Saturday, 30 April 2016


Through the courtesy of Archdale Wilson, we have the privilege of looking over a business directory of Hamilton, printed by R. R. Donnelley & Co., and illustrated by McKeon & Smith, wood engravers, for distribution at the provincial exhibition held in this city in the year 1864. If one wants to know the changes in business in Hamilton, just run through this directory of fifty years ago and compare it with the new directory of 1915. It is a new Hamilton altogether. Even the introductory to the little pamphlet gives one a new idea of Hamilton to what we gather from everyday surroundings. As a matter of ancient history, even though only a half century ago, the reading of the introductory chapter will be interesting reading. Here it is:

“Hamilton, beautifully situated on the southwestern curve of Burlington bay, occupies a delightful position on a plateau of slightly elevated ground, winding around the base of the mountain. The distance between the mountain and the bay is about two miles, and the area thus included stands the city of Hamilton, in population, wealth and commercial importance, the second city in Upper Canada. The site is singularly salubrious, the rate of mortality being less in Hamilton, as shown by statistics, then any other city in Canada, Ottawa excepted. Hamilton became a point of military importance about 1813. It was made the resting place of the army of the west, when General Proctor was defeated. To Burlington Heights, General Vincent retired after being driven from the Niagara frontier, previous to his brilliant victory over the American army at Stoney Creek, which saved the province from probable subjugation. The history of Hamilton dates back not much more than a quarter of a century. It seems but yesterday when the tract of country fringing the shores of Lake Ontario was a wilderness, and settlers still living can tell the day when hunters and fishermen alone broke the stillness of the now wealthy and proud district of Gore. The theory of colonization which has been nurtured into life and activity under the fostering care of liberal institutions on this side of the Atlantic, has belied the anticipations and ridiculed the prophetic wisdom of statesmen moving under the auspices of time-honored usages in the old world. Forests are converted into thriving settlements, and cities spring up into wealth and influence as if obedient to some magic impulse. A traveler from one of the sickly metropolises of Europe, in looking at the progress of social cultivation in Canada, at the evidence of civilized advancement observable in the institutions and business energy of the Canadian people, would be slow to realize the fact that he sees the country as less than fifty years of toil and industry have made it.

“Let him visit Hamilton, drive up and down its spacious streets, look into the great wholesale establishments’; step into banking houses and witness the extent of accommodation accorded to commercial enterprises; let him visit the Central school, and contrast the educational advantages of Hamilton with those of cities of the same size in Europe or on the continent, or look through the Young Ladies’ seminary, when in full operation after midsummer holidays; let him stand at the depot of the Great Western railway and mark the bustle and activity at the arrival  and departure of every train; see the long train of freight cars, bringing the products of foreign manufacture for consumption here, or carrying away consignments from large city wholesale firms to distant parts of the province; let him take his stand on the brow of the magnificent mountain which flings its grassy summit against the southern sky, and see the multitude of persons surging along the principal avenues of trade, the countless chimneys of mechanical industry, the magnificent carriages and costly equipages rolling along James or King street; the palatial suburban mansions, the seat of wealth, comfort and literary refinement – let him survey the busy hive at his feet – restless, sleepless, tireless yet hopeful and say whether the community of interests, the fusion of national restraints, and the commercial fellowship which have built a city of twenty thousand people do not promise still greater results.

“The temporary embarassments under which the city labors have retarded, but not destroyed, the enterprise of its citizens. In 1850 – fourteen years ago – the population, according to authenticated census returns, was less than 11,000. It was 35,000 in 1858, and in the three following years lost a third of its population. It was 19,000 at the census three years ago, and has now risen to 22,900, and we have hopes that the recently passed city relief bill will tend to augment the numbers.

“The wholesale trade of Hamilton is greater and more attractive to distant buyers than that of any other city in Canada, with the exception of Montreal. Some of the most extensive wholesale firms in Canada, having branches in Toronto, London and Brantford, center in Hamilton; and we think it would well remunerate country merchants – who may be at the exhibition, and who do not make this their market of purchase – to take a look through our wholesale warehouses, and compare prices with those of other cities in the province. Our wholesale merchants are direct importers from the places of manufacture and growth, and their customers receive the benefits of first profits. It will also reward visitors from a distance, who wish to avail themselves of city prices and fashions, to note down the enterprising firms whose establishments are herein illustrated.”


