Friday 27 January 2012

January 28, 1876

“A Joint Stock Company contemplates establishing Smelting Works at the foot of the mountain in close proximity to the Hamilton & Northwestern Railway. The iron ore is to be brought from the county of Norfolk and the coal from Pennsylvania. The Company are sanguine of success.”
        Spectator January 28, 1876
        Signs that Hamilton would become a steel town were already surfacing in January, 1876, although the location being touted would lack the direct connection to the harbour which would make the Huckleberry Point location much more preferable 15 years later.
      The seemingly endless run of mild temperatures in January, 1876 provoked yet another story concerning the ramifications of that situation:
“During the protracted mild weather which has prevailed during a great portion of the present winter, many strange occurrences in nature have been brought to the notice of the public. Real bona-fide butterflies have been caught flying about, and fruit trees have been noticed in bud and blossom in the open air, at periods during which at ordinary times such things have hitherto been almost unknown in Canada. For the latest and probably the most novel of these freaks of nature, we are indebted to the courtesy of the proprietor of a West End grocery in this city. It consists of a number of almonds which had been exposed in the window of the establishment, and which from the action of the moisture which had run down upon them from the inner surface of the glass, and the mildness of the weather combined, have commenced to grow and have actually shot out sprouts of from one to three inches in length. Whether there is any other explanation of this than the ones given above, we do not know. It may be that the present is the time of year for almonds to germinate and that this will account for the strange circumstance.”
The streets in Hamilton, in the middle of the night could be dangerous to solitary pedestrians as the following Spectator story indicates:
“This morning, about one o’clock as Mr. Ed McLeod was returning home to his residence on Maiden Lane street, he was chased by highwaymen, and nothing but his fleetness of foot prevented him from being robbed and mistreated. As he was passing the corner of Main and Bay streets, three men dashed at him, shouting at him to stop or they would shoot him.  Mr. McLeod commenced to run, and was followed at full speed by the scoundrels who, however, failed to overtake him before he reached his own house.”
Finally a sad, human interest anecdote rising out a incident witnessed by a Spectator reporter :
“This morning a mean trick was played upon a young business gentleman in this city who hangs out his shingle on the Market Square. About nine o’clock, a young lady friend of his dispatched him a note, asking him to send for a cab to convey her to the station. The obliging friend sent the cab, upon which the woman with whom the young lady boarded jumped into the back and accompanied her friend to the station and afterwards drove round the city for amusement, sending the cab to the obliging friend for payment. Obliging friend looked on all sides of the bill, and then at that cabman, and afterwards forked out the money with an expression on his countenance that would not have done him justice in a photograph. That young man has been sad all day and has registered a solemn vow that he will never send another cab round in like manner.”

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