Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
WILLIAM GEMMILL resides about
seven miles south from Wilbur on one of the largest estate in the entire
Big Bend country. It consists of fourteen hundred acres of fertile
wheat land, all in a high state of cultivation and improved with everything
necessary to a first class Washington farm. The residence is commodious
and beautiful, situated amid shade trees and orchards, making it an ideal
rural abode. Mr. Gemmill is to be classed as one of the earliest
pioneers of this part of the country and his vast possessions have been
made as a result of his thrift, wisdom, and his energy. He was born
in Wisconsin, on September 21, 1859, being the son of William Gemmill,
a native of Pennsylvania. The father later moved to Indiana and in
1850 went to California, where he engaged in mining. He returned
to the middle states and located in Wisconsin in 1856 and when he settled
in that state he was fifty miles from a railroad. He had been a pioneer
in Indiana and California before this and was one of the rugged frontiersmen
who have made this country what it is. He died in 1898, aged seventy.
Our subject was reared in Wisconsin and passed
his youthful days as is common for boys on the frontier, laboring on the
farm and studying in the district school. In 1884, he came to Washington
and located on a preemption twelve miles west from Wilbur. Later,
he sold that property and took a homestead and timber culture claim, where
he is now located. The rest of his estate has been acquired by purchase
and as every piece has fallen into his possession it has been transformed
from the wild into fertile fields productive of abundant crops. Everything
about the place has an air of thrift and good taste and Mr. Gemmill is
to be congratulated on the possession of such choice estates.
In 1892, Mr. Gemmill married Miss Anita Maldonado.
She was born in Mazatlan, Mexico, and educated in St. Catherine's Convent
at Benica, California, and at St. Rose's Convent at San Francisco.
She received a very liberal training in languages and fine arts and is
able to converse in French and Spanish as fluently as in English.
In 1875, she came to Washington with her parents and settled in Walla Walla.
Since then she has traveled a great deal but Washington has been her home
place. She is a lady of high accomplishments and exceptional virtues.
Her father, Francesco Maldonado, was the son of a Spanish nobleman.
He was born in Spain and there received a fine clasical education and was
then admitted to the bar. When a young man, he came to Mexico and
entered the practice of law. Later, he received a seat in the judiciary,
where his erudition and stanch principles made him a valued member.
Then he was elected governor of Sinaloa, Mexico, which office he held until
his death. His widow later married Isaiah Revenaugh, a pioneer of
California, and one of the very earliest pioneers of Walla Walla, then
of the Big Bend country. He located a stock ranch on Crab creek as
early as 1871. By trade, he was a blacksmith and had large experience
in frontier life. On account of a fierce encounter with a grizzly
in California, he received the sobriquet of "Grizzly." He was a well
known and substantial citizen. His death occurred in 1900, two years
after his wife's demise. Mr. and Mrs. Gemmill are highly respected
people and their home is the center of refined hospitality.