Saturday, 26 October 2013


          Sixty-seven years ago a delegation of temperance workers from Cleveland, Ohio, connected with the Independent Order of Good Templars, invaded the province of Ontario for the purpose of organizing lodges, and in the month of May, 1854, they unfurled the banner of temperance in the city of Hamilton. It did not require much effort to interest a few prominent men and women in the work, and a list of about fifty member was secured and Hamilton Lodge, No. 9, was organized with Dr. William L. Case, E. D. Cahill, John W. Bickle, Joseph Faulkner, Joseph Hoodless, Thomas C. Watkins, Rev. William McLure, C. H. Ather and Dr. J. M. VanNorman, Milton Davis, Rev. John Hebden, nearly all the ministers in the city, and others whose names have passed from the memory of the writer, as the leading spirits in the revival of temperance. The Sons of Temperance had been organized a few years before, and had done a grand work in Hamilton in reclaiming men from the alcoholic habit. Through the instrumentality of the Sons, a lodge of the Cadets of Temperance had been organized, the membership consisting of boys under eighteen years of age. Hamilton then had a population of about fourteen thousand and not less than two hundred licensed taverns and a number of what they called in Ireland “shebeens,” the proprietors of which failed to call on Tom Beasley and deposit the necessary $50 for a license. John Barleycorn was certainly at the head of affairs in Hamilton, as he was in almost in every town in Canada in those days. The grand division of the Sons of Temperance had about four hundred subordinate divisions under its jurisdiction in Ontario, and the Hamilton division had about fifty members. It was the hope of the Sons of Temperance that the boys from the Cadets of Temperance would join their ranks when they reached the age of eighteen years, but they were disappointed.
          The same conditions existed in the United States, and to save the boys from the temptations of the saloon, the temperance workers decided that some new organization where the boys and girls could be brought together might do more effective work. The Cadets of Temperance was a good place to start the boys, but when they graduated from the cadets they did not seem inclined to enter the lodge with the older men.
          The Sons of Temperance had done a grand work in persuading men to give up the use of intoxicating liquors, and scores of homes were made happy by the reformation of husbands and sons, but with a drinking saloon in nearly every part of the city, the temptation was too strong to be overcome and many a man fell back into his old habits. With the organization of the Good Templars in Hamilton in the month of may, 1854, there was a revival in the temperance work, and the young people were attracted to the lodge room. The girls had an influence in persuading their boy associates to become members of the order, and it was not long before Hamilton lodge had a membership of four hundred, and every Friday night saw the lodge room in Temperance hall on King street crowded to its fullest capacity. This necessitated the finding of a larger quarters in which to hold the meetings, and the second and third stories in part of the Elgin block on John street were purchased and transformed into a capacious hall, the members of the lodge contributing the money to pay for the building.
          On the 21st of November, 1854, the order had increased in membership to warrant the organization of the Grand Lodge of Canada, when the grand officers from Ohio again invaded Canada, and in Hamilton was instituted the Canadian Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Good Templars, with Dr. Case as grand worthy chief Templar. The order grew apace, not only in Hamilton but also in Upper Canada, there being a lodge in nearly every village. At the meeting of the Grand Lodge in 1857, two hundred and twenty-five subordinate lodges responded to the roll call, representing a membership of about 12,000. At that meeting, Dr. Case retired from the head office, feeling that the burden was too much for his advancing years, and Dr. J. M. VanNorman was elevated to the office of grand worthy chief.
          Don’t fancy for a moment that all the young and old men whose names at times appeared on the rolls remained faithful to their pledge. Even with the old-fashioned lodge meetings of the Sons of Temperance and the Good Templars, many weak brothers had to be held up and encouraged. And it was in the Good Templars that the influence of woman had good effect. Many happy marriages occurred in the old Hamilton lodge, and many a bright young fellow became a valuable citizen to the community. On the ocean of life one encounters, at rare intervals, men, and even women, whom it is unfair to characterize as derelicts. Hamilton, unfortunately, had had its share.
