Thursday 16 February 2012

February 17, 1876 - Part One

“On Thursday, between 5 and 6 o’clock, Mr. Samuel Mills, second son of the late Hon. Samuel Mills, died at his brother’s (Mr. James Mills) house, on Main street from rheumatism of the heart.”
                             Hamilton Weekly Times.   February 17, 1876.
It had been a tough beginning in 1876 for the prominent Mills family. The latest tragedy involved a 24 year old member of the family and his death and funeral got extensive coverage in the Hamilton Weekly Times :
“Mr. Mills had been suffering from rheumatism for nearly a week, but it was only on Wednesday that any serious fears were entertained. He complained last night that the pain was in his heart, and he expired this morning at the hour mentioned. Mr. Mills was in his 24th year, and his early death will be deeply regretted by a large circle of friends. His funeral took place on Saturday from the residence of his brother, Mr. James Mills, and was largely attended. The burial service was performed in All Saints’ Church. The body was met at the west door, by the officiating clergymen, the Very Rev. Dean of Niagara, the Rev. Mr. Sutherland, and the choir of the Church in surplices. As the mournful procession moved up the aisle, between the opening sentences, the hymn “Christ Will Gather in His Own,” was sung, the psalms were chanted to Gregorian tones and the solemn lesson was read by the Dean. The hymn, “Days and Moments” was sung at the conclusion of this part of the service, and as the body was carried out of the church, the Dead March in Saul was played. The remainder of the service was performed at the cemetery. The pall-bearers were Messrs. G. Glassco, C. Wynyard, A. Hope, A.C. Ramsay, F.W. Gates, P. Robarts, G. Geddes and W. Bellhouse. The coffin was a very handsome one, and had placed upon it a beautiful cross of white flowers. On Sunday morning, the Very Reverend the Dean of Niagara preached an eloquent and appropriate sermon, at All Saints’ Church, on the sad event. He took for his text the 10th verse of the first chapter of the 2nd Epistle to Timothy : “Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” Appropriate hymns were sung at all three services in the church, and the Dead March played at the morning and evening services. “
       A coroner’s inquest was held to investigate a death in the Barton Street Jail. A black woman suffering from mental illness was the subject of the inquest. The testimony presented at the inquest was detailed in some length in the Weekly Times:
“Robert Jones, sworn : I am a clergyman; the deceased was my wife; she was born at Petersburg, Virginia; she was a Methodist; we had been married two years; she began to complain of her head shortly after she was married; in December last, she told me positively she was going to be insane, and called my attention to a case of her mother’s and her sister Amanda, who had died in an asylum; from this time until the time she was admitted to prison she grew worse, and was violent; she expressed a willingness to come to the jail; I have been visiting her frequently all the time she has been in jail, and was with her when she died; I am satisfied that she has had every attention paid to her by the Governor of the Jail and the other officials; my object for having her sent to jail was to have her eventually removed to the asylum; I have always lived on good terms with the deceased.
John Henery, sworn – I am Governor of the Jail; the deceased was admitted to this jail on the 23rd of January last as a lunatic; she has been sick ever since she has been here; she died at 11:10 a.m. today.
Mary McFarlane, sworn – I am the Matron of the Jail; the deceased was under my charge ever since she came; she was very violent the first day she entered, but quieted afterwards; she had convulsions on the second day of admission, which continued about seven hours; she has had them since; she would be in a nervous state afterwards, and would refuse to eat anything; we always had to feed her; she was always in great distress of mind; on Tuesday last she slept from 3 p.m. till 3 p.m. on Wednesday; we have had to watch her night and day since she came here; she sank gradually, and died at ten minutes past eleven this morning.
Catherine McAndrew, sworn – I am an inmate of the jail and knew deceased; ever since I came in, I was in the habit of attending her; she was in a low state all that time, but able to e about till Thursday last; she then took to her bed and did not get up till her death, which occurred this morning at ten minutes past eleven; she was very well attended by the doctor, matron and other officials.
Elizabeth Curry, sworn – Confirmed the evidence of the last witness.
Dr. Rosebrugh, sworn – I am surgeon to the jail; I knew the deceased and saw her for the first time three weeks ago today; she was there in an insane state of mind; she never got any better, but gradually got worse; for the last two or three days it was evident that he end was near; arrangements had been made to have her transferred to the Asylum, but she had not been sent for yet; the cause of her insanity was, I think, brain disease, and the last day or two, it was evident that her left lung was breaking down.
This concluded the evidence.
The jury brought in a verdict that the deceased Lavina Jones came to her death from natural causes, and the jury are of opinion that every care and attention was paid to her by the Governor and other officials of the jail.”

The case of rape involving  three young men was covered in the Hamilton Weekly Times of February 17, 1876 – most of the coverage was the same as has been reprinted from the Spectator and included in yesterday’s post.
The only significant difference in the coverage was the information that one of the complainants Ellie Martin was only 14 years of age.

