Knox Presbyterian Church,

Crieff, Ontario






Part I     Congregation History


Part II    Congregation Families




Table of Contents



Ministerial message

The Congregation is Born

The Bond of Security

Origins of Presbyterianism in Puslinch

The First Church in West Puslinch

Serious Session Matters

The Congregation Moves East

The Influence of Reverend John Bayne

Ministry of Reverend Andrew Maclean

The Gaelic

Holy Communion

Social Issues

The Beverly Township Element in the West Puslinch Congregation

The Killean People and the Ongoing Church at Crieff

Killean Bible School

Coping With Difficult Times 1873-90

The Present Church is Built

National Church Union

Session Matters 1873-1990

The Movement to Church Union


Bryan, Rev. T. G. M.

Burgess, Rev. J. L.

Gordon, Rev. D.

Lawrence, Rev. S.

Maclean, Rev. A.

Mathieson, Rev. P.

MacAuley, Rev. E.

McDiarmid, Rev. N.

Meldrum, Rev. W.

Nanson, Rev. L.

Robertson, Rev. W.

Wilson, Rev. H.

Woods, Rev. S.

Yee‑Hibbs, Rev. A.

Young, Rev. N.

Board of Managers



History of the Horse Sheds

Sunday School

Service of Praise

Social Events and Anniversary Celebrations

The Jubilee Celebration

Lawn Socials

100th Anniversary Services, 1940

1967 and 1975 Covenanter Services

The Influence of John Bayne Maclean

The Manse

The Board of Trustees

Friends of Crieff

Young People’s Society-Young Adults

Women’s Missionary Society

Ladies Aid—Knox Church Fellowship

Church Growth Committee

World Wars

Families of the Congregation 1840-1890







"Time is a three-fold present: the present as we experience it, the past as a present memory, and the future as a present expectation."

  St. Augustine


To mark the 1990 Sesquicentennial Celebration of Knox (Presbyterian) Church Crieff, we have recounted the history of our congregation and its families.  This volume attempts to place the story in perspective against the secular and religious trends surrounding and influencing the congregation's development.


While keeping in mind that the church is more than a place of worship; more than buildings or organization; that it is essentially people in action, we have included a section on the families of the congregation.  At this time, while some memories are still alive and when increasingly more records are available to the researcher, it behoves us to record, to the extent that it is possible, the families who have made up this enduring congregation and to attempt to find the key to the firm foundation which they built for surviving generations.


Perhaps we may find our own heritage, and in the months and years ahead, seek to replicate the courage and faithfulness, which the founders of our church exemplified. This committee trusts that the marking of our sesquicentennial will be an inspiration to the congregation to rededicate itself to the principles which have guided the congregation in the past: to keep religious education as a priority; to be mindful of good financial management; and to continually celebrate God's goodness to all of His people.


Sesquicentennial Committee:  Anna Jackson, Douglas McDonald, Margaret Griesbach, Betty MacDonald, Sharon Logher, Janice MacDonald.



The Reverends Anne and John Yee-Hibbs.



Dear Friends: 

In this year of celebrating the 150th Anniversary (Sesquicentennial) of Knox Church, Crieff, we do so in grateful thanksgiving to God for His divine guidance and blessing throughout the centuries of time.


As we know, the history of any congregation is not focused on a building, but in the lives and faithful witness of men and women who have served God in their day and generation. At the centre of the historical record of Knox congregation is the faith of its members, both those who founded this family of God in the year 1840, and also all those who have followed, to this day, including all those who will be here, in this place, in the future.


And so, in this year of 1990, we are celebrating their history in this context - as part of a journey of faithful men and women, boys and girls, from pioneer times, to the present day, and into the promise of the future; all of whom, God has laid His hands upon, for an ongoing witness to His Name, and for the gospel ministry of His people.


As God’s own Word declares it: “You are built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, and Christ Jesus Himself is the foundation-stone.  In Him, the whole building is bonded together, and grows into a holy temple in the Lord.  In Him you too are being built with all the rest into a spiritual dwelling for God.” (Ephesians 2: 20-22)


As your Minister, in this year of commemoration and celebration, it is very humbling to honour the spiritual upbuilding of Christ’s Church in this place with so many servants of God who have gone before us, both as leaders and as followers.  And so, let us all pray again: "Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven."



Rev. M. Anne-Yee Hibbs






         The Congregation is Born


 Hitherto hath the Lord helped us”  I Samuel 7: 12


On the 22nd day of February 1840, a meeting was held at John Thomson’s house in the first concession of Puslinch near Killean.  Present were Thomson’s Scottish Presbyterian neighbours and members of the Scots Presbyterian community from the tenth of Beverly (Clyde Road).  Also present by invitation, were representatives from their church, the Puslinch Presbyterian Church: Managers, John MacFarlane and John McDiarmid, Peter McNaughton Elder, and the new Pastor, Reverend William Meldrum.


“When the meeting was constituted the people of the west end of Puslinch and Beverly came forward with a proposal, offering to pay the third part of Mr. Meldrum’s salary upon the condition that he would go to Lot number 15 in the first concession of Puslinch every third Sabbath to preach and to perform all other duties requisite.  Rev. Meldrum, the managers, and the elders present agreed to the proposal upon condition that they would give a bond of security for the payment of the sum promised.  Two representatives or managers were elected by the meeting: Neil McPhatter, of the first concession of Puslinch, and Gillies McBean for Beverly and it was likewise agreed that East and West Puslinch, and those joining them from Beverly, were united under one head, namely the Presbyterian Congregation of Puslinch in connection with the Kirk of Scotland and that the solemn ordinances were to be dispensed at the original meeting house upon lot no. 28 in the 8th concession of Puslinch.”




The Bond of Security


Puslinch, 1st Concession.  February 22nd, 1840.


          “We the representatives of the west end of Puslinch and Beverly, being destitute of the means of religious instruction, do hereby bind ourselves to pay annually to the treasurer of the Presbyterian Church in Puslinch the sum of thirty-three pounds, six and eight pence currency, provided that their minister will come one Sabbath out of every three for the purpose of uniting in the public worship of God, to lot 15 on the first concession of Puslinch.”


Arch’d McMaster (Witness), Gillies McBean (Manager),

Simon Fraser (Witness), Neil McPhatter (Manager)


The church is more than buildings or organizations; the church is essentially people in action, and here were people in action!  The Rev. Meldrum had just arrived in Puslinch; he was not to be inducted into the Puslinch Congregation until three weeks later.  Yet, these people seized the opportunity to settle this matter at once.  To act so that they would no longer be destitute of the means of religious instruction was of exceptional consequence to these pioneers.  The nurturing of the soul made a difficult life tolerable.  Pledging more than thirty-three pounds currency, when there were probably fewer than thirty-three families involved, was an amazing act of faith.  In this way the West Puslinch Congregation, which later became Knox Crieff, was formed.


Who were the people who took this significant step?  Neil McPhatter, from the parish of Killean in Kintyre, Scotland, had lived in York with his family from about 1829.  There he became acquainted with David Gibson who was conducting the survey of Puslinch roads; it is possible that Neil and his stepson Angus Blue both worked with Gibson.  When the sale of lots 9-19 on the north side of the first concession occurred during October 1831 in York, Neil and other Scottish emigrants who had gathered there were the successful bidders for the land. Neil purchased lot 9 for his stepsons, naming William Blue as the owner.  Lots 10 and 11 were taken by "little" John Thomson; Neil McPhatter took lots 14 and 15; Archibald McShannock bought all of lot 17 for his brothers, Donald and Alexander; and Malcolm McPhatter, Neil's brother, took lot 19.




The McPhatter moved to their land the following spring.  Their nearest neighbour to the east was the Shepherd, Donald McKenzie, on lot 25 on the south side of the Second; to the south it was John McColl on lot 7 Concession Ten, four miles away in Beverly; to the west, Angus and Duncan McKellar were on lot 2 of the Gore.


John Thomson brought his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Thomson and the rest of their family to his property about the same time.  His mother was Neil McPhatter’s sister Betsy.  Several of John's brothers contacted tuberculosis on the voyage from Scotland and when Malcolm died in February, 1834 the family brought his body from Hamilton to be buried on the west side of their farm. Later the same year a second son, Donald, also died and was buried there. This was the beginning of Killean Cemetery.


Archibald McMaster, witness for the Killean people, came from the Isle of Arran and took up lot 8 front of First. He donated the land for the first school at Killean. The first priority for these people upon arrival in the forest was to build a log cabin (or shanty, as it was more commonly known), and to take the first steps toward creating a livelihood.  At the same time, it was of prime importance to them to provide education for their children, to seek out religious instruction, and to worship God with others. 


Gillies McBean was considered among the Beverly folk to be their spokesperson.  He had emigrated in 1834 to lot 11 Tenth.  Simon Fraser, witness for the Beverly people had come to lot 12 Tenth in 1837.




Origins of Presbyterianism in Puslinch


To place the actions of the west Puslinch folk in perspective it is necessary to trace the events of the previous decade relating to church history in the township.  In 1834, Mr. Thos. Wardrope, a licentiate of the Church of Scotland and a former parish school teacher in Scotland, settled with his family on lot 35 Concession 9 in east Puslinch.  Given his background, he was soon conducting religious services in houses, barns, and in the open air.  These services were doubtless attended by the McPhatter, Thomsons and other families from west Puslinch and north Beverly Township as well as by people from the east.  There is also evidence that a missionary visited the community in the early years, going from house to house, preaching the Gospel.


Soon the increasing number of settlers in south Puslinch raised hopes of having a church property.  William Stewart, who purchased lot 23 rear First in 1835, was chosen to walk to Toronto to present a petition for a grant of land to be set apart for religious and educational purposes.  This he successfully presented to the Crown Lands Department, and the front half of lot 28 Concession 8 (site of the present Crown Cemetery) was reserved as the property of the Presbyterians of Puslinch in connection with the established Church of Scotland.


In 1837, they built a log church and cleared an acre of ground for a cemetery.  The next step was to arrange for regular church organization.  The Presbytery of Hamilton, which at this time extended from Lake Erie to Georgian Bay, granted their request in 1837.  Session records for the first five years were not preserved.  However, by resolution of session in 1845 it was recorded  “That the congregation was organized in the year 1839, when one elder was inducted and another ordained.  That the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was dispensed that year by Mr. Smith, then Minister of the Gospel in Guelph, and Mr. Ferguson, of Esquesing, when as appears from the Communion roll, there were 81 communicants.  The next step was to arrange for regular church organization.”  It was time to seek a minister.


A Badenoch resident, Mr. Gordon, recommended William Meldrum, a student for the ministry who had just completed his college course in Scotland.  The Reverend John Bayne of Galt assisted and the elders, Peter McNaughton and Neil McPhatter, sent Mr. Meldrum a petition to come to be their minister.  He accepted and he was ordained March 11,1840.          


From incidental session references and from information given by those still living in 1899, it is believed that Peter McNaughton of east Puslinch was an elder in Scotland, and was inducted at the organization of the congregation; and that Neil McPhatter of west Puslinch was the elder ordained and inducted then.  Gillies McBean of Beverly became an elder before 1844, and Angus McPherson, of west Puslinch, having been an elder in Scotland, was inducted in 1847.




The First Church in West Puslinch


"I was glad when they said unto me

 Let us go into the house of the Lord."  Psalm 122:1


Neil McPhatter, now known as "Elder" Neil, gave the site for the church from the front east field of his lot 15 farm; the first church in West Puslinch was constructed during the summer of 1840 as a result of the agreement reached on February 22.  It is recorded that those who built the four corners were Matthew and James McPhatter, Elder Neil’s sons, Archibald McCormick, son of John, and Neil Thomson, son of Neil. Gillies McBean was in charge of the construction.


 Whatever lumber they used was cut by a whip saw, the logs being rolled over a pit; then with one man above and one below, a drag-saw was operated from end to end of the log.  Captain Thomas Paddock, who had just acquired lot 16 front and rear of First, also owned lumber at Anderson’s mill near Galt.  This he sold in order to finish the church on lot 15.  “The church was completed and dedicated to the worship of God in 1840.  These were not the days of luxury and convenience, but were times of courage and hope, and for fourteen years God met His true worshippers and blessed them with His presence in this rudely built sanctuary.”


Let us pause to note those who worshipped in this first West Puslinch Church in its first few years.  The elders were Neil McPhatter and Gillies McBean; the managers were two Thomson men, little John and big John, and Matthew McPhatter, son of Neil the Elder. Little John Thomson was the Precentor.  Other members were the families of Donald and Alexander McShannock, Neil Thomson, Malcolm McPhatter, Archibald McMaster, Neil Currie, James Thomson, Gilbert Cochrane, Hugh McColl and Mrs. Duncan McColl, Archibald Ramsay, Alexander Ramsay, Widow McAllister, Neil Wilkinson, Mrs. John McCormick, Alexander Wilkinson, John McColl, John McBain, Widow McMillan, Archibald Blair, and William McCormick.




The charge was regarded as one congregation, with a single session and worship two Sabbaths in the East church and every third Sabbath in the West Church.  The pastor preached in Gaelic and English at every service.  Regardless of the distance to be covered by foot, Badenoch people regularly attended services in the West church, and Killean people were often seen at the East church. 


It seems likely that Sabbath School was conducted every week.  It was organized in the first church by Mrs. Neil (Mary Reid) McPhatter.  She was the chief worker and was Superintendent.  She was remembered as a remarkable woman, well qualified for the position, and for years, she efficiently conducted the Sabbath School service.  Her husband, unaccustomed to yield to any man in religious activity, was quite satisfied to take a second place with becoming meekness in the Sabbath School, in the presence of his wife.  The perplexing question of “woman's place in the church” seems not to have caused any trouble then.


The obituary notice for Mrs. McPhatter reveals much about the lady. “She died January 5th 1863, in her 64th year...she was the subject of religious impressions when very young, and these deepened as she grew in years.  She emigrated from Dumbartonshire in 1834, and resided near Galt under the searching and powerful ministry of the late Dr. Bayne, whom she admired and loved to her dying day.  She married the widowed Neil McPhatter in 1846 and as soon as she came to Puslinch her inquiry was, “What can I do here for Christ?”  She was not long in receiving an answer;  in strengthening the hands of her husband by her example, her prayers and counsels, and in commencing and conducting with great ability and a good measure of success a Sabbath School in the neighbourhood where she lived; she engaged in the work of teaching the youth the only way of salvation, through the one mediator.  “Thus saith the Lord” decided everything for her.  She was humble, upright, sincere, hospitable and kind, large-hearted and open-handed for every good cause.  She knew how to use the world, without abusing it.”




Serious Session Matters


"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."     Ecclesiastes 3:1


Very shortly after its inception the Session was required to deal with weighty matters of church organization.  The Presbyterians of Puslinch were a congregation in connection with the Church (or Kirk) of Scotland, and having so recently left that country they were naturally very much interested and concerned in events across the ocean.


          Thus, the Great Disruption in the Church of Scotland was felt in the small congregation of Presbyterians in Puslinch.  The controversy was related to the relationship between Church and State, and had to do with lay patrons (wealthy land-owners) of churches nominating ministers instead of adhering to the reformation practice of congregations “calling” ministers.  The final blow came in 1842 when civil courts in Scotland interfered with the courts of the Church of Scotland.  In 1843, over one third of the ministers in Scotland seceded from the Church of Scotland to found a voluntarily endowed and supported Church.


These issues of patronage and of state domination over church affairs did not exist in colonial Canada, but the recently emigrated Scots cared very much about what happened in their native homeland.  At the same time, while sympathizing with the secessionist or Free Church Party, many Canadian Presbyterians realized they would lose all title to church property, their share in the Clergy Reserves, and even the Queen’s College Charter; all these were held in the name of “The Presbyterian Church of Canada in connection with the Church of Scotland”.  The Free Church in Scotland had willingly abandoned all property rights in the Kirk, but their sympathizers in the colonies were not in such a strong financial position.


On the other hand, a minority group led by the fiery John Bayne, minister at Galt, wanted to cut the tie with the old Kirk completely.


Proponents of both sides crossed the ocean, and aided by the press, inflamed the issue in the colonies.  At least twenty congregations determined to secede before the crucial Canadian Synod meeting in Kingston on July 3 1844. (John Bayne had led most of his congregation out of old St. Andrew’s to form the secessionist Knox Church).  The debates and manoeuvring in Synod lasted a full week before resolutions in favour of independence from the Scottish Church were passed by a majority of 56 to 40 over an amendment by the Rev. John Bayne that the phrase “in connections with the Church of Scotland” be dropped from the name of the Synod, and that the Synod seek legal actions for the change and if it meant the loss of endowments, the Synod should be willing to accept this consequence.  Rev. Meldrum, pastor of the Puslinch Presbyterians, was also at the Synod and he supported Rev. Bayne.




 Immediately after the defeat of his amendment, John Bayne led the secessionist minority in their withdrawal to form a Synod calling itself the Presbyterian Church of Canada although it was commonly known as the Free Church.  That meant it was free from its connection with the Church of Scotland.


In a pastoral letter to all supporters, the new Synod admitted it had no "practical grievance" against the Church of Scotland, but to countenance sin “is to become a partaker of ...sin.”  The same “treachery” might be perpetrated in Canada if the connection was not dissolved.


The Puslinch pastor, Rev. Meldrum, had attended the Synod and had withdrawn with the Free Church minority.  The minute of Session for July 14th 1844 in regard to this important event is of historic interest.  It reveals that Rev. Meldrum had discussed the subject with his parishioners before he left for Kingston:


“The Session having considered that the congregation on June 17th last, being the Thanksgiving Day after the dispensation of the Lord’s Supper in this place, had expressed their anxiety of being no longer identified with the Established Church of Scotland ....”


Now the Pastor was back with the news of disruption which had occurred at the Kingston Synod: “The session … did cordially approve of the steps which have been taken and the measures adopted by the Protesting Party of “the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Canada” and (they) expressed their willing­ness to become part and parcel of said church.  Session agreed to express and record their gratitude to God for the united and harmonious testimony which the congregation, without any exception, have been led to bear against the sins of the Established Church of Scotland, and the agreeable and cheerful manner in which they have expressed their willingness to be identified with the Presbyterian Church of Canada, but more especially for their expressed attachment to the crown rights of the Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, the lone Sovereign and sole Head of His Church." The congregations, by their secession, had voluntarily forfeited their right to their church properties; but as there was no one to take exception, they continued to use the churches and property without interruption for a number of years.


The Free Church Synod, which by renouncing their connection with the Church of Scotland had forfeited Government aid and their claim to the Clergy Reserves Fund, proceeded to consider means of supporting its ministry.  A Sustentation Fund scheme was proposed in 1844 to provide each minister with a minimum income by pooling resources.  The Puslinch congregation declined to accept this proposal but expressed its willingness to contribute to the support of weak congregations and renewed its declaration of adherence to the Presbyterian Church of Canada.


Synod also proposed the proper management of financial affairs through the institution of a Deacon’s Court in every congregation.  This court would supplant the Board of Managers.  The congregation agreed that the cause was worthy but it would not accept the means, namely a Deacon’s Court.  Later, the Session reintroduced the idea but the congregation again rejected the proposal again showing preference for the annually elected Board of Management.  The Session records read: “We agree to urge the case no further for the present, trusting that by and by the congregation may be led to see the error of their ways, in having a Board of Managers, the invention of men, serving in the church of Christ instead of a court of ordained deacons, the institution of the Holy Ghost”.  This dialogue indicates the members’ determination not to return to the customs of privilege, which had dominated in the Church of Scotland.



Reverend William Meldrum




As was customary for ministers then, Rev. Meldrum and Rev. Smellie of Fergus, at different times, went on mission tours to the sparsely settled districts farther north, thus laying the foundations for the Presbyterian Church in those sections.


Soon after the November 5th, 1853 Session meeting, Rev. Meldrum resigned from the charge.  He had been the pastor for fourteen years during which time he entered sympathetically in to the struggles of the early settlers, and took a conspicuous part in laying the foundations of Presbyterianism in their midst.  He had married a Badenoch girl, purchased a farm, and thus became as one of them.




In 1854, the East Puslinch congregation was forced to face a very grave difficulty.  At the time of secession, the congregation had given up title to the church but no communicants of the Church of Scotland had taken exception to the Free Church continuing to occupy the building.  In the early 1850’s, however, a group of “Residuaries” claimed the east church property and the congregation was forced to move.


Many parishioners believed that a church located near the centre of the Presbyterian portion of the township would enable them to form a congregation of almost unparalleled strength, and would avoid a separation into two charges.  Several meetings considered the possibility of building a church on lot 26 rear First, but the majority was not in favour, believing the territory too extensive to be centralized.  The decision was made to divide into two separate charges.  The necessary arrangements were completed and the tie, which had united them for sixteen years, was amicably dissolved.




The Congregation Moves East


The West Puslinch congregation, now independent, had to consider its position.  Their building had been used for fourteen years and it seemed inadequate for the requirements of the newly independent congregation, which hoped to serve all the families who were now living in the area.  The question of building a new west church was considered and the first question was to select a site.  Some recommended staying in the same place; some advocated the offer of a lot by Mr. Donald Stewart on lot 20 rear Gore; others were in favour of the lot offered by Mr. Alex Fraser on lot 26 front First at Fraserville (Crieff). The final meeting held to decide this important question found most in favour of building on Mr. Fraser’s farm at Crieff.  Thus, the present church location was chosen.




A building committee was duly appointed; arrangements were made to obtain subscriptions; plans were adopted for the erection of a frame building with a seating capacity of 400; Mr. Robert Stewart was chosen as contractor.  The people assisted in preparing and hauling material and the building was completed in 1854 and dedicated to the glory of God and the spiritual well being of the community.  Mr. Meldrum returned to conduct the first communion in the new church, and on the Thanksgiving Monday, he baptised 24 children.


After Rev. Meldrum left the congregation, a student of Knox College, Alexander McLean, conducted the services in both east and west churches during his vacation.  When he completed his college course the following year, he received a call from each of the newly separated churches.  He accepted the call of the East Church and the West Congregation, no doubt disappointed, continued to seek a minister.  A delegation from the congregation visited Dr. Bayne in Galt to seek his assistance.  Dr. Bayne promised to act as their agent in his upcoming visit to Scotland.




The Influence of Rev. John Bayne


"I have seen the affliction of my people and have heard their cry; I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them."                     Exodus 3: 7,8



Reverend John Bayne



Rev. Dr. Bayne had visited the Puslinch congregation on a weekday about 1841 to tell them of the proposed College in Kingston for the education and training of young men for the ministry.  A large congregation was present, and it was deeply moved by the forceful eloquence of the speaker.  At the close of the service, a subscription list was opened, and many went forward and subscribed the sum of ten shillings each, payable in five annual instalments.  Others, in lesser amounts, gave according to their ability.  Dr. Bayne expressed himself as greatly pleased with their interest and generosity.  All were delighted with the address of Dr. Bayne, but especially young Thomas Wardrope.  That day he determined to become a minister.  He was able to become a student at the newly opened Queen’s College in March 1842, and he went on to become the first Canadian born Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Canada in 1858.


Rev. John Bayne had emigrated from Scotland in 1834 and the following year he was inducted to old St. Andrew’s Church in Galt.  He was visiting in Scotland during the disruption, which occurred there in 1843, and it was under his leadership in 1844 that the disruption of the Church in Canada occurred.  Thus, Rev. Bayne was regarded as the father of the Free Church of Canada.  He aided in the establishment of churches in the districts surrounding Galt and was instrumental as well, on several occasions, of inducing ministers to come out from Scotland to accept the charge when a new church and congregation was formed.  When Rev. Wm. Meldrum was called to minister to the Puslinch Presbyterians, Rev. Bayne assisted with the process.




Mindful of the needs of the West Puslinch congregation while he was in Scotland in 1856, Dr. Bayne contacted his friend Mr. Bonar who suggested a suitable young minister.  Dr. Bayne then wrote to the prospect, Rev. Andrew Maclean, as follows;



Edinburgh, August 26, 1856.


Rev. and Dear Sir:


Having been deputed by a Gaelic-speaking congregation in Canada West adjoining my own, to look out for a pastor who might break among them the bread of life, and having heard from Mr. Bonar of your willingness to go out to Canada, and being assured of your qualifications for the pastoral office, I now write to offer you the appointment to the congregation in question that I have been empowered to make, an offer in which Mr. Bonar heartily concurs. 


The congregation to which I refer is that of West Puslinch, situated in the township of Puslinch, about 30 miles west from the head of Lake Ontario and about 8 miles from Galt where I reside.


There is a large body of Highlanders in Puslinch - two congregations - the East and West - were formerly united under one pastor, but both are now strong enough to support a pastor and I understand are flourishing and the West are now anxiously awaiting the results of my action upon the commission they have given me.  They have a large church already built - larger than the east - and I have no doubt that an acceptable minister would draw into it a large and flourishing congregation.


There are several worthy men in the congregation and I have no doubt that anything that might be suggested might be done by them to strengthen the hands of a faithful minister in his work and to make him otherwise comfortable.  The stipend offered is 150 pounds yearly, equal to 120 pounds sterling and I believe might be depended upon.


From there being only one church to supply and the congregation likely to be located within a few miles around it, the pastoral work would be much easier than it often is in Canada, and in this respect the situation has advantages for a young minister, which I daresay you will be able to appreciate.


Such then is the field for usefulness which is now in the providence of God set before you - and I will only add that if it commends itself to you as a field you would desire to occupy, it is desirable that you enter upon it as soon as possible.  The congregation has now been some time without a pastor and of the natural tendency of such a state of things, as well as the injurious influence of hope deferred, I need not tell you.  I propose, D.V. returning to Canada in the course of the next month and would be delighted to have you for a companion; but if that be too soon for you, although the ministers of Christ like the soldiers, should be ready to start whenever the trumpet sounds, there is time enough for you to get ready before winter.  Our winters in Canada, although severe as respects the temperature, are remarkably dry, and in consequence favourable to health, and you need not be deterred from going out late in the season of the year of being met at once by the rigours of winter.


At the same time, if anything occurred to prevent your going out this year, I believe the people of Puslinch would wait for you until spring, provided you gave them a definite promise to be with them at that time.


With regard to Canada generally, as a field of labour for the Minister of Christ, I may here state that the material prosperity of the province is at ability to support ministers, there is a widely prevalent desire to secure their services; that our Church has obtained a firm footing and extensive influence in the country which gives every encouragement to hope for an increase of her members and her usefulness; and that no faithful minister of our church need think he is going from a higher to an inferior field of usefulness - but very much the reverse - in going from Scotland to Canada.


As to outfit, should you think of closing with this appointment, I regret that by an oversight nothing has been said of it in the letter requesting me to look out for a minister, but the usual allowance given to missionaries will of course be forthcoming.


Be so good as to let me have your answer, I hope a favourable one, as soon as possible.


Had time permitted, I should have visited North Uist in person, and given you further information about Canada and Puslinch than can well be done by letter, but if anything of information has been overlooked I need scarcely say that I shall be happy to write again.


Praying that the great Head of the Church may dispose you to such a decision as shall be for His own glory and the good of our souls, I am, Reverend and dear sir,


Yours very truly,

John Bayne (signed)




Thus, it was that the West Puslinch congregation became somewhat of an adopted child of Knox’s Church, Galt.  John Bayne and Rev. Andrew Maclean became firm friends.  Dr. Bayne is quoted as saying “You make a friend, shutting your eyes to his faults; and when these come out, you are mortified and shaken.  When I make a friend, I first try to find out all his peculiarities and faults, and if, looking at both his bad and good qualities, I think I can make him my friend, I do so, and then I am ready for whatever may happen.  What he does will never surprise or disappoint me, and I am his friend for life.”


Some two months later, Andrew Maclean and Rev. John Bayne travelled together to Canada West, via New York.  On appearing as their probable minister, he made so favourable an impression on the West Puslinch congregation that they extended him a unanimous call, which he willingly accepted.  Thus, Rev. Andrew Maclean became the first pastor of the separate charge of West Puslinch in 1857.




