Spending time on the Canadian Pacific Railway "spare list" in Chapleau gave Emile Fortin the opportunity to do contract work as a carpenter as well as establish a lumber company west of White River in the 1920s.
In a Chapleau Sentinel article as part of the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church centennial celebration, his daughter Marguerite (Fortin) Levesque wrote that her father left home in Quebec to work in cotton mills of Fall River, Massachusetts, but then joined his brother Philias in Chapleau. Philias arrived in 1909.
He met and married Alberta, the daughter of Noel and Angela (Dollaire) Lemieux in 1913.
Their first home was on Grey Street but in 1917 they purchased a house from Desjardins and Langis General Store located where Collins Furniture is now and moved it to Aberdeen Street where it is still is. The house had been on what became the Bertrand property next to the store.
Mrs. Levesque wrote that her father became a trainman on the CPR but because he was on the "spare" list he was able to start a carpenter business.
Then, in the 1920s, with leaves from the railway he "operated a very successful lumber company" with a Mr. Allard, also of Chapleau at Mileage 18 and a half west of White River.
"We spent very interesting summer holidays at that location, sleeping in a sleep camp in bunks and having meals in the cookery."
She recalled two anecdotes from those days.
"The first was when the cook unexpectedly quit and mother took over the kitchen duties for a few days. She prepared and coooked meals for over 100 people. The clerk's wife, a 'French noblewoman' looked after seven of us along with her two children.
She also wrote: "Still very vivid in my memory was the day one of my younger brothers (she does not reveal his name), decided to play with her caged little red fox and it escaped. The woman was beside herself and kept repeating 'Mauvais gars! Mauvais gars!!' until the whole community came running."
(In English, I think literally translated it means, "Bad boy" or "Bad guy")
Mrs. Levesque did not share if the fox was captured but I am going to assume it was.
She relates that her mother was the disciplinarian of the family -- "firm but fair, but like most large families she worked from morning until well into the night".
"It is indeed amazing to think back and remember the constant babies, the other children and washing, ironing, cleaning, sewing plus the added burden of a cow and chickens with milk, cream and butter for sale."
Her parents were members of the Catholic Women's League and Knights of Columbus respectively, and all were members of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church.
Mr. Fortin died in April 1963 at age 83, and Mrs. Fortin in 1968 at age 75 -- they would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on September 22, 1963.
The 10 children are Octave, Colombe, Marguerite, Veronique, Jean-Noel, Lorette, Raoul, Emile, Marie and Robert. My email is email@example.com