The Ellis Church


written by Anne Evans


appreciation to Eleanor Dickie Evans & Loyd Franks


produced at the T. & T. Press Limited, Hespeler, Ontario, 1963.




The Ellis Church is situated on the Accommodation or Given road, which runs between the second and third concessions in the South-West corner of Puslinch Town­ship, County of Wellington.


The name Puslinch was given to this township by Lady Seaton, after her birthplace, “The Manor of Puslinch” in the county of Devon, England.  Lady Seaton was the wife of Sir John Colborne, Lieu­tenant Governor of Upper Canada during the early part of the 1830’s.


In attempting to sketch a history of Ellis Church, one must needs go back to the very first people of the area.  This part of the township was inhabited by the Indians and used as a hunting and trapping ground until around 1784.  A great number of Indian relics have been found near Puslinch Lake, which is about a mile from the church.


Many United Empire Loyalists and Pennsylvania Dutch people became unsatisfied with conditions in America at the time of the American Revolution.  These people started crossing into Upper Canada by way of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, so that it became necessary to survey this part of Ontario.


Augustus Jones, a Welshman and son-in-law of Chief Joseph Brant of the Six Nations Indians of Brantford was commissioned to make this survey, which ran from Burlington to near the village of Arthur in Wellington County.  This formed the eastern boundary of Puslinch Township.


Seven years later, in 1791, this same man was em­ployed to survey the boundaries of the Six Nations In­dians, which extended from Lake Erie north along the Grand River.  The outer fringe of this survey passed within a few hundred yards west of Puslinch Lake and now forms the western boundary of Puslinch Township. 


Ellis Church was built between these two surveys, on an old Indian trail, later known as Shades Road, used by Absalom Shade of Galt in travelling to Dundas instead of going through the Beverley Swamps.  The Pioneers changed the name to Accommodation or Given road, this being a level road and running midway between the second and third concessions which were quite hilly.


To this wild and uninhabited country came Alexander Lamont and family from Argyleshire, Scotland in the year 1831.  This is the first recorded permanent settler.  He took up the south half of Lot 6, Concession 2.


He built a log house near the small Puslinch Lake.  He was followed a few months later by John Mc­Alister and wife.  Their son Archibald was the first white child to be born in this community.


The following years found the land being taken up by the families Barrett, Ellis, Little, Holm, Fyfe, Dickie, Eagle, and others.  These people came by way of Tor­onto, procuring from the Survey General, such infor­mation as he could give them in reference to lands available to settlers.


In pioneer days the struggles and privations of the settlers was severe.  The right to do many things was not questioned.  Beginning in a new country, practic­ally everything had to be made or devised with the raw materials coming from their farms.  This was all taken as part of the life of pioneer progress.


Much of the land was covered with forest, which pro­vided lumber and fuel for the building and heating of their log homes.  After this came the clearing of land so they could grow food for themselves and their animals.  Within a few years a log school was built for the edu­cation of their children. The longing still lay deep within their hearts for a place of worship.


The pioneers’ lives were steeped in Bible history.  The well-worn Bible in their homes showed that the faith of their homeland had been carried with them to this new country far across the sea.  These people not only found God in the sanctuary of their home, He was with them as they worked in the forest and on the land.  They knew him well, but these men and women missed the spiritual fellowship which they had enjoyed in their community churches of the Old Land.  Services had been held in the old school house of S.S. No. Eleven for a number of years.  This did not seem to fill the needs of these pioneers.


One Sunday after the service, and during a discourse befitting the Lord’s Day, mention was made of building a church for the community.  I can imagine a suggest­ion such as this would have the people reluctant to leave for their homes, until arrangements had been made to discuss this more thoroughly.  An open meeting was planned for this and was to be held in the school house.


The people became interested and quite properly so, in the planning of this church for their community.


Mary and Edward Ellis donated about an acre of land for the church building.  This was on the north­west corner of the form, south half of lot 9, Concession 2, with a frontage of one hundred and forty feet.


