The Month That Was – February 1872

All articles originally appeared in the Ontario Reformer

February 2, 1872
Page 2
The Prosperity of Oshawa.
On every side we are seeing our town advancing. Really costly, sightly and substantial buildings of brick are being erected. The new brick hotel of Mr. Hobbs will compare favourably with almost any hotel in the Province, as to size, appearance and thoroughness. Mr. Quigley is preparing to erect a large hotel, early in the spring, on the Fuller lot, which is to be surmounted by an ornamental French roof. Let us hope that as good entertainment for travellers may be found within their walls as their exterior would seem to indicate.

In stores we have the [tasty] and commodious ones lately erected by Messrs. Cowan and Fowke. Mr. John Wilson is preparing to erect a number of stores on the ground of the late fire on King Street, which, as viewed from the drawings thereof, promises to be excelled by a few such structures in our cities. Mr. James B. Keddie, also, proposes to continue the block to the east by a structure similar in style for his own use.

Passing down Simcoe Street, we observe the compact and well-built new brick residences of Messrs. Dickie, and Thornton – both of which have ornamental roofs covered with slate. The palatial residence of TN Gibbs, Esq., is said to rivals that of the Lieutenant Governor at Toronto; and is one of which our town may be justly proud. Mr. Chas. A Mallory is already preparing to erect, early in the spring, the first-class brick dwelling upon a portion of the McGregor property. This property is thought some of the best sites for residences now available. We hope to see many residences erected during the summer on this property, as we understand the present owner, (Thomas Conant,) is about to put the whole of it on the market. This will afford sites for buildings according to the means of purchasers, as to front or back lots relatively.

Centre Street will then be opened out nearly all the way to South Oshawa, and will make one of our prettiest streets, especially for driving.

Many other residences have been erected and are in process of erection north and west of the cabinet factory.

One is almost constrained to say, that in order to keep pace with the improvements in the various parts of our town we should frequently pass through its various wards as new streets are being opened up, and new houses are being erected; we almost lose our reckoning after a few months absence. It is estimated that at least one hundred houses were erected in Oshawa last season. This is probably within the mark. Let us hope for a similar result in 1872.

Prosperity to our various manufactories, and a healthful, steady growth to Oshawa.

There is one thing we might observe, this: that as a rule houses erected are paid for by the proprietors, without incurring and incubus of debt. This fact argues volumes for a steady growth, without any such sudden inflation and corresponding depression as we have seen exemplified in some of our neighbouring towns.

One more word as we close. We have many public spirited men of means in our midst who are intimately concerned with the welfare of Oshawa, and whom, we feel sure, gladly assist new industries, which would add to the growth and wealth of the place.

Let manufacturers come along, and let us make Oshawa doubly noted throughout our Dominion for the excellence of its manufactured articles. In manufacturers alone we look for our continued prosperity.

Feb 2, 1872, p3

February 9, 1872
Page 2
The assembly in Mr. Cowan’s new store on Wednesday evening was a decided success. About seventy couples, from Toronto, Whitby, Bowmanville, Oshawa, and other places, were present, Dancing commenced at about nine o’clock and continued till between three and four in the morning.  The arrangements were complete, and all enjoyed themselves thoro’ly. The music of Davis’ quadrillo band, from  Toronto, was pronounced the best ever heard in the place. The supper was first-class; furnished by Mr. Cullen of Whitby.

The Town Hall Question – A public meeting to consider the above question will be held on Tuesday evening next, 13th inst., and not Monday, as previously announced. A full attendance of ratepayers is requested.

Feb 9, 1872, p3

February 16, 1872
Page 2
Fire – about 3:00 o’clock, on Sunday morning last, the Boot and Shoe store of H. Wilkinson was discovered to be on fire. The alarm was given, and the fire brigade soon on the spot; but, owing to the engine being frozen, it could render but little assistance. The fire quickly spread to adjoining buildings, and was only arrested in its course by the exertions of the Hook and Ladder Company, who worked well. After a little exertion on the part of the fireman, the engine was got to work, and soon all danger of the fire spreading to the Commercial Hotel, which was thought it would at one time, was past . The losses by the fire are Messrs. Wilkinson, Brennan, and Hobbs, on stock and furniture, partly covered by insurance; And Mrs. Woon and Mr. Cherry, owners of buildings.

Mr. Thomas Conant believes in encouraging manufacturers to come amongst us. He has given an acre of land to the hat manufacturing company, and yesterday instructed Mr. English to draw up a deed for the same. We believe the above company intend building a large factory, where they will give employment to 200 hands, men and women. We like to see these things going on, it is healthy for the town. Do it some more somebody else.

