Thursday, 31 December 2015


From now till the summer suns come again, Hamilton horses will walk and stand on slippery places. The inventors of asphalt pavements certainly did not take into consideration the danger to horses, and even to pedestrians, that beset them. It is bad enough during the street-watering   with the danger to horses from slipping on slimy, wet pavements, but how much worse is it in the fall when the pavement is almost constantly wet or icy? Even well-shod horses are as much in danger as are the smooth-shod. There is no question but that an asphalt pavement always looks well, but that is all there is to it. It is no more serviceable than the old-fashioned tar macadam roadways that were in Hamilton fifteen and twenty years ago, and costs twice as much to make and keep in repair. Then the tar macadam road has the advantage of furnishing a sure foothold for the horses. Some years ago, when the writer was in London, England, the asphalt pavements on the principal streets were being replaced by block pavements because of the danger to horses; and here we might also state that never did we see a watering cart on the streets in daytime; the streets were swept and flushed during the night and in the daytime an army of boys was employed with brushes and dust pans to gather the horse droppings. As a result the streets of London were proverbial for their cleanliness and safety for horses travelling them. Here in the streets of Hamilton, it is no uncommon thing for horses to slip and fall down, even in dry weather. Then, how much more the danger when the pavements are wet, or icy ?




          As a matter of economy, then, and comfort for the poor horses, Hamilton should get back to the days of tar macadam.

          (At this point the original of the Hamilton Spectator had a rip which left the microfilm copy of this article incomplete – I will try to summarize what I can determine before returning to the Old Muser’s own words)

          Muser notes that “according to recent estimates … asphalt is an expensive luxury for road-making” Muser question conditions on Catharine street where residents are still paying sewer rates for privilege of connecting with one of the first north-south sewer lines laid in the city, and Muser notes Catharine street is fashionable in certain parts of it but it has never been a major street. John street was a “neglected street” which “back in the days” was “prominent” Muser claims that “wire-pulling” determined which street got asphalt. John street got some asphalt, Catharine nothing. Muser then reminisces about competition between James and John street for improvement back in 1840s)

          (in old days, ca 1840s) John street had the advantage as far as location was concerned, being the main street leading from the mountain top, and the farmers had to use the John street road to get into town. Then it had another advantage in the way of business, especially in taverns, fo nearly every other house sold booze. James street, however, triumphed and Robert Laurie, the street inspector, was instructed to macadamize James street. There was great rejoicing for the James streetives (Ibid) over their victory, and a corresponding depression on John street. Early next morning, Paola Brown visited John street with a blanketful of grass seed suspended from his neck, and went up and down the street ringing his bell and scattering the seed along the highway. Everybody was alarmed, and asked Paola what he was seeding the street for. “The town has no more use for John street as a roadway and I am seeding it down to grass to graze the cows.” For more than half a century, John street was neglected till recently, and now they have it asphalted  part of the way. The town cows had a good thing of it at the old haymarket, even though the seed that Paola sowed never yielded a crop of grass. The money spent asphalting John street would have laid two tar macadam roadways and Catherine street could have come in for a decent road. The same rule might be extended over the city and two good roadways built, instead of one for the same amount of money.




          About fifteen years ago, Hamilton became famous, not only in the United States butin foreign countries, through a report written by the American consul in this city to his government in Washington, setting forth the virtues of tar macadam as a road builder. The report was published by the government and sent to parties interested in road-making, and, as a result for more than a year, delegations from United States cities and counties visited Hamilton to get some practical lessons as to its real value. The city solicitor and Tom Povee, who had charge of the construction gangs, gave all the information needed, and the visitors went away pleased and profited by their research. By and by Hamilton began to put on dude airs, and nothing but asphalt was good enough for them to rest their eyes upon. The macadam was too common, even though it lasted just as long, and then it was too cheap, costing less than half what the asphalt cost. And the asphalt has been costly enough and requiring an army of repair men almost constantly at work patching up the holes. No good business man would spend two dollars to asphalt a square yard of roadway when he could get the same results for one dollar in tar macadam. And then the tar macadam has the advantage in making a dustless roadway, thus saving thousands of dollars to the taxpayers every year. Certainly the expense of asphalting upper John street was money thrown away, for the road is always dangerous to horses, especially in winter, and numerous plans have been suggested as a rememdy, but nothing yet has made the road any better. In the end the asphalt coating will have to be removed and probably tar macadam substituted.




