The Month That Was – December 1872

All  articles are from the Ontario Reformer

December 6, 1872
A short time ago a horse was advertised in the Reformer as strayed.  It  had been missing for some weeks, and no clue to its whereabouts could be obtained till the day after the “ad” appeared, when the owner saw it and got his horse.  One day this week a man came in to advertise a steer which had strayed on to his premises.  Before the advertisement appeared in print the owner had his animal.  If you want anything made known bring your advertisement to the Reformer office.  We presume the reason why the last anumal was recovered so soon was, the “ad” was paid for in advance.

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December 6, 1872, page 1

December 6, 1872
Births

In Oshawa, on the 3rd inst., the wife of Thomas Hopper, of a son.

In Oshawa, on the 4th inst, the wife of Mr. Parks, Bruce Street, of a son.

In Harmony, on the 3rd inst., the wife of Mr. Calston Horn, of a son.

In Oshawa on the 30th ult., the wife of Mr. Wm. Right, of a son.

Married

On the 27th ult., by the Rev. Wm. Scott Mr Thomas Hoskin Jr., of Oshawa, to Miss Eliza Jane, eldest daughter of the late Mr. John Colman, of Darlington

 

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December 6, 1872, page 2

 

December 13, 1872
Terrible Conflegration (sic)
Oshawa ‘Chicagoed’
Fourteen places of business and seven dwellings destroyed
The fire supposed to be the work of an ifcendiary (sic)

The most fearful fire that ever took place in Oshawa was that of Sunday night last.  About ten minutes after seven, a fire was discovered in the clothing store of Mr. Geo. Hodder, and the alarm was immediately given.  The Fire Brigade was soon at the scenes of the conflagration, and at work; but, as usual, the water supply gave out, and the efforts of the firemen to confine the fire to the place where it originated proved unsuccessful.  Quickly the flames spread, and soon the adjoining stores were enveloped with the devouring elements.  It now became evident that the entire row of buildings, from Fitzmaurice’s drug store, around the corner, to Garth’s butcher shop, was doomed, unless a good supply of water could be obtained.  There were three engines at work, Oshawa No. 1 and 2 and the little chemical engine from the Hall Works, all doing well when they could obtain water.  When it became evident that the fire was likely to spread as it did, endangering the whole town, Mr. C.W. Smith procured a horse and went for the Whitby steam fire engine, having first made arrangements for a team to meet the engine on its way down.  Inside of an hour and ten minutes after Mr. Smith left for Whitby, the steamer was playing on the fire, procuring water from the well at Black’s corner.  And well did this little “Merryweather’ under the management of the noble Whitby Fire Brigade, do its work – nobly did the brigade work; and to-day the businessmen on the north side of King Street may thank the Whitby Fire Brigade for saving – with their engine – their property.  Just before the Whitby engine arrived, it was fully expected that the Gibbs block would go, as the heat from the burning buildings was intense.  In fact, in front of the Chisholm’s store, Blamey & Briggs’ store, and the top of Hind’s hotel, were on fire, but with the help of the ‘little chemical,’ the fire in the two  stores was put out, and Hind’s was saved by the Whitby engine.  All this time, the Oshawa Brigade, with old No. 1 and No. 2, was working as they always work – nobly.  But what is the use of a fire engine without water! The Oshawa Hook and Ladder Company worked like ‘all out doors’ as they always do. The citizens, with a few exceptions, worked as if the property belonged to the doing all they could to save goods from the doomed stores.  Men and boys ‘played horse’ and with wagons drew away the goods as fast as they could be loaded, to places of safety.

… The fire was, indeed bad; but how much worse might it have been.  A few accidents happened to the firemen and others, but none of a serious nature.  Let us be thankful that there were no lives lost.

…The persons who burst open Mr. Hoddor’s door distinctly state that the fire first started in the north-west corner of the shop, which would be as much as twelve or fourteen feet from the stove. What makes it certain that the fire could not have originated from any defect in the stove is, there was no fire in it from Saturday night; and the stove was cold when Mr. Hoddor left after closing.

