Duff’s Presbyterian Church


Puslinch, Ontario





Part I     1837-1937


Part II    1937-1987



This Sesquicentennial Publication is printed in two parts.


Part I is a reprint of “The History of Duff’s Presbyterian Church 1837­-1937” first printed in 1937.


Part II is the next 50 years, 1937 to 1987.  Together they form the 150th anniversary edition of the Church’s history, published in 1987 by the congregation of Duff’s Presbyterian Church.


The congregation expresses its thanks to the committee for their hard work and diligence in preparing this special edition.


We hope that all who read this book will be inspired by the commitment and faithfulness to Almighty God of the countless men and women who have contributed to this Ministry over the past 150 years.


© Copyright April, 1987,

 Duff's Presbyterian Church

 R.R. 3, Guelph, Ontario NIH 6H9


ISBN 0-9692-887-0-0


Printed on Warrens Lustro Dull Cream stock

by Ampersand Printing, Guelph, Ontario N1H 3V1


New material typeset in 11 pt. Bodoni by Speed River Graphics, Woolwich St., Guelph.




History of


Duff’s Presbyterian Church


Puslinch, Ontario





Log Church---1837




Erected in Sacred Memory




The Pioneers


who, with faith, courage and devotion, established their homes and the public worship of God, and also prepared a last resting place for their loved ones.  We, their descendents, do cherish the heritage that they gave us.


Inscription on tablet of the memorial gates, erected 1937.




Table of Contents for Part I, 1837-1937.


Chapter I

Centenary of Duff’s Church


Chapter II

Beginnings of Presbyterianism in Puslinch


Chapter III

Ministry of Rev. Wm. Meldrum



Ministry of Rev. Alexander McLean



Ministry of Rev. Kenneth MacDonald



Ministry of Rev. Alexander McKay



Ministry of Rev. Wm. Robertson



Ministry of Rev. Samuel Lawrence



Ministry of Rev. Stuart Woods



Ministry of Rev. Peter Mathieson



Ministry of Rev. Jas. L. Burgess



Departments of Church Activities:

The Board of Management

The Sabbath Schools

Women’s Missionary Society

Young People’s Societies

The Choir



Crown Cemetery


Centenary Celebrations 1937


Table of Contents for Part II, 1937-1987





Centenary of Duff’s Church,

Puslinch, Ontario


Many Ontario churches have been observing their 100th anniversary in recent years. It would be untrue to call this a modern fashion for the moving power in these observances has not been fashion, but gratitude that stirred a desire to commemorate the establishment of Divine wor­ship in different sections of the province.


For several years Duff’s congregation has had this service in mind.  The late minister, Rev. Peter Mathieson, looked forward keenly to this event.  Early days were full of memorable events; it was not easy to decide which one should be fixed upon as the anniversary date.  The week of July 18 to 25 was chosen because it included the date when worshippers, who had formerly met in homes, moved to unite themselves with an organized religious body and thus lay the foundations of the church in our midst.  This first move was the organization in Puslinch of a congrega­tion of the Associate Secession Synod, by the Rev. Thomas Christie, of Flamboro.


With the date set, the people of Duff’s had a mind to work and pushed forward the details of suitable organiza­tion.  Rev. Beverly Ketchen, D.D., of Hamilton, an out­standing Presbyterian Divine, who has been strong in up­holding British tradition, has been chosen as anniversary speaker on July 18.


 Rev. Samuel Lawrence, Moderator of Synod and former minister of the congregation, has been asked to conduct an old-time service on July 25, with the aid of members of former choirs.  On Monday evening, July 19, plans proceed for a service of re-union and remem­brance.  Rev. M. B. Davidson, D.D., of Galt, Moderator of Guelph Presbytery and Convener of the Historical Com­mittee of the Synod, will address the meeting and bring the greetings of Presbytery.  Messages will be received from former associates of the congregation and members of old families.


Committees are at work preparing a sports programme for Wednesday afternoon, followed by a supper and pro­gramme in the evening.  It is hoped this day may be one of joyful meeting together of many friends.  The W.M.S. are meeting on Friday afternoon of this same week.  At this time, and along with many invited guests, they will have a time of worship and fellowship, giving thanks for the tradition that is theirs.  Another committee was ap­pointed to plan a suitable memorial.  This committee appealed not to any particular denomination but to the children of the pioneers to build on the grounds of crown cemetery, memorial gates as a tribute to those labourers of other years whose bodies rest in this old cemetery.  The appeal of this committee received a ready response and the gates erected will suitably adorn the cemetery and ex­press the esteem of the people.


Yet another committee had the task of preparing this booklet, which aims to keep alive some of the interesting events in the history of this congregation by having them put in printed form.


When this book comes from the press, the centennial itself will be at hand. It is the wish of all who love Duff's Church that the time may be marked by the blessing of God upon the congregation and its friends.



Duff’s congregation 1937



Committees of Centenary, 1937



The Session



D. G. Hanning, Rev. J. L. Burgess, J. W. Kerr, D. McFarlane,

Miss Jessie Jeffrey, Mrs. D. R. Clark, Mrs. H. A. Stewart



Hugh Cockburn, John M. Cockburn, Duncan McLean,

Peter Patterson, Alex Nichol, John A. McPherson



Peter C. McLean, Russell Moore, McMillan Elliott, Grace McNaughton, Eleanor C. McBean



Mrs. Alex Smith, Mrs. Alex McLean, Mrs. R. J. McFarlane, Mrs. D. G. Hanning, Mrs. Wm. McKay, Mrs. Andrew Scott, Andrew Scott, Peter Patterson, J. P. McPherson, Hugh Ross,

 D. McFarlane, Mrs. D. McFarlane, Robt. Clark, Neil Stewart.



Lindsay McFarlane, Gladwin Crowe, Mrs. John Pinkney,

Russell Moore, Margaret Haines, Mrs. John A. McPherson



Ernest Cockburn, Murray McPherson, Donald Hanning, John G. McLean



D. R. Clark, Jas. McCaig, Wm. Scott, David Stewart, Gladwin Crowe, Calvin McKay



Miss Mabel McNaughton, Mrs. John Martin, Florence Black, Jean McPherson



Miss Bessie G. Elliott, Mrs. Hodges, Mrs. Pinkney,

Mrs. P. J. McLean, Mrs. Wm. Crowe



Mrs. J. W. Kerr, Mrs. Pinkney, Mrs. Moore, Miss Bessie Elliott,

Miss Jessie Jeffrey, Mrs. Robt. Clark



Wm. Smith



Chapter II


Beginnings of Presbyterianism in Puslinch


More than a dozen years after General Brock led his men down the Indian trail now known as the Brock Road, surveyors began the work of preparing the country for settlers.  The old survey was made in 1827 and a new survey in 1831.  Between these dates, at about 1829, settlers began to make their way up the Brock Road, the first Scotch settlers made their homes near Aberfoyle and Morriston.  The German settlers came in at the same time to play their part in the pioneering of the township.  After 1828, the unbroken forest began to fall before the pioneer’s axe.


The first act of a pioneer was to clear land and build a home that he might provide shelter and food for himself and his family.  With this work under way, the burying of the dead, the education of the children, and the worship of God, called for united action in the community.  Accord­ingly we find that on December 29, 1835, at the home of Peter MacBeath, a meeting was called to consider action upon lot 28 concession 8, which the crown had granted to the Presbyterians of Puslinch for a burying ground and the establishment of public worship.  This meeting ap­pointed a committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Peter McNaughton, to carry out this work.  The committee ob­tained the deed of the property in the name of the Presby­terians of Puslinch, but work upon the property did not go forward immediately.



Back Row---N. Kerr, J. Hammersley, Mrs. J. Hammersley, Mrs. A. McDonald,

Mrs. W. Meldrum, Mrs. J. McEdward, M. Clark

Middle Row---J. Clark, Mrs. J. Wood, M. McNaughton, Mrs. A. McLean,

Mrs. R. Watson, Mrs. D. Clark

Seated---Mrs. W. Black, Mrs. A. McCormick, Mrs. A. Stewart, Mrs. R. Marshall,

M. McBeath, A. McLean, R. Watson, D. Clark



1—Catherine Stewart   2---Mrs. John McPherson      3---Mrs. Donald McLean

4---Mrs. Kenneth McKenzie  5---Lachlan Kennedy    6---James McLean

7---Richard Nicklin       8---Peter McLean



A desire for a meeting house persisted, and after a year had elapsed this committee met again, in January 1837, with others present, to push forward the clearing of the land and the building of a meeting house that might be used as a schoolhouse and a place of worship.  This time there was determination to carry the project through.  It was followed by a meeting in February of the same year to perfect arrangements, and again in March there was a gen­eral meeting which agreed to clear the acre of land and to build the meeting-house.  This time the work went for­ward, and in August of the same year there was another meeting to raise funds to complete the building.  To this end it was agreed to ask every male person above twenty years to subscribe five shillings.  This building was com­pleted and served as a meeting house for the Presby­terians of Puslinch until 1840, when it was enlarged to twice its original size.  The site of this building was ten feet inside the new memorial gates of Crown Cemetery.


During this same period a school-house had been built farther north at lot 18 concession 8 and later on lot 16 rear concession 7 a log church was erected on the pro­perty now owned by Sidney Maltby.  This church was used for only a short time.


Congregational organization followed shortly after the erection of the place of worship.  Earliest devotional services were conducted in homes by elders or any minis­ter who might be persuaded to visit the community.  Thomas Wardrope merits honourable mention for his ser­vices in this connection.  A school-master in the old land and a licentiate of the Church of Scotland he settled with his family on lot 35 concession 9.  He conducted religious services for these early settlers in homes, barns and in the open and played a worthy part in giving Presbyterianism its start in this township.  To the Secession Church goes the honour of the first formal organization and association with presbytery.  On June 21, 1837 the London Presby­tery of the Secession Synod received a petition from the Presbyterians of Puslinch asking organization, which re­quest was acceded to.


On July 21, 1837, Rev. Thomas Christie, of Flamboro, organized a congregation of Presbyterians in Puslinch in connection with the Secession Synod and ordained as elders, Messrs. John Cockburn and Hugh Gillespie.  This first organization, indicative of the people's desire for the church as a permanent institution in the community, we commemorate this year 1937. 



They met for worship at Aberfoyle in the log church mentioned above.  However, this organization did not long continue and never had a settled minister.  The proximity of the Church of Scotland building to the south with its valuable grant of land, and its better prospects of settlement must have been a factor against their progress.  The nearest Secession church was in Guelph, whither a section of these people went, including such families as Cockburns, Beattys, Maybees, Todds and Scotts.  That some of them returned is attested to by the records which reveal the name of John Cockburn, the first secession elder, being received by the Free church con­gregation, now Duff's.  The break with the established church removed the barrier, which had caused the secession people to remain separate.


The Presbyterians in connection with the church of Scotland (the title is from the records of the day) met in October 1838 and constituted themselves as an association and drew up rules for the temporal management of the congregation and decided to make application for a minis­ter.  The committee, there appointed, was headed by John MacFarlane and the organization was effected under the direction of the Rev. Jas. Smith of Guelph.  Mr. Wardrope was conducting services in the community at this time.



Chapter III


Ministry of Reverend William Meldrum


Reverend William Meldrum and his wife, Anna (McLean) Meldrum


The year 1839 saw the work of these early years come to fruition in the definite organization of the congregation, the first celebration of the Lord's Supper, the first com­munion roll, and the ordination and induction of elders.  It must have been a great year for the Presbyterians of Pus­linch.  Rev. Mr. Smith, of Guelph, and Rev. Mr. Ferguson, of Esquesing, aided in this organization, dispensed the sac­rament, arranged the communion roll bearing 81 names, and ordained one elder and inducted another to have a ses­sion of Peter McNaughton and Archibald Watson.   In November of this year, 1839, a deputation waited upon the Presbytery of Hamilton to have Rev. William Meldrum settled as their minister at a stipend of 100 pounds.  The congregation had heard of Mr. Meldrum from a Mr. Gor­don living in the lower end of Badenoch.  Mr. Meldrum, who had just graduated from college, came to Puslinch in November of 1839.  The Presbytery favoured the call and the induction of Rev. Mr. Meldrum took place on March 11, 1840.  His first sermon after induction, was from I Corinthians, Chapter 2, verse 2, the service being in Gaelic throughout.  The text as given was, "Oir chuir, mi romhan gun eolas a ghabhail air ni sam bith, nur measg, ach air, Iosa Criosd, agus esan air a cheusadh."  After his induction the congregation proceeded to enlarge the meeting-house to twice its former size.


During this time, congregations were forming in near­by communities, two of which looked to this first congrega­tion for co-operation.  In December 1839, after the arrival but before the induction of Mr. Meldrum, a deputation from Nassagewaya sought his services.



A written agree­ment was duly signed whereby these people obtained a share in the services of Mr. Meldrum, it being agreed that they pay their monies to the Puslinch treasurer and that this agreement be for one year expiring on February 27, 1840.  In February of 1840, Presbyterians of the west of Puslinch and north of Beverly agreed to pay a third part of the stipend for the services of Rev. Mr. Meldrum, at lot l5 concession 1, every third Sabbath.  This agreement was signed by Neil McPhatter for Puslinch and Gillies McBean for Beverly.


During the Ministry of Rev. William Meldrum came the great disruption in the Scottish church with repercus­sions in Canada.  Rev. John Bayne, of Galt, sponsored an amendment in the Synod at Kingston on behalf of the Free church party and Rev. Meldrum supported the amendment.  The congregation of Puslinch was so unanimous in their support of Free church principles that although they for­feited legal claim to their property no opposition arose for several years to prevent them holding the same.  The ses­sion expressed its reason for disjunction from the establish­ed church in the following uncompromising terms: “be­cause she, the established church of Scotland, hath sold her birthright and became so low and despicable as not to hold Christ as her head, as her actions do clearly prove though her words at times deny it.”


The raising of funds was a difficult task in those days of physical hardships and scarcity of money.  The libera­lity of the people is to be praised.  Subscription lists in­dicate that their givings were sacrificial givings.  Money was raised by pew rent, the rates varying with the position of the pew and ranging from five to twenty shillings, but additional collections were oftentimes needed.  At the request of the synod, an attempt was made to supplant boards of management by a deacons’ court, hoping thus to raise more funds for congregations weakened by the disruption.  The congregation agreed that the cause was worthy but would not accept the means, namely a deacons’ court.  Later the session proposed the establishment of such a court but again the congregation rejected the proposal preferring the annually elected boards of management.



After the rejection of this proposal, the session records read “we agree to urge the case no further for the present, trusting that by and by the congregation may be led to see the error of their ways, in having a board of managers, the invention of men, serving in the church of Christ instead of a court of or­dained deacons, the institution of the Holy Ghost.”


Christmas, 1845, was an eventful day as it records the marriage of Rev. Mr. Meldrum to Miss Anna McLean, youngest daughter of Peter McLean, of Badenoch.  This re­lationship was crowned with very many great family bless­ings and brought the pastor into intimate and enduring as­sociation with a large and prominent portion of the con­gregation.


Our earliest elders were inducted in 1839, Peter Mc­Naughton and Archibald Watson.  The session records until 1844 are not preserved and hence the order of induc­tion of the next elders is not known but in 1845 the session was composed of Peter McNaughton, Neil McPhatter, John McDiarmid, Lauchlan Kennedy, Alexander McKenzie, Roderich Cameron, Gillies McBean.  In 1847, Angus McPherson and Hugh Rutherford were ordained elders.


Early missionary interest was manifest in the congre­gation, both in their sympathy to congregations weaken­ed by the disruption and in their support of education.  In response to an appeal made by the Rev. John Bayne of Galt, subscriptions were received to commence a Presby­terian college; some gave ten shillings payable over five years, others according to their means.  The financial res­ponse was gratifying but more so the fact that a student, Thomas Wardrope went from this congregation to that first college.  This young man, later known as Dr. Thomas Wardrope, heard Dr. Bayne’s appeal and gave himself to the work of the church.  Mr. Peter Idington drove this student and another to Kingston to be on hand for the college opening on March 7, 1842.  It was an unseasonable time of year and indifferent roads, but the trip was made in a wagon with only their trunks for seats.  Others follow­ed Dr. Wardrope in his holy ambition to be a minister of the gospel and Puslinch has an honourable roll of worthies upon whom they look with pardonable pride.



Mention might be made of many pioneers who laboured humbly, faithfully, and usually obscurely.  Here is what is recorded of one of them, Peter McNaughton, chairman of the first committee of Presbyterians to meet in Pus­linch.  “Mr. McNaughton was born in Perthshire, Scotland, and with his family came to Canada to endure the trials and privations of the early thirties.  He was reared among the strong religious influences of his native land and early manifested an earnest and active interest in the religious life of the congregation with which he was connected.  Coming to this country, his pronounced Christian char­acter soon became known.  He gladly offered his house for public worship when occasion was present.  He took so prominent a part in religious work that at the organiza­tion of the congregation he was chosen as its first elder. He was a kind humble courageous servant of the Lord and after serving as an elder here for thirteen years died on June 18, 1852, at the age of 74 years.”


The last meeting of the session with Rev. Meldrum as moderator and session clerk, was held on the fifth of November, 1852.  Soon afterwards he resigned, having been the pioneer pastor for 14 years.   He entered sympathetical­ly into the struggles of the early settlers and took a con­spicuous part in laying the foundations of Presbyterianism in their midst.  With the courage of a brave heart and an uncompromising fidelity to what he believed to be right, he as a true captain of the Lord’s host, led the people on to many a victory during the early years of their critical history.



An Honour Roll of the Pioneers


Herein is recorded a few names from the early records mentioning some of those who were chosen by their fel­lows to lead in the work.  This list makes no pretence at being complete and many other souls laboured worthily and no man shall judge their contribution.


Committee of 1835 re Cemetery and Church Ground


Peter McNaughton, Senior Chairman; William Stewart, Donald McLean, Neil Thompson, Hugh Gillis­pie, Alexander Nichol, and Thomas Todd, clerk.


Elders of Secession Church, 1837


John Cockburn and Hugh Gillispie.



Elders of Church of Scotland, 1839


Peter McNaughton and Archibald Watson.


Presbyterian Association in connection with Church of Scotland, 1838,

really the first board of management:


John McFarlane, President; Ebenezer Reid, Vice-President;

 Donald McLean, Treasurer; Lauchlan Kennedy, Secre­tary;

 A. Watson, Alex. Smith, A. McKenzie, John Thompson, Neil Thompson.

Thomas Wardrope, Licentiate, and Rev. William Meldrum, Pioneer Minister.



The Communion Roll of 1844


Rev. Thomas Wardrope and Mrs. Wardrope, Mr. and Mrs. John Idington, Mr. and Mrs. Alex. Nicholl, Widow Logan, Mr. John MacFarlane, cooper, and Mrs. MacFar­lane, Mr. John MacFarlane, tailor, and Mrs. MacFarlane, Mr. and Mrs. John Marshall, Mr. and Mrs. Jas. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Donald McShennack, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander McShennack, Mr. and Mrs. William Reid, Mr. and Mrs. William Graham, Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm McPhatter, John McRobbie, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Watson, Mr. and Mrs. Neil Thompson, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Edmunston, Mr. and Mrs. George Taylor, James Low, Mr. and Mrs. Peter McLean, Mr. and Mrs. Dugald Campbell, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Idington, Eliza Idington, Widow McRobbie, Grace Douglas, John McLean, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh McNaughton, Malcolm McNaughton, Mr. and Mrs. John McCallum, James McRobbie, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew McRobbie, Lewis McRobbie, Mrs. Hector Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Borthwick, Anne Cameron, Widow McNeilage, Adam Darling, Mrs. Duncan McEdward, Catherine Stewart, Mr. and Mrs. Archibald McLaren, Peter McLaren, Alexander McKenzie, Agnes Idington, John Black, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Smith, Widow Patrick, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Campbell, Widow Fraser, William Stephenson, Neil Currie, Widow McLennan, Mr. and Mrs. James Thomp­son, Widow McCraig, Mr. and Mrs. Lauchlan McBain, Mr. and Mrs. Archibald Cameron, Mrs. Donald McLean, Alex­ander McLean, John McLean, Anne McLean, John Thompson, Mr. and Mrs. Duncan McFarlane, Mr. and Mrs. Archibald Little, Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Cochrane, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander McDonald, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh McColl, Widow Wineters, Mrs. John Cameron, John Campbell, Mrs. Duncan McColl, Mr. and Mrs. Archibald Ramsay, Alexander Ramsay, Widow McAllister, Mr. and Mrs. Neil Wilkinson, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Stewart, Widow Stewart, Widow McCormick, Alexander Wilkinson, Mr. and Mrs. John McColl, John McPherson, Mr. and Mrs. Duncan Cameron, Mr. and Mrs. Donald McCraig, Mr. and Mrs. Patrick McPherson, Mr. and Mrs. John Thompson, Hugh McDonald, Mr. and Mrs. James McCraig, William McKenzie, John Martin, Roderick Cameron, John McBain, James Wardrope, Mary Fraser, Christena Cameron, Isa­bella Cameron, Widow McMillan, Mr. and Mrs. Archibald Blair, Mrs. Daniel Currie, James Reid, Mrs. Malcolm McIntyre, James McMeeken, Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Currie, Mr. and Mrs. William McCormick, Mrs. Lauchlan McDonald, Flora McMaster, Mary McLennan, Mrs. Peter McNaughton, Mrs. Roderick Cameron, Mrs. Alexander McKenzie, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Black, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Farries, Widow Patterson, Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Elliott, Margery Stewart, Agnes Paton, Mr. and Mrs. John Fraser, David Wardrope, and the following elders, Peter McNaughton, Neil McPhatter, John McDiarmid, Lauchlan Kennedy, Alexander McKenzie, Roderick Cameron, Gillies McBain.





