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.

Historical Context, Modern Narratives, and Louis Riel

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

One of our popular Blog Series is ‘The Month That Was,’ which looks at a month of newspapers from the past, highlighting interesting stories, images, advertisements, and anything else eye catching. Often, the stories are quaint, humourful, or sometimes, they can give an insight into the happenings and/or politics at the time.  Newspapers leading up to elections are always interesting, especially those from the mid 1800s as the newspapers had very evident political biases. 

Sometimes, a simple annotation to the historical article can enhance a modern reader’s understanding of the event. For example, the August 9, 1872 edition of the Ontario Reformer reported:

Grace Marks received her pardon on condition that she would leave this country never to return.  She left Kingston on Tuesday, for the United States.

With this, an annotation was added, explaining that Grace was the subject of the popular Margaret Atwood book, later turned miniseries, Alias Grace.

When the trivia is short and simple, it makes annotating easy without taking away from the purpose of the article, highlighting stories from decades past.

However, while reading the newspapers in October 1873, news stories gave pause and left questions as to whether to present the articles as written, to annotate, or to exclude the stories because the additional context needed was greater than the blog post allowed. We opted for the latter, allowing another post, this one, to give the needed context.

Many articles in the October 24,1873 edition of the Ontario Reformer were discussing the results of a by-election in Manitoba which saw Louis Riel elected as a Member of Parliament.

The editors of the Reformer published their own editorials, slanted with their Liberal bias:

The Riel Difficulty
Riel, the murderer of Scott, is in Ottawa to-day claiming his seat as one of the People’s representatives, sheltering himself from just punishment behind a pardon granted by Sir John Macdonald… The question will then arise, however, how far that amnesty can be made to stretch.  While granting immunity to subjects in rebellion to Her Majesty’s laws, can it be also held to shelter the wilful, deliberate, unprovoked brutal murder of one of Her Majesty’s loyal subjects – not while in arms against the so-called Provisional Government, but while a helpless prisoner, utterly incapable of either resistance or disturbance. We believe very many of the member’s from Ontario maintain that the amnesty cannot be held to cover this foul crime, and we trust that bad as the character which the second Parliament has earned it, it will not be further sullied by association with a convicted murderer.

There was also the following inclusion:

An Opinion of Riel
We have been requested to publish the following resolution, passed last evening, and we commend it to the attention of the Hon. Mr. Gibbs:

Oshawa, Oct 23rd, 1873

An Emergency Meeting of the LO [Loyal Orange] Lodge, No 686, held at Oshawa, it was unanimously resolved that we regret to learn, that Louis Riel has been elected as a Representative to the House of Commons, of the Dominion of Canada, and , that we, as a Body, feel that his presence as a Representative in your Honorable House, would be a scandal and disgrace to our country, and utterly distasteful to the Members of our Loyal Orange Association, as well as to a large portion of the inhabitants of our Country, and we humbly trust that measures will be taken as will prevent him from taking a seat in the Parliament of the Dominion, and to bring him speedily to account for the murder of Thomas Scott in Manitoba, and that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Secretary of State and the Governor General of the Dominion of Canada.

The words being used by the various authors are strong: “murderer,” “utterly distasteful,” “foul crime,” and “disgrace to our country.” According to the Reformer, the local Orange Society was one of many around the country holding such meetings, wanting to see justice against Riel “if he attempts to enter the Province.”

Without providing additional historical and contemporary context to Riel, presenting these articles, as written, are not giving the full picture of the happenings of the Red River Rebellion or of Riel himself, whom we know today to be a complex historical figure, far more complex than the villain he is painted to be by many of his colonial contemporaries.

According to his Dictionary of Canadian Biography entry, Louis Riel is “one of the most controversial figures in Canadian history,” with the Métis  people regarding him a hero, the French Canadians sympathizing with this “victim of Ontario religious and racial bigotry,” and while those in the mid-1800s in the Canadian east painted him the villain, many today regard him as one of the Father of Confederation, a founder of the province of Manitoba.

