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Perm faded into history after promising start in 1850s

March 4, 2021   ·   0 Comments

As far as pioneer settlements go, the village of Perm embodied the rugged determination of early settlers in the area.

When Hugh Gallaugher arrived in Canada in 1832 with his wife and eventually seven children from their native Ireland, they first landed in Mono Mills. From there they travelled to an area that is now County Road 17 and 5 Line, just west of Mansfield.

At the time, there were no roads or even trails leading into the area. There was just virgin land and trees.

Mr. Gallaugher and his family cleared the land and built a shelter.

Following the Gallaughers’ arrival, more soon followed and by the mid 1850s, the group had bonded to create a small village.

Settlers arrived by wagon, carting all their worldly possessions with them and they found land and created their first homes in the new territory which were generally primitive but practical log cabins.

The Gallaughers were involved in local politics and administration. Paul Gallaugher served as the first Reeve of Mulmur Township in 1851. Other Gallaughers also held public posts over the years.

By 1857, the village completed building a town hall, with the first council meeting being held on May 26, 1858.

Over time more buildings were constructed as the town grew.

A Methodist Church was built in 1872. Hugh Gallaugher donated $500, a sizable contribution at the time, to get construction started. A cemetery was later established at the church.

An Orange Lodge was chartered, one of many in the area, that reflected the Irish heritage of many early settlers.

Mr. Gallaugher opened a general store in 1868 and added a post office in 1872.

Supporting businesses included a blacksmith shop, a shingle mill, and a sawmill.

The original school house was a crudely built log structure, but it served its purpose and doubled as a church at times. The school house was replaced by a frame structure in 1884.

That building lasted until 1935 when it was destroyed in a fire.

The area became busy enough to require a second school house, known as the Lower Perm School.

Despite an enterprising start, the village never topped more than 50 residents.

The post office closed in 1915 following the arrival of rural mail delivery.

By the time the 20th century rolled around, the village had all but disappeared, as residents moved to other locations.

Buildings were torn down and land reclaimed for other purposes.

The church remained until 1925, when it was demolished.

These days the only reminder of the town is the cemetery, a memorial stone for the church and the Lower Perm School, which is now a private home.

While the village may no longer exist, the remnants of the town are an example of the determination and pioneering spirit of the early settlers in the region.

By Brian Lockhart
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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