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.
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
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.