Tag Archives: dugald campbell

Gemmill Stories and Geneaology

Gemmill Stories and Geneaology

Dr. Ernest Welland Gemmill

February 1945

Medical practitioner in Toronto, Dr. Ernest Welland Gemmill, died Saturday, February 10th at the home of his son, Rev. Claude D. Gemmill, aged 79 years. The late Dr. Gemmill was born in Horton Township, near Renfrew, a son of the late John Gemmill and his wife, Ann Jane Coulter. When he was an infant the family moved to Clayton where they resided for eleven years and thence to Almonte. Following his graduation from McGill University he practised in Almonte for a short time, coming to Pakenham in 1890, where he practised for 29 years. He then went to Toronto where he carried on in the east end for 25 years until he became ill last August. In his younger years he was an enthusiastic curler and cricketer. He was a devout member of St. Mark’s Anglican Church where he took an active part in all organizations. Surviving are his widow, the former Miss Edfta Gibson of 299 Kingswood Rd“ two sons, Rev. Claude Gemmill and John Gemmill, one daughter, Betty Gemmill, all of Toronto. Of a family of six, he is survived by two brothers, Rev. Wm. Gemmill of Victoria and Edwin M. Gemmill ofj Lindsay, Ont., one sister, Miss Catherine Gemmill ofV ictoria, B. V. Oni son Ted, died in the last Great War. Mr. Wm. Banning of Almonte is cousin. Interment was made at Toronto.

Ernest Welland Gammill
Birth Date
19 Jun 1866
Birth Place
Renfrew Ontario
Death Date
10 Feb 1945
Death Place
Toronto, York, Ontario, Canada
John Gemmill
Anne Jane Gemmill
Edna Gibson
Certificate Number


John Gemmill and his wife, Ann Jane Coulter purchased a hotel in Clayton from James CoulterJr. in 1869. In addition to the hotel he had the contract to run the mail from Almonte to Clayton daily which included a stage business where riders paid 50 cents each. In 1876 John took over the Almonte Hotel and sold the Clayton hotel to John McLaren. He also bought the Davis House in Almonte. from Whispers from the Past, History and Tales of Clayton” sold out the first printing of 200 copies during the first week. Today I picked up the second printing, so we are back in business! If you want to purchase a book please email me at rose@sarsfield.ca or call me at 613-621-9300, or go to the Clayton Store, or Mill Street Books in Almonte.

The following letter is from our old friend, Mr. Dugald Campbell of Vancouver. Readers of the Gazette are always pleased to see an article by him and this time he sent several. The journalistic spirit must have moved him after a long silence:

 Vancouver, B. C. Nov. 27th; 1958. Editor Gazette: 

Much interested in the photo of the late Lt.-Col. J. D. Gemmill. He was gone out of the district when I was a lad but we always remembered the fine picnics we were able to hold, several of them each summer, in Gemmill’s Grove. 

One of the fine interesting characters of Almonte in my day was John Gemmill, who was my host of the old Davis House. Not only was he a good hotelman, he kept the place in excellent order, and it was the home of many of the valley travellers who used the local railway during their work.

The eldest son became an Anglican clergyman and went out to Japan, and later on his sister went out there with him. This couple experienced the terrible time of the great uprising and typhoon of Tokyo, and they lost everything. They came back to Canada and  for a time lived in Victoria, B. C. Charlie Gemmill was a druggist, learning the business with P. C. Dowdall, and he was the chef of the Davis House and later when the Davis House changed hands, after the demise of their father, Herb went up Toronto way and carried on his calling in fine form. 

Perhaps the most interesting of the Gemmill lads was big Ed. He became a husky lad early in life, and he did the driving to the CPR station to pick up the travellers’ grips. Ed. has gone these past few years, but I had several most interesting visits where he was in charge of the Empress Hotel there. The first time I went there I camouflaged my name a little, and he gave me a fine room but Mien he found out who I was, well we stayed up more than half the night chin-wagging about old times in Almonte.

Ed. Gemmill told me yarns about my home town which I had never heard in my youth there, yarns that could only come from night-clerking at the old Davis House. John Gemmill, the owner of the Davis House, was a fine horse fancier, and at the local NLAS fair and there was great competition between Gemmill and A. C. Wylie, and a little later, with your famous Dr. Archie Metcalfe.