There was no one in the shop, or, no one who had any business there, on Sunday but Mr. Hoddor’s boy, and that was about eight o’clock in the morning.

There appears to be no doubts whatever  but that the fire was the work of an incendiary; but who the scoundrel is yet remains a mystery. A jury was empaneled on Tuesday last, and an investigation proceeded with, before Dr. Clark, coroner, and is yet going on, privately. A great many persons have been examined, but no evidence has been adduced which will criminate anyone.  If any important is brought before the jury, we will make it known in our next issue.

Where to find them

The old customers (and as many new ones wish) of those of our merchants and business men who were compelled to move on Sunday night, on account of the ‘extreme heat’ will find them at the following places, for the present, where great bargains may be expected.

Trewin will be found in the store lately occupied by EB Wilcox, one door west of Wigg & Son’s furniture warerooms.

Dr. Deans will be found in the shop next door north of Taylor’s jewellery store.

Wm. Dickie will be found in the shop between Trewin’s and Gillett Bros.

JF Willox will be found up stairs, over W Lang’s store, one door west of Steele Bros.

JP Johnston will be found in part of H Wilkinson’s boot and shoe store, three doors east of Black’s hotel, till further notice.

R Fitchett will be found, on or after Monday next, in part of Keddie & Rice’s new store.

JJ Hall will be found at present at Hindes’ Hotel, where he will shave you as clean as he ever did.

Geo. Garth will be found in the place lately occupied by Mrs. Finney, next door to Shaw’s boot and shoe store.

J Barnard will be found two doors east of Black’s hotel.

JO & RH Henry will be found in the old stand, Simcoe St., next door to the Reformer Office.

The other parties have not, as yet, secured places.

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Publishing the Thomas Henry Correspondence Collection

By Caitlan M., Research & Publication Co-ordinator

In 2013 the museum received a box of jumbled up letters, receipts, and other pieces of papers which turned out to be a truly amazing donation as these papers were either written by or sent to a Henry family member. This became known as the Thomas Henry Correspondence Collection. Since receiving this collection, the idea of using the collection to help further understand the lives of the Henry family was always there but the time and resources were not available then.

Jump forward to a few months ago, a grant was received to hire a person to go through and create an annotated book. However, this book will only focus on the letters from a family member to family member. The idea is to go through and give the letters context; explaining the other names throughout the letter, the location from where it was sent from, any business ventures and all the other details.

a983415

Thomas Simon (TS) Henry (A983.41.5)

For example there is a letter written from Thomas Simon (T.S.) and John Henry to their father, Thomas Henry. It was written in September of 1879, the sons mention they were not able to attend the Toronto Exhibition and later in the letter make a point of saying Thomas was there “to enjoy the Old Pioneer conflab.” This is all really interesting as the Canadian National Exhibition or CNE was originally called the Toronto Industrial Exhibition and its opening year was in 1879. Although his sons mention that Thomas was only at the exhibition to enjoy a conversation with the York Pioneers; a group of men formed to preserve York County’s early history, a history Thomas would have been a part of since he was a substitute in the War of 1812. The York Pioneers were at the Toronto Exhibition as they were moving a log cabin – the Scadding Cabin (originally known as Simcoe Cabin,) to its now permanent home.

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A001.7.6; letter to Thomas Henry from his sons George and TS.

I have also been making a point at looking at census records to see how the family continued to move around. Take George Guy, grandson to Thomas Henry, we have two letters written by him – from 1878 and 1879, both are written from Winnipeg. George was born in East Whitby, he headed west to find work sometime around 1878 and was able to purchase land in Morris, Manitoba. What’s interesting about him is two things happen in most of the census records; his location changes and his occupation changes.