Ministry of Reverend Alexander McLean


Reverend and Mrs. Alexander McLean


When the congregation of East Puslinch withdrew from the Established Church of Scotland, it relinquished its right to the church and the church property.  It was, how­ever, left in undisputed possession for some years, then, an organization of the Established Church, which was minis­tered to by the Rev. Dr. Hogg of St. Andrews Church, Guelph, laid claim to the church, and the congregation of East Puslinch found it necessary to provide a new place to hold religious services.


The question of a church site central to the Presby­terian portion of the township was discussed.  However, the advisability of dividing into two separate congregations became apparent, so the necessary arrangements were completed and an amicable dissolution of the tie that had united them for sixteen years was effected.


The East Puslinch congregation purchased an acre of land from Mr. John Haist, just across the road from the site of the first church.  Messrs. John Marshall and R. B. Morrison were a committee appointed to see the Christie Church, then near Dundas, with the result that the con­gregation erected a church similar in plan to the Christie Church, with a capacity to seat five hundred.  The new church was opened for worship in the year 1854.


The congregation, being anxious to provide a per­manent home for their minister, purchased from Mr. Haist thirty acres, upon which were log buildings, these being replaced in later years by good buildings.


In the year 1854, a student of Knox College, Mr. Alex­ander McLean, conducted the religious services during his vacation. The people were so impressed by him that they waited until he completed his course in the following year, when they extended to him a most unanimous call, which he accepted.


The Rev. Alexander McLean was ordained and in­ducted on Wednesday, November the fourteenth, in the year 1855, by the Hamilton Presbytery.


The session was composed of the Rev. Alexander McLean as Moderator and Session Clerk, with Messrs. John McDiarmid, Lauchlan Kennedy, and Alexander Mc­Kenzie elders. Up to this time, precedence had been given to the Gaelic language, a service in English following.  It was, however, decided to change and give precedence to the English language. In April 1856, the Session deemed it expedient to have more elders added to their number, and so we find the congregation called Messrs. John Cockburn, Andrew McRobbie and Duncan Cameron to fill this office.  These were, at a special service on Sunday the first of June, ordained and inducted.


It is worthy of note that at the communion held in June 1856, scarcely seven months after Mr. McLean's or­dination, the membership was increased by the remarkable number of 58 by certificate and 20 by profession of faith.


The Rev. Dr. Alexander Duff, the pioneer missionary of the Free Church of Scotland, who had been in Calcutta, visited Canada in the year 1854.  Dr. Duff delivered such interesting and powerful addresses everywhere he went that the whole Canadian church was roused and stimulated with a desire to have a part in the great work of giving the Gospel story to those in heathen darkness.  East Puslinch congregation expressed their desire to preserve for future generations the memory of this great man of God so full of missionary zeal and to do so they, at a congregational meeting held in 1857, unanimously agreed that their place of worship should be designated “Duff's Church”. The church has ever since borne that honoured name, thus keep­ing the congregation in remembrance of its responsibility to the heathen world.


The following are some interesting items taken from the records of meetings of Session:


In May of 1859, the Session unanimously agreed to ask Mr. Robert Kennedy, formerly an elder in the Free Church in Scotland, to become a member of their Session.  Mr. Kennedy accepted and was duly inducted.


The Session unanimously agreed to the basis of union, bringing together on the 6th of June, 1861, the United Pres­byterian Church of Canada and the Free Presbyterian Church of Canada.


In 1862, the Communion Roll showed a membership of 204, and in this year the Session decided to have the Lord's Supper dispensed twice a year in place of once, as formerly.


At the October meeting of the same year the Session recorded the great loss they had sustained by the death of Alexander McKenzie, who for over twenty years served his church as elder in his humble and most faithful way.


In May of the following year, 1863, Mr. James Ward­rope, who had served many years as elder, in the Nairn Church, Flamboro, was requested to become a member of Duff's Church Session.  Mr. Wardrope, having accepted, was duly inducted.


The last meeting of Session, with Mr. McLean as Moderator and Session Clerk, was held on the 12th of April in the year 1864.  This year was one never to be forgotten by any then interested in Duff’s Church.  It was memor­able because of the deep sorrow and unmeasurable loss sus­tained by the congregation through the untimely and most tragic death of their beloved pastor, under whose leadership the congregation had become very strong.  The work was greatly prospering, and exalted hopes were entertained of continuous success, when Mr. McLean’s death put a sudden termination to a short and promising life. Was it a premonition that directed him to select as the text of his last sermon, “In my Father's house are many man­sions”?  Was it only a coincidence that he took a similar subject for the midweek prayer meeting following, closing with the hymn:


“The hour of my departure’s come;

I hear the voice that calls me home.”


Should we note divine preparation for his departure, leading him to call, after the prayer meeting, to inform a sympathetic Christian friend, with whom he had often con­versed on the mysteries of the resurrection, that a new found light had dispelled the darkness, and something of the eternal glory had filled his heart with unspeakable glad­ness? Good night was spoken, the door was closed, into the darkness he went, and some time after he was found helpless on the ground, near the high platform leading from the door of the house.  Loving hands removed him to the manse, the physician’s skill was employed without effect, brother clergymen ministered in holy consolation, and next evening, May 25th, 1864, the unfettered spirit soared on high to do the will of God with ecstasy, and experience the fullness of joy given to all in His presence.


Mr. McLean was possessed of strong endowments, was an extensive reader, having a remarkable library for a few years’ collection, was fearless and alarming in de­nunciation, almost prodigal in hospitality, zealous and mas­terful in all his relationships.  He seemed to have a great future here, but the Master, who doeth all things wisely, took him in the vigour of his powers at the age of thirty-­eight.  The funeral services were very solemn.  All the neighbouring ministers and some from a distance were present, all of whom paid tribute to the splendid work and promising life of Mr. McLean, held in such high esteem by all of them.  A very large congregation, deeply impressed, followed the remains to their last resting place in the Crown Cemetery.  Upon the monument erected by his sor­rowing widow and his congregation are inscribed the signifi­cant words, “I have declared unto them Thy name.” John 17:26.


A few months later, Mrs. McLean, with her three young children, Margaret, Catherine and Alexander re­turned to the place of her former home, Girvan, Ayrshire, Scotland, where she resided until her death.  Her son died while in his youth, but Mrs. Cathcart Kay, formerly Miss Margaret McLean, and Miss Catherine McLean still sur­vive, living in Glasgow, Scotland.


Miss Catherine McLean has visited Canada several times, and on her first visit she met a number who had served in the church during the pastorate of her father.  To hear those, who knew her father, speak of him with an ex­pression of deep affection and reverence gave Miss McLean much joy.


Mrs. Cathcart Kay visited Duff’s Church when she came to Canada with her son, Cathcart, who chose to make his home in Puslinch.  Her son died on June 5th, 1926, and rests beside his grandfather in the Crown Cemetery.





Ministry of Reverend Kenneth McDonald


After a vacancy of several months, a unanimous call was moderated in, to the Rev. John McTavish, of Wood­ville, on December 6th 1864, but because of circumstances over which Mr. McTavish had no control he was unable to accept the call, and not until September of the following year was a call moderated in, to the Rev. Kenneth McDon­ald.  The call was unanimous and Mr. McDonald was in­ducted on October 25th, 1865, by the Guelph Presbytery.  The stipend promised was seven hundred dollars per year, with use of manse and glebe.



Mr. McDonald was the first to introduce special evan­gelistic services and much permanent good appears to have blessed his labours, for Session records show that in June of 1866 there were 49 added to the communion roll, 42 by profession of faith and 7 by certificate.  It was agreed that hereafter the names of members in full communion would be preserved in a separate book in place of in the Session minute book, as formerly.

Reverend McDonald


At the meeting of Session held in December of the same year, the elders were requested, by the convener of the Synod’s committee on Psalmody, to express their feelings regarding a proposed change in the book of praise.  The Session unanimously decided to uphold the use of the Psalms and Paraphrases.


At a congregational meeting held February 19th, 1868, it was unanimously decided to erect a new manse.  A build­ing committee composed of Messrs. George McLean, Hugh Cockburn, James McLaren and Malcolm McNaughton was appointed, and this committee appointed Mr. Hugh Melvin to canvass the congregation for subscriptions, which re­sulted in $1,590.00 being promised.


Upon request of the building committee, Mr. John Howe presented a plan which was approved of, and Messrs. Andrew Kennedy and William Stratton were chosen contractors. The work was begun at once and completed in due time.


The Session, finding their number too few, requested the congregation to elect more men to fill the office of elder, and those elected were Messrs. Walter Cowan, Alexander McLean, Hugh McNaughton and James McLean.  Mr. Alexander McLean could not see his way clear to accept the office, but the others named were ordained and inducted on the 14th of February 1869.


In most country congregations the minister was obliged to fill the office of Session Clerk, and Duff's was no exception until May of the year 1869, when Mr. James McLean was appointed Session Clerk, in which office he served for many years.  His accuracy in detail and reveren­tial conception of his duties ever justified his appointment.


In 1870, the Session divided the congregation into eight sections for the purpose of giving a more definite outline to the work of each member of Session, and in the minutes of the meeting held in October of this year we have an expres­sion of the feeling of the great loss borne by the congrega­tion and Session caused by the death of two elders, Mr. Duncan Cameron of East Flamboro, and Mr. John Cock­burn, both of whom had for over twelve years served ef­ficiently and faithfully.


The minutes of Session for October 1871, were the last signed by Mr. McDonald as Moderator.


In October 1872, a strong move was made to interest and organize the congregation in order to further the mis­sionary schemes of the church.  The elders assumed the responsibility of appointing collectors in their respective dis­tricts so that every home in the congregation would be called upon periodically.


In the beginning of 1872, the Rev. Mr. McDonald re­ceived a call from Thamesford, which he declined, but in March of the same year received a second call from Thamesford, which he accepted and entered his new field highly commended by the Presbytery.





Ministry of Reverend Alexander McKay


Reverend and Mrs. Alexander McKay


It was now eight months since the pulpit had become vacant, and on December 3rd, 1872, a congregational meet­ing was held for moderation in a call to a minister, at which meeting the Rev. Alexander Urquhart received the highest number of votes, but the call was not made unanimous, so the church was without a pastor until July of the follow­ing year, when a unanimous call was moderated in to the Rev. Alexander McKay of Elmira, Illinois. Mr. McKay ac­cepted and was inducted on the 30th of October 1873.


The Rev. Robert Torrance, interim moderator, pre­sided, while the Rev. D. McLennan of South Luther and the Rev. Thomas Wardrope were present and participated in the induction service.


The week of prayer was observed for the first time in January of the following year, the purpose being to stimu­late religious interest and help to consecrate individuals.


The year 1875 is memorable in the history of the Pres­byterian Church in Canada, for it marks the time when all branches of the Presbyterian Church in the Dominion came together in one body.  The basis of this union was sub­mitted to all congregations, and the Session and congre­gation of Duff’s Church approved of it by a large majority.


The Session considered it expedient to ask the congre­gation to elect elders to increase the number of members in the Session.  Those elected by the congregation were Messrs. Alexander McCormick, Peter Stewart, John Clark, Jr., Robert Beattie, Hugh Cockburn and Malcolm Mc­Naughton, and on the 25th of July 1874, they were or­dained and inducted.


In June of 1875, the Trinity University, U.S., conferred the degree of Doctor of Divinity on the Rev. Alexander McKay because of his proficiency as a theologian and his prominence as a preacher of the Gaelic.  The following year the congregation made the necessary arrangements to permit Dr. McKay to visit Scotland.


About this time a sect known as "The Brethren" be­came a factor in the religious life of Puslinch.  The distinc­tive doctrines and religious practices of this sect appealed to a considerable number who had been considered as ex­cellent members of Duff’s Church, so the Session had the unpleasant duty of removing their names from the com­munion roll after they had united with “The Brethren”.


During the next few years, four of the members of Ses­sion were removed by death.  In 1878, Mr. Alexander Mc­Cormick, who served faithfully for three years; in 1885, Mr. Hugh McNaughton, a much devoted member of Duff’s Church from its inception and an elder for sixteen years; in 1885, Andrew McRobbie, another of the pioneers of Duff’s Church and a devoted elder for twenty-nine years, and the same year, Mr. Walter Cowan, another of the most prom­inent elders who had served as such for seventeen years.


In January of the following year, Mr. Allan McDiar­mid was named and inducted as elder, and one year later Mr. William McEachern was also named and inducted as elder.  Both men had served as elders elsewhere.


The Gaelic service was now held only at the com­munion season and since the number attending were so few it was agreed in 1887 to hold the Gaelic service in the vestry of the church instead of the Town Hall at Morriston.


In the month of August 1889, Dr. McKay gave in his resignation after sixteen years of faithful and efficient ser­vice as pastor.  The congregation presented him with a beautiful gold watch, and many of those present for his farewell sermon never forgot the impressive message he gave, taking for his text, “Little children, it is the last time”, I John, 2:18.  Dr. McKay continued to preach for some years, although he was unable to assume the responsibilities of a congregation because of the ill health of Mrs. McKay.  He lived in Guelph until her death, after which he lived with a sister in Toronto until his death.





Ministry of Reverend William Robertson


Reverend and Mrs. William Robertson


When Rev. William Meldrum, the pioneer minister of Puslinch for fourteen years, retired from active duties in 1876, he came to live near Morriston and was associated with the Session of Duff’s Church until his death, and as long as he was able, he took an active part in the com­munion services.  In November 1889, he passed away in his eighty-fourth year.  The church being as yet without a minister, Dr. McKay, the former pastor, conducted the funeral services, assisted by Rev. Thomas Wardrope, D.D., Rev. Robert Torrance, D.D., and Rev. G. Smellie, D.D.  His remains were interred in the Crown Cemetery.


After the retirement of Dr. McKay from Duff’s Church, the congregation of Knox West Puslinch, and Duff’s decided it was to the best interests of both congre­gations to unite, so a satisfactory basis of union having been agreed upon, they united in 1890, and in October of the same year a unanimous call from both congregations was moderated in to the Rev. William Robertson, B.A., of Waterdown.  The induction took place on October 21st, 1890, and was presided over by Dr. Torrance, the interim moderator, while the Rev. A. B. Winchester, B.A., of Kit­chener, and Rev. J. C. Smith, B.D., also took part in the in­duction service.  A letter of appreciation from the Session was read thanking Rev. Dr. Torrance for his services to the congregation during their vacancy.


Very early in his pastorate, the Rev. Mr. Robertson was the means of organizing a young people’s society known as Christian Endeavour, which society held well at­tended meetings and for some years accomplished a good work, but in time capable leaders were wanting and the society discontinued.



At the annual meeting in 1891, it was decided that in addition to the Psalms and Paraphrases, the Presbyterian Hymnal would be used in church services and in the Christian Endeavour Society.  At this time the Session deemed it necessary to have more elders appointed and so requested the congregation to do so, with the result that the following were elected: Messrs. John D. Clark, John A. Cockburn, Wellwood Cowan, Andrew Munro, Alexander McCaig, James E. McLean, Duncan McKenzie and William Strat­ton, Jr.  Mr. John D. Clark could not be persuaded to act, but the others were ordained and inducted on the 10th of May 1891.


In the year 1892, there was expressed a feeling in favour of introducing an organ to be used in the church services.  However, as considerable controversy arose, it seemed wise to go slowly in this matter, and as there was the added dif­ficulty of a lack of funds, it was not until 1897 that an organ was purchased.


In 1893, Mr. James McLean, after twenty-five years of faithful and efficient service as Session Clerk, resigned, and Mr. John A. Cockburn was appointed to this office, where he served faithfully until the year 1925.  During the pas­torate of Rev. William Robertson, the Session mutually agreed to adopt the limits of the different school sections, within the congregation, for dividing lines and to appoint the resident families to the oversight of the resident elders.


In June of 1899, the Diamond Jubilee was observed, be­ginning on Sunday, June 18th, when Rev. J. K. Smith of Galt conducted the morning service, and Rev. Thomas Wardrope, D.D., the first member of this congregation to enter the ministry, the evening service.  Large congrega­tions attended these services, many coming from a distance to worship again in the church of hallowed memories, and the words read and spoken were expressive of God’s great goodness and mercies.


On Friday afternoon, June 23rd, a jubilee service was held in the church, Rev. Mr. Robertson presiding.  Devo­tional exercises were conducted and a short history of the congregation given.  Reminiscences and addresses were given by Rev. Dr. Wardrope, Mr. James Laidlaw, Mr. James Anderson, Lt.-Col. D. McCrae, Rev. P. J. McLaren, Mr. Peter McLaren, the honoured teacher, and Rev. Mr. Couch, Methodist minister of Aberfoyle.  Mrs. Meldrum, widow of the first minister, was also present.


Following the service, a lawn social was held on the manse lawn, where a bountiful supper was served, the chief feature being a beautiful jubilee cake presented by Mrs. Robertson.  The church choir contributed the music for the evening’s entertainment, assisted by a lady from Waterdown, and a local orchestra.  Addresses were given by Rev. James McLaren, Rev. R. J. M. Glassford, repre­senting the Presbytery of Guelph; Lt.-Col. McCrae, Mr. Hugh Guthrie and Dr. James Stirton.  On the following Sunday, Rev. R. Atkinson of Toronto gave two eloquent sermons, bringing to a close a week of renewed friendships, hallowed memories, and spiritual benefits.  Then on July 2nd, at the request of the superintendents of the Sunday schools, the pastor conducted a special service for the children and young people.


The first Sabbath of the new century, at the sug­gestion of the General Assembly, was  fittingly observed by the solemn observance of the Lord’s Supper.


The Assembly, having suggested that in order to re­plenish their Missionary treasury, a special fund, called the Century Fund, be established in all congregations.  At the first meeting of the Session in the new century, the Mod­erator reported that $360.00 had been subscribed towards said fund.


During the summer and fall of 1903, the church was remodelled, and on January 3rd 1904, reopening services were conducted by Prof. Robertson of Knox College, Toronto, and the Session, thinking it fitting that the dying love of the Lord Jesus Christ should be commemorated at the earliest opportunity after the rededication of the church edifice, ar­ranged the communion for the following Sabbath, January 10th, when a good attendance of members and adherents were present.



Duff’s Church prior to its remodelling



During the fall of 1905, the congregation was asked to elect new elders and chose Mr. J. W. Kerr, Mr. D. McFar­lane and Mr. G. W. Marshall.  Mr. McFarlane declined to accept and on Sunday, January 21, 1906, Mr. Kerr and Mr. Marshall were ordained and inducted to that office.


In January 1906, as a result of a visit from Rev. R. McKay of Toronto, the congregation decided to help sup­port a missionary in the foreign field.  Mr. James E. Mc­Lean was appointed to take charge of the fund.  Mr. Mc­Lean resigned the following year and Mr. J. D. Jeffrey took charge and continued to do so till the fund was dis­continued and the envelope system introduced in 1908.


Mr. Robertson was a man of exceptional ability, es­pecially in smoothing out difficulties and ruffled feelings, and gave unstintingly of his time and service in any good cause.  After faithfully serving the congregation for sixteen years, he resigned to take up journalistic work, and on Sunday, October 7th 1906, preached his farewell sermon.  His text was from Hebrews 13:8: Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever.  The following evening he was presented with an address and purse of money, and Mrs. Robertson, with a gold watch.


During Mr. Robertson’s pastorate the Session regret­fully records the passing to their eternal reward of five of their members, viz.:


1899----Mr. John McDiarmid, aged 95, who had served faithfully and well as a member of Session for 55 years.


 1900----Mr. Duncan McKenzie, who though only 43 years of age, had served humbly and faithfully as a mem­ber of Session for 11 years and left an indelible influence on the community.


1901----Mr. Lachlan Kennedy, aged 98, and one of the first elders, who in a quiet and helpful way had served the church as a member of Session for almost 60 years, also as precentor for 44 years, both in Gaelic and English.


1902----Mr. Hugh Cockburn, who for 28 years wisely and faithfully served as elder and also as treasurer of Cemetery board.


Also Mr. Peter Stewart, aged 82, who in a kindly and faithful manner served the church as elder for 28 years.





Ministry of Reverend Samuel Lawrence


Reverend and Mrs. Samuel Lawrence


During the winter of 1906-1907, the congregation heard candidates for the pastorate of the church.  Their choice fell on Rev. Samuel Lawrence, a Scotchman, and a very strong and energetic preacher, never afraid to uphold what he thought was right nor to denounce the wrong.  He was an ardent lover of nature and spurned all superficial polish.


He was inducted by the Presbytery of Guelph on March 15th 1907, Dr. Torrance and Revs. Lee and Glassford conducting the service.


Mr. Lawrence began his pastorate under very sad cir­cumstances, as the day after his induction he officiated at the funeral of Miss Annie McKenzie, a highly esteemed member of the church, her parents being among the orig­inal members.


Early in his pastorate, the Session fund was introduced and the first Children’s Day service held on September 29, 1907, when all the children from the different Sunday Schools met in the church for said service.  A Home Study department was organized and continued for a number of years.


