Ellis Church

Enduring and Everlasting



126 years






This book has been published by

 The Ellis Church Board of Trustees.



 BOX 85

 Puslinch Post Office

 Ontario  NOB 2J0


First Printing: July 1987.


 Printed by Ampersand, Guelph

 123 Woolwich Street, Guelph, Ontario, N1H 3V1


Cover Illustration by Richard Marvin






A Season for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-15, 22


To every thing there is a season,

and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die;

A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;

A time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

A time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose;

A time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew;

A time to keep silence and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate;

A time of war and a time of peace.


What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?

I have seen the travail,

 which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time:

also he has set the world in their heart,

so that no man can find out the work

that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

I know that there is no good in them,

but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

And also that every man should eat and drink,

and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

I know that whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever:

nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it:

and God doeth it, that man should fear before Him.

That which hath been is now;

and that which is to be hath already been,

and God requireth that which is past.

Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better,

 than that a man should rejoice in his own works;

 for that is his portion:

 for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?






Table of Contents



Introduction: Ellis Church



Earliest History of Puslinch Lake and Area



Indian Presence



Early Surveys



Church Lands



 Backwoods Trails and Footpaths



Pioneer Settlement



The Pioneering Years



The Puslinch Lake Community



History of the Ellis Family



The Building of Ellis Church



Services at Ellis Church



 The Ellis Church Congregation



The Sabbath School Years



The Challenge to Survive






The Sunday School Picnic



 As the Twig is Bent



Glimpses of the Past



Discontinuation of the Sunday School



Boy Scout Meetings



The Restoration Years 



The Old Church



Organizational Meeting for the Restoration of Ellis Church



Work Bees



Ontario Provincial Historical Site



 Re-opening of Ellis Church



And the Work Continues



In Memoriam



The Recent Years



Summer Services at Ellis Church



A Welcome to Visitors



Ellis Church Today



An Appreciation of Pioneer Life



Wedding Services



Ellis Church: The Future Years      






A Psalm of  Praise

Psalm 100


Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

Serve the Lord with gladness:

Come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the Lord is God:

It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves:

We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:

Be thankful unto him and bless his name.

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting;

And his truth endureth to all generations.








The history of Ellis Church is perhaps best exemplified in Psalm 100 of the HOLY BIBLE.  This one hundred and twenty-six-year old stone Church has endured and lasted through years of service to the Puslinch Lake community and surrounding areas.


As one enters the gates of the churchyard, the serenity and simple beauty of Ellis Church welcome the visitor, whoever it may be: local resident, special guest, supportive friend, descendant, historian, or passer-by.  The visitor who makes his way through the pioneer-hewn doors is left to reflect upon the humility, faith, and love of our Christian forefathers.


Ellis Church, although small in design, is rich in history and has served as an inspiration and place of worship to many people.


Ellis Church

Enduring and Everlasting;

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.









THE OLD CONCESSION ROAD                          

 To love we would the task resign,

 And from oblivion wrest

Scenes of the old concession line,

When first by traffic prest.


by Thomas Laidlaw, 1891.

The Pioneer Poet of Wellington County






Ellis Church is located on the south side of the old Accommodation or “Given” Road in Puslinch Township, Wellington County, Ontario.  This road, now officially known as Ellis Road, lies approximately midway between the Second and Third Concession roads of Puslinch Township.  It was the early trail connecting the village of Hespeler with the Aboukir Road (Brock Road) at Aberfoyle.


The road was built for convenience during the pioneering years.  In those early years the road allowances of the Second and Third Concessions were hilly and rough.  An alternate road was opened running east and west over level land between the front and rear lots of the Second Concession.  As the “Given” Road winds its way east from Hespeler, Cambridge around swamps keeping to high ground, Ellis Church comes into view.  The lovely country setting of the old stone Church brings reminiscence of times past when pioneers walked along the same dirt road to their place of worship.


“And a scene yet lingers... a beautiful day in summer, with a blue sky bending above the concessions, and on this day, it is the Sabbath, there is that peculiar and absorbing repose, that intensified sweetness which we ever associate with the day of rest.”


Thomas Laidlaw, 1892.











A day of rest, no grating note

Disturbs this brooding spell,

No voice, save nature’s blending with

The tinkling cattle-bell;

The weary prize, this precious gift­-

A holy Sabbath calm,

The reverend woods their voices lift

And sing their hymn and psalm.


Thomas Laidlaw, 1892.






Earliest History of Puslinch Lake and Area


Indian Presence

Early Surveys

 Church Lands

 Backwoods Trails and Footpaths

 Pioneer Settlement








Earliest History of Puslinch Township


Indian Presence


The great number of Indian relics that have been found in Puslinch Township, and especially around Puslinch Lake, leads to the belief that this district was inhabited by Native people for centuries.  Indians of the Neutral tribe would have camped in this area prior to the early 1600's.  An old Indian trail leading south-east from Puslinch Lake attests to the fact that Native people were familiar with lands hereabout.  In the year 1648, the Iroquois Indians invaded the lands of the Hurons and Neutrals, destroying these two Indian Nations.


From early pioneer accounts it is known that Native people mingled with settlers often trading venison for milk, potatoes, bread, etc.  In April, 1946, John Little, a Puslinch Township farmer living near Ellis Church on the homestead farm of his grandfather (Robert Little), recounted two anecdotes told to him as a boy:


 “One day my Grandmother was getting water from a spring near a road.  An Indian touched her on the shoulder and, without saying a word, led her to another spot nearby where there was a much better spring.”


“Another time, my Grandmother was baking bread in the kitchen.  An Indian walked in, put a loaf of bread under his arm and strolled out of the house.  The next day he returned with a large cut of venison.”








On the left: John Little, standing

 and Robert Reeve, sitting. (Circa 1920).

The identity of the family was not confirmed

 at time of writing, 1987.




Some one hundred years later, the farmland where these meetings occurred was deeded to the County of Wellington to be maintained as a game preserve and woodlot.  John Little, a conservationist and keen student of nature, was familiar with the birds and animals and the varied flowers and plants native to the district.  Of a summer evening, or in the spring or fall of the year, he would find his greatest enjoyment in a walk through the trees to a spring that bubbled forth from underneath the roots of a large tree.  He told of watching the antics of a family of coon that had their home by the spring, of the bittern in the swamp, and the birds of every type that nested year after year on his farm.




“And from under that mossy bank there gushes a spring of pure water, where the deer slaked its thirst and the Indian had glassed his bronzed skin as he stooped to drink... Then the Indian disappeared from the concessions with his venison, yet ghost-like we saw him brushing the hoar-frost from the fallen leaves with his moccasins in the early dawn, gliding stealthily through the fragmentary woods away to the setting sun.”


by Thomas Laidlaw, 1892.






Earliest History of Puslinch Lake


Early Surveys


In the late 1700’s United Empire Loyalists and Pennsylvania Dutch were moving from America into Upper Canada by way of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.  Settlement spread further with the influx of Scottish immigrants.  It became necessary to survey lands hereabouts - an unknown wilderness of forest primeval - great pines and hardwoods.


The first survey in Western Ontario was a line run in 1784 by Augustus Jones from what is now called Burlington North-West to a point near the present village of Arthur. Seven years later, in 1791, Augustus Jones ran a line from the Six Nations Indian Reserve northward along the Grand River extending to Puslinch Lake.  These two lines were later to form the east and west boundaries of the township known as Puslinch.


As the western survey line passed within a few hundred yards on the west side of Puslinch Lake, Augustus Jones, accompanied by his wife, was possibly the first known European to have seen Puslinch Lake.  Augustus Jones married the daughter of Joseph Brant, Chief of the Six Nations Indian Reserve at Brantford.  Peter Jones, their son, was to later become a famous Wesleyan Indian missionary.








Church Lands


The Constitutional Act of 1791 passed by the British Parliament established Upper Canada as a separate province.  When the country was known only as Upper and Lower Canada and before active settlement began in Upper Canada, government authorities had pledged every seventh lot in Upper Canada to the Church of England.  The practice of setting aside portions of lands as “Clergy Reserves” dated back to Roman times.  The impracticability of leaving large tracts of land undeveloped was eventually realized and the earlier pledge was withdrawn.  These extensive Church Lands were opened up for settlement.  The area hereabouts was the first of such lands to be thrown open for future settlement.


In the years 1828-1831, David Gibson was engaged by the government to conduct the surveying of the roads and lots for what was to be called Puslinch Township.  Concession roads I to VI extended east and west on the west side of the Township while Concessions VII to XI extended in a north-west and south-east direction on the east side of the Township.  Lots of 200 acres extended from road to road across each Concession.  A pioneer farm usually consisted of a half lot, 100 acres, distinguished as either the front or rear of each Concession.









(poem by Malcolm McCormick, 1884.)


AYE once again! O, silent, sylvan lake,

I stand upon thy verdant wave-splashed shore;

and cherished memories within me wake,

As I recall the halcyon days of yore.


How fair the morn when from yon easten hill

Thy waters greeted first my wondering sight;

Thy radiant beauty made my bosom thrill

 With the pulsations of a new delight.


The western breeze upon the ripples played,

That gaily sparkled on thy bosom fair;

The island woods their graceful branches swayed,

 and scattered fragrance on the morning air...







(poem by Donald McCaig, 1894.)


DEAR POET of the Puslinch Lake,

You rove through youth’s bright glades and dells;

And gather from each shady brake

Life’s rare, sweet flowers - Heart Immortelles.


Well, I have seen your “sylvan lake,”

Where caught I gudgeons not a few,

But found, alas! the finny take

Like other friends, were spiny, too!


I’ve paddled by your bullrush shore,

That ne’er beyond its calfhood grew;

Twas only paddle then, not oar,

A dug-out navy all we knew...






Malcolm McCormick and Donald McCaig, sons of pioneering families, both grew up on farms in the Puslinch Lake area, and both went on to become noted educators and writers.









Backwoods Trails and Footpaths


It is believed that Puslinch Township was named by the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, Sir John Colborne (Appointment: 1828-1836), after his wife’s birthplace, Puslinch House, Parish of Newton Farrers, Devonshire, England.  The largest natural body of fresh water between Toronto and Lake St. Clair is to be found on the west side of Puslinch Township.  This spring-fed lake covering approximately 380 acres of land and once referred to as a “lovely jewel in the forest,” was named after the Township in which it lies.


Records indicate that many pioneers during the 1830’s came into Puslinch Township by way of the Stone Road running from Dundas to Galt (Cambridge) and then travelled through North Dumfries Township towards Killean in Puslinch.  Others went by way of Galt to New Hope (Hespeler-Cambridge) or continued to Guelph, thence coming into Puslinch Township from the north.  Pioneers also travelled by way of the oldest trail in the Township known as the Aboukir Road (now Brock Road) running north-west from Dundas to Guelph.







As slow our ship her foamy track

Against the wind was cleaving,

Her trembling pennant still look’d back

To that dear isle ‘twas leaving

So loth we part from all we love,

From all the links that bind us;

So turn our hearts, where’er we rove,

To those we’ve left behind us!










The following few notes by Mr. James Logan, in 1836, give us an idea of how immigrants reached Upper Canada.




“It would be cheaper to go by Quebec than by New York

from Greenock to Quebec, £16; Quebec to Montreal, £1 10s; to Prescott by coach and steamer, nearly two days, £1 10s; expenses .2s; fare to Toronto £2; expenses l0s; outlay total, £24 l0s.”


Mr. Logan estimated the trip from Glasgow to Toronto by way of New York at £41 8s. From Greenock to Quebec, it took him 33 days and then 6 additional days to reach Toronto.


“At Toronto, the emigrant is in the capital of Upper Canada, and only 155 miles from Goderich on Lake Huron.  If he wishes to go to Hamilton, at the head of Lake Ontario, there is a steamer every day which runs up in six hours and the fare is 6 shillings.”










Pioneer Settlement


Early in the year 1831, Alexander Lamont with his wife and five sons, left Argyleshire, Scotland to make a new home for themselves in Canada.  Sailing from Greenoch in a schooner, they encountered heavy seas and adverse winds.  They were eighty-nine days crossing the Atlantic Ocean and on arrival at Quebec City the family embarked on smaller boats and eventually arrived in Hamilton.  From there, the Lamont family proceeded on foot, carrying all their worldly possessions through the forest for a distance of over thirty miles to the area known as the Clergy Reserve.


The Lamont homestead site was located on the south half of Lot 5, Concession 2, Puslinch Township.  On the north-east bank of the “Little Lake” which joins Puslinch Lake, the Lamonts built their first home, cleared a small space of land, and planted potatoes.  Deer were plentiful and at that time there was an abundance of fish in both lakes, so they had sufficient food to carry them over the first winter.


Two of the Lamont sons, Peter and William were carpenters.  Peter Lamont, also a millwright, was to be instrumental in the building of Ellis Church.






The brief history of the Lamont family was repeated with slight variations by many pioneer families who followed them to the Puslinch Lake section of the Township.  Those of English, Irish, Scottish, Pennsylvania Dutch, and German descent were to be represented in the growing community.  The arrival of the McAlister family in 1832 was later followed by John Barret, Thomas Collins, and Charles Barret.  The year 1839 saw the arrival of brothers James and Robert Little, and Edward and Thomas Ellis.  Robert Little, who came from Tyrone County in the north of Ireland, was said to have reached the Lake settlement with only an iron kettle, a ham, and an axe.  He used the axe to cut down a tree in order to start his log cabin.  The tree fell on his kettle demolishing it, and a bear made off with the ham it had covered.


From 1840 to 1860, the pioneer settlement was firmly established with the families of John Eagle, the McWilliams, William Ross, John Dickie, James McMaster, Thomas Fyfe, Neil Holm, Jacob Cober, and Elias Whitmer.


It has often been remarked that when this Puslinch Lake settlement was new, transactions between neighbours required no written agreements.  A neighbour’s word was as good as his bond.








The Subscriber offers for Sale his two farms in Puslinch, seven miles from Guelph, viz.: North half Lot No. 11, in 2nd Concession of said Township, containing 160 acres of land, of which there are 60 cleared and well fenced. There is a good Log house and Frame Barn on the lot, and a very valuable Orchard of nearly 150 trees, with Garden, &c.  Also, the South half of Lot 10, in the 3rd Concession, containing 100 acres, about 45 of which are cleared; a never failing creek runs through this lot, which corners on the other one.


Price for the Two Lots $6000,


Two Thousand of which can remain until the end of 4 years, the balance to be paid previous to that time, in such manner as may be agreed to.


For further particulars apply to

C. P. P. HUTCHINSON Guelph, Feb. 15, 1862.








THE SUBSCRIBER WILL OFFER FOR SALE Lot No. 7, 3rd Concession, Puslinch containing 100 acres of good land, 60 acres cleared, the rest well-timbered.  There is on the premises a good log house and log barn and a never-failing well of water. It is situated only 7 miles from Guelph and 3 from Hespeler.  For particulars apply to ELIAS ERB, on the premises.


The Guelph Daily Advertiser newspaper,

 June 28th 1864.







“Most men are born poor, but no man, who has average capacities and tolerable luck, need remain so.  And the farmer’s calling, though proffering no sudden leaps, no ready short cuts to opulence, is the surest of all ways, from poverty and want to, comfort and independence... Each year of his devotion to his homestead may find it more valuable, more attractive than the last, and leave it better still.”


Horace Greeley (1811-1872)








The Puslinch Lake Community

History of the Ellis Family

The Building of Ellis Church

Services at Ellis Church

The Ellis Church Congregation






“Upper Canada has a noble parentage, the remembrance of which its inhabitants may well cherish with respect, affection and pride.”


Dr. Edgerton Ryerson 1803-1882









And surely wisdom directed the settling of our concessions, so agreeably was it arranged.  Strangers fitted into their places side by side, as if they had been specially prepared; adjusted themselves to the peculiarities of one another - for peculiarities there were, and it may be that by virtue of them a more perfect whole was the result.  Social grades and distinctions had scarcely a place.  Jack was as good as his master, if it could be said that a master was there, and worth was an appreciated quality.  The sympathy of a common brotherhood was felt and practised.  Of silver and gold they had none, yet of such as they had they were ready to give -a helping hand in the day of need was seldom wanting. If snow lingered long in the concessions, and the spring was cold and backward, and work pressing, in places where the plough was unequal to the task, a kindly neighbour was ever ready to assist.  Or if through misfortune or otherwise, the little logging field lay on into summer untouched, a "bee" was suggested, and on the morning of the day ready handed men came in from the different lines with their sober-faced oxen, the chains rattling at their yokes, and they hitched on and the work was done up, and a kindly hand in harvest was ever given with a spontaneity which in later years is rarely witnessed; and ties more tender than the ties of friendship were formed.


Thomas Laidlaw, 1892.







A BAD KICK---As Mr. Gracey, one of our bakers here (Hespeler) was on his way to Morriston with a load of bread on Friday last, an upset, while going through Mr. Robert Little’s farm, caused some detention which resulted in Mr. Gracey’s putting up and waiting at Mr. Little’s until after dinner.  In taking his horses out of the stable to resume his journey, a colt in one of the stalls kicked ostensibly at one of Mr. Gracey’s horses, which had bitten it in passing. Unfortunately missing the horse, Mr. Gracey received the kick on the side of his head and face, knocking him senseless for a time and inflicting a painful wound near the corner of the eye.  He was, of course, unable to pursue his journey, but Mr. Little took his place and drove his load to Morriston, and did everything in his power to alleviate the sufferings of the injured man, who, we are happy to ascertain is likely to be all right again in a few days.


Guelph Daily Mercury

 Thursday February 15th 1883.








Psalm 23


The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;

He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul;

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

  I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;

 thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.