          Thus works great changes. Of the hundreds of young men and young women who were members of old Hamilton lodge when it was organized sixty-seven years ago, so far as we can call to mind, there are but three living in Hamilton today – and two of those have lived together as man and wife for nearly sixty-four years.

          The writer of this bit of temperance history was a charter member of the first grand lodge of Good Templars that was organized in this city on the 21st of November, 1854, and as we review the past, it has its pleasant memories. One good thing resulting from the Good Templars was the provincial law closing drinking saloons at seven o’clock on Saturday nights. The annual session of the grand lodge will meet in the city of Toronto on Tuesday next, May 24, in Willard’s hall. Tom McNaughton, of Hamilton, will preside as grand worthy chief. The session will be represented by all of the subordinate lodges in Ontario. Toronto, London, and Hamilton are expected to send large delegations, as much important business is expected. It is believed that there will be many changes in the official list, as among the officers who will not seek re-election in Tom McNaughton, who has been the very efficient grand Templar for several terms. A. H. Lyle, of Hamilton, who has been grand secretary for the past nine years and a member of the order for twenty-two years, feels that he has done his duty and will go back into the ranks. Mrs. Tom McNaughton has served in the office of grand vice-templar and she feels like taking a rest. Both Tom McNaughton and his good wife are natives of Scotland, and began in the temperance ranks in the city of Glasgow in the juvenile templars. Since 1907, they have been actively engaged in temperance work in this city.
          Among the active temperance workers in Hamilton who have devoted many years is F. S. Morison, a past grand chief Templar, who was the organizer and first chief Templar of International lodge, in this city, which shortly celebrates its thirty-seventh anniversary, and has maintained its position as the premier lodge in Ontario. Hamilton has always been the headquarters of the Good Templars, for it was in this city that the first grand lodge was organized sixty-seven years ago, and from among its founders were the head officers selected for a number of years. For many years interest in the order died out, till thirty-seven years ago, when S. F. Morison became interested in temperance work and organized International lodge, which has been a blessing to many young men who might otherwise have gone astray had they not seen the influence of the weekly meetings. A second lodge has been organized, and is growing in numbers. A. H. Lyle and Tom McNaughton and his good wife have been active members in the lodges, and with the Morison family have kept alive an interest in Good Templarism. Sixty-four years ago, Hamilton had two strong lodges, numbering over one thousand members. For ten years or more, the lodges were on the top wave of prosperity, but, unfortunately, designing men began to use their connection with the order to give them a hoist in politics and then it gradually dwindled down till finally the members began to lose interest and the result was dissolution.


          What changes have the Spectator and the writer of these Musings seen in Hamilton in the past seventy-one years! Both of us were young in years away back in 1850, and Hamilton had but recently become an incorporated city, with a population of about 10,200. The town had six newspapers – the Gazette, the Journal and Express, the Spectator, and the Canada Christian Advocate, the Wochenblatt, three of the papers representing two of the political parties, and three the religious element. The Spectator was not quite five years old, but seemed to have the inside track from the start. The newspaper business in Canada, and especially in Hamilton, was not on the fortune-making side, and the publishers had to do some close scratching to make ends meet and pay the hands a part of their week’s earnings when Saturday night came. But things are different now, and it is of the present we are going to talk this week. Old Spec, we remember you when you were struggling to keep your head up in the newspaper world. When Edwin Dalley kept a grocery store, with drugs as a sideline, on York street, a few rock-bottom Tories used to meet in his shop at night after the business of the day was ended, and talk over the future of Hamilton, especially its politics, and they finally got to the point of determining that the Tory party needed an editor who could hold his own with Solomon Brega, who was editor of the Journal and Express, and Mr. Dalley was delegated on his next business trip to Montreal to hunt up such an one. And Robert R. Smiley was recommended. Mr. Smiley belonged in Kingston, but was fortunate in getting a situation in the government printing office in Montreal. To make a long story short, Mr. Smiley accepted the position. He had but little capital to begin with, but Mr. Dalley became a godfather to the new enterprise. In July, 1846, Mr. Smiley and his young bride came from Kingston to make their home in Hamilton, and on the 16th of July, the first number of the Spectator came into being. The only living person in Hamilton who has any knowledge of that event is the fair young bride who eleven years later became a widow and is now living on the mountain top, at the head of James street. What changes has that dear woman seen in Hamilton the past seventy-one years! Old Spec, you and I have seen great changes.
          Then the Spectator was printed on a second-hand Washington hand press at the rate of a “token” an hour. How many of the printer boys today know how many sheets of paper it took to make a “token?” It took ten quires of paper of twenty-four sheets to the quire. The venerable and honored president of the Spectator no doubt remembers it well, having played “the devil” at the old Washington hand press in the Free Press office in London, when he was but a lad taking his first lessons at the printer’s art. The writer of these Musings had played “the devil” at the same hand press in the Free Press office some years before, with Charles Kidner as his tutor. Just fancy the time it took to run off four “tokens,” on one side only of a four-page paper. It took a pretty active pressman in those days to run off a thousand papers on both sides for that day’s work. Compare that old Washington hand press that cost about $250, on which the Spectator was first printed, with the $100,000 Hoe press on which today’s Spectator is printed. It was a good day’s work for the old-time hand-pressman to print one thousand copies of the paper. Today the new Spectator’s $100,000 Hoe cylinder press printed and folded the edition of over 25,000 copies of 28 pages to each copy, in less than an hour, and then the press was not run up to nearly full speed. The full capacity of the new press is 75,000 per hour for thirty-two pages per paper, folded and ready to be handed out to the carrier boys or the mailing clerks. When the souvenir number of this Great Family Journal is printed the reader will get a better idea of the change that has taken place since seventy-one years ago.


          Every little while you get some fellow who explains his failure by saying that opportunity no longer exists. He takes some successful man as an example, and gets off such stuff like this : “Look at Smith; he’s got money, of course; but how did he get it? His father was so poor when he first settled along the banks of the Grand river that it was nip and tuck how he was going to support his family when he first settled in Canada; but he put every penny he could raise and scrape into the cheap land that was to have been had seventy-five years ago for almost a song. He just naturally held on to it, and in time the natural increase in land values made him rich. When the old man died, the estate was divided up, and Smith got his portion, some of which he sold at a fabulous price. It was all bull luck.” Smith was not the only man who got rich in Canada out of the increase in land values, and he had his father to thank for it. He never would have made a dollar if it had not been left him. A good many have grown rich in Hamilton through the careful habits of their fathers who bought lots when land was cheap and held on to them.
          But opportunity is not dead, nor is the chance to make money confined solely to real estate operations. Luck plays a very small part in the affairs of a successful man. The ability to look ahead, to work hard while one is young, and to save, are still the important factors in laying by a competence. Nor is opportunity a matter of geographical location. The chances are as good here in Hamilton as elsewhere.

Monday, 14 October 2013


From childhood for centuries past, each generation has had it instituted into its youthful mind the story of Ananias and Sapphira being struck dead, “caught with a lie on their tongues.” What a snap it would be for the undertakers of the present day if instant death was meted out to every prevaricator. It would be a lonesome world, for there would be but few of us left to tell the story of what had become of the other fellows, especially after the assessor had made his annual visit to discover how good Hamiltonians  had stored away their wealth to dodge the tax collector. When Teddy Roosevelt had the job of president of the neighboring republic, he found occasion to organize an Ananias club, and it is wonderful how its membership increased, especially in the last presidential election. A Detroit Methodist preacher has come to the rescue, and henceforth that old Ananias story will have to go in the wastebasket. The preacher has evidently been reading his Bible to some purpose, for he has discovered another character different altogether from the lying old Ananias, the titular saint of Teddy’s club. The preacher, in his Sunday sermon recently, goes into the thing scientifically, and tells us that interest in the Ananias club has been greatly revived in the last three or four years. There has been evidence along the same lines even in this city of churches, my ancient Hamiltonian. The Detroit preacher has turned the limelight on the Book of Acts and proves to us that there were two ancients of the name of Ananias, one a rascal that gets headlines and special write-ups in this Great Family Journal, while the other was a saint living in Damascus, who led the great apostle Paul into the comprehension of spiritual values. The Damascus saint of the strong, fine, useful life is forgotten by most, and never finds his way into the newspaper columns at all. This is an unhealthy condition. Men get so used to looking for faults that they over look the virtues. Life is all evil to them. The life and character of that old rascal, the Ananias of Jerusalem, seems to have clouded the purer and brighter life of the Ananias of Damascus. Now the only object this Muser has in calling attention to the discovery of the Detroit preacher is that our readers will hunt through the Book of Acts and get at the true story of the Damascus Ananias.

          “There are too many jacks of all trades and masters of none,” said a preacher in a recent sermon. That is as true in Hamilton today as it is in any part of this old world. Every man should have something to do, and should do that something well. There is no more important question for a boy to settle at that start than what is to be his future in the line of earning his daily bread. The majority of boys rarely give a thought as to what is to become of them when school days are over. Parents make every sacrifice to give their children an education to fit them for future life, but unfortunately but few parents ever give a thought to the trade their boys should learn, or the training their daughters should have to fit them to earn a living or become the head of a family. With many young people, the question remains unsettled till it is too late to begin the learning of a trade, and the result is the great army of young men who are drifting about, like Micawber, waiting for something to turn up. In boyhood there is no responsibility resting upon them even to earning the money they spend for pleasure, for indulgent mother will make any sacrifice rather than that her boy not should be able to hold up his end when there is money to be provided. This old Muser feels an interest in boys, and for that reason we keep harping on that old-time subject; “Learn a trade!” The board of education has provided a way for every boy in the city to lay a foundation for becoming a skilled workman, and it can be done while the boy is yet a pupil in the public school, or a beginner in some of the four hundred workshops in this great industrial centre. For three nights each week during the school term, the Technical School is open to any boy or girl who is willing to hit himself, or herself, to become skilled and independent workers by the time school days are over. The demand of the present day for educated brains in the workshops has been well said. It is up to the boys of today to get the very best possible preparation for life. They cannot always depend upon father and mother for food and clothing, for the time will come when parents are old and are not able to do these things for their children. Skilled brains are what count in Hamilton’s four hundred workshops, and the boys who takes advantage of the training to be had in the Technical School is faraway ahead of the boy who spends his evenings on the street corners, in the pool rooms or gymnasiums that even churches are fitting up to teach boys the manly art of self-defense.
          It is a hopeful sign that our boards of education have come to the point where the foundations of a trade are looked upon as part of the practical education of every boy. Hamilton has reason to be proud of its Technical school, but more is the pity, parents and children fail to appreciate the advantages afforded by it, and where there should be hundreds of boys in the technical school room, you can find them out on the street corners learning to be the future loafers of our city and not the skilled workmen every master mechanic is calling to fill some responsible place. Hamilton has earnest teachers in the technical school, who feel the responsibility and importance of training boys for future lives of usefulness. It is up to the parents to see that their boys take advantage of the course of study provided for them by the generosity of the taxpayers and the thoughtfulness of the board of education. The more boys that are educated and prepared for the workshop, the fewer in number will be the criminals that are educated on the street corners and in the pool rooms. Half a century ago, nearly every boy expected to learn some trade or profession when he arrived at the age of fifteen or eighteen years of age, nowadays it is different. It is not always easy for the boy to make a choice, but he will certainly not make any mistake by taking a course of thorough training in Hamilton’s splendidly equipped technical school. Don’t be a jack of all trades.


          A young man begins life with a determination to lay a certain sum aside each year during his earnings so that when age comes upon him, and his wife who has economized with him all those years to add to the future income, the house of refuge will not stare them in the face. Husband and wife know what every dollar of them cost them in the way of self-denial and close economy. Not being a speculator and timid about risking his savings, he invests in bank stocks or in a mortgage on real estate, faithfully applying the dividends or interest toward increasing the principal. It is a slow process to save the first thousand dollars, but there is always the pleasure of knowing that, by and by, comfort wi8ll be insured when age comes, and the earning days are over. Now and then in this busy world, there stands out a few men who by speculation amass great fortunes, but it is only the very thrifty ones who save small amounts weekly, monthly, yearly, till the time comes when the manger of the workshop, in which he may have labored many years, tells him that he will have to make way for a younger man, and he goes out never to take up his work again. It is then that the few thousands he may have saved bring him comfort and solace, for he feels independent as to the few remaining years allotted to him and his good wife. While he was at work, there was a certain portion of his savings exempt from taxation, but now that his earning days are over, the tax collector swoops down on his little savings in the bank stock and demands that he pay to the municipality twenty mills or more on the amount of dividends he may receive from his savings. The provident and careful are punished, while the spendthrift and neglectful escape. During all the years the provident and careful man has been saving for the rainy day, the spendthrift has been blowing his earnings in extravagant living, playing the ponies, improving his muscle in the tenpin alleys, burning the midnight gas at the poker tables, or is filling himself with strong drink. The provident man has been supporting the municipal government during all his years by the payment of taxes on his home, while too often the spendthrift’s family have to be aided from the municipal charity fund.


          When Thomas White, Hamilton’s ancient organ builder died, he left as a legacy to his nephew, Morley Fager, a package of Branigan’s Chronicles, and a package of The Growler, two small papers published weekly in Hamilton in 1859. The old-timers will remember Terry Branigan, a member of the city council and afterward clerk of the market, the reputed editor of the Chronicles, when it was well-known that he could not write a paragraph. The Growler was the first of the two papers published. In due time, Branigan’s Chronicles was started, and between the two papers very few public characters were safe from vicious attacks. Withal there was something amusing in each issue, and the Growler and the Chronicles were profitable to the publishers. But in the vcourse of time, the papers got so personal that it was time for public opinion to call a halt and they were suppressed. Here is an amusing item the old-timers entitled, “A Local Soliloquy;”  (Edotor’s Note – this is an extended fantasy using the surnames of prominent Hamiltonians of 1859 throughout, capitalized – difficult to read but it would have humorously resonated with the readers at that time) “I am a Freeman and stand upon a Proudfoot, ready still to tread o’er Craigie rocks. Sometimes I walk ‘neath Bridges to the water’s edge, where, in the distance, on the bank of the silvery stream, the Martins build their nests, and further on stand the money-making Mills. Oft I have wandered in sunny days in company with an old uncle Tomson – in moneymaking times, old father used to say to me, ‘Make on, I’ve caught an urchin climbing o’er my fence, who shouted out let me heg-go.’ Yea, and the time was when my friends accompanied by our musical Reed, we’ve wandered to the Dundas swamp, and on its broken banks stood like Adam’s sons sounding our music and debating upon the wonders of decayed nature, when. lo, a voice is heard – we start, and leave behind the tremulous frog Spohn. Still we’ve proceeded when, lo, another voice – we listen – it is crying ‘Hold On.’ We look and behold a man, striving with an ass. We approach and hear him praying for a Sadler. What upon the ass’ back ? – a fish? – nought but a Burt-on. Yea, and forth comes a gust of wind, proclaimed by all a Spring-er. O’Hat is the next exclamation – my hat is gone, chased and found. We reach and enter a lovely cottage, whose inmates are devoring Ham-brose. We light our pipes, proceed and reach the monstrous Cahill, whose verdant covering recollection loves to bring to view. Yea, there upon its dangerous summit have I learned many of my useful lessons, yes, there oft have I wished myself a member of the Barr, and there I first resolved to neither joke nor Crack-more, for that oft brought me sorrow. I have read and thought of the race of Stewarts and the War-dells of bonnie Scotland with uncle Robertson. I’ve walked to Jarvis – O lovely village of two doctors and two taverns – pity that thou wert founded to so disgrace the country. O’Really! I fear I dream, or else too Mickle-ken. I’ve often thought that any man Mayken-n, if he only strives to learn it. Have I not seen Logie strive to make Lemon come to fortune. Yea, these were my palmy days, in which the Macs and the Denaids had the brightest share. The noise of the bells in my ears goes dingle, dingle, and my children around go Pringle, Pringle, Pringle and so for the present, I must have Dunn, and leave all the dears to revel in the Park.”

