“For the past two weeks, Mr. Dimmick has been travelling through the eight different townships contiguous to this city. The crops have a most promising appearance. In conversing with many of the farmers, they tell him that their spring and fall grain have not looked so well at this season for a number of years. The fruit trees also appear to be well loaded, and we believe there will be an abundant harvest. With such cheering prospects, all have reason to thank God and take courage”
Hamilton Weekly Times June 29, 1876
Thursdays were the day of the week that the weekly papers from Dundas were published. As the audience for those papers included many more rural subscribers that the two Hamilton daily newspapers, it was only natural that more stories of interests to farmers and others living outside would appear in those papers.
While the Weekly Times featured an item that spoke optimistically of all farm crop prospects, an item in the Dundas Banner was less optimistic about one of the crops:
“The spring crops in all parts of the County of Wentworth look exceedingly well and promise to be the best we have had in many years. In some sections, especially in clay land, fall wheat is likely to prove a very inferior yield, it having been badly killed during the winter.”
Stories with reference to the Hamilton Market were usually of keen interest to rural newspaper readers.
Two of those kind of stories follow:
“Thursday last, two of the finest fat steers which have been offered in the market for a long time were brought in by Mr. Michael Duffy, of East Flamboro, and purchased by our enterprising friend, Mr. Thomas Lawry. They were bred by Mr. James Campbell, of East Flamboro, and turned the market scales at 3,090 lbs. The animals had been driven seven miles yesterday and twelve miles this morning, but looked little the worse for the long walk.”
“For several weeks past the farmers on the Governor’s Road and the Brock Road have had frequent visits from midnight thieves, who have carried off large numbers of chickens, turkeys, etc. The thieving seems to have been carried on in a systematic manner, and it is believed that the depredators dispose of their surplus stock in the Hamilton market. Farmers should be on the lookout and it is just possible that the thieves may yet be caught.”
In 1876, rural residents were still required to spent some time working on public projects, particularly roads:
“In many parts of the country, the yeomanry are now busily engaged in doing their statutory labor, and we will guarantee that a trip in a lumber waggon over the “clods” which are being piled up so carefully on the Governor’s Road near Dundas, will effect, for the time being at least, a radical cure for dyspeptic ailments.”
As was the style of newspaper reporting at the time, the full details of the appearance of the body of Thomas Ireland were detailed:
“The Dundas Standard gives the following particulars of the appearance of the body of the late Mr. Ireland :
The appearance of the body, which was on its back, does not indicate that it had been completely imbedded, but that the feet and perhaps one of the arms may have been covered. The right wrist seems, from the reddish appearance of an oval spot on the back, about three inches by two, to have been exposed for a time to the action of the sun, while that hand and the other are white. The head and face are not recognisable, the hair having completely disappeared, and the scalp coming off in patches. The flesh on the face is more perfect, and some remains of side whiskers and of a beard under the chin may be discerned. The eyes are swollen and the mouth distorted, showing the teeth. One tooth is wanting in the right front of the upper jaw. The coat and vest are clean gone. There is a checked white and black flannel shirt which does not appear to be the least torn, and it is somewhat strange how the coat and vest could have been torn off by the action of the flood, without injuring the shirt more or less. When he fell into the water, Mr. Ireland had on his person a valuable watch. The pants are also in good preservation, and the boots are still on the feet. There is no reasonable doubt of the identity, as several parties immediately recognised different portions of the clothes, and Mr. Russell, one of the firm of which the deceased was a member, identified him by the absence of the tooth above alluded to. The body was buried in Flamboro yesterday.”
A major meeting of fishermen and others concerned about preserving the fish stock on Coote’s Paradise and Burlington Bay was held on the locally renowned Fox and Hounds Temperance Hotel, strategically located on the Burlintgton Heights overlooking both bodies of water:
“In pursuance of an extensively circulated handbill, calling “ a meeting of all parties resident in the vicinity of Burlington Bay and adjacent waters interested in the preservation of the said fishery,” such gathering took place Thursday afternoon at the hall connected with Mr. Anderson’s Fox and Hounds Temperance House, Burlington Heights. The attendance was large and respectable.
Thomas Bain, Esq., M.P., Dr. McMahon, M.P.P., and some thirty or forty others were present.
The meeting unanimously chose Mr. Chipman Cummins chairman, and Mr. David Bickett consented to perform the duties of secretary.
The CHAIRMAN made a few introductory remarks with respect to the object of the meeting, which he said was known to all present, therefore he would not detain them but at once proceed to business. He called upon the Secretary to read the minutes of the previous meeting held in Dundas, at which a resolution was passed to the effect “That no gill nets or scines should be used in Burlington Bay.”