The Puslinch Lake Community


The early pioneer families brought to their new country a deep and abiding trust in God; a trust that would guide and sustain them through much hardship and toil.  The family Bible carried from the homeland was the source of spiritual comfort which helped to lessen the feelings of loneliness and longing.  The Christian faith of the homeland was nurtured and protected in the isolated homesteads of these early pioneer families.  In the words of the Pioneer Poet, Thomas Laidlaw, the family would “meet in the evening for worship, after the custom of our fathers.  On a plain deal table the Bible is opened, and a psalm is sung in our own simple way, laden with memories.”







There is a book, who runs may read, which heavenly truth imparts:

And all the lore its scholars need, - pure eyes and Christian hearts.

The works of God, above, below, within us and around.

Are pages in that book, to show how God Himself is found.


by John Keble, 1792-1866.






Jesus saith unto him,

 “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,

 and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it,

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”


St. Matthew 22: 37-40.






The uniqueness of the Puslinch Lake pioneer community appears to be in living the Christian life, particularly noted in the tolerance individuals displayed toward their neighbours.  Differences in nationality and religion existed, but the accep­tance of an individual's right to his or her own beliefs, and the patience required for living together amicably exemplified, in a small way, the teachings of Jesus Christ on earth.






“Brace up!”  We like that slang phrase.  We like it because there’s lots of soul in it.  You never knew a mean, stingy, shrivel-souled man to walk up to a discouraged or afflicted neighbour and slap him on the shoulder and tell him to “brace up!”  It is the big-hearted, open-handed, whole-souled fellow that comes along when you are cast down and squares off in front of you and tells you, “that won’t do, old fellow- brace up!”  It is he that tells you a good story and makes you laugh in spite of yourself; that lifts the curtain that darkens your soul and tells you to look out and see the light.  It is he that reminds you that there never was a brilliant sunset without clouds.  He may not tell you in just so many words, but he will make you “brace up” and see the silver lining for yourself.


Guelph Evening Mercury newspaper

 January 25th 1879.






Not only did the pioneer families work together, but they worshipped together as well --- Methodists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, and those of other religious persuasion.  Community inter-denominational services were first held in the original S.S.# 11 School House, built in 1845, on the south-west corner of the farm owned by John Dickie.  It was located at the bend in the road, right at the roadside.  There was no schoolyard surrounding this sturdy building.


The school was built of logs and had a cottage-type roof.  The corner men chosen to build the school were: Neil Holm, William Lamont, Andrew Eanfoot, and Edward Ellis.  The building, measuring about 36 x 40 feet, had one room.  A door opened toward the “Given” Road and there was one window on each of the four walls. The windows had shutters.  The school was heated by a large stove.  The wood for the stove was supplied by the pupils, each pupil bringing half a cord during the school year.


Furnishings in the school were quite simple in construction.  The pupils sat on blocks sawed from logs.  Later they had two long, sloping desks along each side of the room.  For each of these desks there was a long seat.  Later these desks were sawed in two.  The equipment for the school consisted of one blackboard and three maps.






“ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL STUDENT.---During the last fifteen or twenty years, it is well known that rural Puslinch has not been lacking in furnishing the country with literary talent.  On this occasion it affords us great pleasure to chronicle the success of Mr. Thos. Lamont, a resident of the vicinity of Puslinch Lake.  For the six months ending about the middle of August, the young gentleman alluded to had been attending the British American Business College of Toronto, and after a searching examination for three weeks on the various subjects and questions propounded for a practically commercial course, he has succeeded in carrying off the highest honours of this institution, making not less than 83 1/2 per cent, on any one subject, and 86 per cent on the aggregate, which is a record seldom excelled at any literary examination, and reflects very creditably on the abilities of Mr. Lamont as a commercial student, and should certainly recommend him as one whose services would be very desirable for any business firm to secure.”


Guelph Daily Mercury

 August 30th 1883.






When the School was first organized, the teacher boarded at the homes of pupils.  The first teacher was Mr. Rosebrook.  Other teachers in the old log school house were: Mr. Lanington, Mr. John Kinston, Mr. Cornelius Carr, Mr. Alexander McGregor, Mr. Patrick Donahue, Mr. Alex Frazer (teaching for nine years), Mr. John Munroe, Mr. Renney, Mr. Mewart, Mr. Collins, and Mr. R. H. Knowles.  The school turned out many clever people as the following roll call indicates.




Mr. Tom Lamont

Mr. Christopher Collins

Mr. Jack Barret

Miss Kate Collins

Mr. Tom Barret

Miss Ellen Collins

Mr. Jim Ellis

Miss Martha Heritage

Mr. David Eagle

Mr. Tom Collins 

Mr. Will Dickie

Mr. George Collins




Mr. Tom Dickie

Rev. James Little (Presbyterian)




The name of Mr. Robert Barret, son of Mr. Charles Barret of Puslinch, Ont., appears on a list of inventors in the State of Missouri who received patents.  His invention is a Lift for Plate Rolling Mills.  The young man alluded to is chief engineer and master mechanic in one of the largest iron working establishments in the West, situated in St. Louis.


Guelph Daily Mercury

February 15th 1883.






The children of the early pioneer families attended classes in the little log school house until 1865 when the building was dismantled and the logs were sold in Hespeler.  During its existence, the log school house was also a meeting place for the public.  Mr. George Duncan, a lay preacher, conducted religious worship sessions at the school.  Other lay preachers included: George Copeland, David Rife, and William Ellis.  Visiting Methodist ministers were Reverend David Savage and Reverend M. Ferguson.  The influence of these men and neighbourly good will, so strongly established in the daily work of the community, encouraged the emergence of a Puslinch Lake congregation.  As the community advanced beyond its rude and humble beginnings, thoughts turned to improvement.


Recalling the parish churches of their homelands most probably led the pioneer families to contemplate the building of a permanent church for the Puslinch Lake community.  It was in the spring of 1859 when the first determined steps were taken.  These initial measures prepared the way for the construction of a place of worship which would serve people of several faiths: a community church where all neighbours were welcome.


On May 16th 1859, a Memorial Agreement was given by Edward and Mary Ellis (south half, Lot 9, Concession 2) to “the Trustees of the Sterling Congregation of the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Canada”.  The Trustees were George Sterling, James Eagle, Peter Lamont, Thomas Ellis, and Edward Ellis, all of Puslinch Township, and Joseph Copeland and William Ellis of Waterloo Township.






IN MEMORIAL, MAY 16th 1859.

Registered Deed


Edward Ellis of Township of Puslinch, County of Wellington, Province of Canada, first part, Mary Ellis, his wife of said party first part, of the second part, and George Sterling gr., Edward Ellis, James Eagle, Thomas Ellis and Peter Lamont of Township, County and Province aforesaid and William Ellis and Jos. Copeland of the Township of Waterloo, County of Waterloo of the third part. Trustees of the Sterling Congregation of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Canada in common with the English Conference.


Wherein as reciting as therein is recited the said party of the first part for consideration therein mentioned did give, grant, bargain, sell, alien, assign, transfer, release, enfeoff, convey, confirm unto said parties of the third part their successors, assigns, all that certain parcel or tract of land situate in the Township of Puslinch, County of Wellington and Province of Canada containing by admeasurement one acre be the same more or less being composed of the Northwest angle of the South half of Lot No. 9, in the Second Concession of Township of Puslinch and which said parcel and tract of land is butted and bounded as may be otherwise known as follows that is to say - COMMENCING at the northeast angle of said Lot; THENCE North 77° East 8½ rods; THEN South 16° 28' E 17 rods; THEN South 70° West 8½ rods; THEN North 16° 28' W 17 rods to place of beginning.






To have and to hold the said above granted premises, with all the privileges and appurtenances thereof to the said parties of the Third Part, their successors and assigns to them and their own use forever to, for and upon the trusts, uses and conditions and purposes of the said indenture mentioned and by the same indenture it is witnessed that the said Mary Ellis, the wife of the said party of the First part of the second part, for and in consideration of Five Shillings to her in hand paid by the said parties of the Third part, both remised, released and forever relinquished her dower in the said premises unto them the said parties of the third part, their successors and assigns, which indenture is witnessed by Samuel C. Philp of the Town of Berlin, in the County of Waterloo, Clergyman, and Mary Master of the Township of Puslinch, in the County of Wellington, widow.






And this memorial thereof is hereby required to be registered by him the said Grantor therein named.


Witness my hand and seal the 16th day of May,

 in the year of our Lord 1859.



Inst# M33012 Quit Claim Deed (Pt. Lot 9 Concession 2, 1 acre) granted to Robt. Reeve surviving Trustee of Ellis Church from the Trustee Board of the Congregation of the United Church of Canada, Brantford Presbytery, dated May 16, 1963.  Reg'd June 13, 1963.  Co-signed by G. Miller, Wm. S. McVittie, Jack Beattie, Lyle Prior, Chas. Stager, Bertram Johnston, Alvin Gingrich, J.E. McPherson, and Cecil Holm.


Inst# M33013 Grant given from Robt. Reeve, sole surviving Community Trustee to Robt. Reeve, Herbert Eltherington, and Lloyd Frank as holding Trustees of Ellis Community Pioneer Chapel, dated April 19, 1963.  Registered at Guelph on June 13th 1963.


Note: Albert Gamble elected to succeed Herb Eltherington (1964)

Tom McMaster elected to succeed Robert Reeve (1972)

Richard Frank elected on resignation of Loyd Frank (1979)






“All was speed and bustle now,

Hurry sat on ev’ry brow;

Naught was heard upon the breeze

But the sound of falling trees;

Rough logs over streams were laid,

Cabins built, and pathways made;

Little openings here and there,

Patches to the sun laid bare,

Growing larger ev’ry day;

Time sped merrily away.

Troubles we had not a few,

For the work was strange and new;

Mishaps neither few nor small,

Yet we rose above them all.”


by Alexander McLachlan, 1818-1896.








History of the Ellis Family


Edward and Thomas Ellis came to the Puslinch Lake section as pioneers in 1839.  The two young men, aged 24 years and 22 years respectfully, were intent upon establishing bush farms with the sponsorship of their father, David Ellis.  Edward settled on the South half of Lot 9, Second Concession, and Thomas located on the North half of Lot 9, Second Concession.  The area of the farms comprised 200 acres of dense, native forest.


The brothers faced the worthy toil common to the life of any pioneer in a timbered country.  Their farms were cleared and rendered productive.  Both brothers gained a reputation as ingenious mechanics and carpenters.  Their buildings and farmlands were said to be amongst the best for those early times.








Homestead of Edward and Mary Ellis (1839-1873)

Later owners were William Ross (1873-1946),

 and George & Winnie Lambert (1946-1956).

The home was situated at the site of Service Centre W1.







The homestead of Thomas and Sarah Ellis was located on the north side of the Given Road, just east of Ellis Church.  Thomas Ellis resided here from 1839-1906.










“Take the Art of Building - the strongest - proudest - most enduring of the arts of man, that of which the produce is in the surest manner accumulative, and need not perish, or be replaced; but if once well done will stand more strongly than the unbalanced rocks - more prevalently than the crumbling hills.  The art which is associated with all civic pride and sacred principle; with which men record their power - satisfy their enthusiasm - make sure their defence - define and make dear their habitation......”


by John Ruskin, 1819.






The family history for Edward and Thomas Ellis indicates that their grandfather, Henry Ellis, was by birth a Welshman.  He was a descendant of the Earl of Strambeau, whose family crest displayed a castle and two swords.  In 1767, Henry Ellis left Wales for County Caven, Ireland.  He married Margaret Mahan, a native of Donegal, Ireland.  They were the parents of several children.


Henry Ellis and family emigrated to the United States and located at a colonist settlement on the Susquehanna River (Big Bend) in the State of Pennsylvania.  During the American Revolution, the Ellis family remained loyal to the British Crown.  About the year 1800, Henry Ellis and his three sons John, Allen, and David came to Canada as United Empire Loyalists.  The family settled near Brantford, Ontario.  Henry Ellis suggested that the new settlement be called Mount Pleasant after property owned by his family in Flintshire, Wales.  The 200 acre Ellis farm was situated on Lot 7, east side of Mount Pleasant Road.  The farm was the first to exist in the 4,000 acre tract of land, surveyed and laid out by Chief Joseph Brant.  When the War of 1812 broke out, Henry Ellis and his sons volunteered their services to assist in repelling the invading foe.  It was at this time that Margaret Ellis died after contracting camp fever.  Henry Ellis died at Mount Pleasant in 1831 at the age of 86 years.


David Ellis and wife, Margaret, originally settled in Waterloo County.  Later, they moved to a farm located two miles north of St. George in South Dumfries Township, County of Brant, Ontario.


Edward and Thomas Ellis were the sons of David and Margaret Ellis.






“An axe is heard in the woods and in the direction of the echo we come to an acre or two of clearance.  The good woman is out helping her worthy husband to burn brush, and gather up chips, and roll logs, or something else, in a way we who recognize the dignity of labour know how to appreciate.  Woman, gentle and loving - she was so true and heroic, and so ingenious in her resources, making the most of everything. and where it was so much needed, and so sympathetic, easing the restless pillow and soothing the fevered brow and making glad with the sunshine of her presence and never thought she was doing anything.”


Thomas Laidlaw, 1892.






In 1841, Edward Ellis and Mary McMaster were married.  Their niece, Hannah Ellis (daughter of William Ellis, South Dumfries), was adopted and raised by Mary and Edward Ellis.  Taken from the Bible, the name "Hannah" means "God has been gracious" - a thoughtful reflection as the lives of Mary, Edward, and Hannah were joined as family.  Hannah’s marriage to Reverend William Mills took place on Tuesday, June 17th, 1873 at the home of Edward and Mary Ellis.  Reverend Thomas Stobbs officiated.  Reverend William Mills was to become the minister of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Hespeler in 1883.  Before his marriage to Hannah Ellis, William Mills was "in training" for the ministry.  His travels as an assistant minister would have taken him to Ellis Church.


In the same year, 1841, Thomas Ellis and Sarah Kitchen were married.  They were the parents of seven children - David, John W., Dorothy, Edward, Margaret, Nathan and James. In later years, the sons of Sarah and Thomas distinguished themselves as scholars, farmers, and military men.  Travel and adventure appealed to these young men.








Mr. Edward Ellis, son of Squire Ellis, Puslinch, accompanied the first expedition to Fort Garry, and remained in the service until last spring, when he became connected with the boundary Survey Commission.  He writes that the detachment of the expedition to which he belongs is now stationed at Turtle Mountain, 180 miles west of Dufferin.  They expect to winter at Wood Mountain, 400 miles west of where they are at present, and they are desirous of moving soon, as it is becoming very cold - the ice on their water barrels having already been so thick as to require the pounding of a mallet or some other heavy instrument to break it.  The Sioux Indians frequent that region, and Mr. Ellis states that he has had some interesting interviews with them, and has succeeded in gaining their favour.  He says they are very affectionate when they once take a liking.  In return for some trinkets presented to them by Mr. Ellis, the chief with a number of his braves waited on him one morning before daylight, and presented him with a great buzzard’s wing, “black as night”.  This, in their estimation, was conferring a very great honour, as a wing of this bird is the emblem of their tribe.  It is now floating with his own ensign on the flagstaff over the depot where he resides.  The music Mr. Ellis has become accustomed to in these wilds would sound strange to his friends at their firesides in Ontario.  It often consists of the screaming and chattering of nocturnal birds and the howling of wild animals, with now and then, the report of the hunter’s gun, and occasional unearthly shrieks of the Indian returning hungry and gaunt from the chase.


Guelph Evening Mercury

 Tuesday, October 14th 1873.








Owing to the high estimation in which Mr. James H. Ellis was held by his numerous friends in this vicinity, much regret is felt at his departure for the North West (Saskatchewan).  We, however, prophesy for him a successful future, for although a very young man, he is a scholar, a mechanic or a labourer, able and willing to act in either capacity in short, a capital stamp of a pioneer.


Guelph Daily Mercury

 April 18th 1878.






Thomas Ellis was a public spirited man who kept abreast of the times.  Intelligent and well read, he made himself conversant with all current affairs.  At the first municipal election ever held in Puslinch Township, the general meeting of ratepayers elected Thomas Ellis as Deputy Reeve, a position he filled for the years 1850, 1851, and 1853.  During these years, he acted as a Puslinch Township representative on District and County Councils.  For many years, Thomas Ellis was appointed Auditor for the Puslinch Township Council.  In addition, his service for fifty years as lawgiver and judge in the southern part of Puslinch Township was noteworthy.  Perhaps no other Justice of the Peace in Wellington County, outside of those in the towns, disposed of more cases than did Thomas Ellis.  Throughout his life, Thomas Ellis enjoyed the best of health.  He lived on his Puslinch Township homestead until his death on May 1st, 1906 at the age of 91 years.






Edward Ellis did not seek a political or public life but remained close to the land, farming and assisting in the construction of buildings in the community.  He resided on his farm in Puslinch Township for over thirty years.  On October 13th, 1873, Edward Ellis sold his pioneer farm to Mr. William Ross.  Mary and Edward took up residence near the village of St. George in South Dumfries, Brant County.


Edward Ellis was known as a man of great general intelligence and of a most philanthropic disposition, ever ready to administer a good turn when he knew it to be necessary.


“We are bound to say that few men endeared themselves more to all acquaintances than did Mr. Ellis - a gentle and consistent Christian.”


Throughout his adult life, Edward Ellis was always a staunch member of the Methodist Church, and a liberal in politics.  For some thirty years, Edward’s health was in a precarious condition.  At the time of his death on Saturday, November 24th, 1883 at the age of 69 years, Edward and his wife Mary were in readiness to move to Hespeler - once again to be amid old friends and family.


An interesting observation about Edward and Thomas Ellis is that both men followed in the footsteps of their father, David Ellis.  Thomas, like his father, was a magistrate.  Edward leaned toward the religious calling of his preacher father.  The one acre of land given freely to the Puslinch Lake community by Edward and Mary Ellis was generous in nature and representative of their Christian spirit.