          Hamilton was the fourth city in America to adopt the system of sewage disposal works, and delegations used to come from other cities to see how it worked. It was perfect as far as it went, but the pit at the disposal works was not large enough to take of the sewage at certain seasons of the year when the surface water in the streets went down in torrents to the bay. Then the floodgates are opened and the sewage, instead of passing through the regular channels for purification are run untreated into the bay. But this does not often occur. Sewage engineers other plans than the one originally adopted by Hamilton, which are more costly, but the question is suggested, do they do the work any better, and are they as economical in construction and cost of upkeep? There is one thing certain, and that is the original system adopted by Hamilton did not cost near as much as the later system that are being experimented with, and the latest systems are not doing the work any better, if the occasional reports in the city dailies are to be relied on.




          A Hamilton manufacturing firm was fortunate in receiving a sub-contract for war materials for the government which required about 25 per cent nickel in their construction. Hamilton is not more than 200 miles from the largest supply of nickel for its use in fulfilling its contract in the country of its production. There is but one other known supply of nickel in the world, and that is in New Caledonia, a French convict colony about 14,000 miles from this city. The government of France mines its nickel itself and refines it for its own use and for French industries. It is estimated that Sudbury furnishes at least 90 per cent of the nickel of the world, and yet Hamilton, only 200 miles from the source of this supply, cannot buy a sufficient quantity to fill a government contract. There was a time when Canada owned all this wealth of nickel, but its moneyed men did not look upon it as an attractive investment, and outside capital swooped down and bought the mining property. Originally the nickel mines were owned by four Canadian companies, who sold out in 1902 to the International Nickel company of New Jersey. The first important ore body of nickel was exposed in 1884 on the right of way of the Canadian Pacific railway, when that road was being built through Sudbury. Mining operations were first undertaken by the Canadian Copper company in the summer of 1885, and in January, 1886, the company was organized, with a capital of $2,000,000, to operate three other mines. The first three years – 1886-87-88 – the final value of the nickel produced was only $1,138,160, and ten years later the production was worth$9,535, 806. Its value in the meantime had been discovered in the manufacture of steel, and in what is known as German silver. Another company was organized in England, partly with German capital, called the Mond Nickel company, and between the two foreign corporations, the one in New Jersey and the other in England, Canada sold its birthright of one among the most valuable mining properties. But the Canadian capitalists were to blame, they had not sufficient confidence in the undeveloped wealth of their own country. It is said that one Canadian bank lost several million dollars in investments in a foreign country. Had the managers invested the money in nickel mines, Canada would have had the mines and the money. AS it was the money was sunk and the mines are owned by  foreign countries, and Canada owns neither. However, the war now in progress may teach Canadian capitalists a lesson, for when idle factories take up the manufacture of goods formerly known as “made in Germany,” then will Canada take its place as one of the industrial centers, and instead of soup kitchens and relief associations, there will be fewer stoppages of machinery in Hamilton, and both companies and skilled labor will be enjoying the luxury of listening to the wheels go round.




