Part 5 in the series by Andrew Elliott and William Price
Gwendolyn Beatrice Clemow (1881-1969/74?) is our “bride” in the 1910 wedding reception photographs of her (age 29) and her new husband, Charles Augustus O’Connell (1872-1919), (age 39), a prominent mining engineer and mine manager living and working in Cobalt, Ontario since coming to Canada in 1905 from United States. He was born in Nevada but was raised and educated in California.
The couple travelled to San Francisco for their honeymoon and to visit Mr. O’Connell’s large and very accomplished family and, soon after, returned to their residence in Cobalt. (25 October 1910, San Francisco Chronicle). A second extended trip to California by Charles, Gwendolyn and their young daughter Patricia was made in late 1915 to spend the winter so as to restore Charles’ health (10 Dec. 1915. Ottawa Citizen). This was a warning of Charles’ health issues that would soon bring tragedy to this family. Gwendolyn and Charles had three children: Patricia (1912-1981), Alastair (1914-1970) and Daniel Edward (1918-?).
Tragically, Charles passed away in 1919 due to complications from “organic heart disease” for which he had been under treatment for several years prior to his death (Ontario Death Records, Ancestry.ca) Gwendolyn soon returned to Ottawa with her children to be close to her mother and other close relatives as well as her many friends from her earlier life in Ottawa. She lived independently in Ottawa with her children during their early school years but moved to Toronto around 1925 so that her two sons could attend Upper Canada College. However she kept in close contact with her mother and exchanged frequent visits with each other until her mother’s death in 1934. It should be noted that her mother was first widowed in 1889 but did not remarry until 1907 to William B. Northrup, KC, a former M.P. and Clerk of the House of Commons who predeceased her in 1925. (17 Janurary 1934, Ottawa Citizen) Both sons attended university and, like their father, became mining engineers.
They spent many interesting years working and living in grand style in Zimbabwe, Tanzania and South Africa. Gwendolyn moved to Africa to be with her sons for extended periods at this time. After many years, they all returned to Canada due to the worsening political instability in these countries. Gwendolyn’s daughter Patricia as a young woman in Toronto entered a writing contest and won a trip to New York City. She ended up moving there permanently around 1937 and had a career as a copywriter in advertising. Patricia married and raised her family in New York City and was visited several times after WW II by Gwendolyn.
Very little information has been found in the public domain on Gwendolyn’s later years in Toronto but there are uncorroborated family memories that she did work to provide for her family and that she passed away in Toronto in either 1969 (age 88) or 1974 (age 93). There is no record of her being buried in Beechwood in the Clemow family plot as were her siblings. Much of the information about Gwendolyn on her Toronto life is from a lengthy interview and helpful correspondence with Sheila Botein, Patricia’s daughter and Gwendolyn’s granddaughter, who is long-retired and living in California.
Part 4 in a series by Andrew Elliott and William Price
Who can we identify in the wedding reception photographs?
1. The wedding party at the side yard of 203 Clemow Avenue
Gwendolyn and Charles are the third and second individuals from the right. To the extreme right is Charles’ brother, Dr. Robert O’Connell, the best man, who was a dentist and professor of dentistry in San Francisco. Third from the left is Gwendolyn’s younger sister, Edith Harriet Clemow, the maid of honour. Second from the left is an usher, Captain J. Edward Leckie, a military officer (Boer War and WW I) and a mining engineer originally from British Columbia but who was likely working in the Cobalt area at the time. The man on the left could be one of two other ushers, Mr. Langdon B. Woods of Buffalo or Mr. F. K. Heakes of Cobalt.
2. The wedding party and reception guests on the front porch of 203 Clemow The resolution of the photograph and the shadows make it difficult to identify with confidence any of the group other than the wedding party and a few others. The gentleman on the centre left standing in front of the white pillar is identified by the caption on this version of the photo as Gwendolyn’s father-in-law, William B. Northrup, KC. Gwendolyn’s mother Margaret is likely the elderly lady on the porch to the right of Northrup. William F. Powell Jr., her second cousin, gave away the bride but he isn’t immediately visible but had a very similar appearance to the person identified as Northrup. Several of Powell’s sisters, and therefore also second-cousins of Gwendolyn, were elegantly dressed and mentioned in the newspaper article along with her mother (now Mrs. Northrup) and Gwendolyn’s great-aunt, Mrs. Rosanna Powell, who hosted the event at her home.
