The 8th Line of Ramsay Township in Lanark County is one of the most historic in the area with a colourful past. The 12th- Line is now mostly populated by newcomers many with an interest in the early settlement Few, however, would have access to the records which mark the 8th line as one of the truly interesting early developments.
The easiest way to enter the 8th Line is turning left to the north on Highway 29 on the outskirts of Carleton Place. The Anglican cemetery is on the left much further down the line, approximately three miles is the Auld Kirk cemetery one of the first final resting places in the county. The church building was last used as a church in 1863 but is opened annually for memorial and decoration services, and serves as a vault in the winter months.
Did you know the first burial was that of a four-year-old child in 1836? This cemetery has an unusual Minister’s Row. where only clergy and their families are buried . For those who are interested in the old traditions, it is an experience to visit this old cemetery and read the interesting epitaphs, and try to visualize the hardy old Scots who pioneered the lands of the eighth line.
The Kirk was originally a Church of Scotland place of worship in 1836, and its manse was the frame structure across the road. It was built in 1835, and is now a private home. There were many churches built along this township line, including the break-away church of the Church of Scotland, the Free Presbyterian Church.
Travelling north along this picturesque county road, one sees many lovely old farmsteads intermingled with newly constructed homes As the road continues, just after passing Auld Kirk, there is the old Tannery School. Built of stone in 1856, two of its seats and a desk are preserved in the Appleton museum.
Just a stone’s throw from the school is an excellent example of early Scottish stonemasonery in the old Tannery Mill. On the bank of Wolf Creek, the building which is converted to a private residence, still has its original roof of Cornish tin brought from Cornwall England. The building was erected before 1832 and was established as a tannery by Isaac Mansell where hides were processed on the main floor, with an upstairs harness shop.
This area of the 8th Line was a thriving business community in the year 1832. There were tailor shops, blacksmiths, and the usual businesses of that day. When the railway was established in Almonte in 1858, just a few miles from the 8th Line, many of the businesses moved to the busier location, and the 8th Line lost much of its activity and never regained it.
Next to the Tannery, continuing on to the north of the Line, is a white frame house which dates back to 1840. Now a private residence, it was originally built as a tailor shop and a residence, with two separate entrances. These two doors remain side by side to this day.
The next farm, now owned by John Camelon was one of the very early farms of Ramsay Built in 1830, the log house covered with clapboard, remains much as it was more than 145 years ago. On the east side of this lovely scenic road, and about a mile from the Tannery, a man once lived who became a historical figure his fame resulted from the fact that he, George Eccles, was the first man in the world to use a wireless on ship to send an SOS. Records show that in 1909, in spite of his efforts, he lost his life, but 200 passengers were saved.
The now famous Mill of Kintail is the next important point of interest on this Lanark County trip down memory lane. A building often overlooked is the stone structure at the entrance to the public grounds. This great stone structure, was once a general store built in 1830 by John Baird, and the store served the area for years Now a private residence, it is a very fine example of early stonemasonery in Lanark county.
Bennie s Corners School, just down the road from the Mill of Kintail. is a lasting memorial to the settlers of the 8th Line The white frame structure was built in 1869, and graduated many honourable and famous people including, Dr. James Naismith, the founder of basketball.