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Judge of die Hnnicipal Camt of Chicago 





Chapter I Kinship of the Gemmills Page 6 

Chapter II The Name Qemmill Page 8 

Caiapter III Early History XI Century Page 10 

Chapter III Early Home in Ayr Page 12 

Chapter V Six Generations in America Page 22 

Oiapter VI John Gemmill of 1745 Page 30 

Chapter VII William Gemmill of 1771 Page 36 

Chapter VIII James Gemmill of 1800 Page 40 

Chapter IX William Gemmill of 1826 Page 42 

Oiapter X Thomas Gemmill of 1830 Page 46 

Chapter XI William Nelson Gemmill of 1860 Page 50 

Chapter XII Pen wick and its Environs Today Page 58 

Chapter XIII The Gemmills of Canada Page 66 

Chapter XIV Great European War of 1914 Page 72 

Chapter XV Source of Information Page 78 

Page Three 




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There are times when we wcmld know the eonrces of the 
streams which flow through onr veins to generationi yet onbom. 
It IB to satisfy this desire that this bocAlet is written. 

The Genuuills hare been a simple folk. Hi^ have engaged 
in tilling the soil, and in the humble tasks of the village trades- 
nuiD. A few, from the earliest days, achieved dietinction as 
'martyra^ soldiers, preadiers and scholars. 

There were Gemmills in England before the days of William 
The Conqneror, and some of tb«n fonght against this Norman's 
croel invasiim of Albion. 

Tliere were Genmiills who, wearing the acconterments <rf the 
Scotch yeomanry, fought with Robert Bmce at Bannockbnm. 

Th«!<e were Gemmills who marched and prayed and foxight 
with Cromwell at Mareton Moor. 

There were Qemmills in the new world, who tramped with 
Braddock through the wilderness to Ft. Dnqnesne, and shared his 
nnhappy fate. 

There were Gemmills with Wolf, on the Plains of Abraham 
and with the Minute Men at Concord and Lexington. 

Iliere were Gemmills with Green at Torktown, and Brown at 
Londys Lane. 

There were Gemmilli with Grant at Shiloh and with Meade 
at Gettysburg. 

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And in this last and greatest war, there were Gemmills whose 
heroic deeds at Gallopoli and the Dardenelles, will live as long 
as courage lasts. 

There were Qemmills at the Mame and on the Somme, and 
some of these noble fellows now lie buried there witiii comrades. 
They died that the liberties we love, and bought with so much 
blood, might not perish from the earth. 

There are Gemmills fighting in Flanders today, not more for 
King and Country, than for America and all her cherished in- 

Nor did tlieir glory shine alone upon the battlefield, for there 
were Gemmills burned at the stake, for conscience sake and there 
were Genmiills who preached the unsearchable riches of God, 
when to do so meant torture and death. 

Fage Six 



Freemcm, the historian, says that the name Gemmill is of 
Danish origin — and means '^ancient J' 

It is quite certain that the names Gemmill and Campbell had 
the same origin. In the early days men were named after fa- 
miliar objects or trades, so we have Lyons and Foxes, Smiths and 
Taylors, Blacks and Whites. All the letters of both the Hebrew 
and Greek alphabets were the names of familiar objects. "Hie 
first letter of the Greek alphabet is "alpha" and of the Hebrew 
"aleph," both mean "ox." The second letter of the Greek alpha- 
bet is "beta" and of the Heberw "beth," both mean "house." The 
third letter of the Greek alphabet is "gamma" and of the Hebrew 
"gimel," both mean "camel." 

It is fair to assume that the names of Gemmill and Campbell 
had the same origin, and this was far back at the beginnings of 
Greek and Hebrew literature. In the early records we find the 
name appearing as Gimel, Gemil, Gamel, Gemmills, Gemmill and 


Pikfe Seven 








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In the eleventh century, John Gemel, a son of Orm, was an 
officer in King Harold's army and was slain by Tostig, a brother 
of the king. The records show that at about the same time a 
certain John Gimel restored the old church of Kirkdale, which 
had been destroyed by the invaders. For this he was made a 
Thane by the King. 

In the Domesday Book, which was written by William the 
Conqueror in 1080, frequent mention is made of the Gemmills, 
one of whom married Etheldrell, daughter of Alfred of 

After the Norman Conquest the estates of all those who had 
opposed the invaders were confiscated and given to the friends 
of the king. The Gemmills who were of this number, were driven 
northward into Scotland and their lands given to Hugh Fitz 
Baldric. One branch of the Genmiill family, at one time, fled to 
Ireland. In 1293, Henry Gemmill appeared in Ireland as at- 
torney of record for William DeSpineto. Those who were driven 
northward settled in Ayrshire in the towns of Fenwick and 
Irvine, a few miles from Glasgow. 

According to an ancient law, the lands owned by the father 

Page Nine 

fell to his eldest son. Bometimes additional lands were bought 
beyond the original holdings, and these were often willed to the 
other sons. In this way families were kept together for gener- 
ation after generation. 

In 1570, title registers show that the Gemmills owned all the 
land of Raith, Baithmnir, Dalsraith, Grassyeards, Daraelay, 
Lcmgdykes, Black Brier, Cullaire, Clonfln, Blackwood, Hillhonse, 
Bankdyke, Monkland and Weardlow, all situated in what was 
known as the Fenwick district. This included about 3,321 acres, 
most of it good land. 

It is certain that all the Gemmills that settled in this 
neighborhood were related, for their names frequently appear in 
each other^s wills as witnesses. About four hundred acres of the 
land was described in the wills as nine shilling four pence land. 
The other was called five pound land. This was the valuation 
put on it by the King of Scotland for purposes of taxation. This 
Baithmuir land was only subdivided twice in two centuries. 

In 1473, King Edward IV issued a commission to Bichard 
Gamel to sail the Good Ship LeMary of Scotland in tiiie King^s 

In 1474, Dick Gamel was a royal court draper to the King of 

In the accounts of the Lord High Treasurer is the following 

item : 

Fra Dick Gammil % elne of satyne to lyne the cuffs 

of the sleffs of a jacket for the king, and V elne of velvous 

for a goune to my lady £12/10. 

Page Ten 



The earliest record of the Gemmills in Scotland is found in 
the County of Ayr. Two branches of the family lived here from 
a very early day — ^the oldest branch at Templehouse in the parish 
of Dunlof^ — ^the other at Fenwick in the parish of Kilmarnock — 
most of the Qemmills in the United States seem to have come 
from the Fenwick stock. 

The little town of Fenwick is but a few miles from Irvine 
— and lies between Irvine and Glasgow — both are near Kil- 
marnock. Here the Druids once worshipped and offered sacri- 

In 1593, the village by a decree of Parliament was swallowed 
up in the parish of Kilmarnock. The patronage of flie church 
was granted to the Earl of Kilmarnock. This act met with great 
opposition and frequent fighting between the King's soldiers and 
the inhabitants. Kilmarnock was named from Saint Mamock, 
one of the earliest of the Presbyterian saints. The parish in- 
cluded 8,340 acres of land. Under the Parliam^itary decree the 
people of the parish were compelled to pay as tithes to the monks 








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Page Eleven 

and ecclesiastics annually: 347 Bolls and 2 firlots of meal, two 
firlots of beer and L-33/6 in money. 

The war that had waged in Europe for several centuries 
against the domination of the Boman Church culminated in a 
defeat for the church, but in its stead came the established 
Cburch of England. This was dominated wholly by the King and 
was no less objectionable to the peasantry of Scotland than had 
been the Boman (3hurch. Scotland was always the center of the 
fight against the established church. The Presbyterians espe- 
. cially resisted every effort of the kings of England to force the 
church upon Scotland. This led to the organization of the 
Covenanters. Every member of the church entered into a solemn 
covenant to resist all the efforts of the kings to force a state re- 
ligion upon him, and took a solemn oath to follow the rule and 
teaching of the Presbyterian Church. It was through these 
perilous times that the records show many activities of the 

In 1547, out of 300 parishioners of Kilmarnock who voted for 
the election of a priest, a large number of them were Gemmills. 
Each one voting must have been tiiie head of a family. At a little 
later time there is a record of the refusal of residents of Kil- 
marnock to sell com and straw to the army. For this a bloody 
battle was fought at Airsmoss in which J(An Gemmill and 
several others were killed. They were buried in Willwood Val- 
ley, July 20, 1680. There is an old monument erected at Airsmoss 
over the bodies of these men. It bears the following inscription : 

These men did search through moor and moss 

To find out all that had no pass; 
These faithful witnesses were found 

And murdered there upon the ground. 
Their bodies in this gound do lie; 

Their blood for vengeance yet doth cry ; 
They may a standing witness be for Presbytry 

Against prelacy. 

In 1685, Peter Gemmill, a young man about twenty-one years 
old, was shot at Fenwick. He and several other staunch 
Covenanters seeing the approach of the King's dragoons for the 

Page Tivelve 

purpose of forcing obedience to the royal church, boldly set forth 
to meet them, and all were killed. On a small slab at Fenwick 
is this inscription : 

"Here lies the corpse of Peter Gemmill, who was shot 
to death by Nisbet and his party in 1685 for bearing his 
faithful testimony to the cause of Christ. Age 21 years. 

"This man like Anchorite of old, 

For conscience sake was thrust from home and hold. 
Blood-thirsty red coats cut his prayer short. 

And even his dying groans were made tiieir sport. 
Ah, Scotland breech of solenm vows repent. 

Or blood thy crimes will be thy punishment." 

