The Month That Was – July 1867

The Oshawa Vindicator
Edition 03 July 1867
NOTICE.
Columbus

THE ANNIVERSARY of the Columbus Bible Christian Sabbath School will (D.V.) be held on Sunday and Monday, the 7th and 8th of July.

On Sabbath two sermons will be delivered, at 2 1.2 and 6 o’clock p.m., and collections taken up.

On Monday the children will meet at 1 ½ and the exercises will commence at 2 o’clock p.m., and continue for two hours. Tea will be served to the children at 4 o’clock, and to the public immediately after. Tickets 25 cents; for children not members of the school, 12 ½ cents. The public are cordially invited. A good time may be expected.

 

The Oshawa Vindicator
Edition 03 July 1867
Confederation Day

The first morning of the New Dominion was ushered in Oshawa with the ringing of bells and the firing of cannon, including a salute from the guns of the juvenile battery. The chief occupation of all seemed to be to make preparations to leave town. The greater portion of the population went to Whitby, others to Toronto, and a few Eastward. The afternoon here was one of unusual quietness. The numerous flags flying from flagstaffs and private houses was the only mark of the day. Everyone store was closed and every workshop was silent, and Oshawa was literally the deserted village. The few people that had not left in the morning wended their way to Cedardale to a private picnic, where the afternoon was heartily enjoyed. In the evening the Ontario Bank and some other buildings were illuminated. The people of Oshawa having agreed to give way to Whitby and join in the celebration there, strictly kept her faith.

 

The Oshawa Vindicator
Edition 03 July 1867
Coalition

Our beloved queen has entrusted the formation of the first cabinet which is to govern the Dominion of Canada to Sir. J. A. McDonald (sic) and we doubt not that. Her advisers were careful before he left England to impress upon him the advisability of having all sections of the country fully represented therein.

We have every reason to believe that Sir John has since the Coalition of 1864 full realized, the importance of the work in which he has taken so active apart, and that he has aimed to bring it to such a conclusion as every true patriot would deserve.

Now, while we cannot endorse his past career, and though we have energetically opposed the Tory party of which he was the leader in the past, we are quite open to believe that he, together with the rest of us, sees in the prospects of the new Dominion a future worthy of a statesman; that he is willing to waine considerations of minor party importance – and taking his stand upon a constitution – itself the outcome of a fusion of party hitherto antagonistic, to devote himself to the … administration of the laws of Canada, for the benefit of the whole country.

 

The Oshawa Vindicator
Edition 10 July 1867
The Trees

On Saturday night one of the finest and largest trees in Centre street was broken off by the wind. Upon examination, the cause of this was easily discovered, the three having been much injured at the place where it broke off by chafing against the guards. Numbers of others are in the same condition. Some remedy ought at once to be adopted. The most of the trees are now firmly enough rooted to do without the guards, and these ought to be removed. Where this cannot be done with safety, the trees ought to be secured from injury with bandages.

The Road and Bridge Committee are now taking action in the matter. The law, however, give the owners control of the trees opposite their property. It would be well if they exercise their right to look after them. The village has planted and protected the trees thus far, and it is not too much to ask property owners to do the little that remains to be done.

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 2.21.05 PM

The Oshawa Vindicator
Edition 10, July, 1867
Mowing Match

One of the largest trials of movers ever held in Canada, was held in the Township of Fullarton, Country of Perth, a few days ago. Nine machines took part in the competitions, five of them being varieties of the Ohio pattern. The machines were tested upon these points: lightness of draught, quality of the work done, and quality of material and style of workmanship upon the machine. After a thorough test and examination of each of these particulars the Ohio Combined Reaper and Mover, manufactured at the Joseph Hall Works here, was awarded the first prize, as being the best made, having the best material, being the lightest draught, and having the closest and neatest work of any machine upon the ground. About a thousand farmers witnessed the contest, and the manner in which they followed the Hall machine whilst at work, and the strong commendations bestowed upon it afterwards showed they heartily agreed with the judges – This adds another to the long list of first prized which these machines have obtained in fairly contested fields.