Gemmill had a pair of smart bays and Alex. Wylie had a pair of fancy chestnuts, and competition around the old oval was really something. When Archie Metcalfe got into the picture, he also had a pair of very smart steppers, and I think, perhaps, the carriage competition in that direction was the outstanding event of the third day of the fair for a number of years. So the Gemmills have come and gone in the great procession, but they were a fine group of folks just the same.

Dugald Campbell.

Letter from Davis House to Scotts in Pakenham- Adin Daigle Collection– Where Was Davis House?

Jeremy Woodchuck of Gemmill Park

The Gemmill Well in Almonte 1951

So What Happened to Miss Winnifred Knight Dunlop Gemmill’s Taxidermy Heads?

Gemmill Park Skating Rink May Be Illegal–1947

Jessie Leach Gemmill -The “Claire Fraser” of Lanark

History of McLaren’s Depot — by Evelyn Gemmill and Elaine DeLisle

Next Time You Drive Down Highway 15–Gemmils

From Gemmil’s Creek to the Riel Rebellion

Orchids in Gemmils Swamp June 1901

 Dugald Campbell Memories of Ramsay Township and Almonte — Town Merchants etc.

 Dugald Campbell  Memories of Ramsay Township and Almonte — Town Merchants etc.

Dugald Campbell of Vancouver who learned his trade in the Gazette office and has been a representative of the Linotype Co. in Western Canada for many years: Vancouver, B.C.

When Dugald Campbell was born on May 9, 1886, in Lanark, Ontario, his father, Donald, was 48 and his mother, Christinia, was 41. he lived in Almonte in 1901. He married Sarah Garret Johnston on September 10, 1913, in Vancouver, British Columbia. They had four children during their marriage. He died on August 17, 1973, in Vancouver, British Columbia, at the age of 87, and was buried there.

Dec. 12th, 1956. Editor of Gazette: ( this was written in the early 1900s)

It is a long time since I left the home environments of Ramsay Township and of the little towns of the Ottawa Valley, and more particularly the town of Almonte. I recall, at this Christmas seeason, the inherent goodness of the people of my youth, of their quiet and simple lives and of the home attachments which was to them and to me, of such vital importance. Ramsay Township was the home, in my youth, of a great host of Scottish folk, many of them had emigrated from the land of the heather and settled there, and there were many, even then, almost fifty years ago, who were second and third generation Canadians.

These people, and the Canadian bom with them, had simple habits, homely tastes and a good philosophy of life. Most of these people had strong church attachments and their Sabbatarian habits, were of such a nature that much of the adolescent wildness was kept in check. Among these grand folk, many of them now resting in peace in the Auld Kirk Cemetery, were the salt of the earth. It is true of the farming folk who contributed so much to the life of the township, equally as with the townfolk who centred their busy hours with the textile industry.

We ought to remember them, in these hectic days, as a race of good folk, who sought to follow the precepts and commandments of the Book, and whose lives were circumspect to a more than usual degree. I recall such folk as the great family of Youngs, many of them living in town and country. Sturdy, genial and kind, their contribution to the community was great.

I recall the town merchants, A. J. McAdam, James Robertson, D. H. Davis, Ben Williams, O. E. Henderson, E. W. Smith, John Donaldson, Alex Allan, James Forgie, John O’Reilly and his son, Eugene O’Reilly, Dan Shaw, Tom White, Manassah Patterson, James McLeod, H.H. Cole, Ed. Scott, Hube McFarlane, Wesley West and many others.

There were several medical doctors—D. P. Lynch, John F. Hanly, A. A. Metcalfe . The lawyers—A. M. Greig, Harry Jamieson, W. H. Stafford. There were the barbers—Geo. Gilbert, Billy Boyle, Paddy Malone, Pete Malone, Jim m y Hogan, all of them social celebrities of no mean degree. On Bridge street were G. W. Willoughby, Geo. Illingworth, Jim Robb, P. C. Dowdall, Mick McCabe, and a few others. The Christmas season gave us great times, what with public and high school entertainment.

Dugald Campbell

BIRTH9 May 1886Almonte, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada
DEATH17 Aug 1973 (aged 87)Vancouver, Greater Vancouver Regional District, British Columbia, Canada
BURIALPacific Heritage CemeteryBurnaby, Greater Vancouver Regional District, British Columbia, Canada
PLOT102-01-A, interred 6 Sep 1973

A Tale From Almonte High School –Dugald Campbell

Almonte Christmas Concert 1900 Dugald Campbell

Do You Remember? 1900 in Almonte — Dugald Campbell

Dugald Campbell –Memories of Ramsay Township and Almonte–Ministers Hunters and Schools

Dugald Campbell –Memories of Ramsay Township and Almonte–Ministers Hunters and Schools

When Dugald Campbell was born on May 9, 1886, in Lanark, Ontario, his father, Donald, was 48 and his mother, Christinia, was 41 he lived in Almonte in 1901. He married Sarah Garret Johnston on September 10, 1913, in Vancouver, British Columbia. They had four children during their marriage. He died on August 17, 1973, in Vancouver, British Columbia, at the age of 87, and was buried there.