          The series of arson cases which had been covered in the Spectator were pulled together by the editor of the Weekly Times with much information not included previously:
“About three o’clock Friday morning, flames were seen issuing from the house, No. 5 Queen street, owned by Mr. James Greenfell, and very soon it was in ruins. The house was rough cast, valued at $4,000, and was unoccupied, and there can be little doubt but the fire was the act of an incendiary. The Fire Brigade was, as usual, promptly at the spot in response to the alarm, and did good service in preventing the spreading of the flames to the buildings adjoining. The amount of insurance on the property was $800, in the Victoria Mutual. The members of the Brigade desire to return their sincere thanks to Ms. Nelson Mills for her kindness in supplying hot coffee, sandwiches, etc., after their labours.
About half past one o’clock on Saturday morning, a fire broke out in the stables of Mr. Patrick O’Brian, situated on George street, near the corner of Locke street, and they were totally destroyed. The building contained nine cows. All of them were saved, but two or three were nearly suffocated. The fire extended to a small tenement house on the east side of the stables, which was partially destroyed. The house was occupied by an employee of the rope walk, who had only moved in a short time ago. It was owned by Mr. Anthony Marshall. The furniture, we understand, was saved. About $ 20 worth of hay and $12 worth of straw stored in the stables were destroyed. Mr. O’Brian estimates his loss at about $200. No insurance. The companies of the Fire Brigade were promptly at the scene, and did good service. There is no doubt but the fire was the result of an incendiary.
Shortly before one o’clock Sunday afternoon, a fire took place in rear of and belonging to the Copp estate, on Hughson street, a barn having been set fire to by some party or parties unknown. It was entirely consumed, but fortunately it contained nothing. A fence separating a lot and house belonging to ex-Alderman Mullin was destroyed, but the full extent of the damages amounted to about one hundred dollars The policemen on duty saw two men in the vicinity of the fire shortly before it broke out, and these went hurriedly in the direction of Bold street.
On the same morning about 4 a.m., another fire broke out in a block of buildings on the corner of King and Queen streets owned by Ex-Alderman Sharpe. The block has been rebuilt about a year and was a most substantial one. The fire commenced in the middle store, which was occupied by Miss Co. putting out Goldsmith as a millinery store. Miss Goldsmith had a large and handsome stock of millinery which was completely destroyed. The fire was fortunately confined to the store in which it broke out, but this was completely gutted, and the flames spread with such rapidity that Miss Goldsmith herself had a narrow escape, having barely time to rush out with only a night dress on. The firemen, as usual, worked vigorously. The stock is insured for $1000, and the building also for the same amount. The cause of the fire is unknown.
About one o’clock Monday afternoon, an alarm was sounded, a fire having broken out in the re-tinning department of Messrs. J. M. Williams & Co’s, adjoining the main building. It seems that a quantity of grease or oily substance used in the process, accidentally boiled over, and becoming ignited, set fire to the interior of the small brick building. The Fire Brigade was promptly on the spot, No. 4 Co. putting in an appearance first. The flames were prevented from spreading, and we presume the loss would not be over $100.”
          Finally, a report on a concert at Rockton’s Town Hall was reviewed in the Weekly Times, involving members of the choir and the organist of All Saints’ Anglican Church, the very same church which had recently held the funeral of Samuel Mills and which had held the funeral of the murder victim Nelson Mills the previous month :
“On the night of the 10th, a concert was held at the Town Hall in the village of Rockton, and, notwithstanding the unfavourable weather, the audience was large. Mr. R. S. Radcliffe, who has charge of the parish, occupied the chair in a most acceptable manner. A number of the choir of All Saints’ Church, with their talented organist, Mr. W. Fairclough, took part in the proceedings. Prominent amongst them were Messrs. H. Budden, W. Morson, H. Fairclough, - Fairclough, Sr., G. Jefferson and – Davis. Miss Kernighan charmed all present with her playing and singing, and Miss Brown rendered some Scotch ballads sweetly. Mr. Herald, of Dundas, read several selections which appeared to please, and the humorous songs of Mr. Kernighan and Davis (to use a hackneyed expression) brought down the house. We congratulate the members of St. Albans Church on the success of the entertainment, and while regrets were expressed that the evening was not more pleasant outside, all in the Town Hall, we are sure, enjoyed themselves heartily, and when the hour for separation arrived, there were murmurs on all hands that the programme was far too short. A service in the Church was afterwards held, at which the greater number of those who attended the concert were present. All the Hamilton people were invited to the residence of Mr. Andrew Kernighan, and most hospitably entertained, after the concert. It is the intention, we believe, to hold a series of these entertainments, and if all pass off as successfully as that of last evening, nobody will have reason to complain.”

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