William F. Powell Sr. Family
William F. Powell Sr. (1826-1889)
William F. Powell Sr. was born in Perth, Upper Canada, in 1826 and by 1847 had moved to Bytown. He was the son of Colonel James Hamilton Powell. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Frederick_Powell) William F. Powell Sr. had a wide-ranging career that included being a Colonel of a local volunteer regiment, representative of the County of Carleton in the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada before Confederation, a one-time owner/editor of the Bytown Gazette (https://accessgenealogy.com/canada/1851-bytown-canada-directory.htm), High Sheriff of the county and an investor in many enterprises. By the time of his death in 1889, he owned much of the area north of the glebe lands and east of Bank Street. He married Rosanna Wallis (1837-1922) in 1857, the daughter of Colonel William Wallis of Port Hope, and they had five sons and four daughters as follows:
Francis Cockburn Powell (1860-1914) was the eldest son who gave up a successful law practice in Ottawa in 1905 to pursue opportunities in the booming mining area around Cobalt and lived nearby in Haileybury with his wife Blanche until 1913. He died in Ottawa in 1914 at the age of 53. It is worth pointing out that he would have almost certainly known the two young mining engineers/managers that lived in Cobalt at that time and that eventually married his second-cousins, Gwendolyn and Edith Clemow. It is reasonable to assume that there was some matchmaking going on. The social columns in Ottawa made reference to numerous early visits being made to Cobalt by Gwendolyn and Edith to visit their second-cousin Francis Cockburn Powell and his wife Blanche.
William F. Powell Jr. was educated locally and then at Upper Canada College and Royal Military College. On graduation, he returned home and joined the Princess Patricia’s Dragoons and, at the time of the Northwest Rebellion in 1883, found himself as second-in-command of the Rocky Mountain Rangers and was involved in numerous skirmishes in the west and reportedly acquitted himself well. On his return to Ottawa he and several other friends went on a treasure hunting adventure in the Pacific off of South America that ended in failure and a shipwreck. On the way home, he paused and worked for a year on the Panama Canal and then on constructing a railway in Nova Scotia. On his return, he joined the Ottawa Electric and Gas Company (two of his brothers also worked at this firm) rising to assistant manager. In 1891, William F. Powell Jr. married Dora Johnstone and they did not have any children. He was appointed as Chief of Police in 1896 and came to be very well-known, respected and influential in Ottawa due to his innovative and respected service in that position. (Ottawa Journal 23 July 1904) He resigned in 1904 to concentrate, in partnership with his first cousin, Henrietta Adelaide Clemow, on the development of the extensive Clemow and Powell family properties in the Glebe and projects in other areas of the city. As manager of the Clemow Estate, he supervised the construction of the leading edge Chicago-style department store built in 1905 at the corner of Rideau, Sussex and Mackenzie that housed several department stores and later government offices. The building will remembered in more recent years as the Daly Building which was demolished in 1991. https://www.historicalsocietyottawa.ca/activities/meetings/tag/NCC
Powell was active in local mining ventures before becoming Chief of Police and during the time he was with the Ottawa Electric Company. After resigning from the force, he spent considerable time in Cobalt to be part of the mining boom in the Porcupine area. In 1909, he become President of the Cobalt professional hockey team and during his time there would have joined his older brother’s social circle In Cobalt which likely would have included the two future mining engineer/manager husbands of his younger second cousins, Gwendolyn and Edith Clemow. The close relationship among the Clemow and Powell families is evidenced further in that William F. Powell Jr. gave away the bride at his second-cousin Gwendolyn Clemow’s wedding in 1910, given that her father had passed away 11 years earlier. Powell returned to his home in Ottawa in 1912 to stay and was heavily involved in the development of the Clemow-Powell properties on Clemow Avenue east of Bank to O’Connor. Powell’s initial personal home in the Clemora Reality development west of Bank was the beautiful and grand Spanish Revival home at 85 Glebe Avenue built in 1914 overlooking Patterson Creek Lagoon and is now the residence of the Ambassador of Vietnam. On selling that home in 1929, he then built the beautiful Tudor Revival style home at 27 Clemow bordering on Central Park East and lived there from 1930 until his death in 1933.