          There was a Hamilton girl who was quite sure that when it came her turn to marry she could not live in a house any smaller than her father’s. Love in a cottage was not her idea . Scores of girls who are now in the old maid list used to talk that way, though it is doubtful if they ever seriously meant it; if it was bluff, but if an opportunity had offered of almost any kind of man they were were open to conviction. Cupid, she thought, needed plenty of room to flap his wings and to practice his archery; he could not pine in a bird cage. So she must have an immense library with a fireplace that would take a six-foot log; a drawing-room with a parquetry flooring and thick rugs; the dining-room would have to be large and spacious, able to seat a large company, with an imposing bowl of flowers on the center of the table. This young lady had extravagant ideas. She had forgotten how her father and mother began life in Hamilton, how they had to toil early and late for the comforts with which they were able to surround their children. Probably her mother’s favorite instrument was a washboard, while this young dreamer amused herself on a piano. Times have changed in that home, and the father, by industry and economy, was now able to indulge in the luxuries of life and give his dear old wife the comforts that were denied both of them when they came across the sea and settled in Hamilton before the days of railroads and motor cars. Their children had fared better. The boys were ambitious and began work as soon as their school days were over, but the girls were raised in luxurious ease, and the oldest one, of who we are writing, did not take kindly to the idea of love in a cottage with a man she loved; but rather dreamed of some wealthy old fellow falling in love with her and giving her a home among the 100.




          Dreamers sometimes have a very pleasant awakening. Our Hamilton girl had sense enough to change her mind, as the sequel will show. About eighteen months after she married, a girl friend paid her a visit, and found her in a little frame house on a side street, ridiculously happy with her husband and her baby. Hamilton had not then grown to any large proportions, but it was a little better than when her father and mother first located in a humble cottage down by the sad sea waves of the bay. The back yard was just about big enough to hold a clothes-line and a narrow flowerbed against the fence; the front verandah was only large enough for a little hammock for baby and a couple of chairs for the happy young mother and father; and they were happy listening to the cooing of the little mite in the hammock; the largest room, which was a parlor and living room was about the size of the vestibule of the bride’s girlhood home. “I know what you are thinking,’” laughed the proud little housekeeper to her guest, as she fondled baby to her heart. “You’re wondering how I could have made up my mind to live in this tiny piano-box. Love is to be found in a cottage, and John and the baby are two kings that rule over it. I’ve found that it isn’t the size of the house that matters; it’s the size of the heart, and the biggest hearts can live in the littlest houses.” That was many years ago. Today, John and his family occupy a larger house than the little piano-box by the bay side, but it goes without saying that love in a cottage can always expand as the house grows larger. The queen of the household always smiles when she hears some young girl dreaming as she did half a century ago.




          As soon as a man begins to climb the ladder of success, there comes a lot of whipper-snappers growling at his heels and trying to drag him back. We see that in business and politics every day. He may be a good fellow with his associates in the workshop till his merits as a workman bring him to foremanship, and though there may be no change in his manner toward his old shop mates, yet there are generally a snarling few to stab him in the back. It is but one of the unfortunate phases of life, but it may be expected till humanity is made over. John Allan, when but little more than a boy, left Hamilton with only his bricklayer’s trowel as his passport to earn a living that was not attainable in the land of his birth on account of dull times in the building trade.  He was able and willing to work and to such a job is nearly alays open. For years he toiled at his trade, and during those years he was an active member of the bricklayers’ union; and after he became a contractor on his own account his sympathies for his fellow workmen kept him in touch with them. John Allan prospered in his new home, as hundreds and thousands of young Canadians have done who were compelled to seek work  in a strange land, and when the years began to count on him, he returned to his native land and the city he left long ago with only his bricklayer’s trowel as his passport. His yearning days were over, for he had been prudent and industrious during the years he was away.

Back on his old stamping ground, where he worked as a boy and man at the bricklayer’s trade, John Allan’s neighbors began to take notice of his business ability and suggestions, and the people of the ward thought they could make no mistake in having such a man to represent them in the city council. He discharged his duty as an alderman to the best interests of the city, and then the whole people called him to controllership. Here again he proved his ability to manage the affairs of the city; and then he was called still higher and for nearly two terms, he has filled the office of mayor. In every position of trust he has satisfied the people of Hamilton of his worth as an honest official.


