Morriston Village Medley


Full many a praiseworthy citizen of Morriston has been acknowledged in a Marjorie Clark book, “Our Village of Morriston”, a book of generously benevolent historical perspective, wherein a very fragmentary oral and written history was rescued, rescued as it was about to quietly vanish in the company of a nucleus of the village’s most aged and literate inhabitants.  An attempt, this medley, borrowing entirely from the Clark book, has been made to revisit some of the warmth and life that was Morriston, warmth and life generated as a community.






The Morriston Town Hall





Morriston Town Hall





Morriston has suffered much damage through fire.  This was so even in the early days.  Therefore, in 1857, the “Victoria Fire Company of the United Village of Morriston and Elgin” was formed and the trustees, Peter Gregor, Peter Clark and William Martin, bought a fire wagon at a cost of $300.  On September 7th 1857, they purchased Lot 7 from John Calfas, and in 1858, the Hall was built by subscription.  A building committee was appointed to let the contracts.


The committee borrowed money to pay the contractors and the consequence of the high interest was that the available promissory payments were insufficient.  The committee had to foot the bill.  Due to this, the Hall ultimately cost more than the amount required to erect two such buildings.


Morriston Hall was equipped with cells in the basement, the only jail ever built in Puslinch Township.




Making repairs to the Morriston Town Hall (before 1905)

 John Hingleman, Frank Kistenmacher, & John Gayer (left to right)




On May 8th 1883, the Independent Order of Foresters organized a chapter in Morriston, and in 1886, the Ancient Order of United Workmen was established in Morriston.  In 1902, the Morriston Lodge of the Foresters bought the Hall and renovated it.  The Lodge grew very rapidly for some years.  In 1926, they united with the Ancient Order of United Workmen.



Independent Order of Foresters “Old Time Dance” Invitation




Mr. Bert Huether recalled that the local boys used to skate in the basement of the Hall around the turn of the century.


On September 15th 1944, a trustees’ meeting was held in the Hall, with a good attendance of ratepayers, to discuss the purchase of the Independent Order of Foresters Hall by the village.  Mr. Albert E. Whiteside (1873 November 5, 1962) spoke of the ways and means to raise money to meet expenses and the upkeep of the Hall.  It was moved by William Crow and seconded by Fred Dunkie that the village buy the Hall.  It was moved by Lawrence Huether and seconded by William Moore that the trustees, with Mr. Whiteside, see the Foresters in regard to having them donate their share to the village.  However, in the fall of 1944, the village purchased the Hall for $300 and the village owned it for twenty‑three years.  This was due, in large part, to the efforts of Mr. Whiteside.


The Hall fulfilled its promise, serving as the focal point of a busy community.  The village trustees met there.  Plays and concerts were presented by the Morriston Library to raise money to buy books.  Mr. Lawrence Huether presented picture shows.  There were dances, box socials and suppers, school concerts, short courses, presentations, demonstrations, and business promotions.  A Continuation School was held upstairs for a couple of years.  There were Ladies’ Aid meetings, Red Cross meetings, wedding receptions, wedding anniversary celebrations, birthday parties, bazaars, elections, masquerades, auction sales, penny sales, political meetings, and Young People’s Society meetings.  A euchre club and a badminton club met there.  The baseball teams held their parties there.


After fifteen years of riotous living, the Hall gave every indication of needing some attention, to such an extent, in fact, that on January 24th 1959, it was condemned as unsafe by then Puslinch Township Building Inspector, Gordon Fielding.  There was sufficient popular sentiment that the Hall did not merit the necessary funds to put a roof on it and make other repairs, and so, rather than being restored, it was tendered to Mr. John Smith, of Morriston, for $300 on April 25, 1967.  Finally, in 1969, the grand old hall, which had served the community so well for so many years, was taken down.




The Historic Corner Block


For some time after the hall’s removal, the Morriston Women’s Institute urged that some use be made of the now vacant Town Hall lot.  On February 22nd 1978, representatives of the Institute, the village trustees, and interested community members formed a committee to create a park.


