Daniel Johnson – General Merchant

The “Daniel Johnson – General Merchant” store and later post office was built and opened approximately in the late 1840’s. It was constructed from large local white pine logs. The owner was Daniel Johnson born October 17,1836 who had recently moved to the area. He was married to Annie and had one daughter Mary Louise. It is believed that the first use of the building was as a fur trading post with Daniel and his bother Hiram running the business for a few years. It later became a general store. The first known reference to the early beginnings to the business was a sales receipt dated July 1, 1885 with the printed letterhead that the business was established in 1859.

Daniel was quite the entrepreneur. He operated the store and owned a boat called the “E. L. Perkins” (burned and sitting at the bottom of Hyde’s Bay) that sailed the Madawaska River to bring supplies for the store from Barry’s Bay, Eganville & Renfrew by stagecoach. He also owned a sawmill at Johnson Creek off Mullen Road on the border of then Bangor and Radcliffe townships, and operated a cedar shake making mill at that same location. Both the lumber and shingles were sold in the store. Daniel also bought a piece of property in Bangor Twp and used it as a farm where he produced fresh produce and fruit for sale in the store. In 1865 when the first Post Office was opened in the village, Daniel became the first Postmaster with the office located in the back of the store under the stairs. Until 1880, the community was called Dennison’s Bridge. Daniel and his wife operated the store until 1911.

Owners who were involved in the store after the Johnsons were the following; Frank Stafford from 1911 to1912, George and Janet Oram from 1912 to 1918. They operated the Craigmont store prior from 1910 to 1912, Archie Kernichan from 1918 to 1925, Erle Stubbs & Ozzie Miller 1925-1933, store closed due to depression from 1933 to 1938, Patrick & Jean Fitzgerald from1938 to 1946, Wally Levitt & Robert Emerson from 1946 to 1947, Walter & Ursula Bloom from 1947 to 1953 (Walter was a postmaster for many years), Robert & Theresa Coulas from 1953 to 1959, Nelson and Bernice Boehme from 1959 to 1968, Gaston & Peggy Duschenne from 1968 to 1970, Joseph & Erika Rosenhammer from 1970 to 1973, Ernie and Nancy Peplinskie from 1973 to 1984, Peter and Beryl Tomlin from 1984 to 2005. Several times over the years, owners added additional space to the store. The girl in the photo is Theresa Coulas (nee Lepinskie).

In 2005, Christopher Hicks from Centreview bought the store and has been operating it until the present time. In May 2009 there was a major dedication celebration marking the 150 years of operation of the general store. This was quite the event as the Valley Market store has been the only continuously operating store in the Ottawa Valley that has always operated as the same type of business.

Other names for the store that our research has uncovered are: B.P. Coulas – Groceries; P. L. Fitzgerald – Butcher and Grain; R. A. Emerson – Groceries and Feed; Lucky Dollar Store. The name “Valley Market General Store” has been used for at least two decades.

COMBERMERE HERITAGE WALK, A PROJECT BY THE COMBERMERE HERITAGE SOCIETY INC. –  2013