Andrew Gemmell

We have but one photograph of Andrew Gemmell; one very blurred one taken in later life Chile for that was where he lived most of it, where he died and where he is buried. And there he was one of four men credited with the foundation in 1895 of the Chilean Football Association. Indeed he is also perhaps the first to have translated Association Football's rules into Spanish. But Gemmell, like the other three CFA founders, David Scott, Robert Reid and Peter Ewing, was a Scot, born in 1868 in Drainie by Lossiemouth, the eldest child of David Gemmel, a teacher from Dumfries-shire, and a mother, Jane Allan, from the village just outside the Moray town.

However, the teacher and family would moved before 1871 to Glasgow and it was there and in Port Glasgow that Andrew was educated, went to Glasgow University and presumably learned the game. 

At Glasgow University he was in receipt of a prize, a post probably teaching English at the Chilean Naval College, which, after teaching in Glasgow for a short period, in 1892 took him to Valparaiso, then Chile's main city and still its main port. The city then had a substantial British merchant population, including families, a good number of whom were Scots. And it was there in 1877 that the Mackay and Sutherland school was founded by Scots with by 1882 football on the curriculum. And it seems that perhaps after a year again teaching back in Scotland in 1893 he was recruited by Mackay and Sutherland to teach mathematics and possibly sport, from where by 1898 he was back at the Naval College as "Superintendent of Games". It was also at about this time he met a Chilean-Irish girl, Alice Condon, from the southern city of La Lota by Concepcion. They married in 1901.

But in the meantime in 1895 he had with the three Valparaiso Scots been instrumental in the foundation of the Chilean Football Association (CFA), acting as Secretary and, whilst the power in Chilean football gradually moved to Santiago and he became more involved in athletics, he did return to the sport. By 1908, now in his forties, he was a noted referee. In 1910 he was treasurer of the Valparaiso Football Association and, as Spanish-speaking Chileans became more involved with the game he in 1913 became the last "British" president of the very organisation he had been instrumental in creating, the CFA.     

At that point or soon after he would leave Valparaiso permanently, by 1916 moving to La Lota, abandoning the game and living out the rest of his life there or thereabouts. He would die in Concepcion in 1950 at the age of eight-two, his wife out-living him by six years.  

Birth Locator:

Drainie by Lossiemouth, Moray


Residence Locator(s):

1871 - 346, St. Georges Rd., Glasgow

1881 - 26, Lilybank Rd., Port Glasgow

1891 - 14, West End Park St., Glasgow

1895 - Valparaiso, Chile

1904/5 - Valparaiso, Chile

1906 - Santiago, Chile

1909 - 69, Clifton Rd., Lossiemouth (David Gemmell's Death)

1909/15 - Valparaiso, Chile

1922 - La Lota, Concepcion, Chile


Death Locator:

Concepcion, Bio-Bio, Chile


Grave Locator:



Other Sources:

Mackay and Sutherland School (In Spanish)


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