The Ministry of Rev. Andrew Maclean 1857-1873






The Reverend Andrew Maclean



Andrew Maclean’s friendship with Rev. Dr. Bayne continued to grow.  No doubt, the older man encouraged him to serve beyond the congregation as well.  Maclean was marked early as dependable for duties at Synods, Presbyterials, or other special occasions; he was even willing to meet the expenses out of his own pocket, since no official fund for travel existed at that time, and such assignments could be arduous.


A year after his arrival in Canada, Rev. Maclean was one of several clergy chosen to officiate at the ordination and induction of a new minister in Owen Sound.  The group had first to assemble in Toronto, there board the train for Collingwood, then transfer to a boat for the slow passage across Nottawasaga Bay, around the point of land and into the Sound; and of course at the conclusion of the solemn ceremony the visitors faced the same travel plan in reverse.  Three days elapsed before Rev. Maclean was back in West Puslinch.


His own ministry must have been difficult despite Dr. Bayne's admonishments to the contrary.  The sacrament of baptism was a cherished tradition with all Scottish families regardless of their recognition of the need for regular church organization.  Rev. Maclean travelled from the Third Concession of Puslinch in the north to the Fourth Concession of Beverly in the south to administer the rites of baptism.  On at least one occasion the child was named for the pastor:


“Smith, Andrew MacLean, legitimate son of George Smith and Janet McPherson, residing on 4th concession Beverly, born March 18th 1866, and baptised April 4th 1866 by Rev. Andrew Maclean.”




Frequently families came together and two or more children were baptised the same day.  A diarist born in 1865 wrote his family's story of his baptism: “I was christened at my Uncle Archibald's on November 29 1865. My cousin Maggie was christened at the same time.  When the clergyman, Rev. Andrew Maclean, was ready, (although we were at my uncle's house, and my uncle was father's older brother as well as being a church elder,) the minister called for the boy first.  My aunt, who was the soul of hospitality, was concentrating on preparing the feast for the assembled friends and relatives.  When the minister asked for the bowl of water, she promptly drew it from the boiling iron kettle!”


The location of the Smith child’s parents is worthy of comment.  The people of north Beverly had long been associated with the West Puslinch congregation, and many families in Beverly also made use of the West Puslinch minister for weddings, baptisms and funerals.


Pastor and congregation were to have a happy relationship.  The Session was now composed of Rev. Maclean, Moderator and Session Clerk, with Neil McPhatter, Gillies McBean, and Angus McPherson of lot 24 Gore.  The first change in connection with the services noted by the Session was that hereafter the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper should be dispensed twice a year instead of once as formerly.  The Session also made provision for collections appointed by the Presbytery in aid of Home and Foreign Mission funds.


In May 1858, the Session authorized the minister to announce from the pulpit the necessity of nominating three men for the office of eldership in the congregation.  At a meeting soon after it was found that the majority was in favour of Donald Currie, Alexander Fraser and Archibald Gilchrist.  At the ordination, held on Tuesday June 1, the Strabane pastor, Rev. Alexander McLean conducted the service.




The presence of Rev. Alexander McLean of Strabane suggests the interesting fact that there were three ministerial McLeans in close proximity.  They were popularly designated according to their characteristics: Kind Maclean of West Puslinch, Good McLean of Strabane, and Fearless McLean of East Puslinch.


On Thanksgiving Day in 1859, the much beloved Rev. John Bayne was preparing to go to Crieff to preach when he collapsed, and within hours he was dead.  Rev. Andrew Maclean was named Interim Moderator of Knox Galt and when Dr. Bayne’s successor resigned a few years later, Maclean was again asked to serve in this capacity.


When Rev. Maclean first came to the community, he boarded with the Archibald Thomson family on lot 21, about a mile west of the church.  One may speculate that this family had the largest home, in that theirs was the first stone house to be built in the community in 1853.  (It is the present Barber home.)   About 1860, the congregation decided to provide a permanent home for their minister. 


A convenient lot of four acres near the church was purchased from Allan Stewart.  The house and other buildings on the lot were old and unsuitable, so the people exerted themselves to build a new manse.  Elder Neil McPhatter was especially energetic in soliciting subscriptions and urging on the work.  When the Rev. Andrew first moved into the manse, Mrs. Molly Patterson, a widow from Galt, acted as his housekeeper.  In 1861, he married Catherine Cameron of Chatsworth, and she received a true highland welcome to the community.  In 1863, Rev. Maclean made an entry in the Register of Births and Baptisms, which must have pleased him:


"Maclean:  John Bayne, lawful son of Andrew Maclean, first Presbyterian Minister of West Puslinch and Catherine Cameron, and born on the twenty sixth September one thousand eight hundred and sixty two and baptised on the ninth of February one thousand eight hundred and sixty three years."


In 1866, the family was complete when a second son, Hugh, was born.




In the 1930’s, John W. Gilchrist built a replica of the sanctuary, and drew accompanying diagrams of the usual seating arrangement for various periods during Rev. Maclean’s pastorate.  The model has two levels, before and after the pulpit was rebuilt. The church was parallel to the road, with the entry door at the east end.  The model is the property of the Wellington County Museum and Archives.


Model, exterior & interior, 1854 Crieff Church built by J. W. Gilchrist

Courtesy of Wellington County Museum & Archives.        




In March 1860, Mr. Currie drew the attention of the Session to the propriety of calling Mr. Charles Blair to the office of eldership as he had recently settled within the bounds of the congregation and would be useful in the cause of true religion in the congregation.  Mr. Blair was duly ordained on April 15th 1860.               


Elder Neil McPhatter’s death in 1867 was a great loss to the Session and congregation.  His passing was eulogized in the Jubilee Book in glowing terms:


"He was a man of conspicuous piety when the congregation was organized, and he was characterized by conscientious fidelity to what he believed to be right.  He was fearless in correcting abuses, a zealous defender of the faith, and a strong upholder of the principles of godliness."


Another side of the Rev. Andrew is revealed by Colonel J. B. Maclean’s biographer, Mr. Floyd S. Chalmers.  It seems that the Crieff blacksmith, Christopher Moffat, was at heart a frustrated revivalist, always the first and longest contributor to spontaneous prayers at mid-week meeting, given to argument with the minister on any private or public occasion short of the regular Sunday service, and in general, as one church member put it, “a man with tongue trouble”.


Rev. Maclean tried to keep him under control but nothing availed, and finally Moffat decided to transfer to a Galt Church and to that end requested his certificate of membership from Maclean - an appalling thought, especially as the minister knew the people who would soon have to suffer.   Andrew refused; a few days later when he heard Moffat was forwarding his request to the district Presbytery, the minister sat himself down and drew up a document listing eighteen charges against the man.  Weeks of bickering back and forth, meetings, and committee hearings ensued, but Rev. Andrew would not budge.  Eventually, perhaps for the first time in Ontario history, the Presbytery, rather than the individual church, over the signature of its minister, issued a membership transfer on behalf of Moffat.  The Crieff minister did not appeal the decision, but it is extremely likely that he did not approve and did not forget.  The Reverend Andrew Maclean, though gentle in manner, was, as a friend of his once wrote, “not wanting in Celtic fire, which could, on occasion, burst into flame”.




Mr. Chalmers goes on: “In the pulpit he was a calm, convincing speaker, a man who used reason and sound deduction for his message rather than oratorical flourishes.”  Many years later, in a letter to a friend, John Bayne Maclean described his father in these words:  “He possessed a fine clear mind.  He was acute in discrimination and logical in his discourses.  He was unassuming, pious and substantial.  He was to the last a hard student of the Bible, deeply attached to his flock, and very solicitous for the eternal welfare of each of them.  He had an intense abhorrence of everything dishonest, false, and hypocritical.”


In 1928, Rev. Maclean's son, John Bayne Maclean, received the following letter:


Mistawasis Saskatchewan

July 5, 1928.


Lieut. Col. John Bayne McLean


Dear Sir:


I have just learned from Dr. Bayne (Rev.) of Regina that it is the son of our most and dearly beloved pastor of my childhood and he who used to come to our home on his father's visits in company with his little brother Hughie...


Do you remember the humble home of James Wight in your father's congregation in West Puslinch?  Into that home no man on earth was more joyfully received than Rev. Andrew McLean who often brought his two boys who played with us while our elders chatted in the house.  I can never forget the admiration I had for the kilts you wore.


I have been in Indian Mission work for nearly 40 years and have at times read with interest, articles on Indian life in McLean's Magazine, little dreaming that I, as a child, knew "McLean"...I should like to greet by this letter John Bayne McLean, not as a grown up individual but as the little boy who used to come to our home with our beloved "minister" around whose name is still a halo.


Yours as in childhood of yore,


Jeannie Wight Moore




A different memory was recalled by a schoolmate who wrote to Colonel Maclean in 1932:  At “the first tea meeting I attended in the old church, I was with you and other boys.  When tea was being served, an elderly man in front (we were seated near where Mr. Becker sat on Sundays) commented very unfavourably on our behaviour... You took my tea and reached under the seat and emptied it on the floor about the old gent’s feet...”


In June 1870, three new elders were added to the session roll: William McCormick, Duncan McDonald, and Lachlan McMillan.  Two years later, the minister’s health declined.  He continued to serve the parish, but in April 1873 he passed away, age 53 years.  Rev. Maclean was buried on the face of the hill, near the corner of the church.  Mrs. Maclean and her two young sons soon moved to live in Durham.


Let us hear the Jubilee Book:  "The long pastorate of Mr. Maclean, extending over 16 years, made a great impression upon the congregation and it is pleasing to remember his kindliness of manner, his saintliness of character, his fidelity in pulpit ministrations, and his accuracy and method in all business relationships.


During his pastorate, the Session was called upon to deal with many irregularities in social and congregational life, and some of these caused intense feeling among the membership; language vigorous and unwarranted was often employed, and the most extreme bitterness was often manifested, but amidst it all, the truly kind and spiritual dignity of the moderator was preserved.  His memory is still regarded with very great interest and reverence."




The Gaelic


"oir chuir mi romhan gun colas a ghabhail air

ni san bith 'nur measg, ach air Iosa Criosd,

agus esan air a cheusadh." I Corinthians II:2



This was the text chosen by Rev. William Meldrum for his first service in the Puslinch Church; it was in the language of the vast majority of his parishioners.  In 1854, there were about one hundred and forty families connected with the West Puslinch Church.  About seventy of those were from Argylshire, Scotland, and the remainder with few exceptions were from Perth- shire, Ross-shire, and Inverness.  An observer about this time reported that of one hundred and twenty persons present in church, only twenty were unable to speak Gaelic.  Services were conducted in Gaelic, but consideration was shown as a service in English followed the main service.


Gaelic is a soft vocalic and mellifluous language; harsh and hard sounds are avoided, softened, or assimilated, and every word tells the story of its own connection to the unlettered peasant as vividly as to the most learned etymologist.  A whale for example, is muc-mhara, literally, "a sow of the sea"; an adopted son is uchd-mac, literally a son of the bosom, as contrasted with a son of the womb; a swallow is gobhlan-gaoithe, meaning a bird that soars the breeze with its forky tail; while the word cruthachadh, to create, used in the first verse of the first chapter of Genesis suggests the philosophic notion that form is the product of divine reason on matter.


Rev. Maclean found he was seldom without a booking ahead as a visitor to two or three other pulpits, due to his facility in both Gaelic and English.  Neither of his friends, Middlemiss to the north, or Bayne closer by in Galt, could speak the ancient tongue, and though they visited Crieff frequently, and participated in the service, it remained for the church's own minister to deliver the regular Sunday sermons in Gaelic.


By the decade of the 1880’s the Gaelic language had more and more fallen into disuse, with the number attending the Gaelic services reduced.  This was in large part due to the passing of the older generation, and the use of English by the second generation.  Consequently it was decided to change the order of service and give precedence to the English service, with the Gaelic service following.  This arrangement gave great offence to a large number who were jealously guarding the interests of their parent language.  It had been made sacred by the heroic memories of centuries, and through it the truth as it is in Jesus had been most profitably communicated to them for many years.  After 1890 only the English language was used except at the May and September communions.  Gaelic services were held on these occasions and these were greatly appreciated by the worshippers, about 30 being the average number.  This arrangement necessitated bringing in an assistant minister who “had the Gaelic”, and who could therefore conduct the Gaelic Service since Rev. Robertson, who was minister at this time, was unilingual.


The last service in Gaelic was held at communion in 1908.  It was held in the vestry, the English service being conducted at the same time in the church.  Rev. Donald Strachan was the minister at the Gaelic service and Rev. Samuel Lawrence conducted the English service.  Some parents who had spoken Gaelic in their youth brought their young children to the Gaelic Service to give them this last unique experience.




Holy Communion


"But let a man examine himself" I Corinthians XI: 28


John S. Moir’s book “Enduring Witness” puts this delicate topic in perspective.  “The most sensitive area of worship and the most resistant to change was the communion service.  In the 1870’s, especially in Highland churches, the practices of fasting before communion, the “Men's Day” service of interrogation and exhortation, and the “fencing of the table” were rigorously preserved to ensure that the infrequent communion was the high point of the church year.”


  One of the first decisions made by Session when Rev. Andrew Maclean came, was to increase the number of sacraments to two each year.  With the 1890 union of Crieff and Duff’s to a two-point charge there was a change to three communions each year; finally in December 1984 the practise of four communions annually was instituted.


In West Puslinch, the practical preparation for communion took portions of at least three days:  the tablecloths were laundered, and the knives sharpened to remove the crusts from the bread. Then there was a trip to Galt or Guelph to purchase the wine.  The services of Communion Fast and Thanksgiving Monday following Communion are both mentioned in the records of our church.




An October 19th 1932, Family Herald and Weekly Star article by Jean Richie Anderson, explains these events: Thursday was a “fast” day when everyone went to church, and when the minister exhorted his congregation to confess their sins humbly to God, and to plead for His forgiveness, that they might be cleansed and be found worthy to approach the table.


At the close of this service, or at the church on Saturday, the tokens would be distributed to the people.  The elders reserved the right to refuse a token to anyone whom they thought was not worthy; no greater reflection could be cast on a member, and the discipline usually had the effect of making one forsake the evil.


In Highland churches, the Friday service, led by several chosen laymen, was called “The Question”.  A text would be found in some passage of Scripture, and when the meeting had been declared “open”, the men would discuss the text from different angles.


The real Preparatory Service was on Saturday, when special emphasis was given to self-examination, lest any who were "unworthy" should presume to approach the holy place.  "Come first to the Lord of the Table, and then to the table of the Lord," was a text often quoted.




The Sunday service was very impressive.  After the singing of a psalm, led by the precentor, the long prayer, the sermon, and then another psalm, the minister would descend from the pulpit and take his place at the communion table.  Then the elders would uncover the bread and the wine, but before these were served, the tokens were collected from those in the pews set apart for communicants.  The words of warrant were read from First Corinthians, XI: 23:27, and after a prayer consecrating the "elements," the elders distributed the bread and wine to the people.  Another exhortation followed, and then the closing psalm, a prayer, the doxology and benediction.  It was a long service, but the devout went away feeling that they were descending “from the mountain of ordinance, to mingle once more with the world”. On Monday a Thanksgiving Service closed the communion season.


Church tokens were coin-like metal pieces of various shapes:  round, oblong, oval, square, or six or eight sided.  They were used in the Presbyterian churches as tickets of admittance to the Lord’s Supper.  Some were crude products of a blacksmith’s shop, or, simpler still, the work of some pioneer minister, who rather than depart from any of the cherished customs of his people, would cut them roughly from a piece of tin or whatever metal was nearest to hand.  Others were as beautifully made as any of our modern coins, bearing the name of the church for which they were made, the date of its erection, and frequently a text, such as "Do this in remembrance of me," or, "Let a man examine himself."


The token is of very ancient origin, being traced back to the first centuries of the Christian era.  It seems to have come into use in Presbyterian churches soon after the Reformation in Scotland.  In times of persecution, tokens were used to distinguish friend from foe, and communicant from non-communicant, and it was the missionaries, sent to Canada from Scotland and Ireland, who brought the custom to our country.  The token was usually the property of the minister.   At Crieff, metal communion tokens were not replaced by printed cards until 1940.


After warnings for several decades that a common communion cup could be the source of communicable disease, individual cups were first used in 1897 at New Glasgow, N.S. and Summerside, P.E.I.  Within two decades the use of such cups had become the rule rather than the exception.  Knox Crieff purchased individual communion glasses in 1917.  In 1922, Major Hugh Maclean requested permission to buy the original communion set from the congregation; instead they voted to present the set and the tokens used until then, to him as a gift.


By that time the communion service among Canadian Presbyterians had already broken with another hallowed tradition: unfermented grape juice had almost universally replaced wine in the service.  Credit for this change belongs to the forces of temperance and especially to adherents of the Free Church tradition, for that church had always been in the forefront of the temperance movement.  Crieff congregation made the change to unfermented grape juice in 1914.  On June 7th 1980 the congregation discontinued the practise of setting aside the centre pews for communicants.




Social Issues


"Observe the Sabbath and keep it holy

as I the Lord your God have commanded you."

Deuteronomy V:12



The church in general was concerned with the social issue of temperance, which led to the wider issue of Sabbath profanation.  In Puslinch, the sacred reverence for the proper observance of the Sabbath was addressed while the issue of temperance was conveniently ignored.


“The Moderator stated that Donald ___  had been applying for baptism to his child; and that during the Moderator's conver­sation with him respecting the application, he came to understand that the applicant was a professed transgressor of the Lord’s Day, inasmuch as he was a professed malt-maker.  For according to his own declaration, malt, to the extent in which he was engaged, cannot be made without violating the Lord’s Day.  Therefore, it became the duty of the Session to consider whether they would sanction the continuance of either of the sacraments of the New Testament to such a presumptuous violator of the law of God.


Whereupon, he was called to appear before the Session, and after much reasoning with him respecting his practise as a breaker of the fourth commandment, he was told in very solemn manner, that until he should at least confess his guilt, and condemn his former practise, and promise for the future to forsake his wicked ways, and to attend upon the private and public means of grace with his family, they could not consider him but as an enemy to Christianity, and consequently must refuse him the precious privileges of Christ’s followers.”




The Beverly Township Element

in the West Puslinch Congregation


When the arrangement for a West Puslinch Congregation to be served by Rev. Meldrum once every third Sunday was made in February, 1840, the Scots from the tenth concession of Beverly were among the petitioners, and their representatives signed the Bond of Surety to pay one third of the pastor's salary.


It seems evident that when the sanctuary moved east to Crieff, the Beverly contingent continued to support the church.  Rev. Andrew Maclean methodically listed the heads of families of this parish in the Beverly district; there were some thirty-four families.  It has been possible to determine where most of them lived, and in some cases to give detail of their children.  When the family was particularly active in the congregation, the detail is included under the “Families of the Congregation” section.


In addition to the movement to the north and west, which occurred in all other rural communities, the Clyde Area experienced the phenomenon of Evangelism.  The John McPherson family invited Evangelists of the Christian Assembly to Clyde.  Andrew McBain offered land for an Assembly Hall which was built in 1877; the Clyde and Scots Corners Women’s Institute Tweedsmuir History Book notes that during the period 1875-77 readings were held at Gillies McBean's and at William Scott's homes.  On October 23, 1875, fifty persons were baptized by immersion in the creek on George Renwick’s farm.


This perhaps explains why in the early twentieth century congregation listings only Tom McDonald and his father-in-law Isaac Roszell are included from the Clyde area.


The original list included only the name of the head of family.  We have attempted to indicate where the family lived and to give family information about them.  All of these families lived in Beverly.  Concession Ten is only one farm deep.  Some of the farms face on the Gore Road at the north end; most open on the north side of the Clyde Road at the south end of the lot.  Others were in the ninth concession, the north farms facing the Clyde Road, the south ones facing the Ninth, later known as Highway or Regional Road 97.


1.   Alexander Robison: lot 7 Tenth; Alexander and Elizabeth McQuillan Robison's son William was born in 1860.


2.   Donald Cameron: the south part of lot 8 Tenth was sold to Donald Cameron in 1839 and it remained in his possession until his 1864 death.


3.   John McPherson: lot 10 Tenth, Clyde Road. His son William opened a store in the house in 1857, and later moved it to the village of Clyde. This family brought the Evangelists of the Christian Assembly to Clyde.


4.   John Fraser - no record


5.   Duncan MacDonald: lot 12 Ninth, south part; Duncan was a brother to the little MacDonalds. He and his wife, Annie Grant, adopted William and Ellen Manson. (See the “Families of the Congregation” section).


6.   George MacDonald: all of lot 10 Ninth; one of the little MacDonalds. (See the “Families of the Congregation” section).


7.   William McBean, lot 11 south part, Ninth, was the first settler in the district in 1834. In 1840, he married Margaret McBean, the witnesses being Gillies McBean and John McColl.  This suggests that Margaret may have been Gillies' sister. Children of the couple, who were baptized by the West Puslinch ministers, were: William 1842; Lauchlan 1845; John 1847; Gillies 1849; Alexander 1851; Duncan 1853; Ann and Isobella 1856; and William 1858. They lived on the south part of the lot and sold the north part to his brother John.


8.    John McBean: north lot 11 Tenth; John is named both in the 1844 congregation and by Rev. Maclean. When the first Clyde school burned, classes were held at John McBean's home until the new building was erected.  All the children of John and Isabella Fraser McBean were baptized by the West Puslinch Minister: Andrew 1834; William, 1839 went to California; Alexander 1843; John 1845; Mary 1848; Isabella 1852 (Mrs. Bickle); Margaret (Mrs. Brewster); Mary stayed at home with her parents. Andrew married Aussie Decker, daughter of Adolphus. They lived lot 8, Tenth. Like others in the community, Andrew was a convert to Evangelism and he gave a lot for the Gospel Hall, which was built in 1877.


9.    Gillies McBean: lot 11 Tenth; (See Families.)


10.  William McBean: lot 12 Tenth (See Families.)


11.   Lewis McDonald: lot 12 south part Ninth; later lot 13 north part. (See Families).


1.                         Simon Fraser: lot 12 Tenth; (See Families.)


13.  Donald Cameron: lot 13 Tenth, Gore Road; these Camerons were from Perthshire.

            Donald's sister, Janet, married Hugh Stewart, Crieff   storekeeper (See Families).


14. Mrs. Cameron: mother of the above.


15. Allan McCoig: lot 14 Ninth; Allan and Jane Henderson McCoig's family was baptized by the West Puslinch Pastor:  Janet 1856; James 1857; Margaret 1860; and Alexander 1862.


16. Widow Finlayson: no record.


17. Andrew McBain:  no record


18. Robert Stewart: lot 18 Tenth; (See Families.)


19. William Renwick and


20. George Renwick were brothers who married Johnston sisters, Agnes and Mary. William and Mary lived lot 19 on the north side of the Tenth.  Their daughter Marsina 1861 (Mrs. Silas Decker) was baptized by Rev. Maclean.  George and Agnes were also on that property when their children, Peter 1865, and Mary Jane 1869 were born.  George was a convert to Evangelism.  He and his family later moved west. 


21. Alexander Easton: lot 20 Tenth; (See Families.)


22. John Myers: no record.


23. Charles Myers: no record.


24. Donald Campbell: lot 22 Tenth. Donald and Mary McPherson Campbell married in 1841. They were described as Puslinch residents when they married and the witnesses were Alexander McKenzie and James Martin. Children of this couple, baptized by the West Puslinch pastor, were:  Angus 1842; Isabella 1847; Alexander 1849; and Donald 1858.  When Donald was born, they were living in Beverly.


25.        Kenneth Campbell: lot 23 Tenth. Kenneth and Penuel McPherson Campbell were          married in 1848 and they lived on lot 23 Tenth of Beverly. Penuel was probably a        relative of John McPherson of that Township. Their children were: John 1850;        Angus 1851; Alexander 1853; Margaret 1855; Donald 1857; Kate 1858; Isabella         1860; and Elizabeth 1862. 


26.       Alexander Chisholm: In the early period lot 23 Tenth. (See Families.)


28.       William Grey: lot 24 Tenth. William was listed by Rev. Maclean as a head of family        in 1857. He later moved with his wife, Elizabeth Stewart, to Sullivan Township        where their daughter Margaret was born in 1878 and baptized by the West Puslinch minister.


29.       John McGregor: lot 27 Ninth. (See Families.)


30.       Widow Cockran:  no record.


31.       William McKenzie: The Crieff School Library records that Catherine, Jane, John,        Alexander and Daniel McKenzie borrowed books in the period after 1867. We cannot     be sure they were of this family.


32.       Archibald MacDonald: lot 27 Tenth. (See Families.)


33.       John Munroe: in Tenth.  (See Families.)


34.       Donald and Betty Johnston MacDonald: lot 26, front Gore; One child, Jane Ann,             1856, was baptized here.




The Killean People and the

Ongoing Church at Crieff


When the lot 15 church was built in 1840, its mission was to serve the residents of the Killean District and their neighbours on concession ten in Beverly.  By 1854, the needs of the community had changed.  All the land east of Killean was now filled with settlers.  Consequently, it seemed natural to the majority to move the church to Crieff.  Nevertheless, there were many practising Christians who felt there should still be religious instruction. Killean Sunday School classes in the school were organized under the leadership of Donald Currie, elder of the West Puslinch Church, and assisted by Miss Catherine McMaster.  The extent to which the Killean community appreciated Mr. Currie's leadership may be measured by a diary notation made by one of the participants: "The Killean people followed a custom of presenting worthy people who made an exceptional contribution to the community.  Donald Currie was honoured in this way for being a faithful and worthy Sunday School Superintendent; since he was well advanced in years and not blessed with much of this world’s goods, he was presented with a serviceable suit of clothes.  The committee, having some money after the purchase, arranged for a photo of the elderly gentleman, in his new suit.  All who subscribed a dollar received a copy of the picture."



Mr. Donald Currie




Both Rev. McDiarmid and Rev. MacAuley preached at Sunday evening services at Killean.  During his ministry, Rev. MacAuley preached there regularly, once each month.


The following information is gained from old newspaper clippings, dated after February 1898:


Killean Bible School


Interesting Meeting There Friday Night

Galt Men Take Part.


An interesting meeting in connection with the Bible School of Killean was held in the Killean public school on Friday evening and so large was the attendance that the building was far from capacious enough to contain all who desired admittance.  The verandah outside and each of the windows was filled with young people and every seat inside was taken.  The chair was occupied by M. R. G. Struthers, a program ensued..., and a social hour was spent during which abundance of lemonade and provision was partaken of.  That the Bible School is doing a good work is evident from the following facts, taken from the secretary’s report, the work having been inaugurated only in January last.



A second article with the caption, “AN ALMOST FORGOTTEN ART”, “The Record of a Puslinch Sunday School in Memorizing Verses”, follows: 


In connection with the Sunday School at Killean there has been conducted a course of memorizing which has been quite popular with the scholars.  The report of the secretary, bearing upon it, contained the following interesting statistics:  74 members are enrolled; 22,336 verses have been memorized during the year; 1837 seals have been awarded for memorizing and 90 gold seals; 40 have recited the whole of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount; 24 have recited the whole of the Shorter Catechism; 12 have recited both; 1 has recited the 119th Psalm; 15 wrote on the Home study examination questions in July, seven taking 100 percent of marks and 7 taking over 90% of marks; 15 wrote on the  similar examination in December, all taking over 95 %, and 7 100% of marks; 47 have completed the memorizing course,  which entitles them to the promised Bibles; 15 have memorized over 500 verses each, 2, over 1000; one has taken over 80 seals, and two over 100 seals.  This record is probably unsurpassed in any rural school.  The following are the names of those who have been presented with bibles during the year:


IN JULY: Lillie McCormick, Walter Laird, Annie Marshall, Maggie Ferguson, John Wilkinson, Mrs. D. Ferguson, Helen Bryce, John A. McIntosh, Mary C. Gilchrist, Maggie K. Gilchrist, Mary Bryden, Alvina Bartels, Jennie Ferguson, Janet Gilchrist, Effie Kreager, William Elvin, Donald Ramsay, Alfred Paddock, Jessie Robertson, Mrs. Peter Gilchrist, Davina J. Gilchrist, Mrs. J.W. Gilchrist.


