The Month That Was – December 1867

All articles originally appeared in The Oshawa Vindicator

Please note – there are two articles, transcribed as they appeared in 1867, describing the grim death of a woman.


December 4, 1867
Page 1
A man in Toledo, Ohio, lost his wife by death at nine o’clock in the forenoon, at three o’clock in the afternoon he buried her, and at six o’clock in the evening he was married again.

Page 2
A monster hotel will be put up at Niagara next summer – Canadian side

Five hundred thousand dollars changed hands on the recent New York election

The health of Mr. McGee – We learn that Mr. McGee still continues in very ill health.  He is quite unable to take his seat in the Commons in consequence of ulceration of the ankle.  His general health is very much depressed, and though advised by his medical attendants to take stimulants to keep him up, he nevertheless refuses to act upon that advice. Under these circumstances his recovery cannot be expected to take place very rapidly.  Indeed, it is questionable whether he will be able to attend to his parliamentary duties again be the adjournment.
*This article appears to be referring to Thomas D’Arcy McGee, Father of Confederation, and the first of two Canadian political assassinations.

Mechanics Institute – on Friday evening last a sale of the periodicals for the current year was held.  Owing to the inclemency of the weather the attendance was not as large as would otherwise have been the case.  A portion only of the magazines and papers were sold, and these conditionally.  They will again be offered for sale tomorrow night. Any one not present at the last meeting will have an opportunity then to purchase any o the large number of periodicals on the list of the Institute. Those who desire to obtain the [cream] of the literature of the day at about one-half the price that they would otherwise have to pay should not fail to be present tomorrow evening at eight. A meeting of the general committee is called for seven the same evening.

The Hall Works – In order to wind up the estate of the late Joseph Hall, these extensive premises will be sold by auction on Wednesday next. The sale will be held on the premises at two o’clock. The whole of the machine shops, plant, &c., will be offered, forming one of the largest lots ever put up by auction in the Dominion.

December 4, 1867, page 2

December 11, 1867
Page 2
The Local Representation
The eligibility of Dr. McGill to a seat in the House of Assembly seems likely to create an owling amongst old and musty statues that will delight the heart of a chancery lawyer. The case has assumed complications unexpected at first sight. During the term of Mr. Mowat’s reign, over the post offices of the land, the Doctor was offered either a coronership or a magistracy, he chose the latter, and was so appointed. A year or so ago, at the solicitation of Mr. Gibbs, he was appointed a coroner. – But section 17 Cap. 100 of the consolidated Statues declare that no Coroner can be a Justice of the Peace. – The Doctor was a Justice before being a Coroner, and the question arises, does the latter invalidate the former office or vice versa. An old statute of Edward VI seems to favor the latter view. – We understand that this is the reason why Dr. McGill has received no fees for the inquest he held. Since his appointment, the Dr. has acted as a Justice of the Peace, consequently either his acts as a coroner or as a magistrate are illegal. The case may yet come before the Legislature for adjudication, and the probabilities are, there will be no election at least for some time.

December 11, 1867, page 1

Fire Alarms – On Friday evening, a fire alarm was rung. It was caused by a chimney in Pringle’s Hall being on fire. The flames were very fierce, and as the wind was very high, it for a time seemed dangerous, but it was soon put out. Shortly afterwards the chimney of Mr. Gurley caught fire. The gamins made a rush to get into the house, but Mr. Gurley knew better than that, and kept them out with his constable’s baton. Scarcely had this burned out when a chimney of Dr. Clarke’s house was discovered to be on fire. All burned themselves out without damage.

Enlargement – The congregation of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Columbus, have made arrangements to enlarge their burial ground, and erect a new building for the Sabbath School, and also a new shed. Nearly the amounts required has been obtained, the members having subscribed very liberally.

Hotel Changes – Next spring, Mr. Pringle will move into the large new hotel now being erected by Dr. Eastwood on the old Arkland property. – Mr. Merritt has leased Woons’ hotel for a term of years and will move in when Mr. Pringle moves out.

