Sunday, 20 May 2018

1885-06-22Baseball in Hamilton


It was just another issue of the Spectator , June 22, 1885, but the sports section (1/3 of the one page devoted to local items) contained three interesting items, which would have caught the attention of local baseball fanatics.

First, the hotly-anticipated first visit of the season by the team from Toronto to play the Clippers at Dundurn park, turned out to be less than satisfying for the Hamilton supporters :

                   SAURDAY’S FRACTIONAL GAME

“Saturday, at Dundurn, for the first time since the revival of baseball in Hamilton, a game was interrupted by rain. The Torontos and Clippers had met for their first contest. The Clippers, weakened by the secession of three of their strongest players, and handicapped by the necessity of playing the remaining men out of position, could not have been expected to play a strong game. They had no catcher, and Chamberlin was compelled to pitch easy little ones that the Torontos batted freely. When the rain came on and the game was stopped, the score stood 5 to 1 in favor of the Torontos. The result gives much encouragement to the Toronto team and its backers, and will assist the baseball boom that has taken passion of that city. As the Clippers lost nothing – the game being no game – it is perhaps just as well that the play turned out as it did. As it was, the Torontos had the best of it. Had the game gone on to a finish ---------------“ 1

1 “The World of Sport : Items of Interest to the Noble Fraternity : A Game of Less Than Five Innings Between the Clippers and Torontos – No Game at London – Miscellaneous Notes”

Hamilton Spectator     June 22, 1885.

The first season of the newly-organized Canadian Baseball League had five franchises, each filled with professional or semi-pro players. Hamilton had two franchises in the league, the Clippers and the Primroses. Then there was the Maple Leaf tem from Guelph, the Torontos and the Londons. Each city had sports writers as competitive with each other in their columns as the teams were on the field. The sports writers in London and Hamilton were constantly bickering with each other :

          HOME RUNS

“ ‘Our esteemed local contemporary and the Hamilton Spectator have got into a jangle as to what constitutes a home run, but finally they have agreed that a home run is an earned run. We don’t like to interfere with such eminent authorities, but we take the liberty of remarking that a home run is not necessarily an earned run.’

London Advertiser.

“One of the eminent authorities is much amused. If the Advertiser be right, then a two base hit is not necessarily a hit upon which two bases are made. If a batter makes a hit that is good for three bases, and gets home on a fielding error, it is not a home run, although he has not stopped running. To make it a little plainer. If a batter gets his first on called balls and a fielder picks up the ball and throws it over the fence, and the base runner shoots right along and scores, it is not a home run. A home run can only be made by batting the ball to such a distance that it cannot be returned in time to put the runner out. These explanations are quite unnecessary in this part of the country, and the Spectator prints them simply with a view of elevating the standard of baseball knowledge in the Advertiser office.”1

The final baseball item in that June 22, 1885 Spectator concerned a contract dispute between the management of the Clipper and three of its players, all three of whom were brothers. Peter, Fred and Jeff Wood were Americans from the city of Buffalo, New York. All were excellent players, with Pete even having played some in the major leagues.



          THE CLIPPER QUARREL

“The rupture between the Wood brothers and the Clipper management seems to be complete. The Woods have a document, signed by the manager, which they claim, constitutes a release. The gist of the document is this : The manager agrees to play the Wood brothers as pitcher, catcher and first base during the season, and a clause is added to the effect that if this arrangement be broken by the management, the document shall immediately become a release.

“On Friday the manager decided that Jeff Wood would not play in the game with the Torontos. This, the Woods claim, is a violation of the agreement, and constitutes the document a release. Manager Stroud claims that an agreement to play a player in a certain position, ‘during the season,’ does not mean that that player shall play that position in every game; but only that he shall play that certain position when he does play. He holds that the document is no release. It is likely that the question will have to be decided by the executive committee of the league. It is unfortunate that this quarrel occurred just when it did. But it is not surprising. There has been a good deal of grumbling on both sides for some time, and an open rupture could not long be deferred. As usual in disputes of this nature, there is a great deal to be said on both sides. The Woods want what they consider to be written in the bond, and the manager very naturally is of opinion that he ought to have something to say about the management of his team.”






Saturday, 14 April 2018

1885-06-13Fearman Fire


“Saturday was a busy day for the Hamilton fire department – the busiest day it has had for a good many years. Fate, chance, fortune, luck, whatever you like to call it, made arrangements to celebrate the day that the boys had mapped out for a sort of holiday, by the fiercest fire that has raged here for a long while.”

Hamilton Spectator.  June 15, 1885.

Saturday June 13, 1885 had been a day much anticipated by members of the Hamilton Police force and members of the Thirteenth Battalion.

One year previously a picnic organized by both organizations had been planned, but adverse weather had kept the attendance very low, and money was lost.

The police and the bandsmen were determined to try again to organize a picnic which would pay off debts from the previous picnic, and hopefully raise substantial money to pay for new instruments for the band, and new acquisitions for the police library.

The day of the picnic was hot but dry and things looked good for attendance at Dundurn. A pro baseball game was scheduled, numerous band concerts throughout the day and a full schedule of athletic events was planned, including a tug-of-war between the police and fire departments.

However, the best laid plans were negated by something the firemen at Dundurn could not ignore:

“It was while the department was at Dundurn that an alarm came from box 27, corner of King and Wellington streets, at 2:40 o’clock. A telephone message was sent to Dundurn and the department started for the spot. The Bay street hose wagon was the first to arrive. It got there fifteen minutes after the alarm was rung. The other wagons, hose, reel, truck and steam fire engine arrived a few minutes afterwards. When the department got there the

                   FIRE WAS FIECRELY BURNING

in the rear of 172 and 174 King street east, premises owned by Ald. Doran and occupied by A. Swayzie as a flour and feed store, and by Thomas Stern as a butcher and green grocer’s shop. The rooms above Stern’s butcher shop were lived in by William Snaith. The fire started in the stables in the rear. How? Nobody knows. A spark from a passing engine, a match, a cigar, the work of an incendiary. All are possible. It started anyhow. The stables were of pine, dry as tinder and filled with inflammable material. The flames had gained good headway before they were discovered. The alarm was rung, and people in the immediately vicinity put in their spare time carting out household goods and stuff from the stables. The stables spread down either side of the yard. In one of them was the horse and some hay and straw. The horse was tied. It broke loose from the stall,

                             DASHED THROUGH THE FLAMES

and was saved A sleigh, a wagon, one set of single harness and a set of double harnesses were burned. The flames could not be controlled. They had spread up to the houses before the department arrived, and did a good deal of damage before they could be subdued. But after the firmen got there, it was not long before they got the best of it. Both stables are totally wrecked. The rear portion of the houses is badly burned, and the stock in both stores is in bad shape. Mr. Swayzie carried $1,700 on his furniture, stock and the contents of his stables, and he expects that his loss will reach this figure. Mr. Stern had no insurance on his stock. Mr. Snaith had none on his furniture. Both stock and furniture are almost

                             ENTIRELY BURNED

and Mr. Stern’s loss is all the harder to bear, because only a week or so since, he laid out $100 in fixing his little shop up.” 1

1 “Gone Up in Smoke”

Hamilton Spectator     June 15, 1885.