Wednesday, 30 December 2015


In Chicago a few benevolent men are supporting a home called the Parting of the Ways. Its expenses, which are extremely modest, are met by the annual contributions of a small number of firms and individuals. The object of this benevolent home is to get jobs for men who are down and out through indulgence in strong drink. A majority of its beneficiaries are graduates from the prisons and might be classed as the bums and outcasts of society. They are given a chance to reform, for it is the charitable opinion of the founders that no man is so far gone that a helping hand might not lift him out. One would think that in such a list the probabilities are that but few are worth saving. If a man evidences a desire to reform, he is given a chance. To the credit of even fallen humanity in the course of the past two years, in which the home kept track of them, at least half the candidates have made good. Should the unfortunate fall by the wayside, he is given another chance, and even the forgiving spirit is exercised by the board of directors and the manager even to seventy times seven. It is worth all the effort if now and then only one is saved. Its constituency range from the college professor and graduate down through all classes, even to the common day laborer., but many years ago, one of the Parting of the Ways converts was United States minister to one of the South American republics. He had served as secretary to the United States legation to Berlin, and was a university graduate who had earned the right by scholarship to write at the end of his name, M. A. and M. D. . From his high estate as a representative of his government in foreign countries through the use of strong drink, he had got so low as to be a prisoner in the Chicago bridewell. He was admitted to the home and for some months hopes were entertained of his reformation. He served as an official in the home to help pay his expenses, but one unfortunate day, he fell by the wayside. What hope for his escape from the booze when nearly every other door in the business part of the city leads to a saloon? He was not the only unfortunate to fall, but the managers again threw him the lifeline, and at the latest report, he had again taken his seat on the water wagon. A railway telegrapher was put on the blacklist for tossing up with the company for the odd change in the daily receipts at his office. The company proved it on him, and he served time. After his release, he was down and out. He sought refuge in the home, where he was cured of the drink habit. Notwithstanding that his name was on the blacklist of every railroad office in the country, the men connected with the home interested themselves in his behalf, got him a job on a western road, and today he is a divisionsuperintendent on one of the railwys entering Chicago. Booze ade him dishonest in the first place, and his craving for drink so overpowered him that he could not tell the difference between the company’s money and his own. One who is now a prosperous merchant in Chicago travelled the booze route till he had got so low in the sacle that his family had to leave him. He became literally down and out, and the bridewell was his home for many a term. Some friends interested themselves in him, and one day when he was released from the bridewell, after having served one of his periodic terms, they obtained admission for him to the Parting of the Ways home. It was a long fight with old John Barleycorn, but the man entered upon it determined to win out. Now he has a prosperous business of his own, he made a home for his reunited family, and he makes frequent visits to the home, taking his family with him in his own motor car, and he always makes a speech of encouragement to his old comrades in the down and out class, and in pointing to his own case asks if it is not worth staying on the eater wagon for. The men who have reformed through the influence of the home are among the most liberal contributors to its support.




Don’t understand from what was have written that any large percentage of the inmates of the home are college graduates or business men who have gone down through strong drink. The majority of them are professional bums who are apparently beyond any hope of saving. The superintendent of the home keeps track of the inmates for two years after leaving the home, and effort is made to keep them on the jobs. Somewhere we are told that Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do, and if you want to convert a man from his habits, keep him busy. A discharged prisoner from the bridewell is always welcome so long as he gives evidence of a desire to do better, but the manager is wise enough to know that such people are not saints and are not proof against the allurements of the warm barroom and the free lunch counter. They are never turned from the doors of the home hungry, and if their clothing is threadbare, they are furnished with warm suits to protect them from the winter’s blasts. The bums keep out of the city in the summer months, but when the chilly days of October come, they hike to the city and the warmth of the police station at night. The generous men and women of Chicago keep the superintendent of the home well-supplied with warm second hand clothing, so that there is but little need to call for help. No man is kept in the home any longer than is necessary to get him a job. When a man is sent from the home to work, his employer is furnished with a full history of his record. The superintendent of the bridewell says that a fully 75 per cent of the graduates from the Parting of the Ways home make good under these circumstances. So long as they stay on the water wagon, they are safe and there is hope for their reformation. It is a question that has bothered the benevolently inclined, what is the best thing to do? Nearly every day unfortunate women are raided and hailed before the magistrate because of their impure lives. They are fined and turned loose to replenish their depleted pocket-books, to be arrested over and over again. The fine does not reform them nor does a term in prison have any effect. It used to be told that away back in the ‘60s, whenever the city exchequer got so low that there was no money to pay the policemen, a raid would be made on the houses of prostitution, and kind-hearted olf Captain Armstrong would make the fine as light as possible and tell the unfortunates inmates to go and sin no more. There is a suggestion in the Parting of the Ways home of Chicago for Hamilton temperance workers to consider.