December 11, 1867, page 2

December 18, 1867
Page 2
Frozen to Death
On Wednesday night last, about six o’clock, as a man on horseback, was going from Oshawa to Whitby, near Gadsby’s corners, he discovered a woman on the road side endeavouring to walk, but apparently unable to do so. He dismounted, picked up a bundle which he found near her, and endeavoured to lead her along. She was so benumbed with the cold that he found it impossible to get her along. He proceeded to Constable Campbell’s and notified him of the case of the unfortunate woman. The constable at once proceeded to the spot and found her speechless. He got her into Mrs. Gadsby’s hotel, but frozen as the woman was, Mrs. Gadsby refused to receive her into the house because she was colored. The constable, instead of compelling the heartless landlady to keep her, procured a cutter, put the already more than half-dead creature into it, and he and an assistant dragged her for two hours through the piercing cold of that bitter night about the streets of Whitby, seeking to obtain some place of shelter. At about midnight he got her into Spurrill’s hotel. Dr. Carson was sent for, but of course by this time the woman was frozen almost solid. He tried every remedy, but she died before morning. Such are but a portion of the facts of a case in which was manifested an utter absence of common sense and Christian charity, such as, for the credit of our civilization, seldom occurs. In the centre of a town, a human being, and that of a woman, freezes to death because no one would take her in!

Christmas Tree – A social entertainment in aid of the funds of the Sabbath School will be held in the Christian Church on Christmas Eve. One of the articles of the entertainment will be a Christmas Tree, the fruit of which will be distributed amongst the audience. Addresses will be delivered by several ministers and gentlemen of the town, and the choir and Sabbath School children will sing some of their choicest pieces. The admittance fee will be a voluntary offering at the door.

December 18, 1867, page 2

For sale.
The subscriber offers for sale, cheap, a DOUBLE PLEASURE SLEIGH, and a young Gray Horse.  Apply to John Hyland, Sen. Oshawa, Dec. 16, 1867.

December 18, 1867, page 3

Page 4
Removal – The subscriber begs to inform his customers that he has removed his Carriage Shop to Bond Street, west of H. Pedlar’s Stove and Tin Shop. Whilst returning thanks to his old customers, he hopes to retain their patronage. – Strict attention will be paid to repairing Buggies, Waggons, Sleighs, &c.; also general repairing.  J. Craig

December 25, 1867
Page 2
Dickens realized $20,000 out of his four readings in Boston.

Brazilian bug necklaces are becoming fashionable in New York.

Mr. and Mrs. Brown of Canaan, NY, have been arrested for killing their child to obtain an insurance of $85,000 on its life.

The Frozen Woman – The colored woman who was frozen to death at Whitby was named Johnson.  She had lived for some time near the lake shore, to the east of Oshawa. Some eight weeks since she came into town, and being homeless, Mr. Fletcher, the barber took her in. She left suddenly about four weeks ago, and for a time was unheard of, but after a few days she again returned, having, in the meantime, being living at an Indian camp four miles from Oshawa. She again disappeared and was not heard [from] until found frozen. The Town Council have properly resolved to investigate the circumstances of her death, and find out upon whose shoulders the responsibility rests. A special committee has been appointed for the purpose.

Christmas Cheer
We are pleased to note that the excellent idea initiated by Mr. Glen, of presenting each of his married employees with a Christmas Turkey, has been this year followed by Messrs. Whiting and Cowan. Over 120 birds were required to supply the two firms. The happy heads of the largest families were presented with the heaviest turkey, and we hope this will encourage the less fortunate paterfamilias, not to remain always in the receipt of the lesser gifts.

Earthquake – On Wednesday morning last, an earthquake was heard and felt throughout the eastern part of the Dominion and a portion of the northern part of the State of New York. A letter from Kingston under date of the 18th says: –

“At ten minutes to three o’clock this morning, I felt a tremulous motion of the earth and a loud rumbling noise, which continued about three minutes. I got up, for the bed and chamber furniture was in a state of vibratory motion. I looked, the air was clear and serene, and the rumbling sound appeared to die away to westward.”

The shock was slightly perceptible here, several persons having felt the trembling, and heard the noise. No damage was done at any place.

Provided for – Mr. Toms has for a second time provided the Vindicator Christmas dinner by presenting us with a pair of young toothsome turkeys, for which he has our best bow. It is comforting to think that even in this uncharitable age there remain some with tender hearts for the unfortunate.