A “name the park” contest was held.  Carmel Bellamy submitted the winning entry. A student landscape architect from the University of Guelph was engaged to draw up plans. Letters were sent to all former students of S. S. #8 requesting financial support for the erection of a cairn to hold the Morriston School bell.  The Morriston Women’s Institute donated $500 to cover the purchase of trees, shrubs and topsoil.


Many, many caring people contributed to the work; a few are mentioned here.  John Smith built the cairn.  Morley Illman made the park benches, one of which was donated by Mrs. Anna Bill and two by the Morriston Women’s Institute.  The Penrice family planted a tree and placed a plaque in memory of John Penrice Sr., who was a member of the Order of Foresters, and who looked after the maintenance of the Hall as well as acting as “house policeman” at most activities.  Mrs. Jack Stewart and Harvey Stewart planted the flowerbed beside the cairn.  Other trees were planted by a group of villagers assisted by the Morriston Brownie Pack.  Many hours of hard work were put in by Myrtle Carroll, Elizabeth Hierons, Joanna Dettrich and Jerry Warner.  Harold and Jean Skerritt merit special mention for their on‑going contribution, the conscientious upkeep of the park.


The Park Committee


Emily Pylack

Myrtle Carroll

Elizabeth Hierons

Dale Sims

Joanna Dettrich


Harry Steinberg

Jerry Warner

Carolyn Sorensen

Beatrice Huether




Opening Day

 June 25, 1978.


Bill Huether, Chairman, addressed the gathering:


“We hope that the present generation and those generations to follow derive as much enjoyment from the new park as the past few generations did from the old Town Hall that formerly stood on this site.”


Carmel Bellamy cut the ribbon to officially open the Corner Block.  Reminiscences were given by Mrs. Christen Wilson and Mrs. Margaret Patterson, former teachers in Morriston School.  Reverend F. Norman Young offered a prayer for blessing of the park.  Jack Stewart, on behalf of the former students of Morriston School, and Emily Pylack, former caretaker of Morriston School, unveiled the school bell on its cairn. Among those dignitaries present were Reeve Archie MacRobbie and Councillor John Crawley.


A historical photograph display, which stirred pleasant memories, was furnished by Bill Huether.  A book describing, in words and pictures, the park development was open for viewing.  Refreshments were provided in the Morriston United Church basement by the Women's Institute. The weather co‑operated to make this warm sunny day a lovely occasion of reunion and friendship.



The Morriston Town Hall, the stage for a varied and vibrant chapter of village history, stands in the background, with a dignity belying that expansive legacy, as Mr. Edgar Boucher, in the foreground, intently conducts his ploughing, from the Victoria Street side.










The Morriston Library Players



Back Row (left to right)

Bill Winer, Mert Westlake, Marguerite Boucher, Laura Quail, Mrs. Douglas McNally, Donalda Clark, Douglas McNally, Dorothy Huether, Jim Philpott, Mary Tatum.

Front Row (left to right)

Anne Quail, Margaret Beese, Edward J. Quail, Mary Huether, Stanley Archibald.





The headline above and the article that follows are from the “Guelph Daily Mercury” newspaper, April 14th 1951 edition.


“Morriston Players Breeze Through Lively Comedy,

 Give Creditable Performance”




Enthusiasm, it seems, has no bounds.  Last night, the Morriston Library Players, under the capable and energetic direction of Mrs. E. J. Quail, breezed their way through Russell Drake's lively comedy “Momma and Poppa Pitz” with a style which would have done more than credit to any larger theatrical group in this city.


Before an overflow audience in the Sunday School room of the Paisley Memorial Church estimated to be in the region of 220, the Morriston amateurs interpreted the three act comedy in its hilarious best and for a post-budget pickup, no finer medicine could be recommended than to sit through the two hours or so of scintillating humour emerging from the lively and diverting farce centered on Mr. and Mrs. Presley Pitz.


Not only are hats doffed for the quality of the performance, but also for the motivating force behind the production.


The Morriston Library, its shelves stocked with up to two thousand books, is desirous of extending its lists with replacements and new books.  Short of funds, the Ways and Means Committee of the library could think of no better way to bolster assets than an amateur theatrical and so from Morriston’s 250 population a band of play addicts gathered together and started twice-weekly rehearsals in the home of the director.