“The Hour Glass”



A century all but ends, a bell tolls low and deep,

The sand of time sinks far within the glass

A few more grains,

To trickle, then the dawn of a new era


Shall we still sleep, still slumber on serene,

Unmindful of the call.

Or shall we rise, renewed in heart and soul

To struggle and to strive afresh to win the prize, or gain the covet goal?

Be mindful of the past, of one whose name

Lives on amid the glory of his work.

His race is run, to him the victor's crown

A great achievement stands memorial to that fame.

The fame of doing well, and passing on

The deed well done to others then unborn,

But heirs to-day of one rich heritage,

A heritage of gold wherein mankind stand free,

Untrammelled by the chains

That once did bind our race to wheels of servitude.


by Albert William Drummond, 1924.








The Building of Ellis Church



Ellis Church was built by the men of pioneer families as a community effort.  Skilled carpenters working on the construction of the Church included Edward and Thomas Ellis and Peter Lamont. Much of the building material was supplied from surrounding fields and forests and transported by the neighbours from nearby farms.  Free-will donations from members of the community helped to meet expenses for building materials purchased.  The actual building of the Church was accomplished during community gatherings known as “work bees”.  Work bees were to become a tradition in the history of Ellis Church.


Two foot thick random-faced fieldstone walls supported the four by four inch pine rafters of the split cedar shingled roof.  The flooring was two inch thick pine planking and the ceiling rose to approximately seventeen feet.  The Gothic, pointed-top windows and sashes were made by Edward Ellis.  The window sashes sat practically flush with the outside window frames allowing for deep interior sills.  Six large windows, on three sides, faced north, east, and west along with a smaller Gothic window over the north entrance.  Unpainted pine wainscotting with plastered natural white walls completed the simple structure which would later stand the test of time with its sturdiness.





The approximate dimensions of Ellis Church are forty feet by thirty feet.  The interior furnishings are best to be considered as shown in the original layout scheme illustrated by Loyd Frank (1963).












Our father which art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

 Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

 but deliver us from evil:

 for thine is the kingdom,

 and the power, and the glory, for ever.











Service at Ellis Church


From early times, the Lord’s Prayer has been a part of the worship services in Christian churches.  The Prayer is found in St. Matthew 6:9-13 where it appears as part of the Sermon on the Mount.  According to the New Testament, Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer to His followers as the example of what a prayer should be.


The first interdenominational service at Ellis Church was held in the year 1861, joining differing faiths in one community place of worship.  With the passage of time, the date of the first service and the name of the minister officiating have been lost to history. However, it is known that Ellis Church was actually under the jurisdiction of the Wesleyan Methodist New Connexion Church.








The annual conference of this body will meet at Hespeler on Wednesday, the 22nd May, and remain in session until the 29th.  Programmes of the proceedings of the Conference have been issued.  On the evening of the 24th the Conference Tea Meeting will be held, when addresses will be given by Rev. Dr. Crocker, D.D., Rev. G. Jackson and Robt. Wilkes, Esq., Toronto.  Tea from 5 to 7.  Single tickets 40 cents, double tickets 75 cents.  On Sunday 26th, preaching will take place in the church at 10:30 a.m., the ordination service will be held at 2:30 p.m., and the services at night at 6:30 p.m.  There will also be preaching at Ellis's chapel, Waterloo Township, and at Preston at 7:30 p.m. on the same day.  On Monday evening the annual missionary meeting will be held, when addresses will be given by Re. Messrs. Grundy, Kershaw, McKenzie, and Scott, and on Tuesday evening a Sabbath School meeting.


Guelph Daily Mercury

Wednesday May 8th 1872.









Small community churches such as Ellis Church did not support a full-time minister.  Instead, a minister or an assistant-in-training travelled a circuit of churches each Sunday.  The Methodist Society Year Books (Archives of Victoria College, Toronto) trace the Ellis Church affiliation.







Guelph District Puslinch Branch of Berlin Mission









Luther C. Rice

Alex Sutherland





Samuel C. Philp

Samuel Philp Jr.

David Kennedy

David Chalmers





Richard L. Tucker


Elias W. Fraser

John Hyndman

John H. Keppel





William Savage   

John Armstrong

George W. Brown






Preston English Mission Ellis Branch









Aaron D. Miller



John Smiley







Guelph District Berlin Mission, Ellis Branch









Thomas A. Ferguson

John Scott B.A.

Isaac Lovell

James T. Metcalf





Thomas Stobbs

William Mills

Jabez Edmonds





Christopher Cookman

William Bough






PRESENTATION --- On the evening of Tuesday, the 4th, a party, consisting of the teachers and pupils of the Ellis Church, Union Sabbath School, assembled at the house of Mr. Robert Little, the Superintendent, and presented him with a copy of Kitto’s History of the Bible, Life and Times of the Rev. Dr. Burns, and a book entitled The Dynasty of David.  The presentation was accompanied by an address, to which Mr. Little, although taken altogether by surprise, responded very appropriately.  The visitors, after a warm reception, and experiencing the usual hospitality on such occasions, dispersed, well pleased with the evening's entertainment.


Guelph Evening Mercury

 February 6th 1873.






SABBATH SCHOOL PIC-NIC: A union pic-nic consisting of the pupils and teachers of the S.S. of the Hespeler Methodist Church and those of the S.S. of the Ellis’ Church, near the lake, was held at Puslinch Lake on Saturday the 16th.  There were present the Revds. Messrs. McAlister, Haigh, and Stewart, of Hespeler, besides many other friends.  The day was spent in boating, swinging, croquet, baseball etc. and a sumptuous lunch was partaken of at two p.m.  There were about 250 present.  All dispersed to their homes at about five p.m., after feeling that the day had been pleasantly spent, and concluded that the pic-nic was a complete success.


Guelph Daily Mercury

 September 20th 1877.






The London Zion Circuit included seven churches: Hespeler; Preston; Zion; Kirklands (later known as Howitt Memorial); New Chapel; Doon; and Ellis Church.



London Conference, Guelph District Zion Circuit









William Henderson

William Williams





James McAlister

William Sparling

Thomas B. Leitch

John Stewart





Edwin Holmes

John Freeman

Charles Cosins






London Conference, Hespeler Circuit









Rev. Francis E. Nugent



Rev. William Mills




This circuit was reduced to four churches: Hespeler; New Chapel; Kirklands; and Ellis Church.






PLEASANT NEWS --- Early last spring, Mr. Thomas H. Lamont and wife, well and favourably known here went to the North-West (Manitoba).  We now see by the “Weekly Tribune and Marquette Review,” that Mr. Lamont is the teacher of a public school at Pleasant Point, the Superintendent of a Sabbath School, and the Secretary of a Blue Ribbon Society (Temperance).  From items appearing from time to time in the above paper it is evident that both Mr. and Mrs. Lamont are active and deservedly popular amongst the associations of their new home.  The many friends in Hespeler and vicinity will be most happy to receive this news respecting the two.


Guelph Weekly Mercury

 August 28th 1884.








The Ellis Church Congregation


Thomas H. Lamont, younger brother of Peter Lamont, was born on the original Lamont homestead. He went west as a school teacher in the year 1880.  It was the interesting and scholarly history he wrote that records the hardships and toils as well as the joys and sorrows of the pioneers and settlers in the Puslinch Lake section.  Information found in the attic of a Hespeler home and written in April 1933 by Thomas Lamont, then of Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, reveals to us a glimpse of the early services at Ellis Church.







“The regular ministers and local laymen were Methodists but Sunday School was always operated by a Presbyterian or Methodist Superintendent and the teachers were always of mixed denominations.  In the old school-house, the first religious services were generally conducted by a layman, George Duncan, one of God's real servants.  Services were held here until the stone Church was built in 1861 on the north-west corner of the farm of Edward Ellis.


This Church at that time should have been called the United Church of Puslinch Lake. My father led me by hand to this Sunday School in 1861.  I can recall some of those who conducted the services in this Church, namely Rev. William Ferguson, Rev. David Scroggie and as lay preachers George Copeland, David Rife Sr. and William Ellis; all fearless expounders of the Gospel of Good News.


I also remember that the first lights were tallow candles, then lamps with fish oil, and how wide we opened our eyes when we saw the first coal oil lamps.  Here the children from the entire neighbourhood attended the Sunday School.  Mary Ellis was one of the teachers of the senior girls and Lizzie Archibald taught another class.  She later became the wife of William Dickie.  In later years the much-to-be-loved R. H. Knowles became teacher of the young men’s class.  (Mr. Knowles was the last teacher in the old S.S. No. 11 School and the first teacher in the new school, opened in 1866.)  Many of those under his charge, did not, nor ever will, forget his beneficial influence on their lives.  James Eagle and Robert Little were the earlier Superintendents of the Sunday School and made many sacrifices on their time and talents in their efforts on behalf of the Sunday School.”








Mr. Alexander Lamont has sold his farm on the shore of Little Lake to Mr. John Bond who has of late years been a land spectator.  Mr. Lamont is a citizen of Puslinch, as he was raised in Puslinch and has made Puslinch his home all his life.  He, with his wife and mother, intend moving to Manitoba in about a month, where he intends purchasing a farm to make Manitoba his home for a while.  His neighbours wish him happiness and prosperity in his career.


Guelph Weekly Mercury

 March 22nd 1888.











To Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Lamont and Mrs. Peter Lamont:


Respected Friends:



We, your friends and neighbours, have gathered together this evening for the purpose of expressing the deep feelings of regret we entertain in regard to the occasion that calls us here----“that of bidding you a formal farewell on the eve of your departure to a distant Province,” but while we feel keenly our coming separation, our sorrow is not altogether unmixed with pleasure in the knowledge that you are going to a new home where your opportunities will be greatly improved for gaining a competence.  And I can assure you on behalf of these, your assembled friends, that if your degree of success be proportionate to our well wishes for you, you will enjoy an era of prosperity in your new home that will be unprecedented even by the most fortunate of those migrating before you.






Sir, many of us, here present, have been schoolmates of your own; we have sat on the same forms, studied the same lessons, been ruled by the same discipline, engaged in the same mischief with yourself; and when my mind reverts to these good old days now “lang syne” it fills me with deep sorrow to think that another of those, with whom we used to associate in our boyhood's days, is about to remove from the neighbourhood --- to seek his fortunes in another and distant land.  So many have already migrated that we have but a remnant left of those who at one time received instruction in this section from Mr. R.H. Knowles, and I can assure you that remnant feels keenly each additional vacancy.


And while we regret your removal, on account of these old memories, we no less regret the same on account of renewed and more recent association.  We could always feel, sir, in grasping your hand and looking into your kindly face that we were holding intercourse with an honest manly man; and he, without making any ostentatious show, was found to be the right man in the right place, ever ready to extend a helping hand, not a neighbour merely in name but also in deed.  We will, sir, greatly miss your cheering smile and pleasant face from amongst us.







And you, madam, although not a companion of our school days, i.e. to the most of us, have so endeared yourself to us by your unassuming and neighbourly deportment that we indeed feel that we sustain a bereavement in your loss.  I can assure you on behalf of these your friends that we sympathize with you on account of your removal to so great a distance from your relatives and many of your girlhood's friends and acquaintances.  But we know that you are leaving the old friends to find new ones, for the qualities of your heart and mind will be the efficient means of encircling you with a host of friends wherever you may be.


And you, “my venerable friend”, are one who always had an interest in the neighbourhood and whose good, solid, motherly and Christian teaching should be remembered and improved upon by those who had the advantage of it.  We know that it is hard for one who has crept far along life's roadway to break asunder old friendship’s ties and form new ones.  But my dear madam, you will have the satisfaction of being near all of your children, and at least occasionally again forming an unbroken family circle.  I assure you that words of adieu are inadequate to express the depth of our feelings in losing one so venerable, so time honoured as yourself from our midst.






You can all rest assured that in going to your new home you will carry with you the best possible wishes of these your friends, and many others.


We hope that you will severally accept these small tokens of our esteem on account of the motives that prompt the giving.


I will merely say on this behalf that the suddenness of your winding up of your affairs and removing to your new home, necessarily made the time so short in which to notify friends of our section that many who would have gladly assisted in the work could not possibly be given the opportunity to do so; but I feel fully confident that if all your well-wishers could be brought together this evening in this house it could not comfortably contain them, and they would undoubtedly have swelled the amount to make something, far more worthy of your acceptance.  But we feel confident that you will not value these things on account of any intrinsic value they may possess but rather as being tokens of the high esteem in which we hold you.


On behalf of committee - James H. Ellis


Committee of Arrangement: John M. Eagle, William Little, John Fyfe






At the proper moment, Mr. W. J. Little presented Mr. Lamont with a handsome pipe and tobacco case and a number of excellent books.  Mr. J. Fyfe presented Mrs. Lamont with a beautiful set of table cutlery, and J. M. Eagle presented Mrs. Peter Lamont with a fine collection of books.



Mr. Lamont, although entirely taken by surprise, feelingly thanked his friends for their handsome gifts.  Their kindness was entirely unexpected on his part, and he did not think himself deserving of the high esteem of his neighbours as evidenced by their handsome gifts and address, and he could assure them that he would sacredly preserve and cherish their gifts, not only for their intrinsic value, but for the manner in which they were given.  The presentation over, a very pleasant time was spent in various amusements, Mr. and Mrs. Lamont doing all in their power for the entertainment of their guests. About 12 o'clock a sumptuous repast was passed round by the ladies and the guests departed for home.



Guelph Weekly Mercury

March 22nd 1888.








To the Editor of the Mercury:


Dear Sir,-- I would ask as a favour a small space in your valuable paper on the eve of my removal from this Province to my new home in Manitoba in which to express my feelings of regret on leaving, and my appreciation of, and thanks for the consideration and kindness, I have at all times received from the cherished friends with whom I have been surrounded from my infancy.


To my old Friends and Neighbours:


Dear Friends,-- I can assure you that it is with feelings of the deepest regret that I am now about to leave Puslinch.  Born here, and passing my entire life among, and at all times receiving a degree of consideration and kindness from you that I could not feel that I fully deserved, you can judge my feelings on now bidding farewell to you, and the surroundings with which I have been associated from my earliest childhood, and which are held sacred by a deep affection that has grown with my growth and increased with my strength.






I now take this opportunity of saying to you that I am truly sorry that circumstances have made it advisable for me to remove from your midst, and that no matter where I may be placed my thoughts will often return to you, the friends of my youth and there will be a warm place in my heart and a warm seat by my fireside to welcome any of you that it may be my good fortune to meet in my new home.


I would thank you sincerely on behalf of my wife and mother, as well as on my own account, for all your kindness to us, and for the tokens of that kindness given us in so hearty and genial a manner on the evening of March 14th last, and which will at all times bring your kind faces before us in memory, although I can assure you in this behalf that although highly prized on account of the motives that prompted the giving, yet these tokens were not necessary to assure you a place in our kindest remembrances.


Your obedient servant.


 Puslinch, Ont.

March 27th, 1888.







Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

 and never brought to mind?

 Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

 And days o’ auld lang syne.


by Robert Burns






Time has taken its toll of the Puslinch Lake pioneer families.  The passing of a lifetime - three score years and ten, and the moving away from the family homesteads have brought about many changes in a community which had its beginnings 156 years ago.


Before turning to the next chapter in the history of Ellis Church, it is befitting at this time to acknowledge the pioneer parentage which has survived a century and more in the Puslinch Lake area.  In 1987, Thomas McMaster and family reside on the original McAlister pioneer homestead known as Green Hill Farm, rear of Lot 6, Second Concession.  As the Thomas McMaster line of descent is traced, the history of the pioneer community is further perpetuated in the family ties that bind.







John McAlister served as an Ellis Church Community Trustee.  Thomas McMaster is at present a Community Trustee of Ellis Church (1987).








We are again called upon to chronicle the life of one of the old pioneers of Puslinch, in the person of Mrs. Thomas Heritage, who died at her residence, Green Hill Farm, on Tuesday, April 26th, 1904; aged 91 years and 6 months.  Deceased had been in her usual state of health until about Christmas when she took the grippe and was not strong enough to battle the grim foe.


Mrs. Heritage was very much respected by all her friends, both young and old.  She was of a quiet disposition but a friend to all, and was generous and kind to those in need, and no person was turned away hungry from her door.  She was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and many a time she walked to Knox Church, Galt, when Dr. Bayne was the pastor; there being no church in Hespeler when she came from Scotland in 1832.


Mrs. Heritage, whose maiden name was Christina Ramsay, was twice married.  Her first husband was John McAlister.  They were married at Campbellton, Argleshire, Scotland, on March 1st 1832, and sailed for Canada in April of the same year, on the ship Postaferry, landing in Hamilton six or seven weeks later.






They lived in Hamilton for some time and left there, walking to Puslinch, stopping at houses on the road.  They at length settled on Lot 6, Concession 2, Puslinch, put up a shanty and commenced clearing a home for themselves.  After the place was cleared, Mr. McAlister did not live long to enjoy it.  He took sick while visiting his sister in Galt and died at her home, in November 1842, leaving his widow and six small children.  She remained a widow for eight years, and her family had grown to be stalwart young men and women.  In 1850, she was married to Thomas Heritage, who died in 1883, leaving one daughter, who remained with her mother until her death.


When Mrs. Heritage first came to Lot 6, it was all a forest, and it was a very lonely life for the young wife who could hear the wolves howling and see the bears sneaking among the timber.  The deer also were very plentiful and would come to feed with the cows in the pasture.  She once tried to shoot a deer, but missed her aim and the deer fled to the woods.






At that time there were no stores in Hespeler and they had to go to Galt to do their trading.  Mrs. Heritage would walk to Galt and carry a basket of butter and eggs, get her groceries, and walk back home, the road at that time leading past the old Shaw homestead. 


One day when she was going to Galt she met a large black bear on the path; she thought she was done for, but setting her basket down, she clapped her hands and helloed, and the bear took fright and ran into the woods.  On another occasion the wolves were chasing the calves in the pasture, and they let a large yoke of oxen in the field and the wolves were quickly driven off, but the calves were badly torn.


