Wednesday, 13 January 2016

John "Jack" Henry (1868-1958)

John Henry was born in Ontario on the first of March in 1868 to Mary Tait and William Henry, the final sibling to be written about in this blog.  They farmed in the Listowell area of Perth County until his father died when he was 10 years old and they headed west to Manitoba when he was 13 in 1881. They lived near  a Blanshard Township in Ontario so moving to Blanshard, Manitoba must have been a small comfort to the Henry family.   His mother and his 10 siblings then settled on SW 6-14-21. He was more commonly known as "Jack" likely to distinguish him between an uncle and cousins with the same first name. The adjective "sixes" was also used to refer to this family and home as it was on section six.

Jack acquired NE 1-14-22 just west of the homestead in 1898, not including the portion where the White Bank Lea Cemetery sits.  It would have been suited to crop more than the hilly land with a ravine where the house was.

He remained on the home farm after his mother's death in 1909.  He married 26 years old Winnifred Theobald Frost Delamater in 1912 at the age 44 and went on to have nine children, six sons and three daughters. 
  • Lorne "Homer" (1913-2001) remained a bachelor worked the home farm and was active in community affairs and committees
  • William "Orville" (1914-1976) married Betty Reid, farmed the home farm
  • Alexander (1916-1980) married Effie Reid (sister to Betty) and raised 5 children.  Farmed the former Hedley homestead (NW 30-13-21) and other quarters with Esmond, worked at Murray's Garage in Oak River and served in WW2
  • Robert Thomas "Bob" (1918-1993) remained a bachelor on the home farm and was sports minded
  • Mary Ellen (1919-1987) married Donald James Moar had 4 children and lived in Brandon
  • Walter John "Watty" (1921-1986) remained a bachelor and enjoyed company and home life on the home farm
  • Rena (1922-) married Allan Reid (brother to Betty and Effie) and had 2 sons, lived on the home farm with her brothers and is the only surviving member of this generation of the family - living in Oak River today
  • Edmond Frank (1923-1980) remained a bachelor, served in the army with Alex then farmed with him east of Oak River
  • Laura (1927-2005) married Herb Stephens and farmed near Cardale and had five children

Jack was one of the original members of Oak River's first organized baseball team which was coached by his cousin, his mother's sister Ellen's son, Tom Wilson.

 The White Banklea History Booklet written in the 1980's says of Friday night dances at the school near the Henry farm:
Local music was provided by the people of the area.  Alex Stewart and Mrs. Dick Stewart provided the early music at White Bank Lea.  Later Maurice and Dot Genung, Elgin and Harvey Stewart supplied the tunes to which they danced.  Square dances were very popular and Jack Henry from the "Stone House" was known as the official caller.  Everyone enjoyed the seven step, the scottiche, the buffalo glide and the French minuette.  The waltz was always popular and in later years couples danced to the newer dances known as the fox trot, two step and one step.  Lunch was always supplied by the ladies, an on occasion this was in the form of an old time Box Social.  
Jack (with the corsage at the back left) on the occasion of his 80th birthday in 1948.  Beside him, brother Thomas (79 years old), Ned (86) and Charlie (82).  In front left to right -  sisters Joanna Braid(72), Janet McKenzie(88) and Mary Wilson (74).
He passed away at the age of 90 in 1958.  Winifred died in 1954 at age 68.  They are buried together in the Oak River Cemetery.
from Blanshard History Book 1984
The stone house, built in 1888, was a landmark for miles around and served as a meeting place for municipal council and church and Sunday School services.  Dances, box socials and strawberry socials were held there as well to raise money for projects for the two wars as well as for Oak River Community Rink.   It was replaced in 1972 with a home for Watty, Bob, Homer, Rena and Allan Reid and their children.  This generation of Henrys farmed large herds of cattle along with chickens and pigs.  Both Holstein milk cows and beef cattle were raised by the Henry Brothers.  This farm was recognized in November of 1981 (photo above)  by the Manitoba Department of Agriculture and the Oak River Agricultural Society with the Century Farm Award for being in the same family for 100 years. 

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