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John Hepinstall (Post Master) 1890-1899

A brick office building with three wooden doors and multiple windows sits on the side of a hill.

Originally the post office and Gillies’ Bros. office, this building operated for a short period in the mid 1990’s as “Gillies Landing Restaurant.” In the summer of 2019, it was converted to condominiums and painted beige.


John stepped outside into the cool morning air to listen for the westbound train. Mr. James Gillies was outside, anxiously waiting for his copy of the Arnprior Chronicle. He’d heard that they published a list of square timber cut by all the lumber firms in the Ottawa Valley for the 1889-1890 season. Mr. Gillies figured that they were in the top third of that list at 400,000 cubic feet. It was selling at 26 cents per cubic foot which was an improvement over previous years. Mr. Gillies said he wished his father, Mr. John Gillies, had lived another year to witness this milestone.

John swung his arms above his head and felt the muscles tug in his shoulders. He yearned for more physical labour even though he earned far more than the men in the mill. He also knew how dangerous that work could be. Just last month, fourteen-year-old James McPherson lost one of his fingers in an accident at the new shingle mill.

Two rows of baseball players pose for a team photograph in front of crossed wooden bats.

Braeside Baseball Team 1897.


Fortunately, baseball season would be starting soon. John was a shortstop which suited his quick reflexes and strong throwing arm. His chum, “Catch” Mosley, assured him that he had a good chance of making the Braeside Baseball Team this year, and he’d need all his fingers if he wanted to play. John stepped around the corner and threw an imaginary ball right at the tallest chimney below.

A man stands on a railway track that runs between buildings at a large saw mill site.

Renfrew photographer Gus Handford documented the Gillies Bros. Mill and surrounding buildings circa 1900; prior to the fire that completely destroyed it in June 1919.