Mrs. Heritage was born at Killeden, Argleshire, Scotland, in October 1812.  The family are: Archibald and Alexander McAllister, on the homestead; Mrs. Clark, Sidney, Manitoba: Mrs. G. Y. Heritage, Bloomington, Illinois; Mrs. J. L. Maude, Peterborough; Mrs. Win Maude, Galt; and Martha at home.






The pioneering years marked a beginning for families such as the McAlisters and for Ellis Church in the Puslinch Lake Community.





“Many old things have passed away,

 almost all the things are becoming new.

But in the pages of the chronicler or historian

There will be found materials sufficient

 to revive the remembrance of the past.

And to cherish that proud feeling of nationality,

 which is the only sound foundation of real patriotism,

And the best inheritance of any people.”





The words above were spoken in reference to Mr. Donald McLean at the time of his death in 1876.  Mr. McLean was born in Scotland and came to Puslinch Township as a pioneer.  He died at the age of 98 years.








The Challenge to Survive


The Sunday School Pic-Nic

 As the Twig is Bent

 Glimpses of the Past

Discontinuation of the Sunday School

Boy Scout Meetings






“Train up a child in the way he should go:

And when he is old, he will not depart from it.”


Proverbs 22:6







by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Tell me not, in mournful numbers,

“Life is but an empty dream!”

For the soul is dead that slumbers,

And things are not what they seem.


Life is real! Life is earnest!

And the grave is not its goal;

“Dust thou art, to dust returnest,”

Was not spoken of the soul.


Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,

Is our destined end or way;

But to act, that each tomorrow

Finds us farther than today.


Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints, on the sands of Time;


Footprints, that perhaps another,

Sailing o’er Life’s solemn main,

A forlorn and ship-wrecked brother,

Seeing, shall take heart again.


Let us, then, be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labour and to wait.



(Verse handwritten in the Pulpit Bible at Ellis Church)








The Challenge to Survive


About 1880, churches of the various denominations were being established in the nearby town of Hespeler.  The people of the Puslinch Lake community began travelling into town to attend services at the church of their choice.  The Ellis Church congregation declined considerably during the next few years.


In 1884, the union of the Wesleyan Methodist Church and the Methodist New Connexion Church led to the eventual withdrawal of the ministerial service to Ellis Church. Regular church services ceased but interdenominational Sabbath School classes continued under the supervision of local community superintendents.


In the spring of 1888, the Puslinch Lake community was faced with the possibility of the closing of Ellis Church.  The sale of the Church was recommended by representatives of the Hespeler Methodist Church.  They felt that as Ellis Church was legally registered in the name of the Wesleyan Methodist Church and that the Methodist Church had no further use for Ellis Church, then the sale of the premises should proceed.






A DEADLOCK - The Ellis Church difficulty has come to a deadlock.  The Trustees met in Hespeler on Tuesday afternoon when those from Puslinch refused to sign the deed of the church.  It is doubtful now what steps will be taken in the matter.



The Guelph Daily Mercury

January 19th 1888.






The Puslinch Lake community rallied together saying that the building and furnishings belonged to them and that Ellis Church should be left with the community without charge or fee.  (If they paid anything for it at all, it would be merely buying back their own property.)






LOCKED UP - The Ellis Church has been locked up by a Puslinch Constable and any person entering is threatened with arrest.  It seems a pity to raise all this trouble over $70, the price the Church was being sold for.


Guelph Weekly Mercury and Advertiser

January 26th, 1888.






Community protests of the proposed sale appeared in the Guelph Weekly Mercury and Advertiser.  In the edition dated March 8th, 1888, we have a glimpse of the controversial debate.



To the Editor of the Mercury:


Dear Sir, - “Equity” has been giving us the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  But “Equity”, as you style yourself, I will go with you and we will examine the other side of the truth.  I shall not take up your time with anything that has been written, but will come to the facts.  When the Messrs. McGregor, Paddock, Glover, Simmons, Plant, Scott, Mason, Smith, and others came to the members of this trust board at different times, and said, "Will you give me a place to bury my dead?" their answer was “yes, here is an acre of land given as a free gift by Mr. Ellis, deeded to us and our ancestors in trust for that purpose, we will go and help you to bury your dead in it.”


And it becomes a public burying ground, and everything put on that ground helps to increase its value and appearance, let it be buildings or furnishings, and no subscriber has any claim on account on what he has given.  For instance, when they got up the first Sabbath School library, I gave two dollars, and every time it was renewed, I gave two.  When they bought the organ for the Sabbath School, I gave ten dollars, and they became part of this property, but I have no personal interest on that account.






Now, if these trustees or their successors in office, legally appointed, see fit to sign this property away for personal property, then they leave themselves open for action, in the Court of Chancery, for a breach of trust: first: to the late Mr. Ellis, for the confidence he placed in them to keep this property for the use of the public; second, to those who entrusted them to keep it for their place of burial, for we have courts of equity, as well as courts of law, and if the law of the church on real estate is not in accordance with the law of the land, it will not stand: but if these trustees or their successors, legally appointed, did not sign this property away, then no person had any right to draw a nail or do anything to destroy or decrease the value or the appearance of this property, and is open for an action against them for so doing.  This is my opinion, and I am not the first man that was ever ridiculed for expressing his opinion.


Now “Equity”, this is a public matter, and I do not desire to go into any personalities, or make any remarks on your letter, nor do I expect this to be the last, for I expect the last to be when the decision of the court is published.


Thanking you, Mr. Editor, for your indulgence to me, I remain, your obedient servant.








To the Editor of the Mercury:


Dear Sir, --- In perusing your issue of the 1st, I find amongst your correspondents one signed “Equity”, to which I claim the right to reply especially as my name is therein mentioned as being willing or desirous for the sale of our church and graveyard, which I emphatically deny for I have never been asked to give approval or consent to such a course notwithstanding any oaths or affidavits to the contrary.


“Equity”, whoever he or she is, (for the nom de plume reveals no sex or gender) reminds the readers of the MERCURY of a former letter from their pastor in reference to the church controversy in which it is explained the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in the matter.  In your issue of January 19th, I find a letter alluded to in which the Rev. gentleman in the third section of paragraph proceeds to state that in the year 1884, owing to circumstances arising out of the Union, it was deemed advisable to withdraw the services and that a meeting of the trust board was called, who by almost an unanimous vote, decided to close the church.







I also find that in consulting the minutes of the proceedings of the trust board that the church was leased on the 6th of December, 1881, which lease I hold in trust, and which is still in force as it is not limited as to time, but runs concurrently, the appointment having been previously withdrawn arbitrarily without consulting the board.  Now if the appointment was withdrawn in 1881, why call a meeting of the board in 1884 to effect that object?  I also find in the seventh section unfeeling, uncalled for, and ungentlemanly remarks referring to our burial ground, which are misleading as it has not been open to the public for 30 years, for we felt too feeble financially to clear up and fence in the cemetery until the summer of 1873.


   Since 1880, there have been periodical menaces and threats from our Hespeler friends of selling us out, so that those having deposited members of their families therein have frequent cause for alarm.  Under such circumstances, it is no matter of surprise that other places should be preferred, although less convenient for burial purposes.  We are therefore forced to the conclusion that instead of 30 years, only 7 is the period that our graveyard has been a desirable repository for the dead.






There are four other items contained in the letter which are equally misleading, but I have neither time nor inclination to refer to them at present.


The acre of land upon which our church stands was given free of cost, not sold, expressly for the purpose of burial ground in connection with the erection of a church for the use of this locality, and not as an article of sale or barter or speculation, as our Hespeler friends assume.  It is still desirable and necessary for the use of the neighbourhood for Sabbath School and other moral and evangelical purposes, and it will be used as such, as soon as the lease which was given for a special purpose is cancelled or extinguished.


“Equity” seems anxious to know the amount contributed by other denominations towards its erection.  I shall not however enlighten him, or her, for fear that he may insist on knowing what we have for dinner or if we eat our proverbial hash with a knife.  But I can state officially, as the Secretary of the trust board, that two gentlemen gave each a trifle more than the whole contribution of the membership of the Methodists of the village at the time; our esteemed friend, David Stirton, your Postmaster, being one of the two alluded to.  At our last and successful effort to cancel our church debt, for which my late brother Edward and myself were held personally responsible, I witnessed our worthy and respected M.P., Mr. Innes, drop a five dollar bill on the collection plate.  I have a warm and friendly feeling for gentlemen of that stamp, much more so than for those who would outrage the feelings of the living and desecrate the memory of the dead by offering for sale a church and graveyard with its silent and unresisting population for a paltry sum with which to lessen or extinguish their church indebtedness.





I always have objected to diverting the property from its original intended use, not from impulse or passion, but from principle and conviction.  I will resist any attempt to possess it for any other purpose than that for which it was originally designed.  I very much regret the course pursued by our Hespeler friends, for it appears to me that it is dishonouring the God we all possess to love and worship, and that it is a reproach to our common Christianity.  With our best wishes for the prosperity and happiness of our Hespeler friends and regrets for your already overwrought patience.


I am yours &c.,


Puslinch, 3rd March, 1888.






These eloquently presented letters voiced local community sentiment in support of retaining Ellis Church as a place of worship and burial ground for the community and protesting the proposed sale of the church property.  Words that speak to the determination of the Puslinch Lake community in preserving Ellis Church are echoed in a verse for all time:




O Lord, give me


To change the things I can change


To accept the things I cannot change, and


To know the difference.






ELLIS CHURCH NOT TO BE SOLD, - Since the talk commenced of selling the Ellis Church there have been a few meetings of those interested and, to avoid a bad feeling starting in the neighbourhood, it was thought best not to sell it, so our old church stands safe yet.




Guelph Mercury,

 January 30th 1888.






The controversy over the proposed sale of Ellis Church gradually dissipated and reason was to prevail over emotion.


The conflict had a favourable outcome in that the Puslinch Lake community reaffirmed a commitment to their neighbourhood church.  Although small in structure and congregation in comparison to other churches in the area, Ellis Church had withstood mounting pressure to terminate services and close its doors to the community.






SETTLED - Messrs. Ellis and Little’s exhaustive letters have evidently settled the church controversy as no attempt has been made to secure possession by the Hespeler speculators.  The residents in the vicinity are organizing a Sunday School to be held there as soon as the weather will be warm enough to dispense with the services of a wood fire.  Parties attending from a distance will be obliged to walk or leave their horses exposed to the summer sun as the sheds are serving a purpose elsewhere.


Guelph Weekly Mercury,

April 26th 1888.






NOTES- Jas. H. Ellis has returned from Buffalo... Miss Hannah Little is visiting friends in Detroit... The Ellis Church is still standing... ‘Coons are catching it this fall... Seeding is mostly over and early sowed wheat is up about two inches out of the ground... Most of our young men are at Toronto Show this week... Peter Barrett took high prizes at Guelph show... The water in the lake is very low... Mr. Marvin Eagle is working on his farm... Mr. Charles Schaumburg will soon be leaving his place, to the regret of his neighbours, having rented it to Christian Schaumburg, of Waterloo.


Puslinch Lake,

September 20th 1888.








Since the letter of Rev. John Marshall Lang, D.D., of the Barony Parish of Glasgow, appeared in the London Times, in regard to the origin of Sunday Schools, and in which letter Dr. Lang states that Robert Raikes - the generally accepted founder of Sunday Schools - has been anticipated in his work by the Rev. Dr. John Burns, Dr. Lang’s predecessor in office, the subject has caused much comment on both sides of the Tweed.


In that letter, it is stated that Dr. Burns anticipated Raikes by some five or six years.  Recent communications to the Scottish press have demonstrated the fact that there was a Sunday School in Berwickshire as far back as 1710, seventy years before Raikes commenced to labour in Sunday School work.  In 1756, a similar school was started by a Presbyterian minister in his own house, and continued for fifty years.  Again old “Rabbi Robertson”, as he was called, the greatest Scottish Hebraist of his day, assembled in 1775 the younger members of his congregation on Sabbath afternoons for the purpose of catechizing.  The Rev. John Russell also originated a missionary Sabbath School in 1798 and, at Kilmarnock, a Saturday evening class was organized for the benefit of a number of strangers who had settled there and instructed by a paid teacher both on Saturdays and Sabbaths who received £ 10 per year for his services.  In co-operation with his teacher, were a burgh magistrate, and a leading gentleman of the town.  In 1787, through the benefaction of Mrs. Scott, mother-in-law of the Duke of Portland, a Sunday School was started at Galston.  We learn further that Lady Glencairn supported a Sabbath School in 1792.  In all probability further testimony will yet be forthcoming. - The Scottish American Journal.


Guelph Daily Mercury,

August 2nd 1880.







Left to Right: Arthur and Bertha Eagle, pictured with their father, Marvin Eagle, a former Community Trustee and Sunday School Superintendent at Ellis Church.








Ellis Church -- Sunday School is in full running order and well attended...


Guelph Weekly Mercury

June 14th, 1888.










The transition from regular ministerial church services to Sabbath School classes saw the Puslinch Lake community once again strive together in a successful endeavour that would extend over a period of fifty years until the year 1943.


A group of community trustees have been responsible for the property and affairs of Ellis Church through the years.  Original Community Trustees of Ellis Church were Edward Ellis, James Eagle, Thomas Ellis, Peter Lamont, William Ellis, and Joseph Copeland.  They were followed by William Little, John Fyfe, and Marvin Eagle.  Robert Reeve, Arthur Evans, and John McAlister succeeded these men.






Mrs. William Dickie spent last week in Toronto, she being a delegate to the Provincial Sabbath School Convention there.


Guelph Weekly Mercury

 October 31st 1901.






Community Sunday School Superintendents, responsible for instruction at Ellis Church, were James Eagle, Robert Little, Mrs. William Dickie, Marvin Eagle, John Fyfe, Walter Holm, Rev. E.S. Charlton, Ralph Elston, Rev. J. Armstrong, Secord Reamon, and Clarence Habermehl.






Robert Burns does not write from hearsay, but from sight and experience: it is the scenes that he has lived and laboured amidst, that he describes....


Robert Carlyle








Left to Right:

 Standing: Eleanor Dickie & Margaret Stewart.

 Seated: Mary Dickie & Isobel Evans.

December 1965.










The cleaning of the Sunday School was an annual event which took place on the Thursday or Friday afternoon preceding the first Sunday in May as the School re-opened then.  A couple of young men went with a team and a stone boat, a barrel of soft water and a huge black kettle which they set on a couple of large stones and made a fire underneath where the water was heated.  The same kettle was used for boiling maple sap in the spring and for making cider sauce in the fall.


The young women of the neighbourhood gathered with pails, cloths and scrub brushes and plenty of soap, (for the floor was always white).  The “Boys” assisted in moving the large wooden pews or seats.  Some of the girls cleaned the windows and the lamps.  Some scrubbed seats and some the floor.  A couple put the library books in order in the cupboard by the back door.






When all had been set in order, the pies were brought out; for from first to last, this was a feast of pies, almost as many varieties as there were girls there, and for once, there was no limit to the number of pieces they could help themselves to, so long as the pies held out.


In the Sunday School, the girls had four classes on the east side: primary, junior, intermediate and Bible class; the last named was in the south-east corner.  The boys had the same number of classes on the west side, their Bible class being in the north-west corner. The adult classes would each have an average attendance of about a dozen.


The Sunday School collections were used to defray the expenses; provide quarterlies and papers, also cards and “tickets” for the Primary Classes.  Special offerings for Missions were taken at intervals.  Scripture memorizing was encouraged.  Each Sunday a child attended, he or she was given a ticket with a Scripture verse.  The Sunday following the one he received the fourth ticket, he would return them to the teacher and, if he could recite all four verses correctly, he was given a larger and very pretty card with a Scripture verse.






Throughout the years, many consecrated teachers faithfully taught the Word of God to the children who attended.  Prominent amongst them were Margaret Robertson, Christy Clarke, Belle Bond, Holly Little, Eliza Little, Martha Little, Ella Little, Hannah Fyfe, John Fyfe, Etta Bond, Eleanor Bond, Mrs. Dickie, Bessie Dickie and Belle Robertson.  Jessie Robertson was church organist for many years.  Later, her niece, Mamie Robertson, took over until 1916 when she was married.


Following are the names of the families who attended, as I remember them: Ross, Robertson, Eagle, Kitchen, Bond, Lisso, Zimmerman, Robert Little, Joseph Little, Ellis, Knack, Reeve, Dickie, McAlister, Fyfe, Evans, Kean, Wilkinson, Gilchrist, and Aikens.  I think the average attendance of the Sunday School would be between 45 and 50.  The singing was hearty and all participated.








Sunday School Teachers at Ellis Church: Top, Holly Little; Directly Below Left, Etta Bond (Fyfe) and Right, Belle Bond; Bottom, next to water, Polly Reeve.










Standing in the centre is Belle Robertson, former Sunday School teacher at Ellis Church. Sitting, to the right, is Mamie Robertson, Church Organist prior to 1926.  The home pictured in the background was formerly the Thomas Ellis homestead.










Ellis Sunday School started in May and ran to October.  I attended Sunday School with my mother and sister, Lily, from 1903-1908.  Others who attended at the time were the Evans brothers, Percy, Arthur, James, Kenneth, and Robert; Leslie, Lee, Bertha, and Arthur Eagle;  Eleanor and Ruth Little;  Elizabeth and Robert Reeve; and George Paddock. Elizabeth Reeve and my sister Lily were chums.  Mrs. William Dickie was Superintendent and Wilson Robertson was Secretary-Treasurer.


As was the custom in most churches, afternoon classes were held.  The reason for this was that chores had to be done in the morning, necessitating a change of clothing before driving to town to attend church services.  Sunday School classes were held later in the day so that people in the country could participate.


