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CHARLES DOBIE : LOCAL HISTORY
LANARK COUNTY, ONTARIO
JAMES GEORGE MCLEAN

James George McLean, tailor

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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".

James's sister Sarah Jean McLean married Dugald Campbell "of Los Angeles" -- this is likely why James and his family spent the winter months in Los Angeles and San Diego.

Agnes Kathleen Prentice and James George McLean
Wedding photo of James George McLean and Agnes Kathleen Prentice.
Photo is courtesy of Michael Umpherson.


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."



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