  • 1881 Census: Location: Morris, Manitoba. Occupation: Cultivator
  • 1891 Census: Location: Morris, Manitoba. Occupation: Gram Buyer
  • 1905 Census: Location: Buffalo Ward 25, Erie, N.Y. Occupation: Carpenter
  • 1910 Census: Location: Buffalo Ward 17, Erie, N.Y. Occupation: Watchman – public school
  • 1920 Census: Location: Buffalo Ward 12, Erie, N.Y. Occupation: Engineer – public school
  • 1925 Census: Location: Buffalo Ward 12, Erie, N.Y. Occupation: Janitor
  • 1935 George dies, buried in Buffalo.

Although I am unsure why George moved around so much, I can’t help but wonder if it was to move closer to his new occupations.

The book will be published sometime in 2018 with the transcriptions of each of the letters and all of the annotations.


Transcription of above letter:

A001.7.6

Postcard sent to Thomas Henry from T.S.  and J. Henry (punctuation added during transcription)

Georgetown Sept. 8th 79

Dear Father

I am here today with Thomas. We are both well and healthy. We hope you are awe well as could be expected considering your age. I did attend the Toronto exhibition but expected to go to Ottawa the week after next. No doubt you was at Toronto to enjoy the Old Pioneer conflab to see Lawrence and the Princess and you could look ? on the Bay and imaginette great chougesuce(?) 1812 when you was a big boy in tall muddy York as you called it an you have a log cabin in the ? city. Did you see it?  I understood it is well put ?

 

*If you can add to this transcription or note any corrections, please leave a comment.

The Month That Was – November 1947

 

Nov, 1, 1947

POLICE NAB 3 IN $137,000 PAYROLL RAID
Boston, Nov. 1 (AP) – An escaped convict who jumped out of a fourth floor window in a drawn gun police chase was captured today and held for questioning with two other former prisoners in Boston’s day-apart payroll raids in which hooded gunmen snatched a total of $137,000.

George Hayes, 30, who broke out of State’s Prison Sept. 19, was taken after injuring himself gravely in a leap from a suburban Cambridge apartment house, police reported.

Another former convict was arrested in the same apartment building a short time later, making three ex-prisoners now held in connection with a Tuesday robbery of $29,000 from two firms.

Patrick Farina, third man arrested since the hold-ups, was charged with armed robbery in the $108,000 raid at the Sturtevant Division of the Westinghouse Electric Corporation.

 

Smashed Fence Most Serious Hallowe’en Prank
Chief of police Owen D. Friend said today that he “has seen a good many worse Hallowe’ens” and added that some of the acts reported were nothing more than childish pranks while others were criminal offenses against the public.

Possibly the near-full moon spreading its cool light over the countryside was a reason for Oshawa’s comparatively quiet 1947 Hallowe’en Police were a little busy but firemen had no calls and Fire Chief Westley R. Elliott remarked today, “I cannot remember when we last when through a Hallowe’en without a false alarm.”

Probably the most expensive breakage was done to a concrete and wooden fence recently constructed by Harry Cowley, 293 Gilddon Avenue. It was pure vandalism that resulted in damage estimated by the owner and police at nearly $100. Mr. Cowley said he had just completed the fence about ten days ago.

B. W. Haynes, 39 Park Road North, reported that a summer house in the backyard had been overturned. Although lifted clear of its foundation last night, it did not suffer extensive damage.

City fireman L. R. Little, 82 Oshawa Boulevard, said some destructive scalliwags tore part of the eave trough right off his house. “Just say,” jokingly quipped Mr. Little within hearing of the other firemen, “that I may suspect of my fellow workmen.”

Detenbeck’s Men’s Shop, King Street East, and Fred Guscott’s plumbing stockroom, 21 Church Street, received somewhat identical treatment when their windows were marked; the former with soap and Mr. Guscott’s with grey paint.

Rotten tomatoes and cucumbers were freely thrown about the property of Charles Carpenter, 215 Park Road South, and street lights along the unpopulated section of McMillan Drive were broken.

Motorists driving through the intersection of Mary and Hillcroft Streets last night were obliged to break down a tinny barrier of empty cans which caused a lot of noise and a few loud exclamations but no damage.

Chief A. J. Pierce of the East Whitby Township Police force reported the only damage he had investigated was the breakage of several large cement tile, the property of the Township.