 It had been hard work for the Hamilton firemen to knock down the blaze, but when it was effectively out, they had to go work once again:

“The wind was blowing a gale from the sou’west and it carried sparks, smoke and cinders high in the air, where they fluttered and fell. About 3:30, the flames were got under control, the steam engine was being hauled back to the central station, and the boys were making ready to go when a breathless messenger came with the information that Fearman’s pork factory on Rebecca street was in flames. The steam engine was sent for and the department hustled around to the place as fast as they could. Mr. Fearman’s establishment was on Rebecca street, between Ferguson avenue and Wellington street.

                             IT COVERED EIGHT LOTS,

110 feet deep. It comprised three buildings, A, B, and C departments. A was the one of red brick nearest to Wellington street, and was used principally for rendering lard. In the southwest corner of it was the ‘cooler’ or ice house, beneath which an immense amount of meat was in pickle in large pickling vats. Department C, the building at the west, was the principal storehouse. There was another immense cooler in this place, in which thousands of tons of ice were packed, and meat and lard was packed and hanging on the ground and upper floor all around it. In the central building was the office and a small room used for retailing goods in the wintertime, and three large smoke houses. The rest of the place was utilized for cutting up meat and the wall and rafters were covered with meat in casings.

                             THE FIRE STARTED

at the southwest corner of the roof of this building. Mr. Frank Fearman, who runs the office at the factory, had been over at the fire on King street. He stayed there until it was nearly out, and came back to see if all was right at the factory, the direction of the wind making him fear that sparks might set the roof on fire. He walked around and got up through a window on the roof and made the discovery that his fears were correct. The roof was on fire. Men in Brennen’s lumber yard adjoining had seen the flames and were trying to put it out with buckets of water. But this was useless. A spark had evidently got in through a window in the garret, and had set fire to some paper bags lying immediately inside. The flames spread

                             ALONG THE DRY RAFTERS

and had burned a hole through the roof before the men in Brennen’s yard discovered them. Instead of giving the alarm in the office, they tried to douse it out by pouring on buckets of water. When Mr. Fearman discovered how things were, he rushed back to the office and telephoned to the house, the retail store on Macnab street and the telephone office.

“In the meantime, the flames had made immense headway. They swept down the roof, gathering volume with every foot, and, in a very few minutes, the whole upper part of the building was on fire.                                                                                         Young Mr. Fearman and all the men in the building got upstairs endeavoring to save the stock. They stuck to it until the smoke drove them out. An immense crowd gathered quickly, and a number of them

                             VOLUNTEERED THEIR AID

and helped to get the stuff away from the flames. A good deal was got out in pretty good condition. It consisted mainly of lard in tubs, and hams and bacon in casings. With every moment, the fire grew stronger. The heavy wind fanned the flames, and the most strenuous efforts of the firemen could not check the advance. The people across the road and for several blocks around, felt that the fire would not be particularly slow about stretching the street. They moved their household furniture out. Rebecca, King William, Wellington and Wilson streets were loaded with goods. Wilson street was so thickly covered that it was almost impassable, and a horse and buggy could not get down King William street from the railway track to Wellington. Several times the roofs of the houses on Rebecca street, across the road

                             FROM FEARMAN’S FACTORY

got on fire, and one stream of water was kept playing on them all the time, going from roof to roof. It was difficult work to keep the fire from spreading from the flying sparks and cinders. But the work was well-done and happily it was confined to the factory. The immediate locality is full of small houses, most of them old and dry, and if the fire had once got its grip in there, the result would have been decidedly disastrous. The roof of the Canada Clock company’s building on Kelly street ignited from a blazing brand, but a little water speedily discouraged the ambitious aspirant. Altogether the roofs of fifty houses in that locality must have started to burn, prompt doses of water making them take it out in starting

          “While the upper portion of the factory was in flames, and effort was made to save stuff on the ground floors. People turned in and worked hard. They succeeded in getting a good deal out of the way, but it was all more or less damaged by fire and water. The stuff was taken into a yard across the road, and piled there until teams could come and take it away. About an hour after the fire had started, the walls of department B fell in, floors and everything coming down with a mighty crash. The smoke houses alone were left. Some 5,000 pieces of meat were in these, but it is all damaged and of little or no use. The fire was blazing fiercely here and in department A. In both of these departments, there was a good deal of valuable plant, including four iron tanks

                                      FOR RENDERING LARD,

and machinery for cutting up the meat. The plant altogether values at about $20,000, and from present prospects, it will not be fit for much beyond old iron. Department A was used principally for rendering lard, though a good deal of meat was stowed there. There were, in all, about 800 tierces of meat, each holding about 300 pounds. A good deal of this was destroyed. There were also between 4,000 and 5,000 ham, some 500 of which were saved, though some of these are more or less damaged. Through the building were some 200 pickling tanks. A number of these were under the ‘cooler’ in the east section of the building. It was thought at first that these would be saved, but the flames got underneath, and, with the water, probably made the contents of the vats of little value. After the central part of the building had gone in and the east section was seen to be

                             A MASS OF FLAMES,

the attention of the firemen was directed principally to save the west section, used as a storehouse. As before stated, there is an immense ‘cooler’.  In this department. In the upper story there, between 1,500 and 2,000 tubs of lard were stored, and on the ground floor some 10,000 sides of bacon and other meats, the estimated value of which is $70,000. A great deal of the lard is melted and useless. The exact condition of the meat stored on the ground floor has not yet been ascertained, but it is probable that there is some damage to it. The walls of this building are left standing, but the roof is completely gone, as is also the roof of the east portion of the building. In these latter portions, parts of the walls still stand, but they are unsafe and liable to fall at any moment. The firemen worked with a will, and on towards evening had the flames pretty well under control, though it was

