Tuesday, 30 April 2013

1885 - July Miscellaneous - 1

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.

Friday, 26 April 2013

1885 - The Town Tramp #3

Come into the garden broad

    For the tall weed has grown”

                                                                   Hamilton Spectator. August 15, 1885

          Yes, The Town Tramp is back again. And he feels sure his many friends will not be too inquisitive as to where he has been for so long. He will tell much as is good for the public to know. Men in positions of responsibility and trust – turnkeys and the like – will understand when The Town Tramp remarks that it is sometimes absolutely necessary for gentlemen of his profession to retire for shorter or longer periods from activities of the cruel world to enjoy a change of occupation and diet in the seclusion provided by a paternal government. But – no more on a painful subject.

          The Town Tramp was delighted the other day with the appearance of the house and grounds of Mr. B. E. Charlton on John Street North. Mr. Charlton, and his accomplished lady, are true lovers of the beautiful in both nature and art, and their good taste is shown in the removal of the fence which formerly encompassed their grounds, and the good effects they have obtained with the limited area at their disposal. The house is almost covered with the luxuriant growth of a handsome creeper, and, on a hot summer day, is to the traveller an oasis in the desert of dusty roadway and heated brick, most refreshing to the eye. Mr. Charlton is an enthusiastic and successful amateur photographer, and his love of the beautiful is no doubt nurtured by the pursuit of his favorite pastime.

          Talking of the beautiful reminds The Town Tramp of its opposite – ugliness, for a specimen, pure and unadulterated, the citizen is recommended to a sight of the city hall, meat market and market place on a Sunday morning. All sorts of refuse, rubbish, old papers and dirt is allowed to accumulate around the city buildings, and on the market place on Saturday, and left there to offend the eye and nostril until Monday. The Town Tramp has no love for the law, but thinks it would be well to enforce one against littering the public streets with handbills and refuse paper.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

1885 - The Town Tramp #2

Birds in their nest agree,

  And ‘tis a pretty sight.”

                             Hamilton Spectator. July 10, 1885

          This was the reflection of The Town Tramp, as he listened to the chirping of the little birds as they fluttered in and out among the branches of the trees in Gore park. The park, with its well-kept flower beds, neat walks, velvet turf, and splashing fountain is a tempting spot to a weary wayfarer on a summer day. And the people have found it out. Last Monday afternoon, The Town Tramp counted nearly a hundred people in the miniature park, most of them middle age, and many sitting on benches or reclining upon the grass reading. The people who apparently appreciate the park and the excellent results of the horticulturalist’s efforts therein ought all to be converted into voters for a public park scheme. It makes The Town Tramp sad to think that the little plot of ground called the Gore is the only breathing place owned by this city of 40,000 people.

          The Town Tramp met a crowd of bicyclists trundling along upon their machines the other day, and fine, healthy-looking they were. If he were not a constitutional pedestrian, The Town Tramp would be tempted to take to bicycling. It is a good sport and it augurs well for the physical development of future generations that outdoor sports are indulged in by so many young men of this city. Watching a baseball match will not do much for one’s physique, but riding a machine, pulling an oar, or running the bases will do a great deal.

          The Town Tramp was surprised to learn that the bicyclists do not like the block pavement. They say they prefer a good stone road, such as that between this city and Stony Creek along which half a dozen bicyclists traveled doing the run out in about an hour and a quarter. That route makes a nice drive for anyone wealthy enough to control the services of a ghorse. The bicyclists say the block pavement is too uneven, and not to be compared to a wagon wheel track on a good stone road.

          Speaking of the splash of the fountain in Gore park reminds The Town Tramp of a story about it told be an old resident. Everybody who has been in the park ha read the inscription on the base of the fountain:


          The old resident smiled as he inquired: “Did you ever hear how that particular design came to be chosen? No? Well, I don’t wonder at it. There were no designs made. Robb, the civil engineer, who was clever, but did not make his mark here, got hold of an illustrated London paper containing representations of fountains shown at the great exhibition in the Crystal Palace – it was in 1860, I think – chose the one having the simplest design and took it down to Will Meakins, who even at that early age, had the reputation of being one of the cleverest carvers and pattern maker in the country, and asked him to make patterns from which the founders could work. Meakins acquiesced, and Gurney and Carpenter made the castings, and there the fountain stands. I see it has taken a dip to the south, and it look a little seedy.”

          The Town Tramp has no doubt that the editor will give any old resident, whose recollection differs from that of the gentleman quoted above an opportunity of stating the facts.

          Of the men whose names appear on the fountain, Robb is said to be in Montreal, doing a little engineering. The senior partner of Meakins and Sons died full of years, beloved and respected. William Meakins yet lives in this town and makes as good brushes as can be obtained in the country.