Fancy the fresh-looking Thomas Lees, though his head has been frosted with departed years, being the oldest and only man in business today that belongs to ancient Hamilton. He began business as a watchmaker and jeweler on John street in the year 1861, and in 1864 moved into his present location on James street. At that time Hamilton had thirteen jewelers and watchmakers to keep time and bedeck its women and girls with diamonds and other precious jewels. In the directory before us, Lees is represented in the same building which he now occupies, with a large sign directing customers where to find him. Burrow, Stewart and Milne, three husky young molders, began business in 1864, but not in time to get their names in the directory. Two members of the firm – Stewart and Milne – still continue the business, Mr. Burrows having passed away a few years ago. There were six foundries in Hamilton in 1864, but no members of the firms except Mr. Stewart and Mr. Milne are living now. The D. Moore Co. is the oldest tinsmith firm in the city, dating back to 1828, and that firm began the foundry business along in the ‘40’s, in the stone building on Catharine street north, erected by G. L. Beardmore for a tannery. A fire one night decided Beardmore in favor of a change, and the building passed into the ownership of the D. Moore Co. and was converted into a foundry. All this, however, leaves Thomas Lees as the oldest living businessman in the town.


We will take an airplane trip through the 1864 directory, and if we strike a name that is in the directory of 1915, we will be glad to place the owner in the Hall of Fame as an ancient Hamiltonian. We will take 1864 as the foundation. There were two wholesale shoe stores then, one wholesale clothing manufacturer, three wholesale druggists, six wholesale dry goods, and not one connected with firms we have here now to answer roll-call. Of other wholesale firms, there were two earthen and glassware, four fancy goods, nine groceries, four hardware, three leather, two saddlery hardware, one stationer, two importers of wine. Not a member of the old firms left to tell the story of fifty years ago. There were only three architects then, not one of them now to plan an earthly house. Sixteen bakers made the staff of life – not one of them in business now, William Lee being the last one to throw in the sponge. Fifteen barbers represented the tonsorial art, and Charles Dallyn is the only one left to tell the story. Of thirty-five barristers only one is left to plead his own cause. Eleven blacksmiths pounded the anvil; where are those lusty fellows now? Three billiard halls were enough in 1864; it now takes sixteen to develop the muscle of the sports. Only two of the old shoe dealers are in business now. Seven breweries made beet to quench the thirst of the ancients; two breweries do the job now. Of the manufacturers of brooms and brushes, only Meakins and Sons represent the six old firms. Fourteen builders and contractors built up Hamilton in those days, not one of whom is in business now. Not a bookseller or a bookbinder in business in 1864 is here now to reveal the edges of life. It only required 24 churches to lead the Hamiltonians in the straight and narrow path in 1864; now there are 93 congregations, representing almost every denomination, yet they can’t hold the town level. Nineteen clergymen lifted up their voices every Sunday against the sins of the world, and eighteen of them have gone home to glory, having done the best they could while here to keep Hamilton from going to the bow-wows.  One of them got translated to the Methodist Book Room in Toronto, and his job is so pleasant that he is loth to give it up. Coal was so little used in Hamilton that only Thomas Myles could find it profitable to run a coal yard. J. Blachford and Henry Snelgrove buried the dead. Ten confectioners made life sweet to the taste, but now one of them is here to tell the story of the days when they sold pure ice cream. Eight druggists compounded the jalap and rhubarb that cured the ills of the community, and that they did their work honestly is evidenced that such a disease as appendicitis was unknown in those days. Twenty-one establishments supplied  the ladies with dry goods; not one of the proprietors lives to tell how the husbands swore when the bills were rendered. Twenty-four physicians, one of them being a lady, looked after the health of the town, and not one of them has a place among the 113 physicians of today. There were sixteen hotels, 21 saloons and 58 taverns to feed the hungry and quench the thirsts of the thirsty; about all are gone to meet their unfortunate customers in the other world. Ninety-six boozeries and only 23,000 population; today the population is over 100,000, and it only takes 61 saloons to satisfy their thirst. The town is progressing.