Sunday, 13 October 2013


Die poor and your relations will never bother their heads about you, but leave a bit of property, no matter if it is only a thousand or two dollars, and no will, claimants who never heard of you when you were fighting your way through life will spring up from every quarter and rush to the law courts for a share. Now this does not apply to the direct descendants such as wife, and children, to father and mother, brothers and sisters, for the law takes care of them unless the head of the family should take it into his head to make a will and cut his wife and children out of all he can under the law, and in a malevolent spirit, leave them penniless. This has been done more than once in this blessed city, and is likely to occur again. Men with good-looking wives and no children have been known to make a will and leave their wives, who have helped to create the wealth, with barely what the law recognizes as her her share, and divide it among even distant relatives who probably never gave them a crust of bread during their lifetime. A lawyer was once called in this city to make the will of a dying man, who had saved a handsome fortune, as riches were counted in his day. He worked long hours everyday at his business, never spent a cent willingly for benevolent purposes, and his wife was a frugal woman who might spent more in home comforts if she only had it. When his sands of life were running out, his wealth became a burden to him. He could not take it with him, as shrouds have no pockets, and he worried till almost the last moment before he could decide to whom it should go. One thing certain, the good wife who had made his home life as happy as it was possible for him to enjoy, and who had helped by her economy in creating the wealth, was not going to get her hands on any more of it than he could help, for she might marry again and some other fellow would have the spending of it. At the last moment he called for his lawyer and spent the last afternoon of his life in dividing the estate among relatives whom he had not seen since his younger days when he left his fatherland to come to Hamilton. He was careful to keep within the law as to the portion to be allotted to his wife. When the will was ready for the signature of the dying man, he was too weak to held the pen with which to sign his name, and on the advice of his lawyer deferred this important part till the next morning. The undertaker, however, was at the house before the lawyer the next morning, and the will was never signed. The lawyer, in telling the story afterward, said he was never so happy as when he saw the undertaker’s emblem of mourning on that door, and he returned to his office, without entering the home of death, rejoicing that there was victory in the grave. The wife got half of the estate, which left her substantially wealthy during her lifetime, and she had no desire to enter again the matrimonial market. That she loved her husband goes without saying, for her married life was devoted to his comfort and happiness.


                                   MISER TODD
Some years ago, a miser who had spent his lifetime wandering between St. Catharines and Hamilton, hoarded every cent that came to him till he accumulated quite a large sum of money. He did not even supply himself with the commonest necessities of life. The poor old fellow was even too mean to get married, for some woman would be glad to share his fortune even if she could not give in return the ordinary respect and love that should be a home. The old miser was not known to have a relative, but sadly and alone he plodded on through life, his only desire being to add dollar upon dollar. The time came for him to answer the last roll-call in life, and to die decently he beat his way on the Grand Trunk road from St. Catharines to Hamilton and at the station in this city was removed from the train to the city hospital in a free ambulance. The ruling passion was even strong in the closing hours of life. For the first time in many years, he enjoyed the luxury of a bath and clean clothes to sleep in, and then quietly ended the journey without telling even the nurse who attended him in the hospital who was to pay the bill. But he was rich. In his ragged old clothing, bank books were found, and the more the officials hunted the greater was the wonder at where the old Todd got it all. There were no relatives to attend his burial, although the hospital officials made due inquiry in the vicinity of Niagara Falls and St. Catharines, but when it became known that the old fellow left a large estate in money, an army of relatives and claimants swarmed into the courts to get a share of it. Some people who had never heard of Todd during his lifetime were among the most persistent of the claimants. And the final result was that the lawyers got fat fees while the claimants were fighting. “The lawyers will get it,” as the old man in the play of the Chimney Corner said wen he was hiding his money in the chimney. And the lawyers did get a generous share of Miser Todd’s fortune after all.