A Young People’s Guild was organized and for a number of years did good work among the young people.


 Up to the renovation of the church, tokens of admis­sion to the Lord’s table were given intending communi­cants.  Those tokens were lost when the church was being rebuilt, and not until the second communion after Mr. Lawrence came, when the communion cards were intro­duced, had any token of admission been given the members.



From the time of the organization of the church up to 1907, a Gaelic service had always been held at the com­munion season, but as most of the older people had passed away, the attendance did not justify the continuing of the service and it was decided to discontinue it.


At a joint meeting of the Session and Board of Man­agers in December 1907, it was agreed to recommend to the congregation at the coming annual meeting the adop­tion of the envelope system for receiving weekly contribu­tions for current expenses and monthly for missions, and on February 10, 1908, arrangements were completed for the introduction of said envelopes, in accordance with the reso­lution passed at the annual meeting.  Three years later, in 1911, the duplex envelopes were brought into use.


In May of 1908, the congregation was asked to elect more elders, and Messrs. Hugh Ross, Kenneth McKenzie, J. D. Clark and J. D. Jeffrey were chosen, but only Mr. McKen­zie and Mr. Jeffrey consented to take the office and were ordained and inducted on October 9, 1908.  Also in May 1913, owing to deaths and removals, more elders were re­quired, and being referred to the congregation, they chose Messrs. William Stewart, D. McFarlane, Hugh Ross, John P. McPherson and D. C. Ross, but only Mr. Stewart and Mr. D. C. Ross accepted, and were ordained and inducted at the pre-communion service, October 10, 1913.


The question of individual communion cups was dis­cussed by the session, and it was agreed to bring the mat­ter before the congregation gathered at the pre-communion service on May 28, 1909, at which service the congregation was unanimous in their approval of the use of the indi­vidual cup.  A set was purchased and first used at the com­munion on October 17, 1909.


In 1912, the first vote on Church Union in this congre­gation was taken, the result being:  Elders for Union 1, against 5: members, for 22, against 128: adherents, for 12, against 72. Total, for 35, against 205. Majority against 170.



During the years of the Great War, 1914-1918, the con­gregation was called upon to give forty-eight of its best and bravest young men to the service of their country.  Eight, viz., Alex. J. Martin, Roy Smith, Adam Heller, James H. McIntyre, William Grahamshaw, John Munro and Walter Palmer, paid the supreme sacrifice.  A list of those who left the congregation was engraved, framed and hung in the vestibule of the church, draped with a flag given by Mr. Peter McLean, whose boyhood days were spent in this congregation.


September 29, 1916, was a memorable day in the con­gregation, when at the communion service forty-one pub­licly confessed their faith in Jesus Christ and united with the church.


Receiving a call from another church, Mr. Lawrence resigned and preached his farewell sermon on April 13, 1919, his text being taken from Ephesians 1:17-22.  Prior to his departure, a purse of money was presented by the congregation to him and Mrs. Lawrence, also farewell gifts to Helen and Nelson.   During Mr. Lawrence's pastorate, the session in 1912 records with regret the passing of Mr. Andrew Munro, who had served the church he loved as elder for twenty-one years, also as a Sunday School worker, and when necessity arose conducted the church services.  He was also a member of the Cemetery board for a number of years.





Ministry of Reverend Stuart Woods


Reverend and Mrs. Stuart Woods


After a vacancy of six months a call was extended to Rev. Stuart Woods of Riverfield, Quebec, who accepted and was inducted by the Presbytery of Guelph into the charge of Duff’s and Knox Churches on October 9, 1919.  During his pastorate of seven years he took a wide interest in all matters pertaining to the betterment of the com­munity.  It is interesting to note that during the first year of his work here he had neither a marriage nor baptism.


On July 11, 1920, a tablet erected by the congregation in honour and loving memory of those boys who so nobly served and sacrificed in the Great War was unveiled by two little girls at a special service.


On October 7, 1921, the Session decided to increase the number of elders, and the congregation’s choice was Messrs. D. McFarlane, D. G. Hanning and D. R. Clark, who accepted and were ordained and inducted at the morn­ing service on March 19, 1922.  The pastor was assisted by Rev. George Little of Guelph.


Before the last vote on Union was taken the Session arranged for a special meeting, when speakers both for and against Union would speak, and on December 21, 1924, Dr. McKay of London, against Union, and Mr. Harris of Toronto, for Union, spoke to a fair sized audience in the church.


The vote on Union taken on January 7, 1925, resulted in, out of a total of 217 eligible votes only 125 were polled, 21 for Union and 104 against; majority against, 83.


During December, 1924, community prayer and social meetings were held throughout different parts of the con­gregation and were conducive of much good.


During 1921, a “Try Tri” Club was organized for the purpose of raising funds to decorate the interior of the church.  Success crowned their efforts, and in the year 1924 the auditorium of the church was beautifully decor­ated, which added greatly to its appearance.


At a meeting of Session in April 1925, Mr. D. Mc­Farlane was appointed representative elder to the first as­sembly of the continuing Presbyterian Church in Toronto in June.  On May 31st 1925, at a congregational meeting, Mrs. H. A. Stewart and Mr. J. W. Kerr were appointed delegates to the Presbyterian Congress to be held in To­ronto at the same time as the General Assembly.


At a Session meeting on June 7, 1925, Mr. Woods, who had cast in his lot with the United Church, gave his final report as Moderator of Session, and Mr. J. A. Cockburn, who was also a Unionist, tendered his resignation as Clerk of Session, a position he had faithfully held for thirty-two years.  Thirteen members were granted their certificates and the remaining five-sixths of the congregation settled down to the work of consolidation and of seeking a worthy minister.





Ministry of Reverend Peter Mathieson


Reverend and Mrs. Peter Mathieson


After the consummation of Union in June 1925, and withdrawal of Rev. S. Woods from the Presbyterian Church, Duff’s Church was vacant for five months.  Dur­ing that time Rev. J. F. Strachan acted as Moderator of Session, and in October the congregation agreed to extend a call to Rev. Peter Mathieson, who accepted and was in­ducted into the charge of Duff’s and Knox Churches by the Presbytery of Guelph on October 30, 1925.


Coming as he did so shortly after the disruption, the task of readjustment to changed conditions was no easy one, but he ever tried to instill in his hearers continued confidence in the church, and to establish anew the sound doc­trine of our faith in Jesus Christ as head of the church.


Greatly interested in missions he sought to interest the smaller boys and girls by organizing Mission Bands, one in Badenoch and another in Morriston, in 1926.  The same year a Young Women’s Auxiliary was also organized.  The Sunday School was built up and as the schools at Badenoch and Tenth Concession had been closed, and the children were coming to the church school, the attendance in­creased.


A Junior Bible Class was started and later a Senior Bible Class, which Mr. Mathieson taught.


In 1930, the choir petitioned the Session to allow them to sing “Amen” at the close of the Psalms and Hymns, also that they be allowed to purchase gowns and caps.  After due consideration by the Session, both requests were granted.  Being passionately fond of music and having a wonderful voice, he did much to help the choir by giving kind advice and counsel.


The Missionary cause being very dear to him, he was instrumental during his term of office as Moderator of Guelph Presbytery in getting the late Dr. Goforth to speak in a number of churches in the Presbytery, and on October 19, 1930, Dr. Goforth conducted anniversary services in Duff’s Church, which was filled to capacity, many being unable to get in.


The members of Session, becoming lessened through death and removals, the congregation was asked to elect four new elders, resulting in Messrs. Hugh E. Cockburn, John Pinkney, Carl Ross and Peter C. McLean being chosen.  Mr. McLean withdrew and the other three were duly ordained and inducted at divine service on the morn­ing of September 11, 1932.


During Mr. Mathieson’s term of service three members of Session were called to their eternal reward, viz., Mr. George W. Marshall who, after serving the church he loved for twenty-five years, passed away in the spring of 1932.  The following year Mr. William Stewart was called to his eternal home after nineteen years of service as a member of session.  Also Mr. James E. McLean, who passed away in the summer of 1935, having for forty-four years been a faithful and valued member of Session and a lifelong Sab­bath School worker.


On the tenth anniversary of Mr. Mathieson’s induction, the Young People’s Society presented him with a hand­somely framed eulogistic address, and the Women’s Mis­sionary Society with a beautiful plant.  The memorial ser­vice on November 3, 1935, was his last service in Duff’s, as the following Sunday he conducted communion services in St. Paul’s Church, Guelph, which was then vacant.  On Tuesday, he attended a meeting of Presbytery, and on Wed­nesday morning was stricken with his fatal illness.  The Session record contains the following obituary:


We would like to place on record a tribute to the life and character of our beloved minister, Reverend Peter Mathieson, who, after a brief illness, passed away at “The Manse”, Morriston, on Friday, November fifteenth, nine­teen hundred and thirty-five.


He was inducted to the pastorate of Duff’s and Knox Churches, Puslinch, October thirtieth, nineteen hundred and twenty-five, and so, had just completed ten years of eminently useful and unselfish service in our midst.  In all his teachings, he ever emphasized that Jesus, the eternal Son of God, suffered and died in our room and stead, “the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God,” and “that He sure will come again, that they who believe on His name, may live and reign with Him.”  Whenever sick­ness or sorrow entered a home, Mr. Mathieson felt it with those afflicted, and raised much of the burden and pain by his sympathy and his prayers to our Lord and Saviour.  As the sheep feel lost and frightened without the shepherd’s kind voice and tender hand, so do these congregations feel without their under-shepherd and guide.  But although the good shepherd has passed beyond, not in vain were his teachings and example here on earth, for always in the hearts of his flock, his life will be an inspiration.


His last service in these pulpits was one “in me­moriam” of those members and adherents, to the number of one hundred and twenty-six, who passed to their eternal reward during the ten years he was here.  His text was from John 14-2, “If it were not so I would have told you.”


On Monday, November eighteenth, a public funeral service was held in Duff’s Church, from the pulpit of which he had so often proclaimed the Gospel message.  The church was filled to capacity, as was also the Sunday School room, practically the whole sorrowing community being present, as well as many friends from a distance.  A deep solemnity and evident grief held the audience through­out the service, which was in charge of the Presbytery of Guelph, of which he was a much-respected member.  At the request of Mr. Mathieson’s family, Rev. A. C. Stewart of Chalmers Church, Toronto, preached the sermon and paid an eloquent and most sincere tribute to the life and character of Mr. Mathieson. “We all learned,” he said, “to respect and honour him for his upright and self -sacrificing life, and his unswerving devotion to duty and service and to the Word of God.” He always gave of his very best. 


Six of the elders of Duff’s and Knox Churches bore the remains of their beloved minister to the grave at Crieff Cemetery, where, after a brief service, interment was made.


 One year after Mr. Mathieson’s death, a Memorial Tablet was erected in the church to his memory. “He being dead yet speaketh.”



Also, subjoined is an extract from the resolution placed on the records of the Presbytery of Guelph:


Mr. Mathieson was a strong preacher of evan­gelical truth.  As tender as a woman, as brave as a lion, he ever had the courage of his convictions and spoke and acted fearlessly.  He was beloved by his people, revered by his friends and honoured and re­spected by his fellow ministers.  Almost his last act was on Tuesday, November 12th, to attend the meet­ing of Presbytery.  From Guelph he returned to his home.  Next morning illness fell upon him. On Thursday he seemed to rally, but on Friday afternoon he sank rapidly.  About eight o'clock he breathed his last. “So passed the strong, heroic soul away.”


He is gone, but the fragrance of his life will lin­ger with us.  It has been good for all of us to have known this man of God, who walked so closely with Christ that no one could know him long without re­alizing that he was one of those who, like his Master, had “learned obedience by the things he suffered.” Let us bow our heads in humble gratitude to God that we have been counted worthy to have been the friends and fellow labourers of such a man.  As our hearts burn with sorrow, let us thank the Great Giver that among His gifts He gave us Mr. Mathieson.  As we address ourselves to the unfinished task for which he gave his life, let us say, as he would have us say, The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.






Ministry of Reverend J. L. Burgess


Reverend and Mrs. J. L. Burgess


For five months after Mr. Mathieson’s death, the Sun­day services were conducted by students and retired min­isters.  The weather during the winter was so severe and snow so deep that the Session thought it wise to wait till April before hearing any ministers.  Nine ministers were heard and the congregations’ choice fell on Rev. J. L. Burgess, of South Kinloss, who accepted, and on August 12th was inducted by the Presbytery of Guelph into the joint charge of Duff’s and Knox Churches.


Rev. D. H. Marshall presided over a large congregation at the induction ceremony.  A united choir of thirty voices took part in the service.  Rev. F. Lawson preached on the subject, “The Task of the Church”.  Rev. D. H. Marshall conducted the service of induction.  Rev. E. A. Thomson narrated the steps leading up to the induction, and made fit­ting reference to our late pastor, Rev. Peter Mathieson.  Rev. Mr. Marshall addressed the minister, and the charge to the people was given by Dr. M. B. Davidson, of Galt.  Rev. and Mrs. Burgess were then introduced to the people and a delicious supper was served by the ladies of both churches.


During the short time that Mr. Burgess has been in our midst he has won the respect and confidence of his flock, especially among the young people is his influence for good being felt.


The following are the names and dates of ordination of those who entered the ministry from this congregation:


 Francis W. Farries, '68, for many years in Knox Church, Ottawa; Francis R. Beattie, M.A., D.D., '78, Professor in Louisville, Ky.; Daniel M. Beattie, M.A., B.D., '80; James Little, '66; Gilbert G. McRobbie, Ph.D., '74; John Morrison, '66; Thomas Wardrope, D.D., '45, ex­Moderator of the General Assembly; Donald C. MacKen­zie, M.A. ; Peter J. McLaren, B.A., '91; James M. McLaren, B.A., '90; John Little, '93; Robert T. Cockburn, '98; William E. Beattie, B.A., '97, and Charles M. Wyse, '99.



Board of Management

Standing ---

George Stewart, MacMillan Elliot, Wm. Smith, Neil Stewart, Hugh Cockburn, Wm. Scott, Andrew McEdwards, John Pinkney


Daniel McFarlane, Hugh Ross, Peter C. McLean (chairman),

N. M. Moore (secretary-treasurer), Peter Patterson, John A. McPherson





Departments of Church Activities


I. –Board of Management


From the very beginning of the congregation managers chosen by the members had been interested with the col­lecting of what was then called “Pew Rents”.     That is, each family paid a stated sum for the seat they occupied, towards the stipend.  As soon as these rents were collected and handed over to a treasurer appointed by the congregation the managers’ work was done, the treasurer seemingly hav­ing full power to distribute the money as he saw fit.  This system did not prove very satisfactory, and in 1867 it was decided to abolish the system of collecting the “Pew rents” by the managers, and that three trustees be annually elected to manage the temporal affairs of the congregation.  Messrs. Robert Forbes, Hugh Cockburn and John Smith were appointed the first trustees of the church.


This system of management continued for twenty years, when in 1887, at the annual meeting of the congrega­tion it was decided to appoint a Board of Managers, com­posed of Messrs. William Beattie, John A. Cockburn, John D. Clark, Archibald Marshall, Alex. McLaren, Jr., James McLean, Daniel McFarlane, Daniel McNaughton and William Stratton, Jr., to act conjointly with the Board of Trustees, who at that time were Messrs. Alex. McLean, Sen., William Stratton, Sen., and Andrew Munro.  Mr. J. A. Cockburn was appointed first secretary of the United Boards.  The first treasurer, Mr. David McFarlane, was appointed in 1843, and Mr. James McLean in 1863, who held the office for thirty years, until 1893, when Mr. T. D. Day was appointed secretary and treasurer of the board.


This united board of three trustees and nine managers (the number of managers were in 1913 increased to twelve), still constitutes the system of financial management of the congregation at the present time.


In the year 1903, it was realized that the 49-year-old shingles on the church building had about served their use­fulness, and before renewing the roof it seemed an oppor­tune time to consider any changes in the building itself that might contribute to the convenience and comfort of the congregation.  A meeting of the congregation was called and with a large attendance present, the project was very fully discussed, resulting in plans being made to dis­pense with the galleries, which were no longer needed, to raise the walls about three feet, put on a truss-roof, and excavate enough to provide a basement, all at an estimated cost of about $3700.00.


A building committee of twenty men and five ladies was appointed, Mr. Daniel McFarlane, chairman, and Mr. Daniel McNaughton, secretary and treasurer.  This com­mittee was given power to work out the details and have the work done economically and well.


Mr. John Carruthers was selected for the rather com­plicated mason work, including the building of the tower, and Mr. Donald McKenzie was given charge of the car­penter work.


As the work progressed a number of improvements on the original plan were thought advisable, such as coloured glass windows, oak ends for pews, and acetylene-gas light­ing, which raised the ultimate cost to a little over $5000.00, but the building has ever since been a joy and satisfaction to the congregation.


During the vacancy in 1907 a furnace was installed in the manse, the well was deepened and a new pump put in, a summer kitchen built and other repairs at a total expendi­ture of $570.00. These improvements contributed very much to the comfort of the occupants.


The year 1909 saw the congregation free of debt, but owing to some of the horse sheds becoming very dilapidated, it was decided to erect new ones along the back and end of the yard, which was done at a total cost of $1,500.00.


Of this amount, $1,100.00 was contributed by subscrip­tions, and the balance, $400.00, paid out of the congre­gational fund, thus making the new sheds free for all comers, except three at the west end, which had been paid for by private parties.  Many days these sheds were all filled.


In January 1911, Mr. Lawrence was given a gift of $50.00, and arrangements were made to pay his salary monthly in future.


On July 7, 1911, the manse barn was struck by light­ning and burned.  A few days later at a meeting of the board it was decided to build a new barn, which was done at a total cost of $722.00. The insurance paid on the old barn was $250.00, and the sum of $450.00 was borrowed to settle the accounts.


The telephone was installed in the manse in January 1913.


At a joint meeting of the two congregations on June 20th 1913, it was agreed that they each give an increase of $50.00 towards the minister’s stipend, making it $1050.00 annually.


The minutes of the annual meeting in January 1918, records a resolution regarding the death of Mr. J. D. Clark, who had been a loyal and faithful member of the board for over thirty years, and recorded their gratitude to God for the gift of such a true, upright and honourable man.  At the same meeting the treasurer’s report showed that the debt, incurred in building shed, barn, etc., had been re­duced to $18.58.  A collection was taken at the meeting, which amounted to $34.50, which cleared the debt and left a balance to start the new year on, and everybody went home rejoicing.


In the spring of 1919, some agitation was raised about disposing of the manse with its thirty acres of land, and of securing a smaller and more modern house in the village of Morriston, which would be more convenient to the Crieff congregation.  Many were opposed to this change on ac­count of old associations and because the produce of the land made a welcome addition to the minister’s stipend, but others thought it would be better to give the minister a larger stipend and relieve him of the care of the attached land. 


So, as Mr. Woods, the new minister, had no ambition for farming, a house and lot was purchased in the village of Morriston from Mr. Morlock for the sum of $3400.00 and the minister moved in and was soon happily settled.


A sale by public auction was duly advertised, and the property finally fell to John W. Kerr at a price of $3700.00.  It is a source of satisfaction that the old manse, the scene of so many sacred and kindly memories, is still in the hands of a member of the congregation, and continues to be at their service, as in days of yore.


During the year 1922, the congregation collected the sum of $2645.00 towards the “Forward Movement Fund”.   The annual report of 1925 showed a deficit of $692.14, and the report the next year showed this all paid up and a balance on hand of $375.90, thus showing the determined spirit of the congregation to succeed and prosper in the continuing Presbyterian Church.


This same year, Hydro lighting was installed in the church at a cost of $290.00, and a few years later in the manse, proving a great boon to both.


The depression had affected the giving for church revenue, and at the annual meeting in January 1933, the growing deficit came up for discussion, and Mr. Mathieson said in view of the very difficult times he had decided to return to the church funds one-sixth of each monthly payment.  All present immediately rose to their feet in appreciation and thanked him for his kindly consideration.


A deficit was noted for a few years, but the finan­cial report of 1936 showed a substantial balance on the right side, so once again in the history of Duff’s Church

it is free from debt.  God had dealt very bountifully with us.  Unto His name be praise.


The present managers are Messrs. Peter C. McLean (chairman), William M. Moore (secretary and treasurer), Neil Stewart, A. McEdwards, John A. McPherson, Hugh E. Cockburn, George A. Stewart, McMillan Elliott, John Pinkney, Peter Patterson, William Scott, John M. Cock­burn and William Smith. Trustees, Messrs. Hugh Ross, Daniel McFarlane and William M. Moore.



