Friday, 24 May 2013


The boys of fifty years ago did not have half the chance to make good that the present generation have, yet if you take a look backward, the old boys did remarkably well for the opportunities they had. There were no technical schools in which one could get scientific training to begin life as a carpenter, a machinist, a blacksmith or as a draughtsman. There was no higher education at public expense, for as soon as one of the old boys had mastered the three R’s generally he had to take to the workshop and learn a trade, beginning in a printing office with washing ink rollers, sweeping the office and sorting the pi he picked up from the floor. This old Muser refers to the printing office, for it was in that time that he began, when only twelve years old, to learn how to wash rollers and sort pi. Nowadays the boys have better opportunities, for their parents are able to keep them at school till they graduate from the collegiate, and, if so inclined, they enter college for a four years’ course and come riding home on a bit of the sheepskin that the college president honors him with as a mark that he has faithfully pursued all the studies in the living and dead languages. Then the boy is ready to become a preacher, doctor, lawyer or something genteel. But where are the future mechanics to come from that are to manage the industrial establishments of a manufacturing city like Hamilton? There is room at the top in all factories in Hamilton for the hundreds of bright Canadian boys if they will only qualify themselves for the places. We might not overstretch the truth by stating that in Hamilton today the majority of skilled workmen were born in other lands. In their native country, they had the opportunity to learn a trade through a thorough training of apprenticeship of seven years. A Canadian boy would not think of giving seven years of his life to learn a trade, for by the time his indulgent parents are willing that he should leave school, he is too old to begin at the broom in any workshop.


          The city of Hamilton has generously provided a technical school in which any intelligent boy can lay the foundation for a trade and for future independence and usefulness while he is still a student in the public school. By spending a few hours each week in the school workshops he can become a master in the handling of tools that will fit him to take an advanced place in some factory by the time he is ready to leave school and begin earning a living. Or the boy or young man who is now employed can greatly help himself by spending a couple of hours for three evenings in the week taking a special course in the technical school under accomplished and talented masters. At the beginning of the last term in the technical school a bright young boy went to the teacher in the blacksmith shop and said : “I have been wasting my time in the evenings laying around pool-rooms and bowling alleys, thinking that I needed recreation after working all day; but now I am going to turn over a new leaf and spend my evenings in learning something that will be useful to me as a worker.” Last Monday night, at the closing exercises of the technical school for this year the teacher in the blacksmithing department took great pride in exhibiting a number of tools which that young fellow made during the winter evenings that he spent at the school. That boy will yet be heard of as a foreman or a master workman in some factory. In the same department the teacher called special attention to the exhibit of work done by boys under thirteen years of age, who spent two or three hours every week in learning how to use their hands in that which will fit them for advanced entrance into some workshop when their school days are over.


          On last Monday night the general public, and especially the fathers and mothers of Hamilton, were invited to attend the exhibition of work done by Hamilton boys during the past winter’s attendance at the Technical school. Prof. Witton and his accomplished corps of technical teachers gave cordial welcome to their guests, but it was evident that they felt by the small attendance that the fathers and mothers did not take much interest in the opportunities presented by the board of education for the training of their boys in skilled labor. The visitors had presented to them what their boys can be trained to do under proper teachers. Take the work done on the wood-room during the past term and it will stand comparison with the work of the best carpenters and cabinet-makers in any city. The work is all done by young boys from 12 to 15 years of age, and it is remarkable the fine finish put upon it as the result of a couple of training two or three evenings a week during the winter months. As most of the skilled carpenters now employed in Hamilton come from the old country, where the opportunities for learning a trade are better than in Canada because of the more liberal spirit of allowing more apprentices to a given number of journeymen, the Canadian boy’s only hope is to get a preliminary training in a technical to qualify himself to earn a living when his school days are over. One thing is certain, the boys who did the carpenter and cabinet work that was on exhibition will be heard from in the future in the army of skilled workmen, if they will order their lives to correct habits. Not alone did they show the careful training education that can be had in a couple of hours each working evening during the term to qualify themselves as electricians. Parents, talk this over with your boys and get them up to the point that when the next session opens they will spend their evenings in Prof. Nolan’s class, instead of getting a street education that will make loafers of them. It is either a trade for the boys while they are young or a shovel and pick ax as a street laborer when old age comes upon them. A first-class electrician’s salary goes up into the hundreds and thousands of dollars every year; the poor devil with the shovel may get twenty-five cents as hour if he has the political influence to force the city council up to those figures. Father, mother, which job are you going to select for your boy?


