The Heathen School in Carleton Place — Salem’s Lot?

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One sentence in an old newspaper article got me curious:

“The ‘Heathen’ School opposite the Carleton Place Baptist Church on Bridge Street is now in operation.”

What was a ‘Heathen School’? Was it a school dealing in Wica? Is that where the Witches of Rochester Street got their education?  The ‘Heathen School’ was built, in part, to convert the world through seeded evangelism. Carleton Place was not the only town that had one. People from so-called “heathen” nations would attend, learn to spread the gospel. Sons of some of the most prominent Aboriginal leaders of the time (many of mixed ancestry) received their education at the Foreign Mission School in Conn., later becoming distinguished members of their nations. It seems that Carleton Place felt it needed its own.

Of the native Indians who a 180 years ago had been almost the sole inhabitants of the Lanark and Renfrew area, only a few stragglers still remained in Lanark County in the late 1800s.

Two unfortunate Indians were among those who felt the first punitive effects of the new society’s protective activity.  This local story was published in October of 1884 and retold by Howard Morton Brown.

“Last Wednesday two Indians from St. Regis were about to pack up and leave their camp between Appleton and Almonte, on the Mississippi River, when a representative of the Carleton Place Game, Fish and Insectivorous Birds Protective Society appeared on the spot and confiscated a number of muskrat skins.

The fellows had been warned by the Society to desist trapping the animals until November.  The two offenders were brought to Carleton Place.  They had in their possession 126 muskrat skins, one mink skin and one raccoon skin.  The taking of the latter is not an offence.  The poor fellows were in most destitute circumstances.

The magistrate inflicted a fine of $10 and costs and the skins were confiscated.  They doubtless intended to do the river above Carleton Place at once, as has been their annual custom.  The Protective Society is extending its influence very rapidly in all directions from Carleton Place, having a good representative membership in many points at a distance.”

Carleton Place Herald

So was it just the Natives that attended the ‘Heathen’ School? My assumption is that there was a mixture of nationalities in that building that sat across the Baptist Church. You have to remember before the Carleton Place Town Hall was built there sat a Chinese Laundry with a few other businesses next to the Central Bridge. Their children of Asian descent probably went to that school also. Discrimination was heavy in those days, and our town was no different.

Historical Note:

1825- A school house at Carleton Place is said to have been established in 1825 near the corner of Bridge Street and the Town Line Road, with James Kent as teacher. Legislative provision for schools for the district was made by the provincial Parliament in 1823

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Free!  The Kickapoo Indian Medicine Co. will open in Victoria Hall on November 30, 1892 for two weeks.  Indian War Dances, Buffalo Dances.  Also Ventriloquists, Banjo Players, Comedians, Contortionists, Wire Walkers and high class wonder working.

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.

6 responses »

  1. Just before that church closed, the congregation was a strict Calvinistic group and several upright townspeople were members. Careful with the heathen adjective as some are still around and would be greatly offended

    Liked by 1 person

  2. On the south east corner of Bridge and Herriott street was a small white wood frame building . I remember it well. I was told back then that it was the ” Blacksocks Church” It was torn down many years ago but was still in use in the early 1950’s. It was very old and was more than likely the original school as all the other buildings on the corner were residential except for the Baptist Church.

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