In the early 1920s, shortly after Jeanne and Louis Longchamps arrived in Chapleau, there were ony four automobiles, one of which the citizens had given as gift to Dr. J.J. Sheahan, who practised medicine in the community from 1907 until his death in 1942.
Dr. Sheahan received his car on July 21, 1921 while the others belonged to Father Romeo Gascon, Edgar Pellow and Len Perfetto.
In the spring of 1916, Octave Morin came to Chapleau from Bic, Quebec, in Rimouski County to work as a carpenter for the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1925 his wife Claudia and children Andre, Albert, Marie, Jeanne, Antonio, Marianne, Gerard, Cecile, Philippe and Lucienne joined him in Chapleau. Their first home was near the old horseshoe bridge where Zenon and Amanda Rioux later lived.
Louis Longchamps, age 19, arrived in Chapleau on August 1, 1922, with his brother Albert while Lorenzo would follow a few years later.
Mr. Longchamps started working for the CPR as a carpenter where his first foreman was Arthur Grenier and then Octave Morin.
But his father Charles Longchamps had earlier worked on the construction of the CPR and was one of the workers present when William Van Horne, the company president, visited the Jack Fish site in 1884.
He became acquainted with Mr. Morin's daughter Jeanne, and they were married on October 20, 1930 at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Chapleau. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1980.
During the first years of his marriage Mr. Longchamps worked at Nipigon on a new bridge there, returning to Chapleau and living at 16 Lorne Street near the present post office from 1940 to 1978. I so well recall that Mr. and Mrs. Longchamps chose to become among the first occupants of an apartment in Cedar Grove Lodge when it opened in 1978.
They had two children Louise, who married Angelo Mione, and Jean Louis 'Johnny' who married Joan Bryson.
Mr. and Mrs. Longchamps were very active in the life of Sacred Heart Parish for more than 60 years.
Mrs. Longchamps was the founding president of the Ladies of Ste. Anne, established in the parish in 1958.
Mr. Longchamps was part of the parish team which dug out and built the church basement when Father Marchand was parish priest in the late 1950s.
In an interview in the Chapleau Sentinel marking the 100th anniversary of the parish, Mrs. Longchamps recalled that envelope boxes that were still in place on church pews at Sacred Heart, were all made by her father, Octave Morin. She remembered that Father Gascon would visit her father as he worked on them and admired his patience.
As I was working on this story, I could not help but reflect on the members of the Longchamps and Morin families, and the contribution they made to life in the community from their arrival in a place with four automobiles in the early 1920s and on. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org