Thus it was on May 16th 1859 that a memorial agree­ment grant was given by Edward and Mary Ellis to George Sterling, Edward Ellis, James Eagle, Thomas Ellis, and Peter Lamont of Puslinch Township, and William Ellis and George Copeland of the Township of Waterloo as Trustees of the Sterling Congregation of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Canada in common with the English Conference.


This document was witnessed by Samuel C. Philips, Clergyman of the town of Berlin, (Kitchener) and Mary McMaster of the Township of Puslinch.


The building of this church was to be a community effort.  The work would be done voluntarily.  Each had to look and lean to one another, and such need brings out the best, with a will and a way to do and accomplish much by themselves.


The Ellis Church would be under the administration of the Wesleyan Methodists, though to the community it was an interdenominational Church serving the people of many faiths.


In the autumn of 1859, plans and work for the erect­ing of the Church began in earnest.  The chief carpen­ters would be Thomas and Edward Ellis and Peter Lamont, with all giving a helping hand.  The Church would be built of grey field stone, having two foot walls, very simple in structure both outside and in, built of good solid materials, most of it coming from the neigh­bourhood farm lands and sturdy like the pioneers them­selves.


There would be six Gothic type windows, two on each side and two facing the Accommodation road, with a small Gothic above the entrance door.  The shingles to be of split cedar.  The wainscoting and flooring would be of two inch pine planking.


In the Church at the front would be a raised dais with a two foot high railing, inside of which would be the pulpit, thirty inches by thirty-four inches high.  At the back of the dais on the westerly side, a book cabinet, with a smaller cabinet on the east side.  The pews to be made of wide pine boards.  The wood trimming, the pews, pulpit, cabinets, and railing, all to be left in the natural pine finish.  The lighting of the church to be with tallow and candles, and to be made by the women of the community.  On the south wall of the church they planned to have a painted Cross bearing the words “I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE”.


Wise thought seems to have been taken in the plan­ning of this church.  The people were stern economists.  They knew they had a hard task ahead and many diffi­culties to surmount.


The fall and winter of 1859-60 proved a busy and happy time for these pioneers, as they worked side by side with saw and axe, felling the trees and trimming the logs.


Spring arrived early that year, and any man who could, came and gave of his time and help.  Some just for a day or two at a time, many working as long as daylight lasted.  No daylight saving having been devised at that time.  Pick and shovel were used to dig out the found­ation.  Gradually the walls rose, stone upon stone with sand and gravel from the farms mixed with lime from the kiln now known as “Glen Christie”.


Several built the chimney, some shaped the logs for beams, while others, strong of hand and back, raised them up on high, beam fitting beam, notch fitting notch, until all was ready for the rafters.


One fine day a “bee” was held and the split cedar shingles laid for the roof.  Summer came and with it haying and harvesting of the crops.  Work on the church was discontinued until fall, when the men once again gave their time and help.  Finally the main structure was finished and the pioneers had time to proudly ad­mire their finished handiwork.


Cold weather came, and with it the pleasant thought of being able to finish the interior in comfort provided by the big box stove radiating warmth to all parts of the church hall.


With the coming of another spring all was finished.  The men gathered up their tools and equipment and went home to work in the fields.  The women came with brooms, brushes, and cleaning cloths, to sweep, scrub, and clean.  The candles were brought and put in their holders, and placed in positions where they would be most needed.


The completion of this church shows the spirit that animated the lives of these early settlers and the con­fidence which they had for the future.  Many meetings were held and the usual preliminaries had to be gone through in preparing for the opening service.


We can visualize, but not here express, the happiness felt by the pioneers of this community on the completion of this “Their Church”.  This was to be a very special day. The pioneers were bound together, some by ties of blood, others by their indomitable faith and courage.  An occasion such as this did not come often in the life of the early pioneer. Some walked, some came on horseback, others arrived in carriages.  It was a day of gladness as well as of solemnity.


We do not know the name of the minister, who had the honour of preaching the first sermon and declaring the Church open.  I like to think there would be sev­eral ministers present this day and that all would have words of tribute and commendation for those who plan­ned and toiled for the building of the church.


