History Day in Kagawong this Thursday, August 9

The Old Mill Heritage Centre is open every day from 10 am to 4 pm.

KAGAWONG—One of the most anticipated events of the summer season has to be the History Day in Kagawong series. This year there are two themes backstopping the event, the tragic tale of the two Henry brothers and the Danny Dodge tragedy.

“The story of the Henry brothers, who founded Kagawong back in the late 1800s, is really a story we are looking forward to sharing,” said museum curator Rick Nelson. “It’s a great story and our museum committee members Dianne Fraser and Sabine Huege have been putting in a lot of hours getting it ready.”

The Danny Dodge tragedy, where a scion of the famous car manufacturing company accidently seriously injured himself while playing with dynamite he found at the family lodge and then drowned after falling out of the boat on the way to medical aid, will form the second portion of the presentations.

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“I think that Robert was on the Manitoulin (May 1882) and William was on the Asia (September 1882),” said Mr. Nelson, correcting a previous misstep in a story about History Day. “I don’t think they drowned a year apart,” he laughed. “May 1882 and then September 1882 would be more like four months—and there is no James Henry.”

The musical portion of the multi-media event will be provided by Lyle Dewar and Darrel Dewar, who will be performing songs that were on top of the charts during the days of the Henry brothers. To titillate the taste buds, freshly baked goods from the period will be on hand to sample.

Robert Henry

“One of the speakers at this year’s History Day is the great, great granddaughter of William Henry,” said Ms. Fraser. “One of William’s sons grew up to be premier of Ontario from 1930 to 1934.” A testimonial letter about William Henry, written by his son and requested by Billings Reeve Austin Hunt in 1957 is part of the museum’s permanent collection and will be featured at History Night.

Living links such as Peter Gordon, Ethel Newburn, Candy Tracy and Don Lloyd will help the audience experience what it was like to be an early pioneer on Manitoulin Island.

As part of the second portion of the History Day presentation, John Van Etten, son of Laurine Dodge (Daniel Dodge’s wife) from her third marriage, will be on hand as one of the VIPs (but not speaking), said Mr. Nelson. “Also Roger Weber, the News 4 NBC affiliate reporter who created a documentary about the Dodge tragedy,” he said. “He will be talking about his interest from the Detroit angle.”

William Henry

History Day in Kagawong will again take place at the Park Centre in Kagawong on Thursday, August 9 with a matinee at 3:30 pm and an evening session starting at 7:30 pm. Both sessions include all of the presentations. Admission is free, but donations to the Old Mill Heritage Site Museum are gratefully accepted.

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