the most to the building of the church would have the first choice of appointing their meeting times. By 1874, when construction was finally undertaken, the total cost of the land, construction, and labour came to $602.81. The men who did actual construction work were paid 87.5 cents per day. Later records show that the Mennonite Brethren in Christ used the church two Sundays per month, and the Tunkers and Mennonites the remaining Sundays. Apparently the German Baptists used the church very little, or had the least numbers among the population.
Men and women were seated separately in the church, and it seems that English was the language used, judging by the existing records. Hymns were led with the aid of a tuning fork. Sunday Schools, Singing Schools, District Meetings, and other uses kept the building busy.
The Tunkers, or Brethren in Christ, became the most active
group eventually, possibly due in part to their strong ties to other
congregations in the
and John Wildfong were both Puslinch men who became
In about 1924 the church was closed, for several complicated and contributing factors, all of which are not historically clear. The building fell into neglect and disrepair for a long time. Happily, in the 1950’s a resurgence of spirit was responsible for the again active church. Most of the people involved in the re-birth of the church then were direct descendants of the old pioneers.
The first burial in the cemetery beside the church was that of Anna, daughter of Rev. Neils Peter Holm and his wife Susanna Cober in 1867, before it was an “official” cemetery. There are 56 known burials although headstones have since disappeared. The stones you now see in the yard next to the church have been moved somewhat from their original sites, in a care and restoration project, after the years of neglect. The last burial was in 1930, although the site was not “closed” for burials until 1969.