December 25, 1867, page 3

Page 4
Lots for Sale.
The subscriber will sell by private sale, village lots on Centre and Avenue Street. Terms east. RG McGrigor. Oshawa, Nov 6th, 1867.

Engaging Volunteers at Home

By Dylan C., MMC Intern

As a result of the pandemic, volunteers have not been able to return in person to the Oshawa Museum. By not being able to come into the museum, they lose the social aspect of their volunteer experience which is the biggest motivator for some.  The museum has been looking for ways to keep their volunteers engaged at home. One proposed way of keeping volunteers engaged is through the audio transcription of oral histories. But if audio transcription is going to be one of the main ways to keep volunteers engaged from home during this pandemic, then the question becomes how do we incorporate and infuse that process with a social component? One theory of mine includes hosting online discussions through zoom or other web-based programs, where volunteers can discuss what they have learned from completing the transcription. They can talk about the process of transcribing itself or discuss the history that they have learned from hearing the voices of the past.

The first transcription I worked on was an oral history from a gentleman named Wardy Pankhurst who was a life long resident of Oshawa that was born in the early 1900s. (We’ve written at length about the Pankhurst family on the blog – read through past articles HERE) I learned very quickly that I could barely understand what he was talking about between the poor audio quality and the lack of knowledge that I had in regards to Oshawa’s past. It wasn’t until I did a bit of digging myself when I began to understand what were the places and people he was referencing. For example, he is hard to hear, understandably being an elderly man born at the turn of the century, coupled with the fact he refers to places and people as if it is common knowledge, which of course would have been if you were alive during his time or if you are well versed in Oshawa history. The first word or rather name that he kept bringing up when referencing to his work past was Malleable. I could not make out what he was trying to say, so I had to ask my dad to see if he could hear because at first, I could not even distinguish what word he was trying to say. After deciphering the word “malleable,” I then still found myself in the dark. After a quick google search I found out that he was referring to the Ontario Malleable Steel Company and then all of a sudden, the entire context of what he was talking about came to fruition. It connected his tales about working for the McLaughlin’s, to travelling south of the border to Detroit then coming back to Oshawa to sell his services to the highest bidder. Doing this research to simply understand the story he was trying to tell gave me the idea that audio transcription can be more than simply turning speech into text. It could be a rewarding experience that turns social transcribers into an amateur research team that seeks to learn more about the history of Oshawa.

The second part of this is that you could turn the finished and researched transcriptions into mini history resources if you will, that have hyperlinks incorporated in them so if someone wants to read the transcription and has questions about certain topics discussed they could simply click on the highlighted word that takes them to a web page on the subject.

This mixture of independent work with a social meeting aspect may help to keep volunteers engaged even if they are restricted to their own homes. However, it is impossible to replace the in-person social aspects of volunteering but this idea gives some food for thought and perhaps gives us an avenue to engage and stay connected during these unprecedented times.


To hear Ward’s memories as relayed by him, take a listen to our video podcast:


The audio transcription project is being facilitated over our Google Drive – volunteers can sign up for which audio file they want to work on, and the MP3s are accessible from that same online folder.

If you are interested in helping with this project, please email Lisa at membership@oshawamuseum.org

Spanish Flu in 1918 and COVID-19 in 2020

By Melissa Cole, Curator

Just over 100 years ago, the Province of Ontario, including the Town of Oshawa experienced a public health crisis that resembles today’s COVID-19.  From 1918 – 1920 the Spanish Influenza swept the world and killed 50 million people world wide, taking the lives of young and otherwise healthy adults.  The Spanish Influenza started in February 1918 while the First World War was ongoing and approaching its end, creating the ideal environment for the flu to infect, multiply, and spread rapidly across the globe.  It reached the United States in March 1918, and it reached Canada through troop, hospital and civilian ships sailing from England to Grosse Île.  The Ports of Montreal and Halifax were the main routes of infection into Canada; by late June and early July, it spread across the country via the railway.  According to public health authorities, “The failure to restrict train travel early on was one of the terrible oversights.”   It came in multiple waves. The first wave took place in the spring of 1918, then in the fall of 1918, a mutation of the influenza virus produced an extremely contagious, virulent, and deadly form of the disease. This second wave caused 90% of the deaths that occurred during the pandemic. Subsequent waves took place in the spring of 1919 and the spring of 1920.

