“The Hills” of Puslinch


In 1906, Mr. W. H. McKenzie undertook a very large literary task, a historical review of Wellington County, dating back to its settlement, which was published in segments in the Guelph Mercury newspaper over an extended period of time, and which has become a landmark historical work.  In his endeavour, Mr. McKenzie solicited and received contributions from many people who were particularly knowledgeable on specific sections of the county. 


In the Guelph Mercury newspaper for February 26th 1907, Mr. William Woods, of Rockwood, provided an invaluably unique perspective on Farnham Plains, and even more so, on an adjacent section of Puslinch Township that was known as “The Hills”.  “The Hills” residents participated substantially in the social life of both Arkell and Corwhin and were frequently and affectionately mentioned in the newspaper columns of both communities.  Mr. Woods’ sage commentary, strikingly well written, is as follows:


“About one mile from the village of Arkell, in a north-easterly direction, a ridge of elevated land crosses the 9th and 10th Concessions, which had acquired the name of “The Hills”, in contradistinction to the lower and more level land of the “Puslinch Plains”.  A short time after the settlement of “The Plains”, a small colony of hardy pioneers from the county of Northumberland and the neighbouring counties of Scotland settled upon “The Hills”.  Their names were Thomas Hume, Adam Hume, and William Hume, brothers, and Craistor Johnson, Duncan Gilchrist, Wm. Scott, Wm. Wakefield, and others, at a later date.


The natural features in this section must, of necessity, have called for greater physical exertions on the part of the settler than in its immediate neighbourhood.  In addition to the removal of the forest, there were large blocks of various kinds of stone scattered over its surface.  Inheriting the pugnacity and determination of the Briton, those obstacles were at length removed, and, at a later time, became valuable as material for the erection of their dwellings et cetera.  As a compensation for the extra labour in clearing, the soil proved to be rich and deep and excellent for wheat and other crops.


Thus, within the space of time allotted to man, has the face of nature been subdued, in accordance with the divine commandment laid upon man at the beginning.  All of these old pioneers have now passed away from the scene of their labours, and the place thereof knows them no more, and a younger generation is enjoying the fruits of their labour.  Such are the changing scenes of that which we call life.”






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