Digging Up The First Bank Manager of Lanark Village


The Lanark County Genealogical Society received a question about where the location of the first bank was in Lanark Village from Edith Drynan.

Fran and Jayne sent the following information:

Christie M. Forbes— first published in the Perth Courier from Dec. 15, 1905 to Feb. 9, 1906. and then later published as a little booklet. There is a paragraph as follows:

“Lanark’s financial institution, the Bank of Ottawa branch, is seven years old and carries all the marks of prosperity.The business men and farmers find the bank a convenience and they patronize it liberally. Mr. Duncan McNamara was the first manager and Mr. H. S. Walker now fills that position.”



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  23 Feb 1899, Thu,  Page 2

So I decided to ask  curator Nic Maennling  from the Lanark & District Museum and he replied that their first bank opened in Lanark Village in 1899, but not sure of the location– but he would try and find out for us.


Clyde Hotel- click here

If you did not know anything about the now closed Scotia Bank at 41 George Street in Lanark Village- it was formerly the site of the Clyde Hotel-established by Thomas Dobbie and was operated by his son James. 

So I went researching and I read a few hundred pages of The Bank of Montreal PDF- The First Bank and did not find a location but, I learned a lot of other things I had no clue about. Then I sat for a couple of hours and read through all the Lanark News and front pages from the Almonte Gazette in 1899 which was supposed to be the year the bank opened. In a February 24, 1899 social column I found the following:

Lanark Village News -February 24 1899-A branch of that Bank of Ottawa is being established here under the management of  Duncan Macnamara. This will be a great convenience to our business men, and is another evidence of Lanark’s steady progress.

As I kept changing the search words on Google trying to find something, imagine my surprise and excitement in information from the Virtual Museum of Canada.There were photos and text about the first bank manager of the Bank of Ottawa in the village of Lanark–Duncan Macnamara

Charles Macnamara – A Retrospective
Arnprior McNab/Braeside Archives
Arnprior, Ontario


Duncan Macnamara first bank manager of the Bank of Ottawa in Lanark Village–See the rest here — community memories- virtual museum canada


Duncan Macnamara was born in September of 1873 in the Arnprior area. He married Kate Harkness from Irena, Ontario (43 miles from Carleton Place) on June 30, 1902. They had two children; Charlie and Jean. Duncan went into banking with the help of his father’s friend Mr. David M. Finnie. Duncan was a talented musician, playing the flute and horn and singing baritone in the church choir. The Virtual museum said he died at age 27 after contracting Tuberculosis while working for the Bank of Ottawa in Prince Albert Saskatchewan- but that is a mistake.

If you remember above–Mr. H. S. Walker took over his position at the Lanark Village Bank after Duncan was transferred. So, Duncan’s recorded death on the virtual museum has to be wrong as that would make his death in 1900, and his son Charlie was born in 1904. Ancestry.ca says Duncan died in the year 1906 which would make him a young 33. His son Charlie was born in 1904 and died in 1908.



“The Marshall’s Bay Band of the Gay Nineties” consisted of Charles Macnamara, Harry Walker, Duncan Macnamara and Leslie Finnie.–See the rest here — community memories- virtual museum canada



Musie Lett, Mrs. Richard Macnamara, Della Cranston and Duncan Macnamara relax on Macnamara’s new front porch–See the rest here — community memories- virtual museum canada


So to sum everything up, I did not find the location Edith, and hopefully Nic will– but instead I found a family that needed to remembered and documented– as if you want to understand today you have to search through yesterday. In memory of Duncan Macnamara first bank manager of Lanark Village and his family.




Charles Harkness Macnamara (Charlie) was born in 1904 and died four years later of summer fever.


Charles Macnamara photographed his namesake with the loving eye of a proud uncle.See the rest here — community memories- virtual museum canada


Jean Graham Macnamara-See the rest here — community memories- virtual museum canada


Jean Graham Macnamara was born in Arnprior in 1906. Her mother Kate had taken a room at the Murphy house across the street from the Macnamara home when her husband Duncan became ill. Jean was photographed more than any other person by her uncle Charles until her daughter Judith was born in 1934.

Uncle Charlie’s preoccupation with scientific investigation might have influenced Jean Macnamara’s decision to study Household science at the University of Toronto from 1924 -1928. She graduated with an honours BA, received a Masters of Psychology and was working on her PhD in Developmental Psychology with Dr. William Blatz when she married Franklyn Finch Cunningham in 1933. Their three children, Judith, Jamie and Alison were enriched by their mother’s interest in children’s literature, nutrition and theatre.


Related reading:

Village of Lanark Business Directory 1886– 1887

When The Carleton Place Citizen’s Band Came Marching in to Lanark


John A Darou 1905 Lanark Village

Photos With a View- Lanark Village

Lanark Village — Looking for Information for William Blair and Helen Watt

You’re from the Village of Lanark You Say?

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


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun


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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