                                      AFTER MIDNIGHT

before any of them left, and nearly 2 o’clock before they all left. The chief put on a gang of relief men who kept the water playing on the smouldering ruins the rest of the night. Every inch of hose in the department was in use, and hose from several large factories was pressed into service. Several times, the line that stretched across the street caught on fire through bits of burning wood falling on it, and when the chief discovered this, he had the line soused with water every few minutes to keep it in shape. A couple of hydrants burst, and a hose burnt once. The water pressure was good. The stand pipe was put on at the reservoir, and

                             GOOD STRONG STREAMS

were obtainable all the time. The steam fire engine did splendid service. It was stationed on King William street, and two lines of hose stretched from it.”1

                The Fearman’s factory fire attracted a lot of attention:

“While the fire was at its height, the greatest confusion and excitement reigned for blocks around. The streets were thronged with people. Now and then a shout would come that someone’s house was on fire, and the vast crowd would surge down the street, only to come back after a moment’s absence. This was repeated a dozen times through the afternoon. In Brennen’s lumber yard, men were busily engaged piling lumber on Grand Trunk railway wagons and carting it out of the way. So great was the excitement that the men didn’t seem to care whether they were hit or not. A board was tossed down from the top of a pile.

                             IT CAUGHT A MAN

in the small of the back and felled him to the ground. At any other time, he would have imagined himself hurt, but he was too busy to consider a little thing like that just then. He picked himself up and went on with his work. A good deal of damage was done to household furniture in the streets. Men and wagons dashed over it, crockery was sashed and sections of chairs, beds and bedding lay everywhere.”1

Hamilton firemen, as usual, were fully up to the task they faced with the Fearman’s fire:

          “The firemen worked like heroes, and yesterday they were all more or less played out after their severe exertions. Faces and hands

                                      BLISTERED AND BLACKENED

with the heat, singed hair and eyebrows and bruises from falling timbers are a few of the things they carry around as mementoes of their work. Poor George Brewster, foreman of the central station, was badly hurt. He was standing on a lean-to at the back of the central section of the building directing a stream of water through a window, when the frail structure came down with a crash. Brewster sprained both his ankles severely, and was badly bruised around the body. He was unable to stand and had to be carried to his home.”1

The owner of the factory, one of the biggest of its type in Canada at the time, was approached :

“Mr. Fearman was seen by a Spectator reporter yesterday. He was unable to give exact figures, but estimated that his total loss at between $150,000 and $200,000, about $100,000 of which is covered by insurance.  The loss is principally on stock and machinery. Fortunately, the books are saved. Mr. Frank Fearman had presence of mind to lock them in the fire proof safe, which appears to be all right. Mr. Fearman said : ‘I have just finished making improvements in the building and additions to my plant which cost me $4,000. I had some new rendering tanks at the station. It was very lucky that I did not bring them up before and have them placed in position.’

“ ‘Will you rebuild your factory on the old site?’

“ ‘I cannot say. Inducements are being held out to be to go to other places, and whether we will remove to Toronto, go to the States or remain in Hamilton we have not yet decided. We will start again tomorrow morning as well as we can, and for the present have engaged Simpson, Stuart & Co.’s old warehouse. Necessarily we cannot begin to fill orders as we did before, and

                             A BIG PORTION OF THE LOSS

will be in the stoppage to business. People turned out bravely to help to get the stock out. To them my most heartfelt thanks are due. Men came to me Saturday and gave me their hands and their sympathy, and that was worth more to me than money.’ ”1

          The Spectator concluded its coverage of the fire with the following notes:

          “There were a number of nails of salt-peter in the building. It is strange that none of them exploded.

          “Thomas Chappell, Mr. Fearman’s foreman, was almost suffocated while helping to take stock out of the burning building.

          “A new mill for grinding bones had just been put in the factory, though it was not set up. It cost $230, and is now worth just what it will fetch as old iron.

          “It is but fair to Chief Aitchison to say that he would not allow the department to take part in the picnic Saturday, until the market, fire and police committee instructed him to do so.

          “Charles Peebles, a young lad residing at 113 Hunter street east, met with a rather serious accident at the fire. A roof in falling struck him, inflicting a deep scalp wound and bruising his head and body. Dr. Bingham attended him, and he is now recovering.

          “It is a wonder that the firemen managed to confine the flames as they did. The high wind blew burning brands blocks away, and cinders made the streets black. It was only the greatest care that prevented the sweep of the score of frame cottages north and northeast of the factory.

“C. J. Bird, 82 John street south, had a small fire in his house Saturday. The children were playing with matches in an upstairs bedroom, and the clothes on fire. Mr. William Hill, employed in his brother’s grocery next door, rushed in and put it out.

“C. H. Dempster, 13 Catharina street, called out the department at 4 o’clock yesterday morning. Some blazing soot had fallen down the chimney and the fire board had ignited. He got it out without any difficulty and before the department got there.

“A small frame house in the rear of coal oil Johnny’s house on King William street was set on fire three times Saturday while the big fire was in progress. Straw was piled up in a corner and ignited. P. C. Strongman discovered it each time and put it out. The people in the house had vacated.

“It is said that there was insufficient police protection through the night and that a great many hams and sides of bacon were stolen by people in the neighborhood. The police arrested several alleged offenders in this respect yesterday. Common stealing is bad enough, but stealing under these circumstances is the very quintessence of dishonesty.”1

As for the picnic at Dundurn, the fires not only drew the firemen away, they also drew a huge number of citizens to watch the excitement, keeping attendance low. The policemen and bandsmen lost money again.


Friday, 13 April 2018

1885-06-15 LondonVSHamilton Fans


In the Canadian Baseball League, during the 1885 season, the rivalry between the City of London and the City of Hamilton was not confined to how the game was played by the pro players of each of the teams.

There were accusations back and forth between the sports reporters in the London and Hamilton newspapers regarding how the home fans in each city behaved themselves.

Case in point was the following written in the London Free Press :

“ The correspondent of the Spectator with the Clippers should learn to tell the truth, which he doesn’t do when he says that :

‘The crowd (at the recent match) favored the Londons and hooted the Clippers’ good plays.’ The club is not responsible for the exclamations of the youthful hoodlums who sneak into the grounds. – London Free Press.”

