The Henry Grandkids – Ambrose Henry

By Jill Passmore, Visitor Experience Co-ordinator

Ambrose Henry was the first child born to John Henry and Elizabeth Hait; he was the first grandchild.  At the time of his birth, November 3, 1847, his father and mother were living in a 1 ½ storey frame home in Darlington Township.

Ambrose married Sarah Anne Tuer on January 14, 1869 in Bowmanville.  In 1871, John and Sarah lived in Darlington Township and John farmed.  They had two children during their marriage, Hortense, born in 1871, and Martia.  It seems Martia was born in 1872 and possibly died in the same year.

By 1881, his father John is living with Ambrose and Sarah and acting as a land agent.  Mary Tuer, Sarah’s mother, is also living with them and their daughter Hortense. 

The 1891 Census lists them as being Methodist instead of Christian and living in East Whitby.  Thomas Henry raised all of his children as Christians/Disciples of Christ, and Ambrose’s father, John continued this.  It is unknown how they came about the decision to change denominations.

By 1901, Ambrose and Sarah’s parents who were living with them had both passed away.  A woman named Edna Drinkle was listed as their servant and Ambrose was a merchant.  In 1906, Ambrose was elected as Warden for Ontario Country.

In 1911, he worked at a local grocery; in 1921 he is recorded living at 66 Drew Street, Oshawa with his daughter Hortense and her husband John Herancourt.

Ambrose Henry died on May 26, 1929 of myocardia failure due to arteriosclerosis at the age of 81; he is buried in Union Cemetery near his parents.  The following is Ambrose’s obituary from the Toronto Daily Star:

Pioneer is Dead

The death took place early to-day of Ambrose E. Henry, one of the most prominent citizens and pioneers of this district, at his home on Drew St.  Mr. Henry was in his 82nd year and for more than half a century was connected with the Masonic order.  He was born in 1848 on the Henry homestead at Oshawa-on-the-Lake, the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Henry, and saw Oshawa grow from obscurity to its present position.  He entered the grocery business, retiring twenty years ago to enter the employ of General Motors as foreman of stockrooms, and retired from that five years later.

To Mr. Henry is given credit for the building of the Masonic Temple here, and during his illness his suffering was mitigated by many tributes from local Masons.  He was a grand steward of the Grand Lodge of Canada and in the Royal Arch Masons he was past grand superintendent of district number 10.  Funeral service will be held on Wednesday, Rev. Ernest Harston officiating.  Mrs. John Herancourt, a daughter, survives.

Toronto Daily Star, May 28, 1929
Henry Headstone, Union Cemetery

The Month That Was – July 1902

All articles originally appeared in the Ontario Reformer

July 4, 1902

Page 1
Lost. On or about the 21st of June, between Conlin’s School House and Oshawa, a finger glove used in ball playing, was lost. The finder will be liberally rewarded by leaving it at this office. July 3, 1902.

Page 4
Mr. John Goyne, formerly of Oshawa, is a member of No. 3 Field Hospital and Bearer Company, of Montreal, which won first prize in the first aid work and drill competition at St. Helen’s Island last week. The squad, which is comprised of six men, won 279 marks of a possible 300. John will be in Oshawa next week to spend his summer vacation.

Oshawa Old Boys Reunion – Many towns throughout the province have of late been holding re-union celebrations and on all occasions the event has proved successful in every respect. We think it now up to Oshawa to make a move for such a festival and suggest that action be at once taken in the matter.  There is plenty of time for a citizens committee to take hold of this scheme and make a successful demonstration here on the Annual Labour Day holiday.  We feel confident that whoever offers to take the matter in hand will receive the support of the entire community.  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Deaths
Farewell – In Saulte Ste. Marie, on Wednesday, the 2nd inst., Dr. George M Farewell in his 65th year.  The Funeral will leave the family homestead at Harmony, on Saturday afternoon, 5th inst., at 2:30 o’clock.