Colonel Arthur Hamilton Hume Powell (1869-1834) was active in the local militia (Princess Patricia’s Dragoon Guards) and on the outbreak of war in South Africa joined the South African Constabulary and served there for five years. On his return he joined the Royal Canadian Dragoons as a captain and began a long and impressive military career starting in St. Jean, Quebec. In 1910 he was posted to the Headquarter Staff in Halifax and four years later he became Acting Adjutant General and Acting Quartermaster General. On the outbreak of WW I, he was posted to Valcartier with the rank of Brigadier General. In 1918, he joined the Siberian Expedition as Adjutant-General and Camp Commandant and a member of the Allied Council in Vladivostok for the Eastern Front. On cessation of hostilities he resumed his career in Halifax becoming Commanding Officer of Military District 9 in Halifax where he remained until retirement. In 1898, he had married Louise Blanche Dacon and they had a son and daughter. (Ottawa Journal, 28 September 1934)
Ernest Clemow Powell (1872-1937) was pursuing a career with the Post Office Department and raising a family in Vancouver when he was drawn back to Ottawa in 1911 and entered into the real estate business. It is reasonable to assume that he was drawn back to Ottawa and into the real estate field having observed the great success of his older brother William F. Powell and his cousin Henrietta Adelaide Clemow with Clemora Realty in property development. Note that Ernest Clemow Powell took his turn to stand in and give away the bride at the wedding of his second-cousin, Gwendolyn’s younger sisiter, Edith Harriet Clemow in 1911. He built a magnificent new home in 1913 at 12 Allan Place and lived there until his death in 1937. The entrance faces Allan Place but the long south side of the dwelling borders and overlook Central Park East. At the time, he is reported in the City of Ottawa Directory as being employed as General Manager of Clemora Realty Ltd.
12 Allan Place
Claude H. Powell (1881-1916) was the youngest son of William F. Powell Sr. and his wife Rosanna. On the outbreak of war in 1914 at age 33, he joined the First Artillery Brigade as a gunner. He sustained a severe chest wound in the battle of Ypres in 1915 and spent over a year in hospital in England. In 1916, he returned to the trenches but shortly thereafter was reported missing in battle and presumed dead in June of that year. He had never married.
Mrs. Edith Cockburn (Powell) Merritt (1866-1947) married William Frederick Merritt, a banker, in 1898 at the age of 32. They had two children, initially lived in Ottawa and later in various cities in Ontario and ultimately in Nova Scotia.
Mrs. Kathleen Hume (Powell) Sladen (1866-1936) Kathleen married Arthur French Sladen, CMG CVO in 1891 at the age of 24. They had four sons, one of whom was a young army officer killed at Vimy Ridge. Arthur F. Sladen, served for 28 years as private secretary and head of personal staff for five Governors-General at Rideau Hall and participated in the major Vice-Regal state events and social activities in Ottawa over that period.
Mrs. Lola Beatrice (Powell) Charles
Topley Studio Fonds / Library and Archives Canada / PA-142262
Mrs. Lola Beatrice (Powell) Charles (1876- 1948) married Captain Eric Montague Seton Charles (Royal Engineers) in 1911 in Ottawa at age 35 and left shortly thereafter to live in Dublin and later in England where she lived until passing in 1948. They had one daughter. Captain Charles was the second son of the late T. Edmonston Charles, M.D., the former honorary physician to King Edward.
Mrs. Blanche Louise Maud (Powell) Francis, 1902
Topley Studio / Library and Archives Canada / PA-143937
Mrs. Blanche Louise Maud (Powell) Francis (1878-1942) Maud Powell married Mr. Britton Bath Osler Francis (broker/accountant) in 1904 at age 26. They had three children. The marriage did not last and Mr. Britton Francis moved to California around 1912 and resided there until his death in 1940. Mrs. Britton Francis remained socially prominent appearing regularly in the social columns of the day.