Image from the collection of the Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta

In Canada, 50,000 people died, accelerated by complications from infections such as pneumonia.  In Ontario, 300,000 cases and 8,705 deaths were recorded. But these figures likely don’t tell the whole story: medical systems were overwhelmed, meaning that many fatalities almost certainly went unreported; this is evident in the reports that were sent in from local Medical Officers of Health.  The largest percentages of deaths in Ontario from the Spanish Flu occurred in York County which represented 17.3% of the total epidemic deaths. York contained Toronto, the largest city at the time. Carleton County, which included Ottawa, accounted for 5.8% of the deaths, and Wentworth, including Hamilton, had 5.1% of the deaths. No other individual county had more than 5% of the total deaths.  Between 1918 and 1919, Oshawa had a population of approximately 10,000, and there were just over 300 deaths recorded; 84 of those deaths were infants under one year of age.  

Just like today, we tend to think of the young and the elderly as being most at risk, but most of those who died during the Spanish Flu epidemic were between the ages of 20 and 40 — the same demographic already decimated by the First World War. In Canada, the provinces of Quebec and Alberta were the most severely affected, which is one of the reasons archives like the Glenbow Archives in Alberta have a wealth of information related to public health and the Spanish Flu.  

In 1918, the Spanish Flu swept through the Maternity hospital located at Llewellyn Hall, and it was reported that 95% of the babies in the Ward passed away. Unfortunately these numbers were not accounted for or submitted to the provincial board of health as a direct relation to the Spanish Flu, but this may have been the reason why 53 infants under the age of one died that year.  

Provincial Board of Health report, 1919

The following year in 1919, it was reported by Dr. McKay, the medical officer of health for Oshawa, that the town was not greatly affected by the Spanish Flu in 1918, which is indicated by the decrease in deaths attributed to ‘the freedom of the town from the Spanish Flu epidemic.’  When the epidemic hit Oshawa, beds were placed in the armouries to treat the sick, and all churches and schools were closed to prevent spreading.  

Just like today, everyone was encouraged to stay home, however, on November 11, 1918, it was impossible to convince Ontarians to stay home. Despite continued concerns about public gatherings and pleas from politicians to wait until December, people all over the province took to the streets to celebrate the Allied victory and the end of the The Great War.  

Armistice Parade, 1918; image courtesy of the Thomas Bouckley Collection, The RMG

This was our own community celebrating in the streets of Oshawa with the Armistice Parade that took place in November 1918.   It would be the following year, in 1919, when Oshawa and the surrounding communities were hit the hardest by the Spanish Influenza.  Let’s take a lesson from history, and please stay home. 


Resources:

The Report of the Provincial Board of Health Ontario, 1920

The Report of the Provincial Board of Health Ontario, 1905 

Christopher Rutty and Sue Sullivan, This is Public Health: A Canadian History.  Canadian Public Health Association, 2010

Susan Goldenburg, Killer Flu, September 11, 2018. Canada’s History

M. Humphries, Lessons From the 1918 Pandemic: Focus on Treatment, Not Prevention, Globe and Mail, July 24, 2009.

Where The Streets Get Their Names – Chadburn Street

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

A number of streets in Oshawa are named for significant war battles or for Oshawa’s veterans, denoted with a poppy on the street sign. Chadburn Street is one such street. Lloyd Vernon Chadburn was one of Canada’s most decorated pilots of the Second World War.  Chadburn, or “Chad” as he was known to his friends, was only 22 years old when he commanded his first squadron into battle, becoming the youngest flight leader in the history of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

Born in Montreal in 1919, Chadburn moved with his parents to Oshawa as an infant, residing on Masson Street.  His father, Thomas, was the owner of Chadburn Motor Company, located at King and Prince Streets in Oshawa. The family later resided in Aurora.

As a teenager, Chadburn worked as a clerk for the Bank of Toronto and as a salesman for the Red Rose Tea Company.  After completing high school, he twice applied to the RCAF but was turned down both times.  By the time the Second World War broke out in 1939, Chadburn was employed by General Motors, driving cars off the assembly line.

