George Ernest Farlinger and Mary Chaydene Farlinger
George was born in Prescott, Ontario in 1876. George’s father passed, leaving George the responsibly of tending the family farm and younger siblings for a number of years. Then he set off to travel west. Hoping to go to the Yukon and Klondike, he made it as far as Winnipeg and employment constructing grain elevators. He returned to Prescott for a short time and then joined a construction boom in Sydney, Nova Scotia. As a contractor on commercial buildings there, he added more skills that would serve him well in the future. He married his business partner Mr. Stevensons’ sister in law, Mary Chaydene Beatty in St. John, New Brunswick. They lived in Sydney where the children were born: Gretchen (Mrs. L. Casper), Bernice (Mrs. Doc Oakes) and Ernest.
In 1906, he contracted with the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (CNR) to construct foundations, bridge piers, culverts, etc, throughout Quebec and Ontario. In 1910, his contract was finished.
Having considerable experience in the timber business, he decided to set one up in Graham (Sioux Lookout). The family settled in Port Arthur, and two more children were born – Sydney and Mary (Mrs. Jim Ans). In Port Arthur, Mrs. Mary Farlinger was active in the Victorian Order of Nurses, music (she was a violinist) and the library. She and the children would spend every summer in Sioux Lookout, coming by raft from Dinorwic, with their goods and her books. Mrs. Farlinger and her friend, Sarah Vaughn worked tirelessly to get a library going for the town.
In 1930, the family moved to Sioux Lookout, where Mrs. Farlinger continued her interests, teaching Home Nursing and helping to establish the library. By this time Gretchen and Bernice were married, Ernest was helping his Dad in the lumber business, Sydney was at college (later to join the business) and Mary was at home.
At first ties and timbers were produced for the railway construction, but as time went on, lumber was included.
His timber operations extended from Barrel Lake at the headwaters of English River, including east and west of Manitou Rapids on Lac Seul: including east and west from Sturgeon Lake to Vermilion Lake, south of Hudson. Logging operations were first carried out with horses. Local folks remembered the huge barns where the horses were kept before being barged out to different locations before winter operations. The lumber created a huge sawdust pile and a cookhouse operated by Joe Botnik was part of it. With progress, tractors and large trucks replaced the horses. His son, Ernie attained his pilot’s license and served the camps by skiplane. Every spring there was a log drive, originating from over a hundred miles up the English River. The men worked from day to night collecting the logs below sets of rapids to finally towing the boomed bags of logs to the mill just above the Iron Bridge. This had to be done during the spring high water level.
Mr. Farlinger continued his timber operation as the Patricia Lumber Company Limited until 1952, when it was sold to the Great Lakes Paper Company. He had strived to have a Paper Mill constructed in Sioux Lookout but when he saw the logging was depleted, his dream couldn’t be realized.
During his years in business, Mr. Farlinger’s interest in the town never lagged. He served four years as mayor, assisted in the building of churches and recreation facilities, and aided in mining possibilities. He did a great deal of exploratory work for hydro generation on the English river in 1925.
He had a hand in the construction of the Superior Junction and Pelican CN Bridges, as well as the first Chutes Causeway that he built to bring logs to Abram Lake. The logging roads he built gave access to Amik Lake. The development of Town Beach area was partially due to his assistance.
Mrs. Farlinger passed in 1941 at the age of 67. Her family placed a plaque in the library in her memory. George passed in 1955 at 79 years. The legacy of their names lives on in Sioux Lookout.
This year as you enjoy the refurbished town beach, make note of how it and the CN Iron Bridge that you can see from there, originally came to be. Then remember George E. Farlinger’s part in it!