You’re from the Village of Lanark You Say?




Photo sent to me by historian Jaan Volk–the Union Publishing Co.’s 1886-7 Farmers and Business Directory that covers Lanark County


Lanark Village was basically settled by people from Scotland in 1820. Most of these settlers came over in a sailing vessel called Leshmahagow and it numbered 178 men, women and children.

John Hall opened the first store in the village and he was followed by James Muir and our good ole Boyd Caldwell. Remember that previously to 1850 Alexander and Boyd Caldwell had been mostly engaged in the square timber business. They cut that timber in the townships of Dalhousie, Lanark, Lavant and Darling and that timber floated down the Clyde, Mississippi and Ottawa Rivers to Quebec where it was sold to shipbuilders from the old country.

In the earlier part of Lanark Village history a foundry was in operation for a number of years. James Dobbie started that foundry and then it was purchased by A. G Dobbie and finally by Thomas Watt and son. Did you know that at one time a large numbers of stoves were manufactured in the Village of Lanark and sold all through the Valley?

Well all good things come to an end, and the square timber commenced to getting scarce. W.C. Caldwell built a sawmill in the village which gave employment to a number of men in the summer and winter months, taking out logs and floating down the river in the Spring. In 1867 Caldwell and Watchorn started a woolen mill which really became the first industry in the village to employ a considerable amount of people. Well push came to shove, and Caldwell and Watchorn had their differences and their partnership went up in flames and Caldwell took over the business. The mill continued on, operating steadily until it was destroyed by fire, and this terrible catastrophe put a real damper on the growth of the village for a number of years.



Photo from
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”.



Photo from


Did you know that it wasn’t until the late 40s that things began to brighten up again? In 1946 Oswald Rathwell built a sawmill in the village on the site of the old Caldwell sawmill which had been torn down. At one time it employed over 20 men. Markle Brothers of Toronto bought the grist mill and the small woolen mill from Gerald Munroe in 1948. They removed all the machinery from the grist mill, made a whole heck of improvements, and installed machinery suitable to make men’s socks, blankets, blanket cloth and motor rugs. But, Markle wasn’t content with that and made even a further purchase of the large stone building that sat on the banks of the Clyde River. That building had once been the general store and also occupied by the Bank of Nova Scotia. All of this soon became known as part of the Mothership known as the Kitten Mills.

BOOK – The Lanark Society Settlers: Ships’ Lists of the Glasgow Emigration Society 1821
By Gerald J. Neville
Originally published by BIFHSGO, Ottawa, 1995
This edition by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2012

Check out Lanark & District Museum Facebook page

Check out The Lanark Era’s page also

Check out the Lanark County Genealogical Society’s page also


Down by the Old Kitten Mill

Does Anyone Remember Cohen’s in Lanark Village?

The Lanark Laundromat Blast — Unsolved Mysteries of Lanark County

Lanark Mormons and Mormon Tree?

Sticky and Sweet in Lanark County


About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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