The Annals of Puslinch mentions that a Mr. George Duncan held services in the old log school house of S. S. No. Eleven prior to the building of the Ellis Church.  Mention is also made of Reverend David Savage and Reverend M. Ferguson.  Either of these two men could have assisted at the opening service along with other ministers connected with the Guelph District, Zion Circuit.  This circuit included seven Churches - Hespeler, Preston, Zion, Kirklands, (Now Howitt Memorial), New Chapel, Doon, and Ellis Church.  In 1880, the circuit was reduced to four churches and then known as the Hespeler Circuit consisting of Hes­peler, New Chapel, Kirklands and Ellis.


The Missionary Year Book of the Methodist Church in Canada lists Reverend J. Smiley for 1867 - 1868 and Reverend W. Henderson as minister of 1874.  Lay preachers of that time were George Copeland, David Rife and William Ellis, an original trustee.


The Cyclopedia of the Methodist Church of Canada lists the following ministers as being in this circuit;







Berlin Mission




Luther O. Rice


1858 - 1860

Samuel C. Philps

Samuel Philps Jr.

David Kennedy

David Chalmers


Richard Tucker

Elias W. Fraser

John Hyndman

John H. Keppel


William Savage

John Armstrong the 3rd

George W. Brown




Preston English Mission




Aaron D. Miller



John Smiley





Berlin Mission




Thomas A. Ferguson

John Scott B.A.

Isaac Tovell

James T. Metcalfe


Thomas Stubbs

William Mills

Jabez Edmonds


Christopher Cookman

William Bough




London Conference-

Zion Circuit




William Henderson

William Williams


James McAlister

William Sparling

Thomas B. Leith

John Stewart


Edwin Holmes

John Freeman

Charles Cosens


Francis E. Nugent



William Mills






These small community churches did not support a full time minister, he often preached at two or three churches on a Sabbath.  Their missionary work on a week day extended over many miles, walking, on horse­back, horse and buggy, sometimes on snow shoes dur­ing the long cold winters.  These ministers were often young men fresh from theological schools.  This would partly account for the many ministers of the Ellis Church.


No one seems to know just when the organ was ac­quired, if it was a gift or purchased by the community.  Perhaps the singing was led by one of the settlers, a burly Scotsman maybe, who had led the singing in an old country church.


Let us imagine if we can, these pioneers from Scot­land, England and Ireland blending their voices to­gether in the lovely and familiar hymns of their day, and in the reading of the Psalms, especially those two we all know, the twenty-third and the One hundred and twenty-first.


After the service came a time of Christian Fellow­ship.  There was no haste.  Why should there be?  They had only one Sabbath a week.  With much hand­shaking and congratulations the congregation passed out into the church yard, disposed themselves in groups about the gate and along the fence.  The ministers passed from group to group being welcomed by all.


We have no record of any weddings or funerals being held in the Ellis Church.  These services were usually held in the homes of the settlers.


There is a small cemetery at the rear and west side of the Church grounds, containing four or five graves.  Only two of the stones are still legible.  These mark the graves of Elizabeth and Annie Mason, daughters of James and Mary Mason, who lived on the north half of lot 4, concession 2.  Elizabeth died October 13th 1869 aged three years and six months, Annie died April 18th 1876 aged three years and six months.


David Glover and his wife Catherine and daughter Barbara are buried here also.  The time of the par­ents death cannot be read.  Barbara’s death occurred April 13th 1872.


There are no stones or other evidence to show of anymore graves.  Some older people of the community have mentioned the possibility of there being another Glover child and at least one Paddock girl, Elizabeth, who died in 1868, daughter of Thomas and Eliza Pad­dock of Lots 12 and 13 Concession 2.


Confirmation of burials has been found quite dif­ficult, due to scanty records kept in the early years following Confederation.


A number of the pioneer families who were instru­mental in the formation of this community in the years of 1831 to around 1880 are:


Alexander Lamont and family, Peter a son was one of the carpenters of the Ellis Church.  He was also a mill­wright, working on Ferrys Mill in the Village of Shades, now Galt.  He also built the Doon Mills still standing today and made famous by Homer Watson’s painting.  He was also one of the original trustees of Ellis Church.  William was also a carpenter and assisted in the con­struction of the early schools and mills in the area.  Thomas, another brother went to Manitoba as a school teacher and wrote many articles on the early pioneer days and history of Puslinch.


