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Russell Langille - Former Dory Champs Parade Marshalls

A History and Genealogy of the South Shore Langilles of Nova Scotia

Oakland, N.S.: - The Nova Scotia Fisheries Exhibition parade will have two outstanding Lunenburg County men as parade marshals.  Russell Langille (I4177) of Oakland and Lloyd Heisler of Rouse Island.  Former dory rowing champions Lloyd Heisler and Russell Langille have been teammates since 1934.  When they first started dory racing Mr. Heisler was in the stern and Mr. Langille in the middle, but they soon realized the dory was not trimmed tight as she was down too far in the stern because Mr. Heisler being heavier than Mr. Langille.  The two men changed places in the dory and success soon followed.  They raced in 27 races together and were never defeated.

Mr. Langille said years ago he and his father would each take a dory and row to a nearby island, fill the dory with 3,000 pound of sand and gravel and row to Mahone Bay for $2.50.  They would start at 6 p.m. and by midnight they would have made two trips, each taking home five dollars.  One evening on their return trip to Oakland, a rowboat followed them thinking they were bringing in rum, Mr. Langille’s father decided he and his son should give them a run for their money and left the rowboat far behind.

Lloyd Heisler said he had no other choice but to row a dory as soon as he was able, being born on and island there was no other means of transportation to and from the mainland.  He would row for and five miles every day tending his lobster traps and he also used his dory to gather rockweed for fertilizer in his garden.  He would load the dory until there was only three inches of (freeboard) the boat out of the water.  He said a dory was built to carry weight and usually they would have two tons aboard.  When he was working on fishing schooners off the coast of Newfoundland he would have to go ashore for chunks if ice used for icing down the bait.  The dory would be loaded with 50 pound blocks of ice until she would carry no more, and then it would be rowed to the mother ship.

In 1952 the men received a challenge from the town of Gloucester, Mass., to compete in a dory rowing championship race.  Mr. Langille and Mr. Heisler drove to Gloucester with their friends Ray Tanner and Captain Rollie Knickle of Lunenburg.  This was the first international race held between Gloucester and Lunenburg and the team of Langille and Heisler won.  Mr. Heisler is the father of Sonny Heisler who along with his many teammates has won 32 of his 34 races.  Mr. Heisler recalls the day when he and Russell Langille raced against Sonny and teammate Dick Nagle of Herring Cove and BEAT THEM.

Article from the Halifax Chronicle –Herald – Sept. 1969    Courtesy of Mrs. Lester (Jean) Vienotte, Blockhouse, N.S. (page XVII of 4th Edition)

Story Location: 
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada