Wednesday 9 May 2012

May 10, 1876

 “This morning as a horse and cart of coal was being driven over a yard in the rear of the SPECTATOR building, the unfortunate animal, together with the cart, crashed through the flooring into the cellar beneath, almost eight feet in depth.”
                                      Hamilton Spectator     May 10, 1876
The reporter for the Spectator did not have to go far to cover  this story. It happened in the same building he was working in :
“The accident caused the greatest excitement in the neighbourhood. Strange to say, the horse escaped without injury. The harness was not even broken, and no damage was done to the cart except the splintering of one shaft. By the assistance of the neighbours, Mr. Fred. Bremmer and others, the horse and cart were hoisted out of the cellar by means of pulleys, and sent on their way rejoicing. It is a matter of astonishment that a heavy horse falling that distance, through a flooring should escape unhurt, but still it is a fact. The driver deserves every credit for his pluck and presence of mind at the time of the accident.”
A little farther away, although not that much farther, another accident occurred, this one with possible fatal results:
 “Today at twelve o’clock, an accident, which may prove fatal to a labouring man, occurred in the Baptist Church on Park street. A number of men under the directions of  Ald. Thomas Allan, were engaged in frescoing the ceiling of the church, when the scaffolding suddenly gave way precipitating the men to the floor, smashing the pews and causing a general wreck. Everyone escaped uninjured, with the exception of a painter named Burmaster, who, it is feared, is fatally injured, his intestines being frightfully mangled by the timbers. He was conveyed home in a cab, and medical assistance was called in. The paints to be used in the work were spilled on the floor and spattered on the ceiling, disfiguring the church very much. The work in the church will be delayed for some time in consequence of the accident.”
Hamilton police Detective McPherson had an odd occurrence as he changed trains in Niagara Falls.
His tale was recounted in full in the Spectator of May 10, 1876:
“Last evening, as Detective McPherson stepped off the train at the Bridge on his way to this city, a gentleman came up to him and asked him if he was Detective McPherson, of Hamilton. On receiving a reply in the affirmative, he told McPherson that an American detective had been detained by authorities on suspicion that he was a pickpocket. McPherson went upstairs to the rooms and what was his astonishment to meet not only an old detective officer under arrest, but the Sheriff and Chief of police of Canton, who had been in this city yesterday after the escaped convict Webb, also under arrest. McPherson explained to the authorities who the gentlemen were and had them released. The Sheriff and Chief of Police of Canton, who had been searching for the last two weeks for the escaped convict Jones, acted naturally in a very shady manner and awakened the suspicions of the Bridge Police, who believed them to be pickpockets, which is anything but a compliment to the American officials. The Pennsylvania detective had been detained on complaint of an old lady who had her pockets picked, and who instantly suspected the quiet, reserved and yet suspicious character who had travelled on the train with her. The mystery was finally cleared up, the officers released, and all hands parted with mutual congratulations.”
A very enthusiastically received lecture was delivered by Alex. Davidson to members of the Aesthetic Club at the Canada Business College:
The seekers after knowledge of the beautiful were out in good force, and eager to hear what could be said upon a subject which so few of our literati are capable of handling. Mr. Wettenhall having been called to the chair, introduced the orator of the evening in well chosen words, and when the latter came forward, he was received with a perfect tumult of applause, upon the subsistence of which he proceeded with his discourse. Of the lecture itself, our reporter confesses himself unable to give even an outline. To have followed the rapid march of its flowing periods from country to country and continent to continent – across rivers, mountains, and oceans – through the schools and galleries of the old world and less complete collections of the new, - to have done this, we repeat, would have required a nimble pen, a knowledge of many tongues and a complete mastery of the subject which the learned lecturer has made all his own. A request for publication of the manuscript in the city papers having been refused, very properly, no doubt, no attempted synopsis of it would do it justice. Suffice it say, it was unique in its character, solitary in its originality, and remarkable in all its features. Thunders of applause alternated with roars of laughter during its delivery, and if these were occasionally interpolated at untimely points – such as the death of Sir Joshua Reynolds – the inopportuneness was entirely due to the unguarded enthusiasm of the listeners, very few of whom, of course, understood the finer shadings of the discourse. The peroration relieved and interspersed with gems from Scott and Moore, sent the audience off into spasms of applause. Order having been restored, Mr. Fahey voted a vote of thanks to the lecturer, in terms befitting the surroundings of the occasion. Mr. Abercrombie warmly endorsed the motion, which was also supported by Mr. Farmer, who regretted to see so few artisans present at a lecture upon art – (sensation.) He thought it was high time for the Directors of the Mechanics’ Institute to throw open the doors of the hall to Mr. Davidson in order that that gentleman might have an opportunity of cultivating the aesthetic tastes of the masses. (Cheers.)
The motion was then put and carried amidst the wildest demonstrations of enthusiasm which were manifested again and again while Mr. D. was returning tanks.
The business of the evening being concluded, the audience dispersed, loudly protesting that they would not have missed the lecture on any account as they had never heard one like it before.”

Another well-attended, and well-received, lecture was delivered on a topic that was being discussed and debated throughout Canada and the United States at the time:
“A distinguished temperance lecturer delivered a most eloquent and powerful address in Wesley Church last evening on the subject of “Moral Suasion and Legal Prohibition.” Notwithstanding the threatening appearance of the elements, the church was filled to its capacity by an attentive and appreciative audience, who frequently gave expression to their delight by bursts of enthusiastic applause. The chair was ably occupied by the esteemed pastor of the church (Rev. Wm. Stephenson), and on the platform we observed Mrs. Dr. Rice, the President, and a number of office-bearers of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, to which organisation our citizens are indebted for the privilege of hearing the eminent lecturer of the evening. We regret we cannot give our readers a full report of the lecture, which abounded in graphic delineations of the disastrous effects of the liquor traffic, and in strong, logical and unanswerable logic arguments in favour of its entire suppression. The choir of Wesley Church added to the pleasure of the evening by rendering excellent style several choice musical selections.”
Finally, a small but interesting notification was inserted with the intention of helping the popular local physician, Dr. White, locate an item he had lost:
“Last evening, Dr. White lost a patent rubber and iron interfering shoe off his horse. It is a peculiar article, and would be easily recognized as a novelty should it be picked up.”

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