Part 3 in a series by Andrew Elliott and William Price
In another post we will look at Gwendolyn Clemow in more detail but for now we’ll focus on her siblings.
Mary Eileen Clemow (1879-1907) was their eldest daughter and was part of the social whirl and life of leisure she and her younger sisters enjoyed as popular and beautiful daughters of the prominent Clemow family.
The social columns of the day are filled with references to the “Misses Clemow” or individually attending major and minor Ottawa society social events including teas, weddings and engagement parties as well as travels to visit friends and relatives in other cities or at various summer residences.
This seemingly charmed life came to premature end for Eileen by suicide by gunshot in 1907 at the age of 28. Her death was due to an emerging mental illness perhaps made worse by the planned re-marriage of her long-widowed mother one month hence. (10 May 1907, St. John NB, The Sun)
Edith Harriet Clemow (1883-1930) is the younger sister of Gwendolyn
and who only a year later in 1911 married her own mining engineer and mine general manager from the Cobalt/Haileybury area, Norman R. Fisher (1878-1961). He was born in New Zealand to a prominent mining family and soon after graduating as a mining engineer, moved to the United States in 1906 to pursue his career. He moved to the booming mining area in Haileybury in 1907 and worked as a manager and consulting engineer for many operations but was with Temiskaming Mining Co. Ltd. in Cobalt from 1907 to 1914.
He continued to be involved in many successful mine operations in the area and was at Thetford Mines in Quebec from 1921 to 1929.
He relocated his base to Montreal and formed Shield Development Co., Ltd. was a director of that firm until his death in 1961. Over this period he was an executive engineer and consultant for many mining organizations in Canada and in other countries was heavily involved in professional organizations early in his career as a member of the Empire Council of Mining and Metallurgical Organizations and member of the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. http://www.nmrs.org.uk/resources/obituarie-of-members/f/norman-richard-fisher/ At the time of Edith’s wedding, the Clemow-Powell connection to Cobalt was at its peak with her sister Gwendolyn (now Mrs. Charles O’Connell), her two second-cousins, Francis Cockburn Powell and William F. Powell, all living in Cobalt.
Again, Mrs. Rosanna Powell hosted the wedding reception for her grand-niece in late 1911 at her home at 203 Clemow. This time, the younger brother of William F. Powell Jr., Earnest C. Powell, stepped in to give away his second-cousin Edith at her wedding. Edith and Norman Fisher went on to have a son and two daughters. Edith Fisher sadly passed away in 1930 in Montreal at only 47 years of age. It is interesting to note that in 1948, their son Thomas Fisher married Miss Anne Elizabeth Soper, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Warren Soper of Westmount. Harold Warren Soper was a son of the famed and very wealthy turn-of-the-century Ottawa industrialist Warren Young Soper. Harold Warren Soper’s older brother, Walter E. Soper, purchased 203 Clemow in 1923 from the estate following the passing of Mrs. Rosanna Powell in 1922. 1916
William Francis Clemow (1888-1940) pursued a banking career in Toronto, never married and Passed away following surgery in 1940 at the age of 52 with his sister Gwendolyn at his bedside.
Adelaide Henrietta Clemow (1861-1931) was the youngest of Senator Francis Clemow’s children and at the time of her father’s death in 1902 was sole surviving heir to Senator Clemow’s estate.