It is like going through a graveyard to follow up that 1864 directory. Only three business men of that year live to tell the story of the ups and downs of this hundred-year-old town. Well, the Muser that will review the 1915 directory fifty years from now will have the same story to tell.
From 1857 till the case of the civil war in the United States, Hamilton, as well as all of Canada, was hard hit. It seems impossible to separate the two countries either in prosperity or adversity; when business is good over there, it is the same here. Hamilton’s brightest days were during the building of the Great Western railway, for then money was plentiful, there was work for everybody, and the population increased through the employment in the railroad shops and the large number of men employed running trains, most of whom made their home in Hamilton. When the Great Western officials began to divide the shops among other localities, and almost side-tracked Hamilton, the panic of 1857 broke loose, and the population went hiking to more prosperous towns; houses were emptied and hard times came. In 1858 the census showed a population of 25,000; in 1861, it ran down to 19,000. The people could not pay their taxes, and the city could not pay even the interest on its indebtedness. It was not until Hamilton became an industrial city that the sun of prosperity began again to shine on it. The old town is now passing through the deep waters of affliction, but with the prospective opening of factories, the old song, Hard Times Come Again No More can be sung by the Elgar choir, and the toilers will chant as they march to the workshops, that though It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary; the good times are coming once more.

Saturday, 23 April 2016


When Jules Verne wrote his story of A Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, not one in Hamilton who read that bit of fiction ever dreamed that there could be such a thing as a boat sailing for miles underneath the sea and popping up at stated times to give the crew a breath of fresh air. The unscientific world read the story and pronounced it fishy. But Jules Verne had foundation for his story, and he worked up the idea for all that it was worth. More than four centuries ago, history tells us, a mechanical genius conceived the idea of the first submarine boat. It was a rowboat propelled by twelve lusty oarsmen, but when the crucial test came that the boat was to dive underneath a sailing vessel, it was not equal to the task. Another attempt was made in the same century, but it, too, proved a failure. However, once the ingenuity of man is challenged, there is always some studious inventor to follow up the idea, and a later genius perfects the dream of centuries. This surely has been the outcome of the deadly submarine. The dream of the inventor of four centuries ago has had its full development in the terrible war that has been raging for nearly seven months. Burton J. Hendrik, a writer in McClure’s Magazine, has given much study to tracing up the history of the submarine. The control of the sea has been the pre-eminent fact in English history. Its navy protected its commerce, hence there was but little necessity of a large standing army. The British nation has never suffered defeat except in the little family quarrel that was the outcome of the great waste of tea in the Boston Harbor. Many times in the last century, Great Britain has faced the possibility of continental wars, but its fleet has always been its safeguard against foreign invasion. Untold millions have been spent in keeping up its navy, and the bravery of its blue jackets, and natural skill in naval warfare, have made it pre-eminent. Great Britain might at one time have had some control of the submarine to add to its naval strength, but the idea was too chimerical for her war lords to discuss.


          The dream of four centuries ago was worked out by a freshman in Yale college during the American revolution. All through his college days, from 1771 to 1775, David Bushnell worked to make a vessel that would sail under water. The first real test of the submarine was during the American civil war, when a United States gunboat, the Housatanic, was sunk by a Confederate submarine boat in Charleston harbor, but was herself sunk with her crew. In principle, the submarine was the same as it is today. The British frigates that were stationed outside of New York and other American harbors during the revolution gave inspiration to David Bushnell’s invention of the submarine, although it did not come into use at that time. The professors in the Yale college ridiculed the idea that gunpowder could be exploded under water, but Bushnell proved to the learned scholars that they might know all about the ancient and modern languages while there were principles in science that they could be taught lessons in, by taking them out into New Haven harbor and producing an explosion of gunpowder under water. Bushnell had already constructed a vessel that could sail under water. It was in shape like a turtle, operated by a wooden propeller. This antedated the invention of the steamboat by several years. Early in the last century, the Molsons built the first steamboat in Montreal that plied on the St. Lawrence river down to Quebec. Bushnell’s Turtle, for that was the name he gave his first submarine, only made a maximum speed of about two miles an hour. It was illuminated by foxfire wood, which gave a phosphorescent light. It had an air-chamber in which the navigator could exist for a brief half hour. When the revolutionary war began the British flagship, the Eagle, then lying off Staten Island, was selected as the first victim of Bushnell’s submarine. Bushnell had not the physical strength to navigate the Turtle himself, and a man named Lee was chosen to destroy the Eagle. Not understanding the mechanism of the Turtle, Lee’s attempt to navigate it proved a failure. He managed to reach the Eagle in the submerged Turtle, but failed in his effort to attach the torpedo with the time-clock to the hull of the Eagle. The torpedo floated a short distance from the Eagle and exploded on time, but not close enough to do any damage to the British vessel. This failure discouraged Bushnell, and in his disappointment, he vanished from his home in Connecticut and died some years later in Georgia.


