As part of our ongoing mandate to not only preserve our heritage and history but also to make it accessible to the public we have created this online research portal. Below you will find a wealth of information on the history of Puslinch categorized for easy search. Simply choose a topic below to begin your search.
Puslinch Historical Society Spirit Walk
Crieff Cemetery, June 26, 2016
Read by Lynn Crow
Alexander Fraser was born in the Loch Broom area of Scotland in the early 1800s. Loch Broom is a long saltwater inlet on the NW coast of Scotland in the shire known as Ross and Cromarty, after Ross was formed from the northern part of Argyllshire in 1503 and annexed to Cromarty. The village of Ullapool was founded at Loch Broom in 1788 by the Scottish Fishery Society based on the herring industry, but the surrounding countryside remained sparsely populated. The aging Dutch vessel, the Hector, sailed from Loch Broom in 1773, carrying the first Scottish immigrant group to Nova Scotia. It is considered the Mayflower of Canada for the Scots.
In 1820, 55 families were evicted in the glens around Loch Broom. Then, by 1840, the main Kenneth Mackenzie estate was sold to Murdo Munro Mackenzie of Ardross who returned to Scotland from Australia after the Kenneth Mackenzie line of this district died out. While Kenneth had been reluctant to turn out his tenants, there were heartless clearances under Mackenzie of Ardross, with crofts burned and the tenants having nowhere else to go but to the rocky moors. The Frasers weren’t the only Puslinch families to emigrate from the Loch Broom area at that time. Other Crieff families included Camerons and John and Catherine (Urquhart) McLean, who lived with their daughter Mary and son-in-law Murdoch Munroe on their farm directly south of here on Lot 26, Rear Gore. The blacksmith shop run by Murdoch’s brother Kenneth Munroe was located where the church parking lot is today.
Alexander Fraser, a son of Murdock Fraser and Abigail Mackenzie, was in his teens when he immigrated to Puslinch with his mother and siblings from Lochbroom [spelled as one word on local tombstones] in 1839. His mother Abigail presumably had been widowed by then, as there is no record of her husband Murdock immigrating. By 1840, they were settled in Crieff, on Lot 26, Front of the 1st. The mother Abigail, born in Scotland c. 1787, died here at Crieff in 1861 at the age of 84. Her tombstone is under the trees, south of her daughter Christina, nee Fraser, McIntosh’s family’s stone.
Little is known of Alexander, but we can deduce that he was a pious man, for he was ordained an elder in the West Puslinch [log] Church in 1858. When the decision was made to build the frame church that preceded the current building here, Alexander donated the land – which was prime land as it was located at the intersection. The little village that grew at this corner was first called Fraserville, after this family. The name appears on the 1851 map of the Township, but was changed to Crieff by 1861.
Alexander Fraser married Isabella (Isobel) McPherson, a daughter of Donald “Dhu”, in 1841. Their daughter Abigail, named after her grandmother Abigail (nee Mackenzie) Fraser, married William McDonald and they moved “up country” to West Wawanosh.
Alexander’s sister Christina (Christy), born in Scotland c. 1826, died here at age 86 in 1912, widow of Alex (Sandy) McIntosh. Her death certificate records that she was born in Ross-shire, and lists her parents as Murdock and Abigail. (SEE “A Celebration of Lives” by Anna Jackson & Marjorie Clark, p. 851, in the PHS archives) Mary, born in Scotland c. 1808, died at Crieff in 1873 at age 65. She is buried here in Plot 101. Flora married Hugh “Cluny” McPherson in 1841, son of Donald “Dhu”, and farmed Lot 22, R. Gore (today Dr. Rich’s) before moving to Bruce County. (SEE “A Celebration of Lives” by Anna Jackson & Marjorie Clark, p. 951, in the PHS archives) Flora and Hugh are buried in Kinloss Cemetery, Bruce County.
Murdoch Fraser remained single and moved from this farm to Galt.
Alexander and Christina McIntosh were next to farm Lot 26, F Conc.1, after her brother Alexander Fraser’s family.
Christy and Alexander McIntosh’s daughters Abigail (Abbie), 1861-1945, and Catherine (Katie) McIntosh, 1868-1955, were raised on Lot 26 Conc. 1 along with their siblings. The two worked in Toronto for many years before returning to Crieff. When Colonel McLean moved back, he hired Katie and Abbie as housekeepers at the former manse. In later life they continued to live on the Fraser farm in the white frame house north of the church (where Doug and Lois Mast lived when they were first married). After her sister’s death, Catherine moved to Galt. (SEE “A Celebration of Lives” by Anna Jackson & Marjorie Clark, p. 852, in the PHS archives) Neither of these two women ever married.
There were several Fraser families at Crieff, so not all Frasers buried in this cemetery belong to the Murdock Fraser branch. Katherine Fraser, for instance, is likely Catherine (Kate) Black who married another Alexander Fraser and farmed Lot 17, F of the 2nd. This Alexander (Sandy) also came from Loch Broom, so may have been related.
If you want to travel to the Outer Hebrides today, you can take a ferry from Loch Broom to Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis, which is only 50 miles across the strait known as the North Minch.
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Membership in the society is open to anyone interested in the history of Puslinch Township giving you access to the archives, assistance with your research from committed voluteers, a newsletter and occasional events of historic interest.
29 Brock Road South
Puslinch Historical Society
c/o Puslinch Library
R.R. #3, 29 Brock Road South
Guelph (Aberfoyle), Ontario N1H 6H9