PUPILS WERE READY TO TESTIFY AGAINST PRINCIPAL OF SCHOOL (By Dugald Campbell)
It has been a long time now since this little item happened. But it was back in Almonte around the latter 1800s likely. The old town had two’ famous school principals. One of course, was the redoubtable P. C. McGregor, patron saint of Queen’s University at Kingston, and for many years principal of Almonte High School. P. C. was really something.
My story, however, concerns another principal, the late John McCarter. He was an old dour, stubborn Scot with a single mindedness and a stern approach to life. He held forth in the Church Street School, and he trudged, summer and winter, across the Bay Hill and up Mill Street. John McCarter was a stem disciplinarian aland he did not hesitate to lay on the birch rod at times. His arder in this direction brought him into trouble.
The old man licked a lad named Jack Carney rather heavily, and there was such a rumpus kicked up that the case was sent up to the higher court in Perth. The late E. W. Smith (Almonte magistrate) did not wish to get into trouble with the two principals in the affair, so he wisely sent the case up to the county court.
Mr. A. M. Greig represented School Teacher McCarter, and W. H. Stafford represented Jack Carney. The presiding judge was Judge Senkler at Perth. Carney’s lawyer took a cart load of school youths to witness that Carney took a shellacking. I was not one of the kids, but it was a great day when the prosecuting lawyer took the kids over to Perth. The late Sandy Robinson took his famous side-seater to Perth with his team of steppers.
Twenty two miles was a long trip in those days, and there was a lot of heat generated around town because of the interest in the case. John McCarter had many friends and it would have been suicidal had he lost the case, but because of the youth of the lads, who were keyed up to take their oath re the licking of the Carney lad, the wise old judge dismissed the case. No evidence was taken because of the youth of the witnesses for Carney. Jack Carney’s health was not abated one whit, and maybe it was a good thing for the discipline of the town, but it was hot stuff when it lasted.
John McCarter was born on April 10, 1823, in Brechin, Angus, Scotland, the son of Isabel and William. He married Agnes Russell Young on January 5, 1855, in Lanark, Ontario. They had 11 children in 22 years. He died on September 25, 1899, in Almonte, Ontario, having lived a long life of 76 years, and was buried in Lanark, Ontario.
When Dugald Campbell was born on May 9, 1886, in Lanark, Ontario, his father, Donald, was 48 and his mother, Christinia, was 41 he lived in Almonte in 1901. He married Sarah Garret Johnston on September 10, 1913, in Vancouver, British Columbia. They had four children during their marriage. He died on August 17, 1973, in Vancouver, British Columbia, at the age of 87, and was buried there.