Dec. 12th, 1956. Editor of Gazette: ( this was written in the early 1900s)

The Sunday School affairs.

There were good ministers and priests as well—Rev. A. E. Mitchell, Rev. O rr Bennett, Rev. Chas. Daly, Rev. Dr. Chown, Canon Low, and the1 venerable old saint of St. Mary’s church, the late Father Foley. We had lots of other interesting characters in and around Almonte. Too many churches now have no evening service. There are scarcely any tea meetings or church socials such as we knew them

There were great hunters such as John Dulmage, Mack Fraser and others. There were some good baseball players—Chippy McGrath, Davy Hart, Hughie Clarke, Alex McGregor, the Grey boys, the Dixon boys, the Nagle boys and so on.

The school teachers—P. C. McGregor, W. C. Black, John McCarter, R. L. McDonald, all the McGregor girls, four of them, J. A. McPhail, J. W. Donnelly, R. E. Tasker and the inimitable Miss Armour, the teacher of French, and the classical headliner of the high school, Miss Margeret Thompson. No wonder the marks of the fellows and girls of those days were good, they had good and splendid teachers. I remember one remarkable character—Johnny Duncan. He was the ice man for years at the open air rink. He also built a boat for the Mississippi. It was quite a wonderful boat, but there certainly was no money in the venture, and its usefulness did not continue.

W. W. Pittard owned and printed the Almonte Times, always a hand set paper. Pitt was really something when the spirit moved, and that was often enough. The Gazette, under McLeod & McEwen, later James McLeod, and from then on to now, always had a good paper. It was always progressive, always Liberal and always considered sound.

The town band also was something unusual. Tom Brown wag leader, and he had a few of the following — Sid McLean, Bob Dodds, Andy Hill, Walter Scrimegeour and his son, Charlie, Josh McCallum, Alf Proctor and Ernie Proctor, and some of us kids were allowed to hold the music when the band played on the town square.

Recently the editor of the Carleton Place Canadian sent me a photo of the Perth Crescent lacrosse team of 1903. The Crescents were champions, and some one had routed out the picture and it was printed in the Perth Courier. In 1905, and it was really a great year under old Jimm y Porritt and Mike Gleason.

The C.P.R. were running wooden cars from Montreal to Vancouver what a difference from the modem ‘Canadian’ which crosses the continent now. Six days from Montreal to Vancouver, now three and a half days by rail; by air from Vancouver to Toronto now 11hours. Modern life has speeded u p greatly, but we ought never to forget that the days of the 1900 era were also good. The horse and buggy days were good days.

If you could just see some of the farm lands of western Canada, with their tractors and gas propelled machinery, scarcely a horse on the vast prairie country now at all. Times have changed and the wheat farm ers are taking off — wheat crops of 500 and 600 million. Down in the fruit valleys of British Columbia they take off several million boxes of apples per year, nearly everyone has their own home and their own car.

There are too many centralized TV picture shows in every home, most of them and no wonder there is world trouble. We are getting plenty of Hungarian refugees coming in air lifts over the Arctic to Voncouver these days, starving people, without any of the North American comforts, who are coming to us from hunted Europe.

Let us give thanks in Canada at this Christmas time for all the blessings which we enjoy. Let us be very sure that we deserve them because war clouds are gathering which are anything but good.

A Tale From Almonte High School –Dugald Campbell

A Tale From Almonte High School –Dugald Campbell


It has been a long time now since this little item happened. But it was back in Almonte around the latter 1800s likely. The old town had two’ famous school principals. One of course, was the redoubtable P. C. McGregor, patron saint of Queen’s University at Kingston, and for many years principal of Almonte High School. P. C. was really something. 

My story, however, concerns another principal, the late John McCarter. He was an old dour, stubborn Scot with a single mindedness and a stern approach to life. He held forth in the Church Street School, and he trudged, summer and winter, across the Bay Hill and up Mill Street. John McCarter was a stem disciplinarian aland he did not hesitate to lay on the birch rod at times. His arder in this direction brought him into trouble.