          A quarter of a century later, Napoleon was engaged in almost identically the same enterprise as the Kaiser is attempting today. In the midst of his perplexities he received a letter which read : “The sea which separates you from your enemy gives him an immense advantage over you. I have it in my power to cause this obstacle which protects him to disappear.” This letter was written by Robert Fulton, one of the early inventors of the steamboat. Fulton had developed Bushnell’s invention of the submarine, and his work to Napoleon to deprive Britain of her great naval power. Napoleon appointed a commission to investigate Fulton’s plans, and the result was the French admiralty placed a vessel at Fulton’s disposal to experiment on, and he blew the vessel into a thousand pieces with his submarine. By this time, Great Britain began to appreciate the work of Fulton, and he was invited to England. “If your boat is introduced into practice,” said Pitt, “it will annihilate all military marines.” AS an experiment, Fulton entered Deal Harbor  in his submarine and blew up a Danish brig of two hundred tons. It was in this same harbor a few weeks ago, that a German submarine destroyed a British torpedo boat. The British government offered Fulton a large sum of money to pigeonhole his invention, which he declined to accept. Both England and France had refused to adopt Fulton’s invention, so he returned to his home in New York and spent all his energies in perfecting his steam boat.


          The submarine is the most deadly weapon ever introduced into naval warfare, because there is no defense against it. “There is nothing you can send against, not even itself,” said John P. Holland, another inventor in the line of submarines. “Submarine cannot fight submarine,” said Holland. Germany cannot equal Great Britain in naval warfare, so it has judiciously kept its warships out of the fight. Instead, it has attacked the battleships and the merchant marine of Great Britain with the terrible submarine. The man chiefly responsible for the modern development of the submarine was John P. Holland, born in Ireland in 1841. He was a conspicuous leader in the Fenian order and hated England with all the vigor of his Irish ancestry. He built a submarine in New Haven, Connecticut, and christened it the Fenian Ram. Fifty thousand dollars in pennies, dimes and dollars were contributed by the Irish and with this fund, Holland built the Fenian Ram so as to have it ready should the United States and Great Britain get into war with each other. Holland died a few months ago, shortly after the beginning of the present war. The story of the deadly work of the submarine is being told in war news published from day to day. The naval armament of no nation can overcome it.


          There is nothing new under the sun.  The more on dips into the history of the submarine boat the truth of the adage of nothing new under the sun becomes a greater reality. Till the present war but little was heard of this great sea diver, and few could realize that it was possible that such a thing could be. Since writing the above, we have had access to an encyclopedia that takes us before the Christian era. The first submarine was a diving bell, and its construction dates back over two thousand years. The next record we have dates in the year 1590, when William Brown, an Englishman, is said to have built a submarine. In 1824, Cornelius Van Drabbel designed an improvement to the Englishman’s boat and exhibited the plans to King James II. During the next hundred years several attempts were made in the direction of undersea  navigation, but none worthy of notice. It was not till David Bushnell’s time, 1771 to 1775, during his college days that any progress was made, and the submarine in use today, with all its destruction power was the result of his genius. Robert Fulton, one of the early inventors of the steamboat, improved somewhat on Bushnell’s plans, and he was followed by John P. Holland, an Irishman. Coming down to modern times, during the civil war in the United States, the Confederate government built several submarines, and while they sank one Federal gunboat, the submarine and all its crew went to the bottom of Charleston harbor. There are two classes, submarines and submersibles.