Dr. McMahon, M.P. was then called upon to address the meeting. He said that he was not a member of the Dominion Parliament, where the Fishery regulations were framed, but he had given this matter of the way in which they were administered on Burlington Bay and adjacent waters a little consideration and failed to see that justice had been done to those residing on the north side of the Bay, all of whom had been deprived from taking fish, while those on the southeast were extended the privilege. The subject had been brought to his attention by Mr. Wm. Hopkins, and he (the speaker) had put him in the way of returns brought down through Mr. Bain, M. P. in the Dominion House. These having been printed. In his opinion, those having such grievances should lay them before the Minister of Marine and Fisheries and have them redressed. Mr. Bain, he was pleased to say, would be in the Hall in a few minutes, and then they could obtain more information than he (the Doctor) could possibly give them. He regretted the absence of Mr. Kerr, and proceeded to remark that it certainly was an unfortunate circumstance that a person holding the position he held, as Inspector of Fisheries should occupy the Deputy Reeve’s chair in any municipality contiguous to where his duty in the former capacity called him. Mr. Kerr held a municipal position in Barton township, and the circumstance gave them residing elsewhere to suspect that the favouritism might be shown with regard to fishing privileges. He thought that resolutions should be drawn and forwarded to the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, properly setting forth what they complain of, and the redress sought for. The doctor’s remarks were applauded.
Mr. Bain, M.P. , having arrived, next spoke. He confessed that he was not a fisherman; the only time he had ever attempted was in company with two others one Queen’ Birthday some time ago, and between them they managed to land three fish – thesew ere not more than two inches in length (Laughter). He thought the matter deserved consideration on the part of the authorities. When he was asking for the return of correspondence to be brought down in the House (which has since been published in the TIMES) he was not aware of the difficulties which residents on the north side were suffering under, otherwise he would have asked for a return of the answers to the Department as well. They wanted fair play, and although he had nothing to charge the present Fishery overseer with, still he thought that the Department never intended some of the regulations to be constructed as they had been in this quarter. At present, the Bay was practically a reserve for those on the south-east side, who were allowed to sweep out the fish with nets and seines, while those on the north shore were deprived of all such rights, and the sport of angling was destroyed. He would use all of his influence to have the proper authorities place those on this side of the Bay and Dundas Marsh on the same footing as residents on the other shore. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. SIMON STIPE, of Barton, defended Mr. Kerr, and remarked that the business way to go about a redress of their grievances was to apply to the Minister of Marine and Fisheries.
Mr. BAIN asked how it was that gill net fishing had been allowed by the Department on the south side, and not on the north side, or any other place on the Bay, or adjacent waters? He (Mr. B.) did not know Mr. Kerr in this matter at all, but wanted to see justice done.
Mr. STIPE replied that he believed the Hon. Commissioner of Marine and Fisheries would defend the Fishery Inspector in this action.
Mr. JOHN BLAINE said that he had asked Mr. Kerr why those on the south were granted priviledges they enjoyed, and he (Mr. Kerr) told him that it was because those in the south were a poor lot of people who had nets, and when these were worn out that would be the end of it.
It was then moved by Mr. CLINE, seconded by Mr. L. Mills, That this meeting is of the opinion that no nets or seines should be drawn inside of Burlington Bay or Dundas Marsh, nor within one quarter of a mile of the entrance to the Burlington Canal, and that the Chairman be authorised to memorialise the Government to have the Fishing regulations so amended.
The mover and seconder spoke to the resolution, the latter referring to the inconsistency of the Fishery Inspector in his action towards the people. One time Mr. Kerr gave them leave to destroy the pike, other times he refused to let them take one.
After some further conversation, the resolution was adopted.
It was then moved by Mr. WILLIAM HOPKINS, seconded by Mr. JOHN BLAINE, that a memorial be prepared and forwarded to the Hon. The Minister of Marine and Fisheries (through Thos. Bain, Esq., M.P.) setting forth the injustice of the present fishery laws and enactments so far as the Burlington Bay and adjacent waters are concerned, and that the same may be amended so as to render justice to all parties. That this meeting nominate the following gentlemen to compose said Committee : Messrs. William Hopkins, Dr. McMahon, Henry Binkley, David Bickell and Joseph Cline.
It was arranged that this Committee will meet at Bamberger’s Half Way House some evening shortly. Carried
The meeting then shortly after six o’clock dispersed, after votes of thanks to the members of Parliament, the Chairman and the Secretary.”