Thursday, 7 March 2013

1885 - June Miscellaneous Part 3

Well, the Torontos have been here. And they have made their mark – in fact, they made twelve of them if the writer’s memory is not at fault”
                                                                   Hamilton Spectator. June 12, 1885
          It had not been a good week for either of Hamilton’s two franchises in the professional Canadian baseball league. Once the Clippers and the Primroses had been tied for first place.
          For the Primroses, a game in front of 500 home town fans at Dundurn on Thursday June 11, 1885 was an embarrassment.
The opposition, the Torontos, did not win, as much as the Primroses lost the game:
“The game yesterday started off nicely. The play was good enough on both sides. The Primroses, however, had a decided advantage, and held it until near the close of the game, when they experienced one of their peculiar, unaccountable and remarkable seasons of rattle. They went all to pieces.
“Fly balls were muffed, wild throwing was indulged in, and errors made so fast that the scorers could not keep track of them – the Torontos at the same making runs at about the same rate.
“O’Neil, the Primrose catcher, was responsible for the loss of the game. This young gentleman is a good, sharp, accurate player, and it was, to say the least, surprising to observe his conduct on this occasion. He dropped easy foul flies, had too many passed balls, threw wild to second when a man was at third, dropped balls sent to him to cut off runners at home plate, and did pretty much everything that a catcher should not do
“The condition of rattleness into which the Prims were thrown was something fearful. There did not seem to be a cool head in the party.”1
1 “The World of Sport :Items of Interest to the Noble Fraternity”
Hamilton Spectator. June 12, 1885.
While the Primroses lost to the Torontos 12 to 9, the Clipppers were playing a road game in the Forest City, London. Over 1,000 spectators cheered the Londons, and jeered the Clippers, vociferously throughout the game. Final score – Londons 7, Clippers 4.
In the Notes section of his report on the baseball games, the Spectator included the following short observations:
“It snowed in London yesterday.
“It was Hamilton’s day off yesterday.
“O’Neil is the most anathematized man in the city.
“The Primroses are ‘rattling’ fine players.
“Hamilton people begin to have some respect for Toronto and London.
“Hamilton sits in sackcloth and ashes today; but she keeps her picnic suit on hand.
“The star of empire moved both eastward and westward from Hamilton yesterday.
“Come now, Messieurs les Primroses, brace up! You can play ball – why don’t you do it?
“Manager Henigan ought to take the Primroses down to the Beach and feed them with sand for a week.
“A cold wave struck the Hamilton teams yesterday and temporarily paralyzed them. But they’ll be back on deck again.
“The president of the Torontos went down on the field during the game. The flash of his jewelry dazzled the Primroses, and they wilted.
“There were not many Toronto people at the game at Dundurn yesterday, in numbers, but, in volume of applause, there were millions of them
“Among baseball men in the city, there was a general and intense feeling against O’Neil last night. The opinion was freely expressed that he threw the game. It will take a good deal of fine playing on his part to redeem himself in the eyes of the Hamilton public – if he wants to, which is open to doubt.”1
Over at the Wentworth County Court House, Judge Sinclair stopped proceedings to berate one of constables on duty, saying:
“I wish those constables who have squeaky boots on, would not walk around so much. It seems to me that the constables around this court make more noise than other people. How can a man talk with such a row going on?”
Silence was the result of the judge’s comment.
The grand jury which had served throughout that particular assize presented a following written report in which they congratulated Wentworth County for the comparative lack of crime within its borders.
The grand jury also reported on their the required visits they had to make to the Asylum for the Insane, the City Hospital and the County Jail;
“Your jurors found everything connected with the management of these institutions in first class order. The buildings were scrupulously clean, and the food supplied to the inmates excellent. . Your jurors found in the jail and city hospital several insane patients, who, your jurors think, should be removed to some place where they can be better attended to.”2
2 “County Court : General Sessions of the Peace Before His honor Judge Sinclair”
Hamilton Spectator. June 12, 1885
While the Grand Jury report was generally favorable, there was an issue which was not to their collective approval:
“Your jurors think that so long as the law makes it part of the duty of grand jury to visit public institutions, the municipality ought to provide suitable conveyance for the purpose, and not, by paltry economy unworthy of this wealthy county, make citizens in performance of public duties pay money out of their own pocket.”2
In June 1885, the longest-serving Hamilton Police constable, and the wearer of badge number one, was an Irishman, and well-known and much-beloved character, Peter Ferris.
Here, in full,  is a story about Peter and his dog which appeared in the Hamilton Spectator of June 12, 1885:
“Peter Ferris, philosopher and policeman, patriarchal and majestic in mien and manner, has a dog. He keeps it chained in the backyard of his house. People who have seen the dog, describe it as a bully sort of a 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-I-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 bull dog. He has been on the police force too long to be fooled by any postal card.”3
3 “Peter Ferris’ Dog”
Hamilton Spectator. June 12, 1885.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