In 1940, Chadburn was finally accepted into the RCAF, only a few months before his 21st birthday.  After basic flight training in Toronto and Windsor, he graduated as a pilot officer from the Number 2 Flight Training School in Ottawa.

Chadburn went overseas on October 2, 1940 to join Number 2 RCAF squadron in England.  He made his first operational flight in March 1941, flying the Hawker Hurricane fighter.  A year later he took command of Number 416 squadron in Scotland, becoming the first graduate of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan to command a flight squadron.  Chadburn’s leadership won him the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and made his squadron the most successful RCAF fighter group.  One of the squadron’s more daring escapades was providing cover for the Dieppe Raid in 1942, saving hundreds of Allied lives.

Image from: RCAF Memories by 420 Wing RCAF Association, Oshawa Public Library Collection.

In the winter of 1942-43, Chadburn returned to Oshawa, where he received a civic reception and a tour of General Motors during war production.  During this visit, Chadburn gave permission for the Oshawa Air Cadet Squadron to use his name which it still retains today, the only such squadron to be named after an individual.1

Upon returning to service in Europe, Chadburn commanded the 402 (Winnipeg), 416 (Oshawa), and 118 (RAF) squadrons, flying escort for American bombers.  The bomber crews came to know Chadburn as “The Angel.”  In 60 sorties escorting the bombers, only one of them was ever lost to enemy fire.  To honour his achievements, Chadburn became the first of only four RCAF officers to be decorated with the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).

In early 1944, following another visit to Canada, this time to promote war bonds on CBC, Chadburn was appointed Wing Commander of Fighter Operations.  At 24 years old, he was the youngest officer to hold that position.  Working behind a desk made Chadburn restless, yearning to be back in the skies.

In June 1944, he was back in the cockpit of a Spitfire warplane, leading the first air assault on D-Day.  The following week however, his fighting came to an end as he was tragically killed in a mid-air collision with another Spitfire.  His body was laid to rest Ranville War Cemetery near Caen, France. He was posthumously awarded the French Croix de Guerre and made a Chevalier (Knight) of the Legion d’Honneur.

The name Chadburn was not only given to a street in Oshawa, but also given to a lake in Yukon.  It is said that the pilots who served with Chadburn during the war wrote to his mother every Mother’s Day until her death in 1968.

We first see Chadburn Street in Oshawa City Directories in 1950 – there is a simple notation saying 12 new houses, indicating that it is newly named and constructed upon. It is located amongst streets named for World War I battle sites, such as Verdun Road and Vimy Avenue.


References:

  1. “Chadburn Squadron History” 151 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron website, https://www.chadburn.org/squadron-history/chadburn-squadron; accessed 11/02/20.

Additional References

Canadian Virtual War Memorial, Veterans Affairs Canada, https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/canadian-virtual-war-memorial/detail/2847750, accessed 11/02/20.

Historical Oshawa Information Sheet, Oshawa Historical Society.

Oshawa Times, Saturday October 10, 1992.

Oshawa Times, March 27, 1987.

“Flying Ace was ‘Real Regular’ Oshawa Boy,” East6; “Aurora Remembers Ideal Fighter Pilot,”Peason Bowerman, North32; Toronto Star, February 28, 1984.

RCAF Memories Scrapbook, from the Local History Collection at the OPL, accessed on 11/02/20 from https://archive.org/details/fta082rcafmemoires/page/n43/mode/2up.

The Month That Was – November 1866

All articles originally appeared in the Oshawa Vindicator

November 7, 1866, Page 2
Gold discoveries – gold has been discovered in some quantities in the Township of Madoc, back of Belleville.  St. Wm. Logan does not promise any large quantities but the people do not put much faith in his predictions.  Land upon which gold indications have been discovered has been sold at a tremendous price.

A Narrow Escape – on Monday last, Mr. Wm. Hezzelwood, of East Whitby, bad a narrow esacpe from being shot.  Accompanied by his nephew and son, he went out for the purpose of shooting rabbits.  As the nephew who was in the rear of the others, was crossing a fence, it gave way with him and threw him to the ground.  The concussion discharged the gun.  A portion of the charge grazed the side of the head of Mr. Hezzelwood, whilst his little boy was slightly wounded in the thigh by another portion.