          Now that Hamilton is to have a new hospital, it may be interesting to go back to earlier days and look at the crude provision made for the care of the sick. Back in the first half of the last century – in the year 1847 – to care for the afflicted Irish emigrants, who were forwarded from Quebec and Montreal to western towns along Lake Ontario, Hamilton built a row of sheds down on the bay front, which were known as the fever hospital. The emigrants came to Canada and the United States by the thousands, being starved out of their native land by the failure of food products, especially the potato. As a boy, the Muser remembers the long rows of hospital sheds along the banks of the Lachine canal, in Montreal, with the hundreds of patients stricken with the ship fever. Coffins were piled up alongside the hospital sheds and every afternoon, the wail of the living over the death of loved ones was heart-rending. The same condition existed all along the lake front from east to west, and down at the bay was no exception. Hamilton then was in its young cityhood, for in that year, it became incorporated. About the same time, a hospital was built at the head of Cherry street, on the mountain side. It was a two-story frame building, with only limited accommodations for patients. Only the homeless ones were provided for, the sick being generally cared for in their own homes. It was a forlorn-looking place, but for those days answered the purpose. A new home for the sick was provided about 1853, when a large brick building at the foot of John street, facing the bay front, was purchased for a hospital. It was originally built by Nathaniel Hughson for a hotel, and was well-patronized till about the middle of the ‘40’s when travelers visiting the city on business found it inconvenient, and came uptown to the hotels. The building was then sold to the government, and in turn was used as a barracks for the regiments of the regular army stationed here, and then as a custom-house. Finally, it came into the ownership of the city and was converted into a hospital; and an excellent location it was , with its fine view of the bay, with its wharves lined with shipping. The building was three stories in height, and a roomy gallery on each story facing the bay front. In time, as the city grew, larger accommodations were necessary and the Barton street hospital was built. Now that too is too small, and the beautiful site on the mountain top has been selected for a two-million dollar building. No finer selection could have been made, and in time there will be a street railway along the mountain front.


The city of Hamilton finds it necessary to increase the hospital accommodation. There are two hospitals, one the public hospital under the control of an independent board of governors appointed by the city council, and the other under the management of the Roman Catholic church. The public hospital has three departments – one called the free wards, one the semi-private wards and one the private wards.

The hospital staff numbers one medical superintendent, four lady supervisors, one hundred nurses. The nurses’ salaries range : six dollars per week for the first year, seven dollars for the second year, and ten dollars for the third year and thereafter. The hospital is under bthe management of five governors, selected for a term of five years each, one retiring annually, and the mayor and one member of the board of control. The governors serve without salaries, and are appointed from among the best businessmen in the city.

The expenses of the hospital for the year 1914 were $158,500, provide for by a charge of from ten to fifteen dollars for patients in the private wards, four dollars and ninety cents in the semi-private wards, and a government grant of twenty cents per day for the private and semi-private. This amount is paid by the government for a period of four months. After that time, if the patient still continues in the hospital, the grant is dropped to seven cents per day. The government grant for the last half of the year 1914 was $12,500. From the government grant and the fees paid by the private and semi-private patients, the income was $69,000. Added to this, the amount appropriated from the general tax fund of the city was $90,000, making a grant total of $158,500. The cost per diem for each patient averages $1.57.

The present hospital was built when the population of the city was about thirty thousand, and has been added to from time to time to accommodate patients as the population increased, which is now over one hundred thousand. Hamilton is a manufacturing city, and accident patients from the factories and the increasing number of poor families make heavy demands on hospital accommodation.

It has now been determined by the city and the board of governors to begin at once the erection of a new hospital for which two million dollars has been appropriated, to be spent from time to time as the buildings progress. The site selected is about seven acres on the top of the mountain for ornamental grounds and building purposes, and it has been pronounced by two celebrated medical men in the United States, who are experts in hospital construction, as the finest in America. The buildings are to be erected on the brow of the mountain, overlooking the city, with a perspective extending for miles up and down the valet, with the bay and Lake Ontario in the foreground. The plans of the building have been passed on by the two United States medical experts, and after repeated examination and alteration in the details have been declared next to perfect.

