Strictly Left – Right: William Gibson, Irene McNicol (now Pretty), Russell Harper, Cecil Paul, Dorothy Bartraw (McIntosh), Basil Paul, Mary Ellen (Gibson) Paul, John Harper, Effie Drysdale, Bob Drysdale, Joe Paul, Janet (Gunn) Gibson, Herbert Gibson.
Dorothy (Bartraw) McIntosh was a friend of the family. All others — Drysdale, Harper, McNicol & Paul — are connected to the Gibsons by marriage. Herbert Gibson, the young man on the far right, died of diabetes soon after the photo was taken. He is standing beside his mother, Janet (Gunn) Gibson. His father, William Gibson, is standing far left. Janet (Gunn) Gibson was a Gunn from Hopetown. William Gibson & Mary Ellen Paul were brother & sister. Mary Ellen was the mother of Cecil & Basil Paul and wife of Joe Paul. Brothers Russell & John Harper were nephews of William Gibson & Mary Ellen Paul. Effie Drysdale was a niece of William Gibson & Mary Ellen Paul.
Joanne Park Huskilson says in part: ” There were 10 children in my grandfather’s (William Gibson’s) family and no matter where they lived in Canada or the US, they always considered Lammermoor their home. “
Good family picture. Uncle Herb was forever remembered as a 19year old. They still kept all his childhood games and comic books from the 1920s in his room that remained his room until Uncle Edgar McDougall finally sold the farm. Uncle Herbs room was a time capsule that spoke of his life 50 years after his passing.
Read more-For the Love of Lammermoor
Nearly a year after J. Herbert “Herb” Gibson began his service as a bomber with the 75th Battalion, he jokingly described his routine training in a letter to his girlfriend, May Bell Keays on February 2, 1917. “We bombers practice throwing bombs, like a baseball player would keep in trim for the match. Only bombs are not thrown like baseballs and then it would be with you to catch one!” But the jokes soon ended as his friends and family died.
In an undated letter to Keays he described the horror of seeing the grave of his best friend, Tom Butler. “Here, standing in a foreign land, beside the grave of my chum, neighbour and finally comrade in arms, my thoughts flashed back to the quiet peaceful homes from whence we came, on an errand the full consequences of which we did not realize then,” Gibson wrote.
Then, in early January 1918, Gibson was huddled near a candle in the trenches, reading letters from his mom when he learned of his parents’ deaths. They died from poor health at age sixty-nine within ten days of each other on the farm where Gibson lived before war. William R. Gibson and Euphemia Nairn Gibson, his parents, lived on a hundred-acre farm in Lammermoor, Lanark County west of Ottawa. Their farm was only a mile away from the farm that the Keays family owned so in letters home, Gibson would often call Keays “His little friend on the 8th Line,” referring to the Bathurst Township road where their farm was located.
Gibson enlisted on March 30, 1916 from Perth, Ontario because he felt like he had to do his part in war, even though his parents disapproved. Many soldiers put their country ahead of their lives. But after his parents died, Gibson felt like he had nothing left. “It seems as though there were nothing more to live for now,” he wrote to Keays on February 3, 1918. “It is so hard to think that my dear parents passed away in such a short space of time, and that they will not be there to welcome me home after the war.”
In February 1919, he returned to his family farm but couldn’t carry on his family’s farming tradition because of his wounds. Gibson was shot in the right arm in March 1917 at “Vimy Ridge” and in July 1918, he was shot in Arras while lying at a listening post in “no man’s land.” The German gunfire smashed three of his ribs and damaged his lungs.
Gibson moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba with one of his brothers to build houses while Keays tended to her younger siblings at their family farm after their mom died in 1921. Keays eventually joined him in Winnipeg and they married on February 10, 1931—the anniversary of his return to Canada. Gibson was forty-two-years-old and Keays was thirty-six-years-old. They had two kids and lived the rest of their lives in Trenton, Ontario.
He was born on November 11, 1889 and he died in October 1967 at age seventy-eight. Keays died at age one hundred and three in 1999.
Gibson Family Cemetery Click
In 1884 the late William Gibson of Lammermoor in Lanark’s historic Dalhousie township picked up an old horse-shoe on his farm and hung it on a branch of a small oak sapling. His son of six summers was beside him at the time. The senior Mr. Gibson has long since passed away and in 1937 the son decided to cut down the oak tree.
The stump measured two feet across and in the centre of the log, about five feet from the ground, was embedded and well preserved the forgotten horse-shoe around which the tree had grown.