Of the Ellis family we have Edward, who was a car­penter as well as a farmer.  He and Mary donated the land for the Ellis Church and he was also one of the first trustees.


Thomas was also an original trustee.  He served on the Government side in the McKenzie Rebellion.  In 1856, he was commissioned as Captain in the Second Battalion of Wellington Militia.  Later he was promo­ted to Major.  He became Deputy-Reeve of Pus­linch Township.  He was elected to the first District Council in 1848, the Waterloo Council in 1850, the United Council of Wellington and Grey in 1853.  He was made Justice of the Peace in 1850.


An amusing anecdote has been told of Squire Ellis going by horse and carriage to Dundas to hold Court.  His dog insisted on following.  After repeated attempts to send him home, the Squire finally took him into the carriage and on to Dundas.  Here, instead of staying with the horse in the stable, the dog insisted on going with him to his room.  That night his room was en­tered by a thief, who was driven off by the faithful animal.


Richard Ellis was the Tax Collector for Puslinch in the 1850’s.


William Ellis was a pioneer of Waterloo Township, also one of the original trustees of Ellis Church.


Then we have John McAlister and his family, Archibald, the eldest son was the first white child to be born in this community.


George Sterling, also an original trustee, lived on lot 10, concession 2.


The Eagle family settled on land in the first con­cession bordering both the small lake and the big lake.  James Eagle was also an original trustee of the Ellis Church. 


The Little family settled in this area with Joseph taking up land on lot 9, concession 3, and Robert on lot 10 concession 2.  Joseph was a councillor and School Trustee for many years.  Robert was also a councillor and Justice of the Peace and founder on May 16th 1886 of the South Wellington Farmers Institute.  James Little became an outstanding Presbyterian minister.


Neil Peter Holm was one of the builders in the com­munity working with Edward Ellis.  He built and sailed the first recorded sailboat on Puslinch Lake.  Peter Holm is also mentioned as building his own wooden rough box and the first to be buried in the community with a box to protect the casket.


The John Dickie family lived on the Given Road, a short distance from the Ellis Church, both Mr. and Mrs. Dickie taking an active interest in the life of the community.


We have tried to record here those members of the community, who were closely connected with the early congregation of the Ellis Church.


The weekly offerings of the church were used to support the ministry and the missionary projects which the Missionary Society maintained.


The upkeep of the church was undertaken by the community.


In 1879, the Missionary givings were consolidated and the total amount listed under Hespeler Methodist Church.


It is impossible to find any records of the Ellis Church history after the year 1880.  No mention of the church is in the year books of the Methodist Missionary Society or in the Hespeler United Church History Book.


The Town of Hespeler had seven churches by this time, the Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, English, Lutheran, Congregational and St. Mary’s Roman Catholic.


With horse drawn buggies and carriage the mode of travel by this time, the people drifted into the town churches of their respective denominations, attendance at Ellis Church slipping considerably.


Regular church services were discontinued and a non-denominational Sunday School held in the after­noon during the summer months only.  The opening Sunday was scheduled for the first Sunday of May and closing the last Sunday of October.


This is a list of the members of the Ellis Congregation from the Methodist Missionary Year Books for the years 1861 - 1879;


Mr. and Mrs. John Bond and Elizabeth, Miss Lily Brown, Mr. and Mrs. Thos. Cooper, Miss A. B. Cooper, Mr. I. Cooper, Mary Jane Cooper, Mr. James Eagle, Elijah Eagle, Miss Eagle, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Ellis and Mary, Mr. Thos. Ellis and Miss Ellis, Mr. and Mrs. J. Hogg, Mr. and Mrs. Thos. Lamont and Miss Lamont, Mr. George Martin, Mary Jane McGregor, Sarah Streagle.