Plans and specifications are being prepared for the first section of the new hospital, to cost $150,000. Tenders are to be advertised for, and the work of construction is to begin as soon as possible. The building will be four stories, constructed of reinforced concrete, and without basement, the New York medical experts having decided against basements in hospital buildings. The building will provide accommodation for sixty patients and the necessary staff. When the entire building is completed, it will provide accommodations for over five hundred patients.

T. H. Pratt is chairman of the board of governors; Stewart and Witton are the local architects.


Monday, 11 April 2016


The ancient Hamiltonians take a look backward in memory now and then and dream of the bucolic days when nearly every well-to-do home was provided with a melodeon in the parlor, and after prayers, the winding of the clock and the putting the cat out at nine p.m., then out went the tallow or candle, and the family retired to peaceful rest, and got up refreshed with the song birds in the morning to take up the daily routine of life. The good old bossy, after giving her morning pail of milk, could be heard bellowing her song of peaceful content as she turned her head toward the succulent pasture fields east and west to browse during the long, hot summer day, and then return home at eventide to replenish the pantry with more pans of sweet, fresh milk. There was no hint of the milkman having crossed a creek with his wagon to supply his customers with the pure lacteal fluid, for milk was so plentiful in those days that it was almost as cheap as water, hence there was no temptation to the honest milkman to fill up his cans from the creek. Now, it might be inferred that people were more honest half a century ago than they are now. Forget it. Human nature has been built on the same plane since the time Noah landed his passengers and freight from the ark on dry land before Hamilton had a place on the map. Do you know that people are apt to live in the past after they pass a certain stage in the journey of life? Well, that is just the case of this old Muser, whose memory flies back now and then to the time in Hamilton when the cat went out for the night, and boys and girls were not allowed to roam the streets after old Peter Ferris would ring the nine o’clock bell.


The congregation of the First Methodist church dedicated their handsome temple last Sunday, and on next Sunday, a like service will be held in connection with the Sunday school building. It required a deal of courage for the members to build such a handsome and costly edifice, but the location deserved it, for on that lot and corner was built not only the first church in Hamilton, but also the first Methodist church. The corner and the lot are historic ground. Sometimes it seems like plowing over the old ground for any mention to be made in these musings in connection with church, especially that of First church. At a venture we will recall the story, and if the reader should say that he or she read it before, then they can skip this page and read “Bobby’s” hot stuff on the sporting page about the latest prize fight. One hundred and fifteen years ago there landed in the region, now known in history as the Head of the Lake, but later christened Hamilton, a man by the name of Richard Springer. He was of German descent, but was born in the United States. In the year 1801, he located a farm south of Main street and up to the mountain, better described later as the site of the St. Patrick’s school on Hunter street, now turned into a flour mill by the Wood Milling company. The Springer homestead stood in the rear of the present site of the mill, and the first thing that the owner did was to rect an altar in his home to the Great Father who directed his life, and then he planted an orchard with the choicest fruit grown in this region in those days. A few trees of the old orchard are still yielding fruit. He invited his neighbors to attend the weekly prayer meeting held in his house, and on Sundays he would have a class meeting and preaching service. When the farm kitchen became too small to accommodate the increased attendance, he fitted up his barn for the meetings. Now and then a wandering itinerant preacher would drift toward the Head of the Lake, and then there was a regular Pentecostal feast among the ancient Methodists. When quarterly meeting time came, these old Methodists would journey out to Bowman chapel on the mountain or to the chapel at Stoney Creek, which was riddled with bullets in the war of 1812, and there they would devoutly listen to the gospel sermons, relate their experience and “sing the hours away in everlasting bliss.” In those days, Elder Ryan and Rev. Nathan Bangs were the best known itinerants in these parts, and Elder Ryan travelled from one end of Upper Canada to the other, organizing circuits. For years, Richard Springer’s barn accommodated the congregations in winter, and during the summer months, services were held under the forest trees. The first and oldest regular place of public worship was a little frame school house on the lot near the corner of King and Wellington streets. Here Mr. Springer continued his regular class and prayer meetings, and in the absence of an itinerant preacher, he would conduct the Sunday service. As an exhorter, it is told that Mr. Springer was a man of great power, somewhat quaint in his manner, which was very effective in those early days of Methodism. It is said that most of the farmers living at the Head of the Lake (now the city of Hamilton0 were Methodists, among them being the Springers, Lands, Aikmans, Fergusons, Hughsons, Beasleys,Hesses, Kirkendalls and others whose names are forgotten by the Muser. Some of those named united with the Church of England when the Rev. James Gamble Geddes first gathered a congregation here, about 1825.In 1822, Richard Springer, Charles Depew, Col. John Aikman, john Eaton and Peter Ferguson, acting as trustees for the Methodist Episcopal church, purchased the present site on the corner of King and Wellington streets from Col. Robert Land, paying twenty pounds ($80) for about one acre and a quarter of land for a burying ground and a church. One of the first burials was Samuel Price, a tavern keeper, whose gravestone bore the date 1822. In 1823, the deed was made to the trustees and immediately after getting possession, the trustees built the first church in Hamilton, and in May 1824, it was duly dedicated. The contract for the erection of the church was given to Day Knight, a brother-in-law of Richard Springer, and the father of Mrs. Daniel Kelly, 444 Main street east, who is now in her ninety-fourth year, and as bright in intellect and activity as a woman of sixty. The building cost about $1,700; the dedication sermon being preached by Presiding Elder William Case. Soon, after the church was built the congregation withdrew from the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States and assumed the name of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Canada. This was known as Ancaster circuit, the Reverend Issac B. Smith and the Reverend David Culp being the ministers in charge of the circuit. The writer of these Musings had the pleasure, in his youth, of hearing the Rev. David Culp preach in the old Methodist Episcopal Church on Nelson street, now Ferguson Avenue. The church property was afterwards sold to the government, and on it was built the gun sheds for Captain Booker’s artillery. The Rev. Dr. Ryerson, then a young fellow of twenty years, came from his farm home in Ancaster to study the classics under Mr. Law. He was a Methodist and Mr. Springer finally captured hi and got him into the ministry.


