Wednesday 4 April 2012

April 5, 1876

An enormous flock of wild ducks passed over the city this morning. It was computed that there were several thousands in it. They were at a great height – far enough to defy a fowling piece. Flocks of wild geese have also been noticed flying over within the last few days.
          Hamilton Spectator.  April 5, 1876

Migrating waterfowl in large numbers were very welcome signs of the arrival of spring in Hamilton on April 5, 1876
But the after-effects of the spring snow storm were still being felt, according to the following from the Spectator :
“Mud is taking the place of snow in the streets, making it very disagreeable driving through the city. The late heavy fall of snow, however, has had the effect of drawing the frost from the ground and making it much drier than it would have been had much rain fallen. The spring, however, will be backward, and farmers do not expect to do any seeding before the 25th of the month.”
There was still enough snow on the ground to provoke the following incident:
“This morning a rumor spread throughout the city like wild fire to the effect that a man had been stabbed and mortally wounded at Smith & Allen’s lumber yard. The facts were greatly exaggerated; the party hurt being only slightly wounded. Yesterday morning at about half-past ten o’clock, the workmen in Smith & Allen’s lumber yard engaged in a quiet snow ball match, by way of relaxation. In the midst of this, Thos. Searles struck a fellow workman named Cuthbert, with a snow ball. The latter was engaged in fixing machinery, and, on the spur of the moment, threw a file he had in his hand at Searles. The sharp end of the file struck Searles between the shoulders, inflicting a painful flesh wound, the consequence of which cannot be very serious.”
Down on the bayfront, the Spectator reporter observed and documented the following high-spirited encounter between two sailors :
“Yesterday afternoon, two young men, able seamen, met on board a schooner which was undergoing repairs in the bay. One of the young men had served his time on board a British man-o’-war, and was speaking of the escapes he had in her rigging, when he was challenged by the other, who bet $5 that he could hang his cap on the truck at the mast head before he could. The challenge was accepted, the $5 put up, and they tossed up for choice of masts. The Englishman lost and had to take the main mast, his opponent choosing the mizzen. At the word they both darted for the ropes. The agility of the Englishman was wonderful, and ere his opponent had got out of the shrouds, he was hanging by his toes to the truck with his hat above him. Quite a crowd witnessed the feat, most of them sailors, and they all came to the conclusion that a British sailor can get away from any other in shinning up a mast or laying out in the rigging.”

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