AT THE MEETING ON FRIDAY EVENING: Mrs. Henry Fixer, Beatrice L. Paddock, Mary C. Ramsay, Mrs. Helen McCormick, Alice McLarty, Blanche Paddock, Grace Pad­dock, Jennie Ann McAninch, John James McAninch, Maggie Robertson, Isabella Robertson, Kate H. McIntyre, Margaret R. Bryden, Maggie O. Scott, William Gilchrist, Mrs. A. McMillan, Bella Ferguson, Charlotte Gilchrist, Dollie Lucas, Lorne Edward Lucas, Neil D. Wilkinson, Mary McIntosh, Jane Eleanor Cochrane, Christina M.C. Devine and Alex G. Elvin.


The earning of these Bibles is an achievement of which the recipients may well be proud.  The annual meeting showed that the school is in a flourishing condition, and is being well supported by the people of the Killean section.




Coping With Difficult Times



By the 1860’s, all the land in Puslinch had been taken up and the 100-acre lots did not maintain more than one family.  What were the younger sons of the families to do?  The first to leave went to the newly opened land in Huron, Grey and Bruce Counties.  Once the Credit Valley Railway began building its line through southern Puslinch the village of Crieff blossomed into a thriving centre.  Railway workers stayed at the hotel; in addition, the village boasted a temperance hall, two blacksmith shops, two stores and several homes in addition to the church.


However, the advent of the railway enabled entire families to leave the community.  At first Michigan was the destination, but as the railway extended west, the movement became a mass migration, to Dakota, and then into Manitoba, Saskatchewan and later right to the west coast.  The total population of Puslinch township is said to have declined by 5000 persons in this period.  This population shift had a drastic effect on the rural churches throughout southern Ontario, and the West Puslinch congregation was no exception.


Furthermore, the congregation had lost other members who were still in the community.  Probably many of the families of the west and south had remained loyal so long as the popular Rev. Andrew Maclean was the minister; now they found it a convenient time to move to other congregations.  They had never been satisfied with the change of location of the church from the lot 15 site.  Furthermore, in the middle 1870’s, the Evangelists were making many converts among former parishioners in the Clyde area.


Given all of these factors it is not surprising that the Rev. Neil McDiarmid, who was called late in 1875, did not have a comfort­able pastorate.  To quote Rev. Robertson, “Mr. McDiarmid, in a moment of sensitive discouragement, without the counsel of friends, and regardless of consequences, presented his resignation to the Presbytery in the hope that the perplexing difficulties would be adjusted.  This expectation was not realized, and his resignation was accepted in March 1879.”  Again, there was a prolonged vacancy until the congregation felt constrained to call Rev. Evan MacAulay.  He was inducted in August 1880.




The Present Church is Built


"O worship the lord in the Beauty of Holiness"

Psalm 96:94


The frame church built in 1854 had never seemed satisfactory.  It was much larger than was required with the smaller congregation, and being difficult to heat, was often uncomfortable.  The congregation became convinced that if the building was torn down, the timber and lumber in it might be used in the construction of a church on a better model.  A special effort was made to raise the necessary funds.  The congregation responded liberally.  Mr. Duncan McPherson was chosen contractor, and the work of reconstruction begun.  The new brick church was completed in 1882 and it continues to stand as a permanent monument to congregational wisdom and enterprise.  It was at this time that the church was designated “Knox Church”.


Despite the solid appearance of the new sanctuary, the congregation’s financial situation was anything but stable.  There was an augmentation fund available, which rendered assistance for a time.  However, an unnecessary misunderstanding arose over the terms of the assistance.  Rev. Robertson suggests there was a mutual unwillingness to know the true state of affairs, and the consequent resentment caused an unpleasant termination of the funding.  This presented the possibility that the congregation would degenerate to mission status.  The minister's coat is reported to have become so shiny by long use that a Gaelic speaking lady declared, “that a louse could not walk on it”.


The unsettled attitude of the congregation is indicated by the following tale:  Rev. MacAuley's three young boys, accompanied by a schoolmate, Angus McPhee, succeeded in running away from home.  They walked west on the newly built C. P. R. tracks, over the high level bridge over the Grand River at Galt, and stayed the night with a noted atheist, Mr. Brown.  The sequel to the story has not been preserved.


The pastor and congregation realized their financial inability to maintain ordinances as an independent charge, and they regretfully faced the inevitable condition of affairs.  Mr. MacAuley resigned early in 1888.




National Church Union


It was during this difficult period that the movement toward a "national" Presbyterian Church was mooted, and reinforced by the recent example of confederation.  Regional unions took place in the early 1860’s; the laity of the residual Kirk were favourable to union.  The passing of time had softened the animosities caused by the disruption of 1844.


The time for formal union was set for June 15, 1875; the place: Montreal’s Victoria Hall Skating Rink.  At the appointed hour, the solemn union ceremony began.  A new church, the Presbyterian Church in Canada had come into existence.  The end of the long road to Presbyterian union had been reached, and that end was now a beginning of greater things.  The union of 1875 made the Presbyterian Church the largest Protestant denomination in Canada.  It contained over 1000 congregations; its six thousand supporters and 634 ministers were slightly fewer than the total of those of all the Methodist bodies then existing in the country.


Rev. Robertson makes no reference to the effect of the union on his charge at Crieff.  Rev. Andrew Maclean would not have allowed the occasion to go by without comment:  he was far from being an enthusiast in favour of union.  He saw objections which he regarded as serious, but which others thought were frivolous.  Rev. Maclean nevertheless presented his objections with fullness and clearness during the years of the negotiations.  He also republished, at his own expense, a large pamphlet which featured Dr. Bayne’s vindication of the action of the protesters in the 1844 disruption.  These objections were duly considered in the Synod when the question was before the House, and to a large extent, the objections were removed.  In the opinion of Rev. Dr. Middlemiss, that although Rev. Maclean did not live to see the Union consummated, he believed that Maclean would have approved the final terms of the union.




Session Matters 1873-1890


Rev. Neil McDiarmid accepted the call of the congregation in 1876 and in June 1876 James Wight, Kenneth Cameron and James Rae were ordained as elders, joining William McCormick Sr., Duncan McDonald and Lachlan McMillan.


The question of employing evangelists for special services in connection with congregational work was submitted to the Session by Presbytery for their consideration.  The Minutes of December 1878 record the mind of Session: “Whereas the qualifications for the discharge of the duties of elders, as defined in the apostolic writings, are one and the same, this Session is of the opinion that all have the right to teach and to rule, and is also of the opinion that the employment in evangelical work of men not set apart by the church is contrary to both the letter and spirit of Apostolic teaching; therefore this session resolves that the employment of such men is a usurpation of the elder's office and tends directly to bring it into contempt.  Special evangelistic services can be held with very great profit; but great care should always be exercised in the employment of accredited helpers, and the whole management should be under the supervision, direction, and control of the Session.”


As noted earlier, Mr. McDiarmid resigned in 1879 and Rev. Evan MacAuley was called and inducted in August 1880.  He remained with the congregation until 1888.  After the retirement of Mr. MacAuley, the Home Mission Committee, at the request of the Presbytery, appointed Mr. James McLaren, a student of Knox College, to supply during the summer vacation.  When he departed to pursue his studies the Rev. D. B. Cameron, for many years minister in Acton, gave continuous service for a considerable time.


Since Duff’s Church was also experiencing difficulty of a similar nature at this time, informal discussion naturally took place and inevitably resulted in the union of the two congregations into a two-point charge.  A joint meeting of the elders and managers of East and West Puslinch convened in the Session House of Duff’s Church on December 17, 1889 to consider the necessity and propriety of uniting the congregations under one pastoral oversight.  A series of resolutions was passed and a committee was appointed to formulate a basis of union.  The committee, consisting of James McDonald and Angus Stewart from the West, and James McLean and Daniel McNaughton from the East, met and agreed upon the following basis of Union:


1.     That under present circumstances, a union of the congregation of East and West Puslinch under the pastoral oversight of one pastor is desirable.


2.     That the united congregations will offer and pay to their Pastor annually the sum of one thousand dollars with manse and glebe.  Duff's Church shall pay six hundred dollars with manse and the congregations shall be held responsible to the pastor and Presbytery for the payment of their allotted portion for the stipend, without one having recourse on the other.


3.     That in regard to members and adherents of either congregation contributing to pay the pastor's stipend, the present status quo shall be strictly maintained and conserved; and that the church East and West shall be open to members and adherents of either congregation for public worship.


4.     That except at communion services in West Puslinch the morning service shall be held in Duff's Church, and the afternoon service in Knox Church, the evening service to be at the disposal of the pastor, as may seem to him good.


The basis of union was adopted in both congregations in 1890, and Rev. Robertson was called to the two-point charge and was inducted in 1890, having come from Waterdown.  Mr. Robertson was a man of exceptional ability, especially in smoothing out difficulties, and gave unstintingly of his service in any good cause.


Soon after the induction, Mr. Duncan McDonald passed away.  This death left only two aging elders:  William McCormick Sr. and Lachlan McMillan.  It can only be assumed that James Rae and James Wight had both left the community; Kenneth Cameron passed away in 1897.  In 1891, John Martin, William McAllister, and John McAninch were ordained to assist the remaining elders.


Due respect was always manifested towards the senior members of session, and their experienced counsel was greatly appreciated by the new members; but their increasing infirmities, on account of advanced age, precluded the activity that formerly characterized their fidelity to the sacred office; so the new members were soon called upon to enter into the full responsibility of the eldership.  Mr. McMillan died in 1893 and William McCormick in 1901.


The terms of union with Duff’s specified that on communion Sunday, there would only be a service at one church.  However, Rev. Robertson realized that he needed an assistant to conduct the Gaelic services at the communion anyway, and seeing the small number that attended the union service, he proposed that communion could be held at both churches on a given Sunday.  Session gave informal assent.  This arrangement worked to everyone’s satisfaction.  It was also agreed to have three communions in a year, on the second Sabbath of February, and the last Sabbaths of May and September.


As only one representative elder to Presbytery is permitted for one charge, it was agreed by both Sessions that every third year the representative elder should be from the West Puslinch Session.  It was the privilege of John Martin, the representative elder from Knox Crieff, to receive the Presbytery appointment of Commissioner to the General Assembly, which met in St. John, N.B. in 1894.  As the pastor was also a Commissioner, they travelled together, were billeted together, and enjoyed such delightful fellowship, as well as scenes of great interest, that the Assembly became an event in their experience never to be forgotten.


In February 1896 and in February 1898 the Session arranged to hold special evangelistic services.  On the first occasion, the pastor was assisted by Rev. P. M. McEachern of Waterdown, and the meetings continued a little more than a week.  On the second occasion, the assistance of Rev. John McInnis of Elora, and Rev. Hugh McPherson of Acton was obtained, and the services continued for two weeks.  The meetings were well attended; although there was no noticeable addition to the membership, it was believed that much spiritual benefit was derived from the services.


Other changes in worship practises, which began during the Victorian era in urban churches, tended to come about more gradually in the West Puslinch Church.  Ministers did not wear a gown until the 1920’s - the acrobatic movements of Rev. Samuel Lawrence, (minister 1907-1919) around the pulpit eliminated any possibility of him ever wearing a gown.


  The choir probably got their first gowns in 1938, as evidenced by the following item in Session Minutes:


“Communication was received from the choir on January 23, 1938 asking Session if it would be agreeable for the lady choir members to sit in the choir loft without hats during the church service as they were procuring gowns and had not the financial means of procuring hats.  Permission was granted by the Session on condition that the choir procure hats inside of a year.”


Presbyterian church buildings continued to be simple and unadorned to the point of severity, and if such bleakness was popularly viewed as a reflection of greater spirituality and faithful adherence to Reformation traditions, not everyone agreed that plainness equalled piety.  J. T. McNeil, for one, believed that a lack of "appreciation for the worship values of art and architecture" arose more from "philistinism and poverty than any puritanical considerations."


Rev. Robertson left the parish in 1906 to take up journalistic work.  The text for his farewell sermon was from Hebrews, Chapter 13, verse 8: "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever."


In 1907, Reverend Samuel Lawrence was called.  Born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, he was of quite a versatile turn of mind.  He was an able, reasonably fluent preacher, fond of music, especially psalms and hymns, but capable of singing Scots songs on special occasions.


In 1913, the three elders: William McAllister, John Martin, and John McAninch were advanced in age and they felt that it was time to ask the congregation to elect new elders.  As a result, Archibald Scott, Alexander Chisholm and James Blake were ordained in October 1913.  The following year James Blake became Clerk of Session.


At this time, it was agreed that henceforth, unfermented wine should be used at the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.  Following a congregational vote on January 19, 1917, the Session decided to purchase an individual communion set. 


The session had lost two elders by death: Mr. Martin and Mr. McAllister, and Mr. Chisholm had moved away, so steps were taken in 1918 to increase the number of elders.  Robert McRobbie, William Sim and Fred Roszell were ordained and inducted into the office of eldership on Friday, May 24, 1918.


Rev. Lawrence was an ardent farmer, and the "Glebe," located on part of lot 26 rear Seventh, fronting on Brock Road, contained 27 acres, part of which was quite fertile soil.  He operated this farm with an enthusiasm equal to that associated with his pastoral duties.  He kept cows, hens, pigs, and horses, raising and selling calves and colts.  In the fall of the year, he frequently arranged work bees to have his ploughing and other work completed; he invited a number of farmers from both congregations, with their teams and equipment.  He did not neglect his pastoral obligations in any way.  Nevertheless, many criticized and objected to his farming activities as being unclerical.  Being quite positive and determined in his view, this led to friction, which culminated in the termination of his ministry here.  Possibly, to prevent a recurrence of this state of affairs, Duff’s congregation sold the "Glebe" and succeeding ministers seemed content to exercise their surplus energies on the more delicate activity of horticulture.


Rev. Lawrence left the charge in 1919.  When he passed away in March 1953, there was a funeral service in Whitby, where he had been living, and another at Duff’s, before interment at Crown Cemetery.  Reverend Lawrence had chosen his pallbearers some time before: from Crieff, James A. McPherson and Robert McRobbie; from Duff’s: John W. Kerr, Hugh E. Cockburn, John M. Cockburn, and William J. Scott.


Rev. Stuart Woods was called later in 1919.  One of his first duties was to announce the death of elder John McAninch.  After the Session purged the membership roll in 1920, there were 89 members.


Rev. Woods reported that quite a large number of young people and children in the community had not been baptized.  After some discussion it was decided to interview the different families and try to interest them in the subject of baptism and to make whatever arrangements they deemed necessary.  Accompanied by an elder, Mr. Woods visited families in the community where the children had not received the sacrament of baptism.  Several families asked to have their children baptized.


While in charge of this congregation, Rev. Woods was an active member of the local Horticultural Society and through that organization he obtained plants and bulbs for many parishioners.  Through his influence and willingness to help in beautifying public

property, he was able to secure aid from men of means who were ready to help in such work.  The initial improvements to the church and cemetery at Crieff in the early twenties were in a large measure due to Rev. Woods, and he did his best to mediate between Col. John Bayne Maclean’s grandiose ideas and the more practical approach of the local congregation.




The Movement to Church Union


In the church at large, co-operation between denominations was the watchword of the day from about 1910; it took the form of missions, education, social reform and the thrust towards church union.  Canadian Presbyterianism had long been active in the Evangelical Alliance, and in the forty years following the Union of 1875, the Presbyterian Church in Canada joined in and supported a wide variety of international and interdenominational organizations devoted to mission, youth work, Sabbath observance, temperance, and social and moral reform.  The sum of all these developments, taken along with the growing sense of Canadian nationalism, produced tentative approval for interchurch cooperation, leading perhaps to church union.


In 1912 and again in 1915, the Church had conducted referendums on the principle of church union with other denominations.  The actual terms of union had never been put before the members because they were not defined until 1923.  Nevertheless, the majority vote favoured union.  The Puslinch Presbyterians voted with the minority on both occasions. The Crieff congregation and indeed the entire Canadian Church was still predominantly Scottish in its origins, traditions and loyalties.  This pride of race was reflected negatively regarding union in a Presbyterian distaste for Methodists.  In fact, Methodist revivalism and informality of worship was a thing of the past, yet Presbyterians, especially laymen preferred to see these as living proof of Methodist inferiority.


A congregational meeting was called at Crieff for January 17, 1925 to discuss Church Union.  Archibald Scott was appointed to confer with the committee from Duff’s to arrange for speakers to present both sides of the argument.  A widespread campaign was mounted and the vote was taken more seriously than in the earlier referendums.  The following notice was read in the church on Sundays January 11th and 18th:


“Take notice that the union of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, the Methodist Church and the Congregational Church will become effective on the 10th day of June 1925, and under provisions of sections 10 of chapter 100 of the Statutes of Canada, 1924, a meeting of the congregation will be held in this church on Wednesday the 21st day of January 1925 at the hour of two o'clock p.m. for the purpose of deciding whether or not this congregation will enter the said union. Stuart Woods, Moderator.”


The meeting on January 21st was held in the vestry with Rev. Woods Chairman and Angus D. McPherson Secretary.  It was moved by Archie Scott, seconded by Robert McRobbie, that the congregation take a vote by ballot on the question of whether or not it will enter into the United Church.  Carried.  Further motions were duly passed appointing Angus D. McPherson as poll clerk; the scrutineers were Mrs. Angus McPherson, Miss Ellen McPherson, James A. McPherson, Archie Scott, Fred Roszell and Mrs. Duncan McAllister.  Moved by Kenneth McDonald, seconded by Mrs. James Tennant, that the vote be taken when the congregation is assembled at the church and at the home of Angus D. McPherson on the days and hours herein stated as follows:


January 22, 23 and 24 from 8-9 o’clock p.m.

January 26, 27 and 28 from 10-11 o'clock a.m.

January 29, 30 and 31 from 10-11 o'clock a.m.

February 2, 3 and 4 from 10-11 o'clock a.m.


The meeting now adjourned and was reconvened in the church vestry on Wednesday February 4, at 8:00 p.m. to hear the result of the vote.  The meeting opened with prayer, with Rev. Woods in the chair and the following statement, certified correct by the poll clerk and scrutineers, was read by James Blake:


Total number of persons entitled to vote as per certificate list . . . . . . . . . . 90

Total number of votes cast . . . . . 49

Number of votes cast for union . . . 6

Number of votes against union  . . . 37


The meeting now adjourned.


On a national level, the Union was consummated at Toronto on June 10 1925.  The fifty-first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Canada met and ritualistically proceeded to join with the United Church of Canada.   As the Unionists retired, the dissenters remained seated, elected D.J. McQueen moderator, prayed briefly, and then adjourned to meet later that night at Knox Church, and the next day at St. Andrew's Church.  Archibald Scott of Knox Crieff was a delegate to these meetings as a result of a congregation decision of May 31, 1925.


In the belief of the majority, the Presbyterian Church of Canada was disappearing into the United church; in the belief of the minority, the Presbyterian Church in Canada was marching forward in enduring witness, decimated but not consumed.  Like Martin Luther before the Diet of Worms, each party could, in good conscience, say, “Here I stand.  I cannot do otherwise.  God help me, Amen!” and each parted without charity for the other.


Locally, Duff’s congregation also decided against union so the disruption and animosities occurring in various congregations was unknown here.  Probably the mild characteristics and conciliatory attitude of the Minister, Rev. Stuart Woods, contributed to this amicable ending to a delicate situation.  Despite the fact that Rev. Woods favoured Union, he did not actively participate in the campaign and he tendered his resignation.  Afterwards, he became a United Church Minister.  The Blakes and Wm. Bond also left the congregation.  The withdrawal of these faithful members was a distinct loss to Knox Crieff.


The "Presbyterian Record" of September 1955 contained a photo taken by the St. Catherines Standard and was entitled "(55 years in the Ministry), Niagara Presbytery's Grand Old Man, the Reverend Stuart Woods." He had returned to the Presbyterian ministry; he passed away in 1959.


The joint congregations called Rev. Peter Mathieson; he was welcomed by Session to his first meeting with them in November 1925.  Mr. William Sim was appointed to the office of Session Clerk, which had been left vacant when James Blake resigned.


Rev. Mathieson was born at Forresters Falls, Ontario, and as a minister, he was a strong preacher of evangelical truth.  He was beloved by his people, revered by his friends, and honoured and respected by his fellow ministers.


On May 24 1928, Robert McRobbie resigned as Elder.  This was accepted with regret.  In 1930, Session asked the congregation to nominate two additional members.  Duncan McAllister and Duncan McDonald were the choice of the congregation, but when interviewed by the Moderator, they both declined to act.  Another vote to elect two elders was taken in April 1933.  Charles Martin and James A. McPher­son were the choice of the congregation and both agreed to accept office.  They were duly ordained and inducted in May 1933.


At the Session meeting held on October 3 1935, Fred Roszell and James McPherson were appointed to help Mr. Mathieson prepare a programme for a Memorial Service for those members and adherents who had passed to their Eternal Reward during the 10 years of Mr. Mathieson’s ministry.  For the service on November 2 1935, he took as his text "If it were not so I would have told you."  On the Monday evening following, the congregation of Knox honoured their minister with an evening of entertainment.  The Acton quartet sang, and at the close of the evening, Mrs. Mathieson was presented with flowers and her husband with a purse of money.


On the Friday evening following, a gloom was cast over the entire community when the news of the minister’s sudden death became known.


  A tribute to Rev. Mathieson was inscribed in the Session records.  In part, it reads  "In all his teachings he ever emphasized that Jesus the Eternal Son of God suffered and died in our room and stead, the just and unjust, that He might bring us to God and that He sure will come again, that they who believe in His name may live and reign with Him. Although the good shepherd has passed beyond, not in vain were his teachings and his example here on earth, for always in the hearts of his flock, his life will be an inspiration."  Rev. Mathieson was interred in Crieff Cemetery.




Ministers ─ 1875 ─ 1935








Rev. Neil McDiarmid


Rev. Evan MacAuley


Rev. Wm. Robertson
















Rev. Samuel Lawrence


Rev. Stuart Woods


Rev. Peter Mathieson





Rev. Marshall of Hespeler acted as Interim Moderator until Rev. J. L. Burgess was called in 1936.  Mr. Burgess, born in Orono, came to Crieff and Duff’s from South Kinloss.  Like the former ministers, he was an active member of the local Horticulture Society and he was also a faithful worker in the Puslinch Red Cross; he sponsored the Honour Roll and he conducted the patriotic service in 1942 when the Honour Roll was unveiled in the Township Hall, Aberfoyle.


Rev. Burgess was of sociable disposition and had many friends, both young and old.  While living at the manse, Morriston, he raised bees, and had a great horned owl, which added considerable excitement in the town.  Mr. Burgess’ Ministry of six years terminated in 1942 and he died in 1973 with interment in Kincardine Cemetery.


The congregation welcomed Rev. T. G. M. Bryan in March 1943.  He had grown up in London, Ontario.  He came to Crieff and Duff’s from a Nova Scotia charge.  Being a bachelor, Rev. Bryan first boarded with Mrs. McBean in Morriston, and then with Mrs. Fred Roszell of the Crieff congregation.  In 1946, Rev. Bryan married Beth Stevenson of Toronto at a ceremony at Knox College.  The congregation held a celebration in the form of a supper and evening program in their honour.  Rev. Stewart of Morriston Evangelical Church chaired the program.  All joined in singing the familiar hymn, "Blest Be the Tie That Binds."  Rev. Roe of Kirkwall Church sang two solos, and in his genial manner extended good advice and congratulations to the couple.  He also brought greetings from his congregation.  Mrs. Huether of Morriston favoured with two readings; Anna McCormick sang a solo; Ray Maltby and Douglas Mast sang a duet.  An important part of the program was the presentation of an address, read by Wilfred Roszell, and the gift of money, presented by Bessie McCormick and Jim McDonald.


The Session recorded the death of Elder Fred Roszell, age 61, in 1943.  Once again, the Session sought to increase their number.  James McDonald and James Porteous were ordained and inducted in 1944.  Again, in 1947 Session recorded the death of Archibald Scott and of Charles Martin in 1951.  At the time of his death, Charles Martin was the representative elder to Presbytery.  Later the same year, William Sim resigned as Clerk of Session because of his failing health, so Rev. Bryan volunteered to take over that task.  In April 1953, Rev. Bryan reported that he had received a call from St. Columba Church, Hamilton.  Later he ministered to a large congregation in Windsor.  He passed away during a holiday in Ireland in 1985.


By September 1953, Rev. Douglas Gordon had accepted the call of the joint congregations. It is recalled that on the night of his induction at Duff’s church, the Old Testament reading was Psalm 29, the psalm of the storms.  This was particularly appropriate because thunder rumbled in the distance, and within moments the church was in darkness due to a power disruption.  With the sanctuary in darkness, the charge was made to the new minister.


Rev. Gordon was born in Peking China, the son of missionary parents.  He served in the Canadian Navy at the close of World War II and taught for a year before entering the ministry.  He came to Crieff and Duff’s from B.C.  Rev. Gordon enjoyed music, and frequently stepped into the choir from his pulpit to assist with the anthem. 


In 1955, the Session recorded with sorrow the death of Wm. Sim.  The Session asked the membership for nominations for two more elders.  The vote clearly elected Clarence Awde but it was indecisive between the other nominees.  Consequently, only Mr. Awde was ordained at this time.  As there were now three elders, Session decided to relieve the minister of his duty as Clerk of Session.  Clarence Awde took over this session responsibility in 1955.


Rev. Gordon’s ministry here ended after only two and one-half years.  Again, Rev. Crawford Smith was called upon to act as Interim Moderator. 


In 1956, Rev. Hugh Wilson accepted the unanimous call of the joint charges and he was inducted on January 4, 1987.  Session met later that month to revise and bring up to date the Communion Roll.  The total number remaining on the roll, after the names of those who had been removed by death or by certificate, was 47.


Rev. Wilson was born in Northern Ireland and entered the ministry after he had been in business for a time.  His first pastorate was to the Bhil Mission field in India.  He had been preaching in Canada since 1948, and he came to Crieff and Duff’s from Port Elgin. Rev. Wilson’s ministry of less than two years was all too short; the tragic death of the Wilson’s eldest son, James, in a car accident near Guelph, influenced Mr. Wilson to seek another charge.  He passed away in 1974 and is interred in Crown Cemetery.


In 1958, Rev. Crawford Smith was again appointed Interim  Moderator.  A unanimous call was extended to Rev. Leslie Nanson, assistant to Crawford Smith at Knox Church, Guelph.  He began his ministry in June 1959.  Rev. Nanson had been born in England, and he followed a business career in Hamilton before entering the ministry.




Ministers ─ 1935 ─ 1982








Rev. James L. Burgess


Rev. T.G.M. Bryan


Rev. Douglas Gordon















Rev. Hugh Wilson


Rev. Leslie Nanson


Rev. Norman Young






The Kirk Session and congregation suffered a distinct loss in the death of James A. MacPherson on May 9, 1963.  Later that year, Session asked the congregation for nominations.  Richard MacMillan and Jack McPherson were duly ordained and inducted in January 1964.


In 1967, a motion was passed to hold Preparatory Service on the Sunday preceding the Communion Service.  Thus ended a time-honoured tradition of Communion Fast on the Thursday night previous to Communion Sunday.


As Elder Jack McPherson had moved from the community in 1969, Session again sought to add to the roll.  Alex McConnell was ordained and inducted in the regular church service, December 14 1969.   The Kirk Session and congregation suffered a distinct loss in the death of James A. McPherson on May 9, 1963.  Later that year, Session asked the congregation for nominations.  Richard MacMillan and Jack McPherson were duly ordained and inducted in January 1964.