Carte-de-Visite Portrait of Louis Riel
Notman Studio. Library and Archives Canada, e003895129
Carte-de-visite portrait of Louis Riel taken in Ottawa after his election as MP for Provencher, Manitoba, 1873.
Image from the Canadian Encyclopedia

Riel was born on October 22, 1844 in Saint-Boniface, Red River Settlement (modern Manitoba).  He was regarded as very well spoken, and he gained notoriety in the late 1860s, standing up for Métis culture, way of life, and rights.

A purchase of land by the government from the Hudson’s Bay Company and subsequent land surveys resulted in the organization the Métis National Committee. They denied the surveyor entrance to the lands, Upper Fort Garry was seized from the HBC, and the Red River Colony, under the leadership of Riel, was formed.  In December 1869, the “Declaration of the People of Rupert’s Land and the North-West,” was issued, rejecting “Canada’s authority to govern the Northwest and propos[ing] a negotiated settlement between Canada and the new provisional government” (Canadian Encyclopedia). Canadian delegates were sent, and negotiations resulted in the Manitoba Act, creating the fifth province to enter Confederation.  It was agreed that 1.4 million acres were to be reserved for Métis descendants, and it was also promised that Manitoba would officially be bilingual.

Meanwhile, a small group of Canadians appeared unpleased with the provisional Métis government.  They proceeded to Portage la Prairie, armed, and surprising the Métis who in turn imprisoned them.  A young Orangeman, Thomas Scott, was sentenced to death by a court martial convened by the Métis, a sentence that was not commuted by Riel; Scott was executed on March 4, 1870.  Protestants and Orange Lodge members in Ontario placed the blame for Scott’s death (or murder, as described later in Oshawa papers) upon Riel, who fled into exile after the Rebellion.

Clearly, the situation surrounding the death of Thomas Scott is layered and cannot be simplified into the black and white. It fits well into the modern narratives of land rights, reconciliation, colonization, and repatriation. The Métis peoples appeared to be defending the lands where they had lived for decades and upon which their Indigenous ancestors had lived for millennia. Riel, representing the Red River Colony, was defending his people and their culture.  To simply present the 1873 ‘English/Orange’ narrative of Riel as murderer without the additional context, is an unfair representation, furthering the mistakes of history and repeating the 19th century detrimental biases.  The editors of the Ontario Reformer, in their wording of ‘so-called Provisional Government,’ made it clear how they felt about Riel’s and the Métis’ actions in late 1869/early 1870.

After his election in 1873, Riel took the oath but never took his seat in the House of Commons, fearing assassination or arrest. In the 1880s, Riel led a second, unsuccessful, rebellion for which he was sentenced to death, which was carried out on November 16, 1885 in Regina.

It is difficult to fully present the Red River Rebellion and founding of Manitoba in a blog post.  In writing this post, content from the Metis Nation of Ontario, the Canadian Encyclopedia, and Dictionary of Canadian Biography was used, and it is highly encouraged that they are examined for further reading.

http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/riel_louis_1844_85_11E.html

https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/louis-riel

http://www.metisnation.org/culture-heritage/louis-riel/

The Month That Was – October 1873

All posts originally appeared in the Ontario Reformer

October 3, 1873
Page 2
Gone from our Gaze – One Paul Horn, a tenant on Mr. Charles Farewell’s property, disappeared from this locality a few nights ago.  It seems that he was in debt to Mr. Farewell some three hundred dollars, and having sold his grains and surreptitiously disposed of his farming implements he slung his gentle hook for the land of Uncle Sam.  He leaves us a sorrowing creditor to the extent of two years subscription. “May jackasses sit on his uncle’s grace.”

Fire – an alarm of fire was sounded about midnight on Wednesday evening, and it appeared that a house situated on the north side of the town, was in flames.  It burned to the ground before anything could be done.  The loss will be about $600, Mr. Jas. Horn, of Whitby, being the owner of the building.  As it was unoccupied, it is supposed to be the work of an incendiary.

