In 1885 Alexandre Langis arrived at Mileage 615.1 on the Canadian Pacific Railway with a contract from the company to clear the land that would become the townsite of Chapleau.
Born in Rimouski, Quebec, Mr. Langis, who would later become a general merchant, had been working in Biscotasing before moving to Chapleau. For sure, he was one of the community's pioneer citizens.
After fulfilling his contract, Mr. Langis, became a CPR employee, first as a trainman and later as conductor.
In 1891, he married Marie Louise Mageau of Le Bic, and the young couple became active members of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church.
Helen Wolfe, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Simon Kruger, in an article about the Langis family written at the time of the Roman Catholic church centennial celebration, related that at one time Mr. and Mrs. Langis shared a house with Mr. and Mrs. James Rose which she said was located on the west side of Beech Street near the CPR tracks.
(Note: Mr. and Mrs. Rose lived on the west side of Pine Street which I think later became the Babin residence. Does anyone recall if they moved from Beech to Pine at some point, sort of across the street and a lane!)
Mrs. Wolfe related that the "two women got along beautifully sharing a kitchen" even though Mrs. Rose could not understand French and Mrs. Langis could not understand English.
In 1901 Mr. Langis left the CPR and started a business with E. Jackman in 1902 at 4 Birch Street West at Birch and Young streets, in a building which at the time was owned by Patrick Mulligan, my great-great uncle. In later years the building housed the Dominion store and then Bank of Montreal for a time.
Albert Desjardins came to Chapleau in 1908 from Montreal and bought out Mr. Jackman so the name was changed to Desjardins and Langis, General Merchants.
In 1909 they relocated to the southwest corner of Birch and Lorne streets which for a short time had been the site of the first Roman Catholic church.
Later, Harry Wolfe, who was the son-in-law of Mr. Langis, purchased the interests of Mr. Desjardins, and in 1924 the store became known as Langis and Wolfe.
In 1928, Charles W. Collins, the son of Mr. and P.J. Collins, who had arrived in Chapleau in 1909, bought out Mr. Langis and the store became known as Wolfe and Collins. The Collins name has been associated with ownership of a store at that location ever since.
Mr. and Mrs. Langis later lived on Lorne Street near the Roman Catholic church. They also enjoyed "picnics down the lake" at Mulligan's Bay where they built a camp, later owned by Mansel Robinson.
They had four children Joseph, Wilfred, Lydia and Julia. Julia was a charter member of the Catholic Women's League in Chapleau.
I have really just provided a glimpse into the life of Mr. Langis and his contribution to Chapleau -- and opened the door a bit on the Rose, Jackman, Desjardins, Wolfe and Collins families, and of course my own Mulligan ancestors.
Thanks to Doug Greig for his research assistance. My email is email@example.com