          When Edward and Charles Gurney came here, poor men from York state, they had little or no capital, but had plenty of industry and skill. Alex. Carpenter was at the time a capitalist, always looking around for a chance to invest his money to advantage. He saw that the Gurneys had enterprise and ability, and soon the firm of Gurneys and Carpenter came into existence. As was to be expected, the Gurneys prospered, and so did Carpenter, for that matter. But Carpenter was unfortunate in outside ventures, while his business stuck to business, and avoided sending good money after bad. And so it came to pass that the partnership was dissolved, and the Gurneys continued the business and became very wealthy, while Mr. Carpenter remained in comfortable circumstances, and in course of time was gathered to his fathers. Edward Gurney gas died, while his brother Charles is now the head of the great stove and ironware manufacturing firm of W. and C. Gurney and Company.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

1885 - The Town Tramp #1

When’er I Take My Walk abroad
   How many things I see (and hear)”
-      After I. Watts

So began an article in the Hamilton Spectator of July 3, 1885 under the headline “The Town Tramp.
An unnamed reporter had been given permission to anonymously put together a long article of observations garnered during a stroll about Hamilton as the summer month of July 1885 arrived.
The full article follows:
“ ‘Tramps has feelins,’ as one of the lower orders of the fraternity remarked when asked to eat cold meat, and I wish to add that some of them have aspirations too. From the nature of their occupation they have abundant opportunity for seeing things as they are, and not as the unsuspecting general public believes them to be; and from out of the kindness of his generous heart, the editor has promised to allot The Town Tramp some ‘valuable space’ about once a week, more or less, in which to give vent to his feelings, set forth his aspirations and record his observations for the benefit of – well, the dear public.
The editor has often remarked in the portion of this journal devoted to his especial use, that some people in this city appear to be seized with a feverish desire to cut down a shade tree so soon as they see it putting forth its leaves. And the editor very properly condemns such people. They are ill-balanced; imperfect; monomaniacs; and ought to be pitied. How can a man with any sense of beauty look north on Park street from Merrick street, at this season of the year, and not rejoice in the noble lines of shade trees which meet his gaze. It is in this delightful July season that nature asserts itself in this vigorous strength of the new year’s life. The heat of the summer has not yet dried up the life-giving sap, and changed the restful green of the trees and fields into a withered yellow; and Hamilton’s streets and avenues, some of which are bordered by maples and chestnuts and others of the best species of shade trees, are really beautiful. Looking down upon the city from the mountain top, the eyes rests upon a mass of verdure, broken here and there by a glittering chimney top, or perhaps a house gable, peeping through the topmost branches of the swaying trees. Victoria avenue south is a most attractive promenade on a summer evening, when the rays of the setting sun tint the leaves of the noble trees lining the roadway in the golden sun. Soon the last ray of sunlight is gone, and in the dusky evening, lovers walk the avenue, happy and content, listening to the soft rustle of the leaves and the twittering of the birds overhead.

What is my neighbor’s is mine, in a sense, and it delights The Town Tramp to know that some of the rich men of this city have made good use of their wealth in beautifying their houses and grounds for his benefit. The Tramp is not at all partial. He thanks them all for their efforts on his behalf. As an example of what can be done by the exercise of ingenuity and good taste with what perhaps might be called a small plot of ground, he likes the residence and grounds of Mr. Winer on Main street east. Often he has been made glad on a hot summer day in watching a tiny sparrow bathing, with an immense amount of fuss, in the pretty fountain there. No terraced wall or studded fence obstructs the view; what wealth obtains for one is shared with others too.

The Town Tramp, having a fellow-feeling for the letter carriers, was pained to learn of their sad defeat in their baseball match with the post office clerks the other day. But when the carriers put on the field a one-armed man and two cripples, what can they expect? Nevertheless the gentleman with one arm was a first-class pitcher. But the clerks had the best pitcher, and the inflammatory rheumatism on their side. For this is what ailed the cripples.
Which leads The Town Tramp to observe with sadness that the life of a letter carrier is one of great hardship, full of struggles, with bad weather and the diseases exposure is sure to engender. So, if you don’t get a letter from your lover on a stormy day, don’t blame the carrier.

The Town tramp had a talk with a prohibitionist the other day. He prophesied that within five years a general prohibition act would be passed in Canada. He is a preacher and declared that the clergyman who is not found upon the side of prohibition in this day makes a great mistake, and is liable to lose his influence, if not his position. The Tramp remarked that, according to the teachings of his very early youth, the chief end of preachers was to secure the conversion of men and women to Christianity, and if they attended strictly to business, they would possibly accomplish the purpose whereunto they were sent more effectually than by stumping for prohibition.

This is the picnic time. Behold not now the day of the seductive lemon pie and exhilarating lemonade. For the benefit of his friends who go to picnics, The Tramp offers the following advice, borrowed from an eminent American authority on the subject:
1.   Never take food to a picnic.
2.   Take plenty of wholesome drink and something to drink it from.
3.   Never go to a great distance.
4.   Never take very small children.
5.   Do not stay long.
6.   Have a hearty meal as soon as you get home.
This advice, generously bestowed, is the last offering of
          THE TOWN TRAMP.”