Thursday 9 February 2012

February 10, 1876

An interesting sight at present is the working of the ice machine on the bay. As the ice is rotten and treacherous, and not safe for horses, the ice is cut near the wharves and lifted from the water by means of derricks fastened on the land. The affair is quite a novelty and attracts considerable attention. The ice itself is not of very good quality, in fact is a very inferior article, and will be difficult to keep.”
 Spectator. February 10, 1876.
          After a few days with little news of note, the newspapers of February 10, 1876 were filled with many items of note.
          The annual ice harvesting on Hamilton Bay was not going well as the mild winter had made negatively affected the quality and quantity of ice which could be cut and brought to shore to be stored for use later in the year.
          An important case was heard at the police court concerning fraudulent behaviour at the Hamilton hay and wood market at John street south. The Spectator account of the case follows :
        Yesterday afternoon a case which will prove important to a great many people in the city came up at the 4 o’clock session of the police court. Truedale & Carpenter and Crisp & Land were summoned by Saml. McDonald and Philip Hastin for breach of the wood by-law. The prosecution was conducted by Mr. Carscallen. Mr. R.R. Waddell appeared for the defence. The prosecution claimed that the defendants had not given good measurement, and the consequence was the case came down to the point of the difference between a cord of cut and split wood and a cord of wood cut and split. Although the difference at first sight may appearance insignificant, still, on looking into it, it will be found to be very great. Two hours before the case came up in the Police Court, several gentlemen, including a representative of each of the city papers, witnessed a test at the woodyard of Messrs. Land and Crisp. Half a cord of wood was piled in the regular way in a rack and closely examined by those prsent, everyone expressing himself as satisfied that the wood was put together in the customary and popular manner. The wood was then measured and found to contain 64 feet. It was then cut in three, split and piled back in the same rack, and was found to lack 12 feet, measuring exactly 52 feet. The prosecution complained that in buying the wood they had got only 54 feet, and that in replacing, the defendant submitted that in giving them 54 feet, he had lost 2 feet by the transaction. The prosecutor on being cross-examined by Mr. Waddell acknowledged that he had bought half a cord of wood to be cut and split and therefore the case for the prosecution fell to the ground, as witnesses brought forward to prove that cord wood when cut and split shrank in the measurement. Both cases were dismissed with costs, and those who use wood will do well to have it understood in the future whether they are buying a cord of wood cut and split or a cord of cut and split wood.”
          At the church formerly known as Christ’s Church, but as of early 1876, known as Christ’s Church Cathedral, the newly expanded church edifice was the site of a major musical concert, featuring the debut of the cathedral’s newly acquired organ.
          The Spectator reporter in attendance provided the following review:
        The completion of this church made a new organ a necessity, and though the congregation have made great exertions in erecting the building, they felt it imperative on them to furnish it with an instrument in keeping with its great capacity and architectural beauty. An organ was accordingly ordered from the well known makers JOHNSON AND Son, of Westfield, Mass., and to test its character, a recital was held last evening, when Prof. Garrat acted as organist. The cathedral was crowded to its utmost capacity, when we say that it seats 1,000 persons, some idea may be had of its extent. It is unquestionably the most beautiful church in Ontario, and it owes its beauty chiefly to its loftiness, the high arches, its double row of stained windows, the fine engrained work and the taste displayed in the colouring. The effect of the brilliant light of nearly 200 gas jets, was exceedingly fine, producing the strong contrasts of light and shade on the massive stone columns and the richly engrained ceiling which please the eye of everyone, however uneducated he may be, in the art of colouring. In the left hand corner of the east end, the organ has been built and its size and style of finish are quite in keeping with the interior of the building. So far, then, as the eye was concerned, there was everything to delight; for the sight of the church was well worth the price of the ticket, even though there had been no music. But when the grand tones of the great instrument shook the building, the effect on every lover of color or music was thrilling. Professor Garratt had at his command an instrument worthy of his great ability, and his execution was worthy of the instrument. He opened with (a) Improvisation and (b) Carnation Anthem. These pieces proved that the organ had great power, but the sweetness of its tone is its striking characteristic. The Dean having requested the suppression of all applause, the vast audience were compelled to smother the desire to give expression to their delight, though we did hear some involuntary clapping of hands. Then followed Kyrie and Gloria, Mozart’s 12th Mass and Audante E Flat, in which the choir, composed of about thirty performers, under the leadership of Mr. Robinson took part. Mr. Crabb then sung in his best style “In Native Worth,” an aria from the Creation. We have had the pleasure of hearing this gentleman before, and his performance last evening makes us hope that we may soon hear him again. The “Grand Orchestra March” brought on all the beauties of the instrument, and fully satisfied the audience that a great accession to the musical world of Hamilton had been secured for them. The solo, “Saviour of Peace,” by Mrs Campbell, was well sung, and though her voice is hardly powerful enough for so large a building as the Cathedral, yet she would have received an encore had the audience not been compelled to silence. The solo and chorus, “Oh, thou that tellest,” was very fine, as it brought all the power both of the organ and the choir. This concluded part first. Part second was equal to it, but we must particularly notice “Traumerel.” This is a singularly beautiful piece, and was played with a delicacy of touch and depth of feeling which stamp Professor Garratt as a first rate performer. There are very few high tones in it, and many of the notes are so low, they seem mere whispers, yet they were distinctly heard at the extremities of the building, and proved that the organ has all the fineness of the piano. In the duet, “Oh, Lovely Peace,” Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. Beckett carried off the palm, and would have received a storm of applause had the delighted audience not been restrained. The grand chorus, “The Heavens are Telling,” was rendered very beautifully, and concluded what we sincerely think was one of the most brilliant and delightful musical entertainments we have yet heard.”