I can recall the little graveyard all covered over with a mass of wild, tangled rosebushes.  Sometime in the past, a pioneer family had planted a rose and it had gone wild over the years.  On the way to school, (S.S. No. 11), we would crawl in under the bushes and read the gravestones, being kind of half scared all the while.  This behaviour wasn’t allowed on Sunday; besides, we had to dress up and we could not be caught prowling around on the ground.  After the Memorial Cemetery Cairn was built in 1964, I found two rosebushes from the original rosebush and planted one on either side of the Cairn.  Tiny pink blossoms were to appear in later years.








The earliest recollection I have of the Ellis Church dates back to 1913.  I had only been in this community a short time. The little girls, and big girls too, of S.S. No. 11, were busy describing to one another the pretty new dresses their respective mothers were making and which each would be able to wear for the opening day of Sunday School in May.


Naturally I was curious as to where this church might be.  One smart boy, calling me “stupid”, pointed east of the school saying, “down there, can't you see?I had seen the church every day I went to school, but I had not connected it with the one the girls were talking about.


I can remember going down and asking my parents if I could go to the Ellis Sunday School as everyone else was going.  My mother had made me a new dress for Easter so that problem was solved.  We always attended Wanners Church in Waterloo Township, but somehow or other, going to one in our own community and with your school chums was more of a novelty.






Dad said, “You may as well go as wander around here all afternoon keeping your mother and I awake.”  He did add, however, that it would be a long walk for a little girl.  I was not deterred, and Sunday afternoon found me on my way, thinking when I reached the school, others would be waiting to walk along with me.  No one was in sight at S.S. No. 11.  I hurried along, feeling I might be late.  When I reached the Sunday School, I could see no one about, though a wisp of smoke was blowing from the chimney.  By this time, I was sure services had started.  I walked up the path to the door rather timidly, not knowing what to do or expect.  Just them the door opened and a short pleasant man came out saying, “Well, well, I see we are going to have a visitor with us today”.  He took my hand, remarking that he and I were the early birds and we could just sit on the steps until more came along.


I was to know later, this man was Mr. Marvin Eagle, superintendent at that time. Some of the girls from school came along and took me into their class.  I remember feeling quite shy at all the glances cast at the newcomer.  The teachers and moms and dads spoke to me after services and hoped I would come again.  This was the beginning of many happy memories I have of attending Sunday School classes at Ellis Church.








It was during the 1920’s and 1930’s when I attended Ellis Sunday School.  I can recall that those walking from the Third Concession to Sunday School came through our farm.  As we walked along, other people joined on to make a procession to Ellis Church.


Aunt Carrie Aikens lived next to Ellis Church on the west side.  On cleaning bee day, Aunt Carrie always baked a delicious chocolate cake and served tea to all the helpers who joined in the clean-up.








How dear to my heart are the scenes of my childhood,

When fond recognition presents them to view!

The orchard, the meadow, the deep-tangled wildwood,

And every loved spot which my infancy knew,

The cot of my father, the dairy house nigh it,

and e’en the rude-bucket which hung in the well.

The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,

the moss-covered bucket which hung in the well.


by Samuel Woodworth






SABBATH SCHOOL PICNIC, - A picnic is to be held by the Puslinch Lake Sabbath School on Saturday next.  Swings will be put up as usual on all such occasions, but the chief feature is to be a foot ball match between our eleven and the Clyde team.  Our team did so badly at Paisley Block a few weeks ago that we wish them a better day this time.  We hope to see them with a fine new uniform on that occasion, which will show an improvement in our team.  Rumour says that when the Canadian team returns from England our team is going to challenge them.


Guelph Weekly Mercury

September 20th 1888.








The Sunday School Picnic







The blessing of Christian fellowship enjoyed by the congregation of Ellis Sabbath School extended out to neighbouring farms and communities.  It was, again, the pioneer spirit of sharing and living the Christian life that was to prevail.  A number of community social events centred around Ellis Church as noted in the further reflections of Mrs. Eleanor Evans.


“The Sunday School picnic was something the children always looked forward to.  Once or twice, it was held at Puslinch Lake, but usually a farmer’s hayfield was chosen, and beside a woods, so there would be shade for those who preferred to sit and watch the proceedings.







A special meeting was called and various committees were appointed to prepare a list of games and races and also to set up the tables and make seating arrangements.  Two men would go to the field selected, taking lumber, (good clean boards which were around the farmyard), and trestles upon which to place the boards.  These were the “tables” upon which the ladies spread their tablecloths when ready to prepare the supper.  The “seats” for the tables were of planks, often supported by blocks of wood from the woodpile, nailed underneath.  I do not think the babies or young children slept that afternoon: all were on exhibition.








The food was there in great abundance and of superb quality.  Mrs. Dickie always supplied the lemons and sugar and made the lemonade for the children.  Many friends from Hespeler came to our picnic and enjoyed fresh country air and good baking.  Dr. Henderson, (dentist), is especially remembered as he always brought the largest watermelon he could find for the children.  There were races for all ages for the girls and boys. The prizes were always the same, a piece of silk ribbon 2 inches by 3/4 inch in depth; red for first prize, sky blue for second prize, and white for third.






I think it was after supper, (or was it before?), that the men of the picnic selected two of their number to act as “Captains”.  Sides were chosen, a long and strong rope was produced and a “Tug-of-War” took place.  A white kerchief was tied in the centre of the rope.  The side which succeeded in pulling that kerchief several feet beyond a certain mark, was proclaimed victorious.  Various games were played including baseball.


At one time the roof of the church needed renewing, so funds were collected and a new roof was put on one side.  A year or so later, the other side received a similar renewal.


Sometimes when extra funds were needed, such as to purchase new books for the library, a “Strawberry Social” was held on a warm June evening.  One such, the writer remembers, when the tables were set outside on the west side of the building.  Large saucers of delicious strawberries with “real cream” were served with all manner of cakes and cookies.  For those who preferred, ice cream was dished up.  Afterwards a nice program of songs, recitations, and musical numbers were rendered inside the building.






On another occasion a “Garden Party” was held on the lawn of Mr. Joseph Little’s home, where tables were set out-of-doors, a good supper was served and nice program given afterwards.


Friends in Hespeler were always happy to attend these functions and contribute their talent, which was much appreciated.”











CO-OPERATIVE PICNIC, --- A grand picnic was held in Mr. William Dickie’s grove, on Puslinch civic holiday, that is on Saturday last.  Among the many groups were the Sunday School picnic, the day school picnic, etc.  All that were present say that they enjoyed the picnic very much. 


Among many other amusements were races, etc. for school children.  The prizes were given by Miss McWilliams, the teacher.  The races were as follows: Sack race, 1st James Reeve, 2nd David Eagle. Three-legged race, 1st James Reeve, 2nd Wm. Plant. Boys’ long race, 1st James Reeve. Small Boys’ short race, 1st Morey Kitchen.  Girls’ race, 1st Minnie Evans, 2nd Bessie Stotz. 


Other amusements were, football playing -- the football being kindly lent by the Puslinch Lake Football Club -- croquet playing, swinging, baseball playing, lawn tennis, cricket, and many other such amusements too numerous to mention.  After enjoying a pleasant afternoon the various picnics united and had tea at the same tables, after which they all started for their various homes, it being then quite dark.  Among the visitors were seen Mr. Ed. Rife and ladies of Hespeler, Mr. Aaron Stager, of Waterloo, and ladies, Mr. George Collins of Hespeler, and Mr. Ed. Johnston of Hespeler.


Guelph Weekly Mercury

September 27th 1888.


















As the Twig is Bent


But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned

 and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;


And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures,

 which are able to make thee wise unto salvation

 through faith which is Christ Jesus.


All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:


That the man of God may be perfect,

 thoroughly furnished unto all good works.


II TIMOTHY 3:14-17






The book “Annals of Puslinch” makes reference to the influence of the Ellis Church Sabbath School and the sincerity of the men and women who conducted it.  From the 1963 writings of Mrs. Eleanor Evans, we can appreciate this influence as far-reaching.


One Sunday afternoon over seventy years ago (1890’s), a missionary from beyond the seas visited Ellis Sunday School and gave a talk to the children and the young people.  He spoke of the “need” in foreign lands and said that perhaps someone to whom he was then speaking might some day become a missionary and go to heathen lands.


A little girl sitting on the front seat laughed.  Whereupon he said to her, “Yes, you might be a missionary some day.”  That child was Edith Evans who grew up and went to Nigeria as a missionary.  Later, she met and married Rev. Ira Sherk, and together they served over thirty years in Africa.  The foregoing was told to me by Mrs. Sherk when I visited her in Port Huron, Michigan, nearly three years ago.  She is my sister-in-law.

Bessie Dickie, a former Ellis Sunday School teacher, became a Home Missionary, and is serving amongst the mountain people of Tennessee.






In speaking of the residents, I do not intend to speak as an egotist, but what I have to say is this, that Puslinch Lake can boast of some of the greatest men that Canada ever produced.  Not only have her sons excelled in the art of farming but have turned their attention to nearly all of the leading professions and occupations, and in all cases you will find them in the foremost ranks.  I shall now occupy a few more lines of your valuable space in giving a list of some of the boys that at one time could be found playing barefooted along its shore.


Educational--- Donald McCaig, Inspector of Algoma Schools; Malcolm McCormick, Principal of Guelph Business College; T. J. Collins, Principal Ottawa Separate School and champion penman of Canada; C.C. Collins, Principal Guelph Separate School, pen artist and professor of music; Alex Dickie, Principal of High School, Galveston, Texas, and other prominent teachers, viz, Thos. Dickie, W. S. Dickie, Jas. H. Ellis, Thos. H. Lamont, Jas. Ramsay, A. Little.


Theology - Rev. Jas. Little, M.A., Princeton, Ont.


Medicine - Frank Wood Shaw, M.D., Oarberry, Man.; Rob. McWilliams, M.D., Drayton, Ont.; James McWilliams, M.D., Dundalk, Ont.; George Collins, V.S., Hespeler, Ont.


Inland Revenue - J. K. Barrett, Inspector of Inland Revenue for the Province of Manitoba;   T. J. Barrett, London, Ont.


Military- Mat. Ellis, 1st class Infantry certificate; John Gilchrist, 1st class Artillery certificate; Ed. Ellis.


Athletic - Gilbert McCaig, ex-champion stone thrower of America, Tom Jermy, ex-champion sledge thrower of the world.


Miscellaneous - M. Collins, J. P., Country Treasurer, Norfolk, Manitoba; R.A. Barrett, master mechanic , Rusk, Texas.  It is of such men that Puslinch Lake feels proud.



Guelph Daily Mercury

 August 28th 1889.






Live for something.

Do good and leave behind you a monument of virtue

that the storms of time can never destroy.


Write your name in kindness, love, and mercy,

On the hearts of those you come in contact with year by year;

 you will never be forgotten.


Your name, your deeds,

Will be as legible on the hearts you leave behind,

 as the stars on the brow of evening.


Good deeds will shine as the stars of heaven.


by Thomas Chalmers








Glimpses of the Past




Horses Pulling Binder  

Mr. Edwin Shantz (father of Mrs. Anne Evans)









From the early days we are gliding fast,

We are speeding away from the cherished past;

We are speeding away from the scenes of yore,

From the early days which return no more;

And yet through the years how a voice will start

To move on the chords of the melting heart;

Scenes gleam through the mist we never forget,

We cling to them ever with tender regret.

And voices are whispering soft and low

To us from the years that were long ago.



by Thomas Laidlaw,

The Pioneer Poet of Wellington County.









Puslinch Farmer’s Club

Wednesday March 9th 1878.


The regular monthly meeting of this club was held in the Temperance Hall, School Section 11, on Saturday, 23rd February.  In the absence of the President, Mr. Robert Little was called to the chair.  The subject under consideration was “Potato Culture”.  There was a large attendance of members who thoroughly discussed the most approved modes of cultivation, together with merits of the various varieties of this valuable and indispensable esculent.  Altogether a profitable evening was spent.  A number of new members joined the Club, besides old members renewing their connection therewith.  All retired to their homes, impressed with the opinion that, by associating, much can be gained of practical benefit and also result in profit to the farmer.







July 30th 1885.


The splendid weather of the past two weeks has given all the farmers in the vicinity the privilege of securing their hay in excellent condition, and now fall wheat harvest is almost in full blast.  Some three weeks ago there was, owing to the sultry, moist weather, considerable apprehensions of rust, but the setting in of propitious weather has rendered it all right, and both yield and sample are likely to be quite satisfactory.  Here and there barley is being harvested, and is an excellent crop, whilst all other spring crops are most promising.  Whilst alluding to the crops we must not forget to make mention of the raspberry crop, which this year as well as last is very plentiful, and is no doubt proving profitable.  Farms in the vicinity having good berry patches are veritable thoroughfares, and in some cases the harvesting of the berries proves detrimental to other crops in the neighbourhood.







Thursday January 19th 1888.


Puslinch has always been noted for the amount of teaming done in it every winter.  This year seems to be no exception to the rule.  As the sleighing is now what we call “as good as can be”, farmers are taking advantage of it and are teaming both logs and cordwood to the Galt and Hespeler markets and consequently the roads are covered with teams daily.  This teaming is alright now but is too good to last long, as the wood of Puslinch is getting pretty scarce, and soon the vicinity of Puslinch Lake will be as cold and as much exposed to the weather as Manitoba.









The McAlister Threshing Machine

 operated by brothers, Archibald and Alexander,

 circa 1885.







January 30th, 1888. --- Mr. Anthony Robertson has purchased a threshing machine, upright engine, water tank, and all other equipments necessary for a thresher, and intends starting threshing on his own account this year.  He has for the last few years been working with his uncle and so has gained a knowledge that will likely bring him out a professional thresher.  We wish him every success in his new career.


August 16th, 1888.--- Mr. Anthony Robertson for the past two weeks has been keeping the juveniles of this vicinity on the jump, tramping straw and carrying away grain.  The foot ball club does not intend holding any more practices till this machine leaves the neighbourhood, as they consider they have enough heel and toe exercise for the present.


September 13th, 1888. - Mr. Anthony Robertson threshed eleven hundred and sixty-five bushels of grain at the barn of Mr. James Ellis, last Tuesday.  This is the largest day’s work we have heard of this season.  Somebody beat it.








Puslinch Township 1888.


BARN RAISING, - Tuesday afternoon a very large barn was raised on the farm of Mr. Richard Paddock.  There were present about 140 men and 47 ladies.  The barn is one of the largest ever built in this section - size 66 by 76, and main parts 31 feet six inches in height.  Messrs. Wm. Paddock and Harry Bond were elected captains and although assisted by such able Lieuts. as Mr. McIntosh, of Crieff, and Messrs. Gilchrist of the 3rd con., Mr. Paddock sustained a slight defeat.  The skill and agility of Messrs. Stewart and Black, and the sagacity and experience of Mr. James MacDonald contributed largely to Mr. Bond’s victory.  After the raising all were treated to a sumptuous supper, after which the young people “tripped the light fantastic” to an early hour in the morning.  The framework reflects credit on the contractor, Mr. Wm. Aikens, and when finished, it will be one of the finest barns in the township.  Mr. Aikens has already completed a barn for Mr. George Clemens of Waterloo, and will erect one for Mr. McPherson, of Crieff, at an early date.  The mason work was built by Messrs. Grills of Hespeler, in their usual thorough manner.


Guelph Weekly Mercury,

June 21st 1888.








Look up! and not down;

Out! and not in;

Forward! and not back;

and lend a hand.


Edward Everett Hale






RAISING, --- The last raising of the season took place on the farm of Mr. Alfred Evans, 3rd Concession, Puslinch, on Tuesday last.  The frame work was done by Mr. Amos Musser and staff and is one of the finest in our township.  Mr. Musser deserves great credit for the excellent manner in which the framework went together, there being not the slightest error in the whole frame.  The size of the barn is 54 x 68 feet and main posts 27 feet in height which was raised in the incredibly short time of 1 hour, 10 min.  An exciting race marked the event, sides being captained by Messrs. Alex McAlister and William Young, Mr. Young’s side coming out a few minutes ahead.  An exciting tug of war took place after supper.  Mr. McAlister’s men came out victorious.  Mr. McPherson, of Crieff, raised a new barn last week.  Mr. Wm. Aikens did the framework in a very creditable manner.


Guelph Weekly Mercury,

July 12th 1888.







October 18th 1888.


The neighbours around here are busy boiling apples, and paring bees are becoming common. The apple crop far exceeds any that we have had for a number of years.  Cober’s and Groh’s cider mills cannot grind fast enough all they get in during daylight, but are grinding late at night by the light of lanterns.  They are also at it before daylight in the morning.










S.S. # 11 Puslinch, circa 1927.



The second school in the section was built in 1865 and occupied in 1866. Subsequently, the old log school house situated on the John Dickie homestead (Lot 7, 2nd Concession) was taken down.  The new school was built on the north-east corner at the intersection of the “Given” Road and Wellington County Road 32.  The school property measuring one-half acre in area, was bought from Mr. Thomas Lamont.  The school house was built of stone with the stones being hauled from the farms of James and Elijah Eagle near Puslinch Lake.  There were six windows.  One door at the front of the school opened to the “Given” Road.  A porch provided shelter from adverse weather conditions.






The last teacher in the old school and the first teacher in the new school was Mr. Richard H. Knowles.  The teacher’s salary in 1864 was three hundred dollars which was paid annually.  After 1898, it was paid quarterly.  At first, the school board borrowed money from individuals or from the bank to pay their debts until the taxes and money from the Crown Lands came in.  Gradually the school trustees were able to have a small balance left over.  By the 1930’s, a standing fund was in the bank from which the school board of S.S.# 11 could draw money at any time.