Scandal in Whitby – The county town is just now highly excited over what is known as the “Campbell difficulty.”  It seems that Mr. Robert Campbell, of the firm R & J Campbell, claims to have good grounds for accusing his wife of infidelity; alleging, it is said, to have found the partner of his happiness flagranti delicto.  Be that as it may he has a suit of crin. con. against her to come off at the Fall Assizes in Toronto. The lady (a daughter of the Rev. Peter Byne) on her part repudiates the charge, and has sued her spouse for $10,000 damages for defamation, the party of the third part also entering a similar action for a like amount.  On Wednesday 26th, Mr. Campbell forcibly ejected his wife from the home which he thinks she has disgraced, and on Tuesday last he was ‘np’ before the magistrates for that he did “assault, beat, ill-treat and drag her down stairs the said Eliza Maria” his wife.  The case is still pending.

October 3, 1873, page 2

October 17, 1873
Page 2
Runaway – a lively runaway occurred on Simcoe Street, on Wednesday morning. A horse belonging to Mr Western, cooper, started for some unknown locality in a southerly direction from Fowke’s Corner.  Luckily for the driver, who had lost control of the brute, he was stopped by Mr. T. Lawless before any damage was done.

Thanksgiving Day – The Ontario Government have issued a proclamation ordering Thursday, 6th November prox. To be observed throughout this Province as a day of Thanksgiving.  We believe all religious denominations in this Village will hold their annual thanksgiving services on that day, and so afford a public opportunity of returning thanks to the Author of all our Bounties in a manner befitting a Christian community.

October 17, 1873, page 2

October 24, 1873
Page 2
Hard on the cow – Rumor saith that an Oshawa butcher killed a cow the other day, belonging to another man,  It was a case of mistaken identity, of course, but a sad mistake for the cow.

Education in Ontario – The High Schools of this County take high rank among the schools of this Province, as judged from the results the recent Examination this speaks highlight for the efficiency of the teachers.

Accident – On Monday last a little boy, a son of Mr. John Barnard, merchant, met with a painful accident while playing on the verandah of his father’s house.  By some mischance he fell, breaking the outer bone of the small part of the right leg. Under care of Dr. Coburn he is progressing favorably.

The Agnes Wallace Troupe – This troupe played to full houses here on Friday and Saturday evenings last, notwithstanding adverse weather on the latter night.  They created a most favourable impression, and proved themselves worthy of the reputation they have earned as one of the best troupes travelling.  They will receive a cordial welcome if they should return again.

October 24, 1873, page 2

October 31, 1873
Page 3
Hallowe’en – This evening will be the anniversary of All Halloween, and great will be the strife between cabbage and cabbageheads.  We trust the bhoys won’t perpetuate any tricks of a serious nature, but we would not interfere with innocent sport; they are welcome to all the vegetables in our neighbours’ cabbage gardens.

The Month That Was – September 1864

All articles originally appeared in the Oshawa Vindicator

September 7, 1864
Page 2

Library, or Reading Room
As will be seen from a sketch of the proceedings at the several meetings held, a Mechanics’ Institute and Library Association has been organized for a second time in Oshawa.  It is to be hoped that the institution will be more successful this time than it was the first, and there is no reason why it should not.  The first one was a miserable affair and a large amount of property was sunk in it, in one way and another, but not by anybody looking after its affairs very closely or endeavouring to keep the institution up.  Nobody seemed to take any ordinary degree of interest in it, even as a library association, and it never was anything more.  Few meetings were held in connection with it, and in the course of time its library was neglected, suffered to go to ruin by want of usage as well as bad usage, and eventually sold for ‘a raere song.’ With this experience before then, no doubt the Directors of the newly organized association will pursue a very different course from that which resulted so disastrously to its predecessor.  Our village is tolerably well supplied with library works thro’ our Common School library that was, and which now is our ‘United Grammar and Common School’ library.  If there is any deficiency of reading matter in that library, it can be supplied by the United Board of Grammar and Common School Trustees in such a way as to give us one complete village library, all under one management. And now that the Grammar School has an interest in the School Library, there ought to be an additional sum of money voted towards procuring new and interesting works for the replenishment of its shelves every year. By doing this, there will be no need of the funds of the Mechanics’ Institute being used up, as those of the former one were, in purchasing a library, leaving an insufficient sum for other purposes of more importance. Let the whole of the funds be devoted to procuring a superior course of lectures, and other entertainments for the winter evenings, and providing a Reading Room containing a number of the leaving English, American, and Canadian papers, and the institution cannot fail to prosper.  But let its funds be used up in purchasing needless and expensive books, and it can hardly avoid, except by taxing somebody’s time and labor quite too severely, meeting with the fate of its predecessor.