Of course, the Spectator reporter would not let such an insult pass without a response. In the Spectator coverage of a recent London-Primrose game, the Spectator young man wrote:

“Now there was a tuneful delegation of Londoners here on Saturday. They were well-dressed and did not seem, on the surface of them, to be hoodlums. They cheered the good plays of the Londons in the orthodox style, and with more than usual lustiness. But when the Primroses made a good play, these London gentlemen, with much sonorousness and unction, remarked, ‘Boo-oo-oo! Boo-oo-oo !’ And this same thing, in London, probably misled the Spectator’s correspondent. In Hamilton, it is customary to applaud both sides in the same manner, by the clapping of hands, cheering, thumping of walking sticks, and things like that. In London, it seems, a distinction is made, just as a difference is found in the uniforms of the teams. The London players are applauded in the usual style, and the foreigners, by way of giving them extra encouragement, are treated to extraordinary applause that is found in London, ‘Boo-oo-oo’ An inexperienced person, not accustomed to that invigorating style of applause, might easily fall into the error that the Spectator’s correspondent was guilty of, and mistake the Boo business for lowdown, hoodlum hooting. In London, it was formerly the habit to encourage visiting players by pelting them with stones and things, but that style necessitated too much exertion on the part of the applauders, who have now adopted the more elegant and equally effective Boo.”1

1 “The World of Sport : Items of Interest to the Noble Fraternity”

Hamilton Spectator     June 15, 1885.

As part of the Spectator sporting correspondent’s detailed account as to how the game was played, how the scoring unfolded, he said:

““That the Londons are good players cannot be doubted, and that they are able to play good ball under surprising circumstances is a guarantee that they have lots of sand. For they played well, Saturday, and they must have been violently surprised at the conduct of the audience. Their good plays were applauded, there was no hooting, no gang of hoodlums threw sand or tried to trip them with bats as they ran bases, no crowd of boys gathered about their fielders to prevent them taking flies. These things must have astonished people accustomed to London audiences, and the additional astonishments of a first-class ground, and an elegant stand, must have tried their nerves sorely. But they stood it all and played a strong game. There was some excellent play on both sides, and the scoring of runs was managed in such a manner as to make the game quite enjoyable.”1






Thursday, 5 April 2018

1885-06-11 Ferris' Dog


Other than Police Chief A. D. Stewart, there was no man on the Hamilton police force who garnered more attention from the Hamilton press than Constable Peter Ferris.

By 1885, Peter Ferris, of Irish heritage, had been a Hamilton policeman for about thirty years, having the honor of wearing Badge Number 1. After being a part of the security team hired by the Great Western Railway company to control the navies hired to build the line through the Hamilton area during the early 1850s, Peter became a member of the Hamilton police force.

Renowned for never backing down from physically engaging with those he wanted to arrest, Peter Ferris was also a colorful presence on the streets of Hamilton and in the Hamilton police court.

On June 11, 1885, yet another article focusing on Peter Ferris appeared in the Spectator, this one not related to his police work:

 “Peter Ferris, philosopher and policeman, patriarch and majestic in mien and manner, has a dog. He keeps it chained in the back yard at his house. People who have seen the dog describe it as a bully sort of young fellow, and it is quite evident from the dog’s appearance that when he undertakes to do anything, he does it with a here-II-stick-or-die air about him that is very convincing. Albeit, when he has no particular business on hand, he is as quiet and serene and peaceful as the little lambs that gambol gleefully in the grassy meadows; and the murmur of his voice is seldom heard at dreary or any other midnight’s witching hour. But yesterday morning, Mr. Ferris received a postal card, inscribed as follows:

“ ‘HAMILTON, June 10. Peter Ferris – Dear Sir: You would confer a great benefit on your neighbors if you would keep your dog quiet in the sleeping hours of the night. Hoping you will take the hint,

                                                Yours,

                                                          A Lover of Quietness.’

“Mr. Ferris objects to receiving pseudonymous postal cards. And he shrewdly guesses the reason for this. The neighbors all say the dog is quiet. But Mr. Ferris keeps in his back yard, along with the dog and chain, and various other things, an apple tree. The fruit on it is of a particularly fine quality. The youngsters love to steal it. Putting two and two together, Mr. Ferris concludes that the card emanated from some young man whose ambition is to steal apples, and who will be suddenly choked off  in his attempt by the energetic bulldog. He has been on the police force too long to be fooled by any postal card.”1

1  ““Peter Ferris’ Dog”

Hamilton Spectator     June 11, 1885.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

1885-06-09 Disgraceful Day at Dundurn


In 1885, Dundurn Castle was still a private residence, but the grounds, known only as Dundurn,  around it, were leased out annually for public events. The Lessee would in turn would hire out use of the property for events such as society picnics.

Usually the events were peaceful, and people would pay an entrance fee to watch a baseball game, hear a band concert, do some dancing on a big outdoor platform set up for that purpose or many other activities.

However, on June 8, 1885, Dundurn was leased for the day by members of the cigar-makers’ union. Hamilton at the time had several cigar factories, and the union had gone on strike against all of them at once. Some of the factories hired replacement workers in order to carry on operations.

As the Spectator coverage of the June 8, 1885 event began, the wisdom of hiring out the grounds to a labor union during a tense time proved to be unwise :

““The cigar-makers’ picnic held at Dundurn yesterday was the most disorderly and disgraceful affair of the kind that has been held in Hamilton for years. It was numerously attended by members of the various labor organizations who sympathize with the striking cigar-makers’ union, and too many of these allowed their enthusiasm to get the better of their discretion.”1

1 ““A Disorderly Picnic”

Hamilton Spectator     June 9, 1885.

There was a baseball game scheduled to be played that afternoon between the two Hamilton teams in the Canadian Baseball League, the Primroses and the Clippers.

          The situation was reasonably orderly at Dundurn until after the game was finished then degenerated :

          “Young men, who are ordinarily sober and respectable and well-behaved, were to be seen and heard toward evening, in every part of the ground, in various stages of intoxication and misbehaving themselves in a variety of ways. Several small fights occurred during the afternoon, and in the evening some serious encounters took place.”1

                There had been a new grandstand built for baseball fans to watch the games at Dundurn and under the stands, a bar had been set up. That was where an outbreak of violence took place :

 “From what can be learned of this lamentable affair, it would seem that John Dillon, a moulder, is chiefly to blame for it. He was sufficiently under the influence to be quarrelsome, and had had words with several persons during the afternoon. He and Robert Tindill, the well known baseball player, were standing together near the bar, in the rear of the grandstand, when, according to a bystander, Dillon wantonly and without provocation addressed Tindill in grossly insulting language. Tindill resnted the insult, and words were quickly followed by blows. Dillon was knocked down; but, springing to his feet, he drew his pock-knife and made a thrust at Tindill. The blade passed through Tindill’s cheek, inflicting a painful wound. A young man named Thomas Wood, in attempting to separate the combatants, was also stabbed by Dillon. His nose was pierced through and he got a gash in the right side of his face near the mouth. Another young man, named Penfold, who attempted to quell the row, was also stabbed by Dillon in the hand, and still a fourth party whose name could not be learned, had a taste of the knife. Before any further trouble was done, Detective Campbell and Constable Limin stopped the melee by arresting Dillon. He was quickly taken off the grounds and conveyed to the police cells, and the wounded men were taken home. None of the wounds inflicted by Dillon are dangerous, but those received by Tindill and Wood will probably prove troublesome.”1

The police then sent in reinforcements to try to main order  but situation had got out of hand :

“In the evening, fourteen police officers were on the grounds, but in spite of their presence, there was a good deal of fighting, the combatants being separated on the approach of an officer. Only two arrests were made for disorderly conduct – Charles O’Brien and John T. Sullivan.

