Does Anyone Remember Cohen’s in Lanark Village?


Author’s Note-I got an email yesterday from Karen Schiller after she read my story–The Non Kosher Grave   She would love our help.

Please contact me — Linda Seccaspina at with any information. Thank you:)


     Photos courtesy and property of Karen Schiller


                                                              F R A N K  C O H E N

He is listed in the Village of Lanark directory of 1888 as having a general store. There were apparently other Jewish merchants such as Goldstein Bros. who are also listed in the 1888 directory. His brother Abraham is listed as a merchant in Brightside.

Frank and Etta had a child who died at birth from prolonged labour on November 18,1888 and and Frank died February 19,1889 apparently from strangulation after drinking milk or water. He was buried in Montreal on February 21,1889. On both death certificates a Dr. Andrew Bradford was the attending physician. Frank’s widow left the village for Ottawa to her mother’s home but later married Frank’s brother William Moses and they returned to the village. William Moses had a store Wm .Cohen on George street until 1932.

I attach a fuzzy picture of William outside the store as well as an old family picture of William, Etta and their children as well as an unidentified older couple taken in
Lanark . (date unknown)


 Photos courtesy and property of Karen Schiller

Here are Karen’s questions and she is hoping someone can help.
1. If there is anyone still live in the Village who remembers the
Cohen store or any of the Jewish merchants . Does anyone know the
exact location of the store on George Street? I have not been able to
find any other Village directories except the one form 1888. The
population of early immigrants to this area was largely Scottish or
Irish and I am trying to find out how the few Jewish families lived
among the majority, whether they were just tolerated, did they mingle
2. Whether there were rail links to and from Lanark at that time. In
other words, was the Village fairly isolated? Would the deceased
Frank or the family have travelled to Ottawa or Montreal just by horse
and buggy? I know that in the early years of the 20th century, William
received goods for the store from Montreal but that was the era of the
3.Does anyone have information about a village school in the late 19th century?

4. Does anyone have any information about or any connection to the
Bradford family so that I can learn more about Dr. Bradford?
I am happy to drive to the Village to meet anyone who has photos,
memories etc, family stories of that era.

Many thanks,


Please contact me — Linda Seccaspina at with any information. Thank you:)


 Photos courtesy and property of Karen Schiller



The incredible Jaan Volk once again has come up with information I have forwarded to Karen.

In reply to Karen’s question #2, Lanark village did not have a railway station; however, by 1870 Ottawa was connected to Brockville by the a Canada Central Railway line (later taken over by CPR) through Carleton Place and Smith Falls with a branch from Smith falls to Perth. Perth would have been the nearest station, with Carleton Place second closest.

I also looked at Journal archives.
Have a look at the 1942 obituary of Mrs William M. Cohen, Hattie Perlson.
img (74).jpg
William may well have been Frank’s brother, but this woman could not have been Frank’s widow who had immgrated as his wife; she came to Canada with her parents as a baby about 1872. Perlson is likely changed from Perlstein. I found mention in 1923 of a Mrs. Etta Cohen, then one of the older members of the Rideau St. synagogue.
img (75)
It sounds like two (or more) individuals have been confused. How solid is the information that Frank’s wife was “Etta Perlstein”?

I have also forwarded this to:

Lanark & District Museum

  • 80 George St., Lanark ON. (Mailing: P.O. Box 340, 75 George St., Lanark, ON. K0G 1K0), K0G 1K0
  • In the heart of Lanark Village, the Lanark & District Museum offers a delightful array of activities and memorabilia that celebrate the vibrant heritage of the Lanark Highlands, Drummond Township and other historically linked communities!
  • Long Description

    The Lanark & District Museum is happy to offering the following resources year round:

    Genealogical Reference Library – An extensive array of families histories, photographs, records, and general reference material to help you with all your family research needs. Please contact us or stop by for more details!

    Historical Reference Library
    Local History Books, Scrapbooks, LACAC Architectural Records for Lanark Village, Canadiana history books, the entire collection of Lanark Era newspapers (1895 – Present), The works of Charles Mair and R.J. Stead, historic maps, collections of news clippings for various events in our coverage area, and much more.

    Media Library
    Series of videos including the 1959 Lanark Fire, Lanark County History of Logging, local parades/socials, interviews with long-time area residents, etc,.
    Series of voice interviews with area resisdents: i.e. Fallbrook Blacksmith Walter Cameron

    Photo Library
    Expansive collection of people, places and events throughout our regions history.

    Regular Exhibits
    Settlement history, Our Aboriginal Heritage, School Days, The Cobbler, The Post Office, The K&P Rail Line, The Lanark Era Newspaper, World Wars, Carpentry, Farming, Local Business History, The Blacksmith, Glenayr Knit Ltd., The Caldwell Mills, Logging and Lumbering, The 1959 Lanark Fire, Family & Fundraising Quilts, The Churches of Lanark & Drummond, Fences of Lanark County, Personal Effects, Period clothing and costumes, and more…

    Have a research request? Working on a school project? Please contact us at: or 613-259-2575. We’re here to help!


Thanks to Claudia Radmore and her sharp eyes we have added this:


A. COHEN’S POPULAR CASH STORE, LANARK VILLAGE. This building was opposite the Post Office in the late 1800’s. They advertised: “The Seven Wonders of the World are Known to All. The Eighth and Greatest is the Immense Bargains in Ready-Made Clothing etc at Cohen’s. THE GREAT CHEAPSIDE of LANARK”. If anyone has any information on this store would love to hear from you.




About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

9 responses »

  1. For Karen,

    It is the 200the anniversary this year of the Perth military settlement. This includes Lanark and neighbouring small communities. I suggest contacting Dave Bromley via Perth Remembered FB page or visit Also there were huge fires in Lanark where much of the village was destroyed.

  2. In reply to Karen’s question #2, Lanark village did not have a railway station; however, by 1870 Ottawa was connected to Brockville by the a Canada Central Railway line (later taken over by CPR) through Carleton Place and Smith Falls with a branch from Smith falls to Perth. Perth would have been the nearest station, with Carleton Place second closest.

  3. Thanks everyone so much for your help. Every little detail helps. I had not previously seen the photo of A. Cohen’s Cash Store on Perth Remembered. A true treasure as it may show Abraham Cohen outside the store with his wife Sarah with two of their children.

  4. I’m slowly cleaning out some corners now that we all have to stay home. Going through old jewellery
    etc. today, I found a metal button hook labelled W. M. Cohen Lanark Ont.that I will donate to the
    Lanark & District Museum .

  5. Were those Cohens related to Leonard Cohen’s grandfather who had a general store in Maberley for a short while?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s