Tuesday 17 April 2012

April 18, 1876

Yesterday morning, the first sailing vessel of the season came in from the lake, and proved to be the schooner Garibaldi. Some Hamilton vessels will shortly go out.”
                             Hamilton Spectator     April 18, 1876
          Much of the news in the Spectator of April 18, 1876 had references to activity along the city’s waterfront.
          Not only was the first schooner to arrive from Lake Ontario identified, but work being done in the Port Hamilton area was described :
“Sailors are making great preparations at the wharves for the coming sailing season. Vessels are being refitted and painted, and the wharves repaired. Sailors hope for a lively time this season.”
As well as the sailors and warehouses being hives of activity, so was the famous Hamilton boatbuilder hard at work :
“Mr. Bastien, the enterprising boat builder, has erected a commodious as well as convenient boat house near his old quarters on the Bay. He has stocked it with a pleasant lot of first class boats, and has made every preparation for a busy season. Last fall, the Street Railway Company talked of building a branch line as far as the wharves, and it is hoped they will carry out their intention, as the walk over the knolls ever detracted from a pleasure trip to the Bay.”
          In the spring of 1876, there were concerns that water in the Hamilton Harbour was becoming polluted :
       It is the opinion of old fishermen that as the city grows larger the number of fish in the bay becomes less. They believe that the numerous drains emptying into the bay thicken the water to the end that delicate fish cannot remain in it. Twenty years ago, the bay swarmed with pickerel, and now not one can be had, and as for bass, they are becoming gradually and beautifully less.”
       It had been some time since Dundas Freshet accident, and recovery searches continued to find the body of the victim:
       For the last three days, Mr. Thos. Tindill has been grappling in Dundas Creek and in the canal for the body of the late Thos. Ireland, drowned on Tuesday evening. He gave up in despair, and gave it as his opinion that the recovery of the body is beyond a possibility. The sides of the creek have been washed away a distance of five or six feet on each side, besides the dams have been torn away, and it is very probable that the body of the unfortunate man is covered with mud and heavy timber.”

          Finally, the negative effects of alcohol consumption were the causes of the following two stories related in the Spectator of April 18, 1876 :

       A desperate fight took place between two men near the G.W.R. station last evening about 11 o’clock. They were observed coming out of the station together and turn down Stuart street going west. After they had gone about two hundred yards, the cabmen at the station heard them in a loud altercation. Thinking it was only an animated dispute, they hesitated a while, when suddenly a cry of “murder! Help!” rang out in midnight air. The cabmen ran to the spot and found one of the men kicking the other round the road. They were parted with some difficulty, and afterwards walked off together, apparently as good friends as ever.”

       Last evening a drunken man fell down the steps leading from the Mountain View Hotel to James street.  He fell quite a distance and made a frightful noise. He was saved from falling into the gully by a plucky young lady who was ascending the steps.”

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