November 7, 1866, page 1

Mr. Carswell in Philadelphia – the following is an extract of a letter from a resident of Philadelphia, dated October 28th. We are glad to see that Mr. Carswell is likely to obtain a reputation in the city of Brotherly Love equal that he enjoys in the other cities of the Union which he has visited: – “Mr. Carswell lectured last Tuesday evening here.  The audience were perfectly delighted, and say he can scarcely be excelled by Gough, who is considered here to be the finest lecturer of the day.  All he wants to be his equal is the reputation.”

November 14, 1866, Page 2
The United States Government is about to advertise for tenders for iron headstones to place over the graves of Federal soldiers who was killed or died of disease during the late war – The number required is a fearful 475,000.

Canadian residents in the States are being served with notices to quit on or before the 5th of December, by order of the Fenian Brotherhood, on pain of death.

Victor Hugo is writing a history of England.  The work, which will contain all the events of the second half of the eighteenth century, is not expected to be ready before the beginning of next year.

November 14, 1866, page 3

Burned – Early on the morning of Friday last, the mill of Mr. Henry Bickle, known as the ‘Old Starr Mills,’ situated in the 6th concession of Whitby, was burned to the ground.  The miller was in the mill until after eleven p.m., and then as far as he could discover all was safe. It is supposed to have originated from the stove pipe. The mill was wholly destroyed.  Mr. Bickle was insured for $4,000, about half the loss.  The wheat in the mill, amounting to six thousand bushels, belonged to Messrs. Gibbs & Brother. They were partially insured, their loss will probably be $4,000.

When is Thanksgiving Day? – It seems very strange that the Governor has not yet proclaimed a Thanksgiving Day for the present year.  There surely never was a year during which we as a people here received greater cause to be thankful. Three times have we been threatened with lawless invasion, and still we are saved from the devastations of war.  The dryness of the spring, the coolness of the summer, and the wet weather of the harvest threatened to destroy our crops, but out barns are filled plenty. Cholera has afflicted nearly every other nation, whilst we have been mercifully spared. Add to these the opening of a market after the abolition of the Reciprocity Treaty, the good prices obtained for our produce, the preservation of the land from internal dissentions, and we have a year which God has marked by a great display of his Providential care and goodness towards us.

November 14, 1866, page 4

Dedication of a New Church – The Ebenezer Bible Christian Church, situated on the 1st Con, Darlington, was dedicated on the Sabbath last.  On Monday a tea meeting was held which was largely attended.  $116 was realized which was placed to the benefit of the building fund. A subscription list was afterwards circulated when, a sufficient amount was obtained to entirely free the Church. The cost of the church was about $2,000.

November 21, 1866, Page 2
The Columbus Rifles – The match for the medal presented to the company by the people of East Whitby, was shot on Saturday last.  The attendance of members was good, although the day “was most unpromising.” The average shooting was very fair. The medal was won by Private G. Greenwell, with a score of twenty four points, and the money prizes, the first was taken by Private Smith, and the second by Corporal Portcous.

Petty Thieving Again – Last week as Mr. [Pake] was lighting the lamps of the Town Hall, for the Drill Association, he left the room for a few minutes, and when he returned he found that some person had entered and made off with two of the lamps. The boards about the Skating Rink have been gradually disappearing for some time past, but not content with this some person last week broke open the house, stole a lamp, all the lamp chimneys and every length of stovepipe.  What with incendiary fires, and petty thieving, the council will have to employ a detective – The rewards which have been offered during the last few weeks would yield a sharp man a good remuneration for this season.

November 21, 1866, page 3

November 28, 1866, Page 2
JH Surratt, the alleged accomplice in the murder of President Lincoln, was discovered serving in the Papal Zouaves, under the name of John Watson.  He was arrested upon a demand of Gen. King, but afterwards ran the guard, leaped over a precipice, and escaped into Italian territory. The Italian authorities are on the alert, and are endeavouring to re-capture him.

Nova Scotia anti-confederation papers point exultingly to the fact that a portion of Liverpool where thieves and other bad characters congregate is called “Upper Canada.”

Birth – In Oshawa, on the 22nd inst., the wife of Cornelius Robinson, of a son.