The sudden death of Rev. Leslie Nanson in March 1971 shocked and saddened the congregation.  As in the case of Rev. Mathieson, Session recorded a tribute:


“We, the session of Knox Church Crieff, in the light of the death of our minister, Rev. Leslie Nanson, would record our sorrow and thankfulness to God.


While active in the Presbytery and the other courts of our church, he served the congregation as a most faithful pastor.  He sought to proclaim the word of God Sunday-by-Sunday, comforting, exhorting, warming, and encouraging our people in the love of Christ.  He took his place in the community and in the almost twelve years he ministered here, he has left his mark upon us.


We, on this occasion give thanks to God for the service of our former minister and we extend our deepest sympathy and commend the comfort of God to his wife and his sons Robert and John.”   Interment was at Crown Cemetery.




Again, Dr. Crawford Smith served as Interim Moderator until Rev. Norman Young of Georgetown accepted a unanimous call from Duff’s and Knox.  He attended his first session meeting in October 1971.  Rev. Young came of a “ministerial family”, having two brothers also in the ministry; they too were serving in the Wellington Waterloo Presbytery while Rev. Young was serving this charge.


A library fund was established in 1972 from the donation of $1500.00 by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas McDonald.  Dora MacMillan, Gary Collins, and Florence McConnell were the first Library Committee.


In 1975, an annual Christmas Eve Candlelight Service was instituted with Christmas music and an impressive ceremony of the overcoming of darkness by light, with all members of the congregation holding a lighted candle.  Rev. Bob Spencer of Crieff Hills has traditionally conducted this part of the service. The Candlelight service continues to attract members, their friends and visitors, who fill every seat in the sanctuary.


In 1977, Hugh Taylor was inducted as an elder at Knox Crieff, having previously been ordained as an elder at Knox Guelph.  A referendum held in March 1977 changed the time of the Knox Crieff Church service from 2:30 p.m. to 10:00 a.m.  A year later the time was changed to 9:45 a.m. to allow the minister additional time between services at Knox Crieff and Duff’s.


In 1978, Session recorded the death of James McDonald and in 1980 the death of Hugh Taylor.  Since 1978, the annual Congregational meeting has been held the third Tuesday of each January, and is preceded by a Pot Luck Supper.  In May 1980, two new elders were added to Session:  Mrs. Margaret Griesbach and Stuart McDonald were ordained and inducted.


Rev. Norman Young retired to Guelph in 1983 and while wishing him well, the congregation was sorry to loose him as their pastor.  However, we are pleased to welcome him back to the pulpit whenever our present minister has other commitments.


A vacancy committee was appointed at a joint session meeting of Duff’s and Knox.  On the recommendation of the vacancy committee, the Reverend M. Anne Yee was invited to preach for the call.   Born in Brockville Ontario, Rev. Anne grew up in the Seaway Valley; she had worked for 10 years before studying for the ministry and graduated from McGill in 1978 and from The Presbyterian College, Montreal, in 1979.  Rev. Anne came to the joint charge from Paisley and Glamis in the Presbytery of Bruce-Maitland.  On January 14, 1984, Rev. Anne M. Yee was inducted.  She came from the joint charge of Paisley and Glamis congregations.  In October 1985, the congregation presented a wall clock to the Rev. Anne in honour of her marriage to Rev. John Hibbs, October 25, 1985, in New Westminster Presbyterian Church, Hamilton, (her husband’s church); their wedding reception was hosted by Duff’s and Crieff people and was held in Nanson Hall at Duff’s.


In July 1984, the practice of holding joint summer services with Duff’s congregation was begun - with one month of services at each church.  In November 1986, three new elders were added to the Session roll.  They were: Derek Jamieson, Muriel Mast and Douglas McDonald.  Also, in 1986, Session approved the formation of the Friends of Crieff and the group started its meetings in 1987.


During 1987, Clarence Awde resigned as Session clerk after 34 years of devoted service.  Although no longer Clerk, Clarence Awde continues as an active member of Session.  Derek Jamieson is the new Clerk of Session.


In 1988, Session and Board carried out an Every Person Visitation concerning the physical and spiritual growth of the congregation.  The results of the returned questionnaires were analyzed and presented to the congregation at a meeting later in the year.  Recommendations were:  that an adult bible class be instituted; that church school time be changed to occur during worship; that a Church Growth Committee be established and the publication of a Church Newsletter be instituted.


Alex McConnell's move from the community in 1988 caused the need for another elder.  In June 1989, Robert Cook was ordained and inducted.




Board of Managers


Members of the Board of Managers are perhaps the unsung heroes within the departments of church activity.  Throughout the history of the church, they have struggled to balance budgets that are at the mercy of congregational donations. 


The first managers were little John Thomson, big John Thomson, and Matthew McPhatter, son of Neil the elder.  A few decades later the collection of funds west of the church was chiefly in the hands of Donald Stewart and William McCormick Sr.   East of the church, John McGeachy looked after collections.  For a time, nearly the whole responsibility rested upon Mr. McGeachy, who with surprising energy, and often at great inconvenience, called upon the people for the payment of their subscriptions towards the support of the church ordinances.


Shortly after the 1890 reunion of the East and West congregations, the Knox Church people concluded that something should be done to remove the cloud of discouragement and indifference that had overwhelmed them for 17 years.  A radical reorganization seemed necessary.  A meeting of the congregation was called.  James McDonald was appointed secretary; John McAninch treasurer; managers named were: Angus Stewart, John Martin, John McGeachy, William McCormick Jr., John Cameron and Donald McGeachy.


By 1899, the managers were Walter Cowan (Chairman), Donald McMillan, John Martin, Archibald McMillan, William Easton and James Tennant.  Donald Stewart was Secretary of the congrega­tion.  A decade later Willie Sim was Chairman and Richard Paddock, Charles Martin, William McCormick Jr., Archie Scott and Alex Chisholm were managers.  Names of succeeding managers and officers of the Church may be found in the family portion of this book.


In the period 1890-95, the vestry or Sunday School room was built by the carpenter John McMillan.  Voluntary help assisted with the work.  Local farmers hauled the brick from Doon with sleighs in the winter.  About 1905, new seats of polished hardwood were installed.  The old seats were of pine and though not uncomfortable, they were simply benches with almost straight backs. They were sold.  The new pews added greatly to the interior appearance of the church.  In January 1908, the annual meeting appointed James and Alex McPherson to go to Dundas to investigate the purchase of six additional pews.  That 1908 meeting also decreed that furnishings for the room off the vestry should be purchased for the accommodation of the pastor, Mr. Lawrence.


Concerns of the Board since 1900 have been Budget and Maintenance.  The Duplex Envelope system was inaugurated in 1907 and at the congregation meeting in 1908, the managers were directed to canvas the congregation again to explain the envelope system. The meeting also ordered a printed statement of the congregation for the year 1907.  Printed reports were standard from that time except for 1924 when the annual meeting decided that due to financial conditions, reports would not be printed that year.  From 1907 to 1968, the reports contained an alphabetic listing of parishioners and the amount of their individual contributions.


Canvassing for funds to meet the budget had been the norm since the origins of the West Puslinch congregation and this procedure was continued until about 1950.  In 1910, the canvassers were Duncan McDonald and James Blake; J. J. McPherson and Alex McPherson; Fred Roszell and Charles Martin; William Bond and Archibald Scott. On New Years Eve 1925, there was a joint meeting with Session to consider a financial problem; their decision was to canvass the congregation for ordinary revenue and budget together, with the canvassing to be done before the January Annual Meeting.  The plaintive comment of a parishioner at the time sums up the situation: "The canvassers are coming tomorrow – there’s aye something."


The practice of borrowing from the Bank or from members of the congregation was also used.  In 1922, the limit placed on the treasurer to be borrowed was $100.00, but by 1926 the limit had been increased to $300.00.  Twice in this period, the Board turned to Colonel Maclean for assistance.  In 1929, they asked Rev. Mathieson to interview Col. J.B. Maclean about a parking space in front of the church.  In 1932, the Secretary was directed to write to the Colonel about a tree that had fallen in the cemetery.  In 1933, managers were urged to stir up outstanding money from their districts.






Caretaking of the church has been an ongoing concern.  During the first decade of the century, James Hollinger was engaged.  Alex Chisholm won the tender in 1913 until he moved away in 1917.  No record is available until 1925 when Maude McCormick was reimbursed.  Following her:  Mr. and Mrs. Dan MacDonald; Mr. and Mrs. Russell Kerns; the Rolfe boys; Mrs. Gordon McAllister; again, Mrs. Kerns; Mr. and Mrs. Alex McConnell; Bill Hamilton; and finally Ron and Bonnie Blancher.


Until the furnace was installed in 1958, the church was heated by a wood-burning box stove.  It required from two to three cords of hardwood, plus a cord of cedar for the winter months.  The wood was cut twenty-two inches long and cost $3.50 per cord in 1894, $10.00 per cord in 1926, $6.40 per cord in 1933, but by the 1950's the cost had risen to $25.00 or $30.00 per cord.  One minute of Board notes that there would be a wood-cutting bee for the church in Duncan McAllister's bush.  The large box stove was located at the rear of the sanctuary behind the pews and connected to the chimney behind the pulpit by an amazing length of horizontal and vertical stove pipes.




“1938: Session and Board met in was decided to clean the stove pipes on Monday.”


In later years, a second smaller stove was placed near the vestry door.  A small box stove heated the vestry. 


Lighting of the sanctuary was also a concern.  Originally light was provided by small coal oil lamps suspended in a wheel shaped arrangement above the centre seats and by hand-lamps with a reflector, held in swivel brackets on the wall, between the windows and behind the choir.  Later gasoline lamps were installed.  They were large hang lamps, suspended on long wires near the aisles.  They were a marked improvement, but if the air pressure on which they operated failed, it was sometimes necessary to restore pressure with a hand pump.


In 1929, electricity became available when Colonel Maclean arranged for hydro lines from #6 highway to his Crieff property.


"May 29 1930 - Mr. Porteous and Mr. Roszell were appointed a committee to proceed with the wiring of the church.  They were empowered to go ahead and make the necessary arrangements. Cost was reported in the June 24 Minutes:  $154.43."


In 1938, there was a decision to change to light fixtures which would use stronger bulbs.






In 1923, a screen was put around the choir platform and in 1933, the pulpit was carpeted and an organ lamp was purchased; painting the church then cost $65.00.  In 1945, $500.00 was required to wash the walls and ceiling, paint, varnish and grain the woodwork, frost the windows and put on the scroll.  Frosting of the windows was a frequent expense until amber glass was installed.  Carpeting was installed in the Sanctuary in 1968.




History of the Horse-sheds


About 1890, the church received $800.00 as a share of a sale of land in East Puslinch in the period before the separation into two parishes.  The money was used in part to build the first sheds for the horses of those driving to church.  With the new sheds, it was necessary to unhitch the horses.  They were located on the edge of the sideroad, west of the cemetery.


This must have been a much needed improvement, for until then it had been necessary to blanket and tie the horses to a rail fence, winter and summer, as there was no shelter of any kind.  In fact, the lack of shelter for the horses had long rankled with the members who came a long distance to worship, and the attitude unwisely voiced by a Crieff member that if "the gentry from Killean wanted sheds, let them provide them", did not help matters.  By the time the sheds were built in 1890, few members came from as far west as Killean.


In 1910, the sheds were replaced by a much larger building.  They extended almost the full length of the west side of the cemetery, open to the sideroad, with a barn type frame on a solid stone wall.  This long building was divided into sections, each section accommodating two buggies or democrats, without unhitching and well protected from the weather.  Dan McMillan was the contractor.  The cost was $500.00, which was raised almost entirely by canvas and pledges to the building fund.  The final payment on the loan was $23. 




Sunday School


"Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God."                                                                        Luke 18:16



During the period 1870-1900, the church depended, to a great extent, on the teachers at the local public school for their help with the Sabbath School.  In 1866, while teaching at Crieff Public School, William C. Armstrong added much to its prosperity.  John Currie, of the congregation, was also a prominent worker.  Both these men later became Presbyterian ministers.


During the difficult period before the union of the two charges in 1890, Mr. W. M. Kannawin, the public school teacher, revealed a great interest in the spiritual welfare of the young people, and kept the Sabbath School in operation while other departments of church work had almost ceased to exist.  Mr. Kannawin continued as Superintendent and Bible Class teacher until he left the section to pursue his studies in the ministry.  His successor was Mr. John McAninch with the new public school teacher, Mr. J. M. McDonald in charge of the Bible Class.  Mr. McAninch and others urged Mr. McDonald to be Superintendent as well as Bible Class teacher in the following year.  He yielded to their persuasion and continued to act until he to left the school section.


Then Mr. John Martin was called to superintend the school and Mr. James Armstrong, the new teacher, was invited to be Bible Class teacher.  Other Sunday School teachers at this time (1900) were: John McAninch; Walter Cowan; Misses Aggie Grey, Maggie and Lizzie McPherson.  The organist was Miss Maggie Cowan, and the leader of singing was Miss Aggie Martin.  The number of scholars on the roll was 85 with an average attendance of 48.  Sabbath School was then open about eight months of the year, and for the winter months some of the younger children attended Bible Class.


From the time John Martin was appointed Sunday School Superintendent until 1965, elders took the responsibility for superintending the school.  John McAninch followed John Martin, and from 1915 to 1940 Archie Scott took the responsibility.  He was followed by James A. McPherson, Charles Maltby for a year, and James McDonald 1950-1965.


During this period, the memorization of scripture and catechism and the resulting awards was an important factor in Sunday School activity.  An anticipated highlight at the end of the class was the distribution of Sunday School papers from Presbyterian Publications.  At that time, there was still little outside entertainment available and these papers offered stories and puzzles that excited the juvenile mind.


From the time of formation of the Sunday School, it was traditional that classes ceased during the cold winter months.  It was not until 1963 that Session and Sunday School teachers met and agreed to have Sunday School continue throughout the winter months.  In 1973, classes began to cease for summer vacation in July and August.


Superintendents since 1965 have been: Mary McPherson 1965-73, Florence McConnell and Muriel Mast 1973; Florence McConnell 1974-76; Eleanor Martin 1977-81; Sharon Logher 1982-83; Bonnie Blancher 1984; Pat Fowle 1985-87; Gillian Huffmon 1988-present.


Sunday School yearly events follow a pattern.  Annually the year begins in early September with Rally Day when the children participate in the church service and organize for another year of lessons.  Christmas is marked by White Gift Sunday.  Normally non-perishable foods are given to make up hampers  for needy families.  In 1980, money was given for the Somali people.  Also, in the Christmas season, a fun night Christmas Concert was presented.  For several years, the Sunday School presented a play, which was followed by carol singing, Santa Claus, and the giving of candy bags filled by the Ladies Aid.  Since 1985, the concert has been held during the church service with the children participating in the service.  Afterwards they serve lunch to the congregation and Santa then visits.


Since 1981 there has been a “winter fun” day; as long as Alex McConnell kept his horses at Crieff, the fun day was held at Crieff Hills and the highlight of the afternoon was a horse-drawn sleigh ride followed by a pot-luck supper.  In 1988 after Alex’s retirement to St. Helens, the fun day moved to Doug and Gwen MacRobbie’s farm.


Other highlights which have occurred on occasion have been prayer balloons, singing visits to Morriston Nursing Home, presentation of flowers to ladies on Mother’s Day, participation in the Easter sunrise service at Crieff Hills, and the donation of money to the Young Adults to assist with their support of an adopted child.  Annually the year ends with Awards Sunday when attendance Awards and Robert Raikes Awards are presented.   Recently each child has received a book as a memento.


The year is completed with a congregation picnic.  Historically, this event has moved about.  Before 1900, it was held in the MacDonald woods, west of the church and south of the road.  Later it moved to Robert MacRobbie's woods, on the west side of sideroad 25, north of the railway.  A swing erected between two tall beech trees, with ropes thirty feet long, provided a delightful thrill.  Lemonade was a treat then and ice-cream was first introduced to the picnickers by Archie Scott who manufactured it with a hand operated ice-cream freezer.  Later it moved to Puslinch Lake, then to Soper Park in Galt where roller-skating was an additional entertainment.


In 1976, the picnic was held at Hoover Park for the last time.  When the McConnells moved to Crieff the picnic moved with them to Crieff Hills.  Over the years, the Young Adults and various other individuals have organized the games and fun for that event.


Attendance has dwindled with the population shift locally.  From a recent attendance high of 48 in 1978, it dwindled to 15 in 1988.  The results of the Every Person Visitation suggested that Sunday School held at the same time as Church should be attempted; in the fall of 1989 this policy was adopted.  Early results are positive: The congregation appreciates having the children in the congregation for at least part of the service; teachers are also pleased to join the congregation for a time; and several new families are bringing their children to the service.




Service of Praise


"O come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation" Psalm 95:1


In the early church the Precentor stood in front of the pulpit and, using the tuning fork for correct pitch, he led the singing while the congregation sat.  They then stood for prayers.  The first precentor to lead the praises of the sanctuary was John Thomson.  He led in both Gaelic and English during the services in the first church, and for a time in the second building.


His successor was John McGregor who also led in both languages; then Robert Stewart, who could only lead in English, but was assisted by Neil Currie who officiated as leader of praise in the ancient language.  In 1864, William McCormick Sr. began to lead in both languages; after a few years, he was relieved of the English service by Alexander Easton, who had an excellent voice, and Alexander Murchison, who was assisted by a choir.  When a choir developed (probably in the 1870's), they sat in the front seats.  William McCormick continued to lead in Gaelic until a few years before his death in 1901.  Although almost 90 years of age, his voice, of remarkable sweetness and power, was often heard in leading the praises of the aged worshippers with solemn and patriarchal impressiveness.


The growing wealth of the British North American colonies during the 1850’s contributed to many new evidences of sophistication in Presbyterian church life, none of which was so bitterly contested as the introduction of musical instruments and new music into the worship services. 


American Presbyterians had led the way in this direction in the eighteenth century by the introduction of instrumental music and Isaac Watt's "imitations" of the psalms, but as late as the mid-nineteenth century "lining" of the old psalm forms was still the norm in the British colonies.  Since the psalms were divinely inspired, rehearsals for choirs, where they existed, were forbidden.  Congregations and choirs were expected to rely on some instant musical inspiration, which by all reports did not descend universally or frequently on the worshippers.


Somehow, organs seemed to be the greatest threat to Presbyterian purity.  Organs were condemned by the Free Church Synod in 1855.  The controversy was over the use of organs, which were referred to by opponents as "carnal" instruments.  At Crieff, there was much opposition to the use of an organ:  one precentor declared that he would prefer listening to a fanning mill rather than an organ.  Similarly, there was objection to the singing of hymns rather than the psalms of David.


About 1870, William McCormick Jr. began to lead in the English service.  He organized a choir, and his passion for music made it a pleasure to train them with great proficiency.  They obtained considerable prominence, and often received invitations to provide music for neighbouring church entertainments.  In 1899, he was still leading in both languages and the choir members were: Sopranos: Wm. McCormick, Aggie and Katie Martin, Annie and Lizzie McAllister, Jane McAninch and Jennie Cowan.  Maggie Cowan sang alto.  Tenors were James Armstrong, Alex Cowan and Robert McRobbie.  Those who sang bass were Donald Stewart, Archibald McMillan, Duncan McAllister and Charles Martin.


An organ was eventually purchased - the debt incurred for its purchase was paid off in 1907.  It stood against the north wall with chairs on either side for the men of the choir.  The ladies sat in front of the organ.


J. S. Moir comments that, "As frontier conditions waned, worship services became more sophisticated and more decorous." Yet the criticism remained, with some justification, that congregational singing declined in inverse ratio as organs were introduced.  A similar separation of the worshipper from the worship service was charged against church choirs, which evolved in this period as a distinct, sometimes professionalised, body physically separated from the mass of the congregation.  This trend was reinforced after 1900 by the gradual adoption of distinctive gowns and head gear for the choirs.  Choirs, intended to sing with the congregation, began more and more to sing at the congregation as anthems were inserted into the order of service.


Mr. John Frey of Morriston was a talented singing teacher and Choir Leader.  He led the choir at the Evangelical Church in Morriston for 45 years, and he also led at Duff’s and at Crieff, from at least 1907 until he moved to Guelph, after the death of his wife in 1914.  During his tenure as choir leader, Ida McDiarmid and Hattie Munroe played the organ.  Miss Munroe was engaged in 1910 as church organist.  When she left the community in 1918, Cassie McCor­mick played the organ, assisted by her sisters Jane and Nell, and her cousin Bessie McCormick.  In 1923, Robert McRobbie was appointed to act as the leader of praise.


Shortly after he moved into the community in 1931, James Porteous was appointed organist and choir leader, with Jean McPherson as his assistant.  About this time, a new organ was purchased.  It was installed farther away from the north wall so that the choir could sit facing the organist.  A platform was built for the choir and it was eventually screened in.


In January 1938, the choir asked Session if it would be agreeable for the lady choir members to sit in the choir loft without hats during the Church Service as they were buying gowns and could not yet afford hats.  Permission was granted by the Session on condition that the choir procure hats inside of a year.


When Jim Porteous left the community in 1946, Mrs. Gilbert Hobson accepted the position until another could be found.  The talented Leeta Horning, teacher at Crieff School, filled the role of organist and choir leader while she lived here.  Then Mrs. Hobson played again until 1951 when Anna McCormick took over for two years.  When she left for college, Mrs. Jim McDonald agreed to take on the position and she played for many years.  It was about this time that an electric organ was presented to the church in memory of the late Mrs. Kenneth McDonald.


In 1961, a Junior choir was formed and was led by Mrs. Nanson.  They sat in the front pews at first, but when they got new blue and white gowns they moved to the choir loft and sat in front of the few remaining senior choir members.  For a time in the middle ‘60s, Margaret Anne McConnell and her brother Kenneth played while Mrs. McDonald was ill.  In 1968, she was able to play again until early 1973.  The New Revised Book of Praise was introduced to the congregation on Sunday January 28th 1973.


Diane McConnell played for a few years, and then her mother, Florence McConnell, took her place.  In 1975, there were very few choir members.  However, by 1977, their numbers were increasing under the leadership of Maureen Spencer and the choir enjoyed Hymn Sings with other choirs as well as participating in the annual Candlelight Service.  In 1979, the Ladies Aid provided material for new Junior choir gowns, which contributed to their success.  Unfortunately, there was no longer leadership for the senior choir.  In October, choir members left the loft to draw attention to their plight.  When Rev. Young found the lack of choir support difficult, the choir returned to the loft, but it did not have regular practice and again they ceased to participate. The Junior Choir filled the gap until 1984 when it too ceased to function for lack of leadership.  For a few years, David McConnell played the organ and the choir loft was empty.  The Junior Choir performed at special services.


In October 1987, the Senior choir was reorganized under the leadership of Janice MacDonald who is our current organist and choir leader.  Late in 1988, the Senior choir raised their own funds to purchase new gowns, which they initiated at the Christmas Choir Festival at Duff’s Church. 


Early in 1989, our Choir began the practice of Processional and Recessional.  Their enthusiasm and pleasure in adding to the service of praise is a valuable addition to the worship service.



1988 Crieff Choir





Social Events and Anniversary Celebrations


  The church at Crieff was the sole community gathering place and through the years it was used for special entertainments as well as for worship.  The Guelph newspaper in February 1869 reported on a weeknight soiree that filled the building "to its utmost capacity".  This was the 1854 Church, which held 400 people.  "There were provisions of a dainty yet substantial character, provided by the people of the congregation and others of the neighbourhood."  Rev. Andrew Maclean was chairman; there were no fewer than four visiting speakers, and the net proceeds amounted to $68.00.


  Sometime later, an event of a different nature was recalled by a parishioner born in 1899.  "The first moving picture that I saw was at an entertainment in the church in 1907.  It was given by two Carey brothers.  I recall only two pictures or reels, one a balloon ascending and another, speeded up intentionally, which the operator explained was where all bad little boys go."




The Jubilee Celebration


We quote "Presbyterianism in Puslinch":  "In June 1899, East and West Puslinch congregations joined to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Presbyterianism in Puslinch.  The Jubilee services extended over three weeks with guest ministers addressing both congregations.


On Tuesday July 4th, the concluding services in connection with the Jubilee were observed at Knox Church, West Puslinch.  In the afternoon, a picnic was held in the grove near the church.  Arrangements were made for the entertainment of children and the large attendance and apparent enjoyment revealed an appreciation of much thoughtfulness.  The ladies as usual contributed an abundance of good things to eat just before sunset; all repaired to the church, where Mr. Burgess (the photographer) was ready to take the happy expressions of "happy women and brave men." They were arranged in proper order beside their place of worship for the photo.


The evening meeting in the church, which was charmingly decorated, was a most important one.  




J. McGeachy.      Mrs. P. Gilchrist. Mrs. J. Scott.      T. McDonald.

C. Blair.      P. Gilchrist.         J. Scott.     G. McDonald.

Mrs. D. Stewart.  J. McPherson.     Mrs. A. McDonald.        Mrs. A. McPherson.

Mrs. A. McCormick.   Mrs. D. Cameron.     Mrs. J. McPherson.      Mrs. K. Cameron.




Although there had been no special advertisement, the church was filled to its utmost capacity: and young and old soon felt the solemn impressiveness of the hour.  The Pastor presided and after devotional exercises, the Rev. Dr. Wardrope gave an address.  He had known Puslinch for 65 years and he took the audience in retrospective vision to the earliest days.  They could almost hear the wolves and other denizens of the primeval forest; they almost suffered the hardships of pioneer life, or got lost with him amid the uncertain blazes that sometimes bewildered travellers.  The religious life of more than half a century was also traced, and memories of other days acknowledged the Good Shepherd’s constant care.  He exhorted all to renewed consecration and hoped the services now closing would cement the two congregations in increasing fellowship, progressive activity, and abiding prosperity.


The Rev. Archibald Blair spoke of his relationship to them.  He was born in the congregation, baptized there, and though leaving in early life, he had retained an interest in them. He referred sympathetically to the ministers of the congregation and recalled profitable reminiscences.  He then spoke of the strong theology and vigorous religion of the former genera­tion: and while acknowledging the glory of the progressive age which is closing the century, and inspiring the young to efforts worthy of their fathers, he thought they could learn much from this wholesome Christianity.


Mr. Allan Stewart, Warden of the County of Wellington, of whom the congregation is justly proud, was next called upon.  He spoke as a worthy representative of the conservative school of religious life and made some happy local references, which were much appreciated.


The chairman called on Mr. Wm. McCormick Jr. to lead the congregation in singing the two first verses of the 103rd Psalm in Gaelic as follows:



Om'anan, beanaich thusa nis

an Dia Ichobhah mor;

Moladh gach ni an taobh stigh  dhiom

          'ainm naomha mar is coir.

'anam, beannaich fein a nis

I chobhah mor do Dhia:

                         Na dichuimhnich na tiodhlacan

                             a dheonuich dhuit an Triath.


With his rich, sympathetic voice Mr. McCormick sang this majestic Psalm, lining it, in the Gaelic fashion approved by centuries.  Many visitors had never before heard praise in Gaelic, but the aged present, and several of the young, were able to join in the once general form of praise.


The choir of Duff’s Church rendered an excellent programme of music.  The audience, deeply impressed by the evening’s service, sang devoutly, "Praise God, from Whom all Blessings Flow", and retired with the benediction pronounced by Rev. Dr. Wardrope.




Lawn Socials


The Lawn Social, sometimes called a garden party or a strawberry festival, was for half a century an interesting event in the social activities of the congregation.  It was not an annual event and it began in Rev. Robertson’s pastorate about 1905.  Football or baseball games were played in the afternoon; a generous supper was served on tables by the ladies, and a paid group of entertainers put on the evening’s entertainment.  Jimmie Fax was a popular entertainer, singer, and cartoonist for many years.  Usually the local Member of Parliament patronized these gatherings, and smoked a cigar with his political admirers.