Many improvements were made at the school through the years.  In 1905, a belfry and bell were added.  The first flagpole was erected in 1908 and in 1911, the first library was bought.  A woodshed, almost the size of the school was added to the back of the school in 1916.  In 1927, the basement was excavated; drainage put in; and the floor cemented.  At this time, a furnace was placed in the basement to heat the school and an outside chimney was built.  Electric lights were installed in 1935.  In September 1942, a new cloakroom and a lavatory for the boys and girls was built at the front of the school in place of the old porch. The two front windows of the school were closed in and made into a library and a cupboard. A second classroom for junior students was added to the rear of the school in 1950.






S.S.# 11 served the Puslinch Lake community as a polling booth, a meeting place for groups of young people, school board meetings, and as a gathering place for social events.  During the early 1960’s, meetings of the newly-formed Board of Trustees for Ellis Church were held at the School.  Restoration plans were discussed in a comfortable place --- heating and lighting were not yet realities at Ellis Church.


The two schoolhouses in School Section # 11, Puslinch Township, responded to the needs of the little stone church down the road.










 These teachers may have taught at S.S. #11 longer than indicated.

Dates given are confirmed.






Mr. R. H. Knowles


Miss Evelyn Howell Shantz


Mr. John Tovell


Miss Isabel Fisk Conley


Mr. Kilgour


Miss Helen Fyfe Moore


Mr. John Stewart


Miss Margaret Shaw


Major McGregor


Miss Malvina Small


Mr. Walter Renwick


Miss Isabel Fisk Conley


Miss E. McWilliams


Mr. B. J. Chalmers (Sr.)


Mr. James Ramsey


Miss Vera Thatcher (Jr.)


Mr. J. A. McDiarmid


Miss Flora Henderson (Jr.)


Mr. John McCuaig


Miss Norma Hall (Sr.)


Mr. B. F. Mitchell        


Mrs. Trent (Jr.)


Mr. Duncan Ewart


Mr. Wm. J. Courtney (Sr.)


Mr. S. L. Smeltzer


Mrs. Muriel Courtney (Jr.)


Miss M. E. Halliday


Mrs. Joan McPhee (Jr.)


Miss C. J. Tovell


Mrs. Marion Robbins (Jr.)


Miss N. Rogerson Reeve


Mrs. Ruby McLean (Sr.)


Miss M. G. Quinn        


Mrs. A. McLanaghan (Sr.)


Miss Ena McKenzie


Mrs. Cora Rutherford (Jr.)


Miss Mary L. Logan


Mr. Ernest Slater (Sr.)


Miss Gladys Rosewell


Mrs. E. Carlene White (Sr.)


Miss Ada E. Patten


Miss Linda Biggs (Jr.)


Miss Mary F. Kerr


Mrs. Margaret Balke (Jr.)


Miss Mabel McCartney


Mr. George Kellner (Sr.)


Miss Marion Fasken


Mrs. Donna Gehiere (Jr.)


Miss Ida Good


Miss Helen Purdy (Jr.)







S.S. #11 Puslinch was closed in June of 1966 following a movement in Puslinch Township to set up a consolidated school system which would be eventually centred in the village of Aberfoyle.  In 1987, most children in the Puslinch Lake area attend Aberfoyle Public School.


Two interesting facts are to be observed from the school records above.  The stone school house was open to students for exactly 100 years (1866-1966) and a total of 50 teachers conducted classes at S.S.# 11 Puslinch.






 February 25th, 1874.


SCHOOL EXHIBITION - A public entertainment will be given by the pupils of S.S. No. 11, Puslinch, in the school taught by Mr. Knowles, on the evening of Friday, the 6th of March.  A choice programme is being prepared, in dialogues, readings, recitations, and music, vocal and instrumental.  As the entertainment given by those pupils last year proved a great success, no pains will be spared to make it even more successful on this occasion. Admission 15¢.







Miss E. McWilliams and Class (1888.)






Circa 1885-1895

Name of teacher and year not confirmed at time of writing.







The Class of 1902










TEACHER: Mr. Benjamin Mitchell

ROLL CALL: Back Row: Harold Tremain, Charles Knack; Fourth Row: Robert Reeve, Gor­don Dickie, Ada Lisso, Eleanor Dickie, Jessie Tovell, Bethian Lisso, Leslie Eagle; Third Row: Lily Zimmerman, Mary Knack, Anna Lantz, Ella Cober, Elizabeth Reeve, Bertha Eagle, Elmina Thaler, Eva Cober, Elizabeth Knack, Dora McGregor; Second Row: Belly Burns, Russell Cober, Amiel Knack, Edward Divine, Ralph Tovell, Oscar Thaler; Front Row: (not complete) James Evans, Kenneth Evans, Lee Eagle, Howard Lantz, Gus Lisso.




Other stu­dents recorded in the S.S. #11 School Register for 1902 are Lillie McGregor, Ethel McGregor, Percie Evans, Arthur Evans, Edwin Thaler, Alice Doherty, Bessie Evans, James Dickie, John McGregor, Fred McCardle, Roy McGregor, Alice Sault, George Thaler, Alex Reeve, Jessie McAlister, Lena Divine, John Lisso, and Gladstone Zimmerman.






March 11th, 1874.


ENTERTAINMENT - The public entertainment given by the pupils of school section No. 11, Puslinch, on Friday evening the 6th inst., was well attended, considering the inclemency of the weather.  The programme consisted chiefly of recitations and dialogues, both sentimental and comic, occasionally interspersed with very choice pieces of music, and gave evident satisfaction to all present.  We hope to see our friends on the platform again before long with an entertainment better than any previous exhibition they have taken part in.







 Friday January 13th 1882.


On Wednesday night last, the members and ex-members of the Literary Society of S.S. No. 11 Puslinch, treated Mr. John Stewart, retiring teacher of the said section, to an oyster supper at the Puslinch Lake Hotel.  After supper, the toasts customary to such occasions were duly given and responded to by different members of the society.  A song by mine host, also songs by Messrs. Ross and Dickie were well received.  In short, a few hours were very pleasantly spent.  Of the guest of the evening, Mr. Stewart, we may say that the mark of esteem alluded to was well merited, as in his departure, the Literary Society, and people of the section generally have much to regret.  He was teacher of the public school of said section for over two years, and during that time contributed much to the welfare of the literary society of the place.  As a teacher he was accomplished and thorough, and succeeded in gaining the esteem of all who knew him.  He has gone to spend a term at the Collingwood Collegiate Institute.  In conclusion we take pleasure in saying that much credit is due to mine host and hostess of the Puslinch Lake Hotel for their courtesy on the occasion, and for the rich spread which so much gratified the palates of those who partook.







March 29th 1888.


SCHOOL EXAMINATION - Miss McWilliams, the energetic teacher in this section, held her annual examination on Saturday last.  Interspersed with the ordinary lessons, were dialogues, recitations, and songs, and in these, the children exhibited careful training indeed.  The several visiting teachers took charge of the classes and examined them in the subjects prescribed by the Department.  The answers of the pupils were, on the whole, clear and accurate, and gave general satisfaction.  Not the least entertaining part of the programme was the beautiful repast provided by the ladies.  Encouraging speeches by trustees and teachers brought a very successful examination to a close about 5 o’clock p.m.


Puslinch Lake

March 29th 1888.







January 16th 1903.


S.S.# 11 Puslinch School has been closed from Nov. 8th 1902 to Jan. 15th 1903 due to smallpox in the section.






The Class of 1926








TEACHER: Miss Mary Logan

ROLL CALL: Back Row: Left - Annabelle Benallick, Bessie Chapman, Eleanor Fyfe, Elizabeth Bond, Helen Dickieson, Alice Tremain, Clara McVean, Helen Reeve; Centre Row: Left: Carl Hagey, Jim Brown, Ford Tremain, Tom Robertson, Albert Fyfe; Front Row: Left: Peter Martens, Edwin Bond, Jack Dickieson; Kneeling: Left: Nellie Chapman, Ethel Brown.








 October 31st 1901.


The attendance at the Lake school is very small at present, owing to the turnip harvest, as the farmers are taking advantage of the delightful weather to secure their root crop, which is all that could be desired.










Pictured left to right;

 Back Row: Jean Rogerson and Anne Evans.

Front Row: Eleanor Fyfe and Helen Reeve.









 July 1st 1880.


Many residents of the city and country surrounding Puslinch Lake flocked to that resort to examine for themselves what improvement had been made this season by Messrs. Davidson and Sleeman.  There were in all about five hundred and fifty visitors, perhaps fifty of whom belonged to this city.  The steamer made regular trips between the wharf at the new hotel and the island and was crowded every trip.  A very pleasant day was spent on the Island Park, and the visitors before taking their departure in the evening were fully convinced of the suitability of the lake and surroundings for picnics and excursions.







 May 8th 1881.


Mr. William Parks is the eldest son of the late Alexander Parks, long and well known as the proprietor of the hotel on the north shore.  He keeps a strictly Temperance house in every respect.  Oranges and other delicacies suitable for pic-nic parties and excursions can be obtained, as well as a supply of nice, convenient boats.  Mr. Parks will be found exceedingly affable and attentive by all who may see fit to call on him.







 July 12th 1888.


THE LAKE - Puslinch Lake has always been a place of resort for pleasure seekers and it has certainly great attractions in the way of boating, fishing, bathing, and is also admirably adapted for picnic parties.  Being so well situated, as it were, a central point between Galt, Guelph, Preston, etc., makes it at once the headquarters for all picnic parties from these different towns.  A new dancing platform has recently been put up and is largely patronized. Mr. Parker is doing all he can to ensure comfort of his guests.







 August 16th 1888.


SUCCESSFUL GARDENER - Mr. Adam Parker, of the Puslinch Lake Hotel, is the most successful and scientific gardener in South Wellington.  His garden covers an area of about two scores, and consists of all varieties of vegetables of varying hues of unequalled symmetry.  The dining hall of this famous hotel is supplied with vegetables from this garden, which accounts for tourists remarking that a meal at Puslinch Lake will not only compare favourably but is much superior to any that may be had at any place in America.




















A SEA MONSTER - What is supposed to be a large sea monster was seen by a number of people on Saturday last in the vicinity of McCormick’s Point.  How this animal came there is a matter of speculation, but it is generally supposed that it is the same one that has been seen occasionally for the last five or six years, and was carried here by means of a large waterspout, or reached its destination by way of the outlet.


Puslinch Lake

August 21st 1888.








 July 28th 1885.



A picked nine from Morriston were defeated by the home club here on the afternoon of Saturday last.  Another very amusing and interesting friendly match was played on the farm of Mr. Ellis, near Puslinch Lake, between a club recently organized in that neighbourhood and one that had existed in it some ten years ago.  The newly organized club of young men played and a grand score was the result.  Mr. Stack, catcher for the Hespelers, acted as umpire and gave excellent satisfaction.  With the generosity so long characteristic of Puslinch people, Mrs. Ellis, assisted by a number of the young ladies of the neighbourhood, prepared an excellent supper, of which all partook heartily at the conclusion of the game.








To the Editor of the Mercury:


Dear Sir, ---A football club is about to be organized in the neighbourhood of Puslinch Lake. The first meeting of the members and those wanting to join will be held in Robertson’s field about one half a mile east of the school house, on Saturday evening next at seven o’clock sharp, the football to be on the ground at that time.  I think this will be more profitable for the young men and boys of Puslinch than standing round the hotel all evening.  We had a baseball club here last year, which made a very good team and played the senior club of Puslinch, but were slightly beaten.  But football has taken the place of baseball and hence the club will be organized, if all the boys of this section or any other section will come on Saturday night and put in their names and their fees, which will be small, and which will go towards paying for the ball, which was bought at Mr. Day’s bookstore.  Thanking you for your valuable space, I remain.



Puslinch, June 5th 1888.







June 14th 1888.


FOOTBALL NOTES---Last Saturday evening, the weather being in not a favourable condition for a game in the earlier part of the evening, a good game was played after half past seven.  There were nearly enough for two teams on the field, so a good practice opened which lasted until after dark, although it got dark early.  It is a new game to the most of them and they were all well pleased with it, and cannot be satisfied now until they get a good team practised well enough to have a match with some other farmer’s football club.  Among the numbers at the practice, which took place in A. Robertson’s lawn, which has been kindly lent for practice every Saturday night this summer, were some of our Killean friends, and also some from McCoy’s school section.  After the game a meeting was held in James Ellis’ house at which Jas. Ellis was nominated President of the club; A. Robertson, Secretary-Treasurer; A. Little, captain; J. Fyfe, Vice President.  There was no nomination as yet of Honorary President, so our most worthy men will have to commence filling their pocketbooks, as one of the oldest and most esteemed will be called upon to fill the office, and it is usual to ask of him a good large sum for fees, usually from one to five dollars.  It was moved and seconded, that a committee of three be formed to assist the officers in getting out a code of regulations and rules of the club.  Messrs. W. Little, Jno. Fyfe and J. Gilchrist, were nominated as the committee.  It will be the work of the President to call meetings and to preside over them.  The Secretary and Treasurer will be expected to collect the fees, to take care of the property of the club, &c.  The captain will be expected to place the players at the practices in places he sees fit, and to see that they play right, and, of course, take part in the game himself.  The next business was the amount of fees necessary to make one a member.  It was agreed that small boys pay 10 cents and grown up people 25 cents.  The time of Practice was fixed upon as half past six, when all who intend to play should be upon the field.  The next practice will commence at half past six in Anthony Robertson’s lawn, when all the members are requested to be on time with as many others as they can get to come, as important business is to be transacted, and also the rules of the game to be made known.







August 16th 1888.


PICNIC, ---The Football Association entertained their friends in a very enjoyable way in Ellis’ grove on Friday, 3rd, inst.  Football, baseball and athletic sports were indulged in, in a splendid manner.  Several of the athletes were Caledonian men, whose breasts were covered with shining trophies.  Such inscriptions as Lucknow, Hespeler and Aberfoyle could be dimly noticed on them.  After a bountiful repast had been partaken of, the party returned to the old temperance hall, where a few pleasant hours were spent, to the strains of Robertson’s string band.






Members of the Puslinch Lake Football Club

 & Literary Society



James H. EllisPresident

John Fyfe ─ Vice-President

Anthony Robertson ─ Secretary-Treasurer

Albert Little ─ Captain


J. M. Eagle

Thomas Chester 

Peter Barret

Wm. J. Little

Angus McLellan

Elias Holm

Ben Chester

Neil Gilchrist

Amos Musser

John Robertson

Wm. Gilliam

John Parker

Wm. A. Gilchrist

Joseph McGregor

Jacob Cooper

Wm. Cooper

Fred Schaumburg

James Ramsay Teacher

James Bryce

Charles Schaumburg


John T. Cooper

John W. Gilchrist


James Devine

Ronald McLellan

Anna B. Bond

David Eagle

Arch. McLellan

Belle Robertson

John McAlister

Wm. Gilchrist Sr.

Mary Robertson

Wm. Devine

Evan J. Gilchrist

Alice Bond

Chris. Collins

John Bliss

Hannah Fyfe

James Paddock

George Collins    

Hannah A. Little

Edward Cooper

Andrew McAlister

Ella Little

John Plant

Thomas Robertson

Eliza Little

J. J. Gilchrist

William Gilholm

Lizzie McWilliams Teacher

Wm. Gilchrist

G. McCaig

Eleanor Bond


July 23rd 1889.







July 23rd 1889.


(From our correspondent)


On Friday last, July 19th, the people in the vicinity of Puslinch Lake enjoyed what has been called the best picnic ever held in any part of Puslinch.  Among the gathering were seen friends from Hespeler, Galt, Killean, Clyde, Crieff, Aberfoyle, &c.  The first part of the afternoon was spent in football, baseball, croquet, etc.  Then started the programme at three o’clock sharp, which consisted of:--- Boy’s hundred yard race, 1st. David Eagle: standing long jump, 1st, John W. Gilchrist; 2nd, Jas. Ramsay; hop, step and jump, 1st, Jas. Ramsay; three backward jumps in succession, 1st, J. Gilchrist; three forward jumps on one foot and stick a peg in the ground at each jump, 1st, J. Ramsay.






After these games were completed, and the prizes were distributed, came the most interesting part of the day’s performance, namely, a football match between the home team and the Aberfoyle team, resulting in a score of 3 to 0 in favour of the home team.  The Lake players were J. Devine in goal, J. Ramsay and Tom Robertson on defence, J. Robertson and F. Schaumberg, half backs, and the six forwards, viz., W. Gilholm, A. Little, W. Little, J. W. Gilchrist, W. Gilchrist and J. Fyfe. Some of the Aberfoyle players were: L. Singular in goal, E. Taylor and F. McGarr on defence, Livingstone, R. Laing, J. Bailey, Tawse, and John Foster, forwards.  The best playing was that done by J. Devine in the home goal and R. Laing on the Aberfoyle forward line.  The game was refereed by James Bryce, of Clyde.






After this, the visitors and members of the football society, by whom the picnic was gotten up, had supper in the old temperance hall.  After supper, the programme was gone on with, with the following results: ---Animated wheelbarrow race, 1st J.W. Gilchrist and W. Little; 2nd, J. Fyfe and A. Neighbor.  Smoking race, 1st, W. Little; 2nd F. Schaumburg.  Ladies egg and shingle race, 325 yards, 1st, Miss C. Gilchrist; 2nd Miss C. Clark, and 3rd, Miss P. Reeves.  Ladies 200 yard race, 1st, Miss C. Gilchrist; 2nd Miss J. Gilchrist.  After the prizes were distributed, the people, tired of out door sports, returned to the hall where the light fantastic was tripped till early morn to the strains of the Gilchrist, Little and Robertson String Band.  The way in which this picnic was got up reflects much credit on the boys of the Puslinch Lake Football Club, who are never at a loss for fun.  The team is now ready to receive challenges from captains of other teams in the county.







October 11th 1888.