                                             HONORA N. CAHIL-PEELE
          And this brings us down to the point we had in view when we started this bit of ancient history. Just think of what a stir this poor little Irish baby, born in Dundas more than seventy years ago, is making today. It is a “Tale of Two Cities” – Hamilton, Canada and San Francisco, California. It dates back to when Hamilton was but little more than village, and now it comes into full bloom when this great industrial city, with a population of more than one hundred thousand and then as many more as Assessment Commissioner McLeod and his army of assessors feel like adding so as to keep just a little ahead of ancient Bytown. There is rivalry in cities as there is in love. Of course, we might go on with that kind of camouflage till our allotted space was taken and then the reader would not know a bot about the “Tale of Two Cities.” And here we are again at the resurrection of that dear little Irish girl who first saw the light in Dundas nearly three quarters of a century ago. Honora Cahill would never have been heard of again in Hamilton or Dundas, although she has relations galore who now claim to know all about her child history, had she not left diamonds and jewels enough to almost fill all the show cases in Thomas Lees’ jewelry store; and besides the jewels there was gold and silver enough to enrich the coffers of the Bank of Hamilton and make Manager Bell monarch of all he surveyed.
          It is astonishing what a memory reviver a rich relation becomes after passing through the undertaker’s hands. We give a bit of Honora’s child history, as we learned it from a first cousin, who said it was but little he knew except that when he was a child, living in Dundas, his mother who was the only sister of Michael James Cahill, Honora’s father, would often wonder what became of her brother “Mick”  after he left Dundas, foe she “never heard hide or half of him or his family.” In the old days, when the postage on a letter cost from eight pence to fifteen pence, poor families did not keep up much correspondence with the absent ones, especially as not many poor Irishmen could read or write; and there were not many scholars who left old Ireland seventy-five years ago. “Mick” Cahill came to Hamilton when he was a bit of a gossoon, and he came to pave the way for the remainder of the family of the family if they could ever raise the passage money to bring them across the sea. Only one sister came, and she died in Dundas many years ago, after raising a family of boys and girls. Before “Mick” Cahill moved to Dundas, he married a young Irish girl, who, it is said, was born in this old town, but some of the relatives claim that she was a native of the county of Derry and came across the sea when she was a very young child. Be that as it may, for it is neither here nor there, “Mick” Chaill and this girl fell in love with each other, as it was a natural event in those days with Irish boys and girls, and they moved out to Dundas, where work was plenty at five shillings a day. Dundas was a busy town in those days, with its paper mills and factories, and other industries; and, by and by, the Great Western road was started, and every husky fellow who could handle a pick or a shovel was in demand. The Cahills had two children born to them in the Valley Town, a boy and a girl. The boy died in infancy, and when Honora was about two years old, the Cahills had a falling out, which resulted in a separation, and “Mick” went his way the mother went hers, and they never lived together afterwards.
          When Mrs. Cahill bid farewell to “Mick” forever , she came back to Hamilton, bringing with her the two year old Honora, and not knowing which way to turn, she went to the home of Mrs. Tangney, an Irish widow, who lived at No. 9 O’Reilly street, and that old friend advised her to take her child and go to Cleveland, Ohio, and she would give her a letter to a friend of hers, and by this means she would not be lonely in a strange city. When Mrs. Cahill went to Cleveland, she fortunately fell into the hands of a motherly old Irishwoman, who was a housekeeper in a good hotel, and there she got a home for herself and child. How many years she lived in Cleveland is a blank in her history, but the next heard of mother and daughter was that they were in California, and that Honora had married a noted horseman of those days by the name of Peele, and he was very successful on the race track. Then we have the story that Honora and her husband went to China, where Peele was noted for his “string” of races and added to the fatness of his bank account. The next we hear of Honora is that she was back again in San Francisco, California, but Peele seems to have dropped out of sight.
