||May 15, 2009
More Mattawa Matters on their 125th
In my April 17 article I
wrote about the Regional
Historica Fair with a photo of Mathew Bennison
and his La Cave/Otto Holden Generating Station project. I mentioned his current
project on his great great grandfather the
Honorable Henri Morel MPP from
Mattawa His Morel
project made it to the Regional Fair at
Nipissing University on May 1 where I had a chance to chat with him. He did a
great job on the project as did the many other students on theirs. A photo of
Mathew and his project made it to the front page of the Nugget where it deserved
I hope to work with Mathew and build
on his research on this important historical figure. Mathew had to deal with one
early problem – the proper spelling of his great grandfather’s first name. The
name was spelled Henri, Henry & Harry depending on the source. He chose Henri,
the French version.
Some of Mathew’s information came
from the book The Meeting of the Waters the Mattawa
history book written by Leo Morel a Morel descendant. Henri became a butcher in
Mattawa at age 11 and owned his own shop at age 18. Henri was born on
July 23 1867 just three weeks after Confederation. He
died in 1934 at age 67.
Henri Morel’s home in Mattawa in 1930s as it
looks today. D. Mackey photo.
Henri became the area MPP in 1908 and
won in 1911 and 1914. He lost in 1919 but won again in 1923, 1926 & 1929 – a
remarkable record. He ran federally in 1930 and lost and became Superintendent
of the huge Trans Canada Highway project that
established that critical travel corridor through the area.
Mathew has collected much more
information on Henri which .some of which we will report here in a future
article. I should add that Henri owned the well known Trans-Canada Hotel in the
1930s, and lived in a beautiful home a minute walk away behind the Anglican
Church. There is a road named after Henri in North Bay but little recognition in
Mattawa where many relatives remain .If anyone has
information on the history of the family we would be pleased to receive it at
the address below.
In my article on Mattawa’s Explorer’s
Point a couple of weeks ago I mentioned one of Mattawa’s best known names Colin
Rankin, who was the Hudson Bay Post Factor. When researching his history I saw
reference to him being in Mattawa in the 1840s and in the 1890s which was
Colin Rankin (1826-1921) Chief Factor, Hudson
Bay Company Mattawa, The Beaver Magazine
After I wrote the article I recalled
an article on Rankin that John Whalen at the
Mattawa Museum sent me and
looked it up. It had a good picture of Rankin late
in life and pointed out that he was appointed in 1848. He then went on to
numerous increasingly important roles in the Company. In 1873 he was placed in
charge of the Temiscaming District. When the Headquarters was moved to Mattawa
he returned to Mattawa and along with his other duties became a leader in
Mattawa politics serving several times as Mayor – a cause for celebration during
Mattawa’s 125th anniversary this year. The Colin Rankin Papers in the
Hudson Bay Archives are a great source of information. They
are quoted extensively in Calvin townships history book.
There is a street named after him in Mattawa.
Rankin died in Montreal at age 94 in 1921.
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