By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement
While on tour, our Visitor Hosts are often asked questions that they may not be able to answer in that moment. However, we take note of the questions and try to find the answers afterwards. Here are a few of the questions that we were asked throughout 2022
Is John Henry, former Oshawa Mayor and current Durham Regional Chair, related to the Henry family?
We asked His Worship this question upon his first election as Mayor in 2010, and he claimed that there was no connection.
What year is the Fire Insurance Map from?
In Robinson House, in the Leaving Home, Finding Home in Oshawa exhibit, there is a large map showcasing a neighbourhood in Oshawa with many landmarks of significance to the eastern European community. That map dates to 1948, and you can read more about it in a previous blog post!
Did the Henry family know how to speak French?
As far as we know, it doesn’t seem to be a language that was spoken at home. The 1891 Census has a column for ‘French Canadian,’ 1901 has a column for ‘Mother Tongue’ and 1911 has a column for ‘Language Commonly Spoken;’ the Henry siblings all indicate English in these columns.
In 1960, Thomas’s Granddaughter, Arlie DeGuerre, shared family history in The Life and Times of Thomas Henry. When recalling Thomas’s War of 1812 involvement, she stated,
“Thomas Henry… was employed to attend this new Judge on an official trip to Montreal. He remained in Montreal a month and learned something of the French language” (page 2).
A grain of salt is always taken when using this source as there are some inaccuracies within.
Did the Henry family have a cat/have pets?
This was one I was also asked on a tour this fall. The 1851 Agricultural Return tells us that, for livestock, they had:
- 4 bulls, oxen or steers
- 4 milch cows (a cow in milk or kept for her milk)
- 3 cows/heifers
- 3 horses
- 27 sheep (with 100 lbs of wool)
- 7 pigs
There is no apparently mention to pets in the Memoir of Thomas Henry, nor any mention in Arlie DeGuerre’s writings.
What year was the music box in Henry House made?
For this answer, I’ll direct you to a post written by Kes back in December.
When did someone last live in Henry House?
The last Henry family member to live in Henry House was William. He lived there until the 1910s. Between 1917 and into the early 1920s, the Mackie family called the house home. It was used for a time as a ‘rest room’ for mothers, a place to rest while their children were playing in the park. It was home to Nasion and Emelline (Ned & Lina) Smith from the 1930s to 1942, and Harry Smith, a Parks Board of Management employee and in charge of Lakeview Park maintenance, lived in the home into the 1950s.
In 1959, the Oshawa Historical Society received word that they could use Henry House as a local museum. Doors opened in 1960, and we’ve welcomed thousands of visitors every year since.
Thank you for visiting!