“A trotting match has been arranged between the Tempest mare, belonging to B. Wilson, of Stoney Creek, and a green horse, five years old, the property of Owen Nowlan.”
Hamilton Spectator May 9, 1876
Horse racing was a major sport in the Hamilton of 1876. One of the key players in the sport locally was a man named Owen Nowlan. Nowlan had just made a bold move by agreeing to race a horse he had just purchased against a well known horse for a substantial fund.
The matter was discussed fully in the Spectator of May 9, 1876:
“The latter horse, named St. Patrick, has never trotted in a race, but from what can learned of him he is a surprising animal – a born trotter, as we heard a celebrated horseman say. Mr. Nowlan purchased him in Brantford, a little over a year ago, and paid the very handsome price of $800 for him. The race will take place on the 22nd of June, on the Driving park here, for $1,000 a side, the forfeit money $200, having been already deposited in the hands of Mr. Simon James, by Mr. Nowlan at least. This race will excite a large amount of interest among lovers of the turf, and Mr. Nowlan is to be congratulated on his pluck in pitting a green horse against one which has credibly figured in several races.”
The means for Hamiltonians to get to the Beach for a day’s outing had increased in the spring of 1876 to three boats :
“Three boats will ply between this port and the Beach this season viz. the Transit, Florence, and Dennis Brown. The Transit has been handsomely refitted by her present proprietor, Mr. Caldwell, who has furnished her with a complete awning dock, and side wheels similar to those on the Chicora and Rothsay Castle. When completed, she will be one of the finest pleasure boats on the lake.”
The handsome home, Bellvue, soon be sold by auction and the auctioneer placed the following item in the press:
“Our readers are reminded that this magnificent property is to be sold by auction on the premises, on Thursday, the day after tomorrow, at noon. Cabs will leave Mr. Alanson’s rooms at 11:45, to convey intending purchasers to the sale. It is a beautiful site and we trust it will fall into the hands of a gentleman who can appreciate it.”
A well-known Hamilton merchant suddenly disappeared on May 9, 1876. The Spectator report of this follows:
“It is very generally reported on the street today that Mr. D. Murphy, of the firm of Messrs. D. Murphy, & Co., grocers on King street, suddenly left for parts unknown, either last night or this morning. He is said to have collected and borrowed several sums of money yesterday afternoon, and today he is not to be found. The sum of money which he has taken with him is variably estimated at from $10,000 to $25,000, although even the lower sum is quite likely an exaggeration. A writ has been issued against the firm by the Bank of Commerce, which is understood to be the cause of the flight of the senior partner. It is thought by those in the best position to know, that the creditors will not lose much as the estate of Mr. Murphy, Sr., is responsible for sufficient to nearly cover the claims, and the estate is good for all it owes.”
During the afternoon of May 9, 1876, a visitor from Dundas nspent a little too much time in a local saloon, and the reporter for the Spectator described what ensured:
“This afternoon, about half-past three o’clock, an intoxicated man from Dundas, named Thomas Felix, was thrown out of a buggy on James street and severely injured. He was carried into the police office where he recovered consciousness, and placed in charge of a friend who drove him to Dundas.”
This morning of May 9, 1876 was highlighted by a gruesome and tragic discovery in the surgery room of one of Hamilton’s most prominent physicians:
“This morning about eight o’clock, Miss Pauline Henwood, sister of Dr. Henwood, discovered in her brother’s inner surgery the dead body of their cook, named Briget Earle. The poor woman was discovered in a sitting posture, quite stark and dead, dressed in a white night gown. On a table near her stood a lamp still burning, and a bowl containing a liquid beside it. Coroner White was instantly notified, and that official summoned a jury which convened at the police court at eleven o’clock. Thence they proceed to Dr. Henwood’s house, where they viewed the body. It is generally supposed that the girl died of poison, but what is remarkable about the case is the fact that she had not yet been one week at the doctor’s and could not yet have become acquainted with the nature of the poisons.
The following evidence was taken at the house of Dr. Henwood :
Pauline Henwood sworn – The deceased was my cook; I engaged her last Wednesday; she was a very steady and good servant till Saturday night, when she went out and brought some liquor home with her; she was perfectly sober when she came ; on Sunday morning I saw she was intoxicated and had her taken up to her room; I took half a gallon of whiskey from her on Sunday morning; there was a good deal of whiskey in the jar when I took it away from her; on Monday she was very sick all day; she got up several times but I always sent her back to bed; I saw her last alive about half-past twelve last night; she was perfectly sensible then; about half-past seven the house maid came to me and told me the deceased was not in her room; she then came downstairs, and seeing a light in the inner surgery came up and told me she believed she believed she was there, as she saw something white, and she believed the cook was there; I came down a few minutes afterwards, and on going top the inner surgery found the deceased in the position in which it was seen by the jury; everything in the room was just as the jury found it – a lamp burning and a bowl beside it; there was a liquid in the bowl, but of what nature, I am unaware.
The inquest adjourned till 8 o’clock this evening.
The father of the deceased being present, Dr. White asked him if he would have the dead body removed to his (father’s) house. The wretched old man said he was too poor, and that he was not able even to hire a cart to convey the dead body out of the house. Dr. White then gave orders to have the body removed to the dead house where a post mortem examination is being held as we go to press.”