“A few non-union cigar-makers foolishly attended the picnic, and inflamed the passions of the union by their presence. They were chased , and at least two of them – John Minkler, an employee of Reid and Goering, and Emile Smith – were badly beaten. Smith managed to escape from his assailants, but Minkler was less fortunate. He was found between 7 and 8 o’clock by Chief Stewart and a constable lying insensible alongside the road, near the toll-gate, literally bathed in blood, his face and head cut and swollen, and his body covered with bruises. The poor fellow was resuscitated and carried to his boarding house. He could give little information as to his assailants, but was certain that union cigar-makers were among them.”1

As usual, there the day’s entertainments including a concert and a place for dancing but:

“The Independent band gave an excellent concert in the pavilion in the evening and Nelligan’s string band furnished music for dancing; but the concert did not appear to be appreciated, and the dancing platform was not well-patronized.”1

In the aftermath, it was decided that Dundurn would not be automatically leased to whomever applied but that the manager would be expected to ensure that only respectable organizations would be allowed to lease the park.




1885-06-09December-May Romance Gone Bad


 “Mrs. Caroline Smith is a colored woman who keeps a second-hand store at 95 King street east. Just a week ago, a man about 45 years of age, W. H. Sawyer, by name, representing himself to be a member of the Georgia minstrel troupe, presented himself at Mrs. Smith’s and asked to be taken in as a boarder.”

Hamilton Spectator. June 8, 1885.

Mrs. Caroline Smith and her husband were well known in Hamilton in June 1885, so when the story appeared in the Spectator that something untoward had happened to them, it was read with interest.

W. H. Sawyer was stylishly-dressed in a well-cut suit, with shiny jewelry and carrying a gold-headed cane, and so the Smiths agreed to take him on as a boarder.

However, just a few days later, Mrs. Smith discovered that most of the $600 in cash which she had just received after taking out a mortgage on their property was gone.:

“Sawyer had also disappeared, jewelry, gold-headed cane and all, and did not show up again. Mrs. Smith reported her loss to the police and sent telegrams with a description of the supposed thief to Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Windsor.

“Sawyer is a short, stout man, of a brown, rather than black, complexion and well-dressed. Nothing has been heard of him since the money was stolen. The money was in three $50 and seventeen $20 bills.”1

1  “A Good Haul : How Mrs. Caroline Smith Had Her Money Stolen”

Hamilton Spectator     June 8, 1885.

Readers of the Spectator were very concerned about the matter, but were somewhat relieved when seeing a sentence that he quickly added to the already-written story, just before the late edition of the paper went to press:

““A telegram received by the chief of police from Buffalo Saturday afternoon states that sawyer had been arrested there.”1

There was much gossip about exactly what had happened and the paper which appeared on Monday provided all the answers :

 “Vincent Smith and his wife Caroline carry on a second-hand business in a quiet was at 95 King street west. They are both elderly, and both honest, inoffensive persons – apparently a quiet, steady-going couple, who have been living in harmony and working hard to lay a little stock of money to keep them comfortably in the fast-approaching days of old age, when they could work no more.

“Both are colored, especially Caroline. Caroline seemed to be a woman whose nature whose nature would afford but a sterile soil at the best for amatory passion to blossom in it. But every woman has to have her romance someone. Most frequently it occurs in early youth. Sometimes it comes later. When love comes late, it takes root deeply. In Caroline’s case, it took root deeply.

“A week or ten days ago occurred an event big with fate for the Smith household. This was the appearance of a stranger who came to Mrs. Smith and asked to be admitted into the family as a boarder.

“The stranger’s name was W. H. Sawyer. Mr. Sawyer was a most stylish-looking colored gentleman – dressed in a suit of the latest cut, resplendent with jewelry, and sporting a gold-headed cane. He had been a member of the Georgia minstrel company which delighted the habitu├ęs of Tuck’s dime museum early in the season

“Mrs. Smith was delighted to receive as a boarder such a distinguished gentleman, and it was arranged that he should sojourn with the Smiths. He came, and like an easy, well-bred man of the world, speedily made himself at home, and ingratiated himself with his host and hostess.

“His friendship with the open-hearted Caroline especially bloomed very rapidly. Their relations grew even to be so confidential that Mrs. Smith informed her new friend thoroughly as to some details of family affairs, and Sawyer became aware that the estimable pair owned a little property, and learned further that they were thinking of improving and extending their premises. To do this, it was necessary to mortgage the property, and the confidence that was placed in Sawyer’s judgement and business tact by Mr. and Mrs. Smith was shown by his accompanying them to the office where the mortgage was drawn and assisting in that legal ceremony. The sum raised by the mortgage was $600.

“Last Friday night, only two or three days after the money was received, Mrs. Smith appeared at the police headquarters, nearly beside herself with excitement and grief, with the story that Sawyer had robbed her of $494 cash and had gone away, she knew not where.

“A description of Sawyer was sent to several central points, and on Saturday afternoon, word was received that he had been arrested in Buffalo. The same night, Detective Reid went to Buffalo to fetch the supposed thief back, and he took Mrs. Smith along to identify the prisoner.

“But a surprise awaited him. The prisoner was charged with having stolen; but he stoutly maintained his innocence on the charge of theft, and declared that Mrs. Smith had entrusted him with the money as one of the preliminary arrangements for an elopement. To prove this he asserted that he had in his possession a number of tender missives addressed to him by the susceptible Caroline.

“Mrs. Smith did not deny the soft impeachment; in fact, she admitted that in an hour of weakness she had lent a too willing ear to the tales of her gay and flattering deceiver and had promised to elope with him.

“But she wanted her money back. Sawyer’s soul was touched by her pitful appeals; he offered to compromise; and, after a good deal of parleying, a compromise was effected.

