Tuesday 15 May 2012

May 16, 1876

 “It is now a settled fact that Hamilton is to have the only clock manufactory in the Dominion.”
Hamilton Spectator      May 16, 1876
The effects of the main commercial economic depression which started in 1873 were starting to ease by the spring of 1876.
Hamilton was starting to benefit from the improving business outlook as evidenced by the following item in the Hamilton Spectator of May 16, 1876:
 “The negotiations looking to the establishment thereof have resulted in the formation of a company with a paid up capital of $100,000, the late Hespler Sewing Machine Factory has been secured, and arrangements made with dealers for the supply of three thousand clocks per month, so that the enterprise starts out on a solid basis and with the highest prospects. Mr J. Collins, a practical clock maker of great experience, is to be the mechanical Superintendent. Mr. James Simpson is President of the Company, and Mr. George Lee, Business Manager. The names of these well-known and successful business men will be a guarantee to the public that the affairs of the Company will be conducted on sound principles, and the Company are to be congratulated upon securing their services. This is another step towards making Hamilton the manufacturing centre of the Dominion, and everything promises that it will be a successful one.”
A typical day in Hamilton Police Court :

“Police Court : Police Magistrate Cahill Presiding”
                                                       Tuesday, May 16.
          David Logan was brought into the station house on James street this morning very drunk. Fined $2.
          Robert Wilcox was charged by the Chief with being drunk on James street. Fined $1
                                      UNSAFE SIDEWALK
          Isaiah Ballie was charged with leaving the sidewalk at Copps’ new building in an unsafe condition. Fined $2.
          John Swift was charged by his wife Emily Swift with assault and battery. Whiskey was the cause of all the trouble. Swift sold his wife’s bed, bedding and clothes for whiskey. Fined $5.
          Jos. Rangor charged John Neil with threatening him. Fined $5.
An immensely popular play of the day, Around the World in 80 Days, was presented in Hamilton on May 15, 1876 garnering a mixed review in the Spectator:
“Last evening one of the largest audiences of the present season assembled at the Mechanics’ Hall, on the occasion of the representation of Howard and Carle’s combination of the spectacular drama “Around the World in 80 Days.” The play is one which, though not marked by any deep plot, is sufficiently attractive to keep the interest of an audience throughout, when well put on the boards. This was successfully done last evening, though it must be admitted that the pleasing specialties presented were the principal source of public favour. In the dramatic portion of the entertainment, the leading parts were well carried through by Mr. Casries Austin (Mr. Fogg), Mr. P.E. Sullivan ( Miles O’Pake), Mr. T. Charles Howard (Passepartout), Mr. Wm. Harris (John Fix), Miss Clara Milton (Princess Aouda) and Miss Ada Lament (Bessie). The support was very fair. “
          In other theatrical news, the anticipation was building for the upcoming appearance in Hamilton of one of the most popular actors in the world:
“Monday evening next, the renowned actor, Edwin Booth, will appear at Mechanics’ Hall in the play of “Hamlet,” supported by the entire dramatic company from Mr. Vicker’s theatre, Chicago. The sale of reserved seats tickets will commence at Grossman’s music store on Thursday morning at nine o’clock.”
For weeks, logs had been hauled to the bayfront and slipped onto the water surface where experienced voyageurs were assembling huge log rafts to be floated out of the harbour into Lake Ontario and then onto shipbuilders in Eastern Canada and north-eastern United States.
But there were dangers to those inexperienced individuals of any age who would venture on the logs:
“Boys are cautioned against going on the logs in the bay as several lives have nearly been lost. On Saturday last, one little fellow was running across the logs and fell head foremost into the bay, and would most certainly have been lost had not Charles Smith, aged fourteen years, the son of the immigration agent, observed him, when he immediately jumped from the immigration dock and swam out and dived for him, and placing him on the raft, saved his life.”

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