Gillespie Cousins

British Columbia cousins to the Gillespie clan

In this picture, taken in Clyde River, September 2011 are Lorraine and Bernard Portier of Vancouver, British Columbia. Lorraine is the granddaughter of Richard Gillespie, formerly of Clyde River and, therefore, a cousin of Sadie and John Gillespie’s family – George, Ethel, Wayne, Carol and Douglas. This was Lorraine and Bernard Portier’s first visit to Prince Edward Island and they enjoyed it so much they are looking forward to a return visit. What an experience for Lorraine to stand in front of the building where her grandfather once went to school!

There is an interesting history here. In 1889, Richard Gillespie and his brother Frank left Clyde River to find work in the western parts of Canada. They worked as deckhands on a northward bound vessel and after a difficult and dangerous journey, arrived in the Yukon in 1897.

These brothers worked hard and fared well in the mining industry. Richard mined and became the District Mining Recorder in Dawson City. His brother Frank was also successful, discovering a mineral that was named Gillespite. (Douglas Gillespie, the current Chair of the Clyde River Community Council has a sample of the Gillespie mineral.) Neither of these brothers returned to live on Prince Edward Island. Frank remained in the Yukon and is buried there. Richard retired to Newton, B.C. and his descendents live there.

Highlights of Lorraine and Bernard Portier’s visit to PEI included tracing Lorraine’s grandfather’s family heritage and meeting extended members of the Gillespie family. Wayne Gillespie and his sister Carol Murray showed them around our Island. They really enjoyed their tour and dinner with their “new” cousins at the home of George and Beverly Gillespie.

Note that the History and Stories of Clyde River included the story of the Gillespite mineral, and this history helped to reconnect these family connections.