FOOTBALL NOTES --- Next Saturday evening the last practice will be held in Robertson’s field after which a meeting will be held to receive the officers’ reports and wind up the business of the year, and also to question the advisability of organizing a debating school.  We once had a good way to bring the young men together, and it will be interesting as well as educating.  It is too bad that they are going to stop football so early, but the club complains of bad attendance owing to potato picking, etc., and think they would be better to have a debating society that the boys will not need to come so early in the evening.






Puslinch Lake Correspondence

November 8th 1888.


LITERARY SOCIETY ---The residents of Puslinch Lake have organized a literary society, to be held in the old Temperance hall.  Mr. Jas. H. Ellis was elected president, Mr. Wm. J. Little, Secretary, and the society was put on a good financial footing.  Several interesting subjects were debated, and a number of recitations, readings, songs, etc., were rendered in such a manner as to show that the residents of this locality have an especial talent for such things.  We wish our friends every success their enterprise deserves.








Initiation Fee 10¢

Place: S.S. #11 or Temperance Hall


Nov. 12, 1890.

Resolved that Canada would become more prosperous if annexed to the U.S.


Nov. 19, 1890.

Resolved that the Russel fence is the most profitable fence.


Nov. 26, 1890.

Resolved that the average farmer’s son should take a course at the Agricultural College


Dec. 10, 1890.

Resolved that a Monarchical Government is preferable to a Republican.


Dec. 19, 1890.

Resolved that statute labour is the best means of improving Township roads. (Spelling match held along with a program of readings, recitations and songs).


Jan. 7, 1891.

Resolved that it is more beneficial attending Literacy Association meetings than places of public amusements.


Jan. 14, 1891.

Resolved that education is more beneficial to humanity than riches.


Jan. 21, 1891.

Resolved that Ontario offers greater inducements to young men than Manitoba.


Feb. 13, 1891.

Resolved that capital punishment should be abolished.


Feb. 23, 1891.

Resolved that coal is a more useful commodity than iron.









SLEIGHING PARTIES, ---Sleighing parties sallying into the country are quite in order these lively nights.  A large number of the young people of the “Here and There Society” drove out to Mr. W. Dickie’s, Puslinch Lake, on Tuesday night last, and no doubt had a gala time.  February 26th, 1885.






SOCIAL HOP, --- There have already been a great many parties in this locality this season and we expect to have an interesting one in the Public and Temperance hall soon.  This hall has very often proved a great convenience for temperance meetings and other gatherings, and for lawsuits.  Long may it stand.  January 19th, 1888.






A PLEASANT AFFAIR, --- On Thanksgiving evening, a very pleasant party took place at the residence of Mr. John Bond near the Lake, Puslinch.  A large number of old friends and neighbours of the family were present as well as a large delegation from Hespeler, who report having been more than hospitably entertained by the good natured host and hostess in their lovely new home. November 22nd 1888.






ENTERTAINMENT IN PUSLINCH,---A social entertainment will be held under the auspices of Division No. 358, S. of T. (Sons of Temperance), in the new hall, Section 11, Puslinch, on the evening of Friday 22nd inst.  An excellent programme has been prepared for the occasion.  Refreshments will be served at seven o’clock.  Admission, twenty-five cents; children under twelve years, fifteen cents.  The proceeds are to be applied to a worthy object - the liquidation of the debt on the hall.  March 11th, 1874.







January 19th 1888.


DIPHTHERIA:--- This troublesome disease is still lurking round these parts, although it is not as bad as it was a few months ago.




March 15th, 1888.


SILENT WEDDING, --- It has transpired that Mr. Thomas Aikens and one of Thos. Paddock’s daughters, one day last week, drove to Berlin, and very secretly had the matrimonial discourse given them, after which they returned home resolving to keep their relations to each other a secret, but gossip is a hard friend to deal with sometimes.


MARRIAGE, --- Another Puslinch boy has been taking advantage of the matrimonial privileges offered by leap year.  This is Alexander McCormick, who has taken for his bride a daughter of Mr. Donald McLarty, the knot being tied by Rev. Mr. McAuley, of Crieff.


MESSRS. Ellis and Robertson have started sawing wood with the circular saw and will likely have work for the remainder of the winter.






WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR, - A large time at Killean school examination next Saturday, March 17th... Little, Ellis and Co. to deal more extensively in the fish trade this spring than formerly... A large time at a large charivari soon to take place in Puslinch...A large attendance at Alexander Lamont’s sale on Friday March 16th... A large examination in our own school soon.  Puslinch Lake, March 12th, 1888.






August 16th 1888.


CHAPTER OF ACCIDENTS, --- A very serious accident happened on the farm of John Bond last week, when little Willie Plant came near losing his life.  It appears the little fellow was scuffling turnips, and when turning, the horse, at the end of the row, became entangled in the harness and trying to extricate himself, fell with all his weight on the boy.  A lady who was passing by, at the time, gave the alarm.  Several women armed with butcher's knives, were soon on the scene.  Confusion then reigned supreme.  One thought if the lines were cut the horse could get up, and mistaking the tugs for the lines starting sawing away. Another attempted to pry the beast with a rail.  The last lady to suggest was somewhat of a philanthropist.  She concluded that nothing but the horse's blood could atone for the crime and set about hunting for the jugular vein in the region of the tail.  In due time the horse was got on his feet.  The little boy was picked up in an unconscious state, covered with dirt, weeds and horse hair, he being literally transplanted.  Dr. McIntyre was immediately sent for, under whose care he is doing nicely...


A boatload, on its way to the island last Sunday evening capsized in the vicinity of St. Helen’s Island.  The crew, who consisted of two gallants, with their fair ones, would have perished had not one of the swains been a first class swimmer...


Mr. Wm. Laur met with a singular accident about the same time.  He was sitting on a bench, which was situated below one of the upstairs windows, when a large stick, which was holding it up, lost its equilibrium and fell to the bottom striking Mr. Laur’s head in the region of the temporal bone. A local physician, who happened to be present, attended the sufferer, who is now doing as well as could be expected.






September 22nd 1888.


NOTES, - Rev. James Little is visiting his brothers, Mr. Robert Little and Mr. Joseph Little, at present... Willie Plant has met with another accident while bailing straw.  He got his hand in the machine and had his first two finger points cut off near the joints... The Football team’s uniform consists of red stockings, blue pants and white shirts, also black football caps... Sunday School closed last Sunday for this year... There was a great time at the Lake on Sunday last, over two hundred buggies having been there from Berlin, Waterloo, Guelph, Hespeler, &c.




September 5th, 1889.


LARGE MEN, --- What may be termed the backbone of A Battery, Guelph, is its Puslinch Lake division.  It is composed of sixteen young able bodied men, whose height averages six feet, and weight two hundred lbs. each.








January 30th 1888.


SNOW DRIFTS,---Owing to the heavy snow storm we had last week, which was accompanied by a severe cold snap, the roads have been blockaded, so as to make travelling almost impossible.




March 15th 1888.


AN OLD PUSLINCH BOY RETURNS HOME, - Mr. Robert Dickie, who has not been heard of for a long time, has returned home, stating that his home is Oregon, of which place he speaks highly, saying that it is neither too hot nor too cold, and the farmers were at seeding when he left about two weeks ago.






UPSET, - As Miss McWilliams, the teacher, and Miss Mary Clarke were turning out of a lane on the third concession a few days ago, their horse took fright and ran away.  As it tipped the passengers out before it got rightly started no person was hurt as might have been the case, for the horse ran at a furious rate for about a mile.  When it was turning out of a field with the most of the cutter still sticking together it ran into a snowbank and capsized, where it lay on its back until a wood sleigh came up, and the driver loosened him from his harness and got him on his feet again. There was not as much damage done to either horse, harness, cutter or passengers as might have been expected.






January 19th 1888.


RETURNED, --- Mr. and Mrs. George Gregor have returned from their wedding tour in Huron county.


PERSONAL, - Mr. John Dickie, who has for the past six years been living in Manitoba, is now visiting his friends and relations in Puslinch.  Mr. Dickie looks as though “60 below zero” agrees with him.  He has been keeping bach-hall in Manitoba, but it is rumoured that he intends taking a Puslinch girl back with him to share his good times in Manitoba... Miss Ellen Collins has also returned from Manitoba, where she has spent the past two years... Miss Mary Robertson has returned from her visit among her friends in Wellesley.




October 24th 1901.


Miss Ella Bond, and Miss Reeve were among those who were favoured by seeing the Duke and Duchess at Toronto recently.


Mr. Elijah Eagle left for Mortimer’s Point recently, where he expects to remain a few weeks working at carpentering.








Discontinuation of the Sunday School


In the 1930’s and 1940’s, Ellis Sunday School was carried on under the support of Hespeler United, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, United Missionary, and Hespeler Baptist congregations.  In 1943, Sunday School attendance was very low with only a few families attending.  A decision was made to discontinue Sunday School Services.






One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth forever.


The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.


The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.


All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; Unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.


The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; And that which is done is that which shall be done: And there is no new thing under the sun.


Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is New? It hath been already of old time, which was before us.


ECCLESIASTES 1: 4-7 and 9-10








During the 1950’s, Boy Scouts held their meetings in Ellis Church for a number of years.  A false ceiling was installed and the building was wired for electricity.


The Provincial Boy Scout Records Office in Toronto confirms that the First Puslinch Boy Scout Troup met at Ellis Church in 1956 and 1957.  Records of meetings for other years were not registered at the Office.


Cubs met on Tuesday evenings under the direction of Mrs. Laurence Johnson with the assistance of Mrs. George Lambert and Mrs. William Courtney.  Boys Scouts met on Thursday evenings directed by Walter H. Coles and assisted by Norman Proud.  The Scouts Men’s Committee president was George Lambert assisted by J. J. Wiens, Hugh Alexander, Laurence Johnson, and Wallace McIlwraith.  The Scout Mothers Auxiliary president was Mrs. Albert Christian with Mrs. Norman Purdy, Mrs. W. McIntosh, and Mrs. Z. Dolson as assistants.








Mrs. Olive Johnson and son, Thomas











Russell Baker

Brian Becker

Dave Christian

William Dolson

Ken Dugmore

James Edwards

Robert Edwards

Wayne Elsegood

George Grant

Donald Gunn

Everette Hamilton

Len Harnack

Thomas Henry

Bruce Hunter

Bill Purdy



Ian Kesselring

Dave McIlwraith

Don McIlwraith

Robert Purdy

Jas. Reeve

Robert Schnare

Wm. Schwantz

Robt. Simkin

Ron Simkin

Rick Thurgood

Terry Walker

Terry Wiens

Larry Zieman

Sid Zieman

Charles Baker

Ezekiel Baker

John Baker

Glen Burmaster

Gord Burmaster

Gord Bygrave

Jack Elsegood

Brian Goodburn

Tom Johnson

Eldon MacLean

Don McIntosh

George Mundy

Dave Orton

Doug Orton




          Meetings of a Girl Guide group at Ellis Church have not been confirmed as data is not available at time of writing, 1987.  For the years 1971-1972, the First Puslinch Troop listed S.S.# 11 Schoolhouse as their meeting place, when it was registered at the Provincial Boy Scout Records Office in Toronto.


By the late 1950’s, Ellis Church, unused and vandalized, was boarded up, a very sad state of affairs in the history of Ellis Church.








The Old Church

Organizational Meeting for the Restoration of Ellis Church

Work Bees

Ontario Provincial Historical Site

Re-opening of Ellis Church

And the Work Continues

In Memoriam






“No vision, you perish

No ideal and you are lost,

Your heart must ever cherish

 Some faith at any cost.”






“At the time of my visit to the home of Mr. Ross (the former Thomas Ellis homestead Lot 9, Second Concession), in 1929, we attended Sunday School in the old Church, but on my next visit, in 1954, I was sorry to see how it had been neglected.”


Margaret H. Ellis

Welland, Ontario.

(Great -granddaughter of Thomas Ellis)









The Old Church


In 1962, the Department of Highways for Ontario chose the land immediately south of Ellis Church for the location of Service Centre Site W1 on the new Highway 401.  Mr. Loyd Frank, in the course of preparing a cost estimate on the development of the service station and restaurant, noted the fine, old stone church, deserted and with the yard in underbrush, but indicating that someone had cared enough to protect the windows with plywood.  When one of the contractors viewing the service centre site with him remarked that the church building would make an excellent construction shed, Mr. Frank thought this proposal was an unbefitting end for a church.


Initially, Mr. Frank’s intention was to purchase the old church and use it as a family dwelling.  It was perhaps two months later that Mr. Frank stood within the old building itself, pondering just what he should do with it, when his thoughts focused on a course of action, the restoration of Ellis Church.








Organizational Meeting for the Restoration of Ellis Church


The person who had cared enough to protect the windows with plywood was Mr. Robert Reeve, the last surviving community trustee of Ellis Church.  It was Mr. Reeve’s immediate acceptance and offer of assistance that encouraged Mr. Frank to pursue his goal to have Ellis Church restored as a place of worship for the community.


Bob Reeve moved out into the Puslinch Lake community seeking support for the restoration of Ellis Church, while Lloyd Frank approached the Wellington County Historical Research Society and departments of government for their qualified direction.  The success with which these two men met culminated in a meeting of community residents and other interested persons.  The Organizational Meeting for the Restoration of Ellis Church was held in the Puslinch Township Council Chambers on Tuesday evening, April 16th 1963, at eight o’clock.






Over thirty people were in attendance at this inaugural meeting for the restoration of Ellis Church.


Mrs. Marjorie Small:

Co-Chairperson of the meeting, Director of the Research Committee, Wellington County Historical Research Society.

Mr. Robert Reeve:

Co-Chairperson of the meeting, sole surviving Community Trustee of Ellis Church.

Dr. Earl Eddy:

Conducted the Prayer Offering, Minister at St. Luke’s United Church, Hespeler.

Mr. Lloyd Frank:

Acting Secretary, Member of Ellis Church Historical Research Committee.

Miss Isobel Cunningham:

Member of Ellis Church Historical Research Committee.

Mr. Carl Ellis:

Official representative of St. Luke’s United Church, Hespeler.






Mrs. Stewart Hume:

President of the Wellington County Historical Research Society.

Mr. Ralph Bone Q.C.:

Solicitor for Ellis Church, resident of Guelph, Ontario.

Mr. Herb Eltherington:

A long-time resident of the Puslinch Lake community and related by marriage to the outstanding pioneer Little family (husband of Eleanor Little).

Mr. Robert Evans:

A long-time resident of the Puslinch Lake community and brother of Arthur Evans, former Community Trustee of Ellis Church.

Mr. Thomas McMaster:

A long-time resident of the Puslinch Lake community and grandson of the first pioneer child born in the Puslinch Lake section - Archibald McAlister; Nephew of John McAlister, former Community Trustee of Ellis Church.

Mr. Gardner Einwechter:

Member of the Hespeler Baptist Church and related by marriage to the Robert Reeve family (husband of Helen Reeve).






Mrs. J. D. Cleghorn:

Member of the Wellington County Historical Research Society.

Mr. Norman Chester:

Representative of the United Missionary Church, Hespeler.

Mr. Robert Arkell:

Member of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Hespeler, Descendent of pioneer founder of Arkell in Puslinch Township.

Rev. W. Earl Prosser:

Conducted induction of Ellis Church Trustees and the closing benediction.  Minister at Hespe­ler United Missionary Church.

Alex Ord:

Long-time resident of Puslinch Township.  Appointed Auditor for Ellis Church.

Mrs. William Hocking:

Member of the Wellington County Historical Research Society.


Unavoidably Absent were:

Miss Mabel C. Stewart:

Member of the City of Guelph Historical Society.

Mr. James McMillan:

Elected Reeve of Puslinch Township.









Introductory Remarks by Loyd S. Frank


One of the main purposes of our meeting here tonight is to elect the three trustees to represent the community on the eleven member board and then induct the entire Board of Trustees and elect officers that we may call for title to be vested in their name to permit us to get on with the restoration of the stone Church.


Our objectives are to restore the Church building and the grounds and to maintain these so that residents of the area and travellers on 401 Highway can stop for meditation and prayer, if they so desire.


We should hope to see at least one memorial church service held each year.  If public interest should warrant, services could be held in the evening through July and August.  We must appreciate that this will be the only church with direct access to the 401 Highway between Montreal and Windsor.  Many people who are stopped at the service station site will avail themselves of the opportunity to stop and give thanks to their Creator for another week safely travelled along life’s journey.






Let us humbly remember that our household; our own community; our own country; do not have the only living religious-minded citizens either yesterday, today, or tomorrow.  Let us also remember that the men who built this Church were not of the Methodist faith, alone.  Records indicate that all denominations, including Roman Catholic, assisted with time and money.  May we always foster and preserve this tradition of denominational harmony.


Progress is the sum total of that amount by which each one of us leaves this world a better place by us having lived here.


History is the record of how this progress was established, not just a record of battles fought and legislation passed, as it so often becomes in our school textbooks.


With this in mind, let us face the facts.  Puslinch Township and Ellis Church are now on the main street of Ontario, Queen’s Highway 401.  The service station and parklands surrounding it further focus attention on the Church and the Township.






The men and women who built this Church tediously, stone by stone, with their own hands, gave of their time, which they could have used instead to further their own farms; and gave of their meagre means, even though it meant that they and their families had to do without.


Therefore, may those of us today, enjoying the heritage they created, humbly give of our time and money that this remaining evidence of their faith and courage may not rot away into the ground and be forgotten.  May we instead insure that it may remain a place of beauty of which the dead, if they were to return, and we the living, can be justly proud.


Madam Chairlady, may I table a motion that this meeting unanimously endorse the restoration of Ellis Church and premises?


The motion for adoption of the proposal for the restoration of Ellis Church and premises was seconded by Herb Eltherington, representing the Community; and by Robert Evans, representing the Baptist Church.  There was unanimous acceptance of the proposal when the vote was called by Chairman Reeve.

















