Saturday 28 April 2012

April 29, 1876

“For the first time this year, the watering carts were at work allaying the frightful clouds of dust which were raised at every gust of wind.”
          Hamilton Spectator     April 29, 1876
Time for spring cleaning.
The Spectator was not slow to comment on clean ups needed to be attended to by the City of Hamilton.
While welcoming the appearance of watering carts dampening the dusty streets, the Spectator reporter was not slow to point out, a couple other places in need of attention:
“The Board of Works should see that the gutters in the market were cleaned, as they are full of filth. The cab stand at the head of the Gore should also be cleaned. “
Spring clean up in the popular public open space in front of the Wentworth County Court House, known as Prince’s Square, had already been underway :
“This beautiful retreat is being handsomely renovated and cleaned, and now presents a bright and tidy appearance. The sprays in the pond are now playing, and things look as if the band could come out any night and play.”
On the Beach Strip, a rather remarkable catch has fisherman all across the city making note:
“Yesterday an enormous channel catfish, weighing twenty-seven pounds, was caught in Ben Fould’s net at the Beach. It is the largest catfish caught in the bay in ten years.”
On April 28, 1876, the Hamilton militia unit, which complimented the Thirteenth Battalion was the Volunteer Field Battery, held a debut for its band at the stone hall, Main and John streets:
“The new band of the H. V. F. Battery gave its first concert last evening in the Germania Hall, corner of John and Main streets. This new organization comprises about thirty instruments and is under the able leadership of Mr. Thomas King. It consists of members of the old artillery band and the band of the O. Y. Britons and will be known as the “Hamilton Volunteer Field Battery Band.” The concert last evening was pleasant and successful, the beautiful pieces played by the band reflecting the highest credit on them for so short a practise. The pieces performed were “Valse,” “Alma Heights,” a “Grand March,” “The Tournament,” “Valse,” “Echoes of Fairyland,” “A Gallop,” “The British Ensign,” and “God Save the Queen.” Several fine songs were sung by Mr. George Smith, Mr. Thomas Willson, and Mr. W. F. Fricker, and a couple of recitations were given by Mr. Thos. Mitchell of the Thirteenth Battalion. After the concert, Mr. George Steel’s string band took possession, and dancing was kept up until about midnight. The first concert  of this band went off well, and there is no doubt but that this band will become very popular with our citizens.”
The time was getting short for people interested in helping out the popular Sam Smith who had fallen on hard times:
“On Monday evening, Sam Smith’s benefit will take place at Selwyn’s Club House (late Dan Black’s) on James street, and from the extensive preparations which have been made for it, there is little doubt that it will be a most successful affair. The programme of amusements, games etc., will commence at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. There will be a quadrille band present, and facilities will be afforded for dancing. It is hoped this well-meant effort on the part of Sam’s friends will have the desired effect – that of assisting him financially. “
On the 29th of April 1876, the Spectator reprinted a couple of items from the Dundas True Banner, a journalistic teasing insult to the Hamilton Times, and a report of the Tramps and Vagrants who got food and overnight stays in the Valley Town :
CHICKEN FEED – The Times’  local staff are now in the sporting business. They attend and report all the cock-fights held in the city, and devote a large share of their attention to the amelioration of the condition of the roosters, chickens and pullets generally. The other day they reported dead against an unfortunate named Patrick Donohue for “treating a rooster” but they failed to intimate what kind of “liquid damnation” the said rooster preferred to imbibe; and then again they intimate that the hen roosts in the east end of the city have been frequently robbed of late. Just so. We think of late that the appearances indicated that the Times’  locals had been feeding on chicken broth.
THE TRAMPS – Chief Constable McDonough has kindly furnished us with certain information concerning the “tramps” who have been fed and lodged in Dundas from the 25th Nov. last to the 10th April, which may prove interesting to our readers. In all, no less than 842 have put in an appearance, and this number of people have been prvided with suppers and lodging at an expense of only $80 – an average of 3 ½ cents each – which cannot be said to savour of extravagance  Lest, however, some may be inclined to think that the poor tramps were half-starved, we may add that they had all the wholesome food they could eat and generally spoke in highly complimentary terms of the provisions made to satisfy their appetites and for their general comfort.
Their places of birth as follows : England, 280; Ireland, 220; Scotland, 80; Canada, 155; United States, 80; Australia, 2; Germany, 12; France, 2; Spain, 1; Hungary, 1; Sweden, 2; Switzerland, 2; Gibraltar, 1;  Denmark, 1; Saxony, 1; East India, 1; at sea, 1. Total, 842.
Their religion as follows : Church of England, 360; Roman Catholic, 285; Presbyterian, 115; Methodist, 60; Baptists, 10; Independents, 5; Mormons, 2; no religion, 5. Total, 842.
Finally a tragic accident on the Hamilton and Northwestern Railway was reported, in some detail:
“Last evening by the latest train going from this city to Caledonia, a man named Thomas English took passage to Rymal Station. On reaching his destination, he went across the way from the depot to Young’s tavern, where it is believed he imbibed a considerable quantity of drink. After some time he started to go home, walking down the track between Rentonville and Rymal. The next train coming down ran over him, killing him instantly. The driver, feeling the locomotive jump, imagined it was a rail, but on examining the wheels found blood and hair upon them. He instantly ran back to the spot, where they found the unfortunate man frightfully mangled. His body was cut in two and his heart and one of his kidneys were picked up quite separate from the body along the track.
          The inquest was held this morning before Thos. White, M. D., Coroner for the County of Wentworth, and a verdict of accidental death rendered; no blame being attached to the railway company. WE were incorrect in stating above that the accident was detected at Rymal station; it was not till the train arrived in Hamilton that blood was discovered on the driving wheels, when the authorities sent an engine and car to discover the victim.”

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