Mrs. George Evans, formerly Eleanor Dickie and now of Beattie Saskatchewan has sent me some of her mem­ories of the Ellis Church.


Mrs. William Dickie often spoke of Singing School being conducted at the church by a Mr. Fry who came from Morriston.  On another occasion, a Mr. Shop held similar meetings which were attended by the young people of the district.


Our earliest recollections are of the Sunday School when Mr. Robert Little was the superintendent and Mrs. Dickie was teacher of the women’s Bible class.  Mr. Little continued as Superintendent until failing health compelled him to resign.  We think Mr. Marvin Eagle succeeded him.  After two or three years he resigned and no one else willing to undertake the task, Mrs. Dickie consented to act as Superintendent rather than allow the Sunday School to be closed.  This position she held until the family moved to Saskatchewan in 1911, prob­ably about ten years.


One winter Mrs. Dickie had the young women of her Bible class meet in her home one evening each week to study the lessons.


The only organist anyone seems to remember was Miss Jessie Robertson, who was most capable and very faithful and regular in attendance.  She was also a music teacher, walking to the various homes of her pupils.  Her fee was twenty-five cents per lesson.


In the Sunday School, four classes for the girls were conducted on the east side, primary, junior, intermed­iate, and Bible class.  The boys had the same number of classes on the west side.  The average attendance of the Sunday School would be between forty and fifty.  The singing was very hearty and all participated.


Throughout the years, many consecrated teachers faithfully taught the Word of God. Prominent among them were Margaret Robertson, Christy Clarke, Belle Bond, Holly Little, Martha Little, Eliza Little, Hannah Fyfe, John Fyfe, Etta Bond, Eleanor Bond, Mrs. Dickie and Bessie Dickie.


The names of families attending at the close of the century were;

Ross, Robertson, Kitchen, Eagle, Bond, Lisso, Zimmerman, Robert Little family, Ellis, Knack, Reeve, Dickie, McAlister, Fyfe, Wilkinson, Gilchrist, Aikens, Joseph Little, William Little, Evans, Kean, and Cooper.


The cleaning of the Sunday School was an annual event, which took place on a Thursday or Friday after­noon, preceding the first Sunday in May, when the services commenced for the summer months.


A couple of young men went with a team and 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 to heat the water.  This same kettle was used in the home for boiling maple sap in the spring and for making apple butter in the fall.  The young women of the neighborhood gathered with pails, cloths, scrub brushes and plenty of soap for the floor was always kept white. The boys assisted in moving the large wooden pews and organ.  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 and cleaned the cupboards.


When all had been set into 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, and for once, there was no limit to the number of pieces each could help themselves to, so long as the pies held out.


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 field was chosen which had a bush close by to give shade for the picnic table and for those who preferred to sit and watch the proceedings.


Various committees were appointed to prepare o 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 of good clean boards, these, with trestles, were set up for tables, and benches were made from planks often supported by blocks of wood from the woodpile and nailed under­neath.


The babies or young children did not sleep 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.  Tea or lemonade was available for the adults.


Many friends from Hespeler came to our picnic and enjoyed the fresh country air and good baking.  Doctor Henderson, a 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 boys and girls.  The prizes were always the same, a piece of silk ribbon 2 inches in length by three quarters of an inch in width, red for first prize, blue for second and white for third.


I think it was after supper that the men selected two of their number to act as “captains”.  Sides were chosen, a long 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 the winner.  Various games were play­ed including baseball.


The Sunday School “Collections” were used to de­fray 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 that a child attended he or she was given a ticket with a Scripture verse.  The Sunday following the one when 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 pretty card with a Scripture verse.



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


Sometimes when extra funds were needed, such as the purchase of new books for the library, a Strawberry Social was held on a warm June evening.  The tables were set outside on the west side of the Church.  Large saucers of delicious strawberries with real cream were served with all manner of cakes and cookies.  For those who preferred, ice cream could be had.  Later, a programme of songs, recitations, and musical numbers was rendered inside the building.


Mrs. William Dickie read all new books before they were placed in the library.