 

The Oshawa Vindicator
Edition 24 July 1867
Mr. Gibbs Meeting in Oshawa

Mr. Gibbs held a meeting of his friends on Saturday evening. Nearly three hundred rate payers were present. Several addresses were delivered by the most prominent men of the town. A unanimous vote pledging Mr. Gibbs their support of the meeting, moved by Mr. Cowan and seconded by Mr. Glen, was passed. The most enthusiastic feeling prevailed. It is pretty clear what the result will be in Oshawa.

 Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 2.19.15 PM

The Oshawa Vindicator
July, 1867
MARRIED

In Oshawa, on the 17th last, by the Rev. L. B. Caldwell, Miss Sophia Maria Graham, of Whitby, to Mr. Will Clarke, of Pickering.

At Colbourne, July 16th, BY Rev. Mr. Lomas, Bowmanville, the Rev. D. Simpson, Primitive Methodist Minister, formerly of Oshawa, to Miss Mary Grace Barrett, of Bruse Mines, Algoma District.

By Rev. G. Abbs, of the “Christian Advocate,” at Palermo, June 15, 1867, Rev. W. Pirrette, of the Brooklin M. E. Church, and Grand Worthy Patriarch of the Sons of Temperance of Canada West, to ALvina L. Winehell, of Palermo, formerly of Barringon, Mass, U.S.

 

The Oshawa Vindicator
Edition 31 July 1867
Devil Worshippers

This singular race, called the devil-worshippers, who dwell among the Koorde, numbers about one hundred thousand, and are from and ancient Persian race. They speak the Koord’s language. Their symbol is the Peacock, an image of which they worship at their sacred shrine. They are largely under the control of their priests, who teach them that it is essential to manhood to lie, steal, murder, and be a dog. To kill someone is necessary to become a man.

To sin on quietly because you do not intend to sin always is to live on a reversion which will probably never be yours.

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 2.58.35 PM

The Oshawa Vindicator
Edition 31, July, 1867
United Grammar and Common Schools, Oshawa

Wanted for the above, A FEMALE TEACHER for the Primary Division. Salary $220 per an.

Also, a Female Teacher for the Senior Division of the Female Department; one capable of teaching French and Drawing preferred.

Applications, with testimonials &e., to be forwarded to the undersigned, not later than 10th August.

  1. Carswell,
    Secretary

 

The Oshawa Vindicator
Edition 31 July 1867
What is Soda Water!
ATKINSON’s Drug Store

Soda water is pure water highly charged with Carbonic Acid Gas. This gas exists in great purity in marble. In extracting it, vessels capable of resisting great pressure, 100 to 200 pounds to the inch are required.

The New York Board of Health says: “we regard Soda Water (Carbonic Acid Gas in water) as the only innocent drink of all the mineral waters in use.

Dr. Maxwell of Ouloutts, remarks: “In the treatment of Cholera I found Soda Water both grateful and beneficial.” This kind of Soda Water you can only obtain in its true purity and strength at ATKINSON’s Drug Store.

Advertisements

Oh Tannenbaum! About the Christmas Tree

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

Christmas is just over a week away.  Halls are decked, presents are wrapped, and Saint Nicholas is busy preparing for his busiest day of the year. When he visits the children of the world, he will leave his gifts underneath a Christmas tree, but why a tree? Why is an evergreen tree the prevalent symbol for Christmas?  The history of the tree can be traced back many years.

img_3727

The use of evergreens and other greenery had been used during the winter months for centuries, with it being a reported custom of  ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews.  The evergreens represent life even through the cold, dark winter months. Through the centuries, the customs included adorning said evergreens with assorted decorations, like fruit, nuts, and paper flowers.

It was during the 18th century when the tradition truly took hold.  While the tradition of the Christmas tree had been in England for a number of years, its popularity and prevalence was cemented in 1848 when an image of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their family around a Christmas tree was published.

christmas-tree-queen-victoria1

Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their Christmas Tree, 1847

The Royal Family were the ‘celebrities’ of their day.  Once people saw that the Royals had a tree, they too wanted to have a tree as part of their holiday tradition.