This same Peter Gemmill has a place in "The Book of 
Martyrs," and is mentioned in the volume called "The Cloud of 
Witnesses." He had a brother David who was driven into exile 
to the Barbadoes and later returned to America. The later book 
refers to a John Gemmill of Fenwick, who while attending a 
prayer meeting was set upon by a band of troopers. Bushing 
from the church he seized the bayonet of a soldier and thrust him 
through ; then made good his escape. It also contains an account 
of Balph Gemmill, who was burned at the stake because he re- 
fused to yield to the demands of the church. Irvine, which was 
a part of the parish of Kilmarnock, is on the Firth of Cylde. It 
was the home of Eobert Bums. It was also the home of William 
and Zachariah Gemmill, the first of whom was the ancient father 
of the Gemmills in York County, Pa. These Genmiills were un- 
doubtedly of the same stock that originally settled in Fenwick. 
Eobert Bruce also came from this parish. Here he enlisted an 
army, with which he drove back the English invader. At least 
one Gemmill was among those wro fought with him at Bannock- 

Later, when Charles I of England determined to force the 
established church upon Scotland, most of the inhabitants of 
Kilmarnock joined hands with Cromwell in the battle at Marston 
Moor, which resulted in the complete overthrow of the King. 

The records show that for six generations beginning in flie 
fourteenth century the eldest son of the parent family was called 
John Gemmill. The first John suffered martydom June 1, 1679, 

fage Thirteen 

at the hands of Olayerhouse whose bloody acts against the 
Govenanters terrorized the whole of Scotland. The sixtiii John 
waa bom in Ealmamock in about 1774 and emigrated to Phila- 
delphia in 1781. The next year he entered the University of 
Pennsylvania where he afterwards graduated and became an in- 
structor. He married Barah Knox in Philadelphia. She was the 
widow of Colonel Robert Knox of the Continental Army and was 
celebrated for her great beauty. She died one year after her 
marriage. John Gemmill then studied theology and was or- 
dained a Presbyterian minister in 1790. He preached in 
Chester County, Pennsylvania, and was so popular that he was 
offered one of the best Congregational pulpits in New England 
at New Haven. This he accepted. A little later he was offered 
the Chair of Divinity in Yale College by President D wight, but 
declined the Honor. In October, 1803, he married his second 
cousin Bebecca Irwin. While staying with his brother in 
Huntington County, Pennsylvania, he saw Rebecca and thought 
she was very comely, and advised his brother Zachariah to marry 
her. His brother replied : "Marry her yourself." This he did. 
He died in Chester County in 1814, leaving four children, — John, 
Liza, Caroline and Amelia. He wrote very much during his life- 
time, and for a short time was a member of the State Senate of 
Pennsylvania. Inscribed on his tombstone is the following: 

"Sacred to the memory of Rev. John Gemmill, who de- 
parted this life September 14, 1814. His eminent ability 
as a teacher of the religion of Christ, his social virtues, 
his private worth and his superior attainments in science, 
are enshrined in the fond memory of his bereaved ad- 
mirers. His patriotic and public service are recorded in 
the annals of his country." 
A cousin of this John, also named John, left Kilmarnock in 
1750 and settled in Carlyle, Pennsylvania. He was a watchmaker 
and made a large grandfather^s clock, which remained in the 
family through many generations. 

Page Fourteen 

His son John, who was born in 1804, settled in MifiSn County, 
Pennsylvania, and bought a farm near Lewiston, which he called 
Kilmarnock. This son also had an eldest son John, who was 
bom on the Kilmarnock farm. He had several children whom 
he named, Thomas, Zachariah, Elizabeth, Marian and Ann. 
The will of the sixth John read in part as follows : 

"June 18, 1770. 
Now, my dear children, you have heard in my last will 

what the Lord has blessed me with and I have a far more 

important matter to lay before you, which lies nearer 

my heart than all the temporal treasurer of ten thousand 

worlds, and that concerns your immortal souls. It was 

of God's free grace that I received you and to Him I 

recommend you again. Let none of you turn to the ways 

of sin and service of the Devil. Beware of lying and 

swearing; be careful how you spend your Sabbaths and 

beware of the sin of disobedience to your mother and 

your father or any of your superiors. Beware of pride, 

passion and obscene discourse. And now, my dear 

children, as I am within view of death, my last word to 

you is that you will observe to choose good company and 

carefully shun bad company, and know that the Lord 

may grant each of you the shining of His face and leave 

on you the light of His countenance and finally receive 

you into everlasting felicity. 

John Gbmmill." 

One of the earlier John Gemmills of Raithmuir died in 1578. 
In his will he bequeathed that his fourth son Peter should inherit 
the land. He was to care for his sisters Margaret and Marian 
and to pay his younger brother Alexander one hundred marks as 
Bairns part. He gave his sword to his brother Alexander, and 
this was handed from father to son through many generations. 
Tradition has it that the elder John Gemmill wielded the sword 
at the battle of Langside which was fought within fifteen miles 
of the Raithmuir farm. The older son of this Peter Gemmill 
was John, whose contract of marriage was recorded in 1614 in 
the register of deeds in Edinburgh. In the contract Peter Gem- 
mill agreed to transfer to his son and his wife and their children 

Vage Fifteen 

all of their 9/4 land in Baithmuir. John Gemmill, the son, died 

in 1622, and in his wlil he named his eldest son John Genunill 

as sole heir to his 4 penny land in Baithmuir, and his ^'ridit and 

kjndness of his 20 shilling land to Peter and Jonet, his bairns, 
tak of the equal half." 

There was a James Gemmill who was born in Kilmarnock, 

Scotland, in 1810, and moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where 

he followed the tailoring trade. He had a son bom in 1840, who 

was a corporal during the Civil War, and a thirty-second degree 

The following is an interesting page from the commissariat 

of Glasgow, showing a register of lands in that district during a 
certain period : 

Alexander Gemmill, burgess of Glasgow, October 11, 1725. 

Andrew Genmiill, son of John Gemmill in confir, June 1, 

Andrew Gemmill, parish of Kilmarnock, July 13, 1630. 

Anabelle, sponse to James Genmiill, April 24, 1672. 

Bessie Genunill, spouse to Abe, parish of Kilmarnock, 
September 6, 1633. 

David Gemmill, preacher of God's religion at the Kirk of 
Meam at Mims, October 8, 1651. 

David Gemmill, bonnet-maker in Kilmarnock, January 
17, 1765. 

Elson Gemmill, spouse to Hugh Brown, September 8, 

David Gemmill, sailor in Irving, December 16, 1734. 

George Genmiill, burgess of Glasgow, September, 1684. 

James Gemmill, elder in Blackwood parish of Kilmarn- 
ock, March 11, 1616. 

James Gemmill, burgess of Irving, October 25, 1674. 

James Gemmill, merchant in Glasgow, April 5, 1721. 

James Gemmill, land laborer, in Langside, Sept., 1747. 

Jonet relict to Archibald Gemmill. 

John Gemmill, cutter in Kilmarnock. 

Jonet spouse to Thomas Gemmill. 

Jonet, lawful daughter of Anrew Gemmill. 

Katherine Gemmill, servitor to Jonet Gemmill. 

Margaret Gemmill, spouse to Henry Smith. 

Page Sixteen 

Margaret Gemmill, relict to James Gemmill. 

Marion spouse to Matthew. 

Peter Gemmill, balie of Glasgow. 

Eobert Gemmill, elder in Fymick. 

Thomas Gtemmill, weaver in Glasgow. 

William Genmiil, shipmaster in Irving. 

William Gemmill, tailor in Blith. 

Zachariah Gemmill, writer in Irving. 

James Gemmill, tobacconist in Glasgow. 
The complete list contains the names of over three hundred 

Most of the Gemmills who came to America as early settlers, 
found their homes in York County, Pennsylvania, but some of 
them located in Maryland, others in Connecticut, some in Massa- 
chusetts, and some in New Hampshire. There is an old cemetery 
in York County, Pennsylvania, wherein the Gemmills of several 
generations were buried. It is known as Downing's Graveyard. 
Some of the markers in this cemetery show that Gemmills were 
buried here one hundred and twenty-six years ago. This burying 
ground, however, was abandoned long ago and most of the 
markers had, until recently, fallen upon the unkept graves. 
About two years ago, several members of thea Gemmill family, 
led by John M. Gemmill of Laurel, York County, Pennsylvania, 
gathered up the broken markers and removed them to a 
chartered cemetery not far away. Among the markers thus 
fallen was one over the grave of Hannah Genmiill, my grand- 
mother and the first wife of James Gemmill. She died in 1837. 

In this book I have not attempted to trace our family, by di- 
rect line through several generations in Scotland, but have 
aimed only to show a connection between the Gemmills of Scot- 
land and our family in America. To this end I have begun with 
William Gemmill who was born in Irvine, and was the father of 
six generations in America. 

Page Seventeen 






WILLIAM GBMMILL was bom in Irvine, Scotland, in 1722. 
He emigrated to America and settled in East Hopewell Town- 
ship, York Coonty, PMmsylvania, in 1745. His wife was Jannett 
Oenunill, whom he married in Bcotland. He serred as Lieutenant 
in the French and Indian War, and as a Major in the War of 
the Berolution. He was both a farmer and a merchant, and for 
several years was County Commissioner of York County, Penn- 
sylvania, during which time he assisted in building the first 
county jail. 

Several children were bom to this marriage. They were: 
John, David, Ann, Margaret, William, James and Robert. 

He had a brother Zachariah Oemmill, who was also bom in 
Irvine, Scotland, in 1730. This Zachariah Oemmill was a writer 
(lawyer) and achieved distinction in his day. It is probable tiiat 
the ancestral Scottish home of William and Zachariah was on a 
narrow strip of sandy ground near the shores of Irvine, called 
Bf^ide. This land is now used for a golf course. 

In the Scottish Antiquary, Vol. Ill, 1893, there appears this 

"1769, January 27, William Gemmill of Bogside, 
merchant in London, t^rved heir-general to his grand- 
father Zachariah Gemmill, writer in Irvine." 
Zachariah had a son who became widely known as Captain 
Hugh Gemmill. He was a famous, roving sea captain, and at 
one time during our troubles with England, his vessel was seized 
and held on the charge of carrying contraband goods. At the 
close of the war he filed a claim for damages against England, 
and this was later settled by an award being made to him. He 
died November 29, 1822, and is buried in New Castle County, 
Delaware. On his grave ia the following inscription : 

"Graveyard of Christiana Presbyterian Chnrch, 
founded 1738. Captain Hugh Gemmill died Nov«nber 
29, 1822, age 55 years, 11 months and 4 days. 

