Monday 30 April 2012

May 1, 1876

“The roads into Dundas are now in splendid condition and business is looking up.”
          Hamilton Spectator.     May 1, 1876
Monday, May 1, 1876 was definitely a slow news day and the Spectator reporters were dredging low to fill the local news page.
As well as the news that the roads into Dundas were in top shape, another item was carried regarding the on-going, but yet fruitless search for the remains of Tom Ireland :
Much sympathy is felt in Dundas for the family of the late Thos. Ireland, who was drowned in Dundas Creek. No hopes are now entertained of ever recovering the body, which s supposed to be covered with mud and timber.”
          Football was in the news as preparations were being made and players selected for an upcoming match scheduled against a team from prominent American university:
“The match between the Argonauts of Toronto and the Hamilton club – the last of the trial matches to select the men from Ontario, who are to play against the Harvard Club on Monday week – took place on Saturday at the Crystal Palace Grounds. The following composed the Hamilton team : H. Hope, (captain and three-quarter back); Ker, Murray and Hare, (backs); Palmer and Leask (half-backs); Gordon, Wynyard, Park, J.A. Mackenzie, J. I. Mackenzie, McLaren, Gillespie, Wild and Hosking (forwards). The Toronto team was composed of the following : Messrs. Perram (captain); Harcourt, Boyd, Mitchell, Helliwell, D. Shaw, Shaw, Gosling, Kerr, Ogilvey, Bell, Sankey, Denny, Wallace and one other. The result of the match was a draw game.”
Finally a space filler to be used when necessary was a poem by a local writer, and so Hamilton poet Hawke saw his work in print once again :
“For the Spectator : Mother"
 Oh ! For the gift to paint thee, mother, as thou art,
And limun the glory of thy pure silvery hair,
Above a dear worn brow, so deeply traced with care.
Alas! My skill such grace cannot impart,
But in this simple verse I will engrave for thee.
True love and honour! Thou who hast borne for me
Life’s chastenings many more than were thy art.
My place be ever near thee, where I often feel again
The pressure gentle of thy tender hand
That sweet hath soothed the racking throbs of pain.
When on the edge of some misdeed I stand
That soft, low voice has never failed of thine,
To hold me back with power that seemed divine.
Hamilton. May 1, 1876