The Kirk Session



Standing: J. R. Pinkney, H. E. Cockburn, Carl Ross

Seated: Daniel McFarlane, D. G. Hanning, Rev. J. L. Burgess, M.A., J. W. Kerr, D. R. Clark


II.-Sabbath Schools


 Tenth Concession


Away back in the early fifties, Mr. Andrew McRobbie, an elder in the church, held a class for Bible study in a log house on lot 21, con. 10, which was attended by young and old. In 1860, Mr. McLaren, the newly appointed school teacher, after being persuaded by Mr. McRobbie that he, being an educated man, was the one who should be superintendent, took charge of the school which, because of the increased attendance, necessitated the division into classes.  The first teachers were Mr. McLaren, who taught a class of older boys, Mr. Andrew McRobbie, Mr. F. R. Beattie (afterward Dr. Beattie), Miss C. McRobbie, Miss Ann McFarlane, and Miss Margaret McKeracher (after­ward Mrs. John Douglas).  Mr. McLaren continued his good work for twenty years, his influence and teaching making a lasting impression for good on all who had the privilege of knowing him.  Few men have had the joy and privilege that Mr. McLaren had in living to see ten of his pupils become ministers of the Gospel, Revs. G. G. McRobbie, Ph.D., F. R. Beattie, D.D., D. M. Beattie, B.A., W. E. Beattie, B.A., D. C. McKenzie, M.A., R. Watt, P. J. Mc­Laren, B.A., J. M. McLaren, B.A., J. Little, R. T. Cockburn, all of whom have been called to greater service above.


Following Mr. McLaren, Mr. (afterwards Rev.) John Little and Mr. J. A. Cockburn took charge for a year, and in the spring of 1882 Mr. Cockburn became superintendent and Bible Class teacher. which office he held for forty-four years, which was a record for continued effort to instill into the minds of the youth the principles and teachings of our Lord and Master.  As the Sunday School was only held for eight months of the year, he held a Bible Class Sunday evenings during the winter months.


Other teachers, who were faithful and beloved and whose memory and teachings will be cherished by many of their pupils, are Misses Annie and Christina McKenzie, Annie and Janet Gilchrist, Mrs. Richardson, Mr. Duncan McKenzie, Mr. Neil McEachern, J. W. Kerr, and those of a later date, Mrs. R. J. McFarlane, Mr. and Mrs. William Stallibrass.


In the year 1925, a number of families entered Union, including the superintendent. The continuing Presbyterian families continued their interest and work in the school for two summers, till in 1927, owing to the families going each to their own church, Sunday School, it was decided to discontinue it.



Third Concession Sabbath School


This Sunday School was organized away back in 1856, and was only open during the summer months.  It is in­teresting to note that the first two and fourth superintend­ents afterwards became ministers, Rev. John Morrison, Rev. F. W. Farris and Rev. James Little. Others were Mr. Arthur Oliver, Mr. Alex. Warren and Mr. Hugh Mc­Naughton, who had charge of it for some years.  In this time there were only two classes, one for the boys on one side of the room and the girls on the other side.


Mr. Alex. McCaig, Sen., and Mr. Peter Stewart carried it on for about twenty years, assisted by an earnest staff of teachers, but ill health and declining years caused Mr. Stewart to give up the work, and Mr. McCaig resigned in 1896.  Mr. Andrew Munro was then appointed superintend­ent and carried on the work with encouraging success for two years.


In 1898, Mr. William Stratton took up the work and for six years his cheery presence endeared him to both teachers and pupils, and his removal from the community was re­gretted by all who knew him.  Mr. Alex, McCaig, Jr., was next appointed, assisted by Mrs. Ross and an excellent staff of teachers, and did splendid work for five years.


Through removals and social changes, it became in­creasingly difficult to carry on. However, Mr. John Mc­Farlane conducted it during the summer of 1911, and the next two years Mrs. Lawrence very faithfully and often under difficulties took charge, but owing to circumstances, could not do so any longer and the school was closed, the children and young people going to the church school.


At the closing session of the school in 1913, the teachers and pupils presented Mrs. Lawrence with a Bible as a slight appreciation of the work she had done.


Some of the faithful and beloved teachers were Miss Mary Stewart, Miss Katie McCaig, Miss J. Patterson, Miss L. Ross, Mrs. Ross, Mr. Alex. McCaig, Miss Mary McKay and Mr. Barker.



Badenoch Sabbath Schools


Although not formally organized as a Sabbath School, Rev. William Meldrum, in the early forties, held a class for religious instruction during the summer months near the Badenoch blacksmith’s shop, in the open air beside a large pile of logs, which were arranged for seating accommoda­tion.  He was assisted by Messrs. Clark, Peter Grant, Dut­ton, and James McLean, who taught a class of boys in the Gaelic language.


The first superintendent was Mr. Lauchlan Kennedy, who, although he had excellent command of the English language, always used Gaelic in prayer.  His faithful service for so many years has never been forgotten.


Mr. Robert Goudy was the next superintendent, an earnest, evangelical man who introduced the singing of hymns in the Sabbath School.  Mr. James E. McLean was another very earnest and efficient leader for a number of years, and after giving up the office of superintendent, he taught the Bible Class when able to be present, and during the winter months conducted Sabbath evening services.  Mr. Dugald McDonald succeeded Mr. McLean, but did not remain long in the neighbourhood.  Mr. William Stratton was then appointed.  His mild, pleasing manner won him much favour and all regretted that work in another Sabbath School prevented him from continuing with them.  His successor was Mr. Patterson, the public school teacher who, with an excellent staff of teachers and officers, carried on the work for a few years.


After Mr. Patterson, Mr. James Armstrong took charge in 1899 for one year, to be followed by Mr. J. W. Kerr, who for twenty-one years faithfully endeavoured and with much success to further the Master’s cause in that section.


Upon the removal of Mr. Kerr from the section, Mr. D. G. Hanning took charge, and for six years earnestly car­ried on the work.  Then, as the number of children had de­creased and it was the earnest desire of the Session to have all the children in the congregation attend the one Sabbath School and that, at the church as the centre, and as the transportation difficulty had been removed by the advent of the automobile, it was decided that it be closed and all go to the church school.


Some of the faithful and earnest teachers were Mr. James E. McLean, Mr. J. W. Kerr, Mrs. J. R. Clark, Mrs. George Planning, Miss Jessie McLean, Mr. and Mrs. D. G. Hanning, Mrs. Job Revell, Mr. and Mrs. Jas. Laking.



Church Sabbath School


This Sabbath School was organized in 1893, with Mr. William Stratton superintendent, Mr. J. McDonald, secre­tary and treasurer, and Mrs. T. D. Day, organist. The first teachers were Mrs. W. Robertson, Mrs. J. D. Clark, Miss E. Meldrum, Miss P. McLean, Miss Hannah McLean and Mr. Wellwood Cowan.  Mr. Stratton continued as superintendent until 1905, when to the deep regret of all the teachers and pupils, he moved from the neighbourhood.  His cheerful disposition and earnest teachings made him beloved by everyone.


After Mr. Stratton’s departure, Mr. D. McKenzie car­ried on the work for two years and was followed by Mr. Ira Hammond, who did faithful work until 1908, when he moved away.


Mr. J. A. Cockburn was then appointed and did faithful and successful work for seventeen years until 1925, when he resigned to go into the United Church.


An organized class, calling themselves “The Live Wires”, was conducted by Mrs. Woods, and after 1925 by Mrs. H. Stewart, and continued until the junior Bible Class was organized.


In 1925, Mr. J. W. Kerr was appointed by the session to take charge, and with a loyal band of teachers has carried on the work ever since.  The school is held eight months in the year and the children from every corner of the congrega­tion attend, the number on the roll for 1936 being 95.



Teachers and Officers of Sabbath School, Junior Bible Class and Y. P.S.




Back Row:

Irving Kerr, Margaret Patterson, Lindsay McFarlane, Stanley Archibald, Jessie Stallibrass, Murray McPherson, Russell Moore

Second Row:

Norma Leslie, Florence Black, Fred Blair, Grace McNaughton, Margaret Kerr, Bessie Elliot, Mary Cockburn, Helen Greer


Mrs. H. Cockburn, Mrs. J. A. McPherson, Mrs. S. Surerus, Mrs. H. A. Stewart, J. W. Kerr (Supt.), Mabel McNaughton, Mrs. M. Hodges, Rev. J. L. Burgess



Diplomas for memorizing the Shorter Catechism and portions of Scripture are given yearly.  Twenty-one awards were given in 1936.  A junior Bible Class is also held in

connection with the school, with Mrs. H. A. Stewart as teacher, Mrs. S. Surerus, assistant, Mr. Fred Blair, presi­dent, and Miss Grace McNaughton, secretary, this year, and a senior bible Class started in 1928 by Mr. Mathieson is still carried on by Mr. Burgess.


The present officers are: Superintendent, Mr. J. W. Kerr ; secretary and treasurer, Miss Jean Ayers ; assistant, Irvine Kerr; organist, Miss Jessie Stallibrass; assistant or­ganist, Miss Helen Greer ; librarian, Miss Mary Cockburn ; teachers, Mrs. H. E. Cockburn, Miss Margaret Kerr, Miss Mabel McNaughton, Mr. Russel Moore, Mrs. J. A. Mc­McPherson, Miss Bessie Elliott, Mrs. Margaret Hodges and Miss Jessie Stallibrass.



III.-Women’s Missionary Society


The first Auxiliary of the Women’s Missionary Society was organized during the pastorate of Rev. Dr. McKay, with Mrs.  McKay as president and Mrs. Hugh Clark sec­retary and treasurer.  The work was carried on faithfully and quietly by a small number of ladies, but no records re­garding it are available.


After the departure of Mrs. McKay, the work was discontinued till the year 1891, when Mrs. Robertson, the pastor’s wife, had a notice read from the pulpit that a meeting for the reorganization of the Women’s Missionary Society would be held on September 29th, when Mrs. D. McCrea and Miss McWilliams would be present.  The at­tendance at the meeting was small, but the enthusiasm more than made up for the lack of numbers.  An auxiliary was formed called “Duff’s Church Women’s Foreign Mission­ary Society” with Mrs. Wm. Robertson, president, Mrs. C. Morrison, vice-president, Miss Hannah McLean, secretary, and Miss E. Morrison, treasurer.  Nineteen members were en­rolled, four of whom are still living, viz., Miss Hannah McLean, Miss E. Morrison, Miss Maggie Doyle (now Mrs. R. Rogers), and Miss Grace McLean.


Monthly meetings were to be held with a membership fee of 25 cents a year.  To reach more ladies it was decided to have the meetings held in the different districts of the congregation.  Mrs. Robertson never spared herself, but was “instant in season and out of season”.  The society, to show their appreciation of her labours, at a public meeting in June, 1898, presented her with a silver tea service and Mr. Robertson, a chair.  Again when she resigned after sixteen years of service as president, she was presented with a gold watch and chain.  She was a loyal and devoted worker in the Master’s cause, and always had the interest of the society at heart.


For six months after Mrs. Robertson left, the society was without a president, but the work did not suffer.  Miss Munro, vice-president, and Mrs. Clark, secretary, bravely carried on until in June, 1907, Mrs. S. Lawrence, wife of the newly inducted minister, became president, and for twelve years faithfully carried on the work.  Her talks on the Bible lesson especially were always an inspiration and help and did much to further the cause of the Master here.  She spared no pains to make the meeting both helpful and in­structive.  The membership greatly increased, also the at­tendance at the meetings.  Mission work in the different countries was studied, papers on the work being prepared by the members and read at the meetings, the more prac­tical work being presented by the many quilts and bales of miscellaneous articles made and sent out to the Indian schools and hospitals in the west.


It was during Mrs. Lawrence’s leadership in 1912 that the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society became affiliated with the Women’s Home Missionary Society.  Two years later, the two societies amalgamated to be known there­after as the Women’s Missionary Society of the Presby­terian Church in Canada.  Mrs. Lawrence was made a life member of the society in 1908.


During the Great War, the ladies of the congregation assisted the members of the society in remembering our boys overseas by sending them letters, boxes of fruit, socks and other articles.


Mrs. Woods, the next president, did very efficient work for six years.  During that time the World’s Day of Prayer was organized in 1920.  A union meeting with the ladies of Aberfoyle and Morriston churches was held and has continued every year since, the ladies from the three churches taking part.





W.M.S., Y.W.M.S., and Goforth Mission


It was an historic day when the Guelph Presbyterial met in Duff’s Church on May 26th 1925.  Business and re­ports filled the morning session.  In the afternoon when the time came for election of officers, Mrs. McKeracher, the president, said, “We have come to the parting of the ways.” She requested that those going into Union remain upstairs and those not going into Union go downstairs. The vast majority went downstairs, leaving only a handful of Union­ists to elect their officers.


The continuing Presbyterians then proceeded to or­ganize the Guelph Presbyterial of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Officers elected were: President, Miss McLel­lan; secretary, Mrs. Hewer; treasurer, Mrs. Gamble.


Three days later, May 29, a meeting of ladies was held in the vestry of the church for the purpose of disbanding the present Women's Missionary Society. A resolution from the session, expressing their gratitude for the good work the society had done was read. After disbanding, the ladies again met with the approval of the Kirk Session for the purpose of reorganizing in the continuing Presbyterian Church. Miss McLellan, president of Guelph Presbyterial, was present, as organizer, and Mrs. McBean was elected president, Mrs. J. W. Kerr vice-president, Mrs. J. A. Black secretary-treasurer. As all funds had been taken by the United Church, the treasury was empty, but they were rich in the assurance that the Lord of Hosts would supply all their need and their faith and trust has been wonderfully sustained.


The reorganized society, under the leadership of Mrs. McBean, assisted by a loyal band of officers and members, also by the new minister's wife, Mrs. Mathieson, who, on account of ill health was unable to take an active part in the work, but when able gave worthwhile messages and help at the meetings. Through their efforts the society broad­ened out.  Joint meetings with Knox Church Auxiliary are held once a year, and are very helpful to both auxiliaries.  An expense fund was founded.  Instead of the president giving the Scripture lesson as formerly, it was to be given by one of the members.


Christmas cards and boxes of fruit are sent to the aged and shut-ins, also to the sick.


Mrs. McBean, after six years of faithful work, retired, and Mrs. J. W. Kerr became president.  Mrs. J. W. Kerr is still carrying on the work faithfully and well.


Supplies consisting of quilts and clothing are yearly sent to the Indian schools and mission hospitals, also relief bales have been sent for several years to the stricken areas in the west.


During the 46 years of the society’s existence 24 life membership certificates have been conferred on deserving members.


Two legacies of $100 each have been bequeathed to the society by Mrs. M. Kennedy and Miss Mary Scott, and one of $60 by Mrs. Angus Stewart.


The Lord has wonderfully prospered our work and unto his name be all the glory.


The society has had as its leaders five presidents, Mrs. William Robertson, Mrs. S. Lawrence, Mrs. S. Woods, Mrs. O. McBean and Mrs. J. W. Kerr, and nine secretaries, Miss H. McBean, Miss A. Steel, Mrs. J. D. Clark, Miss J. Jeffrey, Mrs. Job Revell, Miss M. Stewart, Miss M. Mc­Lean, Mrs. J. A. Black and Miss B. Elliott.


Young Women’s Auxiliary


On June 26, 1926, a group of young girls met in the vestry of the church for the purpose of considering the or­ganization of a Young Women’s Auxiliary.  Mrs. Eakins

of Hespeler was present and told of the valuable work the young women could do to aid our mission hospitals, school homes and mission stations.


They organized as a Young Women’s Auxiliary with fourteen members, the officers being: President, Miss Bessie Henderson (now Mrs. H. E. Cockburn) ; vice-president, Miss Margaret Stewart; secretary, Miss Doris Hundley.


As the years have gone past, their work for the less fortunate has grown and they have been of great assist­ance to the Women’s Missionary Society in helping with supply bales and also the relief work.  Not only their work for the less fortunate has been blessed, but they themselves have received great spiritual benefits from their meetings and work.


The present officers are: President, Mrs. Cockburn; vice-president, Mrs. Burgess; secretary, Miss M. Kerr.



Mission Bands


On June 5, 1926, a few children of the congregation met at the manse and organized the “Goforth Mission Band”.  Mrs. Mathieson was chosen leader, Miss Isabel Mathieson president, Jean McBean secretary and Margaret Kerr, treasurer.  All children were welcomed, several coming from the Evangelical Church.


A Sunbeam Mission Band was also organized in Badenoch the same year with Mrs. Arrowsmith as leader, but this band only continued work for about two years.


The attendance at the Goforth Band has been very good.  As the boys grew up they stopped going, but the girls, as they grew older, joined the Young Women’s Auxiliary.  The meetings are made very interesting, with devotional exercises, a missionary program and a work period, when different articles, toys, scrapbooks, etc., are made for children in the mission fields.  They also hold bazaars, teas, and pageants to raise funds for mission work. Mrs. Alex. Harbottle is now leader, and the good work of training the children in the Master’s service is still carried on.



IV. Young People’s Societies


The first Young People’s Society to be organized was a Christian Endeavour Society in 1890, shortly after Mr. Robertson became pastor.  The first officers were: Honor­ary President, Rev. William Robertson; President, Mr. William Stratton; First Vice-President, Mr. William Mc­Eachern; Second Vice-President, Miss P. McLean; Treas­urer, Mr. A. McDiarmid; Recording Secretary, Mr. J. A. Cockburn; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. W. Robertson; Organist, Mrs. T. D. Day.


This society was a strong and helpful organization.  For a number of years it did much for the spiritual upbuilding of the young people of the church, and many of the older men and women in the congregation can look back and recall the helpful meetings and the benefits received from them.  After a few years, owing to local circumstances and many of the young men and women leaving the district to take up their chosen work in other places, the attendance began to lessen and at last the meetings were discontinued.


Shortly after Rev. Mr. Lawrence assumed the pastorate in May 1907, a Young People’s Guild was organized with a membership of 37.  This society differed from the Chris­tian Endeavour Society in that it not only had meetings for Bible study, but for missionary and literary work as well.  The first officers were: Hon. President, Rev. Mr. Lawrence; President, Mr. J. W. Kerr; Vice-Presidents, Mr. J. D. Jef­frey, Miss Hannah McLean, Mr. Ira Hammond and Mrs. H. T. Hammersley; Recording Secretary, Miss Carrie Smith; Corresponding Secretary, Miss Marjory McLean; Treas­urer, Mrs. J. P. Clark; Organist, Miss M. McBeath.  This society did splendid work for a number of years in develop­ing the spiritual, moral, mental and social life of the young people.


For a number of years after the disruption no Young People’s meetings were held, and it was not until the fall of 1930 that the Young People’s Society of Duff’s Church was organized.  Weekly meetings were held, the devotional and missionary on Sunday evenings, alternately with liter­ary and social on Monday evenings.  The first officers were President, Russell Moore; Secretary-Treasurer, Miss Mar­garet Patterson.


The meetings, though held only in the winter months (the junior Bible Class taking their place during the sum­mer), have been very successful.  One of the main feat­ures of each Sunday evening meeting is the explaining of one question of the Shorter Catechism by the Pastor.


It is affiliated with the other Young People’s Societies in the Guelph Presbytery and has taken part in the various contests, one of the members winning the oratorical contest in the Presbytery.  They also took part in debating and Bible drama contests, and won the Presbytery Shield for sports at the annual picnic. Two of the members hold office in the Presbyterial Y. P. Society.


Three weeks before our beloved Pastor, Mr. Mathieson, passed away, the society presented him with a framed ad­dress of appreciation and remembrance of his ten years of service with us.  It was a fitting tribute to one who had been untiring in his efforts to uplift and strengthen the Christian character of the young people in his charge, and his influence and teachings will long be felt.


Rev. Mr. Burgess is following Mr. Mathieson’s foot­steps and doing his part in leading the young people in ways of righteousness.



V.-The Choir


Throughout the years, the service of praise has always held a prominent place in the services of our church.  The first Precentor was Mr. Lachlan Kennedy, who led the praises in both Gaelic and English during the whole of Rev. Wm. Meldrum’s pastorate, and even when nearly ninety years of age led the singing at the Gaelic communion services.  Other Precentors were Mr. Robert Stewart, Mr. Adam Darling, Mr. William Hyslop, Mr. David McFarlane, Mr. Robert McFarlane, Mr. Smith, Lieut.-Col. Wm. Nicoll, Messrs. Charles Cockburn, W. G. Stephenson, A. Marshall and Hugh McDiarmid.  During Mr. McDiarmid’s term of office the Church Hymnal was introduced into the church services, also the agitation for an organ was started, but it was not until Mr. Frey was appointed leader that the organ was installed.  Miss Elizabeth Kerr (now Mrs. D. G. Han­ning) was the first organist, and the first tune played on the organ was “Old Hundred”.  Other organists were Misses M. Frey, Bella McFarlane, Jean Martin, Margaret Elliott (and leader), Mrs. L. J. Stuart (and leader), Mrs. H. E. Cockburn and Miss A. McBean. Leaders: Messrs. Alex. Nicoll, D. McFarlane, Mrs. L. Gregor, Mrs. J. Pinkney and Mr. James Porteous.


During Mr. Frey’s leadership the choir was raised to a high state of efficiency and was greatly in demand to assist at services in other churches and at concerts.  New hymn books were introduced in 1920, and ten years later gowns and caps were purchased with the approval of the session and to the satisfaction of the congregation.


As an organization the choir, under the leadership of Mr. Porteous, with Miss McLean as organist, has pro­gressed greatly.  The cantatas and special music they have given, testify to this.  Numerous plays have been put on by the members, the proceeds of which were used to purchase music books, gowns, and a substantial sum given to the managers for congregational revenue.


The present mem­bers are:


Misses M. Haines, C. McBean, F. Black, J. Stallibrass, J. Nicoll, M. Hanning, M. McFarlane and Mrs. Ayres.


Mrs. Pinkney, Misses N. Leslie, J. McPherson, G. McNaughton.


Mr. Porteous, M. McPherson, Mr. R. Elston and C. Haines.