After five weeks of hard grinding the show was ready for the road and up to date has rocked audiences in five local communities, playing twice in Morriston, so great was the response.


Last night the library committee gathered in approximately twenty-five dollars for their cultural cause, which boosts the total receipts, clear of expenses to over $125.00.


It would be unfair to single out any particular member of the cast for special praise.  All performed with zest and ability and only the occasional hesitation and prompting for some of the supporting roles marred a faultless passage.


Apart from the directorship, the Quail family was further represented in the cast of characters.  Mr. E. J. Quail portrayed the part of Presley Pitz, the harmless head of the family, who as a lover of horses, gets entangled with Laurette Lorraine acted by Isabel McNally, the lonely widow type who sells her horse, Dorette, to Poppa who promptly installs the dobbin in the garage.


Margaret Beese, treasurer of the committee and this paper’s Morriston correspondent, characterized Polly Pitz, the faithful-over-the-years wife whose suspicions are aroused when her husband's name becomes connected with a Dorette which naturally, she assumes to be the other woman encroaching on her domain. This portrayal by Margaret Beese was excellently done, her dialogue and expression so much in keeping with the harassed lady of the house.


Corney, the gum chewing slaphappy maid of the household, played by Mercia Westlake, contributed a hat-full of fun to the success of the venture. She fitted the part admirably, wisecracking to the last.


Mary Huether and Jim Philpott as the charming but high-strung young daughter and the absent-minded son of the Pitzs came through with colours flying.  Jim Philpott, his natural physique somehow blending so well with the role, falls for Anne Kingston - finely portrayed by Donalda Clark - who is secretary to Dixie Dunlop (Marguerite Thomson) a love scientist from Ottawa, who arrives at the opportune moment to assist Momma to uncover Poppa’s untimely infatuation.


Claribell Knapp, as the name would suggest, is the girl who lives next door and, being inclined to be nosey, starts the squabble with her uncontrolled tongue.  Dorothy Huether played confidently in this role, as did Stan Archibald (Sedley Lassen), William Winer (Earl Magnus), Douglas McNally (Gordon Spencer) and lastly thirteen-year-old Laura, the third member of the Quail family concerned with the comedy, who was making her first appearance in a play of this standing.


The traveling cast, all of whom reside in Morriston, some of them employed in Guelph, have three more engagements to fulfill: at Sheffield, Fruitland and Brookville.


Their enthusiasm and efforts, coupled with the obvious enjoyment derived in the presentation of their community project, serves as a reminder that better facilities for the community at large requires something more than a lot of hot-stove talk.


The humour came as a ray of sunlight, piercing the gloom of a wet, miserable Friday evening.  The audience went home full of praise for the initiative and the theatrical abilities of the people of Morriston.








School Section # 8 of Puslinch Township

The Morriston School


The first school in the Morriston area was located near Duff’s Church.  The teacher was Reverend Thos. Wardrope.


On May 9th 1856, the “Trustees of Common School Section #8, Puslinch” bought one-quarter acre of land from John Morlock, this being the southwest corner of the Morlock homestead, and in that summer, the first Morriston School was built of stone, by masons Karl and William Beese.  The walls were two feet thick.  The first teacher of Morriston School was Miss Annie Wardrope.  In 1865, an addition was built on the rear, the Junior Room.  The entrances on the old school were on the south side.  On January 12th 1872, the trustees bought another quarter acre of land to expand the schoolyard.




Morriston School, built in 1856, stonework by Karl and William Beese.




Eventually, the school could not accommodate the children of the community and on March 25th 1905, a special ratepayers meeting was held to discuss the building of a new school.  On December 26th 1906, a second meeting was held, but it was not until after the Inspector’s Report of November 1909, in which the unsanitary condition of the old school was emphasized, that the trustees obtained permission to erect a new school.  The old school was later converted to a residence by Carl and Marie Wingrove.  It was ultimately purchased and taken down when the Ontario Highway Department reconstructed Highway 6 at that point, in 1966.