Saturday 28 April 2012

April 29, 1876

“For the first time this year, the watering carts were at work allaying the frightful clouds of dust which were raised at every gust of wind.”
          Hamilton Spectator     April 29, 1876
Time for spring cleaning.
The Spectator was not slow to comment on clean ups needed to be attended to by the City of Hamilton.
While welcoming the appearance of watering carts dampening the dusty streets, the Spectator reporter was not slow to point out, a couple other places in need of attention:
“The Board of Works should see that the gutters in the market were cleaned, as they are full of filth. The cab stand at the head of the Gore should also be cleaned. “
Spring clean up in the popular public open space in front of the Wentworth County Court House, known as Prince’s Square, had already been underway :
“This beautiful retreat is being handsomely renovated and cleaned, and now presents a bright and tidy appearance. The sprays in the pond are now playing, and things look as if the band could come out any night and play.”
On the Beach Strip, a rather remarkable catch has fisherman all across the city making note:
“Yesterday an enormous channel catfish, weighing twenty-seven pounds, was caught in Ben Fould’s net at the Beach. It is the largest catfish caught in the bay in ten years.”
On April 28, 1876, the Hamilton militia unit, which complimented the Thirteenth Battalion was the Volunteer Field Battery, held a debut for its band at the stone hall, Main and John streets:
“The new band of the H. V. F. Battery gave its first concert last evening in the Germania Hall, corner of John and Main streets. This new organization comprises about thirty instruments and is under the able leadership of Mr. Thomas King. It consists of members of the old artillery band and the band of the O. Y. Britons and will be known as the “Hamilton Volunteer Field Battery Band.” The concert last evening was pleasant and successful, the beautiful pieces played by the band reflecting the highest credit on them for so short a practise. The pieces performed were “Valse,” “Alma Heights,” a “Grand March,” “The Tournament,” “Valse,” “Echoes of Fairyland,” “A Gallop,” “The British Ensign,” and “God Save the Queen.” Several fine songs were sung by Mr. George Smith, Mr. Thomas Willson, and Mr. W. F. Fricker, and a couple of recitations were given by Mr. Thos. Mitchell of the Thirteenth Battalion. After the concert, Mr. George Steel’s string band took possession, and dancing was kept up until about midnight. The first concert  of this band went off well, and there is no doubt but that this band will become very popular with our citizens.”
The time was getting short for people interested in helping out the popular Sam Smith who had fallen on hard times:
“On Monday evening, Sam Smith’s benefit will take place at Selwyn’s Club House (late Dan Black’s) on James street, and from the extensive preparations which have been made for it, there is little doubt that it will be a most successful affair. The programme of amusements, games etc., will commence at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. There will be a quadrille band present, and facilities will be afforded for dancing. It is hoped this well-meant effort on the part of Sam’s friends will have the desired effect – that of assisting him financially. “
On the 29th of April 1876, the Spectator reprinted a couple of items from the Dundas True Banner, a journalistic teasing insult to the Hamilton Times, and a report of the Tramps and Vagrants who got food and overnight stays in the Valley Town :
CHICKEN FEED – The Times’  local staff are now in the sporting business. They attend and report all the cock-fights held in the city, and devote a large share of their attention to the amelioration of the condition of the roosters, chickens and pullets generally. The other day they reported dead against an unfortunate named Patrick Donohue for “treating a rooster” but they failed to intimate what kind of “liquid damnation” the said rooster preferred to imbibe; and then again they intimate that the hen roosts in the east end of the city have been frequently robbed of late. Just so. We think of late that the appearances indicated that the Times’  locals had been feeding on chicken broth.
THE TRAMPS – Chief Constable McDonough has kindly furnished us with certain information concerning the “tramps” who have been fed and lodged in Dundas from the 25th Nov. last to the 10th April, which may prove interesting to our readers. In all, no less than 842 have put in an appearance, and this number of people have been prvided with suppers and lodging at an expense of only $80 – an average of 3 ½ cents each – which cannot be said to savour of extravagance  Lest, however, some may be inclined to think that the poor tramps were half-starved, we may add that they had all the wholesome food they could eat and generally spoke in highly complimentary terms of the provisions made to satisfy their appetites and for their general comfort.
Their places of birth as follows : England, 280; Ireland, 220; Scotland, 80; Canada, 155; United States, 80; Australia, 2; Germany, 12; France, 2; Spain, 1; Hungary, 1; Sweden, 2; Switzerland, 2; Gibraltar, 1;  Denmark, 1; Saxony, 1; East India, 1; at sea, 1. Total, 842.
Their religion as follows : Church of England, 360; Roman Catholic, 285; Presbyterian, 115; Methodist, 60; Baptists, 10; Independents, 5; Mormons, 2; no religion, 5. Total, 842.
Finally a tragic accident on the Hamilton and Northwestern Railway was reported, in some detail:
“Last evening by the latest train going from this city to Caledonia, a man named Thomas English took passage to Rymal Station. On reaching his destination, he went across the way from the depot to Young’s tavern, where it is believed he imbibed a considerable quantity of drink. After some time he started to go home, walking down the track between Rentonville and Rymal. The next train coming down ran over him, killing him instantly. The driver, feeling the locomotive jump, imagined it was a rail, but on examining the wheels found blood and hair upon them. He instantly ran back to the spot, where they found the unfortunate man frightfully mangled. His body was cut in two and his heart and one of his kidneys were picked up quite separate from the body along the track.
          The inquest was held this morning before Thos. White, M. D., Coroner for the County of Wentworth, and a verdict of accidental death rendered; no blame being attached to the railway company. WE were incorrect in stating above that the accident was detected at Rymal station; it was not till the train arrived in Hamilton that blood was discovered on the driving wheels, when the authorities sent an engine and car to discover the victim.”

Friday 27 April 2012

April 28, 1876

 “It is an old tale, and a good one, to always keep on the right of the woman or women of the house.”
                             Hamilton Spectator           April 28, 1876
The men working in a prominent city household either were unaware of the old tale, or tried to test validity.
As described in the Spectator of April 28, 1876, there was male versus female conflict among the hired help:
          “This maxim was not followed by the men servants of a certain large establishment in this city, who became impertinent to the housekeeper and women of the house, and finally “fell out” in right royal style on Monday evening last. Nothing further happened, however, till Tuesday, when the men servants became exceedingly sick. They imagined they had taken poison in their tea, but on calling in a doctor, they found it was nothing worse than a dose of jalap. The next day they informed the Chief of Police, and that officer sent detectives to the place last evening to work up the case. They found, however, that no case could be made out against the girls, who, it is said, intend to summon the men on the charge of malicious slander.”
          In a follow up story relating to the recent big fire, women were again the focus of the article:
“Mr. Campbell, part of whose pottery in the west end of the city was destroyed by fire on Wednesday last, desires to acknowledge publicly, with many thanks, the valuable assistance which was rendered at the time of the fire by a number of women in the neighbourhood. Several of these, Mr. Campbell informs, worked to such purpose that they succeeded in saving about $1,000 worth of the stock, which would inevitably have been destroyed had it not been for their exertions. Such praiseworthy acts as this one are deserving of all praise.”
          Certainly there were many places in Hamilton where it was known that prostitution existed. A former owner of one of those places of assignation in the city had moved to Toronto where she was attempting to help reform and make safe prostitutes in that city:
“It is rumored that Allie Miller, a woman who formerly kept a house of ill-fame in this city, but who at present is residing in Toronto, has offered the corporation of that city $5,000 on condition that Toronto furnishes $15,000, to found a house of refuge for abandoned and dissipated women. During Allie’s experience, she has found that hundreds of the wretched women with whom she comes in contact, would live different lives if they only had some retreat in which to hide themselves, but as matters are now, without character, friends, money or health, they have to drag on a miserable existence almost in spite of themselves.”

