On a late winter evening, Wednesday, March 3, 1885, there were two entertainments which were worthy of being described in the following day’s Hamilton.
One was held under the auspices of the St. Andrew’s society, and involved many of the most well-known and talented Hamiltonians of Scots descent:
“The pretty little hall of the St. Andrew’s society was well-filled last evening when a pleasing entertainment was given in aid of the funds of the society.
Mr. James Angus, the president, was in the chair. In the first part, Mrs. J. Davidson contributed a piano solo; Chief Stewart sang Kiss Me, Annie Darling’ Mr. Geo. Henderson recited in a stirring manner the poem How He Saved St. Michael’s; Mr. J. K. McMaster performed a flute solo – variations on Durendarte and Balerma, by Kuhlan – quite artistically; Miss Ryckman sang Take Me, Jamie Dear, and, being recalled, gave Within a Mile of Edinbro’ Town; an instrumental trio – Hadyn’s No. 2 – was nicely played by Miss Angus, and Messrs. MacDuff and Parker; and Mr. J. C. Taylor delighted the audience with his humorous song Water Cresses.
After the audience had “socially intercoursed” for a few minutes, the second part was proceeded with. Messrs. MacDuff and Sutherland led off with a medley of Scottish airs for two violins, and their imitation of the bagpipes so tickled the audience that the soul-stirring strains had to be repeated. Miss Sullivan sang Comin’ Thro’ the Rye, and as an encore piece gave Esmeralda; Mr. Hemphill read a funny prose sketch; Mr. Paterson sang a comic Scotch song, and at the demand of the hearers sang another; Miss E. Angus played a piano solo; Chief Stewart set the audience in a roar by comic reading descriptive of the inconveniences and tribulations suffered by the Siamese twins; Mr. D. Sutherland gave a patriotic Scotch song; and Auld Lang Syne and God Save the Queen brought the audience to its feet and a very pleasing entertainment to a close. Prof. J. Lee accompanied the singers.”1
1 “St. Andrew’s Society Concert”
Hamilton Spectator. March 4, 1885.
The other option for a pleasurable evening’s entertainment was the popular pastime of roller skating. In 1885, Hamilton had two large roller rinks, both of which were very well patronized during winter evenings:
“The attractions at the roller rinks last evening drew crowded houses to both.
At the Macnab street rink, Prof. Duncan, New York’s trick and fancy skater, gave a unique exhibition that pleased the people immensely. He is an accomplished whirler of the boxwood. He removed the rear rollers and skated around on the front ones, and did some very difficult toe and heel spinning feats, besides a great variety of fancy steps and movements that will keep the boys busy for months if they want to get on to them. For many of these he was loudly applauded, and frequently encored.
The hat carnival was a feature of the evening, and all kinds and conditions of hats, from the beautiful to the rudely grotesque, were worn by those who whirled so gaily around the floor.
At the New York rink, Prof. Lerondo, the Californian ventriloquist , gave a novel ventriloquial entertainment, in which several local hits and popular sayings were introduced.
Later on came the tug-of-war for a box of cigars, between the Dominion hotel and a picked nine from the rink. The Dominion team captured the smokers by winning the first and third pulls. The result, coupled with their successful pull at the Macnab street rink, has made them feel more cocky than ever. The tug caused considerable hilarity. “1
1 “The Roller Rink”
Hamilton Spectator. March 4, 1885