She chose to not marry, took an active role in the management of her inheritance including the development of her land holdings in the Glebe and elsewhere in Ottawa and continued to live in the family mansion “Hill and Dale” on Maria (now Laurier) Street in downtown Ottawa until her death in 1931 at the age of 70. According to the social columns in the Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Journal of the day, she was an important part of the lives of her nieces and other young female relatives who often stayed with her when they visited Ottawa. Her significant affection for her close relatives is evidenced by her substantial bequests to them from her very sizeable estate on her death (5 September 1931, Ottawa Citizen)
This type of low key frame house tends to be the more unloved cousin to the larger red brick homes more common to the Glebe neighborhood. A year ago the Built Heritage Subcommittee considered a request regarding the place in a letter from the propety owner, reported in the minutes as follows:
“In November 2020, staff received a request to remove 217 Strathcona Avenue from the Heritage Register. This property was listed on the Heritage Register in 2019 through the Heritage Inventory Project. The requestor disputes that the property contains cultural heritage value and has several concerns including condition of the building and potential impact on future development. Heritage Planning staff re-evaluated the property using the Heritage Inventory Project criteria: design and context. Staff determined that the property meets these criteria. As a good example of an early Glebe cottage, staff find that the property contains cultural heritage value and recommend keeping it on the Heritage Register.”
These days this kind of house is an increasingly rare commodity in the Glebe. There are only a few of these places located mmostly in the southern part of the Glebe. Over forty years ago there was a brief report about the house in the 1980 heritage ottawa newsletter.
Apparently the house had been recognized by the NCC has having a high level of heritage value. As was stated back then:
“The NCC has been particularly interested in the property as they believe that the front part of the house was a farm or canal labourers dwelling prior to the subdivision of the Glebe . It is evidently an increasingly rare example of a small, simple dwelling from the early days of Ottawa that has survived more or less intact in its original condition…”
in this 1890s fire insurance plan you will note that Strathcona was named George Street but none of the Glebe area had anything more detailed in terms of house plans as it was still mostly undeveloped land.
You can see the house is shown on this 1912 fire insurance plan (courtesy of library and archives canada)
As noted by the owner in 1980, it had a number of interesting features:
“The following items are of particular interest to Heritage oriented people: original – wood siding ; front and side porches with ornamental posts and trim ; gingerbread bargeboard ; pressed tin ceiling in the kitchen ; extensive V groove wood panelling ; stair rail and newel post ; door, window and baseboard trim ; softwood and hardwood floors ; ornamental hot water radiators ; original bath room fixtures including clawfoot bath and other hardware; original acorn furnace in basement.”
So can anyone find out whether this place is to be demolished? If it’s on the Heritage Register it has to go through a more formal process relating to a request for demolition and so far I haven’t been able to find anything concrete in the minutes of the Built Heritage Subcommittee or planning committee.
It appears that additional minor variances were approved by the committee of adjustment. These minor variances were effectively requiring that the existing structure be demolished and replaced with something new.
Part 2 of a series by Andrew Elliott and William Price
The Ottawa Clemow and Powell families were linked through marriage when the future Senator Francis Clemow (1821-1902) and Margaret Powell (1826-1901) married in 1846. Mrs. Margaret (Powell) Clemow was the sister of William F. Powell Sr. (1826-1889) who had married Rosanna Wallis (1837-1922) in 1857. Each couple’s children and their descendants would forever be linked by their Powell blood.
Senator Francis Clemow Family
Senator Francis Clemow and Mrs. Margaret (Powell) Clemow
Senator Francis Clemow (1821-1902) arrived in Bytown from Toronto at the age of 20 having completed his education at Upper Canada College and began an incredible career that included being a manager of a freight forwarding firm, a journalist and founder of a newspaper “The Monarchist”, a merchant, an immigration and law court officer, a successful proponent of the Ottawa waterworks, the president of Ottawa Gas Works, managing director of the electric company in Ottawa, Chairman of the Ottawa Collegiate Institute (Lisgar), city councillor and, from 1885 until his death in 1902, a Conservative Senator. At the time of his death, he had acquired substantial undeveloped land holdings in the north end of the Glebe. Senator Francis Clemow (1821-1902) and Mrs. Margaret (Powell) Clemow (1826-1901), the daughter of Colonel James Hamilton Powell of Perth and sister of William F. Powell Sr., were married in 1846 and had one son and two daughters.
Francis Cockburn Clemow (1852-1899) became a prominent and successful lawyer in Ottawa and regrettably died very young at age 47 in 1899 while visiting Detroit. He had married Margaret Schryver Fitch (1858-1934) in 1878 and they had three daughters and one son.
In the next part we will discuss these children in more detail.