          On February 10, 1876 not only was the Hamilton Spectator on sale, but both in the city and in the surrounding townships, the weeklies also appeared that day.
          In Dundas True Banner and Wentworth Chronicle, a story detailed a near major tragedy :
 “A family, living on the mountain in Hamilton, went to bed last Thursday night, and left the damper of the coal stove shut and two lids off. Next morning a medical man was sent for as the whole family were seriously affected with vomiting from the effects of the gas escaping from the stove.”
In another story, a criminal case involving a swindler working his ruse on a passenger car of the Grand Trunk Railway between Toronto and Hamilton was reported in detail in the True Banner:
“This morning, a youth named Harman was brought up before the Police Magistrate charged with swindling on the cars between this city and Toronto. Constable Begley arrested him and informed the Police Magistrate that Harman was not an employee of the road, but had kept up a little game of swindling on the cars whenever the backs of the officials were turned. Harman’s plan was a simple one. He had a basket containing 25 packages of candies. The price of each package was one dollar, each one supposed to contain a ticket, and the drawing a marked ticket coul claim his money back. Yesterday afternoon, he met a lead pencil pedlar named Matthews, on the cars, who was on his way to Hamilton to buy goods. According to Matthews’ story, Harman asked him if he wouldn’t start a sale of prize packages, that each contained a ticket good for $1 up to $5. The youth purchased and lost his money. Harman sympathized with him, and told him to buy again, which he did, and lost a second time. Harman then changed the tickets and informed him that he would draw anything between $5 and $15, and told the victim that the only way to get his money back was to try another ticket at $3, which Mathews did, but drew a blank and got no money. Harman declared that this was only bad luck, and hanging the figures said that if Mathews would buy a box at $5, e would not draw less than $25. Mathews said he had no money, upon which Harman said he would take his watch in lieu of a ticket. Mathew agreed and parted with the watch worth $20 and bought another box and got five cents worth of candies and a blank ticket. Mathews, almost broken-hearted, wandered into the city, met a friend, burst into tears and told him his grievances. The consequence was that the friend took steps to have Harman arrested, as he was getting on board the train going to Toronto. The most remarkable thing about it is that Mathews allowed Harman to choose the packages or him, and it was almost natural for him to pick up a blank card every time. The watch could not be found anywhere and the money was all spent. A friend of his in court said that this was quite probable as e had known him to spend $50 between Saturday evening and Monday morning. The friend was taken into the magistrate’s office and was found to have a large sum of money on his person. Harman is a sharp, scampish-looking fellow, and his victim is an innocent-looking lad who has the appearance of one who would be easily sold. The case was adjourned until four o’clock this afternoon. “
          The last story to be reprinted from the True NBanner involved a pigeon:
“Last night, about 12 o’clock, two young gentlemen were walking home together, they were astonished to see a bird fluttering along the street opposite the Montreal Telegraph office. They chased the bird, and after some sound falls on the pavement, succeeded in catching it, when it turned out to be a pigeon. They went into Trumbell’s saloon and examined it carefully, but failed to find any wound upon it, it being fat and healthy and sound in wing and limb. Mr. Trumbell, after thinking over the bird for some time, gave it as his opinion that the pigeon had been sitting outside during the storm of sleet, and that the feathers of its wings and tail had been frozen together, so that the bird could not fly. The feathered unfortunate was brought home by the young men, who left it near the stove in the kitchen, the people of the house having all gone to bed. About two o’clock this morning, the poodle dog of the house came sniffing around and woke up the pigeon, which was now thoroughly thawed. The pigeon made for the window, and the poodle for the door, and between them, they succeeded in making sufficient noise to wake a policeman. The ladies of the house imagined that robbers were in the house and united their voices with the poodle and succeeded in getting up quite an anvil chorus. The young man who had found the pigeon, got up in his shirt and after fooling round that kitchen for half an hour, scraping his shin, and breaking his beautiful Roman nose, he succeeded in clawing that pigeon, and with a wish that it would never stop flying till it struck a country where the feathers of its wings would not freeze together, he kicked it out doors.”
In the Hamilton Weekly Times, a disturbing case of domestic violence was recounted:
      John O’Neil, of Ancaster, was brought before the Police Magistrate and charged with assaulting his wife, Elizabeth O’Neil, on the night of Tuesday last.