Steam up – On Monday last steam was introduced for the first time into the new engine at E. Miall and Co’s cabinet factory, and the boiler and engine, etc. tested. The shafting is not yet all in position and consequently the machinery was not moved.  The engine is a fine piece of mechanism, for a first attempt, and is a good illustration of the capacity of Joseph Hall’s Mill and Job department.

September 7, 1864, page 1

Raft Ashore – On Monday morning last a large raft of square timber towed by the Steamer Hercules, went ashore and broke up near Port Oshawa.  The wind blowing from the lake at the time, the greater part of the timber was washed ashore.

September 7, 1864, page 3; for more on Mrs. PA Henry, read HERE

September 21, 1864
Page 2

The School House
The work of making the addition of 40 feet to the west end of the Union School House is rapidly approaching completion.  The mason work was completed some two weeks ago, and the roof has been put on and the floors laid.  Two small gables have been erected over each doorway in addition to the original plan as given out to contract, which will add considerably to the appearance of the structure, which otherwise would have had an exceedingly unpleasant look in an architectural point of view.  The new rooms will be very airy ones, the floor of the under story being two feet lower than that of the old portion, and the ceiling of the upper room being attached to the roof, giving it somewhat the appearance, overhead, of the Presbyterian Church.

Conviction Quashed – We find the following in the Chronicle’s report of the last Quarter Sessions: – “Conviction of John Stokes for selling liquor on Sunday. – In this case Mr. J. Stokes, hotel keeper, of Oshawa, appealed against the conviction of G.H. Grierson, the convicting magistrate, by which a fine of $20 was imposed for selling liquor on Sunday. There was no respondent’s name in the papers. Conviction quashed. Mr. Lyman English appeared for the appellant.”

Where was our Reeve when the case was called?

A New Grocery Store – A new grocery, provision and crockery store is to be opened out in a few days, in the store in Gibbs’ block, formerly occupied by L. Vancamp, and lately by Gibbs & Bro. The Proprietors are Messrs. Bremner & Urquhart.  Their advertisement will appear next week.

September 21, 1864, page 3

September 28, 1864
Page 2

Excelsior Machines – Two splendid pieces of mechanism left Joseph Hall’s establishment on Monday last for Hamilton. One was the Reaper and Mower to be awarded at the Provincial Plowing Match to the best plowman, as mentioned in our last, and the other a Thresher and Horse Power for competition at the Provincial Exhibition. – They are, doubtless, the two best machines of the kind ever manufactured in any part of the world.

Birth – At Whitby, on the 19th inst., the wife of William Laing Esq., Mayor of Whitby, of twin sons.

Died – At Whitby, on the morning of the 19th inst., deeply and deservedly regretted, Louisa Amelia, the beloved wife of William Laing Esq., Mayor of the Town of Whitby, aged 40 years and six months.

September 28, 1864, page 3

The Month That Was – August 1872

All articles originally appeared in the Ontario Reformer

August 2, 1872

Sir John A. Macdonald is earnestly striving to keep Ontario down, by narrowing her boundaries; and is determined to take from her large portion of the western extremity of the Province, including much of the mineral region.  Mr. Gibbs is aiding Sir John in the robbing of Ontario, and wants to be re-elected to Parliament to assist in the completion of the spoliation.

Vote for White, and thus aid in checkmating the curtailment of our territory.

August 2, 1872, page 2

The return match between the Cedar Dale and Oshawa Base Ball Clubs was played on Friday last, and won by the latter club by 25 runs. Only five innings were played. The first game was won by Cedar Dale by nine runs in nine innings.  The third and decisive game will shortly be played, when an interesting time is expected.