1885 - June Miscellaneous Part 2

The curiosity of the public as to the nature of the Kermese at the drill shed having been satisfied, there was a falling off in the attendance last night”
                                                                   Hamilton Spectator. June 11, 1885
          The second and final day of the fancy fair fund-raising event called the Kermese, had a sharp drop off in the numbers of citizens who made their way to the building on James street north where the event was held.
However, as noted in the Spectator, those who did attend probably benefitted from the lack of the crush of people who filled the drill shed to over flowing the previous day:
“The young ladies who presided at the various booths, and those who flitted among the visitors selling bouquets, plied their arts even more successfully than on the previous evening, partly because they had fewer people to ply their arts on, and partly because they had acquired more confidence in themselves.”1
1”The Kermese Concludes”  Hamilton Spectator. June 11, 1885
The amount of money raised for missionary work in the Northwest was considerable on the second day of the event even though attendance was down.
A feature of the second day at the Kermese was a short but enjoyable programme of music provided by some of Hamilton’s best musical personalities of the day.
While the music was given focused attention by those in the drill shed, the next part of the programme was less successful:
“After the musical programme was concluded, Capt. R. N. Toms, of New Zealand, did his best to interest the audience in the manners and customs of the Maories; but the audience refused to be interested, and a greater part of the lecture was inaudible excepting to those occupying seats near the speaker. Judging from the violent gesticulation of Capt. Toms, his remarks must have been extremely interesting, and those who failed to hear him no doubt lost a great deal of valuable information.”1
After the mostly-unheard lecture, the Kermese was brought to a close with an auction of many of the still unsold items, the remainder were packed up to be disposed of at a private sale.
Christian urban missionary were on move again during the evening of June 10, 1885. This time it was in the east end of the city:
“Considerable curiosity was excited among the residents in the neighborhood of Steven, Cannon, Chisholm and Barton streets last night by a procession of eight gentlemen who were parading these streets between the hours of eight and nine p.m., and occasionally stopping to ask questions or look about them.
“It was soon ascertained the spokesman was the general rector of the church of St. Thomas, that his companions were prominent workers of his congregation, and the object of their expedition was to find out if it would be advisable to open a mission in the northeast part of the city. Canon Curran was greatly encouraged by the reception he met with last, as there are prospects of a good congregation if a church is started there, this section being well settled now. The locality selected for the building is near the corner of Barton street and Smith avenue.”2
2 “A New East End Mission” Hamilton Spectator. June 11, 1885

A few selections from ‘The Diurnal Epitome : What Goeth In and About the City” column of June 11, 1885 :
“Yesterday’s temperature as registered at Harrison Bros.’ drug store : 9 a.m. 64o ; 12 noon 71o ;  2 p.m. 76 o
“Twenty-six years ago this morning, a heavy frost destroyed the wheat, potatoes and other crops in the region round about Hamilton.
“A stone dwelling house on the corner of Rebecca and Catharine streets has been condemned as unsafe by the building inspector. The family which has lived in it has moved out, and the building has been enclosed. It will be torn down.
“Over 200 persons took advantage of the joint excursion of the De Shomberg commandery and Independent band last evening to visit the Beach. The evening was fine, and a very pleasant time was spent by the excursionists in listening to the music supplied by the band, watching the drilling of the plumed knights, taking a turn in the roller skating rink, or wandering along the shore. The excursion train returned to the city about midnight.
“A well-dressed and respectable looking woman entered G. H. Lees and Co.s’ jewelry store yesterday morning and asked to look at some brooches. Several fine ones were shown her, but she left the store without making a purchase. She had hardly got outside before Mr. Lees discovered that one of the brooches was missing. He followed the woman, overtook her, and taxed her with stealing the brooch. After some hesitation she confessed that she had stolen it, and giving it back, hurried away.
“At the police court yesterday morning, Augustus Lawlor was charged by William MacFarlane with the larceny of a pair of boots valued at $2.75. He pleaded guilty and said that he was drunk, or he would have done nothing wrong. Lawlor’s record was produced showing that he had been twice sent to central prison and several times to central prison and several times to jail for various offenses. At central prison he had had two fingers cut off, and it was stated that he cut them off intentionally so that he would not have to work. He was sent to central prison for six months.

