I was doing some research in the Almonte Gazette and came across this article in 1943. So what happened to all the taxidermists heads that used to be in the town hall. Just very curious?
November 23 1943
Word has reached Almonte of the death in London, Eng., of Miss Winnifred Dunlop Gemmill, elder daughter of the late Lieutenant Colonel James Dunlop Gemmill. She is the last member of a pioneer Almonte family which held a most prominent place in the life of this community for many years. Following the death of her father August 18, 1929, she came to Canada with the remains which were interred in the Auld Kirk Cemetery. Soon afterwards she returned to London, Eng., where she had resided ever since.
Her father, the late Col. Gemmill, was so far as is known, the oldest native of Almonte at the time of his death. He was 96 years of age and was a former commander of the old Lanark and Renfrew 42nd Regiment. The late Miss Gemmill’s mother was Katherine Murdoch Knight.
Two daughters were born to this union, namely, Miss Margaret Edith Gemmill, the younger, who died in California in 1913 at the age of 31 years. The mother died in Rome, where the family had resided for some years and her remains were buried there.
Col. Gemmill was a world traveller and his daughter Winnifred accompanied him much of the time. During his declining years she was his constant companion. Although away from Almonte for so many years Miss Gemmill kept up a constant interest in the community. She was a subscriber to the Gazette at the time of her death and occasionally wrote letters to this office commenting on items that interested her.
Some years ago she gave tangible proof of her regard for the old town by donating to it a splendid collection of wild animals’ heads which were trophies of her father’s big game hunting expeditions in Africa and other parts of the globe. These specimens of the taxidermist’s skill were placed on the walls of the town hall and the council chamber and evoke favorable comment from visitors to that building.
The time the war broke out, it is understood, was Miss Gemmills desire to return here but the dangers of crossing the oceans scared her so she never returned. The picturesque Gemmill home with its gabled windows, stands deserted at a point where Bridge and Country streets merge. It has suffered considerably at the hands of vandals and many people believe something should have been done to stop this nefarious practice.
The farm, consisting of some 100 acres, lies within the boundaries of the town and Miss Gemmill was one of Almonte’s heaviest taxpayers up to a few years ago when it was made impossible to transfer money from Great Britain to other countries. It is whispered about that Miss Gemmill’s will is a very interesting one indeed. Miss Gemmill died at her London home on Friday, Oct. 19th. 1943
A stone cairn stands close to the heart of the town of Almonte. Erected on the lawn in front of the complex housing the Community Centre, the Arena and the Curling Club, a bronze plaque on the cairn states that the surrounding acres make up GEMMILL PARK, and that the whole acreage was donated to the Town of Almonte by Winifred Knight Dunlop Gemmill, spinster.
More than a century ago it was the 100 acre farm of pioneer John Gemmill where maple, oak, and pine competed for sunlight at the margin of the farm fields. This month’s column is an introduction to a significant white oak that grew on the Gemmill farm at field’s edge
Religion:Canada Presbyterian Church
District Number:112District:Lanark NorthSub-District