The newly formed Ellis Church Board of Trustees and Directors, along with members of the Historical Societies, planned a special effort for full restoration of the Church within the next two years.  If not effected at that time, restoration was to be definitely finalized prior to 1967, Canada’s Centennial Year of Confederation.


The Ellis Church Constitution, prepared by Mrs. William Hocking, designated that “The pioneer character of the Church is to be preserved and kept in mind at all times to ensure that the natural pine finish of the lower wainscotting and the pews be maintained.  Notwithstanding anything previously stated or hereafter mentioned, it is definitely understood now and for the future, the basic religious purpose and significance of Ellis Church shall be preserved and it shall never be permitted to deteriorate into use as a museum or other commercial purpose.”






“Like a hick’ry cog

 In the old mill wheel

He did his part

As his turn came ‘round”








Work Bees


Just as Ellis Church was built during community gatherings known as “work bees”, so too was it restored in much the same way, some one hundred years later.  The work crews took up broom, scrub-brush, hammer and shovel as they tackled a tremendous job.  There were many tasks to be done, no one less important than another.  Neighbours gathered on evenings, weekdays, and weekends to work at Ellis Church.  As weeks went by, more and more was accomplished in the restoration of the small Church:






Cleaning up the grounds and Church of debris, stones, etc.

Levelling up and seeding the grounds.

Scrubbing down the walls and floors.

Repairing and washing the old pews.

Restoration of the dais including the pulpit and railing.

Removal of the false ceiling.

Re-plastering and painting the inside walls.

Repairing and re-pointing exterior stonework.

Reglaze and putty the windows.

Erecting stone piers and wrought iron fence at front of grounds.

Replacing fence lines, east and west.

Electrical re-wiring of the Church.

Digging and planting beds of flowers along fence lines.

Planting ornamental and shade trees.

Obtaining additional pine pews.

Erecting an enclosed stone cairn in the Pioneer Cemetery on the grounds.

Obtaining a suitable organ to replace the old church organ, previously destroyed by vandals.

Restoring the wall cross behind the dais.

Drawing loads of fieldstones and soil.

Sanding the pine floor.

Erecting a sign to attract Highway 401 visitors.






“Jesus Christ was a working man.

His hands were fitted to labour

as His voice was fitted to music.

He entered into the condition

of the great majority of mankind

and became one of them

in the fellowship of toil

and from that time it has been hard

for a man to get into better company

than that of working people”


by George Hall






The progress of the restoration is very well chronicled in the Minutes Book of meetings held by the Ellis Church Board of Trustees and Directors dating from April 16th 1963.  A few excerpts lend proof to the old saying “Many hands make light work”.


August 6th 1963.

Unanimous comment on how much better the Church looked with glazing of the lower sashes completed on the side windows by Mr. Robert Arkell.


September 3rd, 1963.

It is unanimously agreed that a special note of thanks should go to the Ladies group who had scrubbed and cleaned both pews and building, with the Secretary, Mr. Frank expressing his thoughts that a medal should be struck for those who cleaned up the floor.


October 1st 1963.

Thomas McMaster offered topsoil from his farm with free haulage by Carl Evans.  Trustees would arrange for spreading same over the southerly portion of the Church grounds.






September 19th 1965.

All members present were most outspoken in the outstanding performance of Messrs. Albert Gamble and Gladstone Zimmerman in getting the church-yard seeded.  A bee on Saturday had fully completed the raking, levelling, and seeding.  But the main area had been done by just these two men working early and late.  The thoughts of all were aptly expressed by Chairman Reeve when he said, “We talked about clearing up the churchyard for two years; these two men have done it in just two months!”



Harold Barry representing the Department of Highways, Ontario (Property Department) remarked: “Had we realized the gem of floral and pastoral beauty Ellis Church would become under the efforts of your Grounds Committee, we would not have been so hesitant in support of the Ellis project in 1963-1964.”


August 16th 1966.

Thursday night was set aside as a “Bee” to finish installation of the pews. The Secretary commented on the neat splice job being done by the Director of Buildings, Gardner Einwechter, in joining two short pews together to form a longer one on the west side of the Church.








Ontario Provincial Historic Site

 March 20th, 1963.


Loyd Frank sought official historical recognition of Ellis Church from the Provincial Government of Ontario.  The Wellington County Historical Research Society and the City of Guelph Historical Society voted to support Mr. Frank in this endeavour.  Their petition to the Historical Sites Advisory Board of Ontario recommended that the Board consider Ellis Church as a provincial historical site.


The appeal of the Board for recognition of Ellis Church as an historical site required the compiling of a detailed history of the Church.  The presentation to the Historic Sites Board was reported to have been the most comprehensive history ever received by that body.


The struggle to achieve approval was no simple task as later revealed by the Secretary of Ellis Church in his remarks to participants in the Brantford Presbytery’s “Pilgrimage Into History” early in May of 1964:






“However, after reviewing it, the Sites Board Secretary, while most impressed with the presentation, said in actual fact, there was no historical event coupled with the Church - no army had ever stopped there over night - no outstanding political or royal personage had ever attended service there to warrant placing a Provincial plaque on the premises. 


The only defence that I could muster was that to me, it seemed that the Sites Board was being channelled in their thinking as even I had been earlier in my life, when I thought history was a series of kings who ruled; battles won or lost; acts of parliament passed; etc.  Whereas, in truth, the progress of the human race was the sum total of the amounts by which each one of us left the world a better place for us having lived in it.  True history is the record of how and when it happened. 


On this basis, the man and wife who raised a family of a dozen God-fearing children on a back concession might have made, in the long-term, a greater contribution to history and progress than a great general.  On this same basis, it was not the signing of the Magna Carta on June 15th, 1215 that was so important, but rather it was the fact that a group of knights had the courage to challenge and limit the powers of the monarch.






Similarly to me, this fine old stone church was the surviving image of the dauntless courage and faith of our pioneers who had endured every known privation to build the heritage we enjoy here in the Twentieth Century.  We dare not do less than restore it and designate it as a monument to them.


It was most gratifying to receive notice from the Historic Sites Board, that at their March 20th, 1963 meeting, they officially approved Ellis Church for erection of a plaque to the pioneers and settlement of Puslinch Township and the Ellis Church which they built.”








Re-opening of Ellis Church


On August 25th 1963, an historical plaque commemorating the settlement of Puslinch Township and the old Ellis Chapel, was unveiled on the Chapel grounds in that township in Wellington County.  This plaque is one of a series being erected throughout the province by the Department of Travel and Publicity, acting on the advice of the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario.







Participants in the ceremony shown left to right included: Mr. Loyd S. Frank; Mr. Harold Worton; Miss Edith McAlister; Mr. Robert Reeve, Chairman, Ellis Chapel Trustee Board; the Rev. Leslie H. Nanson; Mrs. Stewart Hume, President of the Wellington County Historical Research Society; Mr. Leslie R. Cray of the province’s Historic Sites Board: Mrs. Eleanor (Fyfe) Brazier; and Mr. Hugh Douglass, President, Guelph Historical Society.








Past Comes To Life Again In Dedication Of Plaque

 Sunday August 25th, 1963.


The huge grey stones that were dragged on stone-boats from the fields of pioneer bush farms near the western limit of Puslinch Township more than 100 years ago to form the walls of a house of worship will not perish after all.  They will live on to remind new populations of days long past.


The imperishables were very well pinpointed by Rev. H. A. Bagnall, of Guelph, as he addressed the packed and overflowing Ellis Chapel on Sunday afternoon.  He named the imperishables: a strong and active belief in God, a firm belief in prayer, and a sense of mission.


The service of worship included three old-time favourites in old-time style by Tom and Dale Robertson on their steel guitars: When They Ring The Golden Bells; In The Sweet By And By; and It Is No Secret What God Can Do.  A visiting choir from Barrie Hill Church sang “Brightly Gleams Our Father’s Banner”.






The occasion was the dedication of a plaque erected by the board of trustees of the Ellis Community Pioneer Chapel which had been erected in 1861.  It served the community well into the Twentieth Century, when nearby urban development drew membership away and services were discontinued.


The unveiling ceremony was conducted by chairman of the board of trustees, Robert Reeve of Hespeler, and short talks were given by Puslinch Township Reeve, James McMillan; Mrs. Stewart Hume for the Wellington County Historical Society; Leslie R. Gray of the Ontario Historical Sites Board; Harry Worton, former MPP for Wellington South; Mrs. Eleanor (Fyfe) Brazier; and Lloyd Frank of the Historical Research Committee.


A letter from Federal member, Alfred Hales, was read.  The plaque was unveiled by Miss Edith McAlister, daughter of the first pioneer child born in the Ellis community.  The plaque was dedicated by Rev. Leslie H. Nanson, minister of the neighbouring Duff’s and Crieff Churches.



Guelph Daily Mercury newspaper

 August 26th 1963.








And the Work Continues


“Restoration work is progressing well; each visit sees some improvement made...”


Guelph Daily Mercury

 June 17th 1965.






The minutes of the May 31st 1966 meeting of the Ellis Church Trustee Board noted the presence of Mr. V. B. Blake, of the Historic Branch, Department of Travel and Publicity, Toronto, Ontario.


Mr. Blake reported that he had taken pictures of Ellis Church, as a perfect example of early Canadian church architecture while it was still in use as a Sunday School.  Subsequently, he had been grieved to see it boarded up and deserted.  He had so sincerely hoped that the fine stone building might not go the route to oblivion of so many early churches.  Then, just after joining the Historic Branch in Toronto, he had been pleased to learn from John Sloane that steps were being taken to restore the building by a local group.


The Church would serve as a monument to the memory of the pioneers of that area and be so designated by a plaque erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board.  Tonight, when for the first time he actually visited the site, rather than just passing by on the Highway 401, he had been delighted to see the fences erected, the yard seeded in and flower gardens made to beautify the border.  The fenced cemetery plot with fieldstone Cairn and planting were excellent.


However, he reserved his warmest praise for the work done within the Church itself, where he felt a fine appreciation for the historic value of pulpit, dais, and railing, and the frame background in classic Grecian architecture had been preserved.








In Memoriam




With the death of Robert Reeve on November 21st 1971, Ellis Church lost a dedicated friend.


Robert Alexander (Bob) Reeve, son of Capel Reeve and his wife, the former Agnes Fyfe, was born on his parents’ farm, Lot 8, rear half of Concession 2, Puslinch Township, Wellington County on August 24th 1889.  The farm is almost across the road from Ellis Church.  He grew up and lived there, operating the family farm until retiring to Hespeler in 1953.


On September 15th 1915, he married Ellen (Nellie) Rogerson who had been the teacher at the local school, S.S. No. 11, Puslinch, and whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Rogerson, were farmers in Nichol Township, Wellington County.  Mrs. Reeve survived her husband along with a son William and a daughter Helen (Mrs. Gardner Einwechter,) both of Hespeler, and eight grandchildren.






Always interested in community affairs, Mr. Reeve was involved with the local group of the United Farmers of Ontario in the 1920’s and was a long-time member of the South Waterloo Agricultural Society, serving as president for a term.


At the time of his death, he was a member of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, in Hespeler, where he was on the Board of Managers.


When the restoration program of Ellis Church began early in 1963, it was very fitting that Robert Reeve, the only surviving community trustee of the church, was chosen chairman of the new Trustee Board.  He was named to that office at the Organizational Meeting for the Restoration held in the Puslinch Township Council Chamber at Aberfoyle on April 16th 1963 and continued in that post until April 20th 1971, when he was made honorary chairman.


It was Robert Reeve who had cared enough about the old historic stone church to protect the windows with plywood when the building was unused and being vandalized in the late 1950’s.


When plans were being made for the memorial service and the unveiling of the plaque to commemorate the settlement of Puslinch Township, it was Robert Reeve who suggested the date be Sunday August 25th 1963, the day after his 74th birthday.  The board approved his choice of date.


During the eight years as chairman, Mr. Reeve not only chaired the meetings and promoted local and community participation in the restoration of Ellis Church, but also actively participated in most, if not all, phases of the work at the premises.








In Memoriam




A man cannot do everything, but he can do something... and so we remember Loyd Frank, a true and loyal friend of Ellis Church for twenty-five years.


Loyd Shipley Frank was born January 16th 1908 on a farm outside Komoka, just west of London, Ontario, the younger son of Richard and Isabelle (McIntyre) Frank.


At school, Loyd excelled, standing first in his class and obtaining near perfect marks in most subjects through elementary school in Komoka, also at H. B. Beal Technical and Commercial High School.  A voracious reader, he would sometimes skip classes to indulge in this favourite pastime and thus broaden his horizons.






Loyd attended Komoka Masonic Lodge and became a Past Master in the course of more than fifty years of membership.


In 1928, after some work experience with the CPR, Loyd joined Supertest Petroleum Corporation Limited, a fledgling London petroleum retailer.  Beginning as a draughtsman in the construction department, he taught himself structural engineering through evening reading, and, ultimately, rose to head the department in 1949 after completing a six week intensive management training course at the University of Western Business School.  During Loyd’s 47 year career, Supertest (later British Petroleum and now Petrocan) became a major gasoline retailer throughout Ontario and Quebec, with Loyd supervising a substantial portion of the service station construction during a vigorous expansion phase.


It was during this period that Loyd first came upon Ellis Chapel.  When he learned that the building might be converted to a construction shed, he was disturbed with the thought of this sacrilege of pioneer diligence and faith.






Loyd Frank began a long and favourable association with the Puslinch Lake community.  His inspiration and helping hand, no job ever being too difficult, encouraged local residents to press on with the task of restoration.  Loyd’s work was all to the good of the old stone church that he happened to find one day.


Work was always a source of great personal satisfaction for Loyd.  His only passive hobby was reading.  Other recreational pursuits were power boating, he built a cabin cruiser with a friend, and a passionate love for planting and nurturing trees, of which, modest evidence of this interest can be seen on the six acres immediately West of Ellis Chapel.  After retirement, Loyd remained on the board of directors of Sunningdale Golf and Country Club, though he never golfed.


Loyd Frank died May 5th 1987.  The funeral was officiated by Rev. C. Duncan Farris, of New Saint James Presbyterian Church, in London, where Loyd was an elder, with interment at the Campbell Cemetery in Komoka, near his birthplace.


Mabel, his wife of 51 years, with sons Robert and Richard, of Toronto, and brother Bethel, of Komoka, are proud to have shared in Loyd’s exemplary life.








Summer Services at Ellis Church


A Welcome to Visitors








“If you like to sing the old hymns or like to hear them sung,

you will want to go to Ellis Church on Sunday.”



Guelph Daily Mercury









Summer Services at Ellis Church





When clean-up day came to Ellis Chapel, members of the board of directors spent the morning removing winter’s grime from the building.  Windows were washed inside and out, floors and pews dusted and polished, and the pulpit chairs brushed.  The chapel, located in Puslinch Township, is directly west of the first service station on Highway 401, between Duff’s Church and Hespeler.  Albert Gamble and Gladstone Zimmerman who make the grounds their special care, had the flower beds dug and have planted summer flowers.  All is now ready for visitors.






The building will be open each weekend during June and every day during July and August for the many who come over from the service station to visit the pioneer church, built in 1863.  Last year over 3,000 visitors signed the visitors’ book.  Four services are held each year during the summer months.  The first service this year will be on Sunday June 19th and will be conducted by the Reverend Walter Mills, of the Anglican Church, in Hespeler.  Nancy Stewart, of Morriston, will be the soloist.  The service will be at 3:00 p.m., preceded by a half hour of singing.  The other services will be on July 10th, August 28th, and September 18th.







The spring clean-up committee, Mr. & Mrs. J. G. McMaster, Mr. & Mrs. Gardner Einwechter, Mrs. Douglas Robinson & Miss Mabel Stewart. (Jim Bulmer had gone home before the picture was taken.)  (Photos by Flora Cleghorn)


Daily Mercury, Guelph.

 Friday June 17th 1977.








Pictured are descendents of Thomas Ellis.

They attended church services on Sunday August 17th 1986.








The Memorial Service for the re-opening of Ellis Church took place on Sunday, August 25, 1963.  Four regular summer services are scheduled each year in the months of June, July, August, and September.  A guest speaker is invited to conduct the worship service.  Musical selections are given by guest soloists and choral groups.


Guest speakers to date include:


1963 Aug. 25th

Rev. H.A. Bagnall, Dublin Street United, Guelph.

Rev. L. R. Nanson, Duff’s Presbyterian, R. R. 3 Guelph.


1963 Sept. 22nd

Dr. Earl Eddy, St. Luke’s United, Hespeler.


1964 June 7th

Rev. L. R. Nanson, Duff’s Presbyterian, R. R. 3 Guelph.


1964 July 21st

Dr. Earl Eddy, St. Luke’s United Hespeler.


1964 Aug. 23rd

Rev. Stanley Gentle, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, Cambridge.


1964 Sept. 11th

Rev. Burton Hill, Galt.






1965 June 20th

Rev. H. Hendry, Hespeler Baptist Church.


1965 July 18th

Rev. James Lawson, St. Paul’s United, Preston.


1965 Aug. 22nd

Rev. Ross Readhead, Paisley Memorial Church, Guelph.

Rev. W. E. Prosser, Hespeler United Missionary.


1965 Sept. 19th

Rev. H. Schmidt, Wanner Mennonite, Beaverdale.


1966 June 26th

Dr. Norman High, Waterloo College.


1966 July 17th

Rev. Stanley Gentle, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, Hespeler.


1966 Aug. 21st

Rev. Robert Kaill, Harcourt Memorial United, Guelph.


1966 Sept. 11th

Rev. Alan Vair, Preston.






1967 June 18th

Rev. H. H. Dunlop, Barrie Hill United, R. R. 5 Guelph.


1967 July 9th

Rev. H. Hindry, Hespeler Baptist.


1967 Aug. 20th

Dr. W. A. Young, Chaplain, Ont. Agricultural College.


1967 Sept. 17th

Rev. Edward Chester.