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dc.contributor.authorAdams, Anne
dc.descriptionAda Gladys Killins Ada Gladys Killings was born in December of 1901 in Caistor Township. She was the first child of Robert John Killins (1869-1942) and Rachel Amelia Swick (1871-1939). The family spent some time in Alberta as homesteaders. They returned to Ontario and engaged in farming until Robert John took a job in the Shredded Wheat Factory in Niagara Falls. Gladys was the artistic member of the family. She attended Normal school and became an art teacher at the newly opened Memorial School in Niagara Falls, Ontario in 1924 where she remained until 1947. Gladys was not particularly fond of children nor did she associate on a regular basis with her colleagues. When she left teaching, she moved to Glen Cross near Orangeville. Killins studied art with Franz Johnston in the 1930s and she also took summer classes with Carl Schaefer in Geneva Park between 1935 and 1938. Her work was presented at the Eleventh Annual Exhibition of the Canadian Society of painters of Water Colour at the Art Gallery of Toronto in 1938. Despite the fact that she didn’t have a steady income, she didn’t advertise her work nor have a gallery promote her. Two of her more notable works were Town Hall which was hung in the Niagara Falls City Hall. This painting was also shown at the Canadian exhibition at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. Factory Closed, which was a social statement was also shown that year. Her paintings were shown at almost every show sponsored by the CSPWC (Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour) up until 1959. Fifteen of her paintings were shown at “Four Canadian Painters” at the Art Gallery of Ontario in November of 1942. In 1948 she had an exhibition at the Niagara Falls Public Library. In 1950 her work was included in “Contemporary Canadian Arts”. There was an exhibition of thirty pictures at the Gallery of Fine Arts in Owen Sound in 1954. This was to be her last major show during her lifetime. Robert Ivan Killins Ada Gladys’ siblings included Robert Ivan Killins (1907-1963) and Harold Cyril Killins (1909- 2002). Robert Ivan Killins was hailed as the intellectual member of the family. He attended Queen’s University in Kingston. He held racist and anti-Catholic views and had a violent temper. Robert was ordained as a United Church minister. He married Florence Irene Fraser (1920-1963) and they had a daughter, Pearl Irene Killins (1944-1963). From 1932-1946, he held posts in White River, Ontario; Cartier, Ontario; Depot Harbour, Ontario and Clanwilliam Manitoba. In 1945, Robert is listed as living in Clanwilliam, but “not in pastoral work”. Robert was never happy with his parishes. He would complain and ask for money when there was none available. When his requests weren’t met, he would ignore his duties and move on. He met Florence Fraser in 1938 when she was seventeen and he was thirty-one. They waited until Florence was eighteen before they married. Florence got pregnant in 1943 although Robert was opposed to having children. By this point, Florence had left him several times but he always brought her back. After his term in Clanwilliam, Robert built a shack in Rushkin, B.C. He had been very controlling in his relationship with Florence and sought to isolate her. This shack burned down and it was at this time that Florence and baby Pearl left. Gladys tried to help Florence by buying a shack near Parry Sound to be able to visit. She also gave some of her paintings to Florence. Florence was twenty-six when she landed at Colborne, Ontario. It is here that she met fifty-three-year-old lawyer Austin Davis Hall. Florence sought a divorce from Robert, but he wouldn’t grant her one. Austin Davis, or A.D. as he was called and Florence had three children together. Margaret was born in 1950, Brian was born in 1952 and Patsy was born in 1956. After a few months of Florence living with A.D., Robert arrived at their door saying that he had no intention of losing touch with his child. There was an agreement reached about Robert seeing Pearl but Robert caused problems by moving as close to them as he could and taking liberties like walking into their house uninvited. The family moved often to avoid Robert’s stalking behavior, but Robert always found them. In 1956, A.D. Hall suffered a heart attack and his ill health seemed to give Robert more power within the family. The couple had moved into an old farmhouse near Castleton where A.D. had begun building a new house. At this time, Robert’s presence was so obtrusive that Florence and A.D. lived in two rooms of the courthouse for three years. Robert couldn’t build a shack near the courthouse so this arrangement worked well. A.D. died in 1962. Robert maintained such a presence in Florence’s life, that the three younger children weren’t aware that he was not their father. They called Robert “Dad” just as Pearl did and they called their real father “Joey”. After A.D’s death, Florence found a new partner in retired miner, Tom Major and she became pregnant with his child. Major began making plans for the family to move to northern Ontario. Harold Cyril Killins By 1927, the Killins family had moved to a farm in Fonthill. Harold Killins was running the farm at the age of 18 and he was also a bee keeper. His mother never considered him as her favourite. He lived in the shadow of Robert and Gladys. His positive personality was the opposite of his siblings’. In 1931, he worked at the Vineland Experimental Station. Harold received his B.S.A. in 1936. His mother Rachel didn’t see farm work as something that should be studied at university so this was not an event to be celebrated. He married the love of his life, Ethel Fry in 1940. After running the Killins family farm, Harold and his family relocated to Brantford. Harold’s career was in animal health and nutrition. In 1960, Harold was transferred to British Columbia and to Calgary in 1962. The Castleton Massacre It was obvious to Pearl and Florence that Robert’s erratic behavior and penchant for violence were getting worse. Florence tried to get Pearl to stay with her grandparents in Vancouver, but Pearl rebelled against this. Pearl traveled to Toronto where she met up with her boyfriend, Fred Campbell. They eloped, and it wasn’t long before she was pregnant. Robert offered the young couple a house so that he could watch them. On May 2, 1963, Robert Killins went on a rampage and shot and killed Gladys and her dog Taffy, his daughter Pearl (19) who was eight months pregnant, his wife Florence who was pregnant and Florence’s youngest daughter Patsy (6). He was armed with two revolvers and a shotgun loaded with deer pellets. At the time, Robert’s health was rapid decline. His heart was weak and he had been using strychnine to treat himself. He was a diabetic and gangrene had set into his leg. Doctors had suggested amputation, but he had refused treatment. Three men tried to intervene. Frederick Campbell, Pearl’s husband was shot in the throat while trying to protect Pearl. Thomas Major who lived with Florence was shot in the neck and jaw, but managed to bludgeon Robert in the head. A neighbour and schoolteacher, Peter Miller also fought with Robert and was shot in his arms and hands. All three men survived. Florence’s son Brian (10) had a shotgun blast travel over his head, singeing his hair. Margaret was treated for shock after coming face to face with Robert while hiding under a bed. Robert had $3,000 in a money belt and despite his head wound he fled the scene and drove away. He only made it about 10 kilometers west of Castleton. His driving was erratic and his shotgun was pointing out of the car window. Police forced him into a ditch. Robert fell into a coma and was under guard at Coburg General Hospital. He died the following day. The two surviving children, Margaret and Brian were sent to live with Gladys and Robert’s brother Harold and his family in Calgary. Harold and his family offered a secure, loving environment for the children. Brian and Margaret went on to have successful careers and fulfilling family lives.en_US
dc.description.abstract7 cm. of textual material, 76 b&w photos, 45 col. slides, 1 col. postcard and 9 watercolour paintingsen_US
dc.subjectKillins -- art -- massacre -- femicide -- watercolours -- Castleton -- Dunchurch -- Glen Cross -- artistsen_US
dc.titleAda Gladys Killins fondsen_US

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