Jane Gemmill, his wife, died August 17, 1826, age 55 
years, 9 months." 
Some of the direct descendants of this Captain Hugh Gemmill 
live in Baltimore. Among them is Mrs, Percy G. Skirven, a 
daughter of James Sutton Gemmill of Kent County, Delaware, 
and the granddaughter of William McBride Gemmill of New 
Castle, Delaware, 

A brother of William and Zachariah, was named John. He 
came to America in 1749 and settled in Boston. This John had 

two sons, one of whom was born in Boston in 1750, and was after- 
wards a member of the Boston Tea Party. The other married 
Thankful Keys, and was a soldier in the Eevolutionary War. 
The youngest son of William and Jannett was bom in 1763, 

and was always known as Major Robert Gemmill. It is probable 
that he served, when very young, in the Revolutionary War. 

The eldest son of William and Jannett was named John, and 
he was my great great grandfather. William died March 2, 1789, 
near his original home in York County, and left a will dated 
December 2, 1768. This will was never probated, for the reason 
that two of his children, Margaret and William, died before the 
death of the testator, and his wife, Janet, died two weeks after 
the death of her husband. The will was set aside by agreement of 
the other heirs. The will is as follows: 

"In the name of God Amen this Second Day of 
December in the year of our Lord one thousand and seven 
hundred and sixty Eight, I William Gemmill in Hope- 
well township, York County and province of Pennsyl- 
vania being weak and tender of body but of perfect mind 
and memory thanks be given unto God therefore calling 
unto mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it 
is appointed for all men once to die Do make and or- 
dain this my last Will and testament that is to say 
principaly and first of all I give and Recommend my soul 
unto the hand of the almighty God that gave it and my 
body I recommend to the earth to be buried in a decent 
Christian manner at the Descrestion of my friends noth- 
ing doubting but at the general Resurrection I shall re- 
ceive the Sam againe by the mighty powr of God and 
touching such Worldly Estate wherewith it heath pleased 
God to bless me in this life I give Demise and Dispose of 
the same in the following manner and form. 

Imprimis I give and bequeath unto my well beloved 

Page T^jtienty-one 

son John Gemmill the sum of twenty-flre pounds Pennsyl- 
vania currency to be took out of my Estate real and per- 
sonal and no more. 

Secondly I bequeath unto my beloved wife Gainat 
Qemmill one seventh part of my Estate real and personal 
to be equally Divided betwixt her and the rest of my un- 
married Children as hereafter followeth that is to say 
thirdly one seventh part Equal with my wife to my well 
beloved Daughter margrat gammill out of my Estate 
Real and Personal and likewise forthley one seventh part 
to my well beloved son David Gammill out of my Estate 
Real and personal and likewise fifthly one seventh part of 
my Estate real and personal unto my well beloved 
Daughter ann gemmill sixtly one Seventh part unto my 
well beloved son William Gemmill of my estate real and 
personal Seventhly one Seventh part of my Estate real 
and personal unto my well beloved Son James Gemmill 
Eightly the seventh part of my Estate real and 
personal unto my well beloved son Robert Gemmill 
ninthly I authorse and allow that three honnast and re- 
putibale men shall be indaferintly Chosen by the legaties 
or there representives for to valine and praise all my 
lands and other personnall Estate and when Said 
plantations are vallued as above mentioned I allow my 
well beloved wife Gennet gemmill to have her first choice 
Eather in money or land for her Seventh Share tenthly I 
allow all when my plantations are justly vallued as above 
ordered that my son David Gembill Shall have his first 
Choise of said pantations and my son William to have the 
Second Choise and my son James to have the third and 
my son robert the forth which lands are acording to 
vallue to be vallued in Each ones Seventh Share as far 
as they are vallued by the men indifrontly to them and 
their heirs for Ever and If aney of my lands Remain un- 
chosen after mv four sons David William James and 
robert have taken there choice my Daughters margaret 
and ann may choice acording to there Eage. 

Page Tvienty-Pwo 


Eliyenthlie I Do Hereby nominate and apoint my well 
beloved wife Garnet Gemmill and my son David (Jemmill 
to be my only Execcotors or admns of this my last will 
and testm^it hereby reyoking and disannul all and every 
others forms etastment wills and l^acises and beqnith- 
ments and Execntners by me aney wise before named 
willed I bequithed ratifiy and confirming this and no 
other to be my last will and testment in Witness Where- 
of I have hereunto Set my hand and Seal the day and 
year above written 

Signed sealed published and dilivered in 
the presents of us who have hearunto 

subscribed our names in the presence of the testator 

William Gemmill Seal 
Archibald White 

Edward Manifold 

David Griffith" 

Janet Gemmill, the wife of William, also left a Will, which 

was filed for probate in York County on March 25, 1889. The 

Will is as follows: 

"IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN the tenth day of 
March in the year of our Lord one thousand seven Hun- 
dred and Eighty nine I Janit Gemmill of Hopewell 
Township in the county of York in the State of Penn- 
sylvania being very sick and weak in Body but of per- 
fect mind and memory and calling to mind the mortality 
of my body and that it is appointed unto all men once to 

die Do make and publish this my last Will and Testa- 
ment in maner and form following Viz first I Eesign my 


T C T V 

i »■ >M T 

-^ ^\ ,:^ - .^ — •- * 


Page Twenty-three 

soul to god who gave it and my body to the Earth to be 
buried in a Decent and Christian manner at the Dis- 
creation of my Evecutors and as to such worldly Estate 
as it hath pleased God to bless me with I give and be- 
queath in the following manner I That is to say 

Imprimes I give and bequeath to my son John Gem- 
mill one pound lawful money of Pennsylvania. 

Item I give and bequeath to my son David Gemmill 
the sum of one pound lawful of Pensylvania. 

Item I give and bequeath to my Daughter Ann the 

wife of David Weylie the like sum of one pound 

Item I give and bequeath to my son James Gemmill 
the like sum of one pound 

Item I give and bequeath to my Grand Daughter 

Margaret the Daughter of my son John Gemmill the sum 

of twenty pounds lawful money of Pensylvania. 

Item I give and bequeath to my grand son William 

Gemmill the son of my son John the like sum of twenty 

Item I give and bequeath to each of my said son Johns 

other children bom by his first wife the sum of fifteen 

pounds like lawful money aforesaid 

Item I give and bequeath to my grand daughter Janet 

Weylie the Daughter of David Weylie the sum of five 

pounds which several sums so willd to my grand children 

to be collected out of my out standing Debts as soon 

after my Decease as possible and to be lent out to In- 

terst untill they are at lawfull age 

Item I give and bequeath to my son Robert Gemmill 

all and singular the Residue of my estate. 

And I Do hereby authorize constitute and appoint my 

trusty friend Andrew Finley and my son Robert Genmiill 

to be the Executors of this last will and testament and 

I do hereby revoke and Disanull all former will or be- 

■^^. .r*).- 

Page Twenty-four 

quasts mede by me and Do hereby publish and Declair 
this and no other to be my last Will and Testament wit- 
ness my hand and seal the day and year first above writ- 
ten in presence of us 
Alex Turner her 

Alexan Downing Janet X Gemmill (Seal) 

This will was filed and probated at York, March 25, 
It will be noticed how uncertain is the spelling of the names. 
The wife's name is spelled Gennat, Gennet, Genat, Janet, Janit 
and on her tombstone it is spelled Jannette, while Gemmill is 
spelled in as many different ways. 

On the markers in the old Downings Graveyard are the fol- 
lowing inscriptions: 

In memory of William Gemmill, who departed this life Feb. 
28, 1789. Aged 67 years." 

"In memory of Jennette Gemmill who departed this life 
March 14th, 1789, A. D. Aged 64 years." 


Fage Twenty-five 

The following i» part of an interesting Deed from Thomas 
Penn and Richard Penn, grandsons of William Penn, who at the 
time in question were the sole proprietors of all the land altHig 
the Delaware River in the State of Pennsylvania, The grantee 
u William Qammil), who was probably the son of WilHam and 
Jennette Gemmill, the first of the Gemmill line in York County, 
PeunBylvania : 

"DEED from, 

Thomas P^in and Richard Penn, Esquires, 

William Gamble alias Oammill. 
Dated, January 27, 1767. The seventh year of the 
Beign of King Cieoi^ the Third. 
Warrant dated the 16th day of December, 1757. 
True and absolute Proprietaries and Governors in Chief 
ol the Province of Pennsylvania, and Counties of New 
Castle, Kent and Sussex, upon Deleware. To all unto 
whom these Presents shall come. Greeting! WHERE- 
AS, In pursuance of a warrant dated the sixteenth day 
of December, 1757, there was surveyed unto William 
Gamble alias William Gammill a certain tract of land 
called Gammels Chance Situated in Shrewsbury Town- 

ship, York County, Beginning at a Chestnut Three thence 
by Barrens and Vacant land South twenty two degrees 
West seventy two perches to a stone and South Seventy 
five degrees East Forty six perches to a marked Chestnut 
oak thence by Alexander Wallaces North seven degrees 
East fifty two perches to a Chestnut oak and South 
seventy five degrees East one hundred and twenty four 
perches to a marked black oak, thence by Thomas Curries 
land North thirty-six degrees thirty minutes West forty 
seven perches to a Hickory Tree and North fifty eight 
degrees East one hundred and forty nine perches to a 
marked white oak thence by Barrens North Forty one 
perches to a past and South Sixty eight degrees West 
Two hundred & sixty one perches to the place of b^in- 
ning Containing ninety two acres and a half and 
allowances of six & Cent for Eoads &c. As by the said 
Warrant and Survey remaining in the Surveyor Cenerals 
CWfice and from thence Certified into our Secretaries 
office more fully appear. 
Consideration Fourteen pounds and Seven Shillings. 