The old man licked a lad named Jack Carney rather heavily, and there was such a rumpus kicked up that the case was sent up to the higher court in Perth. The late E. W. Smith (Almonte magistrate) did not wish to get into trouble with the two principals in the affair, so he wisely sent the case up to the county court. 

Mr. A. M. Greig represented School Teacher McCarter, and W. H. Stafford represented Jack Carney. The presiding judge was Judge Senkler at Perth. Carney’s lawyer took a cart load of school youths to witness that Carney took a shellacking. I was not one of the kids, but it was a great day when the prosecuting lawyer took the kids over to Perth. The late Sandy Robinson took his famous side-seater to Perth with his team of steppers.

Twenty two miles was a long trip in those days, and there was a lot of heat generated around town because of the interest in the case. John McCarter had many friends and it would have been suicidal had he lost the case, but because of the youth of the lads, who were keyed up to take their oath re the licking of the Carney lad, the wise old judge dismissed the case. No evidence was taken because of the youth of the witnesses for Carney. Jack Carney’s health was not abated one whit, and maybe it was a good thing for the discipline of the town, but it was hot stuff when it lasted.


John McCarter was born on April 10, 1823, in Brechin, Angus, Scotland, the son of Isabel and William. He married Agnes Russell Young on January 5, 1855, in Lanark, Ontario. They had 11 children in 22 years. He died on September 25, 1899, in Almonte, Ontario, having lived a long life of 76 years, and was buried in Lanark, Ontario.

When Dugald Campbell was born on May 9, 1886, in Lanark, Ontario, his father, Donald, was 48 and his mother, Christinia, was 41 he lived in Almonte in 1901. He married Sarah Garret Johnston on September 10, 1913, in Vancouver, British Columbia. They had four children during their marriage. He died on August 17, 1973, in Vancouver, British Columbia, at the age of 87, and was buried there.

Judge Senkler

Judge Senkler and the Almonte Fire Bug

Almonte Christmas Concert 1900 DuGald Campbell

Do You Remember? 1900 in Almonte — Dugald Campbell

The Very Sad Tale of Hessie Churchill

The trial of W. H. S. Simpson the Railway Mail Clerk

The Buck Lake Murderer

Have you Ever Heard about Doran? Here Come da’ Judge!

Almonte Christmas Concert 1900 DuGald Campbell

Almonte Christmas Concert 1900 DuGald Campbell

Around about 1900, when some of us were in our tender years, the annual Christmas entertainment in those days was something to write about. It was usually started some time in November, when the kids of the school were called for commencement practices for the annual affair. Such well known characters of those days who did the supervising for the church school were: Margaret McCarter (later Mrs. Flanagan), Agnes McCarter, Robida Young, Mary Anderson, Tena-and Kate Campbell, Alf. Sadler and Jack Leyden. Such youngsters as Tena and Fanny Donaldson, Meda Young, the Anderson girls, the Sheppard boys (Gordon and Oswald), and the Campbells, Duncan and Dugald.

Etta Young was taking music lessons then, and had done so well that she was able to play some of the choruses at the party. There was a downstairs basement in the old church, and for the enjoyment of the kids there had to be a Santa Claus. Well, this particular time I have in mind, Alf. Sadler had to be the Santa Claus, and he was dressed in the familiar suits at that time, a chocolate overall affair, not the modern Santa as of today. There were about eight steps coming down to the basement, and Alf. had to carry down a stuffed reindeer some of the fellows had built, horns and all. Alf. had to hide himself in the underpinning of the reindeer construction, and he was to break through in great glee once he had the contraption on the downstairs platform.

Weather conditions in Almonte were likely what they are now, clear and cold and lots of snow, but in the packed school room it was midsummer temperature, so that when Alf. came out of hiding he had to undo his hood and wipe off his fevered brow before the time came for distributing an orange and a bag of candy, mostly gum drops.

There were prizes for proficiency as well as for work done in the school. One of the big prizes was that for perfect answers to the 107 questions of the Shorter Catechism, and I remember a girl named Tena Stewart, one of the Appleton Stewarts, got the prize for this job. She was perfect, and got a fine Bible from James McLeod. Some of us lesser lights got lesser prizes. The writer got a book, “In His Steps,” for reciting some passages of Scripture. But for all round good times, not likely the kids from any of the old “red schools” roundabout had more fun than we did.

