Saturday 3 March 2012

March 4, 1876

-      The sleighing is gone.
-      Runaways are getting numerous.
-      The price of eggs has come down in the market.
-      A desperate runaway took place down Main street today.
-      The Messenger of the Bank of Montreal was assaulted by a ruffian on the street today.
-      The Street Railway Co. intends building a branch line up York street next summer.
-      The Dundas people are getting anxious about the Hamilton and North Western Railway.
-      A grand billiard tournament will come off at the Royal Hotel, in this city.
-      It ought to be borne in mind that the Board of Education meets on the first Thursday in each month.
-      “The Messiah” will be produced by the Mendelssohn Society in the Central Presbyterian Church, of this city, on Tuesday evening.
-      The committee of the Children’s Industrial School acknowledge with thanks a barrel of oatmeal from a defeated rink of the Thistle Curling Club.
Hamilton Spectator. March 4,1876
Some brief local notes to start a look at the Hamilton Spectator issue for Saturday, March 4, 1876.
In the practise of the day, newspaper editors in Toronto kept a close watch on what was printed in the Hamilton papers and vice versa.
Picking up on the story of the lady temperance advocates who addressed Hamilton City Council on the matter of liquor licenses and grocery stores, the following reprint of an article from the Toronto Sun was printed in the Spectator :
 “The following is what the Toronto Sun says about the ladies’ deputation to the City Council at its last meeting :
The ladies of Hamilton, who went to the City Council and asked that no grocery store should be licensed to sell liquor, made several mistakes. They should have taken warning by the result of the Toronto deputation’s visit to the Council of this city. They should have taken the floor at the same moment, and each bombarded the Council with facts and figures and horrible examples from her standpoint simultaneously. Failing to bring it to a sense of its duty by that means, they should have locked the doors and attacked each member by himself, bringing him to time by persistent argument and untiring volubility. A man can stand a good deal of talk, and will tamely sit to be peppered with temperance speeches all night long if he is backed up by a dozen other men, but he has no moral backbone when tackled alone. It was a mistake, too, to shake the Day of Judgement in the face of the Hamilton Council. Hamilton Councillors are not to be scared by any responsibility that takes a long date. Looking at this great grocery licence question from all sides that it can be viewed, and the efforts being made by the ladies to have their petitions granted, we must confess that we most admire the tactics of the ladies of Oshawa. They went early in the evening, sat down, and blandly intimated that they intended to stop there until their petition was granted. It was granted. And, yet, somehow, if we wanted a marriage license, we wouldn’t buy it in Oshawa. “
A drive-by shooting in Beverly Township’s village named Sheffield drew some attention in the Spectator :
“Last evening, a most contemptible and at the same time murderous action was perpetrated in the village of Sheffield, Beverly. While the family of Mr. Wm. Young were sitting about the fire in their front room, a shot was fired through the window, the bullet passing in close proximity to Mr. Young’s head. The deed caused the greatest consternation, and by the time the family had recovered their self-possession no one was in view. The bullet was found in the wall in close proximity to where Mr. Young was sitting. The dastardly act has caused the greatest excitement in the neighbourhood of Sheffield, and every effort is being made to discover the perpetrator. No motive can be assigned for the act, and it is thought by many to have been a piece of wanton scoundrelism. A peculiarity about the affair is that the window blind was down, and the party outside could not possibly tell whom he was shooting at.”
In another crime story, a recounting of a thief at a barber shop as aired in police court was told as follows:
“Percival Young was charged by Prof. Gant with the larceny of nine razors, two pairs of gloves, a box of writing materials and two pairs of scissors. The prisoner pleaded “not guilty.”
Issac Grant, sworn : Am a barber in this city; know defendant he worked for me a little over four months; the night before last my shop was robbed; the articles above mentioned were stolen; I locked up the shop the night before at nine o’clock, and locked up my tools, putting the key in the clock; the prisoner and I are the only persons who knew where the key was kept; the back door was fastened with a stick and could not be opened from the outside except by force; the prisoner came into my room at a few minutes before seven and got the key to open the shop; he went out, and when he returned it was near nine o’clock; he told me someone had broken in the back way and stole all the tools; he said he had swept out and lit a fire before he came to tell; after a while I got up and went down and examined the shop, where I found that whoever stole the things opened the door with the night-key; I suspected the prisoner at once, as I knew he would steal.
Detective McPherson, sworn : I examined Prof. Gant’s premises yesterday morning and came to the conclusion that the shop was entered from the front
The case was remanded till Tuesday next.”
This Spectator account was one of the first accounts of the adventures of Prof. Gant, a barber of Afro-American descent, who would go on to be one of Hamilton’s most notable personalities in later decades. Unfortunately, the first name of Prof. Gant was incorrectly noted in the article – he was Jesse, not Issac, Gant.
          The new toll road between Hamilton and Ancaster mentioned in previous 1876 in Hamilton posts was having some problems :
“Considerable difficulty has been caused n the Hamilton and Ancaster road since the new toll gate has been placed on it. Several instances of running the toll have occurred.”
          A new way to process and deliver milk was the subject of a description of the new company prepared to substantially alter the matter for Hamiltonians:
“A company has been formed under the city management f Mr. W.G. Walton, 54 James street, to furnish the city with milk from the leading dairies of the country. Special arrangements have been made with the Hamilton and North Western and the Great Western Railways to have the milk brought in fresh every morning. The Company hopes for patronage on the ground that the milk will be furnished from cows pasture fed on the principal dairy farms lying on the route of the railways before mentioned. The Company are making active preparations for their business, and will commence the sale of milk within a couple of weeks. The offices of the company will be on Vine street, where they will also have their stables and cooling sheds. Mr. Walton has patented an ingenious method of cooling milk, whereby the animal heat is taken away from the liquid, thus preventing fermentation. The public will therefore be furnished with the lacteal fluid in its most healthy form. The Company are building several handsome wagons for their trade which they claim are superior in beauty and construction to any on the continent. Their advertisement will appear in a few days, when further particulars will be given regarding the company.”
Finally, market goers on March 4, 1876 would have been startled to hear screams . Here is what happened:
“This morning an awkward youth entered Mr. Frank Harrison’s saloon on the market, and helped himself to a dish of the hot bean soup which is kept as a free lunch. While walking across the floor, he tripped on the matting and fell, the hot soup running down his sleeve. The yells of the unfortunate youth were heard all over the Market Square and attracted considerable attention.”

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