Early trees were lit with candles.  This is, of course, before the invent of electricity, and having an open flame by a tree comes with its own inherent problems.  A bucket of water would often be kept close to the tree in case any flames had to be doused. These tree candles are part of the Oshawa Museum’s collection.

tumblr_ofriecgqgj1tglhcdo1_1280

Early Christmas trees were decorated with fruits, flowers and candles, which were heavy on the tree branches. In the 1800s German glass blowers began producing glass balls to replace the heavy decorations and called them bulbs.The first Christmas trees in Ontario were decorated with edible products, such as strings of popcorn, nuts and cookies.  During the 1870s the first store-bought ornaments were introduced.  They were made of tin, wax, tinsel, cardboard and glass.  The oldest manufactured ornaments, made of tin, came in various shapes such as stars, crosses and flowers.  Wax ornaments soon followed, the most popular design being an angel floating in the air.  Icicles were introduced in 1878 and still remain a popular decoration.

On the Christmas Trees at the Museum, we also hide a glass pickle among our decorations.  Why a pickle?  Some believe this is an old German tradition (although many people from Germany today do not claim this tradition as their own).  When decorating the Christmas tree, it is traditional to hang the pickle last, hidden among the branches. The first child on Christmas Day to find the Christmas pickle receives an extra gift!

018

Christmas trees and their official lighting are often seen as a symbolic start to the holiday season.  The City of Oshawa always lights its official Christmas tree in mid-November, and this tree is among the large evergreens by Civic Square at City Hall.  Toronto’s official Christmas tree, on the other hand, is usually a white spruce which is selected a year in advance from the Bancroft, Ontario area. In Boston, their Christmas tree is always from Nova Scotia, a gift from the province to thank them for their support after the Halifax explosion of 1917, the worst human-made explosion until the atomic bomb.  They first sent a tree in 1918, a year after the event, and they have been doing it every year since 1971.

So whether you a have white spruce, douglas fir, or an artificial tree that is used year after year, decorate those boughs, thoughtfully hang those precious ornaments, and enjoy the tradition that has been around for centuries.

Constable George Gurley

On September 17, take a tour through Oshawa’s Union Cemetery with the dramatic tour Scenes from the Cemetery. On this walking tour, actors will bring stories to life, portraying people from Oshawa’s past, sharing stories of society, humour, and of war and loss.

One such character is George Gurley.  Continue reading to learn more about his life, before seeing him brought to life through Scenes from the Cemetery.


 

 

Constable George Gurley is perhaps one of the more interesting characters in Oshawa’s history.  The newspapers from his era as Constable contain numerous comical, unusual and, at times, horrific stories about crime in early Oshawa.

George Gurley was a tailor before becoming police constable, a position that he held for fourteen years.  He was Oshawa’s first chief of police and started just prior to Confederation in 1867, although the exact date is not known.  Constable Gurley was famous for saying “Don’t you know I have the power in my pocket?” in reference to the Billy club that he always carried around with him.  Given George’s thick Irish accent, this line would have sounded even more comical in person.  Although he possessed a thick Irish accent Gurley was actually a ‘Manchester Irishman’, which means he was of Irish parentage but born in Manchester.  He came to Oshawa in 1856 and married Jane Stephenson on January 22 1862.  The only record that survives of their children is that Jane gave birth to a daughter on October 23 1871.

There are many interesting stories about the numerous incidents that George had to deal with as Constable.  One of the funnier ones involves a pair of shears that were stolen from the police office.  A newspaper report of the incident describes that Constable Gurley made an “exhaustive search” of the police office and the area around it during the day.  Finally he became resigned to the fact that the criminal would not be caught and simply bought a new pair.  He also was assigned to find a missing coat.  Apparently a visiting businessman left it on a fence post in the morning and returned after conducting affairs all day to find it stolen.  Constable Gurley was dispatched to serve justice but was unable to find who the culprit was.

George also had to deal with some rather unusual situations.  A stray cow was hit once by a ‘down special’ railcar a few roads west of the Simcoe railway street crossing.  The train was not damaged but the cow had its hind legs broken and its shoulder cut.  The owner of the cow refused to put it out of its misery, as he feared he would not receive compensation from the rail company so Constable Gurley had to end the creature’s life.

Another incident survives on record from 1871.  George was called out to Hinde’s Hotel to stop ‘a row’ in progress.  The Constable was kicked by one of the troublemakers, Michael Kennedy, who was soon after arrested.  After Gurley refused to let the boy out on bail Michael’s father, Matthew Kennedy, threw a large rock and hit George in the back of the neck.  A doctor stated later that if it had landed three inches up it might have killed the Constable.  The father was committed to jail and the boy got to choose between a fine of ten dollars or thirty days in jail.

