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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Patrick Mulligan founds Murrays and Mulligan in 1886, serves as Chapleau postmaster, attends Sacred Heart Church, builds camp at Mulligan's Bay by Michael McMullen

Patrick Mulligan and family 1895

Here is Michael McMullen's story of the Mulligan family, particularly Patrick Andrew, who arrived in Chapleau almost at the beginning of the community's life, and played various roles in its early years. Patrick Mulligan was Michael's great-great uncle, and mine, as our grandmothers, his nieces, May (Mulligan) McMullen and Lil (Mulligan) Morris were sisters.Since the Chapleau High School reunion, I have been working on several family histories, and will share more as they are completed. My thanks to Michael for the Mulligan story.
by Mike McMullen
In 1885, as the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) was constructing its main line west through northern Ontario, it began providing a monthly general store on wheels or as it was commonly called ”a store car” that offered merchandise (dry goods, groceries, etc.) to those living and working along the line. The major supplier of these products was T. & W. Murray of North Bay. One of their senior clerks, Patrick Andrew Mulligan, was in charge of these Murray-supplied store cars that went to construction camps and permanent settlement locations along the developing CPR line, including Cartier, Biscotasing and Chapleau.
Murrays and Mulligan was located in Dominion Store building
In 1886, Patrick joined in partnership with the two Murray brothers, Thomas and William, who were merchants, financiers, politicians and entrepreneurs, to purchase lots and invest in Chapleau. On one of these lots, at the northwest corner of Birch and Young streets, Patrick constructed a two-storey general store that was under construction in 1886 and fully open for business in early 1887. This store became the third permanent general store in Chapleau, following shortly after T. A. Austin & Co (mid-1886) and the Hudson’s Bay Company (late-1886). Murrays and Mulligan, General Merchants, operated until 1897 when the business and the property were sold to Patrick McCool, a long-time Murrays employee and associate. 
Five years later in 1902, the business was sold to Alex Langis and James Jackman and then in 1908 a change in ownership was made to Desjardins (Albert) and Langis. The following year, these partners relocated their general merchant business to the southeast corner of Lorne and Birch streets. From there, that business evolved over time into what is today Collins Home Hardware and Building Centre and Collins Home Furniture.
Following the departure of Desjardins and Langis in 1909, the Murrays and Mulligan building, 4 Birch Street W., among other uses, became the location of the Macnamera general store, a Dominion store, head office for Austin and Nicholson Lumber Company and a branch of the Bank of Montreal. The building was demolished in late 1980.
Patrick was the oldest of seven sons and two daughters born to Hugh and Mary (Griffin) Mulligan in Quyon, Quebec, a village located on the Ottawa River, west of Ottawa, now part of the Municipality of Pontiac. Like many in the Ottawa valley in the 1880s, Patrick moved up the Ottawa River on the Ontario side to places, such as Pembroke and Mattawa, and then on to North Bay and Northern Ontario as the CPR was being built. Not only was there work available with the railroad, but towns were being established and services were needed for both.
He was working in Pembroke as a store clerk in the early 1880s, when he met Julia Catherine (Kate) Flannery. They married in September 1882 at nearby Chapeau, Quebec, on Allumette Island. She was the daughter of William and Catherine (Wells) Flannery, and the family lived in the Pembroke area. Her father died at an early age leaving a wife and five young children. Willietta, a younger sister, married Thomas Mulligan, one of Patrick’s brothers, also in Chapeau in August 1890. Thomas worked for Murrays and Mulligan, and his brother Patrick, as an accountant and clerk in Chapleau. A brother of Catherine’s, Maurice Flannery, originally a merchant, became town treasurer and Divisional Court Clerk in North Bay. Patrick and Kate had four surviving children: Effie, William, Inez and Beatrice.

Besides managing the Murrays and Mulligan store, Patrick developed contracts with the CPR to supply the work crews between Cartier and White River and to supply the CPR restaurants at Cartier, Chapleau and White River. He built a large warehouse near the corner of Birch and Lisgar streets to service these contracts. Today, the Bridgeview Motel, 16 Birch Street W., built by Yen Hong in the mid-1950s, is on the lot where this warehouse was located.


As well, he became the town’s fourth Postmaster in late 1896 (1896-1913). He followed T.A. Austin (1886-1890), J. M. Austin (1890-1892) and H. Nicholson (1892-1896). His sister-in law Winnie Flannery was the Assistant Postmaster for some time around 1900. While Postmaster, he built a small Post Office just to the east of his warehouse on Birch Street. It was the first stand-alone post office in Chapleau as all former facilities were in stores. This building would have been located where an addition was made to the original Boston Café building on Birch Street in the early 1970s. My grandfather, William McMullen, was the fifth Chapleau postmaster (1913-1919) and worked in that post office building.


At least three of Patrick’s brothers worked in Chapleau at various times between 1886 and 1913. In the mid-1890s all four brothers, Patrick, Thomas Michael, John George and Charles R. were in Chapleau at the same time. Patrick and Thomas were working at Murrays and Mulligan, John was the agent for Dominion Express (later named Canadian Pacific Express) and Charles was a carpenter.The Mulligans were involved in Chapleau community activities and attended the Roman Catholic Sacred Heart Church. In 1909, Patrick built a new house at 49 Monk Street, which is still standing today.
Another brother, who never lived in Chapleau, but had an impact on Chapleau, was James Edward Mulligan, my great-grandfather. Originally a storekeeper, he was working as a bailiff in North Bay in the mid-1890s when he died suddenly in December 1895. At the time, he was the father of five children aged 10 and under (three girls and two boys) and his wife, Jennie was pregnant with another daughter. In large part, because of the Mulligan presence in Chapleau, members of this family moved to Chapleau in the early 1900s and some became long-time Chapleau residents.
T hree of the daughters (who were brought up Anglican by their mother) met future husbands in Chapleau and lived there for many years. May married William McMullen, Lillian married Harry Morris  and Kathleen married John Hogg. The other daughter, Nellie, did not live in Chapleau. The two sons, Griffin and Charles, worked for the CPR out of Chapleau, served in World War 1 and subsequently, moved to the United States after the war.
Patrick died in Chapleau in April 1913. Later that year, Kate sold their house to Frank Keenan and moved to North Bay with her two daughters, Inez and Beatrice. Effi, their first born child, died when she was nine years old in 1891. Their son William had left Chapleau and apparently was not actively involved in his father’s business activities in Chapleau at the time of his father’s death. It is likely that Kate sold most of Patrick’s business ventures before she left Chapleau. However, she maintained ownership of property in Chapleau and in 1918 sold three contiguous lots on Birch Street to Hong Fong and Hong Sam. On one of these lots, Hong Fong built the Boston Café in the mid-1920s. The restaurant, now called Hongers Redwood Restaurant and Tavern, 12 Birch Street W., is still in the Hong family in 2013 with Jim Hong the owner and manager. Kate died in April 1945 in Toronto.
One would be hard pressed to find any traces of the Mulligans in Chapleau today. As far as I can determine, this line of the Mulligan family in Chapleau ended with Michael Morris, a grandson of Harry and Lillian (Mulligan) Morris. He grew up in Chapleau,  worked as a journalist, then became a high school teacher and reeve in Chapleau before moving to Cranbrook, British Columbia to continue his teaching career. There is not a Mulligan street sign or a house referred to in the community as the “Mulligan House.” The only legacy would be Mulligan’s Bay. Family history has it that Patrick was the first to build a permanent camp on Brownlee Island (Card Island) in the 1890s and as a result the area became known as Mulligan’s Bay.

My email is mj.morris@live.ca

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