A Toronto architect patterned the new school after one near Kitchener, providing in his plans, room for extension, when necessary, by the addition of rear wings.  The new red brick school was built by Otto and John Rappolt in 1910.  D. McNaughton, William Brown, and John Penrice were trustees when the school was completed.  A. Munro (1906) and Hugh Clark (1907) held office during the planning and building stages.  W. J. Hodges (1908 1912) Meta Ellsworth (1909 1911) and Lillian Sommerville (1911 1912) were the first teachers in the new school.  W. J. Hodges was the first principal.


The new brick school had a junior room on the south side and a senior room on the north side, divided by a large hall running straight through the centre, from the double front doors to a small utility room at the back. The basement was similarly divided, the south side being the girls’ play area and the north, the boys’.


Each side had a furnace in the centre.  The farmers of the section brought wood, which was stored in the large woodshed directly in back of the school.  Big Henry Beaver cut it up with the bucksaw.  Later, Jack Quillman cut it with the crosscut saw and, still later, Harvey Sutton with the circular saw. When coal became more available, wood was burnt only in the fall and spring and coal was used in the very cold winter.  The children would take advantage of the furnaces to provide themselves with a hot lunch.  They would bring a potato from home and place it on the ledge above the firebox in the furnace at recess.  Someone would ask to be excused in order to check the progress of the potatoes midway to lunchtime.  At lunch, they would dine on baked potato.




Morriston School, built in 1910 by Otto and John Rappolt




Miss Kaiser was a singer and during her 1917-1919 tenure at Morriston School, her pupils learned many World War I songs.


Bill Hodges taught for two separate intervals in Morriston School, one of only two teachers who returned for a second term, the other being Charlotte M. Torrance.  Mr. Hodges taught from 1908 1912 and 1915 1917.  He was very well‑liked by his students. He, too, was a singer, and he would play baseball and football along with the children at recess.  Sometimes he would end up at the bottom of the heap with all the boys piled on top of him.  The girls of the Badenoch team of the 1920’s learned their softball skills from Mr. Hodges.  He married Margaret McFarlane (1878 1966), a Puslinch native who remained in Morriston until her death.


The children of this era began the day with “The Lord’s Prayer” and “God Save the King” and ended it with a beautiful evening hymn called “Now the Day is Over”.



“Now the day is over

Night is drawing nigh

Shadows of the evening

Steal across the sky.”



If there were caretakers in the old stone school, we can no longer ascertain who they were.  In the new brick school, the Len Westlakes were caretakers about 1915 and after them, the Walter Telfers, then the Quillmans, Mrs. Tom Beaver, and lastly, Mrs. Emily Pylack from May 15th 1950 1969.  Emily Pylack has been a resident of Morriston for around forty years.  Emily and Arthur Pylack’s family are Barbara (Mrs. Kenneth Dickenson) of Drayton, Margaret (Mrs. Robert McKay) of Morriston, David with the Canadian Armed Forces and Winnie (Mrs. Donald N. Stewart Jr.) of the First Concession, Puslinch.


Between January 1st 1919 February 3rd 1919 the Morriston School was closed on account of the severe influenza epidemic which swept the country after the war, the strain having been carried home from overseas by the returning soldiers.  Some local people died from this contagion.


On January 24th 1921, a case of smallpox was diagnosed in the school area and on Tuesday, January 25th 1921, Dr. King, with Jessie Nicol assisting, vaccinated the whole of Morriston School.  On February 1st, a week later, teacher Mina Hartmier recorded in her diary that she went to school sick and with a sore arm, to find only four children present. The next day there were only three.


On May 11, 1937, a row of evergreens was planted along the fence and around the top of the bank in the north yard. Later in the same week a blue spruce and an Austrian pine were planted in the north yard.


In the summer of 1940, a new furnace was installed in the centre of the building between the two basements in place of the old furnaces.


In May 1944, the school became a distributing centre for trees ordered by the farmers of the section for reforestation purposes. About four thousand trees were distributed.  At the same time, the pupils planted thirty or forty spruce and maple trees around the edge of the schoolyard.


During the Easter Vacation of 1945, the school was wired for electricity. The work was completed and power turned on, on June 11th.


The school’s annual picnic was held as a community affair on the last day in June 1945.  Pupils and adults enjoyed games, races and other sports.  Parents and pupils brought different articles and participated in an auction sale, which netted forty dollars, which sum was used to start a fund to purchase presents for service men returning to this school section.