 It is always darkest before the dawn, and let us hope that with sunrise will come the brighter day for Canada, and for own city of Hamilton. Already the darkness begins to disappear, and the apparent hard times will soon be forgotten when once the wheels of industry begin again to revolve. The biggest factory in Hamilton, the International Harvester, that has been closed for many weeks, has again opened its doors to five hundred of its former employees and the prospects are that in the near future, the doors will open a little wider to admit other hundreds. The managers are very generously providing on the start to give employment to men of families, and when that class are all back in their old places, then the single men are to have a look in.

The Westinghouse company has been doing the best it possibly could do for its workmen, and on the principle that half a loaf was better than no bread , it has kept the workers going on shorter hours. But things are getting better, and an hour or more is added to the day’s work. The same condition exists in other large factories, and the hope is that the winter will not be so dreary to the workingmen and their families as was feared a few weeks ago.

The cotton mills and the knitting mills are running nearly full time, and thousands of girls depending on those mills feel quite cheerful at the prospect that the government demand for the goods made by them will increase. The army must be supplied with clothing of all kinds, and Canada will get its share of the orders from the government. The wholesale clothing manufacturers are working overtime to fill their orders, especially for military clothing, and the thousands of men and women at work in these factories don’t know the meaning of the words, Hard Times. The shoe factories of Canada are rushed with work to supply army contracts. Marching men wear out a deal of leather.

The board of control and the city council are doing everything possible to provide work for the unemployed laborers; and the danger is that outsiders will take advantage and slip in between the actual residents of the city. Ample provision is being made so that there will not be a man, woman or child go hungry during the winter. The benevolence of the people of Hamilton is proverbial. The hoboes and summer tourists have already learned of the provision being made, and they are marching on to capture the good things provided for the deserving ones.


Those whom the gods would destroy are the first to put their foot in it. Germany was prosperous in its manufacturing industries and its chemical researches, but all has been knocked into a cocked hat, and other nations will now benefit by Germany’s loss by way of business. It is now Canada’s opportunity to come to the front., and instead of its moneyed men investing their capital in Mexican and South American schemes, if they will put it in machinery to cover what Germany used to make, this may yet become a great manufacturing country. The other day the writer asked one of the proprietors of a Hamilton knitting mill why Canadian knitters did not enter into competition for Germany’s hosiery trade, and his reply was that they would have to change the make of their machinery at a big expense, and then when the war was over, Germany would again recapture the market. Certainly that is poor policy for a country like Canada that is now making its way to becoming an industrial center. Strike while the iron is hot.

We repeat again that it is always darkest before the dawn, and while the sun is now beginning to peep from behind the cloud, let those who are longing for the promised land and the whirring of machinery take courage that from indications the time is not far distant when the welcome sound of the seven o’clock whistle in the morning will be the summons to a full day’s work and a fat pay envelop at the end of the week. It’s a long, long way to Tipperary, but Hamilton will get there.