Page 3
For Sale
On Colborne St East, two lots and orchard, with one and one-half story frame building. Also two lots and two houses with orchard, on Brock St East, the whole contained in one block. Terms- $500 cash. Balance in yearly installments. Present rental, $250
William Deans
Oshawa, Feb 9, 1872

Feb 16, 1872, p4

February 23, 1872
Page 2
Opening of the new Baptist Church
The church was opened for divine service on Sunday last. Three sermons were preached; In the morning by the Rev. Dr. Fyfe, afternoon by the Rev. W. Stewart, and in the evening by the Rev. Dr. Davidson. At each of those services the church was filled to its utmost capacity.

On Monday evening a team meeting was held in the church, which was again crowded. After tea, TN Gibbs , Esquire, was called to the chair; And after a few introductory remarks, called on the Rev. Mr. Patterson, pastor of the church, to read the report of the building committee. …

Short speeches were then made by the chairman, the Rev. Messrs. Myers, Scott, Stewart and Davidson, each of the speakers congratulating the pastor and members of the church on the beautiful building which they had erected; and hoped that the balance yet required to pay off the debt on the church would be subscribed before the meeting closed. …

The church is a very handsome [edifice]- inside and out, built of white brick, and is of the Romanesque style of architecture, 36 x 30. The tower on the east corner of the building is not yet finished; but when completed will add greatly to the appearance of the building. The entrance is on King Street, by to doors, one on each corner; and from the one on the east corner access to the gallery is obtained, which runs across the front of the church. The pulpit is American style- a platform with a small movable desk, and is fitted up very neatly. Mr. Langley, was the architect; May brothers, masons; Gay, & J. & R.B. Dickie, carpenters ; and J. Brewer, painter and glazier.

Feb 23, 1872, p3

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.

Student Museum Musings – In My Own Backyard?

By Dylan C., Museum Management & Curatorship Intern

Being a resident of Whitby for the better part of 24 years, I have been encouraged through sport to view Oshawa as my rival, which has led to a rather lackluster attempt to learn what Oshawa has to offer. It wasn’t until recently, that life led me to discover the Oshawa Museum for my internship as part of Fleming College’s Museum Management and Curatorship program (MMC).

After only a couple weeks on site, I have gained a considerable amount of knowledge about Oshawa by exploring the waterfront trail and by learning the history of the harbour and the surrounding structures.

Although I have ventured into Oshawa via the waterfront trail from Whitby, or from riding near Oshawa Ice Sports after hockey, I never knew how extensive the trails were in Oshawa and how they bleed out into the city streets creating a somewhat hidden bike transit system. These trails are so extensive that Oshawa and the Durham region offer Cycle Tours. The Waterfront trail extends all the way to Toronto and easily connects to GO station stops. This network can provide residents of Oshawa with a greener alternative to their daily transit, at least in the warmer months of the year.

Both photos taken at Emma Street looking north to King, 1992 and 2016. The rail line is now the Michael Starr Trail

The museum has provided me with a platform to learn and explore Oshawa, but it also taught me how to explore. Without the direction from the museum I would not have known where to start my discovery of the city.

My Experience to Date

So far, the museum has been able to provide me with a wide range of experiences from photographing and cataloguing an archaeological collection, to providing supplementary research for an education program.  I have also been able to help install a Smith Potteries exhibit in Robinson House.

Smith Potteries Collection; Picture from Dylan C.

The archaeological dig was completed by Trent University Durham students in 2015 and uncovered 19th century waste pits surrounding Henry House. Cataloguing this archaeological collection has given me the opportunity to apply some of the skills I learned in the MMC program such as proper care and handling of artefacts, photographing, and detailed documentation practices. It has also provided me with insight into the life of the early inhabitants of the area by literally examining what was buried in their backyards. I’ve learned what animals they farmed and what items they had in their homes including ceramics, glass, nails and buttons. Handling these objects makes it easier to connect with the residents of the past because I am essentially documenting their garbage. The past owners did not bury these objects hoping that someone would dig them up 165 years later; they did it to simply discard their waste. For some reason this humanizes them more for me than even walking in their perfectly preserved homes. Perhaps, you can tell a lot about a person from their trash after all.

Cataloguing Station; Picture from Dylan C.

In the upcoming weeks I will be familiarizing myself with the museum’s database as I enter the information from the archaeological collection. I will also be working on a research project that explores the topic of audio transcriptions and engaging at-home volunteers. And lastly, I will be continuing my tour guide training as the museum adapts to the current COVID-19 regulations.

Newsworthy Affairs

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

One of our regular series on the blog is The Month That Was. The OM started the MTW feature at least a decade ago when we used ‘Facebook Notes’ to share these newspaper stories, and when the blog got off the ground in 2013, the series migrated to this forum.

I am very grateful when our high school co-op students have helped compile the posts for various months, because this series can take quite a bit of time between reading, transcribing, finding images, and scheduling the posts. A few students especially enjoyed this task when it meant using the microfilm reader in the archives, dusting off this technology relic, and yet still a mainstay.

Every so often, when tasked with writing the MTW, I get lost in the