If it was needed, the Olde General Store was sure to have it. That was what the community counted on. If customers wanted something special, they could look through the pages of the Sears Roebuck, Simpson or Eaton’s catalogues and place an order through the local store. Catalogues for local manufacturers like the Findlay Foundry or McPherson’s Shoes were also available. The store owners would pride themselves on supplying their communities with the essentials of life and a few novelty items on hand for their more adventurous customers. There were the staples of life like flour, sugar and molasses. The women relied on the store to carry thread, buttons and a little lace. The men would stop by when they needed horse bits or brushes. Children would be happy to get a special treat from the candy jar. The family might purchase a pail of honey, box of green tea, block of cheese, scoop of spice, bolt of cotton or skein of yarn. Lanterns, kerosene oil and a bundle of candles might make it on the list. In the harvest season, farm implements, and binder twine would be popular purchases.
Lanark Township had several store keepers throughout its history. Artifacts belonging to some of these merchants are on display in the General Store exhibit at the Middleville and District Museum. There are ledgers from the store owned by A.R. McIntyre for 1872, 1884, 1887 and Halpenny’s store in Clayton for 1926-28 and 1959. Visitors will see receipt books belonging to W.W. Cameron and R.L. Somerville. Merchants often had calendars to advertise their store. The Museum has many of these old calendars including from the stores of R.L. Drysdale, Lionel Barr, Greer’s, Wm Croft & Sons and John A. Erskine. The names of other local merchants like Glossop, Blackburn, McCready and Stewart all of Middleville, McLelland (MacDonald’s Corners), Paul (Hopetown), McLaren, Peter Barr, Miller, Hornell and Wesley Tennant & Company (Almonte), Gilbert White (Poland) are among those recorded at the Museum. Visitors will recall many of these family names from local communities.
This journal is written, researched, and maintained by the volunteers of the Middleville Museum.