“Mrs. Smith received $300, and out of the balance he paid the two lawyers whom he had engaged to defend him.

“In company with detective Reid, Mrs. Smith returned home last evening – a sadder, but considerably more experienced, if not wiser woman than she was ere the warm springtide of passion burst upon the winter of her days.”1

1 “A Highly Colored Romance : In Which It Appears That June Roses ‘mid Winter’s Snows”

Hamilton Spectator     June 9, 1885.

Monday, 2 April 2018

1885-06-06 Hot Late Spring Weekend


Hot weather had arrived in Hamilton for the first weekend in June 1885. From the Friday night until the following Sunday evening, there was more than enough action, weather-related or not, to keep local newsmen busy.

For regular readers of the Hamilton Spectator, the issues of that paper on Saturday June 6 and Monday June 8, 1885 had many items of interest to peruse.

At the time, every issue of the Spectator kept the local news to page 3, and every page 3 included a column called the Diurnal Epitome in which one sentence items were piled into in rapid succession.

Fully headlined as “The Diurnal Epitome : What Goeth On In and About the City : Items of Local News Gathered by Spectator Reporters, and Presented in Attractive Form for the Interested Reader”, it was usually the first on the page to be read.

Portions of the Diurnal Epitome for Saturday June 6, 1885 follow :

“There was not a prisoner in the cells at the No. 3 police station at midnight – not even a drunk or vagrant.

“Fred Blackmore, a laborer, swallowed some ammonia by mistake Thursday, and was taken to the hospital. He suffered a good deal, but is better now.

“The Hamilton lawn tennis club gave a reception yesterday afternoon on the cricket ground. It was well-attended, and in every respect successful.

“Edward Lavis was around yesterday exhibiting the first open air mushrooms of the season. He had a lot of about a dozen, large, firm and full-flavored, a rare sight at this time of year.

“Dixon & Morton’s delivery horse ran into a street car at the corner of King and James streets yesterday. The wagon was smashed, the horse had one of its legs cut, and Mr. Dixon, who was driving, was thrown out and slightly injured.

“The Royal Templars of Temperance are getting up a gorgeous gold-mounted uniform.

“Thomas Reed, a patient in the city hospital, suffering from lung disease, got away at 4 o’clock yesterday morning and the hospital people have not been able to get any trace of him since.

“A dealer doing business on the corner of Wellington and Cannon streets last night sent a telephone message from the Meriden Britannia works for the police patrol wagon. The wagon and a couple of men went down in all speed. They were told by the dealer that he only wanted to scare his wife.

“Sergeant Smith, W. J. Field, Robert Chisholm and Mr. Rae, head turnkey of the jail, are mentioned as the possible successor to the late governor, Captain Henery. It is also said that the sheriff will recommend the government  to appoint his brother-in-law, Mr. D. A. Macnab, who was formerly deputy-sheriff.

“There is a long-felt want in Hamilton. It is a policeman with a big club to hang around the steps leading to the James street mountain and keep the roughs that infest that locality in order. The little house halfway up is utilized for sleeping in by some of the gang. It is unsafe to go there after nightfall, and measures should be taken to preserve order in this pleasant part of the city.”1

1 “The Diurnal Epitome : What Goeth On In And About the City”

Hamilton Spectator     June 6, 1885.

There was great interest in the coverage of the big funeral for John Henerey, who died, aged 49, at his residence at the jail on Barton street where he was in charge of the institution, given the title Governor Henerey

Before taking the position at the jail, John Henerey has ser4ved as Hamilton’s Chief of Police :



 “The funeral of the late Captain John Henery, governor of the county jail, took place from his residence at the jail yesterday. Deceased was a member of the Strict Observance lodge, 27, G.R.C. and of Hamilton lodge, 49, Ancient Order of United Workmen. The members of these orders met at their respective halls and proceeded to the residence where Rev. D. H. conducted the funeral service of the Presbyterian church.

“Mr. W. C. Morton, W.M. of the Lodge of Strict Observance, read the Masonic burial service, assisted by Mr. O. Hillman, past master.

“The order of the cortege was :

City police department, 30 members, marshalled by Chief Stewart, mounted

Hamilton Lodge, A.O.U.W., Mr. Wodehouse, marshal,

Lodge of Strict Observance, A. F. and A.M.

   Cab containing officiating clergymen,

             The hearse,

     Cab conveying pallbearers,

    Members of the county council in cabs,

         Friends of the deceased in conveyances.

“The cortege, which was a very long one, was marshaled by Mr. C. R. Smith. It proceeded from Barton to King street on Catharine, thence up King to James, down James to York, and up York to the cemetery.”2

2“The Late Captain Henery : Funeral of the Late Governor of the County Jail”

Hamilton Spectator     June 6, 1885.

On a happier note, there was news of the accomplishments of a former Hamiltonian young woman, sister of Herbert Gardiner,  then editor of the Spectator’s rival daily newspaper, the Hamilton Times :

 “Miss Ella Gardiner, youngest daughter of Rev. James Gardiner, D.C.L. and sister of H. F. Gardiner, M.A., editor of the Hamilton Times, has passed her final examination for the degree of B. A. at Toronto university. She took honors in English, Ethnology, French, German and Italian, standing first, in English, Ethnology and Italian.

“Miss Gardiner’s university career has been a brilliant one, and the Spectator has heretofore had much pleasure  in making mention of her great success at the examinations. She was formerly a student at the Hamilton collegiate institute, a circumstance that permits all Hamilton to share in the feeling of gratification that her success brings to her friends and to hope for that brilliant future for the lady to which her accomplishments so fully entitle her.

“The fact that Miss Gardiner is the first lady graduate of Toronto university gives additional interest to her graduation.”3

3 “Miss Ella Gardiner, B. A.”

Hamilton Spectator     June 6, 1885.

Virtually all of the advertisements in the Spectator of 1885, involved the use only of prose, with no illustrations, such as the following :

 “J. J. Millman, 76 King street west (successor to Millman & Eckerson) is undoubtedly making the finest photographs ever produced in Hamilton and equal to the best in America. Mr. Millman uses instanteous plates, the best that can be obtained, and even the most restless child has not time to move while being photographed.

“Every person should remember that the prices of Millman’s photos are the same as others and the work superior.”4

4 “Undoubtedly the Finest.”

Hamilton Spectator     June 6, 1885.

There was no prolonged rest for the Spectator reporters, particularly on the weekend. Soon after the appearance of the Saturday June 6, 1885 on the streets, the reporters were spread out over the city. Sunday was also not a day of rest for reporters as a newspaper had to be prepared for Monday, June 8.