          Then there is the mechanical and architectural drawing departments in the school, and the specimens of work along those lines that were on exhibition would be a credit to expert draughtsmen. This department seems to be an attraction to boy students, and they great pleasure in excelling in their work. The teacher is patient in leading the boys along, and when one excels he is not sparing in eulogies. A skillful draughtsman makes an expert mechanic, and where both are combined, there you will find a high-salaried man. When a boy undertakes a bit of work in the wood or iron departments, he is required first to make a drawing and plans of the article, and thus he begins from the ground up to complete his design.


          A technical school is fortunate in having as its art teacher Prof. Gordon. His long experience as a teacher, and as a worker in art is just what the beginner needs as a guide. Then, being a Hamilton man, he has personal acquaintance with not only the dilettante in art, but also of the boys and girls who hope to make practical use of their taste in art in some line of business. The walls of the studios in the school are lined with sketches from copies and from life that are creditable to beginners. The students say that he is one of the most patient of teachers, and that he guides them without a word of reproach for their obtuseness. This old Muser is not going to pose as an art crtic, therefore, we can only advise the fathers and mothers to go and see what their boys and girls are doing.


          The rooms of most interest to the ladies were the china painting, the model kitchen, where domestic science is taught and the millinery, the dressmaking and the underwear departments. These exhibits were the centers of attraction, and many a young girl who made her first visit to the technical school last Monday night came to the determination that at the beginning of next term she would enter as a public in the night classes. There was a time, my old Hamiltonian girl, when mothers taught their daughters the art of mending and making their own clothes and to darn their own stockings, but that day has gone by, and the average girl can hardly tell the point of the needle from the eye; and the running of sewing machines by girls is one of the lost arts unless they are compelled to make a living with the machine. The majority of the pupils in this domestic department are girls who are employed during the day in offices and stores, and who avail themselves of the opportunities afforded by the tech. to become experts with the needle. The domestic science department does not draw the number of students that the importance to household economy deserves. If there is one thing that more than another that a woman or girl should be an expert in is in home cooking. The world is full of dyspeptics, and the prevailing cause is bad cookery. Some advanced ministers of the gospel have declared that they will not perform the marriage ceremony unless the man and woman can present a diploma that they can present a diploma from a school of cookery that she is fit cater to the stomach of her dearly beloved.


          In the clay-working room were many fine specimens of the handiwork of students under fifteen years of age. But we must call a halt, as we have run over our allotted space. The writer is interested in the boys and girls of Hamilton, and if we could urge one suggestion to fit them for the battle of life gladly we would do so. In this great manufacturing city, there are openings now and prospective opportunities for every boy, rich or poor, to take his place in its industries. He can either be an expert or he can drag through life at the bottom of the ladder. The technical school, on which the taxpayers of Hamilton have expended and are spending so many thousands of dollars every year, puts it up to the parents to decide what is to be the future of their boys and girls as wage-earners.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013