The first Methodist  church built in Hamilton, and dedicated in 1824, cost $1,700, and the early Methodists felt proud of it. It cost much self-denial in those early days even to raise that small amount. The church that was dedicated last Sunday cost $105,000, and the Sunday school building that will be dedicated tomorrow cost $35,000 more, making a grand total of $140,000. When it is considered that there are but few wealthy men connected with the First Methodist, while the majority of its membership is in comfortable circumstances, it required a deal of faith in the future for the congregation to tackle such a proposition, especially in these days of financial stringency. There is no such word as fail in the lexicon of the First church, and while the present generation may not be able to pull the whole load, there are future generations of Methodists to finish the job. The new church is a credit to Hamilton, and to the denomination in Canada. It is to be presumed that the first Methodist bishop in Canada, Bishop Reynolds, dedicated the old King street church in 1824, though we have no authentic data to prove it. The new church was dedicated last Sunday morning by Bishop Chown, and in the evening by the Rev. E. B. Lanceley, who may be in effect called the father of the new church, for it was during his pastorate that the enterprise was started. We will close with a little item of history. In 1824, the first missionary collection taken up on the Ancaster circuit, comprising about thirty miles in circumference, in which the Head of the Lake was included, amounted on the entire district to $32. This would not go very far toward the conversion of even one heathen in these days of high prices of living.


It is estimated on reliable authority that not less than $2,000 a day crosses the bars of the hotels in Hamilton; and this seems to be a new estimate considering that there are sixty-two licensed hotels, the average receipts being over $32 a day. Added to this, there are sixteen retail stores where liquor is sold by the quantity, not to be drunk on the premises. As there is a good profit on liquors, it is reasonable to suppose that the retail dealers take in quite a large amount in the course of a day’s business for what are called bottled goods. But take the incomes of sixty-two licensed hotels at $2,000 a day and it amounts to $32,000 a week. Count it up for a year and it costs to quench the thirst of the hotel customers $804,000. These figures are low if we consider a semi-official estimate that appeared in the local columns of the city papers some months ago. That statement gave in round numbers $1,000,000 as the estimated receipts that crossed hotel bars in one year. Take your choice of the $2,000 a day or the one million dollars a year and either is certainly a great waste of money for the momentary pleasure of tickling the palates of the few hundreds or more who indulge in that luxury. It is not the intention of the Muser to berate the hotel keeper or his customers. The man with a liquor appetite and his helpless wife and children are the sufferers.

