People: Nellie McHenry
Nellie McHenry (1853-1935)
Nellie McHenry was nearly 60 in 1912 when she finally made it to Broadway in the The Quaker Girl. By then, however, she had long since cemented her place as the queen of musical comedy. Back in the 1870s and 1880s, as a member of the famous Troubadours theatrical group, McHenry had won the hearts of audiences all over the country (and the world) with her singing, dancing and, most of all, her ability make people laugh. In this regard, she could be considered one of the originators of the musical comedy genre.
McHenry and her husband-the equally famous actor John Webster-lived in a home on Portland Rd., just below the Twin Lights. They were very active in community events and productions, and the people of Highlands were deeply saddened when they learned the news of Webster's death. In 1900, the actor was killed at Niagara Falls-presumably a terrible accident, but no one could be certain.
Haunted by this loss–and by the fact her husband's body was never found–McHenry continued to work in the theater, both locally and in New York. When she performed in the open-air theater in Highlands, she often walked from her home through town in full costume. McHenry died in 1935.