On another occasion a “Garden Party” was held on the lawn of Mr. Joseph Little when tables were set outdoors, a good supper served, and a programme given.  Friends in Hespeler were always happy to attend these functions and contributed their talent, which was much appreciated.


One Sunday afternoon over seventy years ago, a missionary from beyond the seas visited the Ellis Church Sunday School and gave a talk to the children and young people.  He spoke of the need in foreign lands and told the boys and girls that perhaps one of them might one day become a missionary and go to heathen lands.  A little girl sitting in the front row laughed, whereupon the speaker said to her, “Yes, you might be a mission­ary some day”.  This child was Edith Evans, who grew up and went to Nigeria as a missionary.  Later she married Reverend Ira W. Sherk.  Together they served for over thirty years in Africa.


Bessie Dickie become a Home Missionary and is still serving among the mountain people of Tennessee.


The Dickie family moved out to Saskatchewan in 1911.  The Ellis Church Sunday School was put under a board of trustees made up of members of the com­munity and of families closely connected to the building of the Church.  These trustees were Marvin Eagle, John Fyfe, and William Little.


Prominent people attending Ellis Sunday School in the early part of this century and those who left to continue their education are John R. Little, who in May of 1946 deeded the original Little farm, Lot 9, Con­cession 3 to the County as a permanent Memorial for reforestation purposes.  Miss Ella Little trained as a nurse in New York city.  She married Thomas Robert­son and left an only child, Thomas who now resides in Hespeler.  Miss Halley Little was loved by all in the community.  Giving of her help so cheerfully in times of sickness and doing what she could to make others happy.


Dr. George Albert Little, son of James Little some­times took charge of the Sunday School, if visiting in the community.  William Little was a trustee of the Sunday School and a director of the Puslinch Agricul­tural Society.  John Fyfe was a trustee of the Sunday School and Mrs. Fyfe, his wife, taught a class for many years in the Ellis Sunday School. She also graduated as a nurse from a hospital in Boston, Mass., U.S.A.  Miss Belle and Miss Eleanor Bond both trained as nurses, one in Boston and the other in New York.  Eleanor is now Mrs. Lyons of Louisville, Kentucky.  Minerva Bond became a teacher and moved to Vancouver, B.C.


Mrs. Bessie Dickie White is a Home Missionary serv­ing the mountain people of Tennessee.  Mary Dickie, now Mrs. Fred Evans of Beattie, Saskatchewan, became a teacher, also her sister, Eleanor, now Mrs. George Evans, also of Beattie.  Gordon Dickie is a medical doctor and living in the U.S.A.


Miss Elizabeth Reeve graduated from a Vancouver hospital and is now living in Santa Monica, California.  Robert Reeve was a trustee of the Ellis Sunday School and a director of The Puslinch Agricultural Society.


Miss Belle Robertson trained as a nurse in Boston.  Miss Jessie Robertson was organist for many years.  Margaret was a faithful Sunday School teacher until illness forced her to retire.


Marvin Eagle was another prominent man in our community being a trustee and a Superintendent of the Sunday School for a number of years.  Leslie, a son, gave the supreme sacrifice of World War one.  Lee Eagle saw active service in World War one.


Edith Evans Sherk served as a missionary in Nigeria, West Africa for over thirty years.  She is now living in Port Huron, Michigan.


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. number eleven, 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 on the first Sunday 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 home and asking my parents if I could go to the Ellis Sunday School as everyone else in school 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 another, going to one in our own commun­ity and with 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. number eleven.  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 then the door opened and a short pleasant man come out saying, “Well, well, I see we are going to have a visitor with us to-day.He took my hand, remarking that he and I were the early birds and we would 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 come 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 of Ellis Church.


Miss Jessie Robertson was still organist at this time.  After her death a few years later, Mamie Robertson, her niece, took over the duties of organist until her marriage in 1926.  A member of the adult class usually volunteered to fill this office.


Mrs. Young, the former Heritage McAlister, died in 1932.  Her executors called a meeting to appoint three new trustees to receive a legacy of fifty dollars from her estate, these three men being Arthur Evans, Robert Reeve and John McAlister.