Page 8
Kawartha Lakes
Before deciding on a place at which to spend the vacation this summer, it is will to take into consideration the many advantages of the Kawartha Lakes region of Ontario, Canada.  As a place for camping the region has to superior.  For the most part, the shores of the lakes are untouched by man. Nature is seen in all her grand disorder, there being nowhere that artificiality which, to the true lover of nature, often spoils landscape.  Pure air and water, each which is a factor in choosing a summering place, are assured in that region.  Transportation on the lakes is also amply provided by a steamboat line plying between Lakefield and Coboconk, a distance of 70 miles.  There is an additional attraction for the angler, as the fishing in the lakes is very good.  The gamey maskirouge (sic) and black bass are there to reward the sportsman.

July 11, 1902, page 6

July 11, 1902

Page 2
Coronation in August

Report Says that It Will Be Earlier Than Expected
A despatch from London says King Edward will be crowned between August 11 and August 15.  His recovery has been so rapid and satisfactory that the above decision was arrived at today.  No [official] announcement of the fact has yet been made, however.  The pageant through the streets and the ceremony at Westminster Abbey will be much curtailed from the original plan.  Their Majesties will drive from Buckingham Palace to the Abbey through the Mall to Whitehall and thence to the Abbey, the same route as taken at the opening of Parliament.

Page 3
Oshawa-on-the-Lake
The warm weather of the past week has at last brought down daily a large crowd of visitors who spend a few hours with us and return home much refreshed

The cottages are now all occupied, as also are the rooms over Henry’s restaurant and the campers are thoroughly enjoying all the pleasures that life at the resort affords.

The lake water [can] get very cold, nevertheless, a number of campers take a regular morning dip. The first lady bather of the season is Mrs. Sparks of Toronto, who is visiting with the Misses King. She ventured out alone on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr CA Mallory for the past few years has become prominent resident as the resort [is not] with us this year, and his familiar form is greatly missed.  He has rented his restaurant to Mr. Ed Thomas and with his wife will sail to England to spend a month or so there.

July 11, 1902, page 7

July 18, 1902

Page 1
Oshawa-on-the-Lake
A number of picnics have been booked for this month and next at AD Henry’s grounds.  To-morrow Mount Carswell Sons of Temperance will be here, and Saturday, the 25th inst. the annual picnic of the employees of the Malleable Iron Works will be help. This picnic has been setteled for the 19th but owing to the large crowd coming from out of town on that day to attend the big lacrosse match up town, the Oshawa Railway found it would be impossible to handle the crowd.

On Wednesday the Argyle brought some seven hundred from Toronto to picnic at the Park., Some of our young ladies seem to look forward with great delight to the days the boat brings picnics and remains all day.  It is nice they can find some attraction on the boat since our resort affords them none.

Page 3
To visit Khartoum
The Prince, the Khedive and Lord Kitchener
A despatch from London says – it is stated that the Prince of Wales and General Kitchener will be present with the Khedive of Egypt at the formal inauguration of the great Assouan dam in December.  The party will afterwards visit Khartoum.

July 25, 1902, page 5

July 25,1902

Page 1
Reward
The undersigned will pay the ten dollars to any person who will give information that will convict the party or parties that broke in the door of the weigh scales at the Harbor, or [     ] the name F. Finnigan on the new store house at the Harbor
Henry Salter, [       ] of Words

July 25, 1902, page 6

Page 4
Proclamation
Civic Holiday
In accordance with a resolution of the Town Council in that behalf, I hereby proclaim

Monday, the 4th day of Aug – prox. A Public Holiday for this Corporation.  Accordingly all citizens are respectfully requested to refrain from their ordinary avocations on that Day.

FL Fowke, Mayor
Mayor’s Office, July 23, 1902

Pride Month in Durham

By Jennifer Weymark, Archivist

June is a month of celebrations.  From National Indigenous Heritage Month, to Pride Month and Fiesta here in Oshawa, it is month of celebrating people and cultures of our community. Each of these celebrations look to highlight the amazing diversity within our community.

