Saturday 19 May 2012

May 20, 1876

“This morning a span of horses attached to one of Dewey’s ice wagons ran away on James street, starting from in front of the Mechanics’ Hall.”
Another Saturday morning in downtown Hamilton, another runaway
Horses getting spooked by city noise and commotion in the Hamilton of 1876 was not uncommon.
But this incident provoked comment and commendation from those who witnessed it:
 “(The horses) were cleverly captured by Mr. Dick Williamson, who was at first thrown and dragged through the mud by the terrified horses; but with a pluck that called forth the admiration of the bystanders, he followed them again and succeeded in stopping them. “
As evidenced by the mud that Dick Williamson encountered, it was indeed a rainy Saturday morning, May 20, 1876, but the Hamilton Market was still a success :
“The James Street was very well attended this morning, and in spite of the inclement weather, the buying and selling went on at a lively rate during the whole of the forenoon.
In the fish and game market, there was a better supply today than there has been for some time. There was an abundance of fish, the larger and more choice kinds, such as salmon, trout, pike, white fish, pickerel and sturgeon having taken the place of the inferior classes of early spring.”
The long-awaited commencement of construction of the Hamilton and North Western Railway was getting closer and closer.  To help convince those who thought the railway project would never get underway, a Spectator reporter was invited to company’s head office to get some proof that the project was indeed for real:
“We had the satisfaction of seeing today the bills of lading of a quantity of iron for the Hamilton and North Western Railway. By steamship Avondale, from Newport, have arrived at Montreal on Wednesday, 1,000 tons, and yesterday the steamship Good Hope arrived at the same port with 1,100 tons. The balance of the iron for laying the road from this city to Georgetown has already been shipped and will arrive next month. “
A worker in the Spectator printing room had a bit of a surprise when, taking a break from his labors, he turned on a tap to get some water to quench his thirst:
“A pleasant surprise to our devil this afternoon, when he was surprising his stomach by taking a draught of water, was to find in the liquid, which had just been drawn from the tap, a good-sized minnow. It is a fact that little fish, escape from the taps very frequently of late, much to the disgust of cooks and temperance men. The Mayor and Water Works Committee visited the filtering basin yesterday, and this in some measure may account for it.”

Fishery Inspector Kerr appeared to have been the victim of revenge for his zealous enforcement of the fish laws :
“The night before last Fishery Inspector’s rowboat, a splendid craft, was stolen, together with a quantity of fishing tackle by parties unknown, It is supposed by some to have been taken through spite by the persons who were lately fined by Inspector Kerr for fishing without a license; and by others to have been taken by sportsmen who wanted to pull as far as the marsh. “
A dramatic domestic conflict, involving a man and wife from Dundas, reached its climax on the streets of downtown Hamilton:
On Tuesday last, a man named James Gleason, an express driver in Dundas, came to the city and has been drunk ever since. He brought with him a horse and buggy – and put up at McKay’s hotel. His funds becoming g low he determined to raise some more and attempted to sell the horse. Fortunately, his wife, who is an ambitious and high-spirited woman, determined to hunt up her lord and master. She found that he stayed at McKay’s Hotel, and after paying his bill and the expenses of the horse, finally found the pair, Gleason and the horse, in front of the American Hotel, where the former was trying to sell the latter. This raised Mrs. Gleason’s ire, and with a savage bound, she was into the buggy and, grasping the reins, tried to drive off in the direction of Dundas. Gleason sprang to the head of the horse and backed the rig on the sidewalk, defying his wife to touch the animal. Mrs. Gleason called for help, and in vain tried to force the horse from her husband’s grasp, who stubbornly held on to the bridle. Mrs. Gleason pluckily remained in her seat, and declared that she would not leave it alive. Gleason finally commenced to unhitch the animal, and the woman was getting highly excited, when Constable McDonough appeared on the scene, arrested Gleason, and handed the horse over to the woman, whose delight can be better imagined than described. It is rumoured that the warrant which to Gleason by McDonough was got out by a woman in Dundas who had given Gleason $45 to pay to the firm of Murphy & Co. He got drunk in this city and failed to make the payment or account for the money, hence his arrest.
The case of the suspicious death of Georgia Macrae took a dramatic turn on Friday May 19, 1876:
“Yesterday afternoon John O. Macrae, arrested on a coroner’s warrant for feloniously killing his wife, was removed from his private residence to the County jail, there to await the result of the inquest.”

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