George H. Mills, who was mayor of the city of Hamilton in the year 1858, during his leisure hours in the closing years of his life prepared quite an interesting account of the growth and affairs of the city from that period down to 1886, which is valuable in a historical way. The book is now the property of Stanley Mills, to whom the Muser is indebted for a perusal of it. George H. Mills was a descendant of John Mills, a native Scotchman, who emigrated to the United States and settled on Staten Island, New York, about the middle of the eighteenth century. His father was born in Newark, New Jersey, in the year 1774. The family, being attached to the British crown, and not in sympathy with the spirit of the American revolution, they emigrated to Canada in 1793. James Mills, the U. E. Loyalist, was the father of George H. Mills, and was entitled to 200 acres of land, which he never got. He began life as a trader among the Indians, trading goods for raw furs, and the furs he shipped back to Newark, where he sold them. In 1800, he decided to settle in this locality, then called the Head of the Lake, and engaged in various occupations. He was a man possessed of far more than ordinary intelligence and education, and was frequently employed I settling differences between neighbors, preparing deeds of land and other contracts requiring a knowledge of the law. In 1803, he united in marriage to Christina Hesse, a sister of Peter Hesse, after whom Hess street was called. In 1816, James Mills bought 200 acres of land in the west end of the city, for which he paid two dollars an acre, of which he sold the east 100 to Peter Hesse. It was on that farm, now the west end of Hamilton that George H. Mills, the future mayor was born. One of his early teachers was Patrick Thornton, a Scotchman, who taught a private school, there being no public schools in those days. For a time he was a student in Victoria college, and afterward became a pupil of Rev. Dean Geddes in 1842, who pieced out his salary as a minister by teaching a select school during the week. There were no $3,000 and $4,000 pupils in Hamilton in those days; indeed, the ministers thought they were living in the lap of luxury if they were paid as high as $400 a year. George H. Mills was one of those fortunate, or unfortunate, young men who was not compelled to put forth any energy to make a living, for by the time he became of age, the old home farm became valuable as town lots, and the Mills coffers were overflowing with gold. When town lots got as high as $5 a foot front in Hamilton in the old days, the owners of farms began to subdivide them and turn them into money. Today the western city limits lie far beyond the Mills farm, and lots halfway out to Dundas are booming at $30 to $50 a foot. The story is told of a man who owned a farm out on the Dundas road who was approached by a couple of strangers not long ago, and asked to put a price on his farm of 100 acres or more. The owner thought he would stagger the strangers by asking a still price, and said he would sell for $75,000. Not another word was said by the strangers, but one of them pulled a roll of bills from his pocket, and counted out $1,000, which he tendered to bind the bargain. “Those strangers are dead easy,” thought the farmer, and after he had signed a contract to sell the land, he began to think there must be something behind all this. When George H. Mills was a boy, the owner of that same farm would have considered himself if he could have sold it at $10 an acre. There is lots of cheap land in Canada yet, but it is now within the sound of Hamilton’s church bells.

On the 13th day of March, 1855, George H. Mills went out to Waukegan, Illinois, and married a western Yankee girl, and after thirty years of wedded life, he paid this beautiful tribute to the mother of his children : “For thirty-one years, we have lived together, sharing joys, hopes, and sorrows. You have the best of mothers. She has faithfully and tendered watched over you in sickness, and in health she has, almost single-handed, shaped your lives: and if you have become respected members; and if you have become respected members of society, to her, far more than anybody else, you are indebted for your preparation and early training to fit you for the position.” In 1857, like Teddy Roosevelt, Mr. Mills shied his hat into the political ring, and offered himself as candidate for alderman in St. George’s ward. J. D. Pringle, a prominent barrister, being his opponent. Adam Brown, our genial postmaster, was a younger man then than he is now, and although he and Mr. Mills were warm, personal friends, Mr. Brown gave his influence to Mr. Pringle. The contest was hot and close, but Mr. Mills came out ahead by a very small majority. Evidently he was a man of ideas and he had the force of character to convince others to his way of thinking. At that time our present beautiful Gore park was a mud hole and the dumping ground for the refuse from the stores on King street fronting it. The old stagers will remember the ancient Gore, with the town pump on a high platform facing James street. This old Muser is not going to throw any stones at the old Gore, nor at the old pump, for the pump played an important part in the comfort of the old stagers during the cholera season in 1854. When nearly all of the wells in Hamilton were thought to be polluted from the back yard connections to the houses, and people were afraid to drink the water without boiling, that the old pump furnished pure, cool water and quenched the thirsts of thousands everyday. People would walk a long distance in the evening in the evening for a drink before retiring for the night. There should be a tablet erected to the memory of the old pump at the west end of the Gore.