Pride Month’s history is connected to the gay rights protests held across Canada in the 1970s. The first protest march was held on August 28, 1971 in Ottawa on Parliament Hill. The march concluded with the protesters presenting a petition to the government outlining a list of ten equal rights and protections they wanted the government to enact. These protests came after years of the LGBTQ2S+ community striving to gain equal rights. Canada has a long history with criminalizing homosexuality, and the fight for equal rights was not easy. Over the year, laws against homosexuality actually became more harsh and worked to criminalize anyone gay who was not celibate.  Bill C-150 was passed in May 1969 which decriminalized gay sex in Canada. This bill was only a first step towards the equal rights and the protection of those rights.

In August 1973, the first national Pride Week celebrations happened with events being held in several Canadian cities, including Toronto, Saskatoon and Winnipeg. The first “official” Pride Marches were held in 1979 in both Toronto and Vancouver.

Here in Durham Region, the first official Pride event was held in Whitby in 2004 by the Durham Pride Association.  The event was held just two years after Marc Hall, a student at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School in Oshawa, made headlines across the country by taking the Durham Catholic School Board to court over discrimination.

Hall took the DCSB to court after he was prevented from purchasing a ticket for himself and his boyfriend to attend the prom together on the grounds that homosexuality was incompatible with Catholic teaching. The lawsuit thrust Hall to the forefront of the fight for gay equality as the story became international news. In an interview with Global News a decade after his lawsuit, Hall noted that he wasn’t someone who wanted to be the centre of attention, and that he found the media swarm to be scary. The Justice involved in the court proceedings issued an injunction ordering the school to allow Hall to attend prom with his boyfriend given that the suit would likely take years.  Hall attended prom with Jean-Paul Drummond.  In 2005, Hall dropped the case against the DCSB knowing that it would likely drag on for years. This experience helped Hall to become an advocate for gay equality.  A documentary was produced examining his fight against the DCSB, and there was even a TV movie produced. Hall’s lawsuit helped shine a light on the ongoing fight for equal rights that members of the LGBTQ2S+ community faced and continue to face.

Oshawa’s Pride Parade, 2015

The first Pride event held by Durham Pride Association saw 150 people attend.  Since then the organization has grown and became a non-profit in 2008.  The organization works to support the LGBTQ2S+ community by hosting events in all the towns and cities in Durham Region. Like so many other events, this year’s Pride March had to be cancelled due to COVID-19. Organizers are already planning for next year’s event.


Resources:

Kennedy, John R. “10 Years Later, Marc Hall is much more than ‘the prom guy’” https://globalnews.ca/news/290335/10-years-later-marc-hall-is-much-more-than-the-prom-guy/

Pride Durham. “Our History.” https://www.pridedurham.org/history

Queer Events. “History of Canadian Pride.”  https://www.queerevents.ca/canada/pride/history

The Canadian Encyclopedia. “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights in Canada.” https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-rights-in-canada

The Canadian Encyclopedia. “Pride In Canada.” https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/world-pride-2014-toronto

Where The Streets Get Their Names – Lakeview Park Drive

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

This year, 2020, marks the 100th anniversary of Lakeview Park.  Today, this lakefront gem is approximately 44 acres in size and is used by walkers, picnickers, swimmers and beach-goers, recreational sports teams, events in the summertime, like Canada Day celebrations, and, of course, for those wishing to learn more about the history of Oshawa by visiting us here at the Oshawa Museum.

To celebrate the anniversary, the Oshawa Museum has launched a new online exhibit, Lakeview Park 100, where we will share stories of the park through the years. This post will have links to the online exhibit, or links to older Blog content, and we encourage you to visit and share your own stories!


Prior to the arrival of European and American settlers, the area was part of the traditional hunting grounds of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island.  With the arrival of American settlers in the late 1790s, the land became divided and owned by names such as Annis, Smith, Lockwood and Perry.  In 1840, the first efforts were made to develop the Oshawa Harbour with the construction of the pier and breakwaters by the Sydenham Harbour Company.  The opening of the Harbour brought with it further settlement along the lakeshore, including the construction of the homes that comprise the Oshawa Museum.  Much of Lakeview Park was part of the original Henry Family farm, land Thomas acquired in 1830.

