“On Friday evening, there will be a moonlight excursion to the Beach by the favourite steamer Florence.”
Hamilton Spectator June 7, 1876
Not to be outdone by the proprietor of a rival pleasure steamer, the owner of the Florence also decided that a special after sundown cruise on the bay:
“The fine brass and string band of the Caledonian Society will be in attendance. The Florence will leave her wharf for the Ocean House at 7:30 o’clock p.m. An enjoyable time may be expected.”
The newly-enlarged Ocean House on the Beach Strip near the canal also advertised in the Spectator of June 7, 1876:
This new and magnificent hall will accommodate two hundred persons dancing at the same time. There is attached to the hall large refreshment and ladies’ dressing rooms. Excursion and dancing parties can be arranged for the above, with or without music, by tickets to be had at the Ocean House. W.A. Neville, manager.
Hamilton’s beloved poet had sent a copy of her first collection of her poetry to Canada’s Governor-General and received a reply:
“His Excellency the Governor-General has written an autograph letter to Miss Harriett Annie Wilkins, thanking her for the receipt of a copy of her new volume of poetry entitled “Way Side Flowers,” and speaking very warmly of its merits. The graceful manner of its acknowledgement is as creditable to His Excellency as it must be gratifying to the gifted authoress”
It was sad announcement, not only for the congregation of Central Presbyterian Church, but to all Hamiltonians who had met their minister:
“Last evening the worst fears of the friends of the Rev. John McColl, of the Central Presbyterian Church of this city, were realised. Early last fall, the lamented gentleman was taken with a bad cold which settled upon one of his lungs, causing its congestion. He was disabled from attending to his ministerial duties for several weeks in consequence, but at the end of that time he had so far recovered that his medical advisers were of the opinion that a winter spent in a mild southern country would effect a permanent cure. He consequently went to Southern California, and so much improved in health that the hopes of his congregation of his final recovery were very high. On Tuesday of last week he returned with the intention of resuming his pulpit, and many went to his church last Sabbath with the hope of hearing his familiar voice again, but it was only hear that he has a relapse upon the journey which prevented him from preaching. It was hoped, however, that it was but the fatigue of the journey which had prostrated him, and that a few days’ rest would restore him. The few intimate friends who could be admitted to see him held a different opinion, and to them his death will be a surprise only in its suddenness.
It is about five years since Mr. McColl, then a little over thirty years of age, became pastor or the Central Presbyterian Church, in which position he succeeded Dr. Ormiston, on that gentleman’s departure to New York. There were some misgivings at the time that so young a man could be a suitable successor to Dr. Ormistion, but these misgivings speedily vanished as the congregation became acquainted with his pleasing powers of pulpit oratory, his broad common sense and the affectionate interest which he took in all the members of his flock.Few ministers have ever succeeded in inspiring the warm regards of his congregation better than Mr. McColl did. There was no sacrifice which they would not have made to affect his restoration, and their kindly treatment of him in his illness must have smoothed his dying pillow, and it will be looked back to with satisfaction.The great disposer of events, however, had ordered it otherwise, and the only duty they can perform for him now is to follow his remains mournfully to the grave.
Mr. McColl was born in Oban, Argyleshire, and came to this country when quite young. He received his early education in St. Thomas, and subsequently passed with honours through Knox’s College, Toronto. After his call to the ministry, he laboured for some time in the back districts of Canada, and then was called to the pastoral charge of the Presbyterian church in Dundas, in which position he was when he received the call from the Central Presbyterian Church of this city.
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