Monday 7 May 2012

May 8, 1876

The Royal Mail line of steamers are now running their regular trips between this port and Montreal. The Corinthian went out this morning.”
                                      Hamilton Spectator   May 8, 1876
          Full service of the passenger steamers out of Hamilton had arrived by May 8, 1876.
          The bay was also the scene of frequent steamer rides to the Beach for those wishing to get out of the city for the day.
The town of Dundas was felt to be an alternative for those wishing to get out of the city, without boarding a steamer:
“A more delightful drive of a summer afternoon than that in the direction of Dundas cannot be imagined. It is already becoming a favourite with a certain class of the public who dread the crowd and the rush at the Beach. The Elgin House will be found a pleasant stopping place where parties wishing to rest can have a five o’clock dinner.”
          Dundas was also in the Spectator columns published on May 8, 1876, more specifically the antics of local Dundas politicians:
The councillors of Dundas are making a name for themselves. Not long ago one of them was locked in the cells and on Saturday evening another tried to play the part of a policeman. McMillan is his name and he tried to arrest a drunken tinker on the street. The effort was a failure and McMillan was defeated. The tinker was afterwards arrested by the proper authority, officer McDonough.”
In the west end of Dundas, an oil refinery which had started operations had long since been abandoned. The Spectator of May 8, 1876 had an explanation as to why:
In the extreme west end of Dundas, near the railway track, there lies the extensive pile of buildings, lonely and deserted, and wearing a “busted” look which is disheartening to your businessman. This is the celebrated oil refinery of Dundas. The place, however, has not succumbed to the hard times, but, on the contrary, the company that owns it receives, on condition that they keep the place closed, $1,000 a month from the Union of Oil Refiners. This Union (American) is fully aware that should the oil refinery in Dundas be in full operation their occupation, like Shakespeare'’ celebrated character, would be gone.”

Ancaster politicians were starting to brag that they had been successful in blocking the construction of the Hamilton and Dundas Street Railway, a scheme which they felt would adversely effect their village’s interests:
       The members of the Ancaster Township Council triumphantly assert that they have knocked the Hamilton and Dundas Street Railway on the head. Nothing has been heard from the promoters of the scheme for some time and it is feared that it will be allowed to die a natural death.”
As for the Hamilton Street Railway, that company seemingly felt that the tracks for its horse-drawn street cars could dominate the streets, to the disadvantage of any other vehicle wishing to use the same thoroughfares:
       Loud complaints are being made about the condition of the Street Railway on King street west. The double track has left the street in an almost impassable state, and no vehicle can pass over it without being seriously jarred.”
          Finally, a drunken spree involving a cab man, two inebriates and several houses of ill fame, drew considerable space in Spectator of Monday, May 8, 1876:
       On Saturday afternoon, two young men, one of them familiarly known in this city as “Phip” Spohn, and the other as Ted Ball, went on a “burst” together. They enjoyed themselves pretty freely, and as evening wore on found it necessary to take advantage of a cab which was standing near the Royal Hotel, and by which they were conveyed to the West End hotel on the north side of King Street. Here the cabman waited for his pay for over two hours, at the expiration of which time the two men requested to be driven to 104 John street north, a notorious house of ill-fame. They said they were good for the cab hire and pulled out large handfuls of bills by way of substantiating their statement. The cabman assented and drove them to the place and let them out at the door. As he had not yet got his pay, the cabman determined to follow them up, but not wishing to have his cab seen standing in front of such a notorious place, drove across the street and tied his horse. On returning to the house, he met Spohn in the alley way with a gun in his hand. The cabman wanted him to go home, but he refused on the ground that he was too drunk, and asked to be driven to No. 77 Hunter street west, also a place of questionable fame. The cabman refused, but he was finally prevailed upon to drive to a Mary street house, whence they returned to 104 John street. The cabman followed Spohn upstairs in the house, where he asked for his cab hire. This brought on a dispute, which was rather unceremoniously concluded by the cabman knocking Spohn heels over head down the stairs. Ted Ball, who was present, immediately clinched the driver, and, in the struggle, the latter individual came out like a rokel, “all tattered and torn.” Spohn had not sufficient sense to let the matter rest there but had the cab man arrested for assault and the keeper of the house, Jennie Jones, summoned for selling liquor without a license. The case came up this morning for investigation but the prosecutor failed to appear.

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