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Oshawa on the Lake

As early as 1890, the area by the lake, referred to more generally as “Oshawa-on-the-Lake,” was used for summer recreation. The Oshawa Railway transported beachgoers with 11 trips per day for a fare of just 5 cents – considered to be very inexpensive even in those times. A popular place in these early days was Mallory’s hall, owned by a resident by the lake who rent it out for dancing, concerts, or religious services. Mr. C. A. Mallory tried to sell his property a number of times through the years, notably in 1896 and 1902, and his pavilion would later be purchased by William Harold & Viola Barnhart.

A982.39.1

In 1920, Sam & George McLaughlin bought the land in the name of General Motors of Canada Limited and deeded it to the Town of Oshawa for just one dollar. There was only one restriction: that the land be used as a public park for the citizens of Oshawa under the control of the Council and Parks commission.  The firm also forwarded a cheque for $3,000 to cover initial improvements and another $6,000 for a suitable park playground.

One of the first tasks undertaken by the parks board was the selection of a name for the new park.  Approximately 240 names were submitted, and Lakeview Park was chosen.  Although open for use by the public in August of 1920, the park was officially opened late in September by Mayor Stacey.  Music was provided by Oshawa Bands, and the Oshawa Railway provided free transportation to the park.

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In 1924 an attempt was made to install a zoo at the park.  George W. McLaughlin provided a number of buffalo from Wainwright, Alberta that were confined in an area to the north-west of Henry House.  They were there until 1931 when the herd began to look somewhat weather-beaten and the odor from the animal pen became offensive to those using Lakeview Park.  As a result, it was decided to move them to the Riverdale Zoo in Toronto.

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For decades through the 20th century, Lakeview Park was dotted with cottages which were lived in or rented through the year. In 1926, it was reported that many out-of-towners were from Toronto, and some were even American tourists. Many people in Oshawa have stories about living in the cottages, which were ill-equipped for winter with no insulation, electricity or running water.  One of the cottages was built by the Oshawa Rotary Club and rented to the Red Cross for one dollar a year.  The Red Cross operated it as a summer holiday cottage for wards of the Children’s Aid Society.  As the years went on, these cottages slowly fell into disrepair as they were divided into apartments.  The City decided that the only way to continue with expanding the park was to tear down the cottages when the leases ran out.  The last tenants left in 1984.  One of the last remaining cottages is was part of the Oshawa Museum complex.  It was located beside the maintenance shed and is used as a storage unit for lumber and large articles until it was torn down in the winter of 2013.

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Improvements and development of the park has continued since it was first deeded to the Town.  In 1927, the Jubilee Pavilion opened to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of Confederation.  It was well known for its nightly dances throughout the year, boasting the best dance floors in North America.

The Lady of the Lake statue and fountain, which today is located between the Museum buildings, was originally located to the west of the Jubilee Pavilion.  City Council spent $4,778 on the statue of a nude nine year old girl; this caused quite the controversy as many citizens did not feel it was appropriate for public display.  The statue was made in Italy and imported by Whitby Stafford Brothers Monumental Works. It was put into an illuminated pool in the park and dedicated on May 24, 1959, commemorating the gift of the pool by General Motors of Canada.  It was relocated in the fall of 2001.

In the late 1970s, a long-range plan of park improvements was to be slowly set into motion. The initial plans included a new and much larger playground, recreation areas (including those designated for baseball and soccer), and the expansion of the road. One important addition was the brick walkway constructed in 1984, extending from the pier to the end of the park.  A plaque bears the following inscription: “This boardwalk was constructed and dedicated for the enjoyment of our citizens as a remembrance of Oshawa’s 60th anniversary and Ontario’s bicentennial, 1984.”

