Daly House Museum has received a donation of a plaque made of schist rock from Queenstown, New Zealand.
The plaque, to be installed in the museum’s Victorian Garden, was presented to the museum by Alex Glennie from Invercargill, New Zealand in memory of his great-uncle John Walker Glennie, who died in Brandon during the typhoid epidemic of 1905.
With a posting on ancestry.com for information in 2001, Alex Glennie began his search for the truth behind the family legend that John Walker Glennie had come to Canada for free land and died in Quebec.
It took another eight years of searching online through various provincial genealogy websites past before Alex contacted a professional genealogist in Quebec, who discovered that John Walker had died in the Brandon General Hospital of typhoid fever on Sept. 10, 1905.
From this information, Glennie began searching for more records regarding John Walker’s death and burial. He contacted the Brandon Regional Health Centre and was able to obtain his great-uncle’s medical file.
Other researchers in the area searched through the many cemeteries around Brandon in order to try to locate John Walker’s grave, but nothing was discovered.
However, advice from local researcher Janet Nicholson brought Alex to the conclusion that his great-uncle was likely interred in the Brandon cemetery in a pauper’s grave.
"I thought I would visit Brandon and leave some sort of memorial plaque for John W. in the Brandon Cemetery," Glennie said. "However, I soon found this would not be allowed by the city authorities.
"The Daly House Museum came to my rescue and offered to place the plaque in their Victorian Garden. I hope that John Walker Glennie’s memory will now linger on in Brandon for many years to come."
The Daly House Museum is honoured to be able to give the Glennie family a chance to honour their ancestor by giving the plaque a home.
The plaque and the story of the family’s search for the truth about their great-uncle’s life will be a unique piece of history to tell visitors to the garden and museum.
"John Walker Glennie’s story highlights a little known piece of history of our area," museum curator Eileen Trott said.
"We commonly think of the Spanish influenza being the most serious disease to affect our local communities, but during the early years of settlement in our area, there were many outbreaks of typhoid and other diseases.
"The surrounding areas often wrote to the Brandon General Hospital requesting nurses be sent out to assist with the epidemics and an isolation hospital was built in Brandon to deal with the sick."
As soon as the museum’s garden committee and volunteers are able to begin planting, the plaque and a rose bush will be placed in the garden.