»' < 

Page Twenty-seven 

The following is the written consent of the heirs of certain 
deceased Qemmills given in 1915 to remove the markers and head- 
stones from the old Downing Gravevard to the cemetery at Bound 
Hill : 

WHEBEAS, William Gemmill, Jennette Gemmill, 
John Gemmill, his first wife Agnes and his second wife 
Elizabeth, and John Gemmill, have been interred at 
Downing's Grarevard, and there has been erected at the 
graves of the above named persons tombstones, slab and 
markers containing the following, to-wit : 

William Genmiill departed this life February, 
1789, age 67 years; Jennette Gemmill departed this 
life March, 1789, age 64 years; James Gemmill de- 
parted this life, A.D. 1788, age 37 years; and several 
others by the name of Gemmill, over whose graves 
are field stones containing initials only. 
AND WHEBEAS, the said tombstones, slabs and 
markers are liable to become broken, delapidated and de- 
stroyed if left to remain where they are now erected, at a 
place never visited by any of the kindred. 

Vage Tvjenty-eight 

'•~-' - ' ^H^-^"". «-~ JbB 

V M- 

NOW in order to fnrth^' perpetuate the m^uory of 
said deceased persoog and to preserve and care for said 
tombstones, slabs and markers, it is deemed advisable to 
have said tombstones, slabs and markers removed and 
erected in the Bound Hill Cemetery, where the same will 
be preserved and taken care of forever. Other slabs are 
to be erected at the graves of said deceased persons con- 
taining suitable lettering in lieu of the tombstoDes, slabs 
and markers removed. 

We the undersigned, heirs and legal descendants of 
the above named persons now deceased, do her^y con- 
sent and agree that said tiHubstones, slabs and martcera 
be removed from the Downing Graveyard and erected in 
Bound Hill cemetery, and that other slabs be erected at 
the graves of said descedents. 

It is further desired that this agreement be inscribed 

upon the records of the Bound Hill Cemetery Association. 

(Signed) John McALusTaB Qduuill." 








JOHN OEMMILL, tbe oldest bod of William and Jaoet, was 

bom in York Connty, Pennsylvania, in 1745. He first married 

Agnes Wallace, who bore him eight children. They were 

Margaret, William, James, Janet, John David, Agnes and Ann. 

His second wife was Elizabeth, with whom he had fonr children. 

Th^ were Mary, Jean, Robert and Sarah. It is said that both 

he and his sous were very large men. 

He died in 1798 and was buried in Downing Cemetery in York 
Oonnty. On the marker over his grave is the following in- 
scription : 

"In memory of John Gemmill, bom in 1745, died in 
In that cemetery lie buried three of his brothers, David, 
James and Robert. The markers over their graves have the fol- 
lowing inscriptions: 

"In memory of David Gambel and Janet, his wife, 
who died December 25, 1839, A. M., in the eighty-seven 
year of her life." 

This David Qemmill (spelled Gambel) is mentioned in his 
father's will as ^^David Oammill." He was a soldier in the Beyo- 

On another marker over the fourth son of William and 
Jennette is the following inscription : 

^^In memory of James Glenunill, who departed this life 
on July 23, 1799, at the age of thirty-seven years." 
On the marker over the grave of Robert, the fifth son of 
William and Jennette, is the following inscription : 

"In memory of Major Robert Genmiill, of East Hope- 
well Township, who departed this life on May 11, 1846, 
A. D., at the age of eighty-four years." 
This Major Robert Qemmill was an oflScer in the War of 1812. 
When John Genmiill died in 1798, he left a will, which was 
probated in York County, Pennsylvania, on March 5, 1798. It 
is as follows: 

"I, John Gemmill, on 21st day of Dec. 1796, being 
very sick and weak of body, but of perfect mind and 
memory do will and bequeath my property as follows, 
viz. After payment of my debts. First I give and bequeath 




►> ^ 






\ -- 

■I _ 


Page Thirty-two 

to my beloved daughter Margaret Collins 25 lbs. in cnr- 
r^icy to be paid lo one jear after my decease. 2nd to 
mj beloved son William 35 lbs. to be paid in one year 
after my decease. 3d to James the sum of 151 lbs. one 
year after my decease, to JaDoet Allison 25 lbs. 1 year 
after my decease. Also to my beloved wife the mare; 
also her saddle and bridle, her choice of one of my cows, 
also one bed and bedding: also she is to have equal share 
of my estate, real and personal with the remainder of my 
children hereafter mentioned, that is to say — John, 
David, Agnes, Ann, Elizabeth, Mary Jean, Bobert and 
Sarah, provided that she continues my widow until she 
assists in raising my children until they become of fall 
age; bnt if she marries with any man before the childrea 
are raised, she is to move off the plantation whereon I 
now reside, and to have no share or part of the value of 
said plantation. 

Moreover, it is my disire that if the colt lives that the 
mare is with that my wife gets after my decease it shall 
suck the mare until the 1st of Sept. and then be sold to 

tage Thirty-three 

the best advantage and the price of said colt be paid to 
in; son John. As also it is my desire that the two fol- 
lowing tracts of land be set op to public sale after my de- 
cease and the Talnation be pat to the best use aforesaid, 
viz, a tract of land in Hopewell tw'p containing 106 
acres adjoining lands of Wm. Edgar and John Manifold 
and others : the other tract lying in Fawn tw'p contain- 
ing 40 acres adjoining lands of Joseph Mitchell and 
others. Also it is my desire that the personal property 
shall after my decease be put to public sale and sold to 
the best advantage, and the valuation of same be pnt to 
the use aforesaid, excepting such personal property that 
I allow to be reserved to carry on the farm to raise the 
children : viz, the larg^t horse, one plow and harrow and 
two pair of horse geara. As also it is my will and desire 
that the plantation that I now reside on is not to be pat 

to public sale until my children is all raised to full age, 
for it is my desire that my children aforesaid shall have 
the benefit of said planation; to be raised in a genteel 
manner and to have schooling such as my other children 
had that is married, if possible: and after my children 
are all raised to full age, it is my desire that the said 
plantation be put up to public sale and sold to the best 
advantage and the valuation thereof to be put to the use 
aforesaid: and also I do hereby constitute and appoint 
my loving wife, Elizabeth Qemmill and John Kelly my 
trusty friend my executors also my loving brother 
Robert Guardian of my minor children until they become 
of age: to see they have common schooling and to be 
taken care of according to law an dmy desire in this will. 

John Gbmmill. 
Witness — John Gordon 

Jas. McCall 

Hugh King 

Robert Gemmill appeared and with up* 
lifted hand swore he heard the said 
John Gemmill dictate the above will to 
John Gordon which was correctly put 
in working by said Gordon and after- 
ward duly signed. 

Page Thirty-five 



\ - 

^ / 

— \ 


(_• — r- 



-7^*to^ '-^v—^ '- T-^' -■--•1 / 






WILLIAM GEMMILL, the oldest son of John and Agnes, 
was my great grandfather. He was bom in York County, 
August 31, 1771, and was married August 28, 1794, to Martha 
Edie, who was bom August 4, 1774. To this union were bom 
ten children. Tliere were John, who was bom July 14, 1795, 
and who served in the war of 1812; Mary, bom 1787; William, 
bom October 7, 1789; James, my grandfather, bom February 
13, 1800; Agnes, bom August 13, 1801; Martha, bom June 20, 
1803; David bom Febraary 21, 1805; Robert bom August 17, 
1807; Benjamin, August 4, 1809; and Margaret, July 11, 1811. 

William died August 5, 1849, and his wife, Martha, died June 
8, 1839. Both are buried in the cemetery of Center Church, 
Fawn Township, York County, Pennsylvania. He was a farmer 
and is said to have been small of stature, while some of his sons 
were of unusual size. 

Fage Thirty-seven 


jAMKa Ggmmii.l 







JAMES GEMMILL, my grandfather, was bom in York Oonn- 
ty, Pennsylvania, February 13, 1800. He first married Hannah 
Street, and later married Ann Norris. From the first union 
were bom William, Thomas, Martha and Sarah. From the 
second marriage were bom: Robert, John, Wylie and Mary. 
Nearly all of James' life was spent upon the farm. He was a 
very large man, much of the time weighing over three hundred 
pounds. He was commonly known throughout the nei^ibor- 
hood as "Big Jimmy/' 

WILLIAM GEMMILL, eldest brother of James, had four 
children: John, who was a ranchman in California; Frank, who 
lived in Indiana and made a fortune in natural gas; Mary Jane, 
who married McCall Andrews; and Maggie, who married James 
Lowe who fought with McGregor at Gettysburg. 

ROBERT GEMMILL, brother of James, had a son John G. 
Gemmill w'ho still lives in Stewartsville, Pa. 

BENJAMIN GEMMILL, the youngest brother of James, was 
bom August 4, 1809. He had five children, William, Lou, 
Margaret, Ella and John B. 

Page Thirty-nine 

WILLIAM, the oldest son, went to Bonth Dakota in an early 
day and had an eye shot out in a scrimmage with the Indians. 
The last known of him he was in the State of Washington. 

LOU married Joseph Anderson and lived at Stewartstown, 
Pa. She is now dead. 

MABQAEET married Philip Hammond and still lires at 
Stewartstown, Pa. 

ELLA married John B. Stansburry and lived until her death 
upon the old home place at New Port, Pa. 

JOHN BBOWN GEMMILL, the youngest son of Benjamin, 
was bom in 1837 and died in 1914. 

He was a farmer and merchant and served four years in the 
Pennsylvania L^slature. 

He had four children : 

MILTON CBAWFOBD GEMMILL who was bom in 1862 
and now lives in Baltimore, Md. He is married, is a traveling 
salesman and has four children. 

WILLIAM BBUOE GEMMILL, born in 1864. He is a lawyer 
in York, Pa., and was for a time District Attorney of York 

BENJAMIN McKEE GEMMILL, bom in 1866. He is a 
Presbyterian minister living at Ivyland, Pa. He has five childroi. 