During George H. Mills first term as alderman, he made the improvement of the Gore his special care and study, and in the council and in the newspapers, he advocated the planting of trees and the filling up of the mud hole, and by constant hammering at his hobby, he finally got a majority of the council to his way of thinking. There was a strong sentiment in favor of building an arcade on the strip, renting the lower floor to small shopkeepers and the upper stories for offices, and occupying a part of it for city hall purposes. Hamilton had at that time a number of leading men who worshiped at the shrine of the almighty dollar and the possible revenue that might be deprived from an arcade appealed more to the practical side than a square of grass and trees in the business part of the city. The result of Mr. Mills’ advocacy  of trees, grass and flowers is to be seen today in the beautiful park between James and Hughson streets. To another alderman in later years is due the credit of the extension of the park down to John street. Fifteen years ago, this strip was about as filthy and disreputable-looking as almost any alley in the city – and to the discredit of Hamilton the alleys within one block of King street are as foul-smelling as they were half a century ago when there was no money to clean them up. William Findlay was a progressive alderman fifteen years ago, and had something to do with the public works, probably chairman of the committee, and that strip was not only an eyesore to him, but to every business man on both sides of the street. The cabmen occupied it as a stand, and it was a filthy sight in the center of an ambitious city. Ald. Findlay had a hard fight to get the consent of council to change the cab stand into a beautiful park, but he finally succeeded, and today, there is not a city in Canada or anywhere else that can show such a handsome picture. The present generation of aldermen and controllers are not quite so esthetic in their tastes, for instead of adding to the beauties of the Gore parks, they are going to burrow underneath and build a retreat for benchers in the park.

The dark days of 1857 not only overshadowed Canada, but closed up the factories and workshops in the United States. Those were the days of wildcat currency, when a bank note that was worth a dollar at night was not worth a cent in the morning. There was no stability to the banks as we have them now, when every dollar note is worth its face value in gold. Canada and the United States were buying everything they needed from foreign countries, and the money that should be kept at home to give employment to our own citizens was sent away to enrich labor in foreign countries. But we are not going to discuss the protective tariff in these musings. Hamilton’s worst black eye was received in 1858, when thousands of young men had to leave home and seek employment elsewhere. Mr. Mills refers to those days in the sketch we have at command. That man by acclamation, for his constituents approved of his progressive ideas. In those days the mayor of the city was selected by the board of aldermen from among their own number, and Mr. Mills was accorded the honor of election. The year 1858 will long be remembered by the old stagers as one of the most trying on account of commercial depression, that Canada ever experienced, not even excepting the dark and calamitous year of 1849, when many leading men could see no way out of the prevailing depression but annexation to the United States. Previous to 1858, many public works, railways and canals had been in progress, large armies of men being employed and large sums of money expended. Hamilton was then in the midst of its construction of the waterworks system, and owing to the scarcity of money and the abundance of labor unemployed, the contractors could get labor at any price, men working in the trenches as low as fifty cents a day, and glad to get work even at that. All of the public works in the provinces were substantially abandoned, and the men who were thrown out of work crowded into the cities. These people had not been provident while receiving good pay for their work, and the approach of winter found them nearly destitute. Men were glad to get work even on half time, and this old Muser can well remember that for long weeks he was glad to get employment on half time, setting long primer and brevier at 27 cents per thousand. Funds were low in the city’s treasury, and pressing applications for relief daily increased till the close of the year. Many days during the month of December, the city hall was besieged by strong men begging for work, asking for food, clamoring for some kind of municipal measures that might better their condition. Some days the number of applicants for relief reached as high as three hundred. It was a critical and serious time. The few factories and workshops we had in Hamilton were substantially shut down, and those in operation employed their men on half time. The city council opened a number of new streets to furnish labor, the number of applicants far exceeding the demand, especially as money was scarce in the city treasury. In order to divide up the labor among so many, lots were drawn and those who were fortunate enough to draw a lucky number were given three days work at a time at fifty cents a day. In this employment was furnished to the most needy. The opening of new streets and the construction of the waterworks system about furnished enough work to keep body and soul together. It is different today in Hamilton when men are getting fifty cents an hour instead of fifty cents a day as they did fifty-five years ago. While the men were clamoring for work in 1858 to keep their families from want, the corridors of the city hall were crowded with women and children besieging the mayor for help. In order to satisfy himself that the real needy ones should not suffer, Mayor Mills, accompanied by Donald Dawson, a city policeman, visited the homes of the people, and tyhis opened his eyes to the misery that was present. With what relief money that could be spared from the city funds, and such aid as the benevolent societies could render, no one was permitted to suffer for bread. Unfortunately, there was a class  in the city who traded on the general misfortunes by asking and receiving aid when they were not really in need. At some of the houses visited by the mayor and Donald Dawson, they found families that had been making the poorest mouths, well-supplied with provisions, and many of them had money in the savings bank. Donald made a record of them, and henceforth they wisely kept away from the city hall. So heartsick and wearied was Mr. Mills with his official duties that at the end of the year, he declined to be a candidate for re-election.

