Friday 27 April 2012

April 28, 1876

 “It is an old tale, and a good one, to always keep on the right of the woman or women of the house.”
                             Hamilton Spectator           April 28, 1876
The men working in a prominent city household either were unaware of the old tale, or tried to test validity.
As described in the Spectator of April 28, 1876, there was male versus female conflict among the hired help:
          “This maxim was not followed by the men servants of a certain large establishment in this city, who became impertinent to the housekeeper and women of the house, and finally “fell out” in right royal style on Monday evening last. Nothing further happened, however, till Tuesday, when the men servants became exceedingly sick. They imagined they had taken poison in their tea, but on calling in a doctor, they found it was nothing worse than a dose of jalap. The next day they informed the Chief of Police, and that officer sent detectives to the place last evening to work up the case. They found, however, that no case could be made out against the girls, who, it is said, intend to summon the men on the charge of malicious slander.”
          In a follow up story relating to the recent big fire, women were again the focus of the article:
“Mr. Campbell, part of whose pottery in the west end of the city was destroyed by fire on Wednesday last, desires to acknowledge publicly, with many thanks, the valuable assistance which was rendered at the time of the fire by a number of women in the neighbourhood. Several of these, Mr. Campbell informs, worked to such purpose that they succeeded in saving about $1,000 worth of the stock, which would inevitably have been destroyed had it not been for their exertions. Such praiseworthy acts as this one are deserving of all praise.”
          Certainly there were many places in Hamilton where it was known that prostitution existed. A former owner of one of those places of assignation in the city had moved to Toronto where she was attempting to help reform and make safe prostitutes in that city:
“It is rumored that Allie Miller, a woman who formerly kept a house of ill-fame in this city, but who at present is residing in Toronto, has offered the corporation of that city $5,000 on condition that Toronto furnishes $15,000, to found a house of refuge for abandoned and dissipated women. During Allie’s experience, she has found that hundreds of the wretched women with whom she comes in contact, would live different lives if they only had some retreat in which to hide themselves, but as matters are now, without character, friends, money or health, they have to drag on a miserable existence almost in spite of themselves.”

An odd medical item was included in the Spectator of April 28, 1876 :
“Last evening, Drs. James White and Hopkins amputated a finger at the City Hospital, caused by getting a splinter under the nail some weeks ago. It was thought little of for some time, but when advice was sought, the bone was found bare and decayed, and the only treatment to prevent lockjaw was removal. “
Finally the major source of sophisticated music on a regular basis in Hamilton during the 1876 time frame was the scarlet-tuniced Band of the Thirteenth Battalion.
A lengthy article on the Band and its activities the past winter and its plans for the coming summer season follow :
“This splendid band has during the past winter been practising hard and steadily, and we are sure our readers are interested enough in this institution to hear what they have been doing and what they propose doing during the ensuing summer. During the winter the members have been going punctually and regularly to practise twice a week at the Drill Shed, and under the experienced and able leadership of Mr. George Robinson, have improved greatly, and have added to their already large collection of music some very fine overtures and selections, of which the following are a few – Overtures – Oberon, Massentello, Guiliaume Tell, Fra Diavolo, Othello, Don Juan; Selections – Lemtramide, Attila, La Favorita, Purltani, LeCheavi de Bronze and others from Boosey’s Military Band Journal. All lovers of classical music will see at once the treat in store for them this summer. The band, numbering 30 men, it will at once be seen that it requires considerable money to keep it going for repairs, music, and general expenses. It is proposed by the members to give a series of twelve concerts in the Drill Shed, one a week on Friday evening as regularly as possible. Tickets for the course will be put at one dollar, and single tickets of admission at ten cents. The first will be given on or about the 12th or 19th of May, due notice of which will be given through the city papers. The Band has made arrangements with Mr. J. Hoodless to provide ample seating accommodation, and leave plenty of room for promenading. The reason for doing this is to prevent the annoyance from boys and others which prevailed in Prince’s Square, and the noise of so many walking on the gravel, which drowned the solos and very best parts of the music rendered by the 13th. We are sure the citizens will turn out in large numbers to do honour to a body of musicians of whom we may well be proud, and also to show their appreciation of these musical treats given in a comfortable place at a merely nominal price.”

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