ELLIS HALDANE GEMMILL, bom September 30, 1868. 
He is married and lives in Chicago, 111., and is employed as 
manager for the Dryden Rubber Co. He has one son Ellis 
Hughes Gemmill who is now a Freshman in the College of En- 
gineering of Northwestern University. 

Fage Forty 



Age 42 



WILLIAM GEMMILL, my father, was born in Chamsford, 
York County, Pennsylvania, September 18, 1826. He was edu- 
cated in the common schools and in an academy at York. He 
worked on a farm in his boyhood and when grown to young man- 
hood taught school in the winter. In 1849, he was chosen princi- 
pal of the Wrightsville York County Public Schools. It was 
here he met Susan A. Brenner, and thev were married December 
24, 1850. The next two years he taught school in the winter and 
worked on a farm in the summer. In 1851, he made an extended 
trip into Massachusetts, working in the harvest fields as an ex- 
pert grain cradler. Their first child, James, was born in the 
spring of 1852, and a few weeks thereafter, the family started 
for the unknown West. The only available transportation at 
that time, was by boat down the Ohio, and up the Mississippi 
Rivers. So they journeyed. The trip was long and wearisome. 
Baby James fell ill on the way, and this added to their distress. 
They left the boat at Savanna, Illinois, and made their way, with 
difllculty, to Freeport, where shortly thereafter James grew 
worse and died. Work was obtained grading the right of way 
of the Illinois Central Railroad which was then being con- 
.structed between Rockford and Freeport. Soon, however, the 
family moved to a farm south of Freeport, and a few years later 
to a farm near Shannan, Illinois, upon which the family lived for 
over forty years. For many years he had held the office of school 
trustee and township assessor. 

Page Forty -one 

My father was a small man, seldom, if ever, weighing over 
one hundred and forty pounds. This may be, in part, accounted 
for by a serious injury which he sustained to his spine when a 
young man. All of his sons have at some time during their lives 
weighed over two hundred pounds. His habits were unusually 
abstemious. His early religious training was in the Presbyterian 
church, but when he moved West he joined the Methodist church, 
and remained a member, and trustee of that church until his 
death. I think no man was ever more scrupulously honest than 
he. He would yield a just claim of his own, rather than dispute 
it with another. He seldom laid down a rule of conduct for his 
children to follow. I do not remember that he ever told us not 
to do any of the things which are commonly regarded as im- 
moral, but no one misunderstood his wi^. He was at times 
nervous and petulant, due to physical ailments, but he never 
meant to be unjust. He always enjoyed the full confidence of 
the community, which for twenty-five years annually chose him 
to fix the values of all its assessable property for purposes of 
taxation. He died in Shannon, Illinois, November 24, 1904, and 
is buried in the Dunkard Cemetery located within the village. 

Page Foriy-t^wo 

Susan A. Gemuill 
Age 80 

SU8AN A. GEMMILL, my mother, was bom September 13, 
1829, in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. Her father was Adam 
Brenner. He was of the fourth generation of Brenners in 
America. In September, 1737, John Deitrich Brenner, a native 
of Switzerland, sailed from Rotterdam on the good ship "Charm- 
ing Nancy," and landed in Philadelphia on October 8, 1737. He 
was one of the first of a band of exiles who fled his native land 
to escape religions persecution. He was followed to America a 
few years later by other members of his family, among them 
Simeon, Hans, George and Adam, all of whom arrived from 
Switzerland on the ship Beulah in 1752, and Daniel Brenner who 
arrived in Philadelphia from Switzerland in 1753. In 1740, John 
Deitrich Brenner moved into Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 
and some members of the family have lived in that county ever 



(«aL>«*t^^^i: ■•*^--: ■ ' -"i^J ^«^-*' ' " ■' — -~~T |Jtt».'^— 

■y^ -c^. 

Page Forty-three 

Susan Brenner was married to William Gemmill at Wrights- 
ville, December 24, 1850, and came with him to Illinois in 1852. 
The family first lived in Freeport and a little later moved upon 
a farm two miles south of town. The third year after their 
arrival they moved twelve miles southwest of Freeport upon the 
prairie. Here they bought a farm. At that time the prairie ex- 
tended from the farm in broad expanse, in every direction and 
was only broken, here and there, by the cottages of a few early 
settlers. It was upon this farm that twelve children were born, 
and most of their early lives spent. 

In addition to the usual household cares, mother performed 
a thousand other tasks, which in those days fell to the lot of the 
wife of a pioneer. The cows were to be milked twice a day, the 
calves to be fed, the milk to be strained, the cream to be skimmed, 
the butter to be churned, the chickens to be fed and the eggs to 
be gathered. This was the work of the woman, and all of it and 
much more fell daily to her lot. To the ordinary woman, this, 
with the care of nine or ten children, would seem to have been 
sufficient, but not so for her. When her sister-in-law, Sarah, died 
in 1863, leaving two little boys, they were introduced into our 




Puge Forty- jour 

home and became a part of our family; and when a few years 
later, her sister Ann died, leaving two baby girls, they were in- 
stalled for a time with the rest of us, receiving the same care. 
Still another little orphan girl was taken into our home, where 
she remained until grown to womanhood. 

The story of such a life can never be written. For it never 
occurred to her to keep a record of the long, terrible nights, 
when the lightning flashed, the thunder roared and the prairie 
was storm swept, and she with several small children waited in 
terror for the approach of day, or of those days and nights of 
trembling, anxious waiting at the bedside of a sick and some- 
times dying babe, when no doctor was near, and all friends were 
far away. Nor has any record been kept of her ten thousand 
self-denials, that the children might be fed and clothed and 
schooled. Like her ancient fathers, her religion is her strongest 
motive power. Her service to the church is her constant joy. 
Even now at eighty-seven, she sews and quilts, and quilts and 
sews the long day through, that the church's needs may be sup- 
plied. Her thoughts are always with the preacher, the village 
church, and those who worship there. Nothing in the changing 
of the years has shaken her faith or warped her judgment. 

To this marriage of William and Susan there were bom 
fourteen children: James, Calvin W., Emma J., Laura, Ida, 
Howard S., William N., Carrie I., Etta A., Harvey, Leulla M., 
John A., Susan and Harry E. Of this number, James, Laura, 
Ida, Harvey and Susan died in infancy. 

Fage Forty-five 


My uncle, THOMAS S. GEMMILL, was bom in York Comity, 
Pennsylvania, January 21, 1830, and died in Freeport, Illinois, 
May 6, 1910. He was first married May 10, 1860, to Bachael 
Elizabeth Gailey, and they moved to Freeport, Illinois, the same 
year. They had one child Laura who was bom May 28, 1861. 
She is now married to Herbert Drake and lives in Los Angeles, 
California. Mrs. Gemmill died in Freeport, November 10, 1861. 
Thomas was married to Margaret Beard, October 7, 1869. She 
still lives at Freeport, Illinois. To the second marriage two 
children were bom, Charles, who died at an early age, and 
Elizabeth who was bom August 1, 1877, and who now lives with 
her mother in Freeport. Thomas served as assistant Postmaster 
of Freeport, for over forty years. Much of that time having 
almost exclusive charge of the office. He was a staunch member 
and active worker in the Presbyterian church. 

My aunt, MARTHA GEMMILL, was bom in York County, 
Pennsylvania, February 10, 1832. When a young woman she 
moved to Illinois and lived for many years in our family. She 
was married to Alfred Parkhurst, who died several years ago. 
They had several childrai, all of whom died in infancy. Martha 
still lives in Bockton, Illinois. 

My aunt, SARAH GEMMILL, was bom in November, 1833, 
in York County, Pennsylvania. She early moved to Illinois and 
was married to William D. Gemmill, a second cousin. She died 
February 11, 1863. They had two children, Wesley, bom Novem- 
ber 4, 1867. He is married and has eight children and four 
grandchildren. He lives at Windsor, Pennsylvania, where he is 
Principal of the Schools. Lincoln, is married and lives in 
Savonburg, Kansas. He is a farmer and has five children. 
William D. Gemmill was a soldier in the Rebellion and fought 
with Grant at Champion Hill and Shiloh. 

Page Forty-seven 

My uncle, BOBEBT S. QEMMILL, was bom in York County, 
in 1840. He was married September 5, 1861, to Margaret I. 
Andrews. They had nine children, Franklin, Porter Qemmill, 
now game warden of Pennsylvania; James N. Oemmill, now 
principal of the Glen Bock, Pennsylvania, public schools ; Bobert 
A. Gemmill, farmer, Austin, Minnesota; Mary L., married to 
Ellsworth Homer of York, Pennsylvania; Hugh L. Gemmill, 
machinist, York, Pennsylvania; William W. Gemmill, now de- 
ceased (left wife and five children) ; Anna P., married Bobert 
Gerber, machinist, York, Pennsylvania; Flora L. Gemmill (now 
deceased) was a trained nurse in Maryland, Southern Homeo- 
pathic Hospital. 

My uncle, JOSEPH WILEY GEMMILL, was bom in York 
County, Pennsylvania, in 1842, and married Emma Good in 1871. 
They had five children — Lottie, who married K. E. Beard of 
Brogueville, Pennsylvania; Lattimer C, who is now a retired 
farmer of Broqueville, Pennsylvania ; Sallie, who married Chester 
Saylor of Felton, Pennsylvania; May, who married Boy Chubb, 
and lives in York, Pennsylvania; William W., who now lives on 
the old family homestead at Brogueville, Pennsylvania. 

