“Yesterday morning the sleighing was good, and before dark there was none at all. Several parties who went out for distant sleighing excursions experienced great difficulty in getting home, and did not have as good a time as they expected. Lumbermen will be greatly disappointed.”
Hamilton Spectator. February 5, 1876
The cold weather which made sleighing possible on the roads of Wentworth County the previous day did not last long. In fact as the morning turned into afternoon, the temperature has risen sufficiently to partially thaw the roads.
Out in the village of Rockton, there was an attractive, if somewhat small drill shed for use by the local militia. As described in the following, the county officials choose an inexpensive, and less than appropriate way of fencing the drill shed property:
“The Township Council with questionable taste have placed a stump fence in front of the drill shed property. The ragged row of roots does not enhance the beauty of the hamlet of Rockton in the least, although it is certainly a more lasting fence than any other that could be put up.
In the nearby Beverly Swamp and other marshy areas in Wentworth County, the Spectator reporter learned that the odd winter weather was having a negative effect:
“Small lumbering firms in the neighbourhood of this city have large numbers of men thrown out of employment by the late thaw, as the swamps have filled with water.
Back in the city on Sunday evening, the reporter dropped by the Wesley Methodist Church, particularly because he had learned that the topic of the sermon planned for that service was Sanity or Insanity. Given the controversy over the state of mind of Michael McConnell, the choice of topic was very timely.
“A very large audience assembled in Wesley Church last evening to listen to a discourse by the Rev. Mr. Stephenson on the above subject. It is scarcely necessary to say that the sermon was earnest and was listened to throughout with the deepest interest. It occupied an hour in its delivery.
The rev. gentleman selected as his text : Luke, 15th chapter, 17th verse – “And when he came to himself,” etc.
He spoke of the beauty of this especial parable, its touching simplicity and naturalness, and how it appealed to the truest, purest sympathies of our nature. He dwelt on the home scene and on the erring boy seeking to be “lord of himself, that heritage of woe;” his mad career; his coming to himself; his return; his reception, and regarded the whole as most beautiful and instructive. He said the very terms “He came to himself,” predicted moral abnegation. Humanity was a frail, rent or torn thing. At first all was harmony balance, equipoise. Every thought of man’s mind, every affectation of his heart, every aspiration of his soul, rose to, and centered in his Maker. What are now the discordant elements were then so many chords of harmony, blending, augmenting and diffusing the deep-rolling symphony of love. Man was holy and the world was happy. Sin super induced derangement, displacement, disorder and confusion. Man’s nature became divided – was broken in two. The understanding and the affections, the intelligence and the heart were once in perfect accord; they moved together, acted together; the one now at war, struggling with one another; the understanding going this way and the affections that. He quoted Euripdes and Paul, as to actions of man’s higher and lower, better and worse, natures. He held and powerfully enforced man’s responsibility for the influence and effect of his moral upon the mental and spiritual life. He noticed insanity as the result of a conscious or known violation of law, such as practices which unhinge, habits which destroy the mental capacities. He held man responsible for what miht be done under what is called ungoverned temper. The governor should be at home, should know his duty and do it. All sin must be either pardoned or punished. He next dwelt at length upon the Prodigal’s coming to himself. His course of conduct under his new impulses; his remembrance of his delirious dream; his home; his father. He also spoke of our counterpart to all this; cited many examples; and closed by an earnest appeal to his hearers against tampering with evil.
We give but a poor outline of a very vigorous sermon.
In the Police Court on Monday morning, two cases were considered newsworthy enough to be covered in some detail.
The first concerned three characters who had been using the Soup Kitchen and Dormitory for some time, yet somehow still have enough money to get drunk and out of control:
“This morning several parties were severely find in the police court for rowdyism and disorderly conduct. Last evening, a party of three young men broke into a private house and conducted themselves in a disorderly manner, and in the Commercial Hotel, Mrs. Wheeler was obliged to get out a warrant for several parties who were acting in a disorderly manner in her house. Last evening several men raised a row in the Soup Kitchen, and it was proved by the Superintendent that they had been coming to the institution regularly since it started. They were all fined $5 each or 60 days in jail.
The second noteworthy case provided an insight into the operations of pawnshops in the Hamilton of 1876:
“Moses Gorfinkle is a Jew, and keeps on John street one of the largest pawn broker establishments in the city. A case has come under the notice of the Police, which has given them a new and rather vivid idea of how he conducts his pawn shop. Some six months ago, an Englishman, named Chas, H. Egg, became “hard up” in this city. He was possessed of a valuable watch and chain, valued at $75, and as he was in great need of ready money, he looked up Gorfinkle’s shop and pawned his property for $14, receiving a ticket for it. He afterwards came back and partly redeemed the watch and then a short time after borrowed more money on it. A few days ago he felt prepared to redeem the property, and on going to Gorfinkle with the money, the broker told him he had bought the watch, that the property was legally his and that he would not restore it. Gorfinkle show his books where it was entered, “That this day I bought a watch and chain for $14,” and the article was endorsed by Egg, who signed the paper never dreaming what it meant. The case came up before the police magistrate who, after hearing the evidence, allowed the parties a chance to settle it between themselves., which they did, Gorfinkle giving up the property on Egg paying the usual interest. It appears that Gorfinkle has been conducting his shop in this manner for some time. An article taken in and “bought” according to Gorfinkle’s idea, and when it is to be redeemed, the original owner has to buy it back again at any price Gorfinkle wishes to put upon it. This is certainly an original way of running a pawn broker’s shop, and it is hoped that it will be stopped as soon as possible.”