The following minutes from a June 10th 1908 congregation meeting reveal how such an event was organized:  "A meeting of the congregation was held to see about having a lawn social. Moved by Archie Scott, seconded by Miss McPherson that we have a garden party. Carried. Moved by Wm. Sim, seconded by Archie Scott that we hold same at Walter Cowan’s, if convenient. Carried. Moved by James Blake, seconded by Miss McPherson that Robert McRobbie be appointed to see Mr. Cowan.  Carried.  Moved by Archie Scott, seconded by ... to have it on or about July 8.  Carried. Moved by Angus Stewart, seconded by Archie Scott that Alex Chisholm, James McPherson, Wm. Sim and Archie Scott be appointed managing Committee and James Blake Chairman.  Carried."


Lawn socials are also remembered at the homes of Allan Stewart, Angus D. McPherson, and James Blake.


In the horse and buggy days many rural residents had little opportunity to attend concerts in surrounding cities.  Mr. Lawrence, minister 1907-1919, was personally acquainted with the members of a celebrated male quartet from Galt, “The Maple Leaf Quartet” and on numerous occasions he arranged for their concerts in Knox Church, which was a pleasure to many people.


In 1920, a parishioner recorded the following description of one of these events. "Our Church Anniversary was last Sunday.  Rev. Mr. Kannawin of Hamilton (who taught in Crieff 30 years ago) preached.  Had a big crowd.  Cars galore. The Freelton Methodist choir was there at night.  Miss Edna Leslie was organist and her brother Sidney, the leader.  Then on Monday afternoon we had a lawn social at Fred Roszell’s (Angus King Stewart's old home).  It was a miserable day. The Crieff baseball team did fairly well.  Young Kannawin pitched for them.  He is 17.  We made $80.00 and paid expenses.  They sent word to the paid talent not to come as the day was so bad."


A 1929 Board of Managers Meeting had lengthy discussion about having a social on the Monday night after anniversary and it was agreed to have a social evening.  They passed a motion to ask Dr. Kannawin to remain over for Monday night and give an address, assisted by a neighbouring choir.  A Committee was appointed and an entry fee set.


All through the 1930’s, the Monday night following Anniversary Sundays was set aside for an evening of entertainment.




100th Anniversary Services, 1940


The year 1940 saw the passing of another impressive and historic milestone in the annals of the West Puslinch congregation.  It was one hundred years since Rev. William Meldrum held the first regular service of worship in the old log church on lot 15. Preparations were made for special anniversary services to observe this centennial.







SUNDAY, JUNE 16, 1940.




11 A.M.   Rev. Chas Mullen of West Flamboro

7 P.M.   Rev. James Smart of Knox Church Galt


Mrs. Reed, soloist of Guelph, will assist the choir in the morning service.  The Hespeler quartette will assist at the evening service.  There will be appropriate music at both services.






Monday. June 17th




3:00 o'clock     Soft Ball Games commence the sports programme


5:30 o'clock         Supper served. Bagpipe music


8:15 o'clock         programme by MacGregor Concert Bureau, featuring Scotch songs,                              Readings and Musical Entertainment.


Scenes of early days re-enacted by Crieff Young People.


W. M. S. Centennial Observance, Wednesday at 2:30 o'clock


You are invited to visit the Historical Collection on display in the MacKay house, arranged by Capt. John Gilchrist.



Admission 50 cents                                                          Children 25 cents




       Col. MacLean provided an illustrated printed pamphlet giving the Sunday service program and containing records from his father’s collection.  This was a valuable historical record.  A loudspeaker was used for all the functions, for the first time at Crieff. The large attendance at the Sunday services could not be seated in the sanctuary.  Chairs and benches were arranged on the grass, immediately east of the church, and those seated there were able to take part along with those inside.


          On the following Monday, a large and most enjoyable garden party was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Duncan McAllister, east of the church.  Former residents of Crieff district attended, renewing old friendships. Supper was smorgasbord style and girls’ softball teams from Morriston and Tansley competed in the afternoon, Morriston winning.  These games were played in the field east of McAllister's orchard.  Girls playing softball, as an alternative to men’s hardball, was still a novelty in 1940, at Crieff.  This was the first time that food was served this way at a Crieff function.  Pipers John McFarlane and Colin Blyth of Guelph provided a choice selection of highland tunes and music during the afternoon. Crieff was always blessed with excellent singers and musicians, but it cannot claim to have produced a piper. The evening program was provided by a group of entertainers. An additional feature was a series of short plays written by the current minister, Rev. J.L Burgess.  These plays were performed by local talent and they portrayed the origins of the congregation in the early 1840’s.  Thus ended one hundred years of Crieff Church history.



"A thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is passed and as a watch in the night.                Psalm 9:4




1967 and 1975 Covenanter Services


    On two occasions, the congregation celebrated anniversaries with the Covenanter's form of worship.  In 1967, celebration of the anniversary of Confederation was marked in this way and in 1975, the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of National Presbyterian Church Union was organized with a Centennial Homecoming Service on Anniversary Sunday, June 15.  The theme of the National Centennial was "Remembrance, Renewal and Response."  Once again, Crieff used the Covenanter’s form of worship.  Jack Porteous again acted the role of Precentor; Alex McConnell was the Beadle; elders Ritchie MacMillan and James McDonald read scripture; former minister Rev. Bryan assisted Rev. Young and preached the sermon "A Heritage to Prize, a Mission to Fulfill."  Many worshippers came in period costume.  A tent was set up on the east side of the church for over­flow from the sanctuary, and took part in the service along with those inside due to the loud speaker.  After the service, the ladies served tea and coffee to accompany the box lunches, which the participants had been invited to bring.




Covenanter's Order of Service:


When the Congregation is assembled, the Session Clerk enters and calls the people to rise and to remain standing to hear the Commandments of God:


*  The Commandments - Exodus 20: 1-17 (The congregation may now be seated and remain seated during the following Psalm).


*  Psalm "All people that on earth do dwell" (Old One Hundredth) - led by the Precentor


*  Old Testament Scripture - Isaiah 40: 18-31


*  New Testament Scripture - Ephesians 4: 1-13


*  Enter the Beadle and the Ministers (congregation rises).


*  Call to Worship (congregation standing).


*  Prayer of Invocation and Confession (congregation standing.)


*  Psalm "Gods law is perfect" (SL Andrew) led by Precentor


*  Sermon


*  Prayer of Thanksgiving and Intercession (Congregation Standing)


*  Intimations and Offerings


*  Psalm "God of our saving health and peace (Precentor). As this psalm is a prayer, the congregation will stand to sing it.)


*  Benediction




The Influence of John Bayne Maclean


When Rev. Andrew Maclean’s widow died in 1916, her sons brought her body back to Crieff for burial beside her husband.  On this, the first visit in more than 40 years, the Colonel was shocked by the neglected condition of the cemetery and general surroundings. A year or two later he made a more leisurely trip, chiefly for the purpose of deciding on a suitable new monument for his parents’ graves, and according to his biographer, “hoping that his earlier impression of the place would be proved wrong.  Not so; the weeds were high; it was dangerous to walk about because of the bumps and hollows in the ground and whatever vestiges of fencing remained could not keep out the wandering cows.”


By the time he climbed back into his chauffeur driven car, the colonel’s original plan had been considerably extended.  As a memorial to his parents and also to their friends and fellow worshippers buried there, and as a gift to the community, he would undertake the complete renovation of the area and make provision for its future upkeep.   He must engage the best professional designers available - and that meant the Olmstead Brothers, recognized as North America’s leading landscape architects.


He employed Maude McCormick who lived beside the cemetery to care for his parents’ graves.  When she heard that the Crieff congregation had called a meeting for November 8th 1920 to discuss improving the cemetery, she told the Colonel.  As a result, J. B. Maclean and his brother Hugh attended the meeting and became involved in the planning process.  There may have been another influence at work.  The minister of the time, Rev. Stuart Woods, was a keen horticulturist.  It was probably he who suggested the meeting in the first place.


Whatever the case, the meeting was of great significance.  From the date of this meeting in 1920 until his death in 1949, the Colonel continued to co-operate with the Cemetery Improvement committee and the congregation.  The removal of the horse-sheds from the cemetery area was just the first step.


The colonel undertook to have the grounds landscaped and an imposing stone wall built around two sides.  Of course, the congregation was drawn in with voluntary labour.


Stone fence, completed in 1923.




The completion of the wall and entrance gates was an event to be especially noted and remembered.  The congregation, desiring to express its appreciation and gratitude to the Macleans for their extensive improvements and work at the cemetery, arranged a day to celebrate the completion of the wall.  It was held on Thanksgiving Day, November 10th 1924.  The entire congregation attended and about 120 guests and former residents of the community attended, three hundred in all.


The program began at 1:00 p.m. with a sumptuous banquet, prepared and served by the ladies of the congregation.  A number of seats near the vestry door were removed and tables were erected there, on the platform, and in the vestry, with the people being seated in successive groups.


Dr. Henry Becker of Toronto, who had grown up in the house east of the cemetery, thanked the people for their royal welcome and moved a vote of thanks to the ladies for the banquet.  This was seconded by Rev. Wm. Kannawin of Hamilton, a former teacher at the local school, and participant in the Sabbath School of the Church at that time.


The laying of the corner stone in the completed wall by Angus Stewart was an impressive part of the occasion.  Mr. Stewart had been Church Treasurer for many years. The corner stone and appropriate records were placed in the east pillar of the gateway directly in front of the church.


Following the laying of the corner stone, the congregation moved into the church and witnessed the unveiling of the memorial stone to the Rev. Andrew Maclean, as the original gravestone had been replaced by a large tombstone, and the Macleans, with the congregation’s consent, moved the original stone to the north wall of the sanctuary, beside the vestry door.




The Manse


At a Managers’ meeting in May 1912, the sale of the manse property was discussed.  This old house had not been used as a manse since 1888.  It had been occupied by various tenants and was the Crieff post office for a period ending in 1912 when rural mail delivery began.  The annual rent at this time was $25.00 per year.  The strained finances of the congregation prevented necessary repairs and maintenance.  Consequently, the property gradually acquired a dilapidated appearance.


After prolonged discussion, over many years, a motion was passed at the 1925 Annual Meeting which approved the transfer of the manse and 4 acres of land to Colonel J. B. Maclean, as a gift, by deed.  With commendable Scots caution, the motion included a clause whereby, if the property ever passed out of the Maclean name, it would revert back to the congregation.  This clause was omitted from the registered deed and when the property was sold, the congregation could not register a claim.


Colonel Maclean’s biographer maintains that the congregation’s gift of the manse property abruptly changed the thinking of J. B. Maclean.  Chambers continues, "Quite aside from the sentimental associations involved, here was a completely new experience for Maclean, in that he had never before received a gift of "real property" by deed or inheritance; in fact it would be the single such occasion of his lifetime."


Soon the new Crieff program was nicely under way.   Architects took charge of a careful restoration scheme which would retain the original character and plan of the manse as closely as possible, while adding all the comforts of modern living, and finally achieving a spanking white colonial clapboard house, snug and serene among its new lawns and gardens.  Year by year, further improvements were made, the most ambitious being the moving forward of the old carriage house to a situation where it could be linked with the main dwelling by means of a roofed patio.  Thus the cavernous place where the Rev. Andrew had kept his horse, buggy, and cutter became the nucleus for the Colonel’s spacious private retreat, laid out exactly as he designated, with a large, airy library panelled in pine, amply windowed and having a handsome fireplace, and with plenty of space remaining for a big bedroom, bathroom and entrance hall.


The acreage expanded too.  Those constantly watchful eyes of the new country gentleman had noted the absence of beneficial bird life because the natural woodland habitat had long ago disappeared.  So, when the farm on which the manse property was located became available, the Colonel purchased it and started a reforestation project.  As the two adjoining farms to the west came on the market, he acquired those also, winding up with a total holding of more than 300 acres.  His idea now was to establish alongside his new woodlot, a modern working farm that would become a source of information and inspiration in the best practical methods for the whole district.







Knox Presbyterian Church, Crieff Manse, before and after renovation.



The Crieff congregation, appreciative of the extent of Colonel Maclean’s work and generosity, and the transformation in the cemetery grounds which now had extended over many years, arranged a special day, June 15th 1934, on which to honour and pay tribute to Colonel Maclean and his brother, Major Hugh Maclean.  The entire congregation attended as well as a large number of invited guests.  The highlight of the occasion was the unveiling of a memorial plaque in the front stone wall.  Again, the ladies of the congregation catered, serving a banquet on the lawn east of the church.


At an appropriate moment in the proceedings, the chairman, Rev. Mathieson, called upon Dr. Henry Becker of Toronto to remove the Union Jack from the tablet in the stone wall, facing the roadway.  Colonel Maclean then spoke at considerable length referring to his work and future plans.  He was sometimes critical of the manner in which the congregation was honouring him, and he declared that memorials were for the dead.  "I am not dead yet, and you are not going to bury me yet," he asserted.  Dr. Kannawin D.D., who had taught school and reorganized the Sunday School in 1889, was now called on. He did not agree with the Colonel’s view of memorial tablets.  He stated that “the world would be happier with more taffy and less epitaphy; with more flowers given before the last sad rites.”  After Dr. Kannawin’s address, the congregation sang a hymn and Rev. Mathieson closed with prayer.




The internal auditor from the Maclean Hunter business office was assigned the job of keeping the farm books. He wrestled valiantly with inventories, assessments, taxes, staff lists, wages, and at a certain point found himself forced to probe the mysteries of butterfat content in milk.  “The Colonel was sure his herd’s production rated the best price going,” he recalled. “Yet the dairy to which he shipped constantly produced records showing the milk lacked the proper butterfat ratio.  I even went to the plant to watch the tests.  Neither the Colonel nor I could get to the root of the problem.  Then one Monday morning he came back from Crieff in a state of glee. “Patterson, I've solved it!” he said. “I dropped by at the herdsman’s house; there was no one around, so I went in - and what do you think I found in the cellar?  A separator, and three full pails of cream! I want you to fire the thief at once!”




1934 Congregation and friends




Back Row: MacGregor Stewart, Chester Schultz, Edward McGeachy, Donald A. Stewart, Andrew Scott, Billie McNally, Jim Blake, Wm. McCormick, Angus Smith, Donald McDonald, Gordon McAllister, Angus McDonald, Russell Kerns, Ernie Plumtree.


Fourth Row.. Fedora ?, Archie Scott, Beatrice McMillan, Wilma Stull, Dave McNaughton, James A. McPherson, ____,Bruce Stewart, Wilfred Roszell, Jack Porteous, Wm. Sim, Isaac Hobson, Percy Harbottle, Jim McDonald, Ernest Roszell, Jack Sawyer, Alfred Reid, Dan MacDonald, Angus McDonnell, ____, Kenneth McDonald.


Third Row, ladies standing: Donelda Gregor, Grace Stewart, Mrs. McDonnell, ____,Rowena Stull, Margaret McCormick, Edith Martin, Mrs. Dave McNaughton, Christina Ramsay (Mrs. Welch), Edith MacDonald, Janet Martin, Jessie Elliott, Bessie McCormick, Jane McCormick, Clara Nelson, Davina Gilchrist, Lillian Martin, Jean McPherson, Margaret Blake, Lillian Reid, Charlotte Fraser, Helen Templeman, Grace McAllister Scott.


Second Row: ladies standing Katherine Gregor, Margaret Scott, Mrs. Duncan McDonald, Abbie McIntosh, Mary Cameron; ladies sitting: Mary Helen Beattie with baby; Elizabeth Kerns with Mildred over her shoulder, Alfie standing in front and Harold to his left; Jean Wigood with Allan, Lottie Harbottle with Lorne & Lorraine, Mrs. Fred Roszell, Mrs. Jennie Stewart, Mrs. Sandy John McPherson, Adelaide Harbottle, Mrs. Kenneth McDonald, Reta,

(Mrs. Tom) McDonald, _____, Flora McPherson, Mrs. (D). Kate McCormick, Mary Blake, Winnie Tennant,____, Mary Scott, Fred Roszell.


Front Row: Chlldren: ____,_____,Margaret Templeman, Lorne Templeman, Rev. Mathieson, Dr. Henry Becker, Hugh Maclean, Col. J. B. Maclean, Rev. Kannewin, Mrs. Bob Kennedy.____, Charles Martin, Duncan McDonald, Katie McAllister, Duncan McAllister, Charles Plumtree, Ross Templeman, ____, ____.




During the restoration of the manse and the three old houses belonging to him, numerous artefacts from pioneer days came to light in sheds, basements and attics.  "These things must be saved," the Colonel declared.  To this end, he created a museum in the McKay house at the corner; he engaged John Gilchrist to care for it and to make small-scale models of early farm implements, housekeeping aids, and a carefully detailed reproduction of the first church at Crieff.  He planned to erect a special fireproof building to house it but World War II forced abandonment of that plan.


It also slowed activities at his demonstration farm and the Ayrshire herd was dispersed.  The Colonel died in 1950.  He willed the manse to his nephew who in turn sold it to the Danish Association of New Canadians, which operates it as a social and vacation resort.  All remaining lands and buildings were bequeathed to the Presbyterian Church in Canada, although three of the Colonel’s faithful employees were given rent-free occupancy of their homes for life, under his explicit arrangements.  The greater part of the pioneer collection was turned over to the Wellington County Historical and Research Society for Museum display.




The Board of Trustees


At the Annual Congregational Meeting of Knox Church Puslinch, held in the church January 31st 1924, the following motion, having regard to the appointing of trustees, was passed:


Moved by Duncan McDonald, Seconded by William Sim, that Archibald Scott, Duncan McAllister and D. McPherson be appointed trustees.  Carried.


          At the Trustees first meeting, January 31st 1924, the Secretary, A. D. McPherson, received from Rev. Woods, the Deed of Land pertaining to the Manse property and from Mr. Duncan McDonald the Deed of Land pertaining to the church sheds property and also the Insurance Policy.  At the annual meeting of the Trustees, arrangements were made to carry out the instructions received from the congregation with regard to the transfer of the manse property to Col. J. B. Maclean.


    Since that time, trustees have been appointed annually for a three-year term.  Currently they are: Scotty MacDonald, Doug McDonald and Bob Fowle.




Friends of Crieff


In 1986, Session agreed to the formation of a new social group within the church, “The Friends of Crieff”.  Under a steering committee the group began to function in 1987, and in 1988 began to have a more permanent format.  Meetings are held once every two months; the program committee rotates among three geographic areas, each of which has a couple that are Vice Presidents who delegate the program responsibility.  There is no set meeting place or format.  The Valens Community Centre has been the locale for a lobster boil, a box lunch social, Mystery Dinner Theatre, euchres etc.  The Sunday School room at the church is also used for potluck suppers and late evening snacks.  Outings for a variety of entertainments have been arranged, as well as golf tournaments and a car rally.  The membership changes with the appeal of the program.  “Friends of Crieff” has already contributed to the fellowship of the congregation.




Young People’s Society - Young Adults


Few records are available for this organization of the church, which has been cyclical and dependent on the number of young people in the community.  It may have been coincidental that Young Peoples emerged about the same time as the old custom of weekly prayer meetings was passing away.  In the early decades of the twentieth century, horse and buggy was still the main form of transportation, and the electronic age had not yet begun. There was a definite need for organized social and recreational activities for the young people of the community.  The first group to be formed was known as the Guild; it was organized when Rev. Samuel Lawrence was minister.


During the period 1920-1950, under the super­vision of the minister, an executive was selected and devotional, literary, and social committees were appointed to arrange meetings which were held twice monthly in homes or in the church.  Interesting programs, featuring debates, current events, discussions, spelling or geography matches, were held; the season usually concluded with a banquet, and a summer picnic.  Colonel Maclean was the special guest at one of the banquets.  Interchanges with neighbouring societies were also pleasant and sociable occasions.


The following excerpt from “The News of Crieff” in the Guelph Mercury of February 7th 1946 is an example of a program from that period.


          "The Young People's Society held their literary meeting at the home of Miss Grace and Mr. Donald Stewart one evening, with a good attendance.  President Leslie McPherson was on the chair for the devotional period.  Coral Paddock read the scripture.  Rev. Bryan gave the study and prayer was offered. The roll call was answered by a verse of scripture.


     The literary committee presented a Scottish Program.   Harold Kerns read a paper entitled "The Gaelic."  William McCormick gave a humorous talk on Robert Burns. and Mrs. McCormick read one of Burns’ first poems, "Handsome Nell”.   Everyone joined in singing Burns' songs, "Ye Banks and Braes of Bonny Doon"' and "Coming Thru the Rye." A letter written by Burns was read by Mrs. Stuart McDonald;  Mr. James Porteous favoured with a solo,  "Willies  Gang to Melville Castle." Angus Smith gave an interesting talk on the "bracken," the Gaelic word for tartan.  Mrs. Porteous gave a reading. "A Man's a Man for a' that".  Anna McCormick played a piano instrumental and Mr. Porteous sang a solo, "The Laird 0' Cockpen".  Mary McPherson gave a reading entitled "Scotch Songs," and all joined in singing 'Auld Lang Syne." A dainty lunch was served."


In 1965, Y. P. S. was reorganized under Rev. Leslie Nanson and continued to function until 1970.  Again in 1975, Rev. Norman Young reorganized it.  In 1975, the average attendance of 25 members met every Monday evening.  They enjoyed social outings as well as having bible study.  In 1977, Rev. Bob Spencer began to act as advisor to the group. During this period, the group began the tradition of decorating the sanctuary Christmas tree and giving Lenten readings in the church service.  For a few years, they sponsored "Irish Stew" suppers to raise funds for their foster children.


Rev. Spencer retired as advisor in 1987 and the group was reorganized in 1988 with Jayne Shoe­maker and Delores Hamilton as advisors.  They conducted a post Sunday Service game, "Win, Lose or Draw" for the congregation’s enjoyment.  In the spring of 1989, they operated a car rally as a fundraiser.  Lack of numbers again making planning difficult, the group disbanded later in the year.




Women’s Missionary Society


The Women’s Missionary Society was organized at Crieff Church in 1904 under the leadership of Rev. Robertson’s wife and Mrs. Watt of Guelph Presbyterial.  They gathered a small group of women together in the vestry.  Mrs. John Patterson was elected President, Miss Agnes Grey Vice President, and Miss Jane McAninch Secretary Treasurer.


The young society was set back two years later when the Robertsons left the charge and again a year later when Mrs. Patterson also moved away.  However, the members supported Miss Grey as President and the group carried on.


The Journal of the Society at this time was called "The Missionary Messenger".   From the time of the Crieff organization, the various Canadian Societies were working side by side until they joined together in 1914 with the motto "The World for Christ".  The Church Union disruption of 1925 did not seriously affect W.M.S.  It was quick to reorganize and continues to do a great and important work through its various auxiliaries.  The new name selected for its magazine was "The Glad Tidings".


As an Auxiliary of W.M.S. of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, Knox Auxiliary has contributed to clothing bales and allocations for W.M.S. Budget.  Within the Guelph Presbyterial, Knox Auxiliary has been a responsible member.  Miss Margaret Scott was Home Helper Secretary 1956-58, and Mrs. John Griesbach was recording Secretary 1969-74 and she served as Presbyterial President 1983-86.


The ladies of Knox Church Auxiliary have hosted the Presbyterial at their rally on different occasions; they have also hosted Presbyterial Executive meetings.




Women’s Missionary Society Life Members


* also Honorary Life Membership



Mrs. Kenneth McDonald


Mrs. Chas Mast


Mrs. Fred Roszell


Mrs. Frank Rolfe


Miss Abbie Mclntosh*


Mrs. Gilbert Hobson


Miss Catherine McIntosh *


Mrs. Jack Mast


Mrs. Carl Ross


Mrs. Alex McConnell


Mrs. James McDonald


Mrs. Stuart McDonald


Mrs. Wm. McCormick


Mrs. E.S. MacDonald


Miss Margaret Scott


Mrs. John Griesbach *




Mrs. Fred Spencer


There is an annual pattern of activity followed.  World Day of Prayer is marked on the first Friday in March, the Crieff society hosting on a rotating basis with the other local churches.  Spring and Fall Thank offering is shared with Duff’s W.M.S. and the June Meeting has been held as a Joint meeting with Duff’s since 1925.   Crieff W.M.S. alternates annually in hosting a potluck supper and meeting with the Kirkwall W.M.S.


Meetings at Crieff are held monthly except for July and August.  Afternoon meetings prevailed until 1963 when the group opted for evening meetings to accommodate young mothers. Study material is obtained from Head Office and the members familiarize themselves with the church across the world.  Other projects include collecting stamps for the Bible Society and Grocery Store tapes, which are redeemed for cash and used for gifts to handicapped young people in the community. The W.M.S. supports Glen Mohr and Armaugh camps.  At each meeting, the Fellowship of the least coin is practised, with the funds being sent to Women's Inter-Church Council for international use. A visitation program for shut-ins continues to function as does the Secret Pal tradition. The group acts as an auxiliary to the Morriston Nursing Home.




Ladies Aid - Knox Church Fellowship


It seems that the Ladies Aid originated during World War I when churchwomen, having knitted various articles for the Red Cross to send to soldiers, met in homes to pack boxes to send overseas.  When the war was over the group decided to continue this fellowship.  Until 1926, they were known as the Women’s Sewing Circle.  In that year, they became the Ladies Aid.


The ladies held their meetings monthly, beginning at 1:00 p.m.  They generally quilted, sometimes completing two large quilts for the hostess, and always a sumptuous lunch was served.  This was a fellowship group, and in the beginning, the only religious part of the meeting was grace before lunch.  Only in 1961, at the urging of the minister’s wife, did they begin to have a devotional service.


The ladies had two quilt projects to make money: in 1930 and in 1963 autograph quilts were made of blocks with more than four hundred embroidered names at a cost of ten cents per name.  The 1930 quilt was sold for $5.00, the 1963 for $35.00.  We have been fortunate to locate both of these quilts for display at the time of our Sesquicentennial.  Each block is a piece of history in itself.  Each lady was given the responsibility of selling and embroidering the 17 names for the block.


          Quilting continued to be the main program for this group through the 1940’s and into the 50’s.  However, the demand for quilts dwindled, as did the skills involved; as alternative items for bedding became available and as the skilled fingers of the older generation were no longer present at the meetings, the focus changed.


They turned to making quilt blocks for the Red Cross, mending choir gowns, and then into more ambitious fund raising activities.  For a number of years they held bazaars, featuring home baking, handicrafts and plants for sale.  In 1961, Schneiders Meats of Kitchener provided meat on a promotional basis for a successful fund-raising supper.  They hosted euchres at Crieff School monthly until Crieff Hills Community began to function and needed the hall on weekends.  In November 1980, Kirk Session gave approval to hold these euchres in the Sunday School rooms.  Bake sales were held at the euchres as well as at local auction sales.


Dating back into the early twenties, the women of the church had assisted financially when it was necessary to redecorate the sanctuary.  When the church was redecorated in 1945, the Ladies Aid paid one-half of the $500.00 cost.  At the time of the expansion of the Sunday School rooms, they furnished the kitchen with the stove, dishes and cutlery.  They purchased the new piano for the Sunday School, as well as the pulpit falle, hymn chart, and the flags.  They presented the baptismal font to the church in memory of Mrs. Elizabeth Kerns.  The ladies also made sizeable contributions to the church’s general fund, the Sunday School, famine relief, missions and Cancer Society.


In addition to their fund-raising, they gave service in kind to the community.  The sick, the bereaved, and the shut-ins were remembered.  They assisted in church cleaning, painting and making candy for children at concerts, serving lunch after funerals and visiting nursing homes.


Changing society in the 1980’s spelled the end of the Ladies Aid, as it has been known.  It ceased to meet, although most of the members were also members of the W.M.S. and the fellowship was not completely lost.  With the advent of the Puslinch Community Centre, the possibility of fundraising through occasional catering there brought about a new type of fellowship.  This evolved as the men of the congregation were called upon to assist both in the kitchen and with the serving.  In 1988, the name “Ladies Aid” was changed to “The Fellowship Group”.  Short business meetings are held the same evening as W.M.S. to hear reports and to make decisions.