My uncle, JOHN V. GEMMILL, was bom in York County, 
Pennsylvania, in 1843, and was twice married, first to Alice 
Murphy, in 1868. They had three children — John B. Gemmill, 
who graduated from Johns Hopkins University, and is now asso- 
ciated with a bonding house in Denver, Colorado ; William Wiley 
Gemmill, a merchant in Sunnyburn, York County, Pennsylvania; 
Bertha, now single, lives with her brother, William Wiley. His 
second marriage was to Mary Gordon in 1881. From this mar- 
riage five children were bom. They are now scattered over the 

My aunt, MABY JANE GEMMILL, was bom in 1844, and 
was married in 1861 to Hugh L. Andrews. They had six children, 
Bobert G., merchant, York, Pennsylvania; John H., tobaccoist, 
Baltimore, Md.; William W., deceased; Laura, deceased; Minnie 
married, lives in Washington, D. C. ; Anna, Insane Asylum, 
Harrisburg, P^insylvania. 

All of my uncles and aunts on my father's side are now dead 
except Martha. 

Page Forty-eight 


Edna E. Gbmmill 







The writer, WILLIAM N. GEMMILL, was bom on the home 
farm near Shannon, December 29, 1860. I attended the public 
schools, the high school of Shannon, and Oomell College, from 
which I graduated in 1886. After graduation I was principal of 
the public schools of Rockford, Iowa, and later superintendent 
of the public schools of Marion, Iowa. In 1891, I entered North- 
western University Law School, from which I graduated in 1892, 
and was admitted to the Bar. I practiced law in Chicago until 
1906, when I was elected Judge of the Municipal Court, and re- 
elected to the same position in 1912, and still hold that office. 
In 1912, I received the degree of Doctor of Laws from the Chi- 
cago Law School, and in 1916, I received the same degree from 
Cornell College. I was married December 28, 1893, to Edna E. 
Billings of Rockford, Iowa. We have two children, Jeanette, 
bom April 7, 1895, and graduated from Northwestern University 
in 1916 ; she now lives at home. William B., bom April 20, 1898, 
and now a sophomore in the University of Chicago. 

Page Forty-nine 

EDNA ESTELLE BILLINGS, was born in Bockford, 
Iowa, March 13, 1873. Her father is Edward Billings, who 
was bom November 3, 1847, in Lancaster, Massachusetts. He 
comes from a long line of New England ancestry, dating 
back to the Revolution. In 1868, he moved to Iowa, where he 
engaged for a time in farming, and later entered the banking 
business, from which he retired a few years ago. He now lives 
in Chicago. Her mother, before her marriage, was Augusta A. 
Davis. She was bom November 9, 1848, in St. Albans, Maine. 
Her grandfather was a soldier in the War of 1812. Mrs. Gemmill 
was a pupil in the Rockford High School from 1886 to 1889, 
while I was principal of the school. In 1889, she entered Cornell 
College, from which she graduated in 1893, with the d^ree of 
A. B. We were married December 28, 1893. 

Page Fifty 

William Billings Obmmill Jeanettb Billii 

CALVIN WYLIE GEMMILL was bom June 4, 1853, in Free- 
port Illinois. He was educated in the country schools, the high 
school of Shannon, Mt. Morris Seminary and the Illinois State 
Normal School at Bloomington. He moved to Canton, South 
Dakota, in the eighties and has resided there ever since. He is 
married and has two children, Euth who lives in Washington, 
D. C, and John who is agent for the Pennsylvania Rubber Com- 
pany in Chicago, Illinois. During his entire resid^ice in Da- 
kota, he has been engaged in the grain and stock business. For 
several years he was President of the Board of Education of 
Canton, and for one term was a member of the State Senate 
of South Dakota. 

Page Fifty-one 

EMMA JANE GEMMILL was born September 15, 1855, upon 
the home farm near Shannon. After attending the public school, 
she sp^it some time at Mt. Morris Seminary, and later was mar- 
ried to Andrew S. Dodds. They lived in Rock Valley, Iowa, for a 
number of years, and afterward moved to Pipestone, Minnesota, 
where they lived until her death, in 1915. They had three child- 
ren, Mabell, who is married to Ole Stansvad and lives at Ren- 
ville, Minnesota; Ray, who is married and lives at Aberdeen, 
South Dakota; and Stella, who is single and lives at Minot, 

North Dakota. 

HOWARD S. GEMMILL was bom upon the home farm on 

June 11, 1859. He attended the country school, the high school at 
Shannon, and Cornell College, from which he graduated in 1886. 
Thereafter he was superintendent of the public schools of Sac 
City and Emmetsburg, Iowa. In 1894, he graduated from the 
Law Department of Northwestern University and was admitted 
to the Bar of Illinois. He was married to Nellie Pierson and 
they lived together at Wilmette, Illinois, until her death in 1915. 
He has two children, Glenn Gemmill, who is married and is in 
the automobile business at Wheeling, Illinois, and Helen, who 
recently graduated from Northwestern University, and now lives 
with her father at Wilmette. He was City Magistrate of his 
home town of Wilmette for several years, and is now a practic- 
ing attorney in Chicago. 

CARRIE I. GEMMILL was born December 19, 1862. She at- 
tended the public schools, the Shannon High School and Cornell 
College. She is married to Henry Osbom, and lives in Shannon, 
Illinois. They have one child, Don Osbom, who is married and 
lives at Shannon. 

ETTA A. GEMMILL was bom Febraary 1, 1866. She attended 
the public schools, the high school of Shannon, and Cornell Col- 
lege. She was married to Henry Hubbard, who for twenty-four 
years has been County Clerk of Rock Island County, Illinois. 
They live in Rock Island and have three children, Clifford, who 
recently graduated from the Law Department of Northwestern 
University, and is a practicing attorney at Rock Island; Lois, 
who is married to Leonard Neighbour and lives in Moline, Illi- 
nois; and Marion, who lives with her parents in Rock Island. 

Pa^e Fifty-ffU'o 

LUELLA M. GEMMILL was bom June 28, 1867. She attended 
the public schools, the high school of Shannon and Cornell Col- 
lege. After teaching school for some time, she was married to 
Pitney Atkins, and they now live in Freeport, Illinois. They 
have two children, Eda, who lives at home, and Milo, who is now 
a stud«it in the University of Illinois. 

JOHN A. GEMMILL was bom on the farm April 14, 1869. 
He attended the public schools and Dixon Collie. He is mar- 
ried and lives at Bacine, Wisconsin, where he is engaged in the 
insurance business. He has no children, 

HAEBY E. GEMMILL was bom February 19, 1872, and has 
always lived near the old homestead at Shannon. He attended 
the public schools and high school of Shannon. For many years 
he lived on the home farm, and is now in the farm implement 
bosiness in Shannon. He holds the oflSce of Township Assessor, 
wliich his father held for so many years. He is manied and has 
OTie child, Lois, who lives at home. 

Paff£ Fijiy-lhree 



In order to know something of the country from which our 
forefathers came, I have decided to publish here excerpts from 
two letters recently received from Glasgow. The first one is by 
Mr. J. Leiper Gemmill of Dumbreck, dated November 25, 1916. 
It is as follows : 

"Dear Judge Genunill : — 

You ask about Fenwick and Kilmarnock. Kilmarnock 
is about ten miles from the sea and is a busy country 
town of about 34,000 inhabitants, with a varied set of 
industries, engineering works, woolen and lace mills, etc. 
Its history dates to the beginning of Scottish history 
and it has always been an important town. Every town 
in Scotland has its parish and Kilmarnock parish was a 
very large one and originally included Fenwick district, 
but about 1600 Fenwick was formed into a separate 
parish with a church and school and paridi government 
of its own. 

Page Fifty-five 

Fenwick Village is about three and one-half miles 
northeast of Kilmarnock and lies just where the rich agri- 
cultural land running up from the coast line joins on to 
the higher ground and moorland. The western half of 
the parish is composed of small rich dairy farms of 100 
to 160 acres or so, highly cultivated, while the eastern 
half is mainly sheep farms, benty ground and moorland, 
with great stretches of mossliags and bog. The kind of 
place for the rearing of hardy men and women with 
strong frames and independent spirits; among the hills 
and upland districts in Scotland the men are mostly 
taller than those of the richer ground round the coasts, 
and in the Fenwick district it was the same, the men 
being mostly tall and strong, with light brown hair and 
ruddy complexion. 

I feel very sure that Fenwick was the main original 
home of the Gemmills in Scotland, and that the bearers 
of the name at Dunlop, Irvine, Glasgow or elsewhere 
were offshoots. When there are three or four sons in a 
family some of them usually branch out and seek their 
fortunes in commerce or one of the professions. It was 
natural that some of them should find their way to 
Irvine, which was only ten miles off and a thriving sea- 
port, or to Glasgow, twenty-two miles off with all the at- 
tractions of a city, and later on others would find their 
way to Edinburgh and London. Two examples occur to 
me in the time of the poet Bums. A young lad Shaw, 
the son of a small farmer near Kilmarnock became Sir 
James Shaw, Lord Mayor of London, and a kind friend 
of the poet's family. Then "Bonnie Jean" Armour, the 
wife of the poet was the daughter of a stone mason at 
Mauchline, Ayreshire. Her brother, Robert Armour, 
found his way to London and died a wealthy merchant 
there. There are still about ten families of Gemmills in 
the Fenwick district, farmers and merchants, etc., in a 
comfortable position in life, but I don't know that any of 
them still hold the original properties that belonged to 
their forefathers. Most of them have been sold and in 

Page Fifty-six 

others the land came to belong to daughters who married, 
and 80 the name changed. One of the largest Fenwick 

Gemmill owners had an only child, who married a Mr. 
M. Knight, from Irvine. They went to Edinburgh, and 
their line becoming extinct, their properties at Fenwick 
were all sold some years ago. The same has taken place 
all over Scotland with the mass of properties belonging 
to the middle classes. It is only in the case of great en- 
tailed estates now that few changes in ownership take 

After all, while Fenwick was an ideal district for 

hardy youths to be reared in, it was a quiet rural place 
with few outlets, and it was not unnatural that many of 
its sons should seek wider fields for their ambition. 