A friend handed us a copy of an old Canadian directory of 1851-52, in which is a complete list of every village, town and city of the old-time designated Upper and Lower Canada. A brief description of Hamilton is given when it is just emerging from the dog kennel days, and when Wellington street was the limit on the east and the Bowery on the west. Here it is : “The city of Hamilton is situated on Burlington bay, at the head of Lake Ontario, and of the river St. Lwrence and Lake Ontario navigation, in the township of Barton, county of Wentworth, C. W. Hamilton is the county town nof the united counties of Wentworth and Halton, and is also an electoral district, returning one member to the provincial parliament. The city has been greatly improved within the past few years, and is most favorably situated for trade, being in the center of one of the finest agricultural districts in Canada; and when the Great Western railway, now in process of construction, is completed, it must necessarily conduce to the still greater prosperity of the city. Hamilton is distant from Kingston 226 miles – usual steamboat fare 7s 6d. London, 84 miles – usual stage fare 17s  6d. Population by the census of 1850, 10, 312.” That was before the days of railroads, the only road in Canada being from LaPrairie (opposite Montreal) to St. John, a distance of about fourteen miles.

In those days, Hamilton was governed by a mayor and two aldermen from each of the five wards – John R. Holden was then mayor. It may be interesting to know the number and kind of business houses in the city in 1851-52. To begin with there were ten academies and private schools. The first public school, the Central, was not opened until 1853. There were four architect firms, three building societies, 7 auctioneers, 7 bakers and 2 confectioners, 8 book and stationary stores, 19 boot and shoemakers, 1 brewery and 1 distillery, 14 cabinet and upholstery establishments, 21 carpenters and builders, 6 drug stores, 5 carriage factories, 10 commission merchants, 4 dentists, 10 wholesale dry goods firms and 19 retail dry goods firms, 7 foundries and machine shops, 32 wholesale and retail grocers, nearly all of whom made liquor a specialty, 10 hardware stores, 4 hat and fur stores, 10 jewelry stores,2 tanneries and 5 dealers in leather, 16 merchant tailors and clothiers, 6 milliners and dressmakers, 5 newspaper and job offices and 2 independent job offices, 15 doctors, and only one of the number a homeopath, 10 tinsmirths, 2 cigar factories, 13 painters, 2 organ builders, and 2 daguerreotype artists.

Buchanan, Harris and company and C. J. Ferrie and company did business under the title of general merchants, and ranked in the list of the largest wholesale houses in Canada. Albert Bigelow and James Cummings were the principal wholesale dealers in china, glassware etc.

It took 46 dealers in books to quench the thirst of the ten thousand Hamiltonians of those days, besides the 32 grocers who made liquor a leading part of their trade.

Fourteen ministers, representing five denominations, looked after the spiritual wants of Hamilton, and the churches were generally well filled on the Sabbath. The whole family went to church in those primitive days, father, mothers and all the children, even to the baby.

To cleanse and light the ancient Hamiltonians, there was but one soap and candle factory, of which John Judd was the owner. There may have been a few smaller industries, but nothing of great value as a work producer. There was not much demand for labor and very small pay for what was done. Hamilton of today has over 100,000 population and over 400 industrial establishments to employ labor. For more than fifteen years, there has been work and good wages  for everybody till within the last few months. The population has  doubled within that time and the area of the town has extended east and west for miles in both directions.

Sixty-three years ago, Canada depended upon steamboats and stage coaches as the modes of travel. Hamilton had its fleet of steamboats arriving at the docks morning and evening, and its lines of stage coaches running in every direction. Even Brantford  was connected by water with Buffalo, for twice a week the steamer Experiment made the round trip to Dunnville and Cayuga, and then the steamer Queen took the passengers on to Caledonia  and Brantford and other villages on the Grand river. The fare from Buffalo to Brantford was $3 for the cabin and $2 on the deck. Dundas, then a population of 2,500, had two breweries, and a general assortment of business houses, some of them quite extensive. Jones and Harris were the publishers of the Warder, the only newspaper in town.