Church Growth Committee


The January 1989 Annual Meeting made way for a Church Growth Committee which began to function shortly after, with members being Marg Griesbach, Gladys McDonald, Muriel Mast, Marg Paddock and in 1990, Joan Pearce.  The purpose of this committee is to help encourage and nurture spiritual and numerical growth within the congregation.


Already, the committee has distributed flyers in the neighbourhood, developed a pew card for newcomers, and a congregational newsletter.  The Committee has appointed a Communications Coordinator who will see that you receive a copy of the Church Bulletin for a given Sunday that a member may have missed.  In the fall of 1989, the Committee instituted a Quarterly Newsletter with Anna Jackson as editor.




World Wars


“It has come… dark, stern, terrible.”  With those words, the Presbyterian Record of October 1914 noted the beginning of that hideous catastrophe of modern civilization, World War I.  “It may well be that out of the wreck and ruin of war, when the passions of strife are stilled, there may come throughout the world a truer sense of the values that are spiritual and eternal, as compared with the material and temporal things for which self- seeking men and nations strive and fight.”


During the next horror-filled years of carnage, members of the Presbyterian Church in Canada did their full share of service in the trenches of Flanders and on the home front in Canada.  From the members and adherents of Crieff Church the following men served in various branches of the military service in World War I:


Thomas Cowan

Peter McPherson

Matthew McAninch

Robert J. McPherson

Robert McConnell

John Munroe

George MacKay

Robert Scott

Archibald McLean  

George Thomas




The outbreak of World War II in September 1939 was viewed with sorrow and resignation.  Again the Record commented:  “The one thing possible to the Christian conscience in the circumstances is to go through with the hateful business without rancour or bitterness, and with the hope that the destruction of those who have brought evil upon the world will be overruled by God so as to achieve a greater good in the future.”


Knox Crieff mourned with the families who lost sons:  the Kenneth McDonalds, the Alonzo Huffmons and the David Priests.  Two newspaper clippings give a sense of the drama of war:


"A memorial service was held in Knox Church Crieff in memory of Sgt. Major Donald McDonald of the Highland Light Infantry of Canada, who was killed in action, September 2, 1944, on the western front.  Rev. Bryan was assisted by Captain Fraser, late chaplain of the H.L.I. overseas."


"Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth McDonald have been notified that their son, company Sergeant Major John Ingram McDonald, was killed in action on the Western Front, October 8 1944.  A memorial service will be held in Crieff Church December 10.  A brother Ivan is a Captain in the Winnipeg Grenadiers overseas."




These men served in World War II:


George Ainslie

Angus McDonald

Donald Ferguson

Ian Ferguson

Jack Huffmon

James MacDonald

James Mast

John MacDonald

Howitt McDonald

Philip MacDonald

Gordon Huffmon

Harry Huffmon

Stuart McDonald

Bruce Stewart

Frank McConnell

Cameron Stewart

Ivan McDonald

Ross Priest




of those who paid the supreme sacrifice in the war of 1939-1945.


Clarence H. Huffmon      Donald R. McDonald

John I. McDonald       David L. Priest


Their name liveth for evermore.





Part II

Families of the Congregation








The task of recording the families of a congregation over 150 years is difficult and regretfully names may have been omitted.  For this we apologize.  Names have been taken from the 1844 list of members, as well as other names recorded in the book,  “Presbyterianism in Puslinch”; lists of subscribers to the lot 15 church in 1851 and 1854; lists of Heads of Families recorded by Rev. Maclean; and lists of contributing members recorded in annual reports.  In addition, names and dates have been gleaned from Baptismal Records, Marriage Records, Cemetery Records and newspaper obituaries as well as some family histories. If some family names are omitted it is because they were baptized elsewhere and no other record of the name has been found.  We have used the prefix "Mc" or "Mac" as it was recorded until the family, or a branch of the family, changed the spelling.


We have not attempted a complete genealogy. Instead, these pages are meant to document the families who have contributed to the West Puslinch Congregation and to illustrate the points made elsewhere in this text: the contributions made to the life of the West Puslinch Congregation by the members, and the population changes and other social issues which affected our church and its people.


We trust that the property descriptions will not be confusing to readers.  Township roads in west Puslinch and the former Township of Beverly are numbered south to north, with the Gore of Puslinch in between.  The Tenth concession of Beverly was only one farm deep, with farms opening either on the Tenth concession road or on the Gore road.  All other concessions have a front lot on the north side of the road by the same name and a rear lot that opens on the next road north.  In both townships, the lots begin numbering at the west end.   In Puslinch, there are five lots between sideroads; in Beverly, there are six lots in each block.  In the interest of saving space, we have used lot number, and concession number without using the word "concession" each time.   If the lot is not noted as being in Beverly, assume that it is in Puslinch.  The former township of Beverly is now divided into two municipalities.  The east portion is now part of the Town of Flamborough in the Wentworth Region and the west portion is in the Waterloo Region.         






The Families of the Congregation:





Clarence and Olive Fixter Awde have lived on lot 17, rear Gore since their marriage in 1939.  Clarence grew up on a farm near Hagersville.  Olive, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Fixter, was an elementary school teacher.  Their only child, Earla, was born in 1946.


Clarence Awde had served a term on the Board of Managers at Knox Crieff before he was ordained as an elder in 1955.  From 1956 to 1987, he served faithfully as Clerk of Session.  When he retired from that position, he was honoured for his service by the presentation of a painting of his farm buildings.  He continues to be active in his role as elder.  Mrs. Awde was a Sunday School Teacher and she also sang in the choir.

Earla, (Mrs. James Boyd), lives at Petersburg.  She has a son Peter and two daughters, Marcy and Kyla.




          Robert Ainslie, son of William and Margaret Gamble Ainslie, was born in Clyde.  He married Margaret, daughter of Angus and Barbara Blair McCormick, in 1905. Their sons Angus and George spent time with their aunt, Maude McCormick, who lived in the house east of Crieff Cemetery.  While there, they attended Sunday School and other church functions.





          Brock and Joyce Barnhardt moved to a new home on lot 27 Front First recently.  They attend worship and their children, Andrew and Brooke, are members of the Church School.





The “Annals of Puslinch” places Roderick Beaton on lot 27 front First and notes that he was known as Rory Mount since he lived at the top of the hill east of the church.  Also, Rev. Andrew Maclean’s methodical listing of the heads of families places him on the First.  However, when the children of Roderick Beaton and Eric McLean were baptized by Rev. Maclean, ( Duncan, born 1858, baptized 1859, and Janet born and baptized in 1861), the place of residence was given as lot 26 Gore.  Rev. Meldrum performed the wedding ceremony of Roderick Beaton, labourer and Henrietta McLean in 1853.  Alexander Fraser and Kenneth McKenzie were witnesses.





      Henry Becker and his brother Christopher emigrated from Germany.  Mrs. Becker, the former Eliza Lyden, was of English background.  The Beckers kept store in the house adjacent to the cemetery on the east.  They are named as pew occupants of the church built in 1854. Their family of five, baptized by Reverend Maclean, were Henry Jr. (became a medical doctor in Toronto), Elijah (c1860, worked for the C.P.R.), Edward (1862, went to the Klondike and was a partner in a mining company before taking up ranching south of Lethbridge), Mary (1864, Mrs. Bond), Dr. Charles (1872), and Richard (1867, went west).  Henry and Eliza Becker are buried in Crieff Cemetery.


Dr. Henry Becker returned to Crieff several times and was present at the functions honouring Colonel Maclean and his brother Hugh in 1924, and again in 1934.  Edward Becker married Edith Ennis.  It is likely that she was the granddaughter of George Paddock (eldest son of Capt. Thomas) and his first wife, Catherine Bond.   Edward and Edith Becker’s daughter, Marjorie Worsley, visited Crieff in 1987.





While they lived at Killean, Harold and Dorothy Bennett were active in the congregation.  Harold served on the Board of Managers 1969-1974, and Dorothy taught in the Sunday School; their children, Barbara, John, and Dorothy attended Sunday School.  About 1980, the family moved to Damascus, Ontario.  Rev. James Bell, Mrs. Bennett’s father, is buried in Crieff Cemetery.





John Blair succeeded to lot 10 rear Gore, which his parents Archibald (c1785-1863) and Mary McDougall Blair, natives of Kintyre, had pioneered.  John Blair is recorded as having subscribed to a collection on behalf of the lot 15 church in 1851, two years before he married Margaret Dunbar in 1853.  Two of their children were John and Robert.  Several of John’s brothers and sisters married into community families: Christina (Mrs. Lachlan McMillan); Barbara (Mrs Angus McCormick); Mary (Mrs. Malcolm Currie); Donald married a Dunbar daughter from lot 11 front First; and Charles.


In April 1853, the Crieff Session recorded the following: “The Moderator mentioned that Charles Blair had been applying for a certificate of character, having in view to visit his native land for the benefit of his delicate health.  The session, in agreement to grant this request, expressed their regret that the health of a member so dedicated to the cause of the Redeemer and so useful as a Sabbath School teacher as Mr. Blair has been, should require him to leave them for a season.”


In March 1860, the elder, Donald Currie reminded the Session that Charles Blair had recently settled in the community and that he would be a suitable candidate for church eldership.  He was ordained as an elder on April 15, 1860.  Charles and his wife, Agnes McMurchy, lived on lot 23, Ninth of Beverly.  Their son Murdock was born in 1862.  There is no further mention of Charles Blair in the 1899 History.  However, Killean Cemetery gives evidence to tragedy. Their children are buried there: Catherine age 1 year and 4 months in 1859; Donald age 27 in 1884; finally, Agnes, his wife, died in 1891 age 65; there is no grave marker for Charles.


Donald Blair’s family was raised by Malcolm Currie and his wife, who was the children’s aunt.  The children were Archibald, who became a Presbyterian minister, and another son and a daughter who moved to the U.S.A.   It was remembered that the daughter, Mrs. Bourke, had a remarkable memory for scripture and for poetry.


          Rev. Archibald Blair visited the West Puslinch congregation at the time of their Jubilee Celebration in 1899 and he addressed the congregation during the final evening of the event and reminded them that “They should revere the memory of their fathers and that they could learn much from their wholesome Christianity”.  The Rev. Archibald Blair passed away in 1923 and the Guelph Mercury devoted more than a column to the news of his funeral.  Archibald Blair had grown up with his cousin John Currie. They had taken their schooling together, gone to college together, and each took up the same divine calling into the Presbyterian Ministry.  Archibald Blair ministered to the Elmira congregation for eight years and to the Nassagaweya Church for over 30 years, before retiring in 1915.





John and Annabell McNabb Blake probably came to lot 19, front of Gore from Beverly. Their children were James and Annie (Mrs. Taylor who lived in Calgary).  Mr. and Mrs. John Blake died in 1925 and are buried in Crieff Cemetery.


Their son James was born in Puslinch, and he succeeded to the farm and married Mary Cowan, daughter of Walter and Mary McPherson Cowan.  The Blake's only child, Margaret (Mrs. Norman Wainman of Galt), was born in 1913.  James Blake was active in the life of the church.  As early as 1910, he was listed as acting on the Board of Managers and he was ordained and inducted into the office of elder on Friday, October 10th 1913 and the next year he became Clerk of Session.  He continued to serve the congregation in this position until the Union vote was held in 1925.  It was a great loss to the congregation when the Blake family favoured church union and elected to withdraw from the Presbyterian Church.  Mr. and Mrs. Blake retired to Galt in 1949.





Ronald and Bonnie Goodwin Blancher, who live on lot 25 front Second, have been active in the congregation since moving to the community in 1982.  Ron served on the Board of Managers 1987- 1990 and Bonnie is a faithful member of the choir and of W.M.S.  She also served as Sunday School Superintendent for a term.  Their son Carl was a member of the Young Adults Group.  The Blanchers also contributed to the welfare of the church by acting as caretakers, beginning in 1989.





Although there is no evidence that the men of the Blue family frequented the lot 15 church, their familial closeness to the family of Neil McPhatter suggests that they would have been involved.  They were the children of Angus and Grace McKinnon Blue.  Their father died in Kintyre in 1803.  Their mother remarried in Scotland, to Neil McPhatter and it seems likely that her sons and daughters by her previous marriage emigrated with the McPhatters.  Grace McKinnon Blue McPhatter died in Puslinch in 1845.  Her son Angus operated a public house at Killean and died in 1864; William was a carpenter and lived on the 2nd, possibly with his brother Donald. William died in 1871.  Their sister Janet emigrated with her husband John Martin and arrived in Puslinch in 1850.  Other sisters were Margaret, (Mrs. James McPhatter), and Grace (Mrs. Malcolm Smith).  The McPhatters moved to Michigan and the Smiths did not live in Puslinch.





The Bond family came from Devonshire and settled south of Galt on Old Stone Road (Highway 8).  Richard, son of the pioneer William, bought lot 17, front First from the McShannocks, and added lot 18 when James McPhatter left.   His son John succeeded him, and John's son William followed him.


          Richard's brother Henry married Jane Paddock, daughter of Captain Thomas Paddock. Their nephew, William Jr.’s son Richard, married Grace McMillan, daughter of Archibald; and a niece, Tillie, married Fred Paddock.


     William and Katie McCaig Bond, on lot 17, had no children but they raised Beatrice Paddock after her mother’s death about 1920 and gave her their surname.  After Mrs. Bond's death, William remarried twice, first to a widow, Mrs. Jones, and later to Annie Walters.  William Bond served on the Church's Board of Managers about 1912 and canvassed on behalf of the church.  At the time of Church Union, in 1925, he left the Presbyterian Church.





Wallace and Laurene Holm Burrows moved to lot 25 front Second in the early 1940’s with their family, Bryce, Neil, Donna (Mrs. Kenneth Ritchie), and Laurie (Mrs. Matthews).


     Bryce married Ann Tweedle and they live on lot 28 front First.   Their children grew up in the congregation, Peggy, Mark, Jane, and the twins, Beth and Brenda.  Ann taught for many years in the Sunday School, and assisted with the Junior Choir.  (The 1980 Annual Report notes that only she could tie the bows on the Junior Choir gowns to the satisfaction of the children.)  Bryce served on the Board of Managers for two terms, 1967-69 and 1976-78, before transferring their membership.





In the early period, the surname Cameron was common around Crieff.  The record of pew occupants in the church, about 1870, notes that Kenneth Cameron and his sisters occupied one.  They were the family of Captain John (Castle) Cameron and Annabella McLennan who came to Puslinch in 1841, settling on the First near the village of Crieff, according to the Alexander McLean account in the Wellington County (1906) Atlas.


Four of the sisters were Margaret, (Mrs. Donald Shepherd McKenzie), Christina (Mrs. Alec. McLean of Badenoch), Hannah, (Mrs. Duncan McNab), and Janet (Mrs. John Munroe) of Crieff.


Kenneth Cameron (c1826-1897), native of Ullapool, Ross-Shire was ordained as an elder of the West Puslinch Church in 1856.  Kenneth and Janet McLean Cameron lived on lot 28 Gore and later moved to lot 27 front First, east of Crieff.


Duncan (Lochiel) Cameron (c1818-1886) of Perthshire and his wife Helen Stewart, sister to the Stewarts on lot 25 at Crieff, first lived on the Stewart farm.  Their children, John (1852-1927), Ann (1854-59), and Isabella (1856-59) were born while they lived there.  A second Isabella was born in 1859, and by this time, the Duncan Camerons were living in “Egypt” - probably on lot 28, front Gore.  There, Alexander (1861-1938), Janet (1863, Mrs. McMeekin of Gladstone, Manitoba), and Robert (1865 of Creelman, Saskatchewan), were also born.  Mrs. D. Cameron was a member of the congre­gation in the early 1870’s.  J.W. Gilchrist, writing in connection with his model of the 1854 church states that the "lads" sat in the seats in the south west corner of the building; two of those lads were Alexander (Sandy) Cameron, who was an invalid, and his brother Robert.


John Cameron, eldest son of Duncan, married Annie McPherson, daughter of Alexander on the adjoining north lot.  This couple was active in the Crieff congregation. John was appointed to the Board of Managers about 1891.  Possibly, Marjorie Cameron (Mrs. John Hay) was a sister to Duncan.  The Hay children, Margaret (1853), John, and James, were baptized in 1861, while their parents resided on lot 32 Gore.


Another sister of Duncan’s was Catherine (c1816-1904), who married Donald Stewart of lot 20 rear Gore.





Colin, 1830-85, a native of Ross-Shire, and Jane Henry Chisholm were married in 1856.  Their family was Margaret (1857), Marianne (1860), Alexander (1862), Barbara Isabella (1864), and Jane (1868).  They were active members of the Crieff congregation.  They lived on lot 33 Tenth of Beverly.


Alexander married Jane (Johanna) Stewart Bell from Shakespeare in 1891 and continued on the homestead until 1917 when he moved to Badenoch.  Alexander Chisholm served on the Board of Managers for many years before being ordained as an elder in 1913. He served until he left the community in 1917.  He died in 1945.  Their family was Jane (1892, Mrs. Howitt Stewart of Corwhin), Noble (1894, who married Jessie Fielding and lived at North Cobalt) and Margaret (1898, Mrs. George McConnell).





Randy Clark of Badenoch is a member of Knox, Crieff and his sons David and Chad are members of the Church School.





Archibald Cochrane of Puslinch and Sarah McColl of Beverly were married by Rev. Meldrum on January 26, 1846.  The marriage was witnessed by James McPhatter and John Cochrane. Children of this marriage, who were baptized by Rev. Meldrum, were Duncan (1846), Mary (1848), and Archibald (1850).  Other Cochrane family members were Donald who married Mary Clark, daughter of Peter; Gilbert and his wife Janet who subscribed to the 1851 church; Janet who married Alex McCaig in 1844; and Nancy who married Malcolm McCaig in 1849.





Stan and Gary Collins built a home on lot 10 front First several years ago and Gary has been a loyal member of the congregation and an active community worker since moving to the Township.  She participates in W.M.S. and has served as President of the auxiliary.


Mrs. W. J. McCall, Gary’s late mother was also a member of Knox Crieff, before her death in 1980.





The Connell family came from Lowville to Valens in 1919 and when Allan married Wilhelmina McDonald they took over the old McPherson homestead, which had been farmed by Mina’s father, Duncan McDonald.  Allan and Mina had two sons, Keith and Arnold.  Mrs. Connell was active in the church and sang in the choir.  The Connells sold the farm in 1972, and retired to Galt.





Bob and Donnalee Cook and their daughter Carolyn became members at Crieff in 1981.  From their home on the south side of Puslinch Lake, they are active members of the congregation. Bob acted on the Board of Managers 1982-89; he and Donnalee were instrumental in starting the social group, the Friends of Crieff.  Bob became an elder of Crieff Church in 1989.  Donnalee is a member of W.M.S.





Walter Cowan Sr. came to lot 29, rear Gore, “Juniper Hill Farm” in 1849, from the Cowan homestead on the West River Road near Galt.  He had emigrated with his parents from the Vale of Yarrow in Selkirk-shire, Scotland and had married Margaret McPhail.


Their only surviving son, Walter (1843-1930), married Annie McPherson of the neighbouring farm, lot 28, in 1878.  Their family was Margaret (1870-1961, Mrs. Hugh McAninch), Alexander (1881-1963), Jean (1883-1980, Mrs. John Sawyer), James (1885-1948), Mary (1888-1977, Mrs. James Blake), Thomas (1890-1970), and Walter (1892-1950).


Walter Cowan was chairman of the Board of Managers in 1899, and about 1900, he was a Sunday School teacher.  In the Managers’ Minutes there is a record that permission was to be asked to hold a garden party on the Cowan property.  In 1913, Walter Cowan was nominated to the position of elder but he declined.  Mary and Jean taught in the Sunday School as well as participating in the choir.  Their brother Alex also sang in the choir.


Walter Cowan Jr. and his family were active in the church until they left Ontario for the west coast about 1916.  Then the name disappeared from the community, although Jean (Mrs. Sawyer) and Mary (Mrs. Blake) continued to live here.





Several families of Curries were involved with the church in the 19th Century.  Malcolm Currie’s family was noted for the number of sons who became Presbyterian ministers.  Donald Currie was an elder of the West Puslinch Church and Neil Currie, the Killean teacher, was a tremendously talented individual.  Rev. Andrew Maclean noted that William Currie lived near the lake.


Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Currie, emigrants from Kintyre, Scotland, were members of the 1844 Puslinch Presbyterian congregation.  They had come to lot 34 rear Gore in 1842, after spending five years in York.  Malcolm, (c1800-1877) had married Mary Blair (daughter of the Killean Blairs) in Scotland, and their fami1y was Hector (1843-1923, who became a teacher and went to Aberdeen, N.D.), Rev. Donald (1845, who ministered in Nassagaweya), Elizabeth (1848), John (1850, who also became a minister and had a charge at Belmont), Charles (1852-1935, later lived in Morriston), Rev. Neil (of McLaughlin, Alberta), Mary (1842-1933), and Archibald (1838-1912).  Archibald continued on the farm.  When J. W. Gilchrist was building the model of the 1854 church he pondered over the correct measurements and noted that if one knew the length of Archibald Currie’s steps, one would know the length of the church.  He always took 19 strides from the door to his pew near the front.


Donald Currie of lot 15 rear Gore subscribed to the support of the lot 15 Church and he was made an elder of the West Puslinch Church in 1858.  He was an active worker in the Sunday School, which continued at Killean after the church moved east. He was remembered as a good man who visited his parishioners and prayed for their welfare.  His wife was the former Nancy Munro.  Mrs. Currie was the local nurse and midwife.  She went out to all types of cases, maternity being her specialty; Donald assisted at home with prayer.


The Currie’s children included Hugh, Willie, John and three daughters, Catherine, born in 1848, Christina and Mary.  John married Margaret, daughter of William McCormick on lot 19; they lived in Minto Township and later Westminster Township; their older children were baptized by Rev. Maclean.  Another Currie daughter was Mrs. Oliver of Galt.   Hugh and Willie were bachelors.  Willie sat in the front pew of the church, and considered it to be his duty to stand as soon as the minister announced a hymn, and by raising his arm, reminded the congregation to stand.  (In the Gaelic service, they sat while singing.)  It is also recalled that when visiting ministers had pronounced the benediction, Willie would rush to the pulpit to offer the visitor the right hand of fellowship.  He passed away in 1930.


Neil Currie was one of the early teachers at Killean School.  A native of the Island of Arran, he proved himself to be a natural genius in the community.  He was given his teaching certificate by Squire Heath who was a United Empire Loyalist and very particular that the teacher be a loyal British subject, and well acquainted with the names of the royal family.  Mr. Currie was able to fulfill these requirements and many more.


He was an expert conveyancer, inventor, carpenter and tailor.  He was known to write a complicated property deed, correct in detail, and all the time be telling a thrilling ghost story.  He believed in the superstitions common to the time but regretted that personal contact with the spirits, that seemed so common, could not be established.  He would sleep in haunted houses, but to his disappointment, the apparitions would not appear to him.  Mr. Currie would make fine pens for the pupils from goose quills, as well as manufacture the ink.  This was made by boiling soft maple bark, to which was added copperas (a ferrous sulphate) and sugar.  He could write the Lord’s Prayer beautifully within the size of an English penny.  He was a modest subscriber to the lot 15 church in, 1851.


Rev. Andrew Maclean also lists David Currie as being the head of a church family while he and his wife, Christina Campbell Currie were living on lot 13 First.  By 1864, they had moved to lot 15 Second.  Their children, baptized by Rev. Maclean, were Kate (1859), Christina (1861), Janet (1863), Ann (1867), and Edward (1869).





Hugh Dunbar lived for a time on lot 11 front First.  Possibly, he rented the property from Little John Thomson.  In 1851, his daughter Isabelle married William Ross of lot 9, rear First; in 1853 his daughter Margaret married John Blair from across the road.  Another daughter married Donald Blair, brother to John.  Hugh Dunbar subscribed modestly to the lot 15 church.





The original Eastons were Alexander (1811-1863) and his wife Agnes Oliver who emigrated from Roxburgh-shire, Scotland to lot 20 Tenth of Beverly.  Their family included Alexander, probably born in Scotland, Agnes (1843-1923), Mary (1845-1926), Jane (1847-1926), William (1851-1929), Ellen (1853-1929) and Adam (1855-1918).  Alexander Jr. was one of the young men in the congregation who relieved the precentor of his responsibility in the English service about 1870; he had an excellent voice.  It is also recalled that he and William McCormick Jr. liked to sing together.  Alexander Easton and his wife Agnes Dickson were on lot 19 front First when their son Alexander was born in 1870.  The family later moved to the Chatham area where Alexander established a meat business, which his descendants continued.


The occupants of the Easton pew in the early 1870’s were William, Ellen, Adam and Grace.  William was on the Board of Managers in 1899; he and Ellen were loyal supporters of Crieff Church until they passed away in 1929.





Bill and Betty Jean Huffmon Egerdee were married in the church in 1966.  The Egerdee girls, Janet (1970, Mrs. Bill Lang) and Caron (1971), were baptized at the church and their mother Betty taught Sunday School for a few years in the middle seventies.





Donald Ferguson was the Killean Storekeeper and Postmaster for many years.  Children of Donald and Isobel Marshall Ferguson were Marshall (1867-1933), Isabella (1862-1926), Jennie (1875), Maggie (Mrs. Tait), Mary (Mrs. Neil Wilkinson), Annie (Mrs. Richard Ball), and Donald, (c1877, who went west in 1905).  This family was active in the Killean Sunday School.


Marshall Ferguson son of Donald Sr. married Nellie Amy and continued to live at Killean for a time.  Their children were: Angus 1918; Donald 1919; Ian 1920 and Isabella. This family supported Crieff Church.


Lewis Ferguson continued his brother’s business at Killean.  His wife was the former Jean McCormick, daughter of Neil.  They too were active in the Killean services.





Henry Fixter was born in Lincolnshire, England.  He was living near Ottawa in 1898 when he married Margaret Scott, daughter of John Scott and granddaughter of Neil McPhatter.  Shortly after, they took over Mrs. Fixter’s father's farm, lot 14. rear Gore.  The Fixter family was Scott (1900-1985), Pansy (1902, Mrs. Wm. Major), Grace (1905, Mrs. Lindsay), and Olive (1906, Mrs. Clarence Awde).


Scott Fixter married Evelyn Awde of Hagersville and their children were John (1931), Clarence (1934), and Doreen (1947, Mrs. Michael Blumenthal of Toronto).


Scott served on the Crieff Board of Managers for a term beginning 1925, and again for two terms in the 1960's. Evelyn was active in the Ladies Aid.  Scott passed away in 1985, and Evelyn retired to Guelph.


John Fixter married Ruth Scott, daughter of Walter and Tena MacMillan Scott, and their children were Diane (1961), Jane (1965), Mary (Mrs. James Grant), Peggy, (Mrs. John Coram), and Patty (Mrs. Azzoparde).  The girls attended Sunday School.   John and Ruth moved to Arthur in the mid-eighties.  Clarence remains on the farm with his wife Liz and their daughter Nancy.





Thomas Fordyce was a weaver who lived in a house on lot 20 front First.  He is named as the head of a family that belonged to the church and he also supported the lot 15 church.  Thomas and Margaret Rae Fordyce’s children were Margaret (1844), Elizabeth (1847), John (1848), Elizabeth (1851), George (1853), and Jane 1856.  By 1881, Thomas Fordyce was living in Listowel, Ontario.





Bob and Pat Fowle purchased lot 27 from Russell Kerns in 1979 and they have been active in the church.  Bob served on the Board of Managers, acting as chairman and serving as Trustee.  Pat taught in the Sunday School and acted as superintendent.  She is a member of W.M.S.  Their children Mark and Adam were in Young Adults and Kristin attended Church School.