The United Relief association of Hamilton is now spending between $5,000 and $6,000 a week in furnishing food for 2,000 or 2,500 families of men out of employment. The families cannot starve, and there is no work for the men to do to provide the food and fuel and house rent. This condition of affairs is not peculiar to Hamilton alone; it is world-wide. The people of Hamilton are generous givers, and they not only contribute liberally from their private purses toward every benevolent enterprise, but they are loyally backing up the civic authorities to appropriate from the public treasury all the money necessary to provide for the wants of the less fortunate.

But, just think of it, from $5,000 to $6,000 a week to furnish food and fuel and clothing to the families of the unemployed of Hamilton, and not less than $12,000 a week to quench the liquor thirst of the men who have acquired an appetite for strong drink!

In the recent war in which the Japanese and the Russians were trying conclusions, the little brown brother was more than a match for the Russian bear. There was a reason for this, for the men of Russia were as brave and courageous as the Japs. The Japanese are a temperate people, while the Russian soldier of that war drank heavily of his native vodka. The sober Japanese was more than a physical match for his Russian opponent under the demoralizing influence of vodka, and the result was victory for the little brown brother on every battlefield.

When the present unpleasantness between the Kaiser and his neighbor rulers began, the Czar of Russia issued an order prohibiting the sale of vodka in his Dominions. At one fell swoop, he wiped out $500,000,000 of revenue, for the government of Russia had a monolpoly of the liquor business. Every place where vodka was sold was immediately closed and no liquor could be had for love nor money. It was prohibition that prohibited. It was intended for a war measure, and its results were immediate. There is no more drunkenness or demoralization in the Russian army, and these brave fellows are fighting like heroes and whipping everything before them. Tally one for a sober army! Not only has Russia a sober army now, but the men at home are sober and industrious and their families are not only well-fed and clothed, but the rioting and the drunkenness that prevailed have passed away.

If Hamilton had a czar that could do like the Czar of Russia, there would be no $12,000 a week crossing the hotel bars, and the city would not have to raise $5,000 or $6,000 a week for a relief fund.


Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep and you go it alone. It was Ela Wheeler Wilcox that gave expression to this trite saying, or words to that effect. We all like the plaudits of friends, especially those of us who dabble in printer`s ink. This old Muser may be pardoned if he gives to the readers of these Musings a couple of very complimentary letters, congratulating him on having lived four score years, and saying very nice things about our humble contributions to the columns of the Spectator. The first is our old friend, Judge Jelfs, and the second from an old Burlington boy who obeyed the call of the wild west and is now the sales manager in the J. H. Ashdown Hardware company, in the city of Winnipeg. We have not had the pleasure of being acquainted with Mr. C. H. Bamford, and that makes his kind words the more acceptable. Many friends told us how glad they were that the Muser was getting up in years, though he is only a boy yet.

                                                          Office of Police Magistrate,

                                                                   November 18, 1914

Dear Sir, - Allow me, as one of the many thousands who have enjoyed and been entertained by your able contributions to the press, to congratulate you on your reaching, with God`s approval, an age in advance of the allotted span, enjoying ,as I am sure you must, the consoling and comforting thought that your life must be pleasing to God because it has been useful to your fellow men.

                                                          Yours sincerely,

                                                                   Geo. Fred. Jelfs



                                                          Winnipeg, Canada,

                                                                   November 18, 1914.

Dear Mr. Butler, - Permit me to congratulate you on reaching the four score mark, and to express the wish that you will long be spared to contribute Saturday Musings to the Spectator. Your articles I read with pleasure. While they are reminiscent, their diction has a charm that sustains from the first to the last word. Truly, the boys and girls of Hamilton are to be congratulated on their good fortune in having the early history of their city presented to them so interestingly, and interspersed with such ripe common sense. I am an old Burlington boy, and know Hamilton well, hence your articles have an added interest. Yet even were I a total stranger to Hamilton, they would still be looked upon as articles worthwhile.

I ask you to accept this slight appreciation of your worth and work, and wish that the year you are just entering will be a record one in good health and happiness.

Believe me, yours sincerely,

C. H. S. Bamford.