Part 1 By William Price and Andrew Elliott The reception celebrating the wedding earlier that day (October 8, 1910) between Gwendolyn Beatrice Clemow (age 29) – centre of photo above – and Charles Augustus O’Connell (age 39) – centre right of above photo – was held at the brand new home at 203 Clemow Avenue owned by the bride’s great-aunt, Mrs. Rosanna (Wallis) Powell.
These oft-published reception photographs at 203 Clemow were taken by the early Ottawa society photographer JamesTopley and are remarkable in capturing a moment in time involving the newly developed upper-middle class streetcar suburb developed by Clemow-Powell (later Clemora) Realty in the north-end of the Glebe and the wealthy and prominent Clemow and Powell families in Ottawa. These families were linked both through partnership in the real estate development, by blood through an earlier marriage and to the significant involvement of both families in much of the early political, business and social history of Ottawa.
The following series of posts will attempt to identify all the people and provide a short history of their lives.
Here is what the place looked like in 1981 (courtesy the Glebe Report), just after it had received heritage designation by the city of Ottawa.
A landmark since 1906, it was built at at time when the Ottawa Improvement Commission was at the very early stages of creating the driveway along the canal as a beautiful place to visit. Before then, the area was a rough work in progress, as these images (located in the Library and Archives Canada photo collection) from 1902-1903 attest to.
Into this new area arrives William R. Queale. Until recently not much was known about Queale. But some sleuthing has uncovered some interesting facts about this Ottawa businessman. One of the first references is his marriage to Miss Emma George In 1897. In this clipping, it is noted that he is one of the proprietors of the Bodega Hotel. More o that shortly.
Another newspaper clipping from 1904 suggests a slightly less than happy couple:
The business partnership between Queale and his hotel partner Mills came to an end in 1899:
From 1903, we learn he is the proprietor of a Bodega Hotel on Wellington Street at Elgin
In 1905, one news article notes that he was charged thirty dollars for selling liquor outside of legal hours:
Again in 1905, he caught selling liquor on Election Day.
And again in 1905, a truly breathtaking story of Queale trying to break into his brother in laws house at 18 First Avenue to take possession of his children:
It appears that Queale did not live here and rented out all five units. In fact, Queale was not long for the world, as he died in 1908 (at the moment we cannot find his obituary).
In 1909, we find this advertisement for the 5 units, described as being part of the estate of Queale, and also promoted as an investment property:
We have a few interesting snippets relating to the Queale family:
Here’s an interesting event that the Glebe Heritage Committee is promoting:
WHAT? A One-Day Heritage Plaque Event in the Glebe
WHY? To celebrate the wonderful architecture and social history of the Glebe.
WHEN? During the Great Glebe Garage Sale on Saturday May 23, 2015
WHO? The owners/residents of Glebe homes with support from the GCA Heritage Committee.
HOW? Prepare and install a simple temporary plaque/sign and attach it a stick or tree on your lawn near the sidewalk that identifies the history or your home and its architectural style. This could include details on the builder/architect and details on it’s historical occupants.
You can find a basic 1/2 page template and an example here: (MicroSoft Word Document) (or by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org), or feel free to design your own! Type it up, handwrite it, include photographs, whatever you like! We suggest you print it on a 1/2 page adhesive label than can be adhered to a foam board/cardboard and stapled to a long wood stake.
During last year’s Great Glebe Garage Sale, the GCA Heritage Committee and Heritage Ottawa partnered to conduct a trial of a one day plaque event of all the homes along Glebe Avenue East of Bank and Linden Terrace. The trial was a great success enjoyed by both the residents of the buildings as well as many hundreds of visitors who passed by and read the plaques. The Heritage Committee would like to make this an annual feature of the GGGS and in help increase awareness and appreciation among residents and visitors of the special and value heritage character of our Glebe neighbourhood.
For additional information on how to research the history of your home, check out the City of Ottawa Archives guide on Researching the History of your Home. For other assistance or questions, contact the Heritage Committee at email@example.com. The committee is happy to help identify the architectural style of your house or prepare your label for you with any information you might have.