Runaway horses were not uncommon in Hamilton’s streets in 1884. While maybe not daily occurrences, they were frequent enough that they were reported in the newspapers only if something exceptional happened or if injuries resulted.
Such was the case with the runaway which happened on September 12, 1884.
Following is the Hamilton Times’ account of the incident:
“Between 11:30 and 12 o’clock this morning, a team belonging to Mr. Case, of Mount Hope, broke away from the Dominion Hotel stables and rushed out of the yard before those standing near realized what was wrong.
“They turned up Charles street, and when they arrived at Mr. Wm. Hendrie’s residence, they were obliged to make another turn. They veered to the west, and then at Park street turned again and continued their mad career down to King.
“After striking against a wagon belonging to Reid’s furniture store, and tearing the shafts therefrom, a man tried to stop them, but the effort only drove them into the Franklin House. The waggon attached to them struck against the two first tie posts and tore them down, but at the third, the vehicle stuck.
“The freed horses started again, and when opposite Grove’s blacksmith shop, knocked down an elderly lady named Mrs. Belford, of 15 Gore street. She was picked up by Mr. Groves and taken into Kavanaugh’s grocery where her injuries were attended to by Dr. Stark. The surgeon found that her arm was broken near the shoulder and that she was otherwise injured by her fall. She was taken to the hospital.
“During the time that the frightened team were going down Park street, many spectators held their breath at the imminent peril the crowds of school children were in, and it is miraculous that none of them were injured.
“Upon inquiry it was learned that no particular event triggered the team in their stall, but it is surmised that being annoyed by flies one of the horses got entangled in his harness and, in his efforts to relieve himself, knocked the sides of the stall down, and that they became frightened at the slattering of the fallen boards. “1
1 “A Runaway Team : Run Down an Old Lady and Break Her Arm.”
Hamilton Times. September 12, 1884.