The Congregation of the Sunday School had lessened considerably by this time.  Some of the teachers be­came ill, a few people moved away, others were getting older and unable to get around.


Ralph Elston was the last man of the community to hold the office of superintendent.


I believe that services were discontinued for several years.  Then, Rev. E. S. Charlton of the Hespeler Baptist Church took charge and a good attendance was kept up.  Rev. Mr. Armstrong of the same Church con­tinued after Mr. Charlton moved away.  We then had Mr. Clarence Habermehl of Hespeler conducting ser­vices with help from the community.  In 1943, the attendance was so very low, with only a few families at­tending, that it was decided to discontinue services.


The Superintendents down through the years in­cluded James Eagle, Robert Little, Mrs. William Dickie, Marvin Eagle, John Fyfe, Walter Holm, Ralph Elston, Rev. E. S. Charlton, Rev. J. Armstrong and Clarence Habermehl.


The Church was later used as a Scout Hall by the local troop of Boy Scouts.  The committee in charge had the electricity put in.


Vandals broke into the church destroying the organ and breaking the windows.


Several of the remaining members of the pioneer families felt that any money left in the treasury should be used for lumber to board up the windows to pre­vent further acts of vandalism.


I feel we should mention a few names of the girls and boys who by their faithful attendance helped to keep the Sunday School open for services until 1943.


Ruth Little taught school in Puslinch.  She is now Mrs. George Panabaker and lives in Toronto, Ont­ario.  Albert Fyfe attended Oxford university and is now a professor of English at Indiana State Univers­ity, Terra Haute, Indiana.  Eleanor Fyfe taught school.  She is Mrs. Brazier and lives in England. Ruth Evans graduated as a teacher, is married to Ben Gowing and living in Hamilton, Ontario.  Peggy Evans was another teacher, now Mrs. George Schmiedendorf of Hespeler.  Allan Evans graduated with a B.A. from Victoria Col­lege, Toronto, attended the American School of clas­sical studies in Athens, Greece, graduated from Yale with his Ph.D.  He is now teaching Ancient History at McMaster in Hamilton, Ontario.  Edwin Gamble graduated from Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph,

Ontario with a B.Sc.  He obtained his Ph.D. at Ames, of Illinois.  He is a research worker in grasses and corn at the O.A.C. at Guelph.  Nancy Evans who is now Mrs. Ian Nicholson of Toronto is a nurse from Brantford General Hospital,  and graduate of Central Baptist

Seminary.  Eleanor Brown is also a registered nurse from Brantford General, nursing now in Son Francisco, Cal­ifornia.  Margaret Evans graduated from Toronto University with her B.A. and is teaching High School in Toronto.  Barbara Evans will be graduating from Brantford General Hospital this summer (1963).


Thomas McMaster did not attend Sunday School re­gularly but I feel he should be mentioned.  He is the only descendant of a pioneer family of this community owning and living on the farm his great grandfather John McAlister settled on in 1832.


Arthur Eagle of Detroit still owns the original Eagle farm near the Lake. 


This historic church served the community close to a hundred years.  With our modern way of travel and the passing of our pioneer fam­ilies, the church no longer served its original pur­pose.  The geographical location of this pioneer church makes it an interesting subject of our historical past.  It lies between two of the very first surveys made in Upper Canada.  It also fronts on an old Indian trail, now known as the Given road, and at the rear of the church property is the modern Queen’s highway 401.  Ellis Church is the only pioneer church building hav­ing direct access to the Queen’s highway 401, which runs from Windsor to the Quebec border, thus making this church a most dramatic link between old and new ways of travel.


The future for this church is changing.  It is coming back into prominence once again, as a historical build­ing of our pioneers.  With the coming of Canada's centennial year in 1967, plans are going forward to have the buildings and grounds restored as nearly as possible to their orig­inal state, so that it will remain as a monument to the pioneers of this community in Puslinch Township.


It is hard for many of us in this twentieth century to appreciate the intensity and deep religious feeling that throbbed throughout this community in pioneer days.  To them, the Lord hath given much.




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