Friday, 4 December 2015


Spectator February 25, 1905


        History repeats itself almost every day in Hamilton. In looking over an old copy of the Spectator, we find that 51 years ago tonight, the City Council held a meeting to fix salaries of city officials for the year 1854.  As this question of salaries is now before the council and Ald. Witton is preparing a scale for the current year, it may be interesting to the present generation of Hamiltonians to know how small the emolument of city officers were half a century ago. The council was then composed of aldermen and councilors, and all but three or four have crossed the river of death. Robert McElroy was mayor, having been elected for a third term. The aldermen were Patterson, Mullin, Mitchell, Murison, Davis, Chisholm, William Edgar, Magill and Crawford; councilors, Armstrong, Copp, Nicholson, Quimby, Tuckett, Fitzpatrick, Matthews and Charlton. On motion of Councillor, Copp, seconded by Ald. Edgar, the salary list for 1854 was passed, as follows:

          Chamberlain                                                                   $1,000

          Clerk, for do                                                                              450

          City Clerk                                                                                 1,000

          Clerk, for do                                                                           300  

          Police Magistrate                                                                 1,000

          Manager for Waterworks                                                         1,000     

          Clerk for Waterworks                                                               300

          Collector for Waterworks                                                         200

          High Bailiff, with house, fuel, etc.                                                         400

          Chief of police, with house, fuel, etc.                                        500

          Deputy chief, with free house                                                   350

          Six policemen, each $200                                                    $1,200

          Machinist                                                                                   100

          Inspector of Weights and Measures                                            50

          License Inspector                                                                       400

          City Messenger                                                                          250

          Hospital Physician                                                                        400

          Hospital Superintendent                                                             250               

          Hospital Matron                                                                            90       

          House of Refuge Superintendent                                               200

          Foreman Waterworks                                                                 400

          Engineer Waterworks                                                                 250

          Fireman Waterworks                                                                  250

          Keeper of Reservoir                                                                    200

          Keeper  of Filtering Basin                                                            200

          Keeper of Prisoners at jail                                                           250

          It was very evident that the council of 1854 was living up to the precepts of an old-time Methodist congregation that did not believe in making their pastor purse-proud by giving him too much salary, so the official board fervently prayed that the Lord would keep him humble and the congregation would keep him poor. Probably one reason may be given for the small amounts voted to some of the officials was that at the time the city exchequer was in a very low condition, and the creditors of the city were clamoring for their money. At that time, there was what was known as the Municipal Loan Fund, from which municipalities in financial difficulties could borrow money from the government to help them pull through. Sir Issac Buchanan, who then represented Hamilton in the provincial parliament, made application, on behalf of the city, for a loan from this fund, and he was told by Sandfield McDonald that there was no such fund; yet, George Brown, editor of the Globe, secured a gift of $13,000, to help pay the cost of building the Toronto jail. The Globe was always hostile to Hamilton.




          A story is told by one of the largest grain buyers in Hamilton, which happened early in the 50s. He prided himself on his smartness, and when he got the worst of it in a grain transaction, the other buyers made considerable sport of him. The grain buyer got stuck on 200 bushels of barley by a cute farmer, who had one bag of splendid grain, which he showed as a sample, but when the buyer examined the lot after it was dumped in the warehouse bins he discovered that he had been duped by the farmer. However, he determined to quietly pocket his loss and sold the damaged barley in one of the city brewing establishments at a low figure. When the brewer examined the barley, after it had been delivered at the brewery, he concluded he could do better with it by converting it into malt, and he had it dried and fixed up for market. The brewer hired a farmer to haul the barley to the Gore, which was then the grain market, and as barley was scarce in the market and there was a good demand for it, there was brisk competition among the buyers. The buyer who sold it to the brewer bid the highest, and he got back his own barley at 34 cents a bushel, twice the sum for which he had sold it to the brewer. The joke was too good to keep and the brewer and the other buyers had the laugh on John. For years afterward John would get swearing mad at anyone who would ask him, “how is barley?”