Saturday 4 February 2012

February 5, 1876

Horticulturists fear that the chance for a heavy fruit crop next season are very slim on account of the extraordinary weather of the last six weeks. The bark and buds have been swelled with the heat and rain, thus giving the frost a better chance of taking hold.”
          Hamilton Spectator    February 5, 1876
          While extremely unusual mild weather of January 1876 was a thing of the past by the early part of February that year, the effects of the prolonged unseasonal weather were feared to be devastating the fruit crop .
          The Hamilton police force, it was announced, had hired a new constable, a man with an appropriate name :
“Thos. Pinch has been appointed constable in the room of constable Baine, deceased. Pinch’s motto is “give us arrest.”
At the farthest west end of the harbour, Rock Bay, the elegant former home of Peter Carroll had been purchased and transformed into a hotel, which the Spectator promoted as follows :
“The sleighing out to this favourite resort is now very good, and several sleighing parties have been arranged to go out there already. Mr. Kenny’s ballroom is large, convenient and comfortable, and is furnished with all the modern apputenances.”

There was usually some activity of note on the Hamilton Market, and the Spectator of February 5, 1876 told of two incidents :
“This morning, a drover from Guelph, named Mullen, refused to pay his market fees for twenty-eight head of cattle. Mr. Magee had him arrested and fined $2. Mullen was also forced to pay the market fees of $1, and then went on his way rejoicing.”

“This morning a great deal of excitement was caused on the west side of the market by a petty larceny case. A young girl who resides about six miles beyond Hagersville had driven into this city with a tub of beautiful fresh butter, which she immediately proceeded to dispose of. The butter sold like hot cakes, and as she received her money the young wrapped it in a handkerchief and laid it down beside her. She had finally accumulated the sum of $4.50 in this way, when, on looking for her handkerchief, she found it was gone. The grief of the girl on discovering her loss was as ridiculous as it was natural, under the circumstances. It was pretty rough on a hard-working country girl after having come all the way from six miles on the other side of Hagersville to be robbed of her money in a strange place. Her quick wit, however, pointed to a woman named McLean, a huckster on the market who had been hanging round her sleigh all the morning and whom she had arrested on the charge of stealing the money. Mrs. McLean, who is as valuable as a Frencir moutebanke, put on an air of injured innocence, and in a loud voice upbraided the girl – whose name bye-the-bye is Miss Daley – for putting such a slander upon her, “ a decent married woman.” A highly excited crowd gathered round the woman, but Sergt. McMenemy, with his usual good taste, had both women taken out of the crowd and placed in one of the rooms of the Police Court to await the arrival of the Magistrate. The case came up half an hour afterwards and the woman convicted and sent to jail for one month. The money was returned to the girl.”
A lady, unknown to residents had come to Hamilton and was wandering around the downtown streets  :
       A woman evidently out of her mind is at present going about the city representing herself as being worth some $500,000. She says that several prominent men of the city have proposed to marry her but she has refused, as she intends to keep the money in her own hands, and leave it at her death to some charitable institution.”
          Finally, an account was related of a less than successful hunting expedition:
“Yesterday morning at six o’clock four prominent sporting men of the city might have been seen wending their way into the country, each with a gun over his shoulder and a ferret in his pocket, and all possessed with the determination to kill rabbits. They skirted the hamlet of Dundas, they beat the bushes of Flamboro,’ they searched the wilds of Ancaster, but nothing did they see but a poverty stricken fox on to Beverly swamp. They returned last evening wiser and rabbitless men, and intend to go to Red River the next time they go out hunting.”

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