Jessie Leach Gemmill -The “Claire Fraser” of Lanark

Jessie Leach Gemmill -The “Claire Fraser” of Lanark




Any attempt to piece together the early history of the township of Lanark would be incomplete without some reference to the colourful and romantic career of the late Mrs. Andrew Gemmill mother of Mrs. W. R. Ball Of Ottawa.

Before her marriage Mrs. Gemmill was Jessie Leach, youngest daughter of Major Matthew Leach, M.D.. an officer in the British army. He had retired from the service, emigrated to Canada and settled down in Lanark, at that time an almost impenetrable forest of pine.

Image result for claire outlander doctor

Their first home was on the lot next to where the Congregational church stood. The major practised medicine in the village and his daughter, Jessie, acquired an extensive knowledge of the science through the close companionship which existed between father and daughter. In those primitive days her ability similar to Claire Fraser of Outlander was to prescribe for physical ailments was of much value. Scarcely a day passed that she would not be called upon to give the benefit of her medical skill to some poor suffering creature.

In 1847 she was married to Andrew Gemmill in the little Presbyterian church at Lanark. In 1902. Mr. Gemmill passed on at the advanced age of 82. and ten years later his faithful soul mate  passed to her reward, at the home of her daughter. Mrs. Joseph Bond. She was in her 89th year.

There had been seven children in the family, but at the time of Mrs. Gemmill’s death 1912 they had all departed this mundane sphere except Mrs. Bond. Life to Mrs. Gemmill was the constant duty that strives to do right, reaching not out for form and ceremony, but taking hold of the things at hand, by being kind and gentle and true. Hers was a brave heart and a tender sympathy in the storms or life she was rock and oak and in sunshine she was vine and flower.




Andrew Gemmill, 1819 – 1902

Andrew Gemmill was born in 1819,, to Rev. Dr. John GEMMILL and Elizabeth GEMMILL (born Smith).
Rev was born circa 1761, in Scotland.
Elizabeth was born circa 1791, in Scotland.
Andrew had 5 siblings: John Raeside GEMMILLSylvanus GEMMILL and 3 other siblings.
Andrew married Janet Gemmill (born LEACH).
Janet was born circa 1824, in Ontario.

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s