PHS Research

Township of Puslinch Crest

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.

Rural townships were divided into school sections when public education first began in the mid-nineteenth century. Each area soon became a community of its own and people in Puslinch would say, for example, “We’re from Badenoch.” Immediately other residents would know that they lived in southeast Puslinch. The school sections in the Township were numbered S.S. 1 to 12.

In 2015 the Puslinch Historical Society offered public viewings of their compilation, The Communities in Puslinch. This was presented over 3 evenings, with four of the twelve school districts offered each night.

There have been many requests to see this presentation by people who were unable to attend, so it was decided to post the document on our website. Since the files are mostly pictures – making them large files to download and view – the complete file has been divided into four parts.


The following information was kindly contributed by John's great-grandson Peter, who is the current Chairman of  the Arkell's Brewery. Thanks to his generosity, the Puslinch Historical Society is now in possession of John Arkell's ancestry, and a handsome history of the Brewery's first 150 years. THANK YOU PETER!

John Arkell

John Arkell

John Arkell was a remarkable man. Born into a farming family in 1802 in Kempsford, South Gloucestershire, he emigrated to the New World in his late twenties and took with him a group of local people (including his first cousin Thomas)who sought a refuge from the tough conditions endured by agricultural folk at that time. It was a brave step.

They arrived in Canada and established the small community of Arkell - which still exists today - but three years later, John returned for love. His fiancée preferred to live in England so he came home to marry and set up home in Stratton St Margaret, near Swindon, where he grew barley on his farm.....

He died on 21st October, 1881, much mourned by a local community who always knew him as 'Honest John'. The Swindon Advertiser noted that shops were closed and blinds drawn as the funeral cortege passed to Stratton Church and added: "He was open and above board and Radical in all he said and did. The poor had lost a good friend, a plain and simple friend."

The name Arkell originated in Holland, and was Van Arkell. John was the son of Thomas and Susan Iles. He married Elizabeth Hewer on May 20,1833 in Kempford, Gloucester, England. Members of both the Iles and Hewer families came with John to Puslinch.

Thomas Arkell (from the 1906 Wellington County Atlas)

This respected pioneer of Puslinch Township. was a native of Berkshire, Eng. In Oct., 1830, with his first cousin, John Arkell, and F. W. Stone, he left England and spent winter in New York, coming with them to Puslinch in May, 1831. These three men picked out the tract of land now known as Farnham Plains, and of this Thomas took 600 acres. He afterwards sold 300 acres, but the remaining 300, being part of lots 7, 8, 9, 10, con. 9, he lived on until his death. He was reared on a farm in Idstone, Berkshire, and, having a thorough knowledge of agriculture, he made a very successful farmer.

In live stock, he was a prominent breeder of Cotswold sheep and Shorthorn cattle. He was a member of the English Church; a Conservative in politics; a consistent and hard worker, devoting his time zealously to his business affairs and never seeking to hold office of any kind. He, however, was Magistrate for over thirty years, and always dealt justice in an unbiased manner. He d. in 1875 at the age of 73 years. He m. Isabelle Hume. Issue: William and Mary, deceased; Robert and Adam infancy; Mrs. Henry Iles, Guelph; Peter, farmer at Teeswater, Bruce Co.; John and Thomas, who are both farmers at Arkell; Mrs. Blair Falconbridge, now living in Hamilton; and Henry.

Thomas Arkell and the House He Built

The house that Thomas Arkell built

Henry Arkell has a continental reputation as a breeder and importer of Oxforddown sheep, being moreover, the first to introduce these sheep into America, and has always taken a strong interest in agricultural matters, being President of the Puslinch Agricultural Society for two years, and a Director for seventeen years.

Besides the sheep Mr. Arkell has always bred extensively Shorthorn cattle, but latterly, however, he has added to these a small herd of Jerseys. Mr. Arkell owns and operates the old homestead, consisting of 300 acres, and known as "Farnham Farm." In religion, he is a Presbyterian, and in politics a Conservative. He m. Jessie MacFarlane, in 1877, who d. in 1905. Issue: Thomas Reginald, who is attending O. A. C., reputation built by his father as one of the most successful stock raisers on the continent.

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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 volunteers, a newsletter and occasional events of historic interest.

Click here for full membership information or to help by donating or volunteering.

Contact Us


29 Brock Road South
Aberfoyle, Ontario


Puslinch Historical Society
c/o Puslinch Library
29 Brock Road South
Puslinch, ON N0B 2J0

Click here for full contact information including email addresses and telephone numbers.

This is the work of volunteers in the community.
If using any of the content, please acknowledge the Puslinch Historical Society as the source of the material.