As usual, readers would probably have started their perusal of the Spectator with a glimpse through the Diurnal Epitome items :

 “The new street sweeper has arrived. It looks as if it ought to do its work well. It will be put in operation as speedily as possible.

“A lad named Mars fell from a swing at Ainslie Wood yesterday afternoon and received some pretty severe bruises about his body.

“The hot spell yesterday sent sweltering citizens in droves to the water. The Beach, Bayview and Lansdowne park were liberally patronized, and the bay was dotted with yachts, luggers and smaller boats all day. It was cool on the water, and a steady sou’westerly breeze made sailing good.

 “Col. And Prof. C. Astronomical Johnson lectured in Toronto on Friday night, and told his audience that he had constructed an air machine that would make a passage across the Atlantic in 4 days 10 hours 3 minutes and 1 ¼ seconds.

“The Bayview band and a portion of the Independent gave a concert  at the corner of King and James streets this afternoon. The playing was not for the championship.

“The hailstones that fell yesterday afternoon were remarkably large. One, picked up on James street south, measured nearly four inches in circumference, and many were at large as ordinary-sized walnuts.

“The rain yesterday caused a cave-in in the gravel path in front of the court house. A circular hole, several feet in diameter, sank. There was a cave-in at the same spot a couple of weeks ago. There was probably a well there at one time, which was not properly filled up. The matter will be attended to now.

“Friday night, some boys entered Mrs. Broderick’s grocery store, corner of John and Barton streets, by opening one of the windows. They secured three dozen bottles of ale and had them on the sidewalk when they saw Constable Fuller approaching and decamped, leaving the booty behind them. They also secured a jar of brandy.

“William Dillon, coachman for Henry McLaren, was summoned before the police magistrate Saturday morning on a charge of driving through a funeral procession. He did not appear when called. Constable Limin testified that the defendant drove a coach through the funeral procession of the late Captain Henerey, Friday afternoon. A fine of $2 or ten days in jail was imposed.”5

5 “The Diurnal Epitome : What Goeth On In And About the City”

Hamilton Spectator     June 8, 1885.

                The hot late spring weather meant that the Hamilton Bay was the focus of many wishing to escape the heat, but there was potential danger on the water as well:

 “Several boats were on the bay yesterday afternoon when the squall came. One of them – a small lugger with five young men of the city in it – was struck and capsized three hundred yards out from Browne’s wharf.

“Fortunately all the young men were swimmers and also sober, and they clung to the boat until they were taken off by the crew of the sailboat Neptune, which put out from Browne’s wharf. They were in the water about twenty minutes, and were pretty well exhausted when rescued.

“Daniel Philipps especially distinguished himself in rescuing the party, and after they were safely on board the Neptune, he swam about for some time recovering their stray articles of clothing.”6

6 “Upset in the Bay”

Hamilton Spectator     June 8, 1885.

Hamilton was baseball-mad in the summer of 1885, having not one but two franchise in the Canadian Baseball League, a minor professional league which included the Hamilton Clippers, the Hamilton Primroses, as well as teams in Guelph, London and Toronto

Both the Clippers and the Primroses played that early June weekend and both games were covered extensively:



          THE MAPLE LEAF – CLIPPER GAME

“Good weather, good grounds, good attendance, and two good nines – all the conditions were favorable for a good game of ball at Dundurn, Saturday and a good game of ball was had.

“The Maple Leafs came up smiling, after three consecutive defeats, and took another one with perfect grace and well-bred equanimity. Dixon pitched , and it was not his fault that his team came out second best.

“The Clippers scored one in each of the first three innings, and one in the fifth – making four to the Leafs’ one made in the second. The game went along that way. In the eighth inning of the Leafs, there was some exciting play. The Leafs had the bases filled – two of them on called balls and one on a shortstop error – and nobody out. Maddock was at third, Purvis at second and Atkinson at first. Taylor struck out, leaving the bases still full. Jimmy Hewer struck a little one to Pete Wood, who cut Maddock off in his prime at home plate. Hewer taking first on a fielder’s choice, and the bases were again full with two men out. The excitement was high. One could have not heard a Salvation army procession. Dyson put up a high fly that dropped into Pete Wood’s hands, and the fullness of the bases amounted to nothing, the score still remaining 4 to 1 in the Clippers’ favor.

“The Clippers did nothing in their half of the ninth inning, and the crowd began to move to the gate when the Leafs went to bat, satisfied that the game was over. But it wasn’t.

“The Leafs had got Pete Wood’s range, as it were, and began pounding him so lively that three of them skipped over the home plate before the Clippers knew where they were.

“ ‘How’s the score?’ demanded Pete Wood. ‘A tie,’ cheerfully responded the scorer. Off went Pete’s cap and trouble commenced.

“There was no scoring in that inning. During the melee Purvis was at third. Atkinson sent a long fly to Myers away out at right. Myers took it nicely, and sent the ball to home, rather wide of the home plate on the first base side. If Purvis had run in sharply, the chances are that he would have scored and won the game for the Leafs. But he didn’t.

“In the Clipper half of the tenth inning, McGra, who had sprained an ankle in the previous inning, and now limped painfully, brought in two runs with a big hit, and the Clippers’ sympathizers breathed a trifle easier.

“But for the Leafs, Jimmy Hewer started off with atwo bagger. In this inning Pete Wood did some capital play. Twice the ball was struck to him, and twice did he Monaco the baserunners, making them hug their bags, and allowing himself just sufficient time to get the ball to first before the striker reached that bag. It was well and cooly done.   McGra closed the inning by sharply fielding a ball that he had to run nearly to first base to secure. Pat was the hero of the hour.

“The game was most interesting, and at times intensely exciting. There was little heavy hitting, but there was plenty of brilliant fielding and cool headwork, and just errors enough to give it variety.

“By innings –

          Clippers ………….1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 2

          Maple Leafs…….0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0

          Time of game – 2 hours

          Attendance, 1,200.

          THE PRIMROSE-LONDON GAME

“Those little fellows, the Prims, went to London Saturday to see what sort of stuff the much-talked of London baseball club was made of. They found that there are no slouches in London, but a team composed of ball player – nine of them – who can play ball with the best clubs in Canada.

“Of course, the Prims won the match, but they had to work for it, every man of them, from first to last. The Londons played a sharp game on the field, but not quite sharp enough, making some costly errors. At the bat, they were weak, not being able to hit Young at all effectually.

