Boys will be boys, and in the late 1800s there was a notorious Carleton Place High School/ Carleton Place Collegiate 4th form chemistry class. One day these boys decided to do some research by themselves. You have to remember in those days the chemistry department in the old high school was only separated by a thin partition and a string of empty stove pipes projected out into the 4th form class.
Well, I am sure you can smell trouble already, and the experiment began with the making of hydrogen sulfide which had an odour reminiscent of eggs gone bad. The test tube was held in the the stove pipe and the enticing aroma seeped out into the classroom. This was followed by a flurry of purple snow flakes from using permangnate of potash followed by an addition of black smoke from homemade gun powder.
Then a few sharp explosions occurred from chlorate of potash in a mortar being struck by the pestle. This was more than the popular French teacher could stand. Let it be known she was also at that time the only female member of the staff.
When the incident was reported to the chief chemist, Neil McDonald, you can be assured no more such incidents took place. One of the young scalawags turned out to be none other than the moderator of the United Church in Canada– The Very Rev. Dr. John W. Woodside.
Photo of one of the school books you can buy from Lanark Archives
One of the many family sagas of emigration to Ramsay township was that of the McDonald family which, after investigating other locations, chose land in the tenth concession of Ramsay north of the falls of Almonte. Long-lived members of this family included the father, John McDonald of the Isle of Mull, who came in 1821 with his wife, three sons and several daughters, and lived in Ramsay till he reached his hundredth year in 1857. His son Neil at the age of 100 had the distinction of living in three centuries before his death in 1901 at his Ramsay homestead. Neil McDonald, was a Carleton Place High School teacher from 1890 to 1913.
McDonald house (about 1907) Lot 22, Con 10, Ramsay Township.
- 1938–1940 John W. Woodside
Dr. Woodside was the recipient of many honours:
– Doctor of Divinity, Presbyterian College, 1926;
– Moderator of the United Church of Canada, 1938-1940;
– Doctor of Divinity, Victoria university, Toronto, 1938;
– LL. D., Mount Allison University, 1940;
– President of the Montreal-Ottawa Conference of the United Church of Canada;
– President of the North American Alliance of Reformed Churches;
– President, Canadian Council of Churches, 1948-1949;
– Pastor Emeritus, Chalmers United Church, 1951.
Carleton Place High School-The school went back again to the Central School building for a short time, until the present used building on High Street was ready for occupation in 1882.