Happily for Hamilton, the tide of prosperity turned in its favor when the civil war in the United States began, for when the American boys left the workshops for the tented field, a demand for labor sprung up and thousands of Canadians  left their homes and crossed the border to fill the vacancies in the workshops. During the war over 50,000 Canadians became enthused with the war spirit, and they in turn left the workshops to shoulder arms for Uncle Sam. In 1858, Hamilton had a population of between 15,000 and 20,000, today it is nearing 85,000. Fifty-five years ago, there were but few workshops or factories in the town; today there are nearly 400 industrial establishments, giving employment to no less than 25,000 men and women. More than $13,000,000 are paid out yearly in wages, and the factories are turning out products that are valued at $45,000,000. These be the growing days for Hamilton when 25 feet frontage on King street sells for $100,000, that the owner of it thirteen years ago was glad to sell for $28,000. A big Toronto firm has been watching the growth, and now comes into the game, buying nearly a whole block in the heart of the city, three blocks from King street, and one from James street, for the purposes of erecting a large department store and workshops to supply its trade. The Head of the Lake is coming into its own even though it took a hundred years for Canada and the United States to find out its great advantages as an industrial center. Hereafter no Torontonian will dare belittle the mountain by calling it a hill; nor will the good women of Hamilton be running off to Toronto during the summer months to buy cheap goods that will cost them more than a better quality can be bought in the home stores. The past belongs to the old stagers, who planned and builded wisely; the future is a story yet to be told by some Muser that is to come.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013


In last Saturday’s Spectator was a very fine write-up of the town of Milton of the present day. Before us we have a copy of the Halton Journal of the date of August 15, 1856 – fifty-six years ago. The Journal was published in the town of Milton by Rowe & Graham, price $2 a year if paid in advance. For advertisements the publishers charged fifty cents for the first insertion of six lines and under, and twenty-five cents for each subsequent insertion. If the country papers of the present day could command such prices, and have as many columns of local advertising in each issue, the proprietors would be riding around the country in $1,000 motor cars and smoking ten cent cigars. The Journal was printed on all rag paper which accounts for its good condition after all these years. The editors were evidently prolific writers, for there are five and one-half columns of editorial devoted to political questions and one solitary local item announcing the death of the young son of Mr. Vannorman, who was scalded  by the upsetting of a kettle of boiling lye. Boiler plate had not come into vogue in the old-time country newspaper offices, and all the matter was set in long primer and brevier type. The size of the paper was eight columns of which the advertisements filled a little more than seven columns. The first page had a story written by Sylvanus Cobb, jun., and to fill out there was a little miscellany. The second page had selections of foreign news and an account of a political meeting in Hamilton, which had been called to denounce the Tory government, and a request to the governor-general to dissolve the house of assembly. Even in those early days the people were demanding the referendum and recall. One item may be interesting now. It told of a miraculous escape from death. A young farmer, named William Symington, aged nineteen years, was cleaning out a well on the farm of John  Weir, West Flamboro. The well was forty-five feet deep, and having taken out a number of bucketsful from the bottom, he attempted to push in a stone that projected too far out. In doing so the whole side of the well from top to bottom caved in and he was a prisoner under forty-five feet of earth and stone. A crowd soon collected and they began to dig down to his relief. After four or five hours’ digging they heard him moan. All through that night and Sunday did the workers toil, and about ten o’clock on Sunday night, they were successful in reaching him. For twenty-eight hours was he entombed under forty-five feet of earth. When the earth and stones were taken off him, some good Samaritan handed him a glass of beer, which he gulped down in one draught, and then became unconscious for a time. Fortunately no bones were broken, but he was severely bruised on several parts of his body.


