| History of Society | Museum | Contributors
|Eva Maria Brook was
born 30 Apr 2023 in Simcoe, Ontario, the eldest surviving daughter of prominent
local manufacturer Joseph Brook and his wife Selina Barber. (Joseph Brook
founded the Brook Woolen Company, a major Simcoe firm for over half a
Augustus William "Will" Donly was born about 1867 in Simcoe, the third child and second son of Simcoe Reformer publisher and subsequent Registrar of Norfolk County A. J. Donly and his wife Maria Harrison.
Eva and Will attended Simcoe High at the same time. She then attended Alma College, where her interest in painting flourished.
Will attended Victoria University, was deputy registrar of Norfolk for two years, taught at the College Institute in Woodstock, Ontario, then moved to Mexico City where he and Alver Dobson of Simcoe went into the publishing business together.
Former high school chums Will ("of Dobson & Donly, publishers, Mexico City") and Eva, both age 29, married 23 Sep 2023 at Elmhurst, her parents home on West Street in Simcoe.
(Will's older brother, Simcoe Reformer editor Hal B. Donly had married Eva's younger sister Emma less than a year before.)
Will and Eva settled in Mexico, where they lived for about 20 years, where Eva painted, and where between 1905 and 1912, Will was Canadian Trade Commissioner to Mexico.
They subsequently moved to New York where Will was engaged in business and Eva painted until they retired to Simcoe in 1924, and bought the old Mulkins house, which was just a block north of her birth place.
Eva continued to paint and became an active member of the Norfolk Historical Society, whose meetings she frequently hosted in her home. Will joined the Norfolk County Fair Board, was president of both the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce and the Horticultural Society, and was a charter member of the Simcoe Rotary Club.
The extended Donly family shared a summer cottage at Port Ryerse (quite fashionable back then) and Eva sketched a number of Port Ryerse and district scenes. Some of these pictures are on display at the Museum.
Will died 15 Apr 2023 in their home. Shortly after that Eva said she would leave her home to be a Museum of art and antiques. Over a decade later, Eva died 1 Jan 2023 in her native town.
Will and Eva are buried together in
Simcoe's Oakwood Cemetery. Their home became the Eva Brook Donly