Tuesday 20 March 2012

March 21, 1876 - Part Two

“Any amount of wild ducks are to be found in the neighbourhood of Dynes’ Point on the bay, and as soon as the ice breaks up, there will be more. The other day, Mr. Dynes shot twelve beauties in the marsh.”
          Hamilton Spectator.   March 3, 1876.
The spring migration of waterfowl was in full flight by March 21, 1876, and John Dynes, owner of a popular hotel and eating place on the beach strip was hunting in the marshy area at the mouth of Big Creek (now Red Hill Creek) not far from his place of business.
Even before the heavy snowfall of the last day or so, the road to Caledonia (Upper James/Highway #6 in the present day) was not a feasible way to commute in March, 1876 :
“Immediately before the late storm, a prominent butcher in this city sent two men with a span of horses and a light waggon to Caledonia, to fetch twenty lambs for the market. The roads were so bad that the horses -–an able team – were only able to draw the waggon one mile south of Ryckman’s Corners, when the men put up their horses and walked into Caledonia, driving the sheep back. The butcher alluded to says this is nothing to what the road to Caledonia will be at the breaking up.”
In the late winter of 1876, a species of bird was let loose in the Hamilton area for the first time:
Some months ago, a number of English sparrows were introduced into Gore park in this city. They did very well, and the venture was so successful that more were imported, and last fall a handsome house was erected for them in the centre of the park. The winter has been most favorable to them, but since the late storm, sheaf of oats has been fastened to the Gore fence for them, and a bare spot cleared on the sidewalk, where they feed. The birds delight in the sheaf, and sit on it by hours picking at the grain. It is expected that several hundred of these birds will add to the interest of this park during the coming summer.”
The Lady came from Brantford and she certainly made an impact in Hamilton after her arrival as described in the following Spectator account of her adventures :
Yesterday afternoon there arrived in this city a lady from Brantford, who wore long curls, a black dress and a very meek expression. During her rambles through the town she fell in with a painter here, well known, perhaps, to most of our citizens, being afflicted with bandy legs and curly grey hair. They met on the street, and it was a matter of love at first sight, and after exchanging compliments, they went to have a drink. We do justice to the painter, who is a simple youth, though grey headed, he discovered that the lady was a sister-in-law of the Police Magistrate of Brantford, and gallantly offered himself as her escort. As the evening grew late, he invited her to go with him to a first class hotel, and about nine o’clock they called at the lady’s entrance of one of our best hotels. The night watchman let them in, and seeing the gentleman’s grey locks imagined that it was all right, showed them to the parlour, and got them a room. The lady shortly afterwards came down to the office and signed their names on the register as Mr. and Mrs. Derby, Brantford, ordering at the same time a dollar’s worth of porter. The effect of the porter was to make them very drunk, and in the midst of their hilarity, they commenced to jump round the room, howling like a couple of Mohawks. The proprietor of the hotel, hearing the racket, ordered them out, but they refused. He then called a policeman and had them arrested. This morning they were brought before the Police Magistrate and fined $2 each. The woman gave her name as Margaret Flannigan, but, of course, that was a “nom de plume.” She has been in this city before, and got into trouble by getting cabmen to drive her round the city and then beating them out of their pay. Her little game was badly spoiled this morning, however, and she was sent down to the cells. She is well connected throughout the country, has a good education, and is a person of ladylike appearance.”

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