Wednesday 2 May 2012

May 3, 1876

 “It is high time the Board of Works had the street lamps cleaned. They are in a very dirty state with dust and smoke, and will throw but a very uncertain light.”
Hamilton Spectator    May 3, 1876
Ever relentless in pointing out deficiencies in the City of Hamilton’s maintenance of municipal assets, the lack of cleanliness of street lamps was a target in the May 3, 1876 issue of the newspaper. Obviously the dirtier the street lamps were, the less light they could provide, a certain public safety issue.
While spring had definitely taken a firm hold in Hamilton, the effects of the peculiar weather of recent months were sill being felt:
 “Never within the last fifteen years has there been such a backward season as this one. Farmers so far have hesitated from showing their grain lest it might be blighted in growing, and those who have put seed in the ground fear that it will rot there for want of heat. Another drawback to seeding is the slow drainage of the land which is more backward this year than ever before, although there has been but a slight rain fall of late. Should this month be favourable, however, the farmers will be able to complete their seeding.”
Two items appeared in the Spectator of May 3, 1876 concerning the bay:
-      A large number of voyagers are engaged in building rafts on the bay.
-      The Corsican, the first Royal Mail steamer of the season, went out this morning.”
A very unfortunate accident occurred at Caroline Street North and Cannon street, the location of the city’s refuse dump :
“This morning an unfortunate accident occurred at the banks near the corner of Caroline and Cannon streets.  When a workman was backing a horse and cart with damp rubbish, he got too near the edge, and the cart ran over, pulling the horse and hurtling it over the precipice and into the gully below. The horse was severely and mortally hurt.”
With the arrival of warmer weather, the men of the local militia were able to conduct a march outside of the confines of the Drill Shed :
“Last evening, the XIII battalion, headed by their magnificent band, marched out two hundred strong. Colonel Irving commanded and led his troops up James street to the mountain. In breasting the hill, the ranks were well preserved and showed the good discipline of the men. From the mountain, the battalion marched down the Strongman road, and thence to the drill shed, where they were disbanded.”
The Police Court had a very young prisoner, with a very sad story to tell in the session of May 3, 1876:
       This morning in the prisoner’s pen at the Police Court, sat a small intelligent lad, who appeared to take the deepest interest in what was going on about him. He was noticed by everyone who glanced into the dreary compartment in which the prisoners are kept, and as he sat among the rags and drunks of the morning, his manly face bore a striking compassion to the rest. After the general business of the Police Court was over, Sergeant McMenemy, the officer of the day, informed His Worship, the Magistrate, that the Police had taken a little lad in charge the night before., and he wished the court to deal with him. His Worship commenced to question the little, and the manly and intelligent way in which they were answered warmed every heart in the room towards him. His name was Stephen Russell, and eleven years ago, he was born in the city of London. He had come to this country with his brother and sister, who, after leaving him in this country, went home again. He lived with a farmer at Manchester, one hundred and seventeen miles from here, but was obliged to leave him because he did not treat him right. He had run away and got down here by riding on the cars. He slept out at night and had got inflammation in his eyes, but a woman had given him some eye water to wash them with. The Magistrate thought it would be well to send the boys to the hospital until his eyes got better, and consequently marked him over for ten days. The boys seemed perfectly satisfied, and politely thanked His Worship for the interest he took in him.”

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