In the neighboring parish of Dunlop there is, however, 
one small farm called Templehouse that has from 1500 or 
thereabouts right down to the present been owned and 
occupied by the same family of Gemmills. It is an iso- 
lated small farm, and the original owner of it would in 
all probability be of the Fenwick Gemmills. A Mr. John 
Alexander Gemmill, Barrister, Ottawa, was of the 
Templehouse family. He was a very able and successful 
gentleman, and it was a great pleasure to me when on 
two occasions he came over to Scotland, to go round the 
old places where the name is familiar. He lived at 
Oliffside, Ottawa, but died in 1905, and I rather think 
his widow lives in Winnipeg. 

You ask about distinguished Gemmills. None of them 
seem to have risen to great heights, but on the other 
hand, so far as I can trace, none of them have sunk very 
deep, originally mostly comfortable farmers and small 
lairds. There have been many merchants, lawyers, 
bankers, clergymen, coal masters, civil engineers and 
doctors. One of the best known was the late Professor 
Samson Gemmill, M. D., of Glasgow University. He 
died three years ago, and was widely known and re- 
spected. Another well known name is my younger 
brother. Dr. James F. Gemmill, lecturer on embryology 
at Glasgow University, and of Zoology at Glasgow Train- 

Fage Fifty-seven 

ing College, a keen research worker who is derotiDg his 
life work wholly to science. Then a few years ago a 
Oemmill was ProTOst of Kilmarnock. A hundred years 
ago there was only one Gemmill in the Glasgow Di- 
rectory. Now there are fifty. This just indicates how 
the bearers of the name have increased and spread and 
come snfficiently to the front to be reckoned with. 

Whea I was last in Liyerpool and London, I hap- 
pened to meet several in rery good positions there, idio 
originally came from Ajreshire. 

Toots very trnly, 

J. Lbipbb Qbhhili." 

The second letter is from William Gemmell, an eminent phy- 
sician and surgeon of Scotstounhill, Glasgow, and a Fellow of 
the Eoyal Scottish Society of Arts and Antiquities. 
His Honour 

Judge William N. Genmiill, 
Dear Sir: — 

I have been in London for the past fortnight, and oa 
my return find a letter from Dr. James F. Gemmill, say- 
ing he has had an enquiry from you regarding some 
Kilmarnock Gemmills of the late seventeenth and early 
eighteenth centuries. 

Though one or two individuals of the name rose to 
eminence, there never was a clan Gemmill, nor a chief of 
a clan, nor a properly constituted legal coat-of-arms 
(though there were a number of bastard coats-of-arms — 
a feature still common in Scotland, I am sorry to say). 
In fact the Genmiills were, as a rule, agriculturists who 
went on tilling the ground and breeding families, at both 
of which they displayed considerable ability. Hardly 
ever do we find their names among the soldiers : theirs the 
arts of peace. Sporadically a few become members of 
the professions, and some did well in these, others, not so 
well. There was a strong religious strain among the 
name in Scotland, and being strongest in Ayrshire, the 
centre of the Covenanters of the days of Charles II and 
James II, some have perished by the sword for their re- 
ligious convictions. There are Gemmills now in Kil- 
marnock, one of whom, a thriving jobmaster, was provost 

of Ayr a few years ago. 

Sincerely and Faithfully, 

William Gbmmbll." 

Page Fifty-nine 



v: ''■; - 



Prom an early day there were QenmulU who settled in 
Canada. While there is ao doabt that these belong to the same 
parent stock, yet most of them trace their anc^try back to the 
Gemmills of Tempelbouse in the Parish of Donlop, not far from 
Glasgow. The parishes of Kilmarnock and Dmilop are both in 
Ayreshire. The Gemmills of Templehouse trace an unbroken 
line of descent from 1500 down to the present day. Prior to that 
time, there Is evidence that at times persons bearing some form 
of the name Gemmill occupied the same lands. 

According to a record, dated 1264, one of these Glemmills was 
made a knight, and a town and a parish were named after him. 
The town was called "Gemilstown," Robertson, the historian, 

Bays in his works, Volume 37, page 336, '^The name Gemmill is 
pretty general in this part of the country. Several of that name 
have at different times been ranked among the land proprietors 
and free holders, while others have attained to great opulence 
or have been connected by intermarriage with some of the princi- 
pal families of the country. 

I will not attempt to follow this branch of the family through 
the two or three centuries intervening, but mention only a few 
families. There was a certain Patrick Gemmill who seems to 
have been a man of more than usual wealth and prominence. 
The record shows that he owned many lands, made many loans 
and took many pieces of property as security. On the night of 
November 4, 1570, three men entered his house and robbed him. 
They were arrested, tried and hanged. A part of the charge 
against them is as follows : 

Three m^i, under silence and cloud of night, climbed 

to Patrick GemmilPs dwelling house in Templehouse, 

when he and his wife and family was in a sober and quiet 

manner taking the night's rest, and there brak up the 

door and entered therein and took the said Patrick and 

his wife furth of their beds, bound his wife and cast her 

into a nickel kist. Menaced the said Patrick to deliver 

to them his silver and gold and because he refused to do 

the same they bound a tether round his neck and hung 

him up upon a balk, where he hung a long time until 

he was cut down, alive," etc. 

After this Patrick there seems to have been many succeeding 

Patrick Gemmills in Ayrshire. It soon came about, however, 

that the names of John, William, Bobert, Thomas, Margaret, 

Jannett, Agnes and Mary, were the most favored names with the 


Among these were two brothers, William and Thomas, who 
in 1826 were muslin manufacturers in Glasgow imder the firm 
name of Genmiill & Company. They prospered greatly and soon 
thereafter branched out as general commission agents with 
branch houses in Valparaiso, Chile, Lima, Peru, Canton and 
Hongkong, China, and Manila, P. I. They amassed great wealth. 
One of the early settlers in Canada was John Gemmill, who 

Paffe Sixty-tivo 

sailed from Bcotland. in 1821, and landed in Quebec. He was 
' six feet, four inches in height. He journeyed by way of the St. 

Lawrence Biver from Montreal, and when the boat capsized it 
was found that five passengers were named John Genunill, one 
of them was his son John Alexander Genunill, who in later years 
was a merchant in Carleton Place, and was a writer of con- 
siderable prominence. This John Alexander Genunill likewise 
had a son named John Alexander Gemmill. This son was bom 
at Carleton Place, March 10, 1846. He was educated at the 
Grange Sunderland, and at the University of Glasgow. He was 
admitted to the Bar of Ontario in 1871, and at once took a 
prominent place. He was a director of the Canadian Pacific 
Bailway Company and President of the Great North West 
Central Bailway Company. He was prominent in philanthropic 
work, and was President of St. Andrew Society of Ottawa. He 
wrote a book upon the subject of Parliamentary Divorces in 
Canada. He was married to Emily Helen Ogilvie, whose father 
is mentioned by Burke as belonging to the gentry of Scotland. 
John Alexander Genunill died in 1905, and his widow now lives 
* with her two sons in Winnipeg, Canada, while her other two sons 
are fighting for their country in France. 

Page Sixty-three 


Jlsiiuliliiie, Scotland Souttisli Rifles 

Captured by llie Geiiiums Eldest s«m of 

William Gemmill 
Solicit<n', Glasgow, Scotland 
On service in India 

TROOPra Patrick Gkmmill ^^'"T- '{"^^l^^ "VT'""'' '^^^"'^'- 

Winnepeg, Canada el,.^''^'^' Engineers 

Keeentiv wounded in France ^^lnnepeg. Canada 



It must be of interest to tliose who bear the □ame of Qemmill 
to know that many of their kinefolk, either have been, or are 
now actively engaged in the greatest of all world conflictci. 

I am not able to present the complete Holl of Honor, and I 
will only mention here a few names of men whose enlistments 
and achievements have come to my knowledge. 

First among these is SECOND LIEUTENANT JOHN A. 
GEMMILL of the Sixteenth Highland Light Infantry, who was 
killed while gallantly leading his men into action on July 1, 1916, 
in the first great drive on the Somme. He was the eldest son 
of Mr. and Mrs. J. Leiper Oemmill of Dnmbreck, Glasgow, Scot- 
land. His commanding oflBcer, in writing from the battle front 
to Mr. J. Leiper Oemmill, on Jaly S, 1916, said : 
"Dear Mr, Gemmill : 

We have come through very hard fighting in what the 
French call the Battle of Picardie. I fancy it will be 
known by the same name, althongb sometimes I bear it 
referred to as the Battle of the Somme. Our Battalion 
had assigned to It a most important role in the leading 
attack and naturally suffered a good deal, as we were np 
against Germany's best troops. 

Your boy. Second Lieut. John A. Gemmill, was last 
seen urging on bis platoon when those in front had 
fallen. It was a situation which might have unnerved 

any one as the fire was terrific, but with one hand in his 
trouser pocket and with a switch in the other, he was 
seen urging on his men to close with the enemy. His last 
words, I understand, were: 'Come on the good old 16th. 
Come on the good old H. L. I.' He then fell mortally 

No better soldier ever wore His Majesty's uniform. 
Had he been my own son I could not have loved him more. 
Quiet, unassuming, thorough, adored by his men and be- 
loved by his superiors, he made the great sacrifice for his 
King and Country without flinching, and has shed a halo 
around his name which cannot perish. I cannot express 
myself in words. I would rather congratulate you on 
being the father of such a boy. If God had given me such 
a son I would have been the proudest man living." 
STEWART ARMOUR GEMMILL was Captain of the Sixth 
Battalion Highland Light Infantry. He was the fourth and 
youngest son of John and Elizabeth Genmiill of 27 Atholl 
Gardens, Glasgow, Scotland. He was educated at the Glasgow 
Academy and had become an expert analytical chemist. A short 
time after he left school he was sent to India to work as an 
analytical chemist in the gold mines there. When the war broke 
out he at once returned to London to join his regiment. On his 
arrival he found that he had been excused from services at the 
front with his regiment, on the ground that his services at the 
mines were of such a character that he could not be spared. He, 
however, was unwilling to be excused, and at his urgent request 
was permitted to rejoin his regibent, and in May, 1915, pro- 
ceeded with it to Gallipoli. Shortly after his arrival there he 
was chosen to lead his battalion in the famous charge of the 12th 
of July on Achi Baba Mullah. In this charge he was mortally 
wounded and was taken to the general hospital in Alexandria, 
Egypt, where he died on July 22, 1915. He is now buried in a 
military cemertery at that place. For this gallant charge he and 
his brave followers were highly complimented by the Command- 
ing Officer, Sir Ian Hamilton. 