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Finally, in the summers of 1993 and 1994, finishing touches on the park were completed. The pier was reopened, the beach area had been improved, and – significantly – the roads and parking had been upgraded in 1990. The old Henry Street that ran between the three historic homes was gone, replaced by efficient walkways. In 1997, after the passing of Princess Diana, there was a suggestion to change the name to “Diana Lakeview Park,” but this did not come to fruition.

The Oshawa Museum is a proud feature of Lakeview Park.  All museums buildings are on their original foundations, surprising many visitors who assume that they were moved at a later date.  The Museum began with the opening of the Henry House Museum in 1960; Robinson House Museum opened in 1969, Guy House opened in 1985 as the administrative centre, and our Drive Shed beside Henry House was a 50th anniversary project for the Oshawa Historical Society, officially opening in 2009. The Henry House Gardens are used for programs and events and are home to the Ritson Pear Trees, Durham Region’s only heritage designated trees.

The City continues improvements to Lakeview Park through the years by adding more walkways, an additional gazebo, old fashioned street lights, many beautiful and bright gardens and hanging plants, and playground upgrades and improvements.

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Lakeview Park has been enjoyed by citizens of Oshawa and beyond for over a century, and as we celebrate its 100th birthday, we cannot help but be reminded of summer days gone by, cold wintry winds off the lake, and an excitement for the future of this waterfront park.

Discussions about Difficult Histories

By Jennifer Weymark, Archivist

The Oshawa Historical Society’s summer 2020 newsletter is all about Henry House and the Henry family.  This year marks the 60th anniversary of the home becoming a museum, and we wanted to celebrate this occasion with a Henry House themed newsletter.  For me, writing about the Henrys inevitably turns into writing about Ebenezer Elijah Henry aka E.E. Henry or Eben. He has been an interest of mine since I first accessioned a letter that he wrote to his father into the archival collection. My newsletter contribution was about this letter and how fascinating I found this glimpse into the more personal life of the youngest of Thomas and Betsey’s sons.

EE Henry (A017.20.1)

Initially the newsletter was to include an image of this first letter along with a transcription because the original handwritten letter can be challenging to read.  After a staff meeting on June 4, we changed our approach and decided to no longer include the letter in the newsletter. Why did we decide to switch this letter for a different one written by E.E.?  Simply put, staff decided that the language used, while appropriate at the time it was written, is not only inappropriate, but it is hurtful for those who he was commenting on.

As the world reacts to the protests against police brutality in the United States, Canada is also looking at our history of anti-Black racism, how that has been white washed from our history, and the role that museums have played in this. In the letter, Henry writes about a recent American election, the controversial 1876 election that saw Rutherford B. Hayes win the election due to a decision made by the Electoral College after losing the popular vote to Samuel Tilden.  Henry notes that this election, just a decade after the abolishment of slavery in the United States, had Black Americans terrified that slavery would be reinstated. There doesn’t seem to be any merit behind Henry’s observation, but it is interesting to see his perspective on the political atmosphere in his newly adopted country. The language used by Henry to describe Black Americans is not acceptable, and staff felt sharing that language does not add to the discussion.

Are we censoring history?  Are we continuing to white wash the prevalent racism of those we study in the past?  All valid questions and all ones we weighed against the potential pain we could be adding to a community already dealing with the pain of racism.

No, we are not censoring history.  The complete letter and transcription are in the archival collection and have been printed in full in our publication To Cast a Reflection. The content of the letter is still clear in my newsletter article without including the complete transcription with the hurtful language.

I have written and spoken at length about the challenges of overcoming gaps in our archival collection due to past collecting practices. Our collection is filled with information on the wealthy white elite of our community because that was who was doing the collecting. Currently we are working to fill in those gaps, but it is not easy because much has already been lost.  Research into early Black history in our community has been challenging and rewarding, and ensuring that this community is no longer omitted in our histories is a work in progress. We are very aware that archives and museums are not neutral and we must play a role in ensuring that the community as a whole is represented in what we collect and exhibit.

This post is another way that we are working to be transparent and accountable.  Our decision to not share, at this time, the transcript of a letter with hurtful language was made after much careful reflection and consideration for current events.