Alexander Fraser and his wife Mary pioneered lot 26 on the northeast corner at Crieff, which in the early period was known as Fraserville.  They came from Lochbroom in Ross-Shire.  Alexander’s mother, Mrs. Murdoch Fraser nee McKenzie, also emigrated.  She died in 1861, age 84.


It was Alexander who gave the land for the Crieff Church and Cemetery.  Alexander Fraser was ordained as an elder in 1858.  The Fraser children were Murdoch (who died in Galt), William (who married Annie Rae), Mary, Christy (Mrs. Alex McIntosh), Alexander Jr.,  and Flora (Mrs. Hugh McPherson).


Alexander Fraser Jr. married Isabella, daughter of Donald Dhu McPherson in 1841.  They lived on the Fraser homestead when Rev. Maclean was minister.  Later they moved to Galt.  Their children were Murdoch (1846), Anne (1848-48), Abigail (1858-1937, Mrs. William McDonald), William (1852) Catherine (1854, Mrs. Hancock), and Mary (1857-1934, Mrs. Richard Dennis).


Another Alexander Fraser (c1824-1911) emigrated from Lochbroom in Ross-shire in 1838.  He first settled on lot 29 front First.   About 1840, he moved to lot 17, front Second.  He married Catherine Black (from Argylshire) in 1857.  Their children, who were baptized, were Janet (1860), Eliza (1862, Mrs. Davenport of Baltimore, Maryland), Alexander (1866-1942 of Bagot, Man.), John (1868-1933), Margaret (1869, Mrs. Herbert Heller), William (187O-1951), Ann (1874, Mrs. Luddick of Newark, N.J.), and Catherine (1877, died in infancy).


No connection of the Crieff Frasers, Archibald Fraser was a Scotsman and a nephew of Mrs. Wm (Eliza) McCormick.  At the time of his marriage to Charlotte Paddock, he took over Wm. McCormick's lot 18 rear Gore farm and Wm. and Eliza moved east to the house on the hill on lot 20, front First.  Although the Frasers had no children, Charlotte was interested in the welfare of her many nieces and nephews, assisting wherever she was needed.  Archie served on the Crieff Church Board of Managers for a few terms before 1920.


Simon Fraser of Inverness-Shire emigrated to lot 12 Tenth of Beverly in 1837 and was buried in Killean Cemetery in 1871 age 69 years.  He was a witness to the managers who signed for the surety of the 1840 church on lot 15, First.  The children of Simon and Mary McDonald Fraser, baptized by Rev. Meldrum, were Duncan (1838-1845), Katherine (1841), Janet (1847), Alexander (1843-1845), John (1846-1872), and Thomas (1850-1874).   Possibly, Simon’s brother Donald was living on lot 19, Tenth of Beverly with his wife Janet McDonald when their son Simon was born Feb 27, 1868 and baptized June 29, 1869.  Infant children of this family are buried in Killean Cemetery.





James and Robina Stevenson Galloway were married by Rev. Maclean and they lived on lot 28 front First.  Their children were Margaret (1867), Frances (1869), Eliza (1871, Mrs. Bannatyne), Ethel, Harvey, Thomas, David (1882), Alice, Ruth, Hattie, and William.  James Galloway’s parents, James and Margaret McHarg were buried in Crieff Cemetery in 1875 and 1876 while the family lived here.  The family later moved to Brock Road and their sons became businessmen.





Wayne and Leslie George live near Aberfoyle and they attend worship at Knox Crieff. Their children Laura and Colleen are members of Church School; baby Catherine is too young to come.





John and Ann Taylor Gilchrist settled in Puslinch on lot 11 rear First in 1843.  Their family, born in Scotland, was William, Malcolm, Anne (Mrs. John Wilkinson), Duncan, John, Archibald, Mary (Mrs. Alex McIntyre), Peter, and Kate (Mrs. Archibald McDonald.)


William Gilchrist the eldest son of John and Anne, and Janet McNab Gilchrist married in Scotland before they emigrated in 1843.  They pioneered lot 21 rear Gore.  Their children were Alexander (1844), John (1846), Janet (1848, known as Jessie), Anne (1854), Kate (1858), and William (1861).  This family later moved to Kepple in Bruce County.


Wm. Gilchrist's daughter Jessie married James Findlay, a Clyde shoemaker, and two of their children, John (1872) and Ellen (1874) were baptized by the Crieff minister in 1875 prior to that family’s departure for Manitoba.


Malcolm Gilchrist with his wife Charlotte, daughter of the McMillans of lot 13, continued to farm the homestead, lot 11 rear First.  Their family was Christy (1857, Mrs. Hardy), Ann (1859), Mary (1860, Mrs. Galbraith), Charlotte (1863, Mrs. Cooper), and Elizabeth (1866).  Malcolm subscribed to the lot 15 church.


John Gilchrist, with his wife Euphemia Wilkinson, farmed lot 15 rear Second. Their family was Mary (1860, Mrs. Dickie), John (1859), Ann (1862, Mrs. Robertson), Neil (1864), Malcolm (1866), and William (1867). This family worshipped at Crieff.


Archibald Gilchrist and his wife Janet McIntyre were active members of the 1840 church as well as the Crieff Sanctuary.  Archibald was a collector in 1851 while the West Puslinch congregation was still functioning.  In 1858, his name was added to the list of elders.  He died in 1894.  Their son Malcolm (1866) died in infancy and Evan (1869-1909) did not marry, so this family did not carry on the Gilchrist name.  The daughters were Annie (1856, Mrs. James Sheriffs), Christie (1857), Mary (1860), and Margaret (1865).  In addition to their own family, the Archibald Gilchrists raised Janet's brother William's two sons.


Peter Gilchrist was the youngest son of John and Ann.  He married Margaret Wilkinson, sister to Mrs. Archibald Thomson.  They were listed as pew holders in the 1854 church and they continued to attend until about the time that Rev. Maclean died.  Their older children, John W. (1865), Ann (1866, Mrs. Angus McCormick), Janet (1868, Mrs. John Urquehart), and Davina (1872) were baptized by Rev. Maclean.  However, the younger children, Mary (Mrs. John McKenzie); William and Margaret (Mrs. Andrew Leishman) were born after the family left the church. They attended the ongoing Sunday School at Killean, the services at Ellis Chapel, and as the children grew older, they walked to evening services at Crieff.


Angus and Barbara Thomson Gilchrist lived on the east corner of Barbara’s brother John’s lot 10 farm.  They were no connection of the other Gilchrist family.  Barbara, daughter of James and Betsy Thomson, was blind.  Their children were James (1857), John, and Archibald (1863).





William, (1829-1888), and Mary Ann Horracks Gilfillan lived lot 24 rear First when the following children were born, Helen (1855), Mary (1857 Mrs. King), John (1859), Janet (1861), Margaret (1862), Susan (1870), and Jane (1874).  Other children were William of Princeton, Isabella, and Ellen, a maid at Andrew Maclean's manse before her marriage to L. Singular of Guelph.  Margaret married George Tucker and two of their children were baptized while they lived in the community, Bertha Jane (1889) and Septimus (1890).





Robert and Mary McNicol Goudy were living in Fraserville (Crieff) when their children John (1860) and Alexander (1862) were born.





The Gregors were formerly members of the Morriston Evangelical Lutheran Church, but after they moved to lot 29 front First and when their children were school age (c. 1915) they began to attend Sunday School.  They were Donelda (1905-75, Mrs. Jim McDonald), Lincoln, Gordon, and Katherine (Mrs. Campbell McKinnon).  After Donelda’s marriage to Jim McDonald, her mother began to support Knox Crieff.





William Grey of the Tenth of Beverly was listed by Rev. Andrew Maclean as a Head of Family in 1857.  William later with his wife, Elizabeth Stewart, moved to Sullivan Township where their daughter Margaret was born in 1878, and baptized by the West Puslinch minister.  It is possible that William was a brother of Robert Grey.  Robert Grey (1825-1887) emigrated from Northumberland, England, to lot 24, tenth of Beverly, with his mother, Elizabeth (Mrs. Robert Grey).  She was the daughter of William and Jane (Valens) Robson, and a sister of John Valens.


Children of Robert and Agnes Grey were Jean (1866), and Agnes (1868-1923).  These women did not marry and continued to live on the farm.  They were loyal members of the church.  Agnes taught Sunday School for many years.





The Griesbachs came to the community about 1946 with Margaret's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Pettigrew.  John Griesbach served on the Board of Managers 1966-68 and again in 1975.  Marg has held office in the W.M.S. both at Crieff and at Presbytery where she was President 1983-86.  In 1984, Marg was ordained as an elder at Knox Church Crieff.  Both are active in assisting with the preparations of the Sesquicentennial celebration.


The Griesbach children grew up in the congregation: Judy, who was a baby when the family moved here; Joan, Jayne and John were born here. Both Joan (Kotarski) and Jayne (Shoemaker) are living with their families in the community, and they are participating in church functions.





Bob and Delores Hamilton live in a home on #20 Sideroad North and they support the congregation.  Delores assisted with the Young Adults in 1988-89 and their sons Daniel and Mark have been Sabbath School members.


John and Ann Hamilton live on Sideroad 25 North.  Their children Bill and Lisa attended Sunday School and Young Adults in the 1980’s.  John served on the Board of Managers 1986 through 1988, acting as Chairman for the last two years.  He is a valued member of the choir.





George and Dorothy moved into the community in the seventies and their children, Christopher, Deanna and David are growing up in the congregation.  They live on lot 27 front First.  Dorothy with her musical talents has been active in the Sunday School, playing piano for the youth choir.  She also sings with the senior choir.


Don and Diane Harris on lot 22 Rear Gore attended worship briefly at Crieff before choosing another church home.  Nevertheless, they still participate in Friends of Crieff and Diane is a member of W.M.S.





Doug and Diane Hersey’s home is on lot 20 rear Gore.  They have lived there since early in their marriage, and their daughters Rochelle and Kelly have participated in Sunday School and the Young Adults Program.  Doug and Diane are also active in Friends of Crieff.





The Hobson family was originally a Quaker family from Ballyhagen in County Armaugh.  They came to the north half of lot 16 Tenth of Beverly in 1853 with their large family.  Their son Isaac (1874-1960) married Maude Fraser (1880-1930), of the Second Concession Frasers and their children were Gilbert (1913-1988), Mary (1913, Mrs. Robert Parks), and Clifford (1908-1916).  Isaac Hobson was a regular church attendee and he acted on the Board of Managers taking several terms of office from about 1912 until about 1930.


Gilbert continued on his father’s farm.  His wife, the former Beatrice Wilson, was organist at Crieff Church for many years and Gib served on the Board, as had his father, beginning about 1945, and serving off and on until 1957, when he was Chairman.


Their son Douglas (1937) and his wife, Norma Hopkins Hobson, continued on the family property.  Norma is a loyal member of W.M.S.  Their children are Catherine (Mrs. Walter MacNeil), Colleen (Mrs. J. K. Brandwood), Caroline, Clifford, Cynthia, and Clayton.  The MacNeil’s baby daughter Erin was baptized at the church in 1989.





The Hollingers rented the manse and operated the Crieff Post Office until it closed in 1912.  They were also caretakers at the church as well as supporters of the church’s work. Children of James Hollinger’s first marriage were Victoria, Duncan, and Katherine (Mrs. Dan McDonald).  Children of the second marriage were Ella (Mrs. Delmar Wheeler), and Jack who married Jessie McAllister.  James Hollinger died in 1928.  His mother was the former Margaret McDonald, a half sister to Anne, Mrs. Duncan McDonald of lot 24, rear Gore.





Mel and Leeta Horning with their family moved to a house on the Maclean estate (now, The House of the Shepherd), when Mrs. Horning became the teacher at Crieff School in 1946.  With her natural talent in music, Mrs. Horning soon became organist and choir leader at the church.  Her husband Mel and daughter Margaret both sang in the choir.  The Hornings’ younger children were Bob and Ted.  The family moved to Burlington in 1950.





The Alonzo Huffmon Family moved to lot 24, front Second from the Freelton area in 1941. Mrs. Huffmon attended Church.  Their six sons were in uniform in World War II.  Clarence paid the supreme sacrifice.


The youngest son, Harry, and Mildred Kerns married in 1942.  Mildred has been an active supporter of the church and its organizations. Their family is: Betty Jean (Mrs. Wm. Egerdee), James, Robert, and Diane, (Mrs. Mike Markovinovic).  Diane worships at Knox Crieff where she attended Church School and Young Peoples.  Mike and Diane’s daughter Kristina is a Church School member.


Kenneth Huffmon, son of Harry’s deceased brother Gordon, married a British girl, Gillian Bates, and shortly after Gillian became involved with the Sabbath School as a teacher, and in 1988 as Superintendent.  Their children, Stephanie, Stuart, and Jennifer are Church School members.





Robert (1901-1968) and Janetta McDonald Hunter (1903-1982) lived in Clyde, Puslinch, and later in Guelph.  Their children were baptized and grew up in the church at Crieff.  They are Lloyd (1923-29), Evelyn (1925, Mrs. A. Snow), Claire (1931), and Margaret (1932, Mrs. Allan Chapman).  Mrs. Hunter and the girls sang in the Crieff Choir.





Mr. and Mrs. Charles Irwin lived on lot 26 front First.  Their children, Dean and Irene, attended Sabbath School during the first 15 years of the 1900’s.  The family later moved to Toronto.





Don and Anna McCormick Jackson moved to the lot 19 rear Gore farm which Anna inherited in 1986 and they have participated in various church organizations since then. Don acted on the Board of Managers, 1987-1990.  Anna is Chairman of the Sesquicentennial and History Book Committees.





Derek and Janet Morris Jamieson’s home is on lot 29 front First.  Derek served on the Board of Managers for a term and was ordained as an elder in 1986.  When Clarence Awde retired as Clerk of Session in 1987, Derek took over that responsibility.  Janet is a supporter of the Senior Choir and W.M.S.





Robert (1874-1949) and Annie Cameron Kennedy lived latterly on lot 25, rear First.   Robert was the son of Annie McPherson, daughter of Duncan Corniel, and Donald Kennedy. They were Crieff Church supporters and their only daughter Grace grew up in the congregation, attending Sunday School in the early years of the twentieth century.  She married Bob Riddell and lived in Beverly.





When Russell and Elizabeth McPherson Kerns were first married they lived on top of the hill, on lot 27, rear Gore.  Later, they moved to the big stone house in the hollow which had been built by Mrs. Kerns’ grand-uncle, and which they shared with Mrs. Reid.  Their children, Mildred (Mrs. Harry Huffmon), Harold, and Alfred grew up in the congregation.  Mrs. Kerns was a loyal member of the church and its organizations, W.M.S. and Ladies Aid, and for many years, she was the church caretaker.  She passed away in 1965.


Harold served on the Church Board of Managers for a term 1950-52 before he left the community to work with the Ontario Provincial Police.  He is now retired in Bruce Mines where he has lived for many years with his wife, Pat, and their children, Perry and Pamela. Their daughter Patty died in 1965, age 3 years, and is buried in Crieff Cemetery.


Alf and Lorna Morphy Kerns lived in the house atop the hill from the time of their marriage until they moved to Milton in 1967, where Alf works.  Their children Terry, Ellen and Heather attended Sunday School and their parents supported the church.





Joan Griesbach Kotarski returned to the Crieff Community, to Juniper Hill farm, with her children, Devon and Andrew.





Charles and Catherine Kuhl Kubbe lived on lot 27, front First for a time in the 1920's and their children, Lloyd (1921) and Isobel (1925), were baptized at the church.  Older children who attended Sunday School were Esther, Charles, Herman and Edith.  This family came to Crieff from the U.SA. and they were church caretakers for a time.





Following his marriage to Mildred Upsdell, Edward Lake of lot 18 rear First became involved in Crieff Church.  He served a term on the Board of Managers in the late 1970’s. Their son Ronald died accidentally in 1975 when he was four years old.  Gary and Billy attended Sunday School, and Mrs. Lake was a choir member until her untimely death in 1988.





Mr. and Mrs. Walter Larter sold lot 27 front First, west part, to the Kubbes and lived in the hollow east of the church in the 1930’s; at this time they were part of the Crieff Church community.





James C. Lauder worked as a hired man in the community for several years in the 1920’s, and participated in Church functions.





Joy Lawley moved from Cambridge with her daughter and son-in-law Joyce and Brock Barnhardt, and she worships at Knox Crieff.





Hans and Sharon McDonald Logher live in Morriston and are active in the congregation in which Sharon grew up.  Their children Danny and Jessica attend Sunday School; Danny and his mother both teach, and Sharon has been superintendent.  She has also been the Church Treasurer since 1976.  Hans served a term on the Board of Managers.





Mrs. Maclean and her sons held a pew in the church while her husband Rev. Andrew was Pastor.  John Bayne was born 1862, and Hugh in 1866.  From 1920 until his death in 1950, John Bayne Maclean, President of Maclean Hunter Publishing Company, became more and more interested in the beautification of the Crieff Church Community and his adjoining farm properties.





Charles (1899-1974) and Jannet Claire Wingrove Maltby married in 1922 and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  Charles Maltby was born near Aberfoyle, and his wife in Nassagaweya.  For a time in the 1940’s, Charles Maltby worked for Colonel Maclean; later he farmed lot 29 for a time.  It was from Juniper Hill Farm that their only daughter, Lorna, was married to Stuart McDonald.  Her brothers are Jim, Russell, Raymond and Donald.  Charles Maltby acted as Church School Superintendent for a year, about 1949, and served a term on the Crieff Church Board of Managers 1947-49 before leaving the community.





A brother and sister, William and Ellen Manson were adopted by Duncan and Annie Grant McDonald of lot 12 Ninth, south part in Beverly.  The children kept their own names.  After Mr. McDonald’s death the farm became the property of William Manson and his sister.  William married Isobel McPherson (1865-1941), daughter of Black Jim McPherson.  They had two children, Norman (1892-1944) and Duncan (1898).


William served on the Clyde School Board as a trustee for many years.  He died, age 47, in 1896 and Mrs. Manson and the boys remained on the farm.  Duncan fought in World War II and did not return to the farm.  He married Clara McBain who died, leaving him with two young children.  He later married Sarah Bryce.  They lived in Toronto and Grand Valley.  Norman and his mother moved to Toronto; they are both buried in Crieff Cemetery.





Clayton and Linda Markle live on lot 22 Rear First.  They worship at Knox, Crieff, and their children Jonathon and Jarrell are members of the Church School.





Natives of Campbelltown Scotland, John and Janet Blue Martin had worked in York for a time before coming to Puslinch in 1850.  They first lived on lot 16, front Second; about 1854 they bought the McShannock farm across the road.


There were two log houses on the Martin property and the Martins gave one to their only daughter Grace (1843-1928) and her husband John Martin who had come from Scotland.  It was John and Janet Martin who built the stone house on the lot.


John Martin, son-in-law of the original John Martin (not a blood relative), was ordained an elder of Knox Crieff on July 19, 1891 and he served until his death in 1917.  He was also on the Board of Managers in 1899.  John Martin “loved his bible and was sincerely interested in the training of young people”.  He was Sabbath School Super­intendent for many years before and after the turn of the century.  He was named the representative elder to Presbytery, from the joint charge and in 1894 he travelled to St. John N.B. in that capacity.  The minister, Rev. Robertson, travelled with him and the two men enjoyed the experience thoroughly.


John and Grace Martin’s children were Charles (1874-1951), Agnes (1878-1918, Mrs. John Mitchell), Catherine (1879-1964, Mrs. Duncan McAllister), Dan (died in 1919), and Ida (1885, Mrs. Gilbert McAllister of Erin, and later Vancouver).  The Tosh family of Badenoch is descendent of the Mitchell’s daughter Grace (Mrs. Innis Buchanan Durfey).


Charles Martin was on the Knox Church Board of Managers from about 1900 until 1938.  He became an elder in 1933 and acted in that capacity until his death in 1951.  When he was a young man, he sang bass in the choir.


Charles Martin married Lillian Ross of lot 9, rear First and their children were John (1910), Janet (1912, Mrs. Andrew Simpson), Edith (1916, Mrs. Tom Priest), and Kenneth (1926).  This family moved to lot 24 rear First and John continued to farm there until he retired to Heritage House in 1987.  Mrs. Lillian Martin, always a faithful member of the church, died in 1978, in her 94th year.


          Kenneth Martin married Eleanor Biers in 1954 and they lived across the road from the Martin farm until they built their own home, rear Second on Smith Road.  Their children are Keith, Janice, and Carol.  Janice married William O’Krafka and their children are Jeffrey and Kaitlin.


Kenneth Martin served as Church Trustee of Knox Church for about 15 years, and served four 3-year terms on the Board of Managers, acting as chairman for two of those years.  Eleanor taught and served as Superintendent in the Sabbath School.





Charles and Annie Tennant Mast raised their family, James, John, Stanley, and Douglas, on the west part of lot 27, front First where the Harris family now lives.  Mrs. Annie Mast died in 1983, in her 83rd year.  Mrs. Mast was a regular attendant at Ladies Aid meetings, and a life member of W.M.S.


John Mast, son of Charles and Annie Mast, went to Manitoba as a young man and there married Muriel Musgrove.  Later they returned to lot 26 rear First to raise their family of two sons, Rick and Kenneth.  Both are married.  Kenneth and Trudy Gordon Mast live in Guelph with their children Yvonne and Gordon.


Rick and Deborah Burjoski Mast tend Crown Cemetery and are Crieff Church members.  Their sons Josh and Jordan are members of the Church School.


          In 1986, Muriel was ordained as an elder at Knox Church, Crieff.  She serves her adopted congregation with great energy; the Sunday School,  W.M.S. and Choir have particularly benefited from her willingness to serve.  John Mast continues to serve on the Board of Managers and the Cemetery Board.


          Stanley and Beatrice MacRobbie Mast live on the Given Road.  Their children Betty Diane (deceased 1950), Donna, and Ronald attended Sunday School; Donna (Clayton) and Ron have both had their children baptized at Crieff.  The Clayton children are Shawn and Stacey.  Mrs. Mast served her turn as a teacher in the Sunday School and she is a W.M.S. member.





William (1835-1917) and Janet McDonald McAllister (1833-1929) were married in St. Helen's Church about 1867.  Janet had gone from Puslinch to West Wawanosh in the early 60's to keep house for her brothers.  A delightful story has been saved, that as William and Janet were driving home in the cutter from their wedding, he sang "Loch Lomond" to her all the way.  All their children were born in Kinloss.  Duncan was 18 when they returned to Puslinch to care for Janet’s ailing brother John, and her mother.  The family continued on lot 23 Gore after the deaths of John and Mrs. McDonald.


Wm. McAllister was ordained as an elder in 1891 and he served until his death in 1917.  He is described as always being ready to support any movement that he believed to be in the best interests of the "Master's Kingdom".  Mrs. McAl­lister died in 1929.


Their family was Janet (known as Jessie, 1869-1950, Mrs. Jack Hollinger), Duncan (1870-1957), Annie (1875, Mrs. Albert Howatt), and Elizabeth (known as Lizzie, 1876-1941, Mrs. Duncan McDonald).  The Howatts and the Hollingers lived in Niagara Falls, New York.


Duncan and Catherine Martin McAllister were married at the bride’s home on the Second in 1901 and they celebrated their 55th anniversary in 1956.  They first lived on lot 27 front of First, and later moved one farm west to lot 26.  Duncan and Katie were loyal and active members of Crieff Church.  Duncan served on the Board of Managers in the 1920’s and again in the 1940’s, as well as being active on the Cemetery Improvement Committee. Both were choir members for years.  Their family was Grace (1902-1982) and Gordon (1903).  Grace married Jim Scott from across the road and they lived in Detroit, Michigan.


Gordon and Tena Elliott McAllister lived in half of the McAllister house while their family was growing up.  Their children are Mary (Mrs. Earl Wingrove), Martin, Betty (Mrs. Laverne Gunby), Delores (Mrs. Jim Mattel), Roy, and Gladys (Mrs. Andrew Dencs).  Mrs. McAllister was church caretaker, and she sang in the choir for many years; when they were old enough, Mary, Betty and Delores also joined the choir.  About 1950, the family moved to Galt.  Martin continues to live on the farm with his wife Barbara and their family, Kevin, Roy and Judy.


The widow McAllister was listed in the 1844 congregation.  Christina Ramsay McAllister had emigrated in 1831 to lot 6, rear  Second with her husband John McAllister, who died about 1843, leaving his young widow with six children, Archibald (married Charlotte Gibson), Alexander, Elizabeth (Mrs James Clark), Christina (Mrs. George Heritage), Jane (Mrs. James Maude), and Johann (Mrs. Wm. Maude, born after her father's death).  Mrs. McAllister later married Thomas Heritage and they had a daughter Martha who married Wm. Young and was active in the Ellis Chapel congregation.  Thomas McMaster is a direct descendant of Archibald McAllister and continues to live on this property.





John McAninch, born in 1847 in Campsey, Scotland, came to Peel Township with his parents in 1863.   About 1876, shortly after his marriage to Jane McPhatter, they moved to lot 21 front First of Puslinch.  John McAninch assumed an active role in Crieff Church.  For the period 1900-1905, he was Church Treasurer.  Mr. McAninch was very interested in the religious training of the young.  He served faithfully for many years as a Sunday School teacher and as the Sunday School Superintendent.  He was ordained as an elder in 1891 and continued to be active in that role until shortly before his 1919 death.


Mrs. McAninch was a granddaughter of Neil McPhatter the Elder.  She was a lifelong member of Crieff church.  The McAninch children were John James, Hugh, Nelson (1880-1961), Matthew, Jane Ann (1882-1957, Mrs. Fred Roszell), and Charlotte (known as Lottie, 1894-1977, Mrs. Alex Harbottle).  Except for Mrs. Roszell, the family all left the community.





Just as Elder Neil McPhatter was considered the leader of the West Puslinch Presbyterians, so Gillies McBean was looked to as the leader of the Beverly Presbyterians. He had purchased lot 11, north part, Tenth, Clyde Road in 1834 and he lived there until his death.  At the February 22, 1840 meeting at "little" John Thomson's house at Killean, Gillies McBean was selected as the manager representing the Beverly people in the negotiations to build a West Puslinch Church.  One can only assume that he was a regular attendant at the East Puslinch church from the time of its formation.  He was also the overseer of the building of the new sanctuary on lot 15, concession 1.


By 1844, Gillies McBean had been ordained an elder, and in 1858 was named the first representative elder from the West Puslinch Congregation to the higher church courts.  Mrs. McBean was the former Isabella McPherson.  Three of their children:  Alexander (1834); William (1837); and Margaret (1838), were baptized when Rev. Meldrum first came to the East Puslinch church.  Gillies McBean died in 1888.





For a period of perhaps three decades after 1850, the McCallum name was known in this community.  After her husband’s death in Scotland, Mrs. Margaret McCallum (sister to Wm. McCormick the precentor) emigrated to lot 21, rear First with her grown family.  Her son Alexander married Margaret Stewart of the adjoining farm, and they emigrated to Evart, Michigan, as did the rest of the McCallum family.





The McConnell family originated in Tyrone, Ireland.  There were several brothers: Andrew (c1880-1945), John, Charles, Joseph (1879-1954), Robert (1858-1933), George (c1891-1949), Stewart and Thomas (1893-1965); also a sister Sarah (1881-1921, Mrs. Thomas Currie).  Charles and Laura Hood McConnell’s family included Ruth and Irene who attended church and Sunday School in their youth.  Robert and Joe McConnell also came to church in the 1920’s.  George and Margaret Chisholm McConnell’s children were Alexander, Audrey (Mrs. Melvin Robb), Frances (Mrs. Glen Smith), and Edith (Mrs. Grant Shiek).


Alex and Florence McPherson McConnell and their children were active and loyal members of the Crieff congregation.  Their family is Margaret Ann (Clark), Gwen (Mrs. Douglas MacRobbie), Kenneth died in 1980, Donald, Diane (Mrs. Roger Horak), David, and Sandra (Mrs. Newell).