 

DEER AT GOLF CLUB
Seventeen – year – old Jack Penfound, 39 McLaughlin Boulovard, strolling over the Oshawa Gold Club property yesterday afternoon, was surprised to see a buck deer springing across the links toward the west. He said it disappeared down around the creek bed. “It had beautiful antlers.” The boy stated.

 

Nov, 8, 1947

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The Importance of Continued Research

By Jennifer Weymark, Archivist

For a number of years, I have been undertaking research into early Black history in the Oshawa area. This inquiry is part of a larger shift in our focus here at the Oshawa Museum.

Prior to 2011, there had been minimal research into the history of the Black population in Oshawa. Some initial work had been done examining census information but that was the extent. When we were approached to take part in Trent University’s inaugural Black History event, we realized how little time had been dedicated to this area of Oshawa’s history. The invitation to the event spurred a new project that helps to tell the history of a local family from the 1790s to today. It also helps to tell a more inclusive and, more importantly, a more accurate history of early Oshawa settlers.

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Portion of 1851 Census of Canada West; lines 40-43 are for Wealthy Andrews and her three children. The enumerator has marked the column for ‘Colored person – Negroes.’  Wealthy and her family were one of two Black families living in East Whitby Township in the 1850s.

This project signaled a shift in where we focus our research, to help fill the gap in our knowledge of our community. A great deal of research has been conducted on the many industries and industrialists who helped shape Oshawa; what was missing was looking into those who worked for the industrialists, those whose labour made the factories so successful, and telling their stories. It is the experiences of the “everyday person” who help to truly understand what the community looked like in the past and how it has evolved today. Currently, we are working to tell the history of women, those who arrived in Oshawa as Displaced Persons post WWII, the Indigenous population who called this area home long before European settlers arrived and those whose names may not be recognizable but who helped shape our community.

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l-r: Albert GD Pankhurst (1885 – 1977), Ward D Pankhurst (1888 – 1978), and Greta Pankhurst (1895 – 1983). They were the great-grandchildren of Wealthy Andrews

I presented a paper on the research into early Black history at the Canadian Historical Association’s annual conference at the end of May. The paper discussed how shifting our research focus not only helps to tell a more accurate history of the community but helps to make the past more relatable the current Oshawa residents, strengthening the sense of community and spurring interest in our past with those who may not have been interested previously.


For more information on the Andrews/Dunbar/Pankhurst family, please read our three part series from Black History Month 2014

Oshawa’s Black History: One Family’s Story, Part 1

Oshawa’s Black History: One Family’s Story, Part II

Oshawa’s Black History: One Family’s Story, Part III

Blog Rewind: Hurrah for the Pumpkin Pie!

This post was originally published on October 9, 2015.

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

Since 1957, the second Monday in October has been observed in Canada as Thanksgiving.  The history and lore of American Thanksgiving is well known, that it is a celebration of when the Pilgrims and Native Americans came together in the 1600s and shared a meal.  The origins and basis for Canadian Thanksgiving, in turn, isn’t as well known.  It is frequently tied to the story of Martin Frobisher who was one of many to search for the Northwest Passage.  He made three attempts, and on his third in 1578, there was a celebration on what is now known as Frobisher Island.  Another possible origin could be the harvest celebrations that occurred in New France in the 1600s.  The popularity of Thanksgiving increased in the late 1700s/early 1800s upon the arrival of United Empire Loyalists.  While ‘Thanksgiving’ was being celebrated, it was informal, being recognised by those celebrating and not as a publicly recognised holiday.

The first time Thanksgiving was formally recognized as a civic holiday after Confederation was on  April 5, 1872.  Prince Edward, later King Edward VII, recovered from a serious illness, and Thanksgiving was marked to celebrate this.

In Canada, Thanksgiving Day has been observed every year since 1879.  Initially, Thanksgiving was held on a Thursday in November, but in 1957, it was officially declared to be the second Monday in October.

 

The following are a selection of postcards from the Oshawa Museum’s archival collection.  From the staff and volunteers at the Oshawa Museum, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!