Log House Moving ó Piece by Piece

December 8th 1969.

 

Itís history in reverse for members of the Clan Donald Society of Canada in this area.All the skill exhibited by early settlers in this part of the province is being drawn on by those Scots who form the Grand River branch of the clan, as they go about dismantling one of the older log homes in the area.

 

The handiwork of the pioneers is tackled on weekends by the clansmen who are donating the historic landmark to the Doon Pioneer Village.The old house has been partially dismantled as men, women, and children tackle the tremendous job in their free time, attempting to reclaim the timbers unscarred.

 

The clan being of Scottish origin, it was natural that the members would seek a pioneer house that had been built by a Scottish settler.Where else to seek such a landmark than in Puslinch Township, which scorned anyone of the early arrivals who didnít have some Scottish blood in his veins.

 

 

 

The members feel that they were fortunate to have the Grand River Conservation Authority turn over to them the log house that exists on the Currie farm at R.R. 2, Puslinch, situated on the south side of Puslinch Lake.

 

Neil Currie family home

 

As far as can be determined, the house dates back to 1859 and the original owners were the Smale family.The present family occupancy was started by Neil Currie who had originally set up his home in the new land in Quebec.

 

According to Thomas J. Gilchrist, former resident of Puslinch and until a few years ago the veteran clerk of Guelph Township, Mr. Currie was pestered into leaving his home in Quebec.There was an Irish neighbour who according to the story was always borrowing Mr. Currieís coat.This occurred so often that Neil Currie packed up and came to Ontario, selecting Puslinch for his permanent home in Canada.

 

Neil Currie became a school teacher and left a real mark on the succeeding generations of this section of Wellington County.He made his own pens from goose quills and also manufactured ink.Reports are that he could draw a circle around a penny, English money in those days, and inscribe the Lordís Prayer inside that circle so that it could be read quite easily.

 

Mr. Currie served in the Crimean War and for his services was awarded a script for 100 acres of land in Waterloo County, as this area was known in those days.Fearing that he might lose this award through some crooked dealing or skulduggery, he set out, with 50 cents in his pocket, to see Queen Victoria.

 

He overcame this obstacle however and finally did have an audience with Her Majesty who settled things in favour of the determined Canadian.Neil Currie married into the Smale family and thus became owner of what is now known as the Currie farm.His son, Jack, became one of the best barn builders in this part of the country.

 

James Alexander, of Hespeler, is president of the Grand River branch of Clan Donald and other officers are Colin MacDonald, of Guelph, and Walter MacDonald, of Bright, vice-presidents; Alex Walker, Guelph, past president, with Verna Walser, of Fergus, secretary, and Elsie Alexander, of Hespeler, treasurer.

 

Roy Walser is chairman of the restoration committee, with other members being Kenneth and Hazel MacDonald, Dorothy MacDonald, Ellen MacDonald, Ruby MacDonald, and Margaret Walker.

 

The volunteer workers want to dismantle and rebuild the old house themselves as a means of welding the clan into a close association and building a solid unit.The workers admit that they feel like pioneers themselves while engaged in this work.Trucks are loaned by clansmen and even children find pleasure in the dismantling work that is expected to continue throughout the winter months.It is hoped to start rebuilding in the Doon Pioneer Village in the spring.

 

The log cabin is located in a section of Puslinch Lake district where some clearing will be done as the Grand River Conservation Authority proceeds with plans to conserve the area for recreational purposes.

 

 

from the Guelph Mercury newspaper