Page Sixty- six 

Lieutenant John A. Gemmili. 2nd Lieut. Cuthbert (Jemmii.l 
Glasgow, Scotland ^f i„t Gordau Highlanders 

Eldest son of Second son of 

J. Leiper (Seminilt j j^giper (Jemmili 

Killed in action, .Inl.v 1. 1!)10 Solicitor, Glasgow, Scotland 
Fighting in France 

Neil A, Gemmill 

Age 15 

Officers Training Corps 

Third and youngest son of 

J. Leiper Gemmill 

Glasgow, Scotland 

JOHN GEMMILL, the third son of John and Elizabeth Oem- 
mill, and a brother of Stewart Armour Gemmill, joined the 
Glasgow Highlanders at the outbreak of the war. In a short 
time he was made lieutenant of the Sixth Highland Light In- 
fantry, but was soon thereafter raised to the rank of Captain 
in the Twelfth Battalion Highland Infantry, and with his regi- 
ment was sent to France in June, 1915. On September 25, 1915, 
while gallantly leading his Company into action at the battle of 
Loos, he was instantly killed by shell fire. His body now lies 
buried in France. 

These two brothers, John and Stewart, were grandsons of 
Hugh Gemmill, who recently died in Kilmarnock. In his life- 
time he owned the old farm of Todd Hill in Fenwick, which has 
been occupied by his forefathers for over two hundred years. 

CUTHBEET GEMMILL, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Cuthbert 
Gemmill of Mauchline, Scotland, was a corporal at the age of 
twenty in the Highland Scotch Begiment, but he is now a 
prisoner in Germany. When last seen by his comrades he was 
rallying his men forward to the front line trenches of the Ger- 
mans, at a place called Hlghwood. 

CUTHBEET GEMMMILL, the second son of J. Leiper Gem- 
mill of Glasgow, and brother of the late Captain John A. Gem- 
mill, is now a second lieutenant of the first battalion of the fa- 
mous Gordon Highlanders, and is fighting somewhere in France. 

JAMES DUNLOP GEMMILL is Captain of the Seventh 
Field Company of the Eoyal Engineers of the British expedition- 
ary force. He was bom in Ottawa, Canada, December 14, 1885. 
His fahter was John Alexander Gemmill, a prominent barrister 
of Ottawa, and a director of the Canadian Pacific Eailway Com- 
pany. His mother, Emily Helen Gemmill, is now a widow living 
at Armstrong Point, Winnipeg, Canada. Before her marriage 
she was Emily Helen Ogilvie, the daughter of one of the oldest 
and most prominent families of Montreal. Captain James- 
Gemmill graduated from the Eoyal University College of Kings- 
ton, in 1906, with the highest honors, receiving the Governor- 
General's gold medal, and thereby winning his commission in the 
Eoyal Engineers. Immediately following his graduation, he 

Page Sixty-seven 

spent two years in the School of Military Engineering in 
Chathan, England, and from there was sent for five years to 
Qibralter. From thence he was sent for six months to Calais, 
France, and it was while serving here that he was called to the 
front as Captain, commanding the Seventh Field Company, 
which has recently been highly praised by Sir Douglas Haig. 

PATRICK GEMMILL, the younger brother of Captain James 
Dunlop Qemmill, enlisted as a trooper at the age of nineteen in 
the Fort Horse, and went over the seas with the first contingent 
in September, 1914. He spent the first winter of the war on 
Salisbury Plains where he endured great hardships. In the 

Fage Sixty-eight 

apriug he was transferred to Lord Strathcona's Horse and went 
to France where, on Ma; 24, in a f^arp battle, he was severely 
wounded. For nineteen hours after receiving his wounds he lay 
unattended in the trench, tormented by thirst and expecting each 
moment to be bis last. During tbis wbol6 period he was under 
continuous fire from the enemy's gnus. At last, under cover ot 
darkness, he was rescued and sent to Bngland, where be lay for 
a month in the hospital at Norwich. On bis recovery he received 
a conunJesion in the artillery service and spent a year training 
Territorials in England. In July, 1916, he was again sent to the 
front, and from that time to this has been almost continaally 
under fire. His superior officer writes of bim: "He is doing 
splendid work for his country." The noble mother of these two 
gallant young soldiers now lives with her other two scms in 
Winnipeg, and in closing a letter written to me concerning her 
sons at the front, under date December 11, 1916, she signs her- 
self: "Yours sincerely, E, H. Gemmil, the proud mother." 

WILFBID GEMMILL of Chatham, Ontario, enlisted in the 
Dmry Medical Corps in January, 1918. He was at that time 
nineteen years old. He spent but nineteen days in England and 
was then hurrind to tbe front in Belgium, irtiere he was almost 
constantly under Are. He was later sent to Prance. Part of the 
time be was stationed at the base hospital, but most of tbe time 
he has been actively engaged at the front. 

AJMJHIBALD GEMMILL, a son of Peter Gemmill of Paisley, 
Scotland, is now with the great army somewhere in France. 
He has a brother, Peter Oemmill, now living in Chicago. 









—■ — y >#-/>* 


••« , 

John McAllister Gi!:mmill J. Leiper Gemmill 

Laurel, PeDDsylvaDJa Glasgow, Scotland 



In preparing this sketch of the Gemmill family, I am greatly 
indebted to many persons, without whose aid I could have ac- 
complished but little. First among these is J. Leiper Gemmill 
of Dumbreck, Glasgow, Scotland. Mr. Gemmill is a distinguished 
writer (lawyer) of Glasgow. His forefathers were proprietors 
of land in Fenwick, and his family runs straight back to John 
Gemmill who lived throu^ the troublous times of Mary Queen 
of Scots, and died in 1578, bequeathing his sword to his son. 
The Gemmills were devoted Covenanters, and the most treasured 
possession of Mr. Gemmill today is this old Covenanter sword 
of the family. He is a graduate of Glasgow University and was 
the founder of the National Bums Memorial Cottage Homes 
located at Mauchline, the home of the Scotch poet. He has served 
as burgess of Glasgow and is now a member of its Board of Edu- 
cation. He is an elder in the Church of Scotland and a member 
of the Presbytery of Glasgow. One of Mr. Gemmill's most fa- 
mous cases was that wherein he represented Miss Anna B. Burns, 
granddaughter and nearest heir of the poet, Eobert Bums, where- 
in she sought to set aside the sale of the original Bums manu- 
script and to have them turned over to the government of Scot- 
land. In 1909, Mr. Gemmill wrote a book upon the Gemmills 
of Scotland. From this book I have copied much. In addition, 
I have, through correspondence with him, learned much of those 
who bear the Gemmill name in Scotland, and of the noble young 
fellows who today are gallantly upholding the honor of the name 
upon the battle fields in Europe. 

I am also greatly indebted to John McAllister Gemmill of 
Laurel, York County, Pennsylvania. He is a son of William 

Page Seventy-one 

and Agnes McAllister Gemmill and was bom on the farm where 
he now resideB January 16, 1848. Some of his ancestors lived in 
his immediate neighborhood 170 years ago. On his father's side 
were the Leipers and Wallaces and on his mother's side the 
Prondfoots and McCallisters, all Bcotch. From 1870 to 1872, he 
liTed in Bock Island, Illinois, and later in Philadeli^ia. He 
was married in 1875 to Elizabeth Hamilton whose parents came 
to America from Lanarkshire, Scotland. He is a grandson of 
William Gemmill who was bom August 4, 1774, and who is my 
great grandfather. A good many years ago John McAllister 
Gemmill wrote, in a history of York County, Pennsylvania, a 
sketch of the Gemmills in that State. From this sketch I have 
gleaned much. In addition, I have from time to time received 
valuable information from him concerning the early families in 
Pennsylvania, especially relating to their occupation, lands and 
burial places. 

I desire also to record my indebtedness to William Gemmill 
of Scotstounhill, Glasgow, who has collected much data concern- 
ing the Gemmill genealogy, and who purposes to publish a book 
upon the subject in the near future. He is a prominent Doctor 
or Medicine and Surgery in Scotland, and a Fellow of the Scot- 
tish Eoyal Society of Arts and Antiquities. 

I am likewise under deep obligation to Professor James N. 
Gemmill, now principal of the Glenn Bock, Pennsylvania Pub- 
lic Schools. Mr. Gemmill was for twelve years vice-principal of 
the Wrightsville Public Schools. He is the son of Bobert Gem- 
mill who was my father's half brother. In many letters he has 
told of our more immediate relatives whom we of the West have 
never known. He married Mary E. Beard, granddaughter of 
John E. Beard, the tanner of Lower Windsor Township. He has 
a dau^ter who graduated from, the high school last June. 

Nor can I overlook my debt to Mrs. Emily Helen Gemmill 
of Armstrong Point, Winnipeg, Canada. In spite of the dis- 
tractions of the terrible war in which two of her sons are fight- 
ing, she has taken the time to write me on several occasions and 

Page Seventy-two 

in addition has furnished me with a copy of a book on the Qem- 
mill family written by her late husband. In writing of the 
Templehouse Qemmills, I have copied freely from this book. 

My obligations would not be complete without mentioning 
the name of Miss Mary Qemmill of Chatham, Ontario, from whom 
I received Mr. J. Leiper Oemmill's book upon the early history 
of the Gemmills in Scotland. Bhe has also given me an interest- 
ing account of three grandfather's clocks that were distributed 
among several members of the Gemmill family. 

From various sources I have received accounts of some 
strange and wonderful grandfathers clocks that from generation 
to generation have been handed down to the bearers of the Gem- 
mill name. 

Page Seventy-three