The statement in the Vindicator that Mr. Farewell had promised the Dominion nomination to Mr. White, is utterly false – as are all trumped up Vindicator stories of a like nature, got up for the sole purpose of injuring the reform party.

Page 3

Lost
On Sunday, 21st inst. either in Whitby Town or between Whitby and Oshawa, a brown silk umbrella.  The finder will be suitably rewarded by leaving it at the Reformer Office, Oshawa.

August 9, 1872

Page 2

The three cases of assault, which were to have been tried to-day, have been postponed till Monday next, at 10 o’clock am.

Grace Marks received her pardon on condition that she would leave this country never to return.  She left Kingston on Tuesday, for the United States

*From the Canadian Encyclopedia, Grace Marks “was convicted in 1843 at the age of 16 for the murders of Thomas Kinnear, her employer and a wealthy Upper Canadian living in Richmond Hill, and Nancy Montgomery, his housekeeper and mistress.” Her fictionalized story was told in the 1996 Margaret Atwood novel, Alias Grace. More info: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/alias-grace, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/mysterious-murder-case-inspired-margaret-atwoods-alias-grace-180967045/

August 9, 1872, page 1

August 16, 1872

Page 2

Mr. Daniel Hinkson having purchased the 75 acres known as the “Karr” property situate to the east of the furniture factory, intends laying it out in Village and Park lots, which he will offer for sale at reasonable rates. The situation is good and healthy, and commands a fine view of the village and surrounding country.

August 16, 1872, page 2

Village Council
A meeting of the Village Council was held on Tuesday evening. Present: the deputy reeve, in the chair, and Messrs. Like and Cameron.

The fire brigade made application for $60 to defray expenses to pic-nic on 5th September.  $50 was granted to them.  The Brigade also made application for a new bell.

Several accounts were passed, and ordered to be paid.

August 16, 1872, page 3

August 23, 1872

Page 2

We are glad to see that the bridge on the Base Line, north of Brook’s hotel, is being repaired, but it was not before it needed it

Immediately after the torch-light procession passed on Wednesday evening, a lighted torch was discovered on the roof of Quigley’s hotel.  How it got there we have been unable to find out. But certain it is, had it not been seen at the time the hotel would have been burned.

Theft – A young man who gave his name as William Smith, was apprehended on Tuesday and brought before John Parker, Esq., for having entered the house of Mr. Thos. Henderson, Dunbarton, while the family were at the funeral of Mrs. Synott, and stolen a watch, which was found upon him when captured, and sworn to by the owner as his property.  Smith accounted for the watch by saying that he bought it from a stranger on the road for two dollars, all the money he had. He was committed to gaol to await his trial at the [Assizes].

August 23, 1872, page 3

Page 4

Notice
Notice is hereby given that I will not be responsible for any debts contracted by my son, William James Sulley
William Sulley
Darlington, June 12, 1871.

August 30, 1872

Page 2

The 20th annual exhibition of the South Ontario Agricultural Society will be held in Whitby on the 19th and 20th of September next. Over $2,000 in prizes will be offered.

Geo. Brown and the Globe still lives to do honor to Canada.  It was feared by some that the powerful (?) letter from the pen of Jno. B. Harris (and Webster’s Dictionary) published in the Mail, of Wednesday last, would prove fatal to Mr. Brown and his mighty paper; but, luckily for the Dominion, they have both survived.  Try again, Mr. Harris.

Johnson Graham, late P.D. in this office, met with a severe accident on Saturday last.  He, with a few of his chums, went out shooting with an old rusty gun.  Graham was to take the first shot, but was advised by some of the boys not to fire the gun for fear it should burst. Their advise was unheeded, and greatly to the dismay of Graham, the gun shot from both ends, the breech flying out and striking him on the head, fracturing his skull, and slightly stunning him.  He soon recovered, went to the creek and washed the blood off, and then walked up to Dr. Coburn’s office, where the wound was dressed and a few pieces of bone taken out.  He was then taken home, where he now lies. He is in great hopes of soon being able to go shooting again, but not with a rusty gun.

A house was haunted in Saginaw, Michigan, and a thorough investigation revealed a venerable woodpecker in an inner room.