George was known to be an Orangeman and a staunch British Loyalist, therefore it is no surprise that he participated in the Fenian Raid of 1866.  Unhappy with the interference of the British in Ireland, many Americans in the North Eastern States decided to invade Canada, then a British colony, in retaliation.  Many Canadians took up arms in anticipation of the attack and George fought with the Oshawa Troops.

By Jennifer Weymark, Archivist; This originally appeared in the Oshawa Express, 2009


poster copy

All About Atlases

By Jennifer Weymark, Archivist

One of the most popular reasons people have for contacting the archives is looking for help with researching the history of their home.  This type of research can be tricky in that there may not be a lot of early information on that lot that survives today.

Once a researcher has determined the lot number of the land they are researching a county atlas can help shed some light on the early land owners. In Canada, approximately 40 county atlases were published between 1874 and 1881.  Of these 40 or so different atlases, 32 focused on counties within Ontario.

When trying to research land located in what is now Oshawa, the 1877 atlas of the County of Ontario is a great place to start. Within the atlas is a detailed map of all of the lots that made up East Whitby Township the area that is now Oshawa.  The names of the owners of the lots are provided, as well as information such as locations of schools, churches, cemeteries and railroad lines. The 1877 atlas also contains a detailed map of the Village of Oshawa. While the owners of smaller lots are not indicated, those owning larger parcels of land are.  The map of the village shows many of the larger businesses from that time period, as well as how the streets were positioned and even now the creek impacted village growth.

OCM_Jan26_2016_288_289

Detail of 1895 County of Ontario Atlas, Oshawa Archives Collection

The atlas also provides the reader with short histories of the towns, townships and villages, along with a variety of other information such as the locations of harbours, roads and railways.

The archives has several original prints of the 1877 County of Ontario atlas, as well as a couple of the reprinted ones that were published in 1972. The County of Ontario atlas was published by J.H. Beers & Co.  Beers & Company. Interestingly, this atlas was actually simultaneously published by both J.H. Beers & Company and H. Beldon & Company. The atlases produced were identical with the exception of the title pages. It is unclear why both companies chose to publish the atlas in this manner.

Prior to publishing the books, subscriptions were sold for those who wished to be included in the patron’s directory.  Subscriptions were also sold to those who wished to have a lithograph of their portrait, home or business included in the publication. The 1877 County of Ontario atlas contains numerous lithographs that may interest a person researching Oshawa.  For example, there are two images side-by-side of Ellesmere Hall, the former home of Hon. T.N. Gibbs and Prospect Park, the former home of W.H. Gibbs.  Today, Ellesmere Hall is where Village Union Public School is located and Prospect Park is where Parkwood Estate stands today.


This article originally appeared in the Oshawa Express, 2015.

Oshawa Museum: Home To Our History

By Laura Suchan, Executive Director

Next year not only is Canada celebrating an anniversary, so is the Oshawa Historical Society: 60 years of promoting awareness and appreciation of Oshawa’s history. Looking to the future, the Board of Directors thought an anniversary was a good time to refresh our image.  That’s why the Board decided to shortened our name to  Oshawa Museum, from Oshawa Community Museum, the name we have been using for about 20 years.  The new name doesn’t erode our identity in any way, instead better reflects the scope of work we do at the museum. Oshawa Museum represents the future direction of the site, the focus on professionalism, excellence in our field and providing Oshawa and its residents with an engaging and informative  look at our history.

OshawaMuseum-2016-Primary-RGB

Along with the new name, we have chosen a new tagline, “Home to our History.” Again, we feel this pays homage to the idea that the three museum buildings were at one time  family homes while the word “our” connects us to the community.

To complement our new name and tagline is our new logo designed by the very talented Chris Abbott. Chris is from Oshawa and was able to bring a fresh perspective to our brand.  Chris used words such as “contemporary,” “interactive,” and “inclusive” as inspiration and came up with a design that we feel is fresh and current and positions us well  to embark on our next phase of growth.  We love our new look and  am excited for what the future holds.

OshawaMuseum-2016-Secondary-RGB.jpg