A new 125-foot well was drilled in January 1946.


In the autumn of 1947, water toilets were installed in the basement.


In January 1948, our school became part of the Puslinch School Area and the local school board was dissolved.  The members of the board at the time were Wes Winer, Edgar Boucher and Chester Schultz, with Mabel McNaughton acting as Secretary Treasurer.


A new steel roof was put on in August 1948.


In June 1949, at the first school area picnic held at Puslinch Lake, S.S. #8 won the trophy in the softball competition.


Of the more current teachers, Miss Jean Copeland, now Mrs. Alistair McLean of London, and Mrs. C. M. Torrance, now Mrs. William Gordon of Listowel, were both fondly remembered by their students and described glowingly as being very capable teachers who provided a firm educational foundation for future studies.


In the 1960’s, the Ontario Government, hoping to improve the quality of education, began a program to consolidate many of the small rural schools into large centralized schools, and so, the long and pleasant histories of the community schools in Puslinch Township came to an end, including that of the Morriston School.  In June 1964, the Morriston “Senior Room” students, grades 5 through 8, were reassigned, via school bus, to the new large school in Aberfoyle, and finally, in June 1969, the remainder of the Morriston classes followed, as the red schoolhouse on the hill dismissed its students for the last time.




The Continuation School


Continuation School was held in the upstairs of the Forester’s Hall for a couple of years (1920 1922).  It was equivalent to grades nine and ten of secondary school.


The teachers were:


Eleanor Hope Brydon September 1920 to June 1921


Margaret Stewart September 1921 to June 1922


After this time, students who wished to attend high school either boarded in Guelph or took the train daily from Puslinch to Galt.  Eventually some pupils went to Guelph daily by the Hamilton‑Guelph bus and in the late 1940’s a school bus route around the township was instituted.




Teachers in Morriston School


Daily Attendance Registers for Morriston Public School for the years 1897 1969 are stored in Aberfoyle Public School.  If there were records kept previous to this, they have either been lost or destroyed, or I have not been able to locate them yet.  Therefore, we have no recorded account of the first forty years.


The first teacher in Morriston School was Miss Annie Wardrope.


Other possible teachers were:



Dave McFarlane, known as “Black Davey”

Hector Currie

William Martin

Mrs. Frank Fahrner (Lydia)

Mrs. Angus Clark Jr. (née Minerva Bond)

Mr. Hunter

James MacDonald

Miss Jessie McDonald

Mrs. Lizzie McDonald

Mrs. Jefferson

Angus Clark Sr.

William Kilgour

Miss Cameron


On record, are the following teachers:

Neil Q. MacEachern (Senior Form): 1897 to 1899

R. Etta Bond: February to December 1898

Sara Blyth (Sr. Form): Feb. to Dec. 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, & Feb. to Aug. 1905