Messrs. R. Moore, R. Hanning, L. McFarlane, and S. Archibald.


The choir also has an excellent male quartette, Messrs. M. McPherson, R. Elston, L. McFarlane and S. Archibald.  They are called upon to assist at special church services and concerts throughout the district.



Duff’s Church Choir 1937

Back Row (left to right)

S. A. Archibald, R. D. Hanning, R. L. McFarlane, J. R. Moore, Mrs. J. Pinkney, M. L. Haines, E. C. McBean, Mrs. T. Ayres, J. E. Nicoll, J. D. Porteous (choir leader), D. M. McPherson, R. J. Elson, C. B. Haines


Front Row (left to right)

M. A. McBean (organist), N. J. Leslie, J. C. McPherson, G.B. McNaughton, F. M. Black, M. A. McFarlane, M. E. Hanning, J. K. Stallibrass



Crown Cemetery, Puslinch





Crown Cemetery, Puslinch


Crown Cemetery, on the east side of the highway be­tween Aberfoyle and Morriston, is a landmark of the countryside and a spot that is hallowed by many precious memories. Its history and present estate is close to the heart of the vicinity and to many who have gone out from here.


In response to a petition of the Presbyterians of Pus­linch to the Crown Lands Department, Toronto, lot 28, con­cession 8, was granted to certain trustees and their heirs and assigns forever to be used for a burying ground.  In this way the early desire of the first settlers to bury their dead in a place set apart was met.  Originally there were five trustees appointed at a public meeting of those whose loved ones were buried in the cemetery.  These early years marked a growth in size of the cemetery, but there was little organ­ized effort directed to its upkeep.  There seems to have been no charge for a lot, people were allowed to choose their own plots, and these were sometimes placed at varying angles to each other.  Evidence of this can be seen in the older part of the cemetery.


After fifty years the cemetery had taken on a neglected appearance, and a meeting in 1886 of all interested parties was called to face the situation.  All the former trustees had either died or moved away, and five new ones were appointed in 1887, viz., Messrs. R. B. Morrison, Hugh Cock­burn, Charles Colfas, Robert Watson and Allan Stewart.  By-laws governing the cemetery were approved at a public meeting.  A subscription list was circulated, money raised, and the next years were marked by a series of improve­ments. Maple trees were planted in 1888 and spruce in 1890.  A house was built for a caretaker and in 1893 the roads were graded and gravelled.


Steps were taken in 1889 to clarify the title of the prop­erty.  Since the land had been granted, there had been a disruption in the Established Church, to whom the property was deeded, and later a reunion of the Presbyterian Churches in Canada.  So it was that when the trustees wished to dispose of a part of the property, they were in doubt as to what to do with the proceeds and sought the advice of the Presbytery of Guelph. This body interested itself in the matter, and in 1889 an act of the Provincial Legislature made the manner of holding the property clear in the following terms


“It is enacted that, Crown Cemetery, as soon as two trustees are nominated and appointed by each of the two congregations of the Presbyterian Church in Canada in the Township of Puslinch, shall be held by them and by their successors in office, in trust, for the purpose of a burial ground for the use of members and adherents of the Pres­byterian Church in Canada in the Township of Puslinch, and other denominations upon such terms as the Presbytery of Guelph of the said church may from time to time de­termine.”


It is the custom to augment the board of four thus fixed, by three others chosen by the plot-holders, to form a Board of Management.


Again in 1929, the unsatisfactory condition of the ceme­tery awakened a renewed interest, and men and teams were employed to level the plots and generally improve the appearance of the cemetery.  Again in 1934, work was com­menced on the front part of the cemetery, filling up a de­pression and cutting away a part of the grade. There was a splendid response on the part of the community to this enterprise.  Men came a distance of five and six miles with their teams and nine bees were held in one year.  This work transformed the appearance of the cemetery in a much-appreciated change, although this great task is still far from completion. 


The genuine interest in the care of this burial ground has been revealed by the very generous response to the appeal sent out by the Centenary Memorial Committee for funds to build memorial gates at the front entrance in honour of the pioneers.  This entrance, a beauti­ful work of art, has just been erected only a few feet in front of where the original log church stood.  Efforts are being directed to provide adequate care of this.


The cemetery is at present well organized and con­ducted in a businesslike manner. When a charge was first made for space in the cemetery in 1887, the rate was one dollar a foot.  That rate has now been doubled.  At present, efforts are being directed to provide adequate care of this ground in future years.  There are many plots where all relatives have either died or their whereabouts are un­known, and there is no one to care for the plot.  To prevent a repetition of this, a system of perpetual upkeep has been inaugurated.  By this means, a plot of ground ten feet by twelve will be given care in perpetuity, for the sum of forty dollars.  So far, about sixty people have availed themselves of this opportunity.  As more take it up, greater provision can be made to keep the appearance of this Crown Ceme­tery in such condition as fittingly shows our veneration of the memory of our beloved dead.


The first board of the cemetery consisted of Donald McLean, Alex. Nicoll, William Stewart, Neil Thompson, Thomas Todd, Peter McNaughton and Hugh Gillespie.


The present board is composed of John W. Kerr, Daniel McFarlane, D. A. McNaughton, James A. McPherson, John M. Cockburn, John Reid and John Winer.


Since 1887, there have been the following secretaries, R. B. Morrison, Andrew Munro, John Reid and Grace McNaughton.


Caretakers include William Falconer (for about 40 years), A. Drone, R. W. Hetherington, James Nicoll, James Herron, John Frey, John Martin and John McNaughton.



Duff’s Presbyterian Church

1837          Centenary        1937


The one hundredth anniversary of Duff’s Church was observed July 18-25 inclusive. The Sabbath services, which were presided over by our minister, Rev. J. L. Burgess, M.A., had as their guest speakers: Rev. Beverly Ketchen, D.D. of Hamilton, morning and evening of the 18th, and Rev. S. Lawrence, B.A., a former minister, on the morning of the 25th.


The church was beautifully and fittingly decorated in a colour scheme of red, white and blue, with spinning wheels, the Gaelic Bible, and other relics of long ago adding an historical touch.  Duff’s choir under the leadership of Mr. Jas. Porteous and Miss A. McBean, organ­ist, led the service of praise in a most proficient manner and sang suitable anthems.  The male quartette of Elston, McPherson, Archibald and McFarlane aided in the morning service; in the evening, Miss M. Haines sang a solo.


On the morning of July 18th, Rev. Bev. Ketchen spoke to a congrega­tion estimated at 1200 that filled the church and the school room and many hundred seats outside, which had been supplied by the grounds Committee, which also installed amplifiers, so that all could hear.  The text was Judges II, verses 7-10:  “The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua”.  The sermon very fittingly reminded us of our debt to the pioneers, and of the far-reaching influence of the example and pray­ers of parents, also of the amazing courage and industry, the plain liv­ing and high thinking and the rugged character of those God-fearing pioneers, our forefathers.


“This service,” he said, “demands that we ask ourselves certain questions.  Are we worthy?  Are we handing on to our descendants, those splendid virtues and characteristics undiminished, or are we letting some of them slip?  Do we revere the Day, the House, the Book which were so dear to them?  Are we morally anaemic and selfish, or shall we pass on to others that splendid heritage, enriched and amplified?”


At the close of this service, the ministers and choir, followed by the immense congregation, crossed the highway to the beautiful Mem­orial gates.  These gates were erected by the Centennial’s Memorial Committee, and were made possible by the contributions of the many friends of Crown Cemetery, both near and far.  They are in commem­oration of the early pioneers, who cleared the land and erected their first place of worship near the site of the gates. The service was in charge of the minister of Duff’s, who, in introductory remarks, re­ferred to the zeal and labour manifested in those first undertakings, and exemplified by the walk to and from Toronto of a pioneer to pro­cure the right to the land.  The regret of the Rev. A. J. Mann, of Aberfoyle United Church, at his inability to accept our invitation to attend, was expressed.


Mr. Hugh E. Cockburn, Chairman of the Memorial Committee, formally handed over the memorial to the proper authorities, “for their care and keeping as a sacred trust”; Mr. Daniel McFarlane unveiled the inscription; Mr. John W. Kerr, Chairman of the Cemetery Board, officially opened the gates, and Rev. E. H. Bean of Morriston Evang­elical Church led in a dedicatory prayer.  Rev. S. Lawrence spoke briefly, recalling the many virtues of the pioneers, the sacred mem­ories of the past, and made a stirring appeal to hold high the torch and to follow the trail so clearly defined by our forefathers.  The people joined in the singing of “0 God of Bethel” and Dr. Ketchen pronounced the Benediction.  There were many that day who visited again the graves of their loved ones, and expressed delight in the well-­kept appearance of the cemetery grounds, which had received special care in preparation for their homecoming visit.


On the evening of the same day, the Church and school room were filled to capacity long before the hour of service.  In the morning we were reminded of the past, in the evening we were pointed to our future service, being addressed on the theme of the “True Imperialism” from the text, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God”, Matt. VI., verse 33.  This text has not been heeded always.  Dr. Ketchen pointed out the futility of anxiety and worry about material things, of putting of trust in horses and chariots and clever diplomatic arrangements, to keep peace, the courage to try Christ’s way has been lacking.  We have placed other things before the reign of Christ, to the detriment of our national and social well-being.  If all the millions who profess Christ would actually practise the golden rule, it would solve all the problems of the social and industrial world, with which we are surrounded to-day.


Monday evening, July 19th, saw a large and very interesting as­semblage of representatives of a great many of the old-time families of the Church.  Space forbids more than a mere list, but very many splendid responses were given, and a very pleasant and worthwhile evening was spent, which will not soon be forgotten.


The meeting was presided over by Rev. J. L. Burgess, and opened by singing “Brothers, we are treading where the Saints have trod”.  Greetings were brought from the Synod of Toronto and Kingston, by the Moderator, Rev. S. Lawrence; from Guelph Presbytery by the Moderator, Rev. M. B. Davidson, D.D.; from Nassagaweya by Rev. F. Lawson; Crieff by Mr. Archie Scott; St. Andrew’s, Guelph, by Dr. Wallace; Aberfoyle by Rev. A. J. Mann; and from Morriston Evangelical by Rev. E. H. Bean.  The Misses MacPherson, Leslie and McBean sang “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”.


The Chairman then, speaking for the Session, extended a hearty welcome to all the old friends of Duff’s Church, who had so kindly come from far and near, to greet us.  Mr. Peter C. McLean responded for the Board of Management, and Russell Moore for the Y. P. Society, while John W. Kerr recalled the story of the Sunday Schools at Badenoch, the Tenth, and the Church.  The Choir then rendered “The Little Brown Church in the Vale” and the W. M. Society spoke through its president, Mrs. J. W. Kerr.  Of the past ministers, Rev. Thos. Wardrope, who held the first services in this community, was repre­sented by a great-grand-daughter, Mrs. M. B. Davidson; Rev. Wm. Meldrum, by his son, George; Rev. Alexander McLean, by a letter from his daughters in Scotland; Rev. Ken. McDonald; Rev. Alexander McKay, by a niece, Miss Watt; Rev. William Robertson, by his son, Willie; and Rev. S. Lawrence responded himself and sang “The Land 0’ the Leal”; Rev. S. Woods, greetings by letter; and for Rev. Peter Mathieson, a kind letter from his brother James, also one from Mrs. Mathieson.  Mrs. Freeman spoke for Rev. Alex­ander Duff, after whom this church was named.


The Cockburns were represented by Mr. H. G. Cockburn; the Gillespies, by Jno. A. Elliot; the McNaughtons, by John McNaughton; the Kennedys, by Lachlan’s son Alex.; and the McBeaths, by Miss Dawson, in song; the McKenzies, by Miss Janet; the Camerons, by Colin; the McPhersons, by Miss Margaret; the McFarlanes, by Daniel; the McLeans of Loch Buie, by Miss Grace; and the other McLeans, by Mrs. F. Allison; the Smiths, by John; the Stewarts, by Neil and Charlie; the Iddingtons, by Mrs. Dietrich; the McRobbie clan, by Robbie; the Clarks, by Robert; the McLarens, by Kenneth; the Beat­ties, by Wm. of Preston; the McCraes, by Mrs. McCorkindale; the Marshalls, by M. Haines; and the McCaigs, Nicolls, McKays, Forbes, Stratton, Stewarts, and many others.  At the close of the service, a piece of delicious birthday cake was given to each guest as a remem­brance of the occasion.


Wednesday afternoon and evening were set apart for recreation sports and the pleasure of chatting with old friends.  The day was fine throughout, and indeed, one of the remarkable things of the centennial week was the fine weather with which we were blessed, and which brought a feeling of gratitude to the hearts of all our workers.


Moffat and Alex. Cockburn conducted games and sports to the great enjoyment of the younger ones.  This was followed by local ball teams which provided the feature of the afternoon.  No small part of the day's delight was the re-union of old friends and the renewing of former acquaintanceships.   The Reception Committee were untiring in their efforts to make all feel at home.  Mrs. Alex. Smith secured many of their names in the visitors book, the gift of Rev. and Mrs. Burgess.  Numbers availed themselves of the opportunity of purchasing the book published by the Historical Committee.  At six o'clock, the very large crowd sat down to a picnic supper served by the ladies, under the direction of the Banquet Committee, whose handling of this large under­taking was most efficient.    Rev. Chas. Mullen tendered greetings from West Flamboro and Kirkwall.  The Happy Cousins Concert Company of Elmira provided the evening programme.


On Friday afternoon, the W. M. S. and their friends gathered at a meeting, with their president, Mrs. J. W. Kerr presiding.  The de­votions were led by members of the Y. W. Aux. Greetings were brought by Mrs. W. P. Gamble, Mrs. H. L. Bennie, Mrs. S. Lawrence, Mrs. F. Roszell, Mrs. M. B. Davidson, Miss E. McWilliams and Mrs. Harcourt, also by letter from Miss H. McLean, Mrs. S. A. Woods and others. These stressed the point of the noble, courageous character of the God-fearing pioneer women, and urged us to be true to the trust and the high ideals they left us.  An interesting and instructive ad­dress, giving a glimpse into the work of the Board, and the way in which the money is used, was given by Mrs. D. Strachan, treas. of the W. M. S. (W. D.)  Mrs. 0. McBean conducted a service of loving remembrance for those devoted women, who paved the way for us, and have now passed to higher service, after which the Mission Band mem­bers sang sweetly, “Good Morning up There”.  Mrs. J. R. Pinkney, Miss J. Nicoll and Miss M. Hanning also brought helpful messages in song.  A pleasing feature was the presentation of three Life Mem­bership certificates; one from the W.M.S. to Mrs. Alex. McLean, one from Miss Margaret Clark to her mother, and the other to Mrs. Burgess from the Y. W. Aux. A very worthwhile meeting was closed with prayer by Mrs. R. Rogers, one of the four charter members still living. Afternoon Tea was then served by the ladies.


The service on the Sabbath, the 25th, was reminiscent of old-time ser­vices, the singing of old psalm tunes being led by a choir of former members accompanied by the first organist, Mrs. D. G. Hanning, and was greatly enjoyed, especially by the older people.  Rev. S. Lawrence delivered a strong evangelistic sermon to another overflow congrega­tion.  He cited the changes which he had noticed in the last thirty years; the passing of those who were then the backbone of the con­gregation, and threw out a challenge for us to imbibe and to pass on, the splendid characteristics of our forebears.  Amidst these changes the word of God abides, and yet some are satisfied with lesser things as leisure and pleasure and are thereby little better than the beasts of the field.


The Word, continued the preacher, carries with it the commands to Come, Abide, Go. “To Go”; because there is something each can do, some service of eye, ear, hand, or foot. Then why so many who do not feel their own responsibility, and why so hard to get people to help? “Abide”; because we must know Him and keep close to Him if we are to go out in His service.  The speaker called for a deep per­sonal abiding that would transfigure this people, as Jesus was trans­figured, when He abode with the Father in prayer. “Come”; here the invitation was extended to come past all veneer of religion, to Jesus our Saviour.  The sermon ended with a plea not to give the best part of our life to the world, and the rest to Jesus, but to yield ourselves to Him in the morning of life.  It was God’s own gracious invitation we heard that day.




History of


Duff’s Presbyterian Church


Puslinch, Ontario




Part II



Table of Contents


Schedule of Events 1987


Honour Roll—World Wars I and II


Sesquicentennial Committees


Chapter I

Ministry of Rev. J. L. Burgess


Chapter II

Ministry of Rev. T. G. M. Bryan


Chapter III

Ministry of Rev. J. D. Gordon


Chapter IV

Ministry of Rev. Hugh Wilson


Chapter V

Ministry of Rev. L. H. Nanson


Chapter VI

Ministry of Rev. F.N. Young


Chapter VII

Ministry of Rev. M. Anne Yee-Hibbs


Chapter VIII

Departments of Church Activities

Board of Managers

Church School

Women’s Missionary Society

Young Women’s Auxiliary

Goforth Mission Band

Young People’s Society

Senior Choir

Junior Choir

Canadian Girls in Training

Service Club

Fireside Club


Church Growth Committee


Chapter IX

Crown Cemetery



Sesquicentennial Celebration








Sunday, July 19


11:00 a.m.


Worship Service

Monday, July 20


7:30 p.m.


Reunion and Remembrance

Friday, July 24

7:00 p.m.

Aberfoyle Community Centre


Sports & Old Tyme Garden Party

Sunday, July 20


11:00 a. m.


Old Tyme Worship Service

Wed. October 14


8:00 p.m.


WMS Observance




The Honour Roll




Those who served:


Alex Martin*

James McIntyre*         

Peter Simpson

Roy Smith

Thomas McDonald

Harry Richardson

John Smith

Newton Marshall

William Mann

William McKay

Gladstone Marshall

Robert Borthwick

William McNaughton

Thomas Moir

Charles Stewart

John McNaughton

Stirling Jeffrey

James McCaig

Ernest Clark

Moffat Cockburn

George Nicoll

James Clark*

William Grahamshaw*

William Scott

Alfred Hammersley

John Hamilton

Alexander Smith

Alex McKay

John Munroe*

Charles Borthwick

Edward Scott

George Andrews

John Scott

Alex McLean

William Palmer

Harry Bohn

Hugh E. Cockburn

Gordon McPherson

John McKay

Duncan Clark

Adam Heller*

John McCaig

Leonard Mann

Percy Cockwell

Andrew Ord

Marshall Revell

James Simpson

John McPhee


* Gave their lives for Canada




Those who served:


Stanley A. Archbold

Donald Lamont

W. Alexander McLean*

Alex W. Ayres

Clarence Leslie

Reid S. McNaughton

Clayton A. Beaver

Wm. J. MacIntosh

J. Murray Mahon

Percy W. Binks

James D. MacLean

John A. Mathies

R. James Culp

Alexander McCormick

G. Emmerson Skerritt

A. Murray Elliot

Lindsay R. McFarlane

Irvine J. Skerritt

Adam Frank

Archibald B. McIntyre*

Leonard A. Skerritt

Douglas A.I. Gilmour

Donald A. McIntyre

George A. Stewart*

Everard L. Grey

James I. McIntyre*

Joanna P. Stewart

Clayton B. Haines

Joseph M. McIntyre

W. Allan Stewart

Donald A. Hanning

Kenneth A. McLean

Roy D. Winer

Evelyn E. Hunter

Lloyd J. McLean

B. Leo Wyse

Ernest A. Kerr

Marjory C. McLean

J. Bruce Wyse


Peter McLean



* Gave their lives for Canada



Sesquicentennial Committees



The Session



Duncan McFarlane, Wm. J. Kerr, Bruce Smith, Robert McCaig, Marjorie Clark,

Donald Crow, Douglas Gilmour, The Rev. M. Anne Yee-Hibbs



Wm. J. and Mary Kerr, Duncan and Myrtle McFarlane, Gordon and Isabel Crow



Douglas Gilmour, Marjorie Clark, Glennys Stewart, Brian Watkin, Gordon Crow



Douglas McCaig, Marie Connors, Roy Knapton, Patricia Ganning



Marjorie Clark, Susan Visser



 The Fireside Club



Don and Helen Schwartz



Garnet and Ida Law, Donald and Bernice Crow, Paul and Marnie Wigood,

 Norm and Susan Visser, Doug and Lois Mast



Paul McDonald



John Gilmour and Russell Inglis



Ann Schwartz




Ministry of Reverend J. L. Burgess


(continued, from part I)

Reverend J. L. and Mrs. Burgess


The observance of the “Centenary” of the organization of our Church signified a highlight in the ministry of Rev. J. L. Burgess.


These were the years following the depression, and money was in short supply.  Total centennial celebration receipts were $834.56 with expenses of $582.83.  The balance of $231.73 was turned over to the church treasurer.


Congregational givings were down during the beginning of the Second World War and there was difficulty raising enough money for the annual stipend of $960.00.  From this amount a National Defence tax of $34.78 was deducted.  A special congregational canvass was authorized resulting in $211.75 being raised and turned over to Rev. Burgess.


On November 29th 1942, he tendered his resignation to accept a call to Orangeville.  It is interesting to note that a unanimous standing vote of a congregational meeting directed the committee representing the congre­gation at Presbytery to do all in its power to retain Rev. Burgess as our minister.


Nevertheless, Rev. Burgess moved to Orangeville.  Rev. J. C. Grier of Knox Church, Guelph was appointed interim Moderator by Presbytery.




