Page 37 - A Visit with Art Langley Sr.
ISSUE : Issue 22
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1979/6/1
A Visit with Art Langley, Sr. Art Langley, Sr., Port Hawkesbury: I was born right over on that hill over there-- Point Tupper in Richmond County, August 25, 1888. And I lived there for 7 years. Then my father moved over here, to that house right down there, Port Hawkesbury, Inverness County. (What was your father doing then?) After he stopped going to sea, he was foreman over there on the shipyard for his lifetime practically. It was called the Port Hawkesbury Marine Railway. I know his ship wrecked in New? foundland one time, I remember him telling me his ship wrecked down somewhere near Cape Race, in that area. The Newfoundland? ers came aboard, and he said in about 5 hours there wasn't a bit of rope or a sail or anything left on that ship • everything was gone. They said to him, "Now you fel? lows close your mouths, you're as safe as in the Lord's pocket, but if you start anything, your life is not your own." I remember him telling me that. My father's father, my grandfather, he lived here too. There's quite a few Lang- leys around here, a lot of them were Em? pire Loyalists. Moved here time of the revolution in the States. But there was a Langley woman, she was a Mrs. Smith from California. She said we weren't some of that tribe. She said my father's father came the time of the war, when the Ameri? cans fought for Louisbourg • and they came off an American warship. That's what she told me. She was one of our tribe. Now I' ve heard them talking about this years ago, but it never interested me a bit in the world. If I was as bright as I am now about things like that, I would have lis? tened. Some people do; that's their life. Some people can go back in history for hundreds and hundreds of years. Sometimes that's all they can do. Sometimes they can't make a living or anything but they can tell you their people right back to the beginning. (But you were more interested in making a living.) Of course, yes, oh absolutely. Some people think the world owes them a living, they'll tell you. But I never be? lieved that. No, no, no, not even today. And my father, he believed in working a- bout 16 hours a day, and he did. He raised a family. We had quite a lot of land over there. He kept a horse, always kept 2 or 3 cows, and hens and pigs and sheep, stuff like that over there, and work away. From that street to that street he bought this whole thing. He'd never have any help, ex? cept some of the older boys would help a little bit now and again. He'd be up in the morning at k olclock, mowed this all by hand, and milking, and still work over there at the shipyard. Powerful, powerful What was his hope for me? I can't answer that. But my hope was for him, when I was a young fellow. I know that he was doing the work of k men. I went away in 190?, I suppose, went to a shipbuilding yard in Quincy, worked there a short time. And I used to think at night of the work he was doing over here, and they were always af? ter me to come home • every letter--come home. (Take me back. Did you start the Marine Railway?) No, no. The first marine railway was operated here in 1866, and it operated successfully, I'd say, up till 1920. And then it got in a bad state of disrepair, you know, and the company at that time didn't feel like spending money 'enough to put it back in working order. That's what happened. So it laid idle for a year or two • and in March 1923 they advertised it for sale, auction sale. And I was at that time working with the C.N.R. as a diver. I was working in New Brunswick and I came home that evening on -the train, that was the evening that this thing was being sold. And I asked what was going on down there, and somebody told me, and I went down to see what was going on. You had as much intention of buying that as I did. It was the last thing that was in my mind, that was for sure, beqause I was doing very very well. I didn't need that. But anyway, it was offered for sale and there weren't many bidders. Somebody bid • Free? man Embree down here that operated a boat yard • he put in a bid, and the auctioneer said to me, "Langley, you put in a bid for this--you're the man to have this." I said, "No, I don't want that, that's to be sure." Anyway, I put in a bid just for fun • $4000. And somebody else put in a bid for something else. I put in another bid. I thought it was so ridiculously low, you
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