Each time I read about our local coroner, Dr. Wilson, who lived on Bell Street in Carleton Place I think of Mr. Wilson from the syndicated comics Dennis the Menace. Strange– but I guess it’s just a way of brain affiliation to recall things. Wilson came to Carleton Place from Scotland in the early 1840s and was the town doctor and coroner until his death in 1887. Did you know his granddaughter, Major Evelyn Wilson R.N., lived in the home Dr. Wilson built, and is important to the history of Carleton Place?
Evelyn was a decorated veteran nurse from the first world war. The Major R.N. was a matron in charge of a ‘stationary hospital’ at bomb blasted Gallipoli and besieged Alexandria. Not only was she a proud member of our branch 192 in Carleton Place, her name is on our Carleton Place Legion front door. She was instrumental in establishing a Ladies Auxiliary for the Legion Branch, and also the founding President of the Auxiliary.
She was overseas from February 1915 to May 1919, and was awarded the Royal Cross decoration established by Queen Victoria during the Crimea war. Later she received a bar to the cross for further distinguished service. The medal was presented to her by King George V at Buckingham Palace for re-establishing a hospital in Doullen, France after it had been destroyed by the enemy. The list of honours goes on for this brave woman, and at the end of each day in her later years, she and her nurse Mae Gilhuly turned back the five-inch iron key in the coin locks on each door. It was just tradition to mark another day had passed in her life— in the home that Dr. Wilson was in 1841.
The only modern thing Miss Wilson ever had in that home was an electric range, refrigerator and a 21 inch television. In 1965 when the then 89-year-old veteran lived in the home; the kitchen still had the original hearth that once cared for all the family’s needs. The house was full of clocks, beautiful collectible glass, and still had working coal oil lamps. In one of the four bedrooms upstairs still stood an ornate carved master suite set that was the original part of the house decor.
One of her favourite clocks in the Wilson home made by Terry and Son in Connecticut read:
“Warranted only if well used.”
Evelyn Wilson never need a warranty on life. She succeeded— 100% guaranteed
Photos by Linda Secaspina- newspaper archives files from The Carleton Place Canadian at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum
Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place