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 

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.

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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