Mary M. Livergood (Junior Form): February to December 1901, 1902

Cassie Smith (Junior Form): 1903

Ira Hammond (Sr. Form): October to December 1905, 1906, 1907 and 1908

Maria F. Aitchison (Junior Form): 1906 and January to June 1907

A. H. Moderwell (Junior Form): August to December 1907

W. J. Hodges (Senior Form): August 1908 to September 1912

Meta Elisworth (Junior Room): January to June 1911

Lillian Somerville (Jr. Room): Sept. to Dec. 1911 and January to June 1912

R. E. Jamieson (Sr. Room): Sept. to Dec. 1912, 1913, 1914 & Jan. to June 1915

E. G. Laing (Junior Room): September and October 1912

J. M. Kilgour (Junior Room): Nov. to Dec. 1912 and Jan. to June 1913

W. J. Hodges (Senior Room): September 1915 to December 1917

Minnie M. Nesbitt (Jr. Room): Sept. to Dec. 1913, 1914, 1915 & Jan. to June 1916

E. L. Williams (Junior Room): Sept. to Dec. 1916 and Jan. to June 1917

Ora C. Kaiser (Junior Room): Sept. to December 1917, 1918 and 1919

Mary E. Aylesworth (Senior Room): January 1918 to December 1919

Myrtle M. Mair (Senior Room): December 26, 1919 to December 1920

Mina Hartmier (Junior Room): September to December 1919 and 1920

Mabel J. Stewart (Senior Room): January 3, 1921 to June 1926

Margaret E. Stewart (Junior Room): September 1921 to June 1923

Mildred Ronald (Junior Room): January to December 1924

Della Philpott (Junior Room): 1926 to June 1929

Margaret Hingleman (Junior Room): September 1929 to 1932

Velma K. Gregory (Senior Room) : October 1926 and January to October 1927

Ernest J. Monteith (Senior Room): October to December 1927 and 1928

Grace Lapsley (Senior Room): September 1, 1928 to 1933

Mildred Cowen (Junior Room): September 1933

Grant W. Ingle (Senior Room): September 1933 to June 1937

Christen McBean (Junior Room): September 1933 to June 1937

George A. McEwan (Senior Room): September 1937 to June 1939

Jean A. MacPherson (Junior Room): September 1937 to June 1941

L. Earle Hampel (Senior Room): September 1939 to June 1940

G. Clark Wright (Senior Room): September 1, 1940 to June 1954

Margaret E. McColl (Junior Room): September 5, 1941 to June 28, 1946

Isabel C. Hunter (Junior Room): September 3, 1946 to June 29, 1948

Carolyn E. R. Nader (Junior Room): September 7, 1948 to June 29, 1949

Elsie G. Tutt: September 6, 1949 to June 27, 1952

Mary E. McPherson (Junior Room) : September 2, 1952 to June 1955

Charlotte M. Torrance (Senior Room): September 7, 1954 to June 1961

James R. L. Loree (Junior Room): September 1955 to June 1956

Jean Copeland (Junior Room): September 1956 to June 1961

Eileen Bond (Junior Room): September 1961 to June 1964

Bruce Foubert (Senior Room): September 1961 to June 1962

Charlotte M. Torrance (Senior Room): September 1962 to June 1964

Ingrid Rebane (Junior Room): September 1964 to June 1965

Eleada Thomson (Junior Room): September 1965 to May 1966

Elizabeth Wilson (Junior Room) : September 1966 to 1967

Cora Rutherford (Junior Room): September 1967 to 1968

Margaret MacKenzie (Junior Room): September 1968 to June 1969.








The Morriston Pond





May 20th 1954, looking across Morriston Pond,

at the home of Bert and Mary McEdward.




Morriston Pond was, at one time, one large pond.  The construction of the county road divided it into two.  Benjamin Jacobs gave the county a portion of his land so that the road would not need to run so far through the pond as necessary if it were built straight.


At the end of February or the beginning of March, each year, before the advent of refrigeration, hundreds of blocks of ice, about two feet thick, were cut from Morriston Pond by local people.  Farmers used the ice to keep milk cool, Billy Brown used it to preserve meat, and Aunt Lou MacLean used it to freeze ice cream.


Drawing an ice plow behind a team, or sometimes just one horse, to cut the ice part way, enough rows would be made.  Then rows were cut across these in the other direction in order to make blocks.  Men finished off the cutting of the first row with an ice saw, a saw about eight feet long, and picked out the blocks with ice tongs.  The second row of blocks could be broken off, just by hitting them.


These blocks were slid up a ramp onto a skid and drawn home to the icehouse, a building about twenty feet square and ten feet high.  This icehouse was packed full of ice except for a layer of sawdust which served as insulation around the outside and on the bottom.  Sawdust or snow was placed in the cracks between the blocks.


Generations of Morriston youth and older folks, too, have skated on Morriston Pond.  Eliza (Jacobs) Clark skated here on spring skates.  Spring skates were blades that fastened to your shoes or boots with clips and tightened with springs.  The blades were very round compared to those of today.


Jack Stewart recalled playing hockey here as a boy using a tin can for a puck and newspapers for shin pads. My father, Ben Clark, tells me he played hockey by moonlight.  The tin can was an audible puck.


Mrs. Grace Bolton (1874 November 7th, 1961) who lived on the Back Street, that is Victoria Street, skated on Morriston Pond every winter of her residency here until the winter of 1954 when she was eighty years of age.




Circa 1950, Mr. Lawrence Huether, paddle in hand, and Berkeley Hamilton.






◄ End of file ►