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Languedoc, Erie (Janes) & George de Guerry


Erie Russell (Janes) 1863 - 1941 & George de Guerry Languedoc 1860 - 1924

Erie Russell Janes (b. 1863 in Montreal) was the daughter of Mary Frances Russell and her husband, William D. B. Janes. Soon after her birth, Erie’s mother died and she went to Quebec to live with her grandparents, Willis Russell, and his wife, Rebecca Page Sanborn. Willis Russell, her grandfather, was one of the first Quebec residents to build a summer home at Tadoussac and from her childhood until her death, Erie spent many summer months there each year.
When Willis died in 1887, Erie sold out her share of the family house in Tad (Spruce Cliff) and built a house opposite the Roman Catholic Church called Russellhurst. In 1911 at age forty-eight, Erie married the widower, George de Guerry Languedoc who brought with him his daughter Adele. In his lifetime, George Languedoc was a civil engineer and architect, and for the first two years of their married life, they lived in Port Arthur, Ontario.
Subsequently, they moved to Ottawa where Erie remained until her husband’s death in 1924 when she came to Montreal to live with her step-daughter, Adele Languedoc who was in charge of the McLennan Travelling Library at Macdonald College. She later sold Russellhurst in the Tadoussac village and bought what is now known as Languedoc Parc from Henry Dale, an American. She designed and built Amberley which is now (much renovated) the Gomer home. Dale also had a carriage road going down to Pointe Rouge. The circular “Fairy Circle” was its turnaround.
During World War I, Erie organized a Red Cross Society branch at Aylmer, Quebec, and after the war, she was instrumental in setting up seven chapters of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (I.O.D.E., a Canadian national women’s charitable organization) in the Ottawa district. In 1940, just before her death, Erie organized a Red Cross branch in Tadoussac. She was a life member of both the Red Cross Society and the I.O.D.E.
Erie did much to promote interest in, and the sale of, handicrafts indigenous to the Saguenay region and was an authority on the folklore of this district in Quebec.
Recognition of the work she had done for Tadoussac came with her election to the honorary presidency of Le Cercle des Fermieres of Tadoussac which still exists today.
Ann Stevenson Dewart relates memories of her first cousin, Erie.

“In those days the Park was truly a private enclave, dominated by Cousin Erie Languedoc. No one passed her door without her scrutiny, and French and English alike walked in awe of her flashing, black eyes and outthrust jaw. ‘You, there, what's your name?’ she would ask, poking her crooked walking stick at the trespasser's stomach. If it was a French child, she would want to know his parents' names. She persuaded the Curé to declare the Park off-limits after dark for the village youths, as much to protect her rest as their morals. Only visitors were allowed to come in by the front gate opposite the Golf Club. Tradesmen and the solitary motorcar had to use the back entrance near Hovington's farm. If anyone came to our door after dark, uninvited, Mum would first get down the .22 rifle before calling out, ‘Who is it?’ Fortunately, she never had to use either it or the revolver. Cousin Erie, however, wasn't afraid of man or beast and often stayed alone in the park until the boats stopped running late in September. She and her walking stick were a match for anything, but Mum was more nervous. Erie gave her a big brass dinner bell to ring if she needed help. Erie had one even bigger. As the only two women alone in the park it was a kind of mutual aid pact in case of fire or illness.”

Erie died in 1941 when Amberley then went to Adele and later, after Adele's death, was acquired by Adelaide Gomer.

Brian Dewart (with excerpts from Ann Stevenson Dewart’s writings)

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