Alex acted on the Board of Managers for several terms between 1959 and 1973.  In 1969, he was made a member of session and served in that role until he retired and left the community in 1988.  He chaired the 1975 celebration of the Presbyterian Church in Canada’s centennial at Crieff.  Florence taught Sunday School for many years, assisted with Junior Choir, and when her children were no longer available to play the organ, she filled that role.


Margaret Ann was organist 1964-66; Kenneth, 1966-80; Diane 1972-74; then their mother Florence took over.  Finally, David played the organ until he moved to work in Brantford in 1986.  For a time after their marriage, Donald and Susan McConnell lived at Crieff and Donald served on the Board of Managers.  Alex and Florence were caretakers of the church for many years as well.  A luncheon in the Sunday School rooms was held in their honour before they left the community in 1988 to live at St. Helens in Huron County.





The McColls were early settlers of lot 7 Tenth  of Beverly and they were early members of the lot 15 church in West Puslinch.  Children of Hugh and Elizabeth McAllister McColl who were baptized were Duncan (1842), Donald (1844), Alexander (1845), and Hugh (1847).  Mr. & Mrs. John McColl were listed as members of the 1844 congregation as was Mrs. Duncan McColl.





In the latter 1800’s, there were many families of McCormicks in the community who were church supporters.  By 1986, the name had completely disappeared.  In 1837, John McCormick (1785-1839) and Kate Wilkinson McCormick emigrated to lot 15 front Third with their entire family, Neil (1808-1884), William (1810-1865), John (1812-1885), Malcolm (known as “the sailor”, Callum Shauther, 1815-1882), Archibald (1816), Alexander (1821-1878), Angus (c1826-1893), and Janet ( known as Betsy, Mrs. "little" John Thomson).  The "Widow" McCormick mentioned in the 1844 congregation listing is probably Mrs. John McCor­mick, as “little” John died in 1839.


Neil McCormick (1808-1884), eldest son of John McCormick (1785), with his wife, Isobel McDonald, pioneered Lot 6, front First.  Isobel brought her wedding dress with her from Scotland and they were married in 1842 at the blacksmith’s anvil of her father Alexander MacDonald near Aberfoyle.  Their family of seven included John (1843-1923), Jane (1843-99, Mrs. Lewis Ferguson), Kate (1845-1929), Alexander (known as Sandy, 1850-1930), Janet (1852-1926, Mrs. James McLean of Morriston), Ronald (1854-1930), and William (1855-1929).  Neil McCormick was a supporter of the lot 15 church, (he subscribed two pounds, ten shillings), and his sons John, Ronald and William and their sister Kate, none of whom married, were consistent supporters of Knox Church Crieff as long as they lived.


Sandy McCormick (1858-1930) was Neil’s eldest son.  His wife was Eliza McLarty of lot 7, rear Gore.  They lived on the McCormick homestead.  Their children were Neil who married Amy Ferguson and Mary who did not marry.  With the help of hired men, Mary continued to farm the homestead until her death in 1964.  Mary was a supporter of Knox Church Crieff.  McCormick’s Point on Puslinch Lake is at the back of this farm.  Isobel Harbottle Wallace is a direct descendant of James and Janet McCormick McLean.


William McCormick was the second son of John McCormick (1785).  The story is told that when his wife’s married sister, Janet McNab Gilchrist was going aboard ship to sail to Canada with her husband’s family, young Mary hid herself away and sailed with them. William and Mary McNab McCormick married in 1843 and lived lot 16, front Gore.  Their family was Jane (1847), Catherine (1849, Mrs. Robert Sim), Jack (1855), and Sandy (1860). William Sim, long-time faithful member of Knox Crieff was the son of Robert and Catherine McCormick Sim.


Jack McCormick and Tillie McKellar, (daughter of Angus McKellar of lot 7, front First), were married on a December day in 1882 which was long remembered because of the wild snowstorm combined with bitter cold.  It was that night that the McQuillans of lot 8, Gore became lost and one died from frostbite. Although Jack and Tillie moved to Ohio, they came back to Killean for vacation and the children attended Killean Sunday School.


John McCormick, the third son of John McCormick (1785), married his first cousin, Kate Wilkinson, in 1843.  They farmed lot 16, front Third, and their family was John (1844-1919), Catherine (1845-1922, Mrs. Peter McFarlane), Jane (1847-1881, Mrs. Donald McLeod), Alexander (1852), Janet (1854, Mrs. Wm. Paddock), Archibald (1856-1910, no issue), and Malcolm (1858-1928, unmarried).  Frank Paddock is a grandson of William and Janet McCor­mick Paddock.



Malcolm McCormick was the fourth son of John McCormick (1785).  He settled lot 18 front Gore, and with his wife Catherine Wilkinson, a cousin, he was listed as a supporter of the original log church on lot 15.  After her death, he married Nellie Carruthers Gibson, a sister to Willie Carruthers and Mrs. Alexander McIntyre.  They continued to support the church at Crieff.  Malcolm McCormick retired to a house he built on the west portion of lot 20, front First.  Mrs. Duncan McAllister remembered that when the Sailor married Nellie there was a party at McIntyres on the Gore road.  Some of the girls, putting their arms around the groom’s neck, broke a blister or lump that never healed, and eventually killed him in 1882.


Nellie and her brother Willie Carruthers continued to live in the house and Nellie continued to be listed as a church supporter.


Archibald McCormick, fifth son of John McCormick (1785), and his wife Flora McCallum, lived on lot 22 rear First adjoining the McCallum farm on lot 21.  Flora McCallum McCormick was killed by lightening as she returned across the fields from her parent's home, carrying her youngest child Jane.  It is assumed that Archibald also died young.  Their daughter Jane married and gave birth to seven children in Michigan, but she also was killed by lightening.  Jane’s brother, the thrasher Archie, died in New Orleans, and the other sons, Sandy and "little Johnnie" both moved to Michigan with the McCallums.


Alexander McCormick, sixth son of John McCormick 1785, married Catherine MacDonald in 1848.  This couple had no issue, but they raised Janet, Neil and Isobel’s daughter.  Since Alexander and Neil were brothers, and Isobel and Catherine were sisters, Janet was a niece to both of her foster parents.


Angus McCormick, seventh son of John McCormick (1785) married Barbara Blair in 1851 and lived first on lot 18 rear Gore, then lot 20 front Gore.  Barbara was the daughter of the lot 12 Blairs.  Their family was John (1854), Mary (1856-1924), Archibald (1859), Jane (1861, Mrs John McLarty), Christy (1863, Mrs. Edgar), Janet (1869), and Margaret Ann (1875-1954, Mrs. Robert Ainslie). 


Neither of Angus’ sons married.  Christy McCormick (Edgar) was the mother of Maude McCormick 1886-1966, who inherited her Aunt Mary’s house on the east side of Crieff Cemetery and she lived in it until her death.  Frequent visitors with her were her cousins, George and Angus Ainslie.


The only sister to these seven brothers was Janet (Betsy) who married little John Thomson.


William McCormick (1806-1901) was a nephew of John McCormick (1785).  He and Jane McKay emigrated from Kintyre, Argylshire with their two young children, Margaret (1837) and William (1839).  William’s older brother Malcolm had come with Neil McPhatter in 1831-32.  Other brothers and sisters followed and their father Archibald arrived in 1845 and he lived for two more years.  William’s brother Malcolm left Puslinch early for Erin Township.  Their widowed sister Margaret McCallum did not come until about 1850.  Another sister Betty (Mrs. Donald McTaggert) lived on lot 17 rear Gore.


William and Jean McKay McCormick pioneered lot 19 rear Gore and their other children were Donald (1843-1926), Euphemia (1845), John (1847-1919), and Barbara (1849).  Mrs. McCormick died and William remarried in 1853.  The surviving children of William and Betty McMillan McCor­mick were Malcolm (1854-1932), Mary (1856), and Angus (1859-1941).


William McCormick, 1806-1901, was Precentor at Crieff Church from 1864 when he led in both English and Gaelic; a few years later he was relieved of the English, but he continued leading in Gaelic until about 1896, when he was 90 years of age.  Even at that age, his voice had remarkable sweetness and power as he led the aged worshippers with "solemn and patriarchal impressiveness."  He was ordained as an elder in 1870 and continued to serve until his death in 1901.


His son, William McCormick Jr. (1839-1910), served on the Board of Managers up to the time of his death in 1910 and he made a tremendous contribution to the Service of Praise in Knox Church.  He began to lead in the English service about 1870 and he organized a choir.  His passion for music made it a pleasure to train the choir with great proficiency.  They obtained considerable prominence, and often received invitations to provide music for neighbouring church entertainments.  William McCormick Jr. continued to act as Precentor in English and in Gaelic for the Communion Services until shortly before his death.  His wife was Eliza McCormick, his cousin, who had come from Scotland to marry him in 1885.  They had no children.  They farmed lot 18 rear Gore and retired to Malcolm McCormick’s late house atop the hill on lot 20 front First.


William Jr.’s sister, Margaret, married John Currie of lot 15 rear Gore.  Barbara, Mrs. Colin Campbell, lived near Dorchester.  John McCormick had a blacksmith shop across the road on his brother Donald’s farm, on the site where Malcolm McPhatter had his anvil. Malcolm was the student of the family, acquiring his B.A. at Queens, and founding Guelph Business College as well as penning poetry in both English and Gaelic.  The younger sister, Mary, married James McNaughton and lived in Western Canada.


Donald married Catherine McGeachy and lived on lot 19 front First.  He acted as Church Treasurer for several years before 1890.  His daughters Jane (1898-1983); Cassie (1901); and Helen (1902) all took their turn playing the church organ before they moved to Galt in 1927 after their father's death.


Angus McCormick, youngest son of William and Betty McMillan McCormick, inherited the farm and married Annie Gilchrist, daughter of Peter and Margaret Wilkinson Gilchrist. Their family was William A. (1899-1986) and Bessie (1901, Mrs. Carl Ross).  Bessie contributed to the Service of Praise, playing the organ, and she was active in the W.M.S. at Crieff before her marriage in 1953.


William A. McCormick and his wife Margaret McPherson continued to live on the farm.  Mrs. McCormick was particularly involved in church work, with W.M.S. and Ladies Aid projects.


The McCormick’s only daughter Anna, Mrs. Don Jackson, grew up in the congregation, and played the church organ for two years before leaving for college in 1953. She and her husband returned to live on the farm in 1986.





John McDiarmid succeeded to the homestead of his parents.  John and Agnes Mason McDiarmid’s daughters, Ida (Mrs. Roy Coburn) and Margaret (1898-1966, Mrs. John Robson), participated in Crieff Church events although their parents continued to adhere to Duff’s church.  The original stone house built by the McDiar­mids is a part of Crieff Hills Community and is known as the “Dove House”.





There were several different families by this name in the early church.  We have traced four different families which all contributed to the congregation.  These are the families of John McDonald whose brothers Duncan and Angus also came to Crieff; Lewis MacDonald; the “little McDonalds”, and their brother Duncan and nephew Thomas; and Duncan "Miller" McDonald.  The other McDonalds mentioned are noted for the record.  When Rev. Andrew Maclean listed the heads of families in his new congregation in 1857, Donald McDonald and his wife Betty Johnston were living on lot 26 Gore and another John MacDonald was living in a house on lot 18 front First.


Duncan and Ann McPherson McDonald emigrated in 1844 from Badenoch, Invernesshire where he was the miller of Brae Ruthven Estate and of Noide.  Duncan "Miller" McDon­ald 1799-1859 settled lot 23 front Gore.  Their children were John (1822-1890), James (1823-1909), Hugh (1825-1913), Angus (1829-1918), Jane (1831-1897, Mrs. Gordon), Donald (1833-1903), Janet (1835-1929, Mrs. Wm. McAllister), William (1837-1883), Duncan (1840, who moved to B.C.), Ann (1841-1922, Mrs. James E. McPherson), Peter (1843-1883), and Alexander (1845).


When the Huron Tract opened for settlement in 1850, James, Angus and Hugh went to West Wawanosh to homestead there.  Jane went to keep house for them and when she married, Janet followed to take her place.   At a later date, William, with his wife Abigail Fraser, and Peter also went “up country”.  The story is told that when one of these young men was seriously ill in West Wawanosh, their mother, Ann, walked from Puslinch to nurse him - a distance of ninety miles.  Martin McAllister is the only descendant of this family still living in the community.  John and Donald "Miller" are listed as pew holders in the 1854 church.  (For more information see the two volume family history “Our Marvellous M(a)cDonalds 1788-1988” by Jean McDonald Anderson.)


The various McDonald and MacDonald families who are still active in the congregation are descended from John McDonald, son of Duncan and Janet Stewart McDonald.  John settled lot 25 rear Gore.  His only son James was born in Scotland c1838-1896.


James MacDonald with his wife, Marjorie McPherson, daughter of Elder Angus McPherson, inherited the lot 25 property.  This family kept the Crieff Post Office in the 1880's.  Their children were John (1869-1888), Angus (1872), Bella (1870, Mrs. Angus McPherson), Duncan (born in Esquesing Twp., 1874-1941), Kenneth (1876-1961), and Donald (known as Dan, 1879-1963).  James McDonald was one of the Crieff Church members on the Committee that worked out the terms for Union with Duff's in 1889-90.


Duncan McDonald, son of James and Marjorie, purchased lot 24, rear Gore and farmed there with his wife, Elizabeth Mc­Allister.  The farm had been pioneered by Mrs. McDonald's maternal uncle, the elder, Angus McPherson.  The McDonalds were loyal church members. Duncan McDonald served on the Crieff Church Board of Managers and Cemetery Committee for many terms between 1920 and 1940, and was Church Treasurer for a period in the 1920's.  Mrs. McDonald was active in W.M.S. and Ladies Aid.


Their family was Janetta (1902-1982, Mrs. Robert Hunter), Angus John (1904-1976), Wilhelmina (1907,Mrs. Allan Connell), James (1911-1920), and Howitt (1913).


Kenneth McDonald, son of James and Marjorie, and his wife, Annie Ingram (1881-1952) lived in Beverly and were loyal members of Crieff Church.  Kenneth served on the Crieff Board of Managers for a term from 1926-28, then again for most of the 1940’s; Mrs. McDonald was a life member of W.M.S. and a member of Ladies Aid.  Their children grew up in the church, James (1903-1978), Thomas (1906-76), Norman (1908-1972), Kenneth (1910), Ivan (1913), John (1915-44), Donald (1918-44), and L. Stuart (1922-86).


John and Donald McDonald enlisted immediately when the H.L.I., (Highland Light Infantry) was called to the colours in June 1940 and they served continuously with the regiment, going into Normandy on D-Day.  Shortly after the invasion, a war correspondent wrote from the battlefront that Sgt. Major John McDonald was among those who had won special mention for heroism from the battle commander.  Sgt. Major Donald McDonald was killed in action in France, September 2, 1944, and Sgt. Major John died on the West Front in Holland, October 8, 1944.  Ivan was a Captain in the Winnipeg Grenadiers.


Tom McDonald spent his life in business in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but he remembered his home church with affection and great generosity.


Jim and Donelda (Gregor) McDonald were loyal sup­porters of the church in every aspect of its ministry.  Jim served on the Church Board of Managers steadily from 1938 until 1956 and for most of those years he was also the chairman.  He was ordained as an elder in 1944, and he was Sunday School Superintendent from 1949 to 1965.  Mrs. McDonald was organist and choir leader for many years, beginning in the latter 1950’s until shortly before her death in 1973.  She was also a loyal member of W.M.S. and Ladies Aid.  Their sons, Douglas and Paul, grew up in the congregation.


About 1976, Douglas, with his wife Gladys (Haugh) and their children Brent and Michele returned to live on the family farm. They immediately became involved in the church; Doug served on the Board of Managers before becoming an elder in 1986.  He is a Church Trustee.  He has also served on committees of the Maclean Estate Committee of the Presbyterian Church in Canada.  Gladys taught Sunday School and is a member of the Senior Choir and W.M.S. 


Paul and Wendy (Schwartz) McDonald live in Aberfoyle and are active in Duff’s Church.


          Stuart and Lorna (Maltby) McDonald continued on the family farm in Beverly.  Stuart McDonald was also in uniform during World War II, but he did not go overseas.  He served a term on the Crieff Board of Managers 1967-68.  In 1984, Stuart was ordained as an elder.  His service as an elder was cut short by his untimely death in 1986, in his 64th year.  The McDonald’s daughters grew up in the congregation.  Carolyn (Mrs. Ross Leef) lives in Whitehorse, and Sharon (Mrs. Hans Logher) is an active member of the congregation.  Lorna is a loyal member of W.M.S. and the Senior Choir.


Dan and Katherine Hollinger MacDonald raised their family on the homestead, lot 25, rear Gore.  Their children were Edith (Mrs. Jack Porteous), John (died 1973), James, Donelda (Mrs. Jim MacMillan), Philip, and Edward (Scotty).  The three older sons, Jack, Jim and Philip, were all in the armed forces in World War II.  Mrs. MacDonald acted as caretaker at the church for many years as well as supporting the church and its organizations.  She passed away in 1961.


Philip and Margaret Borthwick MacDonald are active members in Crieff Church.  From 1950-1965, Philip served on the Crieff Board of Managers and he was Church Treasurer from 1949 until 1975.  Margaret and their daughters have been choir members over the years and into the present.  The MacDonald children, who grew up in the congregation, are Ronald, Keith (died in an accident in 1984), Deborah (Mrs. Bill Davis), and Linda (Mrs. Mike Bernardo).  Debbie and Linda were both active in Young Peoples as well.


Ronald and Catherine Head MacDonald are members of Knox Crieff.  Their children are Craig, Shawn and Michelle.  Craig and Shawn are Church School members.


 Edward Scott and Elizabeth McLean MacDonald continue to live on the family farm. Scotty and Betty have been loyal and active supporters of Crieff church.  Scotty MacDonald served on the Board of Managers from 1962-1972 and again from 1977-82 and is a Church Trustee.  Betty had the honour of being the first female to be elected to the Board of Managers 1973-75.  She has acted as Missions Treasurer for many years, as well as being an active member of W.M.S.   Their son Hugh farms with his father and also lives on this century farm.  A second son, John, died in infancy in 1968.


Hugh and Janice Fletcher MacDonald built a new home, north of Hugh’s parents’ home, when they married.  Hugh grew up in the congregation, participating in Young Peoples and then the Board of Managers.  Janice, with her musical talents, is our able organist and choir leader.  To a great extent, it is due to her talent that the choir has achieved so much since its recent rejuvenation.  Their daughter Amy Elizabeth was baptized at Crieff on Mothers’ Day, 1988, and a son Scott Douglas was born in March 1990.


Duncan and Angus McDonald, brothers of John on lot 25, were stonemasons who settled lot 24, rear Gore.  Angus was the more skilled of the two; they were the stonemasons who built Angus "Elder" McPherson’s house in 1859; their own house was slow to be finished.  They built the cellar and foundation, then put a roof over it until they had time to do the upper stonework; it was completed in 1862; they also built the stone house on lot 26 rear Gore where the Scotts lived.


Their mother, Janet Stewart McDonald, emigrated with them and died in 1847 shortly after their arrival.  Their sister, Janet, married James McDonald, son of Duncan and Ann, and farmed in West Wawanosh.   Another sister, Marjory, married William Cameron, also of West Wawanosh, in Huron County.  Two other brothers had come to work on Dundurn Castle in Hamilton in 1836.


Duncan married Ann McDonald, a Scottish lady with a 7-year old son Francis McDonald.  When Duncan died in 1885, his widow inherited the farm, which she passed on to her son.  He did not marry, but employed as housekeeper, Ida Mae Stewart (born Zilpah Cooper in 1897), as well as taking in Angus Smith, a Scottish hired man from the Isle of Lewis.  When Francis passed away, Ida and Angus inherited the property.  After Ida died, Angus sold the property and returned to Scotland where he married.  Angus and Ida were interested adherents of Crieff Church and Angus Smith presented the Church with a table that the McDonalds had purchased at the sale of Rev. John Bayne’s furniture.





Duncan McDonald farmed lot 12 Ninth of Beverly, south part on the sideroad to Highway 97. He was a brother of the little McDonalds on lot 10 Ninth of Beverly (Clyde Road).  He and his wife Annie Grant raised the Mansons.


Alex McDonald, the Peddler, came to Beverly from Glengarry where his family had settled when they emigrated from the Parish of Ahive in Invernesshire.  He purchased lot 12 north part of Ninth of Beverly, Clyde road in 1843 and brought his parents and his brothers and sister to that property the following year.  His brother Duncan and his wife Annie Grant farmed lot 12 south part of Ninth of Beverly.  In 1850, Thomas Sr. bought the neighbouring lot 10 and everyone but Alex moved there.  The rest of the family included the three bachelor brothers, George (c1818-1902), Donald (c1822-1894), and John (c1825-1895).  They were known as the "little" McDonalds and they were regular supporters of Crieff Church. Their sister Janet (c1828-1892) lived with them.  Another brother, Thomas Jr. bought lot 8 north part, Ninth of Beverly.


Thomas McDonald Junior married Jannet McAllister, daughter of Donald McAllister of Kirkwall.  Their daughter Margaret 1876 married Lewis McDonald Jr. (the second) and they came to live with Margaret's widowed father.  Their daughter Janet married Philip Kreager in 1918.  Mr. McDonald died in 1902. 


Thomas and Jannett’s son, Thomas (1879, the third) married Emma Roszell and inherited the little McDonald’s farm on lot 12.  Emma Roszell MacDonald died in 1911, age 28, leaving a son Norman.  It appears that Emma’s father, Isaac Roszell, continued to live with Tom McDonald.  The two men were regular supporters of Crieff Church.   Norman married Myrle Falkiner.  In 1940, Thomas McDonald remarried, this time to Bessie McMillan Williamson.  He died in 1952.


To complete this puzzle we should investigate the origins of the Lewis MacDonald family.  The original Lewis McDonald, from Inverness, was not related to the little McDonalds.  He had first emigrated to Australia, but soon after returned and after marrying Isabel McPherson, daughter of Angus the Elder, set out for Canada.  Thus, the Lewis McDonalds became related to the Miller McDonalds.  They finally lived on lot 13, north end of the Ninth of Beverly where their children grew up.  Mrs. McDonald died when the children were still young.  They were Isobel (1847), Janet (1859), and Lewis Jr. (1865).


Archibald and Catherine Gilchrist MacDonald lived on lot 27 Tenth of Beverly (Gore Road).  Archibald MacDonald was a brother of Mrs. James (Cobbler) McPherson.  This MacDonald family had emigrated from Kintyre in Argylshire and consequent­ly was not related to the Crieff McDonalds who were from Inverness.  Mrs. Mac­Donald was a daughter of John and Anne Taylor Gilchrist.  Their children were Alexander (1845), Annie, Ronald, Peter, Kate (1866), and Archibald (1874).  This family later moved to Michigan.





John (c1824-1911) and Catherine McMillan McGeachy (c1839-1916) are named as pew holders in the 1854 church.  Having emigrated from Kintyre, Argylshire, they lived first on lot 33 rear Gore.  Their children were Jessie (Mrs. John Simpson and later Mrs. Walter Elliott), Donald (1855-1916), Agnes (1863-1921, Mrs. Roderick Munroe), Margaret (Mrs. David McNaughton), Catherine (1859, Mrs. Donald McCormick), Mary (1860, Mrs. Scott of Badenoch), John (1864), Archibald (1866-1931), Edward (1868-1938), and Elizabeth (1878, Mrs. Jim Nelson).  This family lived in several places.  When Mrs. McGeachy’s brother Matthew McMil­lan died before his youngest son was born, the McGeachys moved to lot 30 rear Gore to assist his widow.


Many members of this family were active in the church over the years.  In the book, “Presbyterianism in Puslinch”, Rev. Robertson cites an example of the collection of funds in the latter 1800's. “For a time, nearly the whole responsibility of the financial affairs (of the West Puslinch Church) rested upon Mr. John McGeachy, who, with surprising energy, and often at great inconvenience, called upon the people for the payment of their subscriptions towards the support of the church ordinances.”  He was named to the Board of Managers about 1891.


Donald McGeachy, a bachelor, occupied a pew in the 1854 church, and he also was appointed to the Board of Managers about 1891.  Edward and Mary Jane Walker McGeachy were faithful in their attendance at Crieff church.  Their family was Jack, Russell, Marie (Mrs. George Schultz), and Lloyd.  Archibald is also listed as a church supporter.  John McGeachy’s marriage to Lizzie Decker was performed by Rev. Robertson in 1898.  Jim and Margaret were their children.  John McGeachy later converted to Evangelism.


George and Marie McGeachy Schultz were married in 1930 at Morriston by Rev. Mathieson.  Their children were William, Shirley (Mrs. Rory McLaren), and Dr. Edward.  Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd McGeachy also supported Crieff Church for a time.





John McGregor was a teacher at Killean School and also acted as Precentor in the service of praise at the church at Crieff after little John Thomson retired.  He was able to lead in both the Gaelic and English languages.  A story about his teaching methods was recorded in the “Annals of Puslinch”,  “He drilled his pupils well in the best hymn tunes.  To these he would have the children sing the Psalms of David.  Some of the pious parents objected to making such common use of the Psalms, and as a result, this line of instruction had to stop.  However, not to be done out of his correlation of music and poetry, he then set other poems to the tunes and taught these to his classes.”


John and Margaret Miller McGregor moved from lot 27 Ninth of Beverly to lot 13, First of Puslinch.  Their children were Mary (1859) and Catherine (1861), both born in Beverly, Flora (1862) and Margaret (1863), born while their parents lived on lot 15 First and while their father taught at Killean.





John McGurie was an interesting character, who worked with various farmers and over a period of years, into the 1920’s, supported the church.





Alexander (known as Sandy, c1813-1902) and Christy Fraser McIntosh probably took over the Fraser farm on lot 26 at Fraserville, later named Crieff.  Their family was Donald (1855), William (1857), Flora Ann (1858-1880), Abigail (1861-1945), Angus (c1864-1890), Murdock (c1866-1931), and Catherine (c1868-1955).  The family occupied a pew in the 1854 church.


William McIntosh and his wife, Annie Rea, lived with their family on lot 27 rear Gore until their move to Toronto in 1913.  Their daughters were Clara (Mrs. Grant Jones of Ottawa), Edith, and Gladys.  Murdock McIntosh also lived in the community before moving to Galt.  Abigail and Catherine McIntosh, (fondly known as Abbie and Katie), worked in Toronto for many years before returning to their home north of the church on lot 26.  When Col. Maclean began to visit the manse, he employed them as his housekeepers.  Both ladies were regular church members as well as loyal members of the Women’s Missionary Society.





Alexander McIntyre emigrated in 1841 and purchased lot 6 front Gore for the family. He was a teacher.  He married Mary Gilchrist, daughter of John and Ann Gilchrist.  When their first children were born he was teaching at Kirkwall.  However, in 1859, when Ann was born the McIntyres were residing at School Section number 6 of Puslinch.  History records that the school children had a holiday the day Ann was born.  Other children followed, Evan (1861), Catherine (1864), Janet (1867), and Mary (1869).  Later, the family lived on lot 6 and the children attended Killean School.  The family later moved to Niagara on the Lake.


John McIntyre (1851), brother of Alexander the teacher, lived on lot 6 front Gore and when Archibald Gilchrist collected for the support of the lot 15 church in 1851, John subscribed a pound.  His wife was Annabel (nee Stuart) Blacklock, a widow with a four-year-old son, John.  She spoke Inverness Gaelic while her husband spoke both Inverness Gaelic and the Gaelic common to the Puslinch people.  Annabel’s son John Blacklock (1855) married Barbara, daughter of little John Thomson, and emigrated to Dakota with the Thomson family where he became a politician.  John and Annabel McIntyre’s daughters Annie and Christie (1864) did not marry, and lived in Ayr in their later years.