“The Prims played their steady reliable fielding game, as may be judged from the fact there were only two fielding errors made, one by Wilson and one by Mickey Jones, his first this season out of 35 chances in four league games.

“Knight, the Prims hit very hard, and piled up a goodly score of base hit. The game produced some fine double plays which made it very interesting.

          By innings –

                   Primroses …………………………..0 0 2 1 0 12 0 * - 6

                   Londons ……………………………...0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 – 3

          Time of game, 1 hour, 45 minutes

          Attendance, 900.

          NOTES

“Primroses are fashionable buttonhole bouquets in Hamilton today.

“The Primroses own the town.

“Pfann plays a pfine game in the pfield.

“The boys in blue don’t look big, but they play that way

“The game called baseball seems to be understood, to some extent, in the place called Hamilton.

“”Chamberlain was the ladies’ favorite in the Clipper game. Charley Maddock was jealous of him..

“There won’t be any monkeying this afternoon at Dundurn, when the Primroses and Clippers wrestle for the league in the league race.

“You need not be astonished if you see the Primroses coming down from Dundurn in hacks this evening, with brooms displayed.

Baseball in Canada has now reached a high degree of excellence, and the league teams make games that are exceedingly interesting for the Spectator.

“Charley Maddock tore around the St. Nicholas hotel, as if his name was spelled mad ox. His temper was ruffled by recent baseball events.

“The more Hamilton people see of the Guelph ball players the better they like them. The Maple Leafs are a fine, gentlemanly lot of men, and they know how to play baseball too.

“The Primroses are entitled to very great credit. They are all Hamilton boys, and have got together a rattling nine without the heavy financial backing enjoyed by some other clubs in the league.

“The Clippers and Primroses still stand even in the lead for the championship, with three won games each. The Maple Leafs are third with one game won; the Londons fourth with an unbroken goose, and the Torontos are to be heard from.

“The most exited man at Dundurn on Saturday was the man who put up $15 to $2 on the Clippers. When the Leafs tied the Clippers in the ninth inning, the man who had backed the home team went behind the grandstand and lay down.

“Baseball has become fashionable in Hamilton as well as popular. The ladies’ side of the grandstand at Dundurn was crowded on Saturday afternoon, and many handsome toilets were displayed. Not a few of the ladies had never seen a ball game before, and they voted it ‘ever so much nicer than cricket.’”7

7 “Hamilton Wins Again : The Clippers and the Primroses Lead the League”

Hamilton Spectator     June 8, 1885.

Sunday afternoons in Hamilton in 1885 was a time when the local corps of the Salvation conducted open air services on the Market Square, followed by services indoors at their barracks:

 “Notwithstanding the very hot weather, the services all yesterday were conducted with more than exuberant fervor and crowds of people were present at the three meetings on the market square; though here the little English captain complained bitterly of ‘Canada’s broiling hot sun.’

“In the barracks during the day, several sensations occurred, arising, as usual, from the presence of visiting female officers. Capt. Miss Lee, an American officer from Rochester, wielded the scepter, and did so with unusual eclat. She called for a ‘hallelujah sing-song’ that is, demanding that each soldier give his or her experience in the verse of a hymn, which had to be sung. Some of these pieces were very well given. Miss Lee has a remarkably clear, loud, ringing voice, and her singing and addresses told well; but the decided impression was made by a cadet, Miss Coombs, of Oakville. This officer displayed most remarkable power and a wonderful flow of words. She will doubtless make a distinct mark as an army orator.

“Another officer, Miss Bowman, also spoke well and produced a decided effect by her supplications during a very fervent prayer meeting, during which five persons professed conversions. Capt. Dyer stood aside during all these proceedings, but his quiet, earnest exhortations during the holiness meeting, made such an impression that erring soldiers were drawn from their seats to penitent form.

“There is now every probability that the new barracks will be immediately proceeded with.

                   Amor.”8

8 ““Salvation Army”


Hamilton Spectator     June 8, 1885.

The Hamilton Police Department covered the city with regular foot patrols, usually consisting of one constable who had to deal, at first, with miscreants by himself. Such was the case when Constable Cruickshanks was patrolling Stuart street near the railroad station :

 “Two brothers, John and William Collins, were behaving themselves unseemly on Stuart street, Saturday evening and Constable Cruickshank undertook to arrest them. They resisted , and a hard struggle took place.

“Both the Collins are powerful men, John being a iron moulder and William, a blacksmith, and they fought desperately. They got Cruickshank down on the road and pounded him, and sat on him and rolled over him.

“But Cruickshank is a plucky young fellow, and as sturdy as he is stout-hearted. He caught  on to John Collins and never let go until constables Nixon and Robinson arrived on the scene.

“William got away when he saw reinforcements arriving, but was shortly afterwards arrested in his own house, Queen street. A man named Craig was also arrested  for interfering with the police.

“Cruickshank was considerably bruised and shaken up, but is not much the worse for his struggle.

“Many absorbers of mixed drinks have suffered far more than he from their little encounters with John Collines.”9

9 ““Cruickshank Held On”

Hamilton Spectator     June 8, 1885.

Finally, much interest would have been manifested in a story which would also have caused much gossiping among those Hamiltonians titillated with the story involving an elderly black woman, and a man much younger than her:

 “Mrs. Caroline Smith is a colored woman who keeps a second-hand store at 95 King street east. Just a week ago, a man about 45 years of age, W. H. Sawyer, by name, representing himself to be a member of the Georgia minstrel troupe, presented himself at Mrs. Smith’s and asked to be taken in as a boarder. Sawyer was stylish – all style, Mrs. Smith says, wearing showy jewelry and sporting a gold-headed cane. He was ,of course, accommodated.

“A few days afterwards, Mrs. Smith drew $600 from the Bank of Commerce. She paid some bills and took the balance home. Sawyer, she says, was the only person about the house who knew she had it. Friday morning she had $552; in the afternoon, she only had $58. The remaining $494 was gone.

“Between 2 and 3 o’clock, Sawyer also disappeared, jewelry, gold-headed cane and all, and did not show up again. Mrs. Smith reported her loss to the police and sent telegrams with a description of the supposed thief to Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Windsor.

“Sawyer is a short, stout man, of a brown, rather than black, complexion and well-dressed. Nothing has been heard of him since the money was stolen. The money was in three $50 and seventeen $20 bills.

“A telegram received by the chief of police from Buffalo Saturday afternoon states that sawyer had been arrested there.”9
9 “A Good Haul : How Mrs. Caroline Smith Had Her Money Stolen”
Hamilton Spectator     June 8, 1885