Monday, 4 March 2013

1885 - June Miscellaneous Part 1

(A Follow up to 1885 – Baseball and 1885 – Cigarmakers’ Picnic)    
On Tuesday, June 9, 1885,  Hamilton Police Court Magistrate Cahill faced the usual cases involving drunkenness, disorderly behavior, assault, domestic abuse – just another typical day, except for three cases.
Maud Butler was before the magistrate charged with keeping a house of ill-fame. She pleaded not guilty, but the prosecuting authorities requested that her case be adjourned for one day so that sufficient evidence could be assembled. Adjournment granted.
An assault case was brought before the police court by Thomas Loftus, a boy driver of a wood wagon, who charged Thomas Robinson, keeper of a stable, with the offense.
           Loftus had a load of wood to deliver to a Mrs. Kramer and he tried to drive through Robinson’s stable premises to make the delivery. Robinson refused to allow the delivery wagon through his property, but Loftus kept moving through. Robinson struck the driver of the wood wagon and tore his shirt in his effort to prevent the intrusion.
          In his defense, the boarding stable keeper, Robinson, claimed that he was in the act of putting a farmer’s horse into his stable and had told Loftus, the delivery boy, to wait. Loftus would not wait, even though there was little room for him to pass. Robinson grabbed the head of the delivery wagon’s horse and tried to back the wood wagon off his property.
          Loftus then, Robinson claimed, threw sticks of wood at him. The farmer whose horse was being boarded corroborated Robinson’s evidence.
          The magistrate dismissed charge of assault against the stable keeper and the young wood delivery was ordered to pay court costs.
          The most notable case was the charge of assaulting Police Constable Cruickshank on Stuart street. Brothers John and William Collins pleaded not guilty.
          The police constable testified that he saw the brothers scuffling on the street near the railway station. He attempted to arrest them for disorderly conduct and was putting the handcuffs on William when his brother John struck the policeman on the nose four or five times.
          A fight ensued and a crowd gathered, although no one came to the policeman’s assistance as he rolled on the ground being assaulted by the brothers.
          A small police station was located at James and Stuart and the policemen on duty there were told of the fight and soon two additional constables were on scene and arrested the Collins brothers.
          A witness corroborated Police Constable Cruickshank’s testimony. In their defence, the lawyer for the Collins brothers had several people called who said that they were generally hard-working men.
          Magistrate Cahill ruled that the Collins brothers had to $15 each or six months in jail. The magistrate told them that his sentence could have been more severe but he took into account their previous good character.
          The magistrate ended the court session by noting that the Grand Trunk railway passenger station on Stuart  seemed to be the location of much disorderly conduct and he regretted that the police seemed to be in danger while on patrol there.
          Two brief notes in the Diurnal Epitome : What Goeth On In and About the City for June 9, 1885 follow:
-      “Alderman Morgan : “If the change in the city hall offices is not made, I shall rent proper health offices elsewhere, and the city will have to pay for them. At present, we have nothing but a closet, so to speak, and it is absolutely impossible to do the work of the department properly unless we have more room.”
-      The chairman of the board of health says that the heavy rains Sunday will prevent anymore diphtheria for some time, as they flushed all the sewers most effectively. It was from the sewers all the diphtheria came. He adds that in a case of diphtheria only articles of furniture absolutely necessary should be left in the sick room. There is so much less to disinfect when the sickness is over.

The Area in the vicinity of the Grand Trunk Railway station was again in the news on June 10, 1885. Hackman Thomas Cline had been charged by officials with the Grand Trunk railway because he parked his wagon on railway property while waiting to be hired.
As pointed out in the Spectator, the case resulted in the Hackman being fined $10 plus $3 costs, although there was a problem in providing space for hackmen wanting to pick up arriving train passengers willing to pay for transportation uptown:
“The trouble arises to a great extent out of the high, broad fence that separates the yard from Stuart street. People driving down Stuart street and turning sharply into the yard cannot see if any vehicle is in the road. Accidents are liable to ensue. Besides, the yard is too small. When Hamilton had a population of 20,000, the yard was large enough for all the traffic to and fro, but now that the city has doubled its number of inhabitants, it is altogether too small, The fence should be taken down and provision made for the increase.”1
1 “The G. T. R. Trespass”
Hamilton Spectator. June 10, 1885
At noon hour, at the Wentworth County Court House on Main Street, the county court and general sessions of the peace opened before Judge Sinclair.
In his charge to the grand jury which had been assembled for that particular session, the judge told the jurors about the cases which were scheduled to be tried.
Judge Sinclair also noted that a major stabbing affray had recently taken place at Dundurn park and that case might be added to their roster:
“He saw by the morning Spectator that a most serious beach of the peace had occurred at a picnic at Dundurn park. It was right for the jurors to look into this matter, and see if any premeditated attack had been made. They might also consider the question of selling liquor at Dundurn. It was supposed to be sold for the convenience of people, but if it produced rows and serious disturbances, it became the duty of the jury to express their opinion of in their presentment.”1.5
1.5 “County Court : General Sessions of the Peace Before His Honor Judge Sinclair”
Hamilton Spectator. June 10, 1885