Ministry of Reverend T. G. M. Bryan



Rev. T. G. M. Bryan and wife, Beth


After a vacancy of five months a call was extended to Rev. T. G. M. Bryan, a native of London, Ontario, who had previously served in Nova Scotia.  The induction service was held on March 24, 1943.


Mr. Bryan, being a bachelor, boarded with Mrs. 0. McBean and then with Mr. and Mrs. Fred Roszell in Puslinch.  The manse was rented until November 1946 when Mr. Bryan was married to Beth Stevenson.


Shortly after his ordination, the singing of our National Anthem was initiated at regular worship service.  In 1944, membership of Session was increased with the election of J. Russell Moore and John M. Cockburn whose service of' ordination took place on November 26.


Mr. Bryan was very interested in youth activities.  A badminton club was formed through his initiative with a large membership.  The court was set up on the ground floor of the International Order of Foresters Hall in Morriston.  Several competitions took place with church groups from Guelph and Acton.


In 1946, Mr. D. G. Hanning resigned as Clerk of Session after serving for 21 years.  Mr. J. R. Moore was appointed as his replacement.


The present communion table was purchased and dedicated in 1948.  This was made possible through a bequest of the late James E. McLean, who had been an elder of this congregation and a faithful church school worker for many years.


The Memorial Plaque was dedicated in memory of George A. Stewart and W. Alexander McLean, two of the young men who gave their lives in the Second World War, 1939-1945.


On April 30th 1950, a new organ was dedicated for use in leading the service of praise.  During the summer of this year, church services were also held in Badenoch School on the fourth Sunday evening of each month.


Since there was a need for additional elders, Wm. Smith, Duncan McFarlane, and David Stewart were elected.  Service of' ordination was held on September 24, 1950.


On June 20th 1952, a special service was held to recognize Geraldine Greer’s commitment to missionary work and her posting as a teacher for eight years in Taiwan.


In 1953, a special collection was taken for relief work in India.  Four new silver plates were purchased for use in Communion Service.


During Rev. Bryan’s ministry, we were saddened by the loss of two elders.  Mr. D. R. Clark passed away on December 24, 1945, and Mr. Daniel McFarlane on December 29, 1949.


In April 1953, Rev. Bryan accepted a call to St. Columba Presbyterian Church in Hamilton.   Rev. D. Crawford Smith of Knox Church, Guelph, was appointed by Presbytery to be Interim Moderator.


Rev. T. G. M. Bryan passed away while on holidays in Ireland, in 1985.



Present entrance to church tower

Tower was added when Duff’s Church was renovated in 1903.




Ministry of Rev. J. D. Gordon



Reverend and Mrs. J. D. Gordon


Rev. J. Douglas Gordon was inducted as our Minister in the latter part of 1953.  He had previously served in Kelowna, British Columbia.


There was a severe thunderstorm the evening of Rev. Gordon’s induction.  The electrical power was interrupted and with the sanctuary in total darkness, the charge to the minister was made.


Rev. Gordon was instrumental in initiating a program to place the Presbyterian Record in every home, organizing the formation of the Fireside Club, observing the sacrament of Holy Communion three times a year instead of two, and acquiring new Psalm books.


In October 1954, southern Ontario bore the brunt of Hurricane Hazel.  Many lives were lost and property damage was heavy.  A relief fund of $227.75 was raised in a special collection.


Special mention was made in Session records to honour John W. Kerr who had served as elder for 50 years.


Early in 1956, Rev. Gordon submitted his resignation to take up new duties as a Canadian Army Chaplain.


Once again, the Presbytery of Guelph appointed Rev. D. Crawford Smith as Interim Moderator.




Ministry of Reverend Hugh Wilson



Reverend Hugh Wilson


On November 22, 1956, a call was extended to Rev. Hugh Wilson, minister at Port Elgin.  He was a native of Northern Ireland who had served in India with the Bhil Mission field.  The service of induction took place on January 4, 1957.


Since Rev. and Mrs. Wilson had a family of two boys, and one girl, they required the use of all rooms at the manse.  The back kitchen was renovated to serve as a study.


Mr. J. W. Kerr resigned as Sunday School superintendent after serving for 37 years. Previous to this, he was superintendent of the Sunday School at Badenoch from 1900 to 1921.  This record of continued service was officially recognized by the Session on March 18, 1957.  Douglas McQueen and Duncan McFarlane were jointly appointed to succeed him.


On November 14, Rev. and Mrs. Wilson's eldest son, James, was killed in an automobile accident near Guelph.  Funeral service was held in the sanctuary with an overflow crowd.  Interment was in Crown Cemetery.  Early the following year, Rev. Wilson conducted a memorial service for James during regular Sunday worship.  All James’ friends were invited and presented with Bibles from Rev. and Mrs. Wilson.


When the wood burning furnaces were replaced with oil fired forced air heat, the Sunday School room was renovated and redecorated.  Permission was granted to the Fireside Club to hold its annual bazaar and tea in this room.


Mr. Donald G. Hanning, an elder since March 19, 1922, passed away on June 30, 1958.  Five more elders were elected, John Coburn, Roy Allan, Wm. J. Kerr, N. Bruce Smith and Gordon Fielding, who were ordained on August 31, 1958.


At the Session meeting on August 28, 1958, Rev. Wilson submitted his resignation in order to accept a call to Shakespeare.  Rev. D. Crawford Smith became Interim Moderator.


Rev. Hugh Wilson passed away on November 20, 1974 and was interred in Crown Cemetery.




Ministry of Leslie H. Nanson



Mrs. Mildred Nanson and Rev. L. H. Nanson


Duff’s was without a Minister for a considerable length of time.  Several candidates were heard but the congregation was to be attracted to Rev. L. H. Nanson, assistant Minister of Knox Presbyterian Church, Guelph, who preached on several occasions during our vacancy.  Two calls were extended before he accepted, and the service of induction was held early in 1959.  He moderated his first Duff’s session meeting on June 28, 1959.


In 1960, the congregation committed itself to financial support of $386 per year for three years for the Deaconess Training School (Ewart College) building fund.


The Every Home Plan for the Presbyterian Record was to be continued with financing coming from the general church funds.  An annual “every home” visit was also initiated with a member of Session pairing with a member of' the Board of Managers.


Of interest was Session’s direction that from now on the Church was to be locked when not in use.  Until this time the building had been left unlocked but a transient was discovered sleeping in the basement.


A visitor’s guest book was placed in the foyer.  (Visitors for worship service were asked to sign their name and address.)  In 1962, a policy was initiated to send greetings at Christmas to all visitors. A memorial plaque in memory of John W. Kerr was dedicated this year, recognizing his 55 years of service to this congregation as elder and Sunday School superintendent.


John Summers, Douglas Gilmour, Gordon Crow, Murray MacPher­son, Harold Skerritt, and Robert McCaig were elected elders.  Ordination took place on November 18, 1962.

During the sacrament of' Holy Communion, choir members had vacated the choir loft to sit along the side of the sanctuary.  It was decided in 1963 to have members remain in the choir loft.


Several meetings of Session and congregation took place from 1963 to 1965 concerning the possibility of building a hall adjoining the original building.  Building Committee members were: D. Schwartz, Wm. Clark, G. Fielding, E. Bell and I. Crow.  In 1965, Mrs. D.R. Clark laid the cornerstone.  A service of dedication was conducted by Presbytery of Guelph on Sunday, March 13, 1966.


In 1964, the Faith Mission of Canada obtained permission to park its trailer on the church grounds to conduct worship services during the week.  This continued a week each year for several years.


The practice of having lay persons within the congregation conduct services once a year was initiated in 1965.  In 1966, the Young People’s Society also led the worship service on Sunday once a year.


Late in the year 1966, Rev. Nanson suffered a heart attack.  The Presbytery provided supply ministers during his hospitalization and convalescence.  When he returned to his pastoral work, he was ably assisted in worship services by members of the congregation.


Hugh E. Cockburn, an elder since September 11, 1932, now moved to Fruitland, received a letter of appreciation from Session for his long and faithful service.  Three new elders were elected: George Pentelow, Donald Schwartz, and Harold Bell who were ordained on September 18, 1966.


Changes introduced during Rev. Nanson’s ministry included: the practice of the congregation rising when the Minister enters the sanctuary (1968), approval for Sunday School to recess during the summer months instead of' the winter months (1969), receiving of' the offering after the sermon (1970).


On April 10, 1970, after a dinner and evening of entertainment, the Church Hall mortgage was burned. With splendid congregational support, the loan of $25,000 had been discharged in five years. Total cost was $40,000.


On March 6, 1971, Rev. Nanson succumbed to his second heart attack.  He had been fully prepared for the next Sunday’s worship service, preaching a series of sermons on “Why Jesus Came”.  His topic was to be “To Heal The Broken Hearted”.  The scripture chosen was II Corinthians, Chapter 1, verses 1 to 11.  The “Memorial” recorded in the Session minutes, given below, expressed our feeling.


“This Session, at its first meeting since the death of our Minister, Rev. Leslie H. Nanson, records this minute in grateful and loving memory of him, and in thankfulness to God for his years among us.”


“During his time as Minister of the congregation here, he served most faithfully, preaching each Sunday, and in his daily witness pointing our people to Jesus Christ, the great King and Head of the Church.  He was a faithful pastor, exhibiting the love, compassion and concern of Christ for all.  He also took a most active part in our community and is sadly missed among us as a personal friend and devoted Christian leader.”


“The Rev. Leslie H. Nanson was born in Derby, England and came to Canada in 1920, working in the business world in Hamilton, Toronto, and Preston.  He was most active in church affairs, serving in the Church School, and as an elder before entering the ministry.  A graduate of Knox College, Toronto, he served in a charge at Port Carling while studying, and in his last year was assistant Minister at Knox Church in Guelph, continuing there for a year following his ordination.”


“In 1959, he accepted a call to this congregation and our sister congregation, Knox Church, at Crieff, where he served until his death on March 6, 1971.  He was a most active presbyter in the Presbytery of Guelph and Saugeen.”


“The funeral was held in Duff’s Church on March 9, 1971 and was conducted by the moderator of Presbytery, Rev. Wallace Little of Hespeler, assisted by the Rev. Forbes Thomson of St. Andrew’s Church, Guelph.  He was laid to rest in Crown Cemetery, Puslinch.”


“We extend our deepest sympathy to those who survive him, his wife Mildred, and sons, Robert and Jack, and commend them to the care and comfort of our Lord, Jesus Christ.”


Members of Session who passed away during Rev. Nanson’s ministry included: David Stewart, January l, 1959; J. W. Kerr, March 10, 1960; Roy Allan, February 7, 1963; J. R. Pinkney, February 18, 1967; John M. Cockburn, December 24, 1967. John Summers, an elder since 1962, resigned as elder in 1968.




Ministry of Reverend F. N. Young



Reverend and Mrs. F. N. Young


After a vacancy of' seven months, Rev. F. Norman Young, a native of' London, Ontario and former minister of Georgetown and Limehouse, accepted a call to this pastoral charge. The service of induction took place on September 29, 1971.


On October 20, 1971, J. Russell Moore resigned as Clerk of Session.  Gordon R. Crow was appointed his successor on March 1, 1972.


In 1972, session confirmed our baptism standard requirement that in presenting children for baptism at least one parent must be a member.  The choir was granted permission to discontinue wearing hats during worship service.  Our new church hall was named “Nanson Hall”.  The outdoor church sign was built.  150 new Books of Praise were acquired.  Nursery care during worship services was implemented in 1973.  The plaque in memory of' Rev. L.H. Nanson was dedicated on October 29, 1973.  Week-night Preparatory Services were discontinued.  For several years the Preparatory Service was held the Sunday before observing the Sacrament.  This has gradually been discontinued.


In 1973, Mrs. George Pentelow was named Congregational Liaison Person to Presbytery, to promote Christian education at all ages, and to increase member involvement in congregational activities.  Some results of this included the installation of the bookshelf in the foyer and initiating lunch and fellowship times after church worship services.


On August 11, 1973, Beth, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Young was married at Duff’s. This was the first time a daughter of the current Minister had been married within Duff’s Church.


In preparation for the celebration in 1975 of the 100th anniversary of' the union of all Canadian Presbyterian Churches Into The Presbyterian Church In Canada, Gordon Fielding was appointed a representative on the committee for the Presbytery of Waterloo­ Wellington.  “Homecoming Celebrations” were planned to be held at Duff’s on May 31 and June 1, 1975.


The various committees were as follows:

Overall Planning:

Douglas Gilmour, Chairman; Doris Gilmour, Rev. Norman and Margaret Young, Duncan and Myrtle McFarlane, Bill and Mary Kerr, Gordon and Isabel Crow, Robert and Doris McCaig, Roy and Ev Winer, Gordon and Irene Fielding, Kathy Kerr, Bev Webb, Pam Webb, and Pat Brown.



Bill and Mary Kerr, Duncan & Myrtle McFarlane, Gordon & Isabel Crow.


















from the Senior Choir, Helen Schwartz; the Junior Choir, Pat Brown; Y.P.S., Kathy Kerr and Bev Webb.


Robert McCaig, Gordon Fielding and Roy Winer.


the planning committee and Sunday School.


Fireside Club represented by Linda McCaig, Ev Winer, Doris Gilmour and Doris McCaig


Ladies Service Club represented by Audrey Bousefield, Myrtle McFarlane, Jean Skerritt, and the C.G.I.T.


The Kirk Session.


Memento Display:

Douglas Gilmour, Glennys Stewart and Bruce Smith.


John Gilmour, Russell Inglis and the Y.P.S.



The Sunday School and C.G.I.T. made banners to hang in the Sanctuary during the celebration.  There was an attendance of over four hundred.  Special features of the Saturday, May 31st programme included registration and coffee, a memento display in the church parlour, a smorgasbord dinner, and an evening of entertainment.  Rev. J. D. Gordon was the speaker at the Sunday morning service.


Murray MacPherson obtained approval of Session to become an inactive elder.  On May 4th 1975, Lloyd Edgington, Douglas MacQueen, David McCaig, and Jan Nap were ordained.  Mrs. F.N. Young was a delegate representing our church at Congress ‘75 held at McMaster University in Hamilton.


On October 6, 1976, Donald Young, son of Rev. F. N. Young and Mrs. Young was ordained as a minister at Pine Ridge Presbyterian Church in the Presbytery of West Toronto.


After a trial period, Knox, Crieff began holding worship service in the morning instead of the afternoon.  Duff’s service was changed to 11:15 a.m.


On May 17th 1979, a Service of Designation was conducted by the Presbytery of Waterloo-Wellington to designate Frances Sullivan (nee Pentelow) as a deaconess who had graduated from Ewart College in the spring of 1978. In the fall of 1978, she continued her combined programme at the University of Toronto and received her B.A. degree early in 1979.  She began as an Extension Worker in the Waterloo North Church.  A gift of a purse of money was presented to Frances by the congregation.


To assist the minister, it was decided that two elders participate in greeting people at each upper door of the sanctuary as they leave following Communion service.  Harold Skerritt was granted permission to become an inactive elder.


Doris Gilmour was appointed official delegate to attend Congress ‘79 at the University of Guelph on the July 1 weekend.  Douglas Gilmour also attended as a voluntary delegate.


Morriston Nursing Home received permission to use Nanson Hall as a temporary assembly area and shelter in the event of fire at the home.  At the request of the Fireside Club, permission was granted to proceed with a project to sponsor a refugee family from Vietnam, referred to as the “Boat People”.  At a congregational meeting in July a decision was made to proceed.  On Dec. 5, the Chu family arrived: Hoong Kin, father; Quy Thi, mother; Anh Thuc, daughter age 3; and Thanh Chi, son age 2.  The family was self-supporting after seven months.


In 1980, a “Commitment To Double Church Membership In The Eighties” was adopted on recommendation of the General Assembly.  This prompted the formation of the Church Growth Committee.


Wm. J. Kerr was appointed to serve on the steering committee of Presbytery for the proposed new church south of Guelph (Kortright).  It was decided that additional elders were required.  The election resulted in Glennys Stewart, our first lady elder, being elected along with Donald Crow, John Gilmour and Brian Watkin.  Ordination took place on May 11th 1980.


In 1982, our financial allocation was accepted to contribute $353.70 per year for three years to the new Kortright congregation.  Harry and Linda Gatley (Edgington) undertook missionary work with the North Africa Mission.  We committed ourselves to support the Knox College Restoration Fund.  The banners, made in 1975 for the Homecoming Celebration, were donated to Crieff Hills Community.


Brian Watkin accompanied by his wife Joan, was delegated to attend Congress ‘83 at Knox College, Toronto.


Rev. F.N. Young disclosed early in 1983 his intention to retire in June.  Rev. Carrie Doehring of Rockwood and Eden Mills Congregations was appointed Interim Moderator.  A retirement party was held on June 15 with a large attendance.  Mr. and Mrs. Young were presented with several gifts conveying best wishes for a long and happy retirement.


During Rev. Young’s ministry we mourned the death of the following elders: J. Russell Moore, July 10, 1974; Jan Nap, September 4, 1982; Douglas MacQueen, May 11, 1983; Hugh E. Cockburn, June 22, 1983.




Ministry of Anne Yee-Hibbs



Reverend Anne Yee-Hibbs and Reverend John J. Hibbs


Following Rev. F.N. Young’s retirement, and on the recommendation of Presbytery, Session decided to establish a vacancy committee to search for a minister.  This was a change from the previous method of hearing several candidates preach, then holding a meeting to make a decision.  Ten persons were appointed from Duff's, and five from Crieff to serve on this committee.


Several candidates were considered, with committee members either listening to them preach in other pastoral charges, or listening to a taped sermon.  Three candidates were interviewed.  Rev. M. Anne Yee was recommended as the candidate to preach for the call which took place on December 4, 1983.  A congregational meeting was held after the worship service.  A decision was made to extend a call to Rev. Yee, a native of Brockville then serving the congregations of Paisley and Glammis.  The service of' induction was held on January 15, 1984.  A committee of five was appointed to advise and support the new minister during her first year in the two charges.


During 1984, approval was given: to conduct summer Bible School jointly with Mount Carmel-Zion United Church, Morriston; to hold four Communion Services a year, the fourth being just prior to Christmas; to participate in Crieff Hills Community building campaign; to serve Sacrament of Holy Communion to the residents of Morriston Nursing Home; to form the committee to plan our 150th anniversary in 1987.  Rev. Yee also held an open house at the manse on October 20th and 21st to which both congregations were invited. Members of' the Session of both churches and their spouses assisted.


In 1985, it was decided to hold joint services with Knox Church, Crieff during July and August.  Duff’s joined with Crieff during July, and Crieff with Duff’s in August with worship commencing at 10:00 a.m.  This was continued in 1986 at the same time but with the place of worship alternating.


In June 1985, the General Assembly was hosted by Knox Presbyterian Church, Guelph.  Our minister, the Rev. M. Anne Yee assisted in conducting the Communion Service.


The Rev. M. Anne Yee was married to the Rev. John J. Hibbs, minister of New Westminster Presbyterian Church, Hamilton on October 26, 1985.  Following meetings, moderated by Rev. Wallace Little of St. Andrew’s Church Cambridge (Hespeler), Session and the congregation gave permission for her to live outside the bounds of the pastoral charges. A housing and utilities allowance was granted, and the manse rented.  This action was also approved by the Presbytery of Waterloo-Wellington.


Members and adherents of both congregations were invited to the wedding, and many attended.  A reception followed in Nanson Hall and was catered to by the women of both churches.


The order of service was altered slightly in 1985 with Prayer of Confession added. Two additional communion plates were acquired, allowing six elders to serve the choir and other members of the congregation simultaneously.


During Service of Worship on September 14, 1986 the new Allen Organ was dedicated in memory of all those who gave their lives in the two world wars.  The Minister, Rev. Anne Yee-Hibbs; Clerk of Session, Gordon Crow and Choir Leader, Helen Schwartz participated. Mr. Bruce Sproul, from the Toronto Organ Centre was guest organist.  Following worship service, Mr. Sproul demonstrated the many features of the new organ and answered questions.  The committee responsible for the selection and purchasing of the new organ was comprised of Don and Helen Schwartz, Lois Mast, and Ken Gunson.  The Honour Rolls of those volunteering for active service during the two world wars were restored, re-framed and hung side by side in the Sanctuary.


The congregation, under the leadership of Rev. Anne Yee-Hibbs, is presently looking forward with anticipation, to our sesquicentennial celebration in 1987.


At the time of printing our Clerk of Session, Gordon R. Crow, has been invited to participate in the Guelph Historical Society’s annual tree planting ceremonies.  Taking place on April 23rd at the John Galt Gardens, on Speedvale Avenue in Guelph, the following anniversaries will be commemorated:


Guelph Junction Railway, 99 years.

Guelph Hydro, 100 years.

Ontario Veterinary College, 125 years.

Guelph Horticultural Society, 136 years.

Duff’s Presbyterian Church, 150 years.

City of Guelph, 160 years.



