“And now the school children rejoice, they having struck for the Easter Holidays, which will continue until Wednesday morning next, when their toils and troubles will have to be recommenced.”
Dundas True Banner and Wentworth Chronicle April 13, 1876.
April 13, 1876 – only the weekly edition of the Dundas True Banner and Wentworth Chronicle published that has survived.
A weekly newspaper from a small community like Dundas was filled with a few hard news items and a lot of “filler” which looking back from a present perspective provide interesting insights to everyday.
For example, the following comment on the upcoming holiday:
“Tomorrow will be Good Friday, and we suppose all the good people will keep it religiously, but those who are not just up to the mark and are tainted with the “mammon of unrighteousness” will probably enjoy it as a holiday – that is if they don’t work. As usual, we suppose the stores will be open.”
A couple of short paragraphs on the effects of spring in Dundas in April 1876 follow :
“Yes, in the heyday of youth, and just when the glories of Spring were bursting upon a life which might have been spent in aerial flights amidst the grassy glades and flower-decked paths of golden summer, it passed away – and the beautiful petals of roseate-hued Hyacinthe which once knew the soft and magic touch of Niblett’s pet butterfly shall know it no ore from this time henceforth and forever more. It died on Monday.
“Hail, smiling morn” is what the robins have been singing as they sat on their perches in the leafless trees and greeted the glorious sun which has shone so brightly in the glad and blithesome Spring mornings which everybody has enjoyed so much of late.”
With the arrival of warmer weather, the emergency shelters for the homeless and tramps began to close, except for the one in Dundas by April 13, 1876 :
“Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are marching,” but not towards Paris, where the local magnates have shut down their lodging house for the season, and where the weary no longer find rest. In Dundas, our house of refuge is still in full blast, and judging from the accumulation of old clothes and worn-out boots and shoes which are promiscuously strewn round the stately edifice which bears the euphonious title of Town Hall, one would imagine that the bears and bulls of our Town Council met there for their midnight brawls, and that mid the din of war, they doffed their garments the better to come to a mutual understanding on “pints of law,” and in their excitement went away, forgetting where they had left their duds.”
Another sure sign of spring was the impending baseball season. To that end, a meeting was reported in the True Banner at which a Dundas man participated
“On Friday afternoon a convention of Base Ball players was held at the Walker House, Toronto, for the purpose of forming an Association of the players of this game throughout the Dominion. There was a fair attendance, every leading club in Ontario being represented with one noteworthy exception – the St. Lawrence of Kingston. Mr. E. Collins represented the Dundas Clubs. Considerable enthusiasm was manifested in the proceeding which were of an unanimous description. On the motion of Mr. Collins, seconded by W. McPherson, the Association of Base Ball players, and it was resolved that the entrance fee from each club contesting for the championship should be $10. The following officers were elected : President, George Sleeman, Guelph; Vice-President, Spaulding, Dunnville; Secretary, H. Gorman, London; Treasurer, W. F. Mountain, Toronto. The constitution of the Association and the by-laws were duly passed, and after some routine business, the meeting closed.”
No news item was seemingly too small for mention in the True Banner as the following two items indicate :
“Think of the Concert at Bullock’s Corners to raise funds for a new fence round the public graveyard, which takes place on the 21st inst., and buy a ticket.
“On Tuesday, Forsythe & Co., of Dundas, shipped thirty Grain Drills and two light mowers, direct to Prince Edward Island, where Mr. Ireland, a member of the firm, will proceed in a few days to push business in that section of the Dominion.”
The Hamilton and Street Railway was a real project at last, and construction was about to start. But there were still some things to address:
“The Hamilton papers state that at a meeting in the interests of the Hamilton and Dundas Street Railway Co. held on Thursday night at the Mansion House, it was determined to proceed with the road as soon as possible, provided that the city extend Main street westward. Quite independent of the Street Railway, it is time that the city provide a better approach from the west, and the opening up of Main street west should be proceeded with in any event. We learn that the citizens will be asked to subscribe about $10,000 in stock, the residue of the money to be provided for by the subscriptions on the line of the road and at Dundas. The Hamilton Street railway will be asked their line to the city limits, and if they decline to do so, the H. & D. S. R. will then construct their line to the center of the city.”
Finally, the True Banner editor had some fun in reaction to a news item he had read:
“A modest man, who prefers to remain anonymous, has just given $500,000 for the establishment of an Art Gallery in Manchester. Now we want to know where our modest anonymous man keeps himself in Dundas ! Let him step to the front and donate half a million or so to our languishing Mechanics’ Institute, and then he may live for generations neither “unwept, unhonoured, nor unsung.”