James Gillies sailed to Canada from Stirlingshire, Scotland, on the “David” of London with his daughter Janet and his two sons John, and George in 1821. His wife Helen Stark followed a year later. The James Gillies family first settled on Lot 10, Concession 5, in Lanark Township, about 3 miles from Middleville. In 1831, John (the eldest son) settled on a grant of land at Lot 9, Concession 3, and also purchased an additional 100 acres, making a total of 300 acres. In 1839, John married Mary Cullen Bain. Together they had 6 sons and 3 daughters; James, William, John, David, George H., Alexander, Janet, Helen, and Elizabeth.
In 1842, John built his first sawmill on the Clyde River, 3 miles north of the village of Lanark, Ontario. In the early 1870’s, John sold the Gillies Mills on the Clyde River to John Herron and the Gillies Mill in Carleton Place to his partner David McLaren. He subsequently bought the mill at Braeside in 1873 and timber limits on the Coulonge and Picanoc Rivers from the Honourable Asa B. Foster for $195,000.00.
Over the years, the Gillies family acquired extensive timber limits in the counties of Lanark, Frontenac, Renfrew and Pontiac, building one of the largest timber dynasties in the business and employing hundreds of men in the bush and the mills at Braeside and Temiskaming.
Collection was donated by Karen Gillies in June 2015 and May 2018.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of an extensive photographic collection of the extended family of John A. Gillies including: Helen Stark Gillies, John A. Gillies (1846-1914), Dema Bliss Gordon Gillies, John Albert Gillies “Jack” (1871-1937), Edna Mary Gillies DeRenzy, George Henry Gillies, Brigadier John Gillies (1906-1970), Janet Harwood Gillies and Norman Bain Gillies. Studio portraits taken by prominent photographers of the time period, such as Topley of Ottawa, add value to this collection. Informal photographs at home offer researchers a glimpse of family life in the early part of the twentieth century. A small number of photographs and files pertaining to the lumber operations of the Gillies Bros. Lumber Co. Ltd. are also contained in the collection, as well as a small amount of records from their operations in Lanark. A large amount of correspondence between family members from 1827-1967 reveals interesting details of the personal lives of this prominent family.
Photographs have been arranged by subject matter and placed in envelopes, files and boxes by the archivist. Identification and comments by Norman B. Gillies appear in “quotation marks”. Identification supplied by the Archivist is indicated by [square brackets].
See Series Level Description for Correspondence 1871-1899
Estate files for Janet Gillies Estate and John Gillies Estate 1933-1967 CLOSED till Jan 31 2067.
Files kept by Frederick James Hanna; Barrister, Solicitor and Notary Public (Ottawa).
(Includes estate matters for John A Gillies Sr., Janet Harwood Gillies, W. Gillies and Edna DeRenzy of Penticton BC.)
Gillies Family fonds 1995-0060
Arnold Muirhead fonds 1995-0047
Gillies Bros. Business Records and Personal Correspondence 2015-0348
Arnprior District Museum Collection, Gillies Family Series 1993-0005