The prisoner pleaded not guilty.
Elizabeth O’Neil, sworn – I am wife of the defendant, and live in Ancaster; on the night of Tuesday, he came from Hamilton; I had the table laid for supper; I was putting my youngest child to bed when he came in and commenced to curse and swear at me; I came out and filled a cup of tea; he sat down and began to take his supper, and still kept cursing and swearing; he was under the influence of liquor; I never said anything to him; I did not speak to him when he came home because when he left in the morning he was in a passion with me about some trifles; after he drank the tea, he threw the cup and saucer at me; I said nothing; he threw everything on the table at me except the lamp when I leapt forward to catch it; I was afraid if he threw it he would set fire to the house; he then struck me with a knife on the forehead over the right eye; I do not know exactly how he struck me; he jumped up and caught me by the throat; he put me out, shut the door, and came out and said it was too severe a night and brought me in again; I said, “John, you’ve done enough, you’re drunk, you do not know what you’re doing;” he kicked me in the right side; I am enceinte ; He told me if I lived with him 77 years he would not treat me any better; he tried to suffocate me with the smoke from the stove; I could not get out as he told me if I went to the door, he would strike me dead.
Cross-examined by the prisoner : I did not tell you I was boss of that house.
The prisoner stated that his wife had provoked him by saying she was the boss, and that the property was hers and that she could turn him out. She also caught hold of him by the whiskers and jerked him round.
The defendant said there were no witnesses present.
The prisoner asked his wife if she had not been put up to it out of spite, to which question the witness replied, “No!”
His Worship said it was useless to bring up side issues.
The prisoners said there was no talk about “side dishes.”
His Worship stated that he said, “side issues.”
M. Whateley, who appeared for Mr. Osler on behalf of the Crown, suggested that the Doctor’s evidence should be taken, as it was reported that, in consequence of the kick, the child which was expected was dead.
The Magistrate said he would hear the rest of the evidence first.
George Marshall, sworn – I was not present at the occurrence, but met the children the next morning, who informed me of what occurred; I saw Mrs. O’Neil; she said her brother and her husband had been quarrelling.
Margaret McDermott, sworn – I live in Ancaster Township, a little distance from the O’Neil’s; Mrs. O’Neil’s  little girl came to my house and said her mother was down in the hollow with her brother and asked me to go and get her; the child was bare and its feet and hands all swollen up, and she herself was in a state of destitution; I took care of them; the prisoner has said to me, “He hoped to God no one would harbour her;” he thanked me for saving his child, but not for saving his wife.
The prisoner was committed for trial.
          A robbery on the Hamilton Market was reported to the police and the guilty party charged quickly :
“On Saturday, Miss Jane Daley, from Walpole, came to market with a load of produce, and while she was talking to her sister, she missed $4.50 in money which was wrapped up in a pocket handkerchief and placed on the seat of the sleigh. On looking round, she saw Mrs. Maclean standing close to the sleigh, and as there was no other person present that could possibly be within reach, she was charged by Miss Daley with the theft. She then went off in a great hurry and came back much excited The Magistrate thought a clear case was made out and sentenced Mrs. Maclean to one month in jail.”
A fatal accident, involving boiling water occurred in a house on McNab Street North :
“On Tuesday afternoon last, a melancholy accident occurred at the residence of Mr. John Randle (colored), cooper, on McNab street, between Cannon and Vine streets. It seems that Barbara Reynolds, a white woman, who lives with Randle, and passes for his wife, was engaged in washing clothes, and while in the act of carrying a boiler full of boiling water down the steps to the back door, she either slipped or fell owing to some of the water splashing upon her hand. She seems to have fallen forward into the boiler, and was seriously scalded on the right shoulder and side, as well as on the neck and face. Mr. Randle, who fortunately happened to be at the hose, raised the woman up ad placed her on the bed. Dr. Woolverton was soon in attendance, and, since the accident, has been most unremitting in his attentions.
The unfortunate woman lingered in the most excruciating agony until four o’clock Sunday afternoon, when death relieved her of her sufferings.
Deceased was about forty years of age, and had lived with Randle eleven years.
Finally, Michael McConnell was once again the subject of a news item in the Hamilton press :
“For two days, McConnell, the murderer, persistently refused to partake of the food provided him at the jail, and the head turnkey, a kind-hearted man, went personally to see what was the matter, and, if possible, prevail upon the convict to eat. He told McConnell that, if he did like the jail fare, he could be accommodated with a cup of tea, some hot buns, which after considerable coaxing, the unfortunate partook of with great gusto. When the time for the next meal arrived, the second turnkey found McConnell lying in the bed with his face turned towards the wall. “McConnell here is your supper,” said the official. “What is it?” crabbily asked the convict. “Skilley,” retorted the second turnkey. “Skilley be d----d” angrily retorted McConnell, as he turned upon his cot, and thought of the hot rolls and fragrant bohea which he had been provided with in the middle of the day.”

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