          The advertisements in an old newspaper are generally a sort of directory of the prominent men of the community. We will take a run through the advertising columns, and let the Milton people compare the names of the past with the present. In 1856, Milton had not yet become an incorporated village, and a public meeting was called at Hampton’s inn on Tuesday evening, Aug. 19, to take into consideration the propriety of petitioning the governor-general to declare Milton an incorporated village. Alfred Galbraith had a jeweler’s shop in Georgetown, and he announced that he had also opened a branch shop in Milton. Culver, the daguerrean artist, had made pictures of everybody in and around Milton, and he invited those who had not availed themselves of the opportunity “that now was the accepted time,” as he was about leaving the village. George Phillips concluded that there was room in Milton for a first-class tinner, and he announces his readiness to do any class of work as cheap as any other man in Halton county. Just think of what a boy had to be in order to learn the printing business! He must have a good English education and furnish testimonials as to character. Of course, the Milton woods were full of such boys. Robert Todd invited inspection of his stock of groceries and provisions, especially his brands of wines, brandy, Old Tom gin, Jamaica rum, Scotch and old rye whiskey. He had a little common Canadian whiskey for customers who had spent all their money on the fine grades of booze. The Nelson woolen mills, owned by George Reid & Co., called attention to its fine stock of cloths, satinets, tweeds, blankets, and flannels. The same firm wanted to buy 10,000 pounds of good, clean wool and 500 barrels of soft soap. James Laidlaw called attention to his stock of books, stationery and groceries; also, to the fact that a large portion of the stock of the Milton branch Bible society was still on hand. Mrs. Noble taught school in Milton, and thanked the parents for sending their children to her. The next term began on Aug. 18. Daniel Noble had a number of valuable horses to sell cheap for cash or on joint notes. Evidently the Scott law was not in force in Halton county in those days for George Clarkson sold groceries on the side, but made a specialty of his liquor trade. To show that he was broad-minded, he also sold temperance drinks. The sheriff had his customers, for several unfortunates were having their land sold by that official. Dr. Freeman, the county coroner, W. Hume and A. Buck were the local doctors, and besides those the doctors in neighboring villages advertised for a share of the sick trade in Milton. Gilbert Bastedo was the village attorney, but lawyers in Hamilton and Oakville reached out for their share of the litigation. C. A. Baker and Peter McKay were the licensed auctioneers for the county. Winter & Howitt, provincial land surveyors, did a joint business in Milton and Oakville. Hill & Bowers sold dry goods, groceries, hardware and everything else, and Miss Hill made the lids for the ladies to wear on their heads as well as dresses and mantillas. Thomas B. Ross and William Armstrong were rival village tailors, and Robert Vigeon was the only shoemaker that advertised. Smiley & Robson owned the steam saw mill and planning machine; John J. Humphrey and William Adamson did the contracting and building, and William A. Agar put the finishing touches with the paint brush and paper hanging. Once upon a time they had a foundry in Milton, but that must have been in the early ages, for there was nothing of the kind nearly sixty years ago. The only reference to it in the Halton journal is that it was then being used for smaller workshops. Little & Gould had a carriage shop, and their shop was in the old Samuel Morse foundry. An advertisement  that was overlooked when the preceding paragraph was written tells us that Samuel Morse was going to build a new foundry, which he hoped to have in operation before the close of the year 1856, but in the meantime he kept constantly on hand plows and other standard castings. He was also prepared to take contracts for the erection of buildings. Charles Gardner, M. D., besides practicing the healing art, devoted his leisure time to the insurance business. J. Riach conducted the Milton saddler establishment, and George Craig was prepared to supply from his quarry cut stone and rubble for building purposes. John Kennedy advertised cooking, parlor and box stoves at reduced prices. Dentistry must have been a thriving business for R. Trotter, J. Zimmerman, and J. Bastedo were after the afflicted trade. The three dentists had regular circuits in the nearby towns, and announced that they would treat patients at their own homes. George Hurlburt, having purchased the patent of Briggs’ celebrated washing machine for the county of Halton, had opened a factory in which to build the machines. One whole column was devoted to the sale of farm lands, and great bargains were offered. Hamilton business and professional men patronized the advertising columns of the Journal.