Dedication of new organ

Rev. Anne-Yee Hibbs,

Clerk of Session, Gordon R. Crow,

Choir Leader and organist, Helen Schwartz



Kirk Session

Left to right: back row:

 Donald Schwartz, Bruce Smith, Glennys Stewart, Douglas Gilmour, David McCaig, Donald Crow, Lloyd Edgington, John Gilmour, Robert McCaig, Brian Watkin


Front Row:

William Kerr, Gordon Fielding, Harold Bell, Duncan McFarlane, Rev. Anne Yee-Hibbs, Gordon Crow (Clerk of Session), William Smith, John Coburn


Absent: Carl Ross, Harold Skerritt, Murray MacPherson



Rev. L. H. Nanson and Mrs. D. R. Clark laying and dedicating the cornerstone of the church hall in 1965.  It was named “Nanson Hall” in 1972.



Chapter VIII

Departments of Church Activities


Board of Managers


Almost every year something major has been started or completed around Duff’s Church.  In 1937, our centennial year, the horse sheds backing onto Brock Road were sold, signifying the end of an era.  More sheds, most of which were privately owned originally surrounded the church yard with one row down the middle.  These were sold in 1952.  One was moved behind the church to store wood and also to contain “the privy”.  At this time, the barn at the manse was also removed.


Until 1957, the Board of Managers met in the church kitchen.  On cold winter evenings they were known as the “hot stove league”, meeting around the kitchen stove. The expected length of the meeting regulated the amount of wood burned, as the fire had to be down to coals when the meeting broke up.  Oil heating was installed in 1957.  When natural gas became available in 1984, new furnaces were installed with a substantial reduction in heating costs.


Major repairs around the church and manse keep coming up at more or less regular intervals.  Each time there is a noticeable increase in the price.  Three instances of note are compared.  In 1939, Cecil Irving did the tape jointing for $50.00.  In 1984, the church tower stonework was repaired and tape jointed for $9,275.00.  In 1946, the sanctuary was re­decorated by Gordon Couling for $715.04.  In 1975, Jack Sanderson did the same job for $1,620.00.  John Nichol put a shingle roof on the church at .75¢ an hour for a total cost of $809.73.  Thirty-two years later, it was covered with asphalt shingles for $1,650.00


In 1948, since there was some difficulty in getting a sufficient supply of water at the manse, a well was drilled to a depth of 134 feet at $4.00 a foot. A new plumbing system, installed in 1959, was updated in 1965.


In 1955, the church’s beautiful leaded windows were repaired and storm glazed to preserve them.


The church yard was levelled in 1949 making it more convenient for parking the increasing number of cars.  By 1960, since space had become very limited, more land was purchased from E. V. Carroll.  A well was drilled at the church for $450.00.  Hot and cold water were put into the kitchen for $325.00, thus ending the chore of carrying water from the cemetery house across the road for church functions.  This had been the practice since the dug well was filled in when it was no longer needed for horses.


In 1964, Lemuel Borthwick, our “grounds keeper”, with the help of other church members, planted a cedar hedge near the property line on the north-west side of the church. This hedge has grown to be a good windbreak.


A nucleus of $50.00 from the Board of Managers, plus some money in a legacy account, established a building fund in 1962.  This generated considerable discussion over the feasibility of having an addition to the church in the form of an assembly hall. Permission was finally given.  Twenty families in the congregation put up backing for the venture and the building was erected in 1965.  It was named Nanson Hall in 1972, in memory of Rev. L.H. Nanson, a beloved minister and friend.  Following the construction of the building, the church basement was divided into rooms.  Washrooms were installed in what had been the old vestry and choir room.  Banquets and dinners were catered to by the Ladies' Service Club.  With their help, and congregational support, the debt on the building was discharged in 1969.


Wall to wall carpet was installed in the sanctuary in 1974 with help from the Fireside Club.


Numerous books and records of church organizations that were of historic value were overflowing the old safe.  In 1978, a fireproof vault was built.  Circulating fans were installed in the sanctuary and a dusk to dawn light was erected in the parking lot.


As money was becoming more available and property values kept increasing, it became apparent that the church was under insured.  Estimates of the value of the church were obtained.  These ran as high as a replacement cost of one million dollars.  In 1982, the Board endorsed a policy for $475,000.00 on the building and another $25,000.00 on contents.  The contents have now been increased to $40,000.00 with a one million dollar liability clause.


In 1983, the sound system was updated to include a recording service.  Invalids and shut-ins may now have tapes of the Sunday services.  The lighting system, installed in 1925 when hydro came down the Brock Road was rejuvenated by our present modern fixtures in 1981.  The sanctuary was completely rewired at this time.


During 1986 aluminum soffit and facia were installed on the church.  Nanson hall roof resurfacing was completed and the rest of the building retrofitted to meet new fire safety standards.


A gift of approximately one half acre of land across the back of the church property was received from Collavino Incorporated.  This may be used for future parking lot extension and will serve as a buffer to industrial development proposed on the balance of the corporation’s property­.


A donation of $1,000.00 was received to establish a fund for the installation of a closed lift in the sanctuary.  If installed this will provide more convenient access for the handicapped and the elderly when attending worship services.


Over the years, the church has been blessed with good caretakers: Miss Mabel McNaughton, who would on a cold winter morning start the wood burning furnaces between 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. to try to get the chill off the wooden pews; Andrew and Mary Ord, Len and Flo Geiss, Douglas and Jean MacQueen, Donald McKinnon, Robert and Doris McCaig, John and Eileen McGinnis, Donald and Mary Stewart, Brian and Joan Watkin, and our present efficient custodians, Gordon and Irene Fielding.



Duff’s Church circa 1937, showing part of old horse sheds



Board of Managers

Back row:

(left to right)

Douglas Law, Russell Inglis, Randy Daikens, John de Vos,

Norman Visser, Henry Hildebrandt

Front row:

Gordon Fielding, Douglas McCaig (chairman for 1986),

 Evelyn Winer (1987 chairman), Wm. J. Kerr (secretary-treasurer), Paul McDonald


Bob Jefferson, Roy Knapton, David McCaig





John W. Kerr carried on as superintendent until 1956.  On his retirement, he was presented with a chair in appreciation of his fifty-nine years as superintendent.  Secretary-treasurers during those years were Geraldine Greer, Myrtle Crow, Murray Elliot, Betty McLean, Ruth Surerus, Stanley Winer, Clair Hunter, Roy Winer and Betty Crow.


Beginning in 1956, Duncan McFarlane and Douglas MacQueen shared the Superintendent’s responsibilities.  Douglas MacQueen carried on until 1969.  During this period, Glen Allen Mast, Margaret Cockburn, Helen Stewart, Muriel Mast and Katherine Kerr were the Secretary­-Treasurers.


In 1970, Beth Pentelow became Superintendent continuing until 1974 when she moved north of Durham.  Ruby Edgington and Audrey Bousfield were Treasurers during this time.  Ruby Edgington served as Superintendent until 1980, with Audrey Bousfield and Pat Ganning being Secretary-Treasurers.


In 1980, Doris McCaig was appointed Superintendent with Pat Ganning, Linda McCaig and Ann Schwartz as Secretary-Treasurers.


Changes were made over the years.  For a few years after 1970, a new practice was begun.  Children went immediately to their classes where lessons began.  A closing session, for all classes to meet together, was held only on special occasions.  In 1980, the format reverted to an opening session for all, to sing, to hear the offering prayer and announcements prior to the commencement of lessons.  Junior Bible Class students have been asked to assist teachers with large classes and to supply in classes of absent teachers.  There is no librarian, nor pianist.


It was traditional to discontinue classes during the winter months because of weather and the resulting poor driving conditions.  Sunday School remained open during the summer months.  By September 1969, it was decided to close for the months of July and August, opening in September for the winter session.


At the present time, Robert Raikes diplomas and seals are given yearly for perfect attendance.  Three cups are presented to the top students in each division.  These awards and prizes for memory work and attendance are presented in the church sanctuary in early June in conjunction with the Sunday School picnic.  Each year, Bibles are presented to the Grade Three class by the Fireside Club, which also helps defray the cost of students attending church camps for the first time.


Sunday School picnics have always been a highlight in the life of the community. They were originally held on a Wednesday afternoon in July.  Some of the places were La Salle Park, Soper Park, Puslinch Lake, Riverside Park, Hoover Park, Badenoch Community Centre, and Crieff Hills Community.  Since 1976, the picnic has been held in Nanson Hall after worship service on Awards Sunday in June.  The children’s games are on the lawn surrounding the church.


Christmas concerts have been enjoyed down through the years with each class performing one number on the programme.  One class always depicted the Christmas story. Santa Claus presented each child with a bag of candy.  In former years, gifts were exchanged.  More recently, it was decided to hold a white gift service instead to aid the less fortunate.  Food, clothing and toys were packed for Christmas boxes for those in our community, Scott Mission or the Salvation Army.  Now a money gift is collected for this purpose.


Rally Sunday is now held the first Sunday after Labour Day.  Children sit with their teachers, and parents are encouraged to attend.  The church service is oriented to the children and lunch is served afterwards.


For the last three years, a Vacation Bible School has been held for all children in the community during one week of mornings in the summer holidays.  Its location alternates between Mount Carmel Lion United Church, Morriston and Duff’s.  Highlight of the school was a parent’s programme on Friday when the children performed and displayed their crafts.



Teachers and Officers of the Church School and Senior Bible Class

Back row:

(left to right)

Janice Gunson, Tracy Hanning, Robert McCaig,

Lloyd Edgington, John Edgington, Ruth Nap, Joan Law, Eileen Daikens,  Tammy Hanning, Laura Martin, Kerri Crow

Front Row:

Ann Schwartz (secretary-treasurer), Moira Martin, Beatrice McCaig,  Doris McCaig (superintendent), Evelyn Winer, Gillian Mahnke, Lynne Hanning





The Women’s Missionary Society (W.D.) is a community of Christian women whose purpose, in response to the love of God in Jesus Christ, is to encourage one another and all the people of the Church to be involved in local and world mission through prayer, study, service and fellowship.


Duff’s auxiliary has always been blessed with excellent leadership and many willing workers.  The monthly meetings are held on the second Thursday at 2:00 p.m. or on the second Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.  No meetings are held in July and August.


In order to keep informed of the mission work at home and abroad, studies have been made of India, Southern Asia, Africa, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the South Pacific Islands, ethnic groups and our own native people.


Projects at home include: visiting the shut-in each month, placing flowers in the sanctuary each Sunday, sending Easter and get well cards and conducting a Sunday service. Baskets of Christmas goodies are made up and delivered to those who are ill or shut-in. Bales, consisting of quilts, hand knit sweaters, mitts, socks, used clothing, Christian literature and used cards have been sent to Canadian outposts and abroad.  During the drought in Western Canada, even fruits and vegetables were packed and sent from Puslinch Station.  Each year, donations of clothing and canned goods were delivered to Evangel Hall and Scott Mission in Toronto.  No longer are bales packed.  A monetary donation is more acceptable.  To supplement the expense fund, the Presbyterian Church calendars are sold each year.


No society would be complete without its celebrations.  In September 1941, the Golden Jubilee of Duff's auxiliary was held.  Four charter members, Mrs. H. Hammersley, Miss Grace McLean, Miss Emma Morrison and Mrs. Robert Rogers, were still living.  Ten years later, the Diamond Anniversary was celebrated in the church auditorium with one hundred and sixty present.  The 100th anniversary of' the Women's Missionary Society was held in 1964 in Montreal.  Our president, Mrs. J.E. Coburn and the minister's wife, Mrs. L.H. Nanson attended along with 1500 other delegates.  Canada’s 100th birthday was remembered by the ladies of Duff’s, Crieff, Aberfoyle and Morriston when they held a joint centennial meeting, complete with antique dress, programme, quilting bee and an old fashioned tea, served by Mrs. D.R. Clark, Mrs. George Lewis, Mrs. Wm. McCormick and Mrs. Lewis Gregor.  A former minister’s wife, Mrs. T. G. M. Bryan brought an inspiring message to celebrate eighty years of history. Duff's and Crieff auxiliaries hold joint meetings each year in June. In 1975, the presidents, Mrs. Robert McCaig and Mrs. John Griesbach cut an anniversary cake to celebrate fifty years of their combined meetings.


Time has a way of bringing about many changes.  Home Helpers are now called Associate Members.  Each November, this group takes charge of the W. M. S. meeting.  Lately, both the Easter and Fall Thankoffering meetings have been held jointly with the Crieff auxiliary.  The Christmas meeting each year is now preceded by a pot-luck luncheon.


In 1973, the southern part of Saugeen Presbyterial was amalgamated with Guelph Presbyterial to become Waterloo-Wellington Presbyterial.  The same year the Women's Missionary Society united with the Church Mission Board to become the Board of World Mission, bringing all the mission projects under one board.  Duff’s auxiliary has supplied Waterloo-Wellington Presbyterial with two presidents, Mrs. Gordon R. Crow 1971-1973, and the present president Mrs. Kenneth Law.


Members from Duff’s Church have also given their services full time for the work of the Church.  In 1952, Miss Geraldine Greer (Mrs. D. Oliphant) was sent to Taiwan to teach in a girl’s school in Tamsui where she remained for nearly eight years.  Miss Frances Pentelow (Mrs. H. Sullivan) graduated from Ewart College in 1979 and has worked in Christian Education in various Presbyterian churches.  Miss Linda Edgington (Mrs. H. Gatley) an occupational therapist, with her husband Harry, left for Algiers, under the North African Mission and served for two years.


One of the highlights of 1986 was holding the annual meeting of' Toronto-Kingston Synodical at Duff’s church, April 14th and 15th.  Over 100 people attended the sessions and the ladies of Duff’s graciously looked after all their needs.


The past 50 years have brought about dramatic changes in our lifestyle.  The advent of air travel and telecommunications have brought the world so much closer.  The struggle for independence by so many countries has brought about closed doors for our church workers who now, in order to serve there, must be skilled in other vocations such as agriculture, medicine, education and engineering, etc.  Trained social personnel are now required to supply the needs of the ever growing affluent society in Canada.


As we reminisce, we must never lose sight of the need for brotherly love for all. We must continue to learn about others and their wants and try to fill their needs at home and abroad to the best of our abilities.


God has richly blessed us and we pray that He will inspire our young people to take up the challenge of carrying on the work of the Christian Church everywhere and so fulfill our motto: “The World For Christ”.  “Where there is no vision the people perish,” Proverbs 29:18.





Mrs. J.W. Kerr


Mrs. Gordon Crow


Miss J. Jeffrey


Mrs. William Kerr


Mrs. W.J. Hodges


Mrs. George Pentelow


Mrs. J.A. Elliot


Mrs. Robert McCaig


Mrs. H.E. Cockburn


Mrs. Kenneth Law


Mrs. William Smith


Mrs. Douglas Gilmour


Mrs. Carl Ross


Mrs. Donald McCaig


Mrs. Gladwin Crow


Mrs. Fred Mahnke


Mrs. J.E. Coburn






*  Honorary Life Membership





Mrs. William Stallibras


Mrs. W. J. Hodges

Miss Mabel McNaughton

Miss Mary E. Cockburn


Mrs. Douglas Mast

Miss Beatrice Kerr

Miss Janice Pentelow




Mrs. John A. Elliot




Miss Margaret Kerr *

Miss J. Jeffrey




Mrs. Roy Allan

Mrs. H. E. Cockburn *










Mrs. J. P. McPherson

Miss Bessie Elliot

Miss Elizabeth Kerr


Mrs. J. A. McPherson


Mrs. William Moore





Mrs. Gordon Crow *

Mrs. John E. Cockburn

Mrs. James Kitchen

Mrs. Frank Elliot

Mrs. L. H. Nanson *




Mrs. Douglas Gilmour

Mrs. William Kerr











Mrs. Carl Ross


Mrs. Samuel Smith


Mrs. A. McEdwards

Mrs. H. J. Bailey

Miss Mary Buchanan


Mrs. William Blair

Mrs. F.C. Schwartz


Mrs. J. H. Stewart

Mrs. William Smith

Mrs. Bruce Smith

Mrs. J. H. Bell



Mrs. F. N. Young *



Mrs. Wm. J. Scott




Miss Frances Pentelow




Mrs. William Crow





Mrs. Donald McCaig

Mrs. Robert McCaig


Miss Jessie Elliot





Mrs. Kenneth Law


Mrs. James McCaig





Mrs. E. S. Cockburn





Youth certificate was presented to Kevin Mast in recognition of his work with the junior choir.



Women’s Missionary Society

Back row:

(left to right)

Florence Gregor, Doris Gilmour, Ruby Edgington, Isabel Crow, Joan Law, Morah Burnell, Doris McCaig, Norma Smith, Lois Mast, Edna Bell, Mary Kerr

Front row:

Margaret Crow, Elma McGregor, Nellie Stewart, Marion McKay, Rev. Anne Yee-Hibbs, Gillian Mahnke, Beatrice McCaig, Emma Allan, Margaret Kerr


Bessie Ross





 Many young girls attended the monthly meeting of the Young Women’s Auxiliary held in various homes from 1937 to 1950.  Girls were from Morriston and Aberfoyle churches, as well as Duff’s.


The meetings were very full: worship, prayers (including sentence prayers), Bible study, mission study, hymn singing, readings from the Glad Tidings, special speakers, special music (usually by members), repetition of the Lord’s Prayer at the conclusion and a social time.


The girls took turns being responsible for flowers in the sanctuary for Sunday worship.  They made quilts and baby layettes to send to the West.  Used clothing was collected to send to the missions.


The W.M.S. invited the Y.W.A. to some of their special meetings such as Christmas meetings and the Centenary Celebration in July, 1937.  Delegates were sent to Y. W. Conferences as well as to the annual meeting of the Presbyterial.  In July 1937, Mrs. J.L. Burgess was made a life member by Miss Iola Clark.  In September 1941, at the Golden Anniversary of the W.M.S., Miss Mabel McNaughton was presented with a life membership by Miss Margaret Kerr.


For many years Mrs. Hugh Cockburn (Bessie) was the leader.  Later Mary Burgess (wife of Rev. J. L. Burgess) and then Beth Bryan (wife of Rev. T. G. M. Bryan) helped with the leadership.  A President and a Secretary presided over each meeting.


Presidents were:

Bessie Cockburn           1938

Iola Clark                       1939-1940

Florence Elliot              1941

Mary Cockburn             1942

Helen Greer                   1943-1944

Beth Kerr                      1945-1947

Donalda Clark               1948-1949

Mary Kerr                      1950


Secretary Treasurers were: Margaret Kerr, Isobel Harbottle, Jean McLean, Isabel Stewart, Beth Kerr, Helen Winer, Joy Huether, Dorothy Huether.


There was a lapse between September 1946 and April 1947 when the meetings were discontinued.  In April 1947, a meeting was held at the manse, with Mrs. Cockburn taking a prominent part. They discussed the re-opening of Y. W. A. meetings.  As a result, the organization resumed in May 1947 and carried on until November 1950 when it disbanded.





The Goforth Mission Band, flourished under the guidance of very capable, dedicated leaders.  Miss Margaret Kerr took over the leadership in 1938.  Members came from the local churches and met in Duff’s Sunday School room or sometimes in homes, on Friday after school.


The programmes consisted of scripture reading, short prayers, poems, and providing music.  The leader gave the missionary story from studies prepared for mission bands by the Presbyterian Board of Missions.  At work meetings, the children sewed patches for a quilt, made potholders, knit scarves and booties, and the boys concentrated on scrap books.  These articles were included in mission bales or sent directly to various areas.  Roll calls consisted of naming a book in the Bible, a child’s biblical name, a flower, a hymn or a good deed done.  Often the summer meeting was held with the Women's Missionary Society.  The Mission Band supplied part of the programme.


In 1951, the members made Easter cards and delivered them with fresh snowdrops to elderly or invalid residents: Mr. Bolton, Mrs. Wm. Crow, Mrs. Ayres, Sr., Miss Fahner, Rev. Beese, Miss Marjorie McLean, Mrs. E. Boucher, Mr. Simon Morlock, Mrs. Durnin, Mrs. Sockett, Mrs. Neil Stewart, Mrs. Harvey Stewart, Mrs. Winer, Sr., Mrs. Kent, Mrs. Wm. Moore, Mrs. H. Bailey, Mrs. Robert Murray, Mrs. Hingleman, Mrs. Hodges, Mr. James Black.


Also that year, the 25th anniversary of Goforth Mission Band was held in Duff’s Sunday School centred around the theme “Tell me the stories of Jesus”.  It was noted that Miss Margaret Kerr, a charter member, had worked with the group for twenty years.


Mrs. Everard Gray led the group from 1948 until Mrs. H.E. Cockburn and Mrs. J.H. Stewart became co-leaders in 1958.


In 1954, the name of Mission Band was changed to Children of the Church.  However, the Goforth Mission Band still retained its name.


Picnics, tobogganing and sleigh-riding were very enjoyable outings.  Bazaars, with the help of the leaders, assistants and parents and friends, proved to be very successful, enabling them to give a donation to the Presbyterial treasurer, as well as look after their expenses.


Mrs. H. E. Cockburn had resigned as leader of the group in 1964, and as membership was declining, the Goforth Mission Band was discon­tinued.


This group has had a great influence on the boys and girls, helping to prepare them for service to God and man and equip them as future officers in the Sunday School and Church. Elvin Harbottle has served in Niger, Africa, with the Sudan Interior Mission, Geraldine Oliphant (Greer), a missionary teacher in Taiwan; Harvey Sutton in Senegal, Africa under the New Tribes Mission; and John Huether, a United Church minister in Brantford.


Duff’s Church will always be grateful to the leaders and assistants for the time they spent in giving the youth an excellent training and leaving an influence that can never be measured.