An odd medical item was included in the Spectator of April 28, 1876 :
“Last evening, Drs. James White and Hopkins amputated a finger at the City Hospital, caused by getting a splinter under the nail some weeks ago. It was thought little of for some time, but when advice was sought, the bone was found bare and decayed, and the only treatment to prevent lockjaw was removal. “
Finally the major source of sophisticated music on a regular basis in Hamilton during the 1876 time frame was the scarlet-tuniced Band of the Thirteenth Battalion.
A lengthy article on the Band and its activities the past winter and its plans for the coming summer season follow :
“This splendid band has during the past winter been practising hard and steadily, and we are sure our readers are interested enough in this institution to hear what they have been doing and what they propose doing during the ensuing summer. During the winter the members have been going punctually and regularly to practise twice a week at the Drill Shed, and under the experienced and able leadership of Mr. George Robinson, have improved greatly, and have added to their already large collection of music some very fine overtures and selections, of which the following are a few – Overtures – Oberon, Massentello, Guiliaume Tell, Fra Diavolo, Othello, Don Juan; Selections – Lemtramide, Attila, La Favorita, Purltani, LeCheavi de Bronze and others from Boosey’s Military Band Journal. All lovers of classical music will see at once the treat in store for them this summer. The band, numbering 30 men, it will at once be seen that it requires considerable money to keep it going for repairs, music, and general expenses. It is proposed by the members to give a series of twelve concerts in the Drill Shed, one a week on Friday evening as regularly as possible. Tickets for the course will be put at one dollar, and single tickets of admission at ten cents. The first will be given on or about the 12th or 19th of May, due notice of which will be given through the city papers. The Band has made arrangements with Mr. J. Hoodless to provide ample seating accommodation, and leave plenty of room for promenading. The reason for doing this is to prevent the annoyance from boys and others which prevailed in Prince’s Square, and the noise of so many walking on the gravel, which drowned the solos and very best parts of the music rendered by the 13th. We are sure the citizens will turn out in large numbers to do honour to a body of musicians of whom we may well be proud, and also to show their appreciation of these musical treats given in a comfortable place at a merely nominal price.”

Thursday 26 April 2012

April 27, 1876

The Office of the
Daily & Weekly Spectator
-      Has Been –
                   -from the –
To the building known as the
-At the Corner of –
             Market Square and MacNab Street
Office entrance on Market Square.

                             Hamilton Spectator April 26, 1876
It had been more than a month since the Spectator had relocated its printing press and office from James street south, but there was a constant appearance of a reminder to its loyal readers of the fact.
Two alarming stories involving infants and the Hamilton Bay appeared in the April 27, 1876 edition of the Spectator :
 “Yesterday afternoon some men observed a common cigar box floating in the water in the neighbourhood of the Great Western ice houses. On taking it out, they found to their horror that the box contained an infant, quite cold and dead. The box and its contents were brought up to Dr. White, at his office, who did think it was necessary to hold a post mortem examination. The child had been still born, and in all probability was the victim of a cruel abortion. The infant had been dead for some time, and was very small. By Dr. White’s orders, it was duly buried.”
“Yesterday afternoon, Dr. White’s son, a beautiful child of two and a half years, unobserved by his nurse, toddled out the yard on James street and marched down to the bay. Here he was found playing near the water by a young lady who recognised him and very kindly brought him home. In the meantime the little fellow’s parents, almost in a state of distraction, were searching for him everywhere without avail, and their joy on recovering him again can be better imagined than described. This morning the little fellow complained of his legs being sore, but otherwise expresses satisfaction with his trip”.
That day the Spectator copied an item which had appeared the previous day in the Dundas Standard concerning the search for the remains of Thomas Ireland :
“All the exertions made to recover the body of the late Mr. Ireland have been so far fruitless. Every spot in the creek has been searched over and over again. Torpedoes have been called into requisition, but all useless. If the body be free, it will come to the surface of itself in a short time through the generation of gas resulting from decomposition, but if covered there is not much hope.”