- Merchant 1833 (Approx.) - 1834 (Approx.)
John Langton never operated a business in the village of Fenelon Falls, nonetheless his influence as a “businessman” and supplier for early settlers should be recorded. Three quotations from his letters are noteworthy. “Tell my mother she may make herself easy: I shall set up no store… yet awhile at least–for the best of all reasons–that in my neighbourhood there is nobody to buy1.” [23 August 1833 Langton Collection, PAO].
“I am sort of a merchant in my way…and though I make a profit which remunerates me for my trouble and risk in bringing goods up, I contrive generally to sell them cheaper than they [the thirteen people he supplies] could get them from a store in Peterborough.” [Early Days in Upper Canada; 120].
Storekeeping was somewhat beneath Langton’s dignity as a “gentleman of the Fenelon hunt”, but he could not resist the profit and influence a merchant enjoyed in a pioneering settlement. He eventually abandoned supplying his neighbours once stores were introduced to the community and the demands of his own farm overwhelmed him. Langton was also active as a lumberman. The Langton family left the area in 1846, and sold Blythe House around 1854 [Williams; 14]
“My house is so closely packed with flour, oats, pork, potatoes, etc., that any indoors work is next to impossible…” [Ibid.; 122].
442 Mrs. Langton was uneasy about the financial risk, rather than the loss of social status of being in “trade”. Certainly Langton was aware of his social position (see Introduction).
443 According to local historian Glenn Walker, “Langton executed a deed to Mossom Boyd on April 1, 1856, who then sold Blythe to Robert Graham for $6000.00. I understand the sale was done this way because Boyd, being the gentleman who was still on the back lakes, was helping to look after Langton’s affairs while he was away.” [email 16 Sept 2008]