During the 1930s, Duff’s Young People’s Society was a very structured organization geared to young adults.  Weekly meetings were held under Devotional, Missionary, Literary and Social Committees, with each member expected to serve on one of these committees. As an example of the work of the committees:


Missionary: a paper was given on Manchuria, followed by a splendid debate “Resolved that the support of Home Missions is more necessary than that of Foreign Missions”, with the affirmative side declared winners.


Literary: again a debate, "Resolved that RADIO is of more benefit to humanity than the NEWSPAPER."


Social: many social evenings were spent with other Y.P. groups from the area as guests.


In the ‘40s a strong, lively group of Young People emerged with a strong support for missionary activities.  Of special interest during this time was the decision of Mrs. Geraldine Oliphant (Greer), to become a missionary teacher, with her first term in Taiwan.  Good Friday services were conducted in cooperation with Morriston, Aberfoyle and Crieff.


Duff’s Y.P.S. has always taken an active part in the Provincial and Presbytery Societies.  This included attendance at rallies, conventions, retreats, camps, and religious dramas, and Bible quizzes.  Many members have held office with the Presbytery, including four Presidents: Bill Smith, Bill Kerr, Gordon Crow and David McCaig.


Emphasis was placed on yearly plays as a means of local entertainment and of fund raising. A projector was purchased for use in the Church.  In the late ‘50s and early ‘60s the group became active in field days, baseball and social functions involving other Churches.


In the late '60s the Y.P.S. supported a needy child in the Third World.  This led to numerous fund raising activities such as plays, variety nights and hockey games.  Duff’s Y.P.S. has always been closely associated with the Crieff Y.P.S. and, sometimes the two groups have merged.  With the erection of Nanson Hall in the mid-60s, the Young People were given the use of their own meeting place.  This stimulated new ideas on various types of indoor recreation. During the '60s and'70s the Y.P.S. took on many improvement projects within the Church.  The funds required for this were raised through such innovative ideas as selling Christmas trees, rock-a-thons and variety nights.  The spiritual growth of' the young people was fostered through candlelight services, Christmas caroling, and Easter pancake breakfasts.  Presbytery retreats were well attended by Duff's Y.P.S.


In 1980, Duff's Y.P.S. celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Society, with a special dinner. More than 150 former members returned to help celebrate the occasion.  The Y.P.S. worked very hard to provide entertainment and an atmosphere for reminiscing.  As a permanent record of this occasion the Y.P.S. presented a collection of framed photographs of' all Ministers of Duff’s Church.


Today, the young people at Duff’s have the same opportunity to grow within themselves, to encourage their talents, and to participate in functions that will develop special memories for them in the years to come.



Officers of Duff’s Y.P.S.


(Left to right) Amanda Gardin and Paul McRobbie (treasurers)

John Edgington (secretary), Lisa Mahnke (president)



Senior Choir


The service of praise at Duff’s has always been a meaningful and enjoyable addition to the service.  In 1937, Mr. James Porteous was the leader and Miss Annabel McBean was the organist.  Leaders and organists since then have been: Mrs. Jean Secord (organist), Murray Macpherson (leader), Mrs. Jean Hammond (leader and organist), Douglas Dredge (leader and organist), Mrs. Annabel Smith (leader and organist), Mrs. Florence Gregor (leader and organist), and Mrs. Helen Schwartz (leader and organist).  Assistant organists have been: Mrs. Florance Gregor, Mary Helen Stewart, Janice Pentelow, Frances Pentelow, Marie Gregor, Shirley Inglis and Lois Mast.


Some outstanding events over the years were: the purchasing of the Hammond organ in 1949, the buying of new gowns in 1959 and in 1982, installing pews in the choir loft in 1978 and purchasing the new Allen organ in 1986.  The choir has held many cantatas, plays, musical plays, garden parties, Irish and Hawaiian nights and “Christmas at Duff's”, a special evening when neighbouring church choirs join Duff's choir to celebrate musically the festival of Christmas.  Proceeds from events such as these enable the choir to be self-supporting.


Other churches frequently invite our choir to sing at their services.  A highlight of 1985 was singing with the New Westminster Presbyterian Church choir, Hamilton, at the wedding of our minister, Rev. Anne Yee to the Rev. John Hibbs.



Senior Choir

Back row:

(left to right)

Frank Martin, Paul McCaig, Roy Knapton, Brian Watkin, Don Schwartz, Ken Gunson, Randy Daikens

Centre row:

Brenda Beatson, Wendy McDonald, Lois Mast, Doris McCaig, Laura Martin, Lisa Mahnke, Jennifer Hildebrandt, Pat Brown, Eileen Daikens

Front row:

Jane Law, Moira Martin, Helen Schwartz (leader and organist), Joan Watkin, Doreen Giles, Betty Knapton





The Junior Choir began in 1959 under the leadership of Mrs. Mildred Nanson.  Mrs. Florance Gregor assisted Mrs. Nanson by playing the piano and organ.  The boys and girls were from ages ten to fifteen years.  They attended a weekly practice, and sang anthems, duets and solos at the Sunday service and on special occasions.  Each Sunday, the junior choir sang the second verse of the children’s hymn.  The ladies of the congregation made the first gowns, which were white with burgundy ties.  The choir enjoyed many social gatherings and a Christmas party each year.  Mrs. Nanson and Mrs. Gregor led the choir for twelve years.


In 1971, Janice Pentelow took over the leadership.  A special highlight for the choir was singing at Janice’s wedding.  Each summer the choir led the worship of praise for one month to give the senior choir a holiday.  Frances Pentelow was leader for a short time in 1973.  Following this, Pat Brown was choir leader and Shirley Inglis was pianist for five years.


In January 1979, Kevin Mast became the leader.  He introduced the idea of grouping the children around the piano for a better presentation.


In November 1981, Wendy McDonald became leader.  The junior choir helped to purchase new gowns in 1982. These gowns, identical to those of the Senior Choir, were full length, royal blue in colour, with gold or white collars.  The membership continued to number from ten to twenty but younger singers aged seven and up were encouraged to join. A special event in 1985, was singing for the programme following the wedding dinner for Rev. Anne Yee and Rev. John Hibbs.



Junior Choir

Back row:

(left to right)

Kristie de Vos, Lorri Crow, Nancy Law, Megan Stevenson.

Middle row:

Wendy McDonald (leader), Laura Visser, Kelly Daikens,

Katherine Daikens, Amy de Vos

Front row:

Sarah Crow, Becky Ganning, Jennifer Crow, Kelly Schwartz,

 Penny de Vos, Amy McDonald





A number of ladies met in the Morriston Evangelical United Brethren Church in August 1949, to talk about organizing a Canadian Girls In Training group.  Mrs. J. D. Cleghorn, Girls’ Work Secretary of Guelph Presbyterial, attended the meeting and explained the C.G.I.T. programme.   An invitation meeting was held on September 6,1949.  The name “Gunleigh” was chosen for the group.  This word appears over the fireplace in Dundurn Castle in Hamilton. It is the Gaelic wording of the McNabb family crest and means “Fear Not”.  The leaders were Mrs. T.G.M. Bryan, Mrs. E.A. Gray, Mrs. C.B. Beese and Mrs. J.C. Bishop.


There were 21 members the first year.  Duff’s W.M.S. donated $5.50 and the Evangelical Ladies’ Aid gave $5.00.  The first meetings were held in the old Morriston Hall, later in Morriston Evangelical United Brethren Church and finally in Duff’s Presbyterian Church.  Leaders over the years were: Miss Marion Murray, Mrs. J.E. Coburn, Miss Donalda Clark, Mrs. C.A. Gordon, Mrs. Wm. Smith, Mrs. R. Penrice, Mrs. J. Kitchen, Mrs. R. McKay, Mrs. George Pentelow, Mrs. 0. Tatum, Mrs. Wm. Boyd, Miss Rose Williams, Mrs. Douglas Gilmour, Mrs. F. Clarke, Miss Janette Kerr, Miss Anne Crow, Miss Katherine Kerr, Mrs. Maureen Spencer, Mrs. Bernice Crow and Mrs. June Williams.


During the first year, the group took in $38.89, made donations of $2.00 each to Duff’s W.M.S. and the Evangelical Ladies’ Aid as well as $8.00 to the National C.G.I.T.  The first treasurer’s book cost .25¢, the first secretary's book .40¢, the first study book .75¢ and the first leader's book $1.00. The group had its first Vesper Service, tea and sale.


The girls donated money to Women’s Society For Service, Morriston and Aberfoyle Mission Band, an Indian Project, Duff’s Furnishing Fund, Indonesia Project, E.U.B. Managers and Furnishing Fund, Guelph Drop-in Centre, and the Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Centre.  They sponsored a child, sent Bibles to Birtle, bought cups for Aberfoyle Hall, supported a nursery in Guyana and donated a picture of Jesus and the children to Duff’s Sunday School.


The girls visited shut-ins, collected for the Canadian Bible Society, filled ditty bags, sang Christmas carols through the village of Morriston and at the Morriston Nursing Home.  Each girl had an older member in the community whom she remembered with letters, cards and gifts on special days.  On May 12, 1973, the girls had a tea for their senior pals in Nanson Hall.


On February 6, 1960, the girls met in the E.U.B. church basement to make new skirts for the C.G.I.T. uniforms.  In October 1960, they planted bulbs at both churches.  In February, 1961, they held a work bee to clean the E.U.B. Church vestry. In 1962, hymn books were repaired for Duff’s Junior Choir.  The girls conducted Vesper Services at Christmas, attended rallies and participated in World Day of' Prayer Youth Services.


At Affiliation and Graduation Services, the younger girls affiliated with the W.M.S. and received World Friendship badges.  Graduation services took place with other groups in Guelph and at Mother-Daughter banquets at Duff’s.


An important part of the C.G.I.T. programme was worship, bible and mission study. Crafts were also important since many articles were sold at the C.G.I.T. Bazaar.


On September 6, 1974, the “Gunleigh” C.G.I.T. celebrated its 25th anniversary in Nanson Hall, Duff's Church.   Mrs. T. G. M. Bryan returned from Windsor to bring devotions. The guest speaker was Mrs. Mario di Gangi of Don Mills.  Several former members participated in a panel discussion – “Do You Remember?”


On April 13, 1975, since the National C.G.I.T. was celebrating sixty years of service, Gunleigh C.G.I.T. hosted all of the Guelph groups.  Each C.G.I.T. group put on a skit. Gunleigh C.G.I.T. had a fashion show depicting style from 1912 to the 1970’s.


The group disbanded in 1981.


C.G.I.T. gave girls a solid grounding in Christian living and helped them to live up to their purpose: - “to cherish health, seek truth, know God, serve others and thus with His help become the girl God would have me be.”



Canadian Girls in Training

25th anniversary September 1974.

Leaders, form leaders and Presbytery Representatives

Back row:

(left to right)

Grace Dawson, Ruth Bishop, Donalda Halls, Jessie Smith,

 Bernice Penrice, Mary Tatum, Marg McKay, Janette Kerr

Centre Row:

Flora Cleghorn, Mary Gray, Beth Bryan, Marg Patterson,

Beth Pentelow, Doris Gilmour

Front row:

Anne Crow, Kathie Kerr





In the summer of 1952, the W.M.S. was asked to cater to a small wedding.  This had never been done before, but it was agreed to try.  Four women, Mrs. E.S. Cockburn, Mrs. Gordon Crow, Mrs. Harold Bell and Glennys Bell carried out the project.  Everything went well until all the guests had departed, and the ladies were faced with a huge pile of dirty dishes.  They had learned their first lesson - four people could handle the wedding dinner but additional people were required to wash dishes.


The equipment in the kitchen at that time consisted of a huge cast iron cook stove, a galvanized boiler for heating water, a granite dipper, a granite water pail, about 100 plates of various sizes and patterns, 50 clover leaf cups, 100 white ironstone cups (no saucers), a collection of old knives, forks and teaspoons, and two dish pans - no towels, no tablecloths, no water.  All the water had to be carried from the well at the cemetery house, across the road.  This first dinner was such a success that more were requested.


As the purpose of W.M.S. is mission, a division arose concerning the use of the proceeds. On March 12, 1953 with the help of Mrs. T.G.M. Bryan, the following recommendations were made:



a special fund be made available and held in a separate account for the express purpose of providing money for expenditure for special purposes, as seen fit by the ladies of the Church,


that the fund be designated as a “Service Fund” and referred to as Duff’s Ladies Service Fund,


that this fund be administered by an appointed member, subject to the approval by the ladies of the Church, and that business pertaining to the fund be transacted independently of W.M.S.


Until this time, the ladies had been bringing dishes, silverware, glasses, bowls, cooking utensils, even jugs of water.  Building cupboards across one wall of the kitchen was the first project.  Then dishes were purchased.  Through the efforts of Harold Bell a second hand electric stove and used refrigerator were obtained.


The first president and secretary were Mrs. Harold Bell and Mrs. E.S. Cockburn.


When Nanson Hall was built, the kitchen was remodelled.  After Nanson Hall was paid for it was decided to cater only to weddings or meetings in connection with our own church.  In recent years, however, the Service Club has broadened its service to cater to presbytery functions, social gatherings of the community and the grade eight graduation banquet of Aberfoyle Public School.


Serving refreshments after funerals has been one of the most appreciated services provided by the Ladies’ Service Club.





During the ministry of  Rev. J. Douglas Gordon, a new group was formed within the congregation.  In the fall of 1953, all those beyond the ages involved in the Young People’s Society, and interested in a new organization, attended a meeting in the basement of the sanctuary.  A very large turnout responded and took up their places in rows of chairs set up between the two large wood burning furnaces that dominated much of the space in this room.


A decision was made to form a group.  The first officers chosen were: Douglas Gilmour, President; Beth Pentelow, Secretary; and Gordon Stewart, Treasurer.  Another meeting followed shortly at the home of George and Beth Pentelow.  Recommendations made and subsequently adopted included: naming the group “The Fireside Club”; that devotions open each regular meeting; membership be open to all, regardless of age or marital status, and that a membership fee of .25¢ each be charged.  After two years the membership fee was discontinued.  The first Tuesday of each month (except July and August) at 8:30 p.m. was established as the regular meeting date.  In recent years, the Club has assumed responsibility for providing lunch and a fellowship hour after worship service on Sunday School Rally Day in September, in place of the regular September meeting.  The time for regular meetings has been advanced to 8:00 p.m.


Many worthwhile projects have been carried to completion, and financed wholly or in part.  The Sunday School room (Sanctuary basement) was redecorated when oil heat was installed and wood burning furnaces were removed in 1958.  At this time the original Communion Set, comprising a silver pitcher and goblet was rediscovered.  This was resilvered, the pitcher placed in a prominent place in 1960 and the goblet used again during communion.  Financial assistance was given to the Board of Managers in 1960 when a new well was drilled and running water installed.  In 1962, a Gestetner duplicator was purchased.  This was utilized for all church printing requirements, enabling us to commence the regular use of worship calendars, and the preparation of our own financial statement for the annual congregational meeting.  Financial assistance to the Board of Managers was continued during the five years 1965-1969.


In 1971, the Fireside Club commenced donating Bibles to Sunday School pupils graduating from the Primary section in the Grade Three class.


Sponsorship of a refugee family was initiated in 1979.  This was approved and supported by the congregation and the Chu family arrived from Vietnam in December of that year.  They acquired their Canadian citizenship in October 1986 and are comfortably settled in Guelph.


Other projects included: financial assistance to send children to church camp, Glen Mohr Camp relocation, child sponsorship in deprived countries, audio sound system in 1983 and assistance following the May 31, 1985 tornado north of Guelph.


Many money raising events have been held over the years to finance these projects. The most consistent and successful event has been the annual bazaar in the month of October.  The full support of the congregation has always been received.  The first bazaar, in 1955, was held in the Morriston Hall and grossed $313.  By the end of 1986 total income from 32 bazaars was $22,494.


The invitation that has graced the front of the printed programme over the years reads: “The meetings of the Fireside Club are open to all who are interested in promoting Christian fellowship and devotion within this congregation, and throughout the community. This is your invitation. We extend a warm welcome to you.”


Officers in 1987 included: Evelyn Winer, President; Gillian Mahnke, Secretary; Beatrice McCaig, Treasurer.





During 1973, a suggestion was made to the Minister’s wife, Mrs. F.N. Young, concerning the formation of a nursery.  After a trial period, it was agreed that there was a definite need for a nursery, and session approved its formation.  With donations and volunteer help from church groups, a room was partitioned in the lower floor of Nanson Hall.  Mothers, with the assistance of girls from the congregation, take turns tending the children each Sunday.  In January, a list is drawn up for each Sunday of the year except July and August.  The success of the nursery has been due to the participation of everyone involved.





The congregation of Duff’s Presbyterian Church was challenged by the General Assembly to double its membership in the 1980s.  A committee of five: Brian Watkin, Chairman; Audrey Gunson, Secretary; Harold Bell, Session representative elder; June Williams and Peter Hampstra accepted the challenge.


In November 1981, a very successful first Friendship Sunday was held.  Everyone was to bring a friend.  Fred Dack, the principal of Aberfoyle Public School, told the children’s story and the Aberfoyle School Choir sang three selections.  Lunch and fellowship followed this service and everyone was encouraged to join us in worship again.  Each year in November, this special Sunday is observed.


Newsletters and church activity calendars were introduced.  These provided everyone with a list of future events to keep our church dates in order.  Cards and card boxes were placed in each pew for visitors and members to express their wishes and concerns.  Paul McDonald has provided audio tapes of the church services.


A film series titled “Focus on the Family” by Dr. James Dobson gave us a glimpse of family situations to which we could all relate.


In 1983, the annual congregational meeting was held on a Sunday for the first time.  A pot luck lunch followed worship service, and a film was presented for the children during the meeting.


In 1984, a church photo directory was designed for families in the congregation.


On December 2, 1984 and March 17, 1985, the Covenant Players, a group of Christian performers conducted services in skit form.


A coffee hour is held on the last Sunday of each month.  This practice re-commenced in February, 1985.


On March 30, 1985, a congregational outing to the Robinsons’ Maplewood Farm was held.  This included a maple syrup and pancake breakfast, a tour of the bush and an explanation of maple syrup production.


On February 2, 1986, our congregational day was held at Crieff Hills with skiing, tobogganing, horse drawn sleigh rides, indoor games and a pot luck supper.


Each year a spaghetti supper has been held to raise funds for this committee and to promote fellowship.


A welcoming committee greets worshippers in the vestibule each Sunday morning.


An inter-generational fellowship to prepare for Advent was held in November 1985 and 1986.  Families popped popcorn, decorated the Church inside and out, sang carols, and shared a pot luck dinner.


To show the congregation’s appreciation of' its young people, a lasagna supper was held on March 16, 1986.  A rock band from Knox’s Presbyterian Church, Cambridge (Galt) entertained.


The objectives of the Church Growth Committee have been to achieve not only numerical but spiritual growth and more communica­tion with existing church members and adherents.  Through our events, we are fostering fellowship and growing as a Christian community.


Members of the Church Growth Committee for 1986 are: Paul McCaig, Chairman; Ruth Stevenson, Secretary; Bernice Crow, Eileen Daikens, Ruby and Lloyd Edgington, Marnie Wigood, Henry Hildebrandt and Rev. Anne Yee-Hibbs.



Church Growth Committee--1987

Back row:

(left to right)

Ruby Edgington, Paul McCaig, Lloyd Edgington

Front row:

Rev. Anne Yee-Hibbs, Bernice Crow, Ruth Stevenson,  Henry Hildebrandt


Eileen Daikens




Crown Cemetery Mausoleum




Crown Cemetery, Puslinch


Since 1937, the Crown Cemetery has continued to be well kept.  In 1953, five thousand trees were planted and in 1960, an area (110 feet x 600 feet) was purchased from the adjacent farm to the north, the former James Tawse farm, for future burial grounds.  In 1981 and 1982 several work bees were held to cut trees and brush and to level an area at the rear of the burial ground.  It was seeded in time for the first memorial service held on June 10, 1984 with over 200 people in attendance.  Surveying of the plots was completed in 1985.


In January 1985, a motion was made at the Plotholders’ Annual Meeting to proceed with plans for a mausoleum and chapel.  The committee included: Duncan McFarlane, Chairman of the Board, Wm. J. Kerr, Vice-Chairman and Douglas Mast, Secretary-Treasurer. On July 31, 1985, the excavation began.  On August 2, the mausoleum walls were poured. The work was completed in the spring of 1986.


On June 22, 1986, a memorial service was held with the guest speaker, Rev. F.N. Young who spoke on “Remembering the Past”.   Rev. Anne Yee-Hibbs dedicated the Mausoleum and Chapel.  A massed community choir was led by Mrs. Helen Schwartz and Mrs. Wendy McDonald.  Gordon Crow was chairman for the service.


Since 1937, there have been the following Secretary Treasurers: Miss Grace McNaughton, Miss Mabel McNaughton, Reid McNaughton, Peter C. McLean, N. Bruce Smith, Ronald McLean and Douglas Mast.


Caretakers since 1937 included: Andrew Ord, Len Geiss, Douglas MacQueen, Donald Stewart and Richard Mast.


The 1986 Board is composed of: Wm. J. Kerr, Wm. Winer, E.S. MacDonald, Gordon Crow, Glen Leachman, John W. Mast, and Duncan McFarlane.