          There is nothing like going through the advertising columns of a venerable newspaper or through the pages of an ancient directory. It is like passing through a graveyard and reading the names on the tombstones. The people who were on the active force in Milton sixty years ago have finished life’s journey, only now and then some one may be found who has any recollection of them. It is the same everywhere. The poet’s corner was a favorite department in every newspaper in the old days, and the selections were generally from the best writers. The Singers, by Henry W. Longfellow, and Don’t Be Downhearted were the favorites of the editors of the Journal for that week. Perhaps some lover of Longfellow’s sweet songs will appreciate The Singers, therefore we copy the verses:
          God sent his singers upon earth,
          With songs of sadness and of mirth,
          That they might touch the hearts of men,
          And bring them back to heaven again.

The first, a youth, with soul of fire,
Held in his hand a golden lyre,
Through groves he wandered and by streams
Playing the music of our dreams.

The second, with bearded face,
Stood singing in the market place,
And stirred with accents deep and loud
The hearts of all the listening crowd.

A gray old man, the third and last,
Sang in cathedrals dim and vast,
While the majestic organ roll’d
Contrition for the mouths of gold.

And those who heard the singers three
Disputed which the best might be;
For still their music seemed to start
Discordant echoes in each heart.

But the great Master said, “I see
No best in kind, but in degree;
I gave a various gift to each,
To charm, to strengthen and to teach.

“These are the three great chords of might.
And he whose ear is tuned aright
Will hear no discord in the three,
But the most perfect harmony.”


In looking over an old directory of the town of Milton for the year 1869 the only name we find that was in business in that town in 1856 is that of Dr. Freeman. Evidently Milton was not a growing place fifty years ago, for, in 1869, the population was only 1,000. In the latter year there were 67 business and professional men in Milton. The name of John White, M.P.P., appears in the directory. Sixty years ago, the White family, of Milton, was largely interested in King street business property in this city., and the White block now occupied by the Brewster store and the empty room adjoining is still owned by the family. In 1869, the Champion was the name of the paper, the Journal having passed in its checks. It had four taverns in 1869 and four churches to offset the booze business.
However, Milton’s sun is beginning to shine, and if the oil wells only hold out as they now give promise, it will become one of the boom towns of Canada. Away back nearly sixty years ago, oil was discovered in the country between London and the Detroit river. Frederick Watkins, who was raised on a farm somewhere in the vicinity of Milton, was one of the chief promoters. At that time he was in business here in Hamilton with his two brothers. Visions o wealth lured him from the counter to the oil fields, and being an enthusiastic believer in the flowing wells, he invested his bottom dollar in and around Petrolia. George Brown, the editor of the Toronto Globe, was another enthusiast, but unfortunately the men who did the promoting were not the ones to reap the benefits. After the Standard Oil corporation came into existence that body absorbed all the oil lands in that section, and the money that should have gone into the pockets of the early promoters and their children went to enrich the coffers of John D. Rockefeller and his partners. It might be a profitable  study for the owners of the oil fields around Milton to take a leaf from the experience of the past, and, instead of turning over their land to the speculators, form companies among themselves  and keep the profits at home. Probably a kind Providence has opened the bowels of the earth and poured out this oleaginous richness in order to recoup the unfortunate people in that neighbourhood, who had so much faith in Beattie Nesbitt, Travers and other promoters of the defunct Farmers’ Bank as to lose their hard-earned money in a wildcat speculation. Oil is valuable as a fuel, and the four or five hundred factories in Hamilton will afford a close and ready market for the Milton output.