          It is said that Honora’s mother died about thirty years ago, but that neither mother nor daughter were again heard of in Hamilton, nor is it known that they ever visited here. “Mick” Cahill made several efforts to be conciliated with his wife, visiting her in Cleveland, but of no avail, and in time he drifted out, never to be heard of again in Hamilton.
          Some years later, there appeared in a directory of 1857 of Hamilton the names of Cornelius Cahill, a gardener, who lived on Catherine street, between Augusta and Peel, and Dennis Cahill, a laborer in D. C. Gunn’s locomotive works. Whether they were related to Michael James Cahill deponent saith not. Mrs. Michael McKenna, “Mick” Cahill’s sister, spent the greater part of her life in Dundas. One of her sons is living in Hamilton and is employed at the Westinghouse factory, and from him we have gathered a bit of family history to make up the “Tale of Two Cities.”
          On the 19th day of January, 1909, Honora Cahill-Peele evidently came to the conclusion that she could not take with her to the grave her wealth of diamonds, jewelry and cash, and that the most sensible thing she could do was to make a will so that the lawyers would not get it. The good soul never dreamed what was to be the final result after all. A couple of weeks ago, we published a copy of her will, and it will be seen from it that she was careful in providing for a distribution of the diamonds and jewels and a good share of the cash; but she had too much money to give away and no one to leave it to, and she finally bunched the residue by providing that her executor “shall distribute the same among the various Protestant institutions located in Hamilton, Canada.” Evidently she had no knowledge of having any relatives in Hamilton, for no mention is made of them anywhere in her will. Further, she provided that her executor “shall determine what Protestant institutions are so located, and how much of this bequest shall go to each institution. His decision as to what Protestant charitable institutions exist in Hamilton, and the amount each one shall receive out of this legacy shall be absolute and binding on all parties interested.”
          And here let us suggest to the readers of these musings, if you have not already made a will, so that what you leave after paying funeral expenses will go to those you intend to provide for, do it now and don’t put off till you are so far gone that you cannot sign your will, for an army of relatives, of whom you have never hear, will come out of the clouds to get a share of it. And what they don’t get, the lawyers will.
          Now that is the case with Honora Cahill-Peele fortune. She died on the 15th day of December, 1916, and her executors, the Mercantile Trust company of San Francisco, in order to close up the estate, and divide it as directed in her will, sent agents to Hamilton to hunt up the history of Mrs. Peele. The records in Hamilton and Dundas were searched, and it was found that fifteen or more relations came forward as claimants, not one of them having any personal knowledge that the poor little Irish girl, born in Dundas nearly three quarters of a century ago, was the fountain of great wealth that was to put them on easy street for the remaining years of their lives.
          Again the Trust company sent an agent to hunt for further proof, and this renewed the flame of expectancy. And now the case is being heard in the San Francisco courts, and if the relatives will only act with prudence, there may be a speedy settlement, and each one get a bite of the fat things. The Protestant charities of Hamilton, if we may except the Salvation Army, had taken no part till their attention was called to the papers received from San Francisco by T. H. Pratt. Then Mayor Booker became interested in the outcome of the charities of Hamilton, and got into communication with the British consulate-general in San Francisco, and an attorney has been employed in the city’s interest. The mayor has handed the matter over to Mr. Waddell, the corporation solicitor, and now things are getting shape so that the Protestant charities in Hamilton will soon be able to find out where they are at.
          Well, there you are, and as the prize fighters say, when they shy their castors into the ring, “May the best man win!” Strange things happen in this world. A poor little Irish baby born in Dundas in comparative poverty three quarters of a century ago, furnishes a sensation that interests a continent.