“The Drill shed never looked so gay. Bright bunting and flags hung on either side, rows of booths gaily decorated and filled with curiosities from foreign countries, and fancy work of all descriptions, masses of rare and beautiful flowers and plants, the flash and glitter of jewelry and silverware, handsomely dressed ladies and scores of pretty faces – all these combined to make enjoyable and attractive the Kermese which opened yesterday in aid of the Northwest missions under the auspices of the Young Ladies’ mission band in connection with the Methodist church; and the thousands of people that thronged the building, made it a complete and gratifying success.”2
2 “Kermese : Attractive Entertainment Going On in the Drill Shed”
Hamilton Spectator. June 10, 1885
It was an amazing transformation. The usually prosaic, but very large drill shed on James street where the local militia marched and marched had become an exceeding colorful, vibrant location for the Kermese.
As explained in the Spectator, “Kermese is a Hindostanee word, and means fancy fair.”2
The young ladies who organized the fair worked extremely hard to decorate the drill shed and make available, for purchase all sorts of fancy goods. All proceeds were to be forwarded to the far western territories of Canada to aid in mission work in those locations:
“Rows of booths extend up and down either side, booths filled with fancy dresses, flowers, aprons, fancy work and scores of other things, booths attended to by attractive young ladies who affably disposed of the varied goods on sale.
“One booth is completely filled with articles brought from Japan by Dr. Elby and it is attended by two young ladies who are resplendent in Japanese costume. In the center of the floor, an Indian wigwam has been erected, composed entirely of skins from the Northwest. Indian nick-nacks are on sale here, and may be purchased from a couple of young ladies  who wear the garb of the child of the forest, but whose faces are free from the ruddy brown that graces the cheek of the red sister. Young ladies in Quaker costume dispense ice cream and other refreshments.”2
Several thousand people visited the Kermese on its first day. In the evening, the crowd present was entertained by a children’s choir of 300 voices, singing popular patriotic songs.
A pamphlet had been issued, put together by City Engineer Haskins and his assistant E. G. Barrow. The pamphlet provided a lengthy list of bench marks taken throughout the Hamilton of 1885, giving the levels and geographic profiles of the various locations.
As mentioned in the Spectator description of the pamphlet, “there are not many, if any Canadian cities that have such a complete list prepared:”
“The datum from which the levels are taken is the high water level of Lake Ontario, and may be defined as a horizontal plane, 63.75 feet below the bench mark on the stone work of the Masonic hall, marked with an arrowhead. All the benchmarks are cut into the stone or woodwork as they case might be, in the form of an arrowhead.
“It is learned from the book that the top of the front steps at the Mountain View, opposite James street steps, is 382.48 feet above the lake, while the corner of the base of the large fountain in the gore is only 70.13 above. At the corner of King and Ray streets, the height rises to 115.70 feet. Bay street near Herkimer reaches 122.19, and at the corner of Markland gets up to 130.42. This seems to be the highest point, outside the mountain, where the distance has been calculated. The lowest point appears to be at the bottom step of the Ontario rolling mills at the corner of Queen and Stuart streets, where the elevation is only 11.48 feet.
“The little book is very useful as by its aid curious people can obtain the exact level of their houses, in whatever part of the city, by doing a little measuring on their own account.”3
3 “Above the Lake”
Hamilton Spectator. June 10, 1885.
The Salvation Army was constantly devising new ways to attract attention to their cause, and a demonstration of a notably novel character took place during the evening hours of June 9, 1885:
“The army people excited considerable surprise by appearing upon the market square in their working clothes and carrying the tools of their trades. There were foundrymen, painters, whitewashers, bricklayers, tailoresses, servant girls, etc. The captain wore the leather apron of a shoemaker, that being his trade at the time of his conversion.
“The procession was headed by a lorry upon which were mounted men working on a sewing machine and bricklayers building an imaginary house. It is needless to say that the show attracted large numbers of followers and was held for the purpose of drawing a large audience.
“At the barracks, the workers, in giving their testimonials, attempted to show how salvation suited their particular trades. The service was a lively one, frequent and hearty singing occurring between each testimony. During a prolonged prayer meeting, one person professed conversion.”4
4 “Novel Trade Demonstration”
Hamilton Spectator. June 10, 1885