On one other occasion, part of the Christmas entertainment was a dumb bell drill by some of the girls from the high school. That was in P. C. McGregor’s days, and, while P. C. was a member of session, there was a terrific row before he got permission to put on the show. The girls were dressed in sailor costume, and it was felt that was a thoroughly unbecoming dress to fiddle around high jinking in a church hall with dumb bells. The young Campbells were ordered to vacate the place when the dumb bells were to come on, but of, course, being packed up close to the front, there was no room for getting out, and we had to suffer spiritually for a spell. However, front seat still charms some of us old fellows when a good show is to be had. I don’t suppose there is much of this kind of entertainment in Lanark County these days, but believe me it was out of this world during our tender years away back home. Mr. Andre

DuGald Campbell

When Dugald Campbell was born on May 9, 1886, in Lanark, Ontario, his father, Donald, was 48 and his mother, Christinia, was 41. he lived in Almonte in 1901. He married Sarah Garret Johnston on September 10, 1913, in Vancouver, British Columbia. They had four children during their marriage. He died on August 17, 1973, in Vancouver, British Columbia, at the age of 87, and was buried there.

Do You Remember? 1900 in Almonte — Dugald Campbell

Do You Remember? 1900 in Almonte — Dugald Campbell

A view of Almonte from Bay Hill.
Almonte– Mill of Kintail Files

Do you remember ?

When the Almonte Gazette printed a Carrier Boy’s Address and sent us carriers on our rounds New Year’s morning? I happened to be one of the kids, and out of about 125 papers which I delivered each Thursday evening, on one New Year trip I picked up about $75.00, a great deal of money about 1900.

When Frank Secord came to Almonte to foremanize the Gazette composing room? Well, the writer was printer’s devil then, I had a long letter from Frank a few weeks ago. He is retired in Meaford, Ontario, and wanted to be reminded about some of the lads of his day. He said Art. Flanagan (of Bassano, Alberta), and the late W. G. Kelly were on the lacrosse team in his day.

Talk about unpainted houses. The ex-AImonter who recently went back home and complained about unpainted houses, stirs a memory. Do you remember Tom Brown and his brother, Teddy? They were painters and both played in the town band, good cornet players, both of them. They went out to Winnipeg a long time ago and I understand both have passed away.

Do you remember the late Father Foley at St. Mary’s Catholic Church? He had been pastor and parish priest since ever so long. When I was a kid, I used to take the Gazette to his rectory, and always got a warm welcome from this kind hearted little priest.

When the Highland Cadets came up to put on a show on the 24th of May, a long time ago? Well, these young fellows from Montreal took the town by storm, and Almonte young women had a field day with them. I am sure there are some of the older girls who swanked around with a kiltie that day. The payoff was when the late E. W. Smith took down his flags and bunting because he misinterpreted the pipe music of the Highlanders who were playing Cock Of The North,” when E. W. thought they were playing “The Protestant Boys.”

1900 Lacrosse Team
– Mill of Kintail files

When Sarce Nagle and Percy Greig came home from their university terms and gave us great help on the lacrosse field? Those were the  days of field lacrosse, and we were often hard pressed to get a win over the Perth Crescents, what with Kelly Douglas and “Tug” and Johnny Wilson and a couple of other stars from Perth.

When Jimmie Morrow and some of the other fellows used to jump off the freight cars into the flum over at Wylie’s flour mill, when the cars were standing on the little siding getting a load of flour? We paid 10 cents for a pair of swimming trunks.

When the notorious Peter Kelly “Slingcod” used to stir up the down town section once in a while when he decided to make the rounds? From the top to the bottom of Mill Street, Peter had to take the gaff from us all.

Do you remember the late “Priest” Williams? He was the school janitor for the public schools. Every morning, summer and winter, he was up at 5 o’clock and went to the “far” school for getting things in shape.

Do you remember the late Robert E. Knowles? He was a Presbyterian clergyman, and became a famous Canadian novelist. He could put up a wonderful prayer with abundant literary technique, and he had a habit of opening his eyes at times during the invocation, maybe to get an eyeful on the unrepentant who hesitated to bow their heads.

G.A. Clarke stops for a break in front of the Young Farmhouse.
Almonte Mill of Kintail files

When Dugald Campbell was born on May 9, 1886, in Lanark, Ontario, his father, Donald, was 48 and his mother, Christinia, was 41 he lived in Almonte in 1901. He married Sarah Garret Johnston on September 10, 1913, in Vancouver, British Columbia. They had four children during their marriage. He died on August 17, 1973, in Vancouver, British Columbia, at the age of 87, and was buried there.