Friday 30 March 2012

March 31, 1876

 “Citizens are warned to beware of the snow falling from the roofs during the thaw. Several narrow escapes occurred today.”
Hamilton Spectator . March 31, 1876
One thing about spring snow storms is that there usually is major thaw not far behind as temperatures rise.
In the Hamilton of March 1876, such a thaw could prove dangerous to pedestrians walking streets in the city’s downtown core.
The Hamilton Spectator of March 31, 1876 contained a few reminders to readers to be careful in case snow and ice might suddenly fall off roofs and hit passerby.
One report, rather humorously told of such a fall of snow and ice :
“A large quantity of wet snow slid off Noble’s saloon this forenoon about half past ten o’clock, and fell upon the sidewalk with a tremendous crash. A number of hack drivers were standing at the corner but got out of the way in time, with the exception of Bob. Callahan, who was struck on the head with a piece of ice, but on account of the hardness of his skull escaped uninjured.”
As was usually the case in the Friday editions of the Hamilton Spectator, several items from the weekly Dundas Banner published on Thursday were reprinted :
"Dundas ‘Banner’ Items"
Concert at Bullock’s Corners – A concert for the benefit of the Methodist Church Sabbath School, of West Flamboro’, will be held in the Township Hall, Bullock’s Corner, on Wednesday, 12th of April, for which the services of a number of first-class vocalists have been secured. There will also be readings, recitations and instrumental music.
High School Inspection – Mr. Buchan, Provincial High School Inspector, visited our School yesterday, and we have been informed by an outside party that he speaks in the highest terms of praise of the progress of the School, in both departments.
Temperance Movement – On Monday a large meeting of ladies was held in the Methodist Church, Dundas, for the purpose of organizing a Ladies’ Temperance Society, and at which it was decided to ask the co-operation of the ladies of other churches favourable to the project – the officers to be elected at a future meeting. Great unanimity of feeling was exhibited, it being the general opinion that the work should commence in the home circle in each household by the exclusion of all intoxicating liquors, and when this work had been successfully accomplished, to try and give the influence of society a wider scope.
The County Judgeship – The Times thinks it probable that Mr. Sinclair, Q. C., of Goderich, will be appointed County Judge of Wentworth, in place of the late Judge Ambrose. We can’t say that we know anything of Mr. Sinclair’s qualifications for the position referred to, but we sincerely trust he will be found to be, if appointed, thoroughly capable and efficient. Wentworth, of all the couties of Ontario, stands most in need of a change in its local judiciary, and when the change is made, we trust it will be a radical one in the truest sense of the term. By all means let us have a good judge. We don’t where he comes from, what shade of politics he belongs to, what color he is, or what religion he professes. We want a good judge, and if we don’t get one, we promise the Minister of Justice, there will be some tall grumbling done in this county.
What It costs to Hit a Man from Beverly – On Thursday evening last, Mr. Robert Thompson, late of Beverly, had a difficulty with Mr. Thomas Baskerville, of Dundas, which was not of the most pleasing or satisfactory character. It appears that they met for the purpose of settling a disputed account, when some tall talk was indulged in. We give Mr. Baskerville’s own version of the tussel : After telling that he went, by request of Thompson, to Mr. Barton’s office, to settle with Thompson, and waited some time, he goes on to say that he went to Thompson’s house, where Thompson told him that his lawyer had recommended him not to settle, when he (Baskerville) told Thompson he was no gentleman (which in polite circles means “a liar,) and was a mean man – and that he always treated him (Thompson) on the square. Thompson then said he was just mean enough to thrash a ten ton field of Baskervilles, Baskerville retorting by saying that Thompson had not eaten mush enough for that. Thompson then puled off his coat and threatened to mash Baskerville into a grease spot, when Baskerville invited him to try his hand at making grease spots, after which Baskerville’s coat came off too, and then the fun commenced, and was kept up for sometime in a lively fashion, until quietness reigned supreme after Baskerville retired from the encounter. His Worship the Mayor thought Baskerville ought to pay a fine of $15 and $3.85 costs, and entered judgment accordingly – which has, however, been appealed against by Mr. Baskerville.
Another Dundas item published in the March 31, 1876 Spectator was a push for a Dundas hotel:
“This beautiful hotel on the principal street, Dundas, is still open under the popular management of Colonel Jones, rumours to the contrary notwithstanding. Pleasure parties should visit the Elgin before the sleighing goes away.”

The new Turkish Baths received another mention:
“Last evening a large number of persons took a course of treatment in the Turkish baths on James street. This fine institution is handsomely fitted up, and is under the able management of Mr. Wm. Warner, in whose hands the most delicate invalid is safe.”
          Finally a rather macabre item had been put on display in a downtown saloon:
“The club used by John Young in slaying Macdonald is on exhibition in James’ saloon on Hughson street north. It is a polar stick measuring twenty-two inches in length. It was selected with great care, as on end contains a large knot. The small end is three inches in circumference, the large end six. It appears insignificant from its lightness, but it must be remembered that it was cut from a green tree, and that it has been kept in a warm place since last November. “

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