There was trouble in the local Salvation Army Corps in mid-July 1885. Suddenly and without warning, Captains Dyer and Mottashed left the city causing consternation and confusion among the ranks.
Rumors abounded as to what prompted the abrupt departure of the officers. Collection amounts at the services had dropped and the popularity of both captains was at a low ebb. While it may have been that the men had simply desired to return to England, there were innuendos that something else might have been in play.
As stated by one Salvation soldier, “Them there fellers was too domineerink for hanythink. They wanted hit hall their own way.”1
In an attempt to quell the suspicions, a representative of the Hamilton Salvation Army Corps called at the Spectator office, particularly to deny the suggestions of financial impropriety.
“All they have been guilty of,’ said the Spectator informant, “has been desertion of duty. When they return, they will be received back into the army, but they will first have to come down to the penitent bench and confess their error.”1
1 “Without a Head : Troubles in the Local Salvation Army Corps” Hamilton Spectator. July 14, 1885
The next day, the vacuum of the head of the local Salvation Army Corps was filled on a temporary basis:
“There was a large crowd on the market square and in the barracks last night to witness the services conducted under the new (rather old) officer, Captain Joe Ludgate, and his young wife.
“A good muster of soldiers was on the platform and the entire programme was gone through in the happy style which has made Ludgate such a favorite in this city. During the evening, he sang several songs in a good baritone voice, and accompanied himself with a concertina.
“Mrs. Ludgate (Nellie Ryerson) was an object of especial curiosity as she has been so much talked of in army circles. She is a slight, delicate-looking girl of rather classical face and form, the effect being heightened by her dark, blue dress, slightly picked out with yellow. Her face is sorrowful and she conveys the impression that she is overworked. Her style of public talking is gentle and persuasive and commands the immediate attention of the audience. She has a pleasing soprano voice and sang several hymns with piano accompaniment.
“Both officers delivered strong appeals to the people, and during the prayer meeting, one man professed conversion.”2
2 “The Sals’ New Officers” Hamilton Spectator. July 15, 1885.