McLean the Tailor from Lanark and Other News



Wedding photo of James George McLean and Agnes Kathleen Prentice.
Photo is courtesy of Michael Umpherson–Kathleen Anne Palmer-O’Neil 

Lanark Village News–May 28 1897

Quite a number of new buildings are being erected in the village this year.

Mr. Noonan, of Perth, gathered-up quite a number of hogs in this district last week.

Miss Kate Mason, sister of Mr. Wm. Mason, left for her home in Carleton Place this week.

Mr. A. E. Hamilton has started butchering, and has his meat market in Robert Robertson’s old stand.

The Queen’s birthday passed off very quietly in the village. There were a few picnics along the riverside.

A friend’s advice to anyone wanting a suit of clothes to fit well, sit well, and wear well: Go to McLean, the tailor, Lanark.

So who was McLean? He was actually pretty easy to find thanks to the words of Kathleen Anne Palmer-O’Neil on one of Charles Dobie’s history pages

James George McLean was the son of James McLean, (born 1825, Dalhousie Twp., died 1910 McDonalds Corners, Dalhousie, Twp.) and Catherine “Kate” Gunn, (born 1830, near Hopetown, Lanark County, died 1908, McDonalds Corners, Dalhousie Twp.) Both are buried in Crawfords Cemetery, Dalhousie Twp. James Senior was the son of Hugh McLean and Sarah McFadden.

James George McLean was a tailor with his shop on the main St. of Lanark Village, next door to his mother-in-law’s, Marion Umpherson Prentice, millinery shop. In the mid 1990’s his name could still be seen in the cement sidewalk in front of that building.

In 1907 he ran an advertisement stating he was committed to: ” 1 – use only the very best cloth; 2 – to employ the best “mechanics” available; 3 – to shrink all cloth thoroughly before cutting; 4 – to deliver garments on the day agreed to; 5 – to ensure a perfect fit”.

In later years James and Agnes ran the post office in Perth, living in the back part of the lovely old heritage stone building.

James, his wife Agnes Kathleen Prentice and daughter Marion spent winters in California (Los Angeles and San Diego) every year until Marion was older, travelling by train and sending postcards from stopovers in Chicago (cards still remain). The Lanark Era announced on Mar 23, 1910 that “Mr. Nelson R. Baker has bought the stock and goodwill of Mr. J.G. McLean’s Tailoring establishment” and reported again on April 6, 1910 “owing to hundreds of requests from the people of Lanark and surrounding country, McLean the tailor has decided to stay with his customers instead of going back South”

Lanark Co. Commercial Directory for 1881-82:McLean: James G; (Scott & McLean). A Large stock of Tweeds, Flannels, Blankets, Shawls, Knitting & Weaving Yarns constantly on hand at lowest cash prices or in exchange for Wove, Roll Carding & Cloth. Dressing Prompty attended to – Mill, Packenham.”

Lanark Era, 1 Nov 1895: “Elphin – Mr. J.G. McLean has left McDonalds Corners for Lanark and Mr. J.G. Scott is about to open up the former place . . . . “

Lanark Era, May 11, 1904:Mr. J.G. McLean, merchant tailor, now does his pleasure driving in a pneumatic-tired buggy — the first of the kind introduced in Lanark.”

Lanark Era, Feb 20, 1909: “McLean the tailor now sells hats.”

Lanark Era, July 7, 1909:Mr. J.G. McLean commenced the erection of a summer cottage at Dalhousie Lake last week.”

Lanark Era, Jan 5, 1910:Mr. & Mrs. J.G. McLean leave Thurs to spend the winter in southern California. Most of the time will be spent in Los Angeles and San Diego. Mr. McLean will be back in time to attend to business when spring trade opens up.”

Perth Courier, Jan 1940: “Died: At the GWM Hospital, on Monday, January 1st, 1940, James G. McLean of Perth, formerly of Lanark, aged 69 years.”–Kathleen Anne Palmer-O’Neil 

The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
01 Dec 1915, Wed  •  Page 4

The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
16 Nov 1898, Wed  •  Page 4

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.

2 responses »

  1. Hi — the address of my history website has changed to The Lanark County section is at
    Unfortunately the previous website is still on-line at and now that freepages is working again, the old pages are being indexed by Google.I hope at some point to be able to take the old website down, but technical problems prevent me from accessing these pages.


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