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What was pioneer life like on Sparrow Lake?

Ursula Soper will be guest speaker at OMAH event March 21

The Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH) hosts Ursula Soper as guest speaker on Wednesday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m. with her talk entitled Kathinka's Story: A Pioneer Life at Sparrow Lake.

In her talk, Ursula Soper will share the story that she has spent most of her adult life studying, the lives of Kathinka and her husband Adelbert Lehmann. The Lehmanns were German immigrants who settled at Sparrow Lake in the late 1860s.

Kathinka was a pioneer in a harsh and rugged environment. She raised five children and helped her husband in the fields. In spite of these demands, Kathinka made time to write numerous letters to her family in Germany, describing in detail her life at Sparrow Lake. She is notable in that she is one of only a few women at the time to record these experiences.

Ursula Soper, a retired social worker and herself a German immigrant, spent countless hours translating Kathinka’s letters (300 pages of translation) from the original German.

Through her husband, Ursula had met and befriended Alberta Doan, a granddaughter of Kathinka Lehmann, who thankfully had saved the letters written by Kathinka and asked Soper to translate them. 

Soper decided to turn the tale told by Kathinka through her letters into a story that can be used to teach young people about the experiences of their pioneer ancestors. We are grateful to Ursula for sharing Kathinka’s stories. Please join us for a captivating evening.

On Wednesday, April 18, Dr. Michael Stevenson will be guest speaker with his talk entitled Stories in Bronze: Orillia’s Champlain Monument and Indigenous (Mis) Representations in Commemorative Sculpture. Admission to the OMAH history speaker’s evening is free, donations are welcome.    

The Annual Carmichael Art History Lecture is being held on Wednesday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m. at OMAH. Our guest speaker, artist and author Brian Harris, will explore the untimely demise of revered Canadian artist Tom Thomson at Canoe Lake in 1917. Was it an accident or was it murder? Tickets for the lecture are $15 per person and can be purchased at the OMAH front desk effective April 2.