“This morning Thomas Martin sold in the market a pike which weighed 13 pounds. He speared it in the bay yesterday. “
Hamilton Spectator April 22, 1876
It was a big pike caught by Thomas Martin and was sure to fetch a good price in the open-air Hamilton Market of April 22, 1876.
As well as the excitement around the appearance of Martin’s large catch, it was a good market that morning, as described in the afternoon Spectator :
“The attendance at James Street Market today was very large, the roads in the country being in a much better state than last week. The farmers’ vehicles presented a very different appearance to what they did on Saturday last, when they were literally loaded down with mud and filth.
The market, as may be expected at this season of the year, is pretty well filled with veal, and as the warm weather approaches, the amount of lamb offered for sale increases. Beef, however, is plenty, although not of the best quality, and pork is scarce. A farmer, this morning, brought in a load of dressed turkeys, which sold like “hot cakes.”
The fish tables are scattered all over the market since the row in the fish stalls. The principal fish offered for sale is pike.
The only game offered for sale is duck. These are hard to sell. Red heads are worth 75 cents a pair, and whistle wings 20 cents each.
Besides the relatively mud free condition of the farmers’ wagons on the market square, another visible sign of spring in Hamilton that day was the work of the caretaker of the Court House, doing a bit of spring cleaning and preparation of the Prince’s Square for warm weather idlers::
“This beautiful square is being cleaned up by Mr. Brown, caretaker of the court house, and is commencing to put in a fresh appearance. The fountains will commence running on Monday.”
The observant Spectator reporter also commented on the birds on the wing in Hamilton on that day:
“This morning a pair of swallows were observed flying along Maiden Lane. These birds are an almost sure forerunner of warmer weather, and as they are very tender, never to venture where the weather is apt to suddenly change suddenly cold. There are any number of robins and blue birds in the city as well as grey birds and jays.”
Finally, a local poet using the pseudonym Hawke had another poem published in the Spectator with the subject being … spring
For the Spectator. The Return of Spring.
“Thou givest us flowers, thou givest us ways – restore the love we’ve lost”
The opening bud looks up,
And greets the sunshine, while it lingers yet
Upon the mountain’s side, and the blue violet
Unfolds its tinted cup.
Lowly, and countless flowers awake to fling
Their sweetest odor on the air of spring.
Ceaseless melodies arise
‘Midst nature universal, birds and streams
Attune their voices, and the glad earth seems
A second paradise.
O, blessed spring – that bring’st gifts divine,
Sunshine, with song, and fragrance all are thine.
Not this earth alone
Hast thou a blessing. The full true heart
With balm that heals its wounds thou wilt impart,
(Telling of a winter flown)
Which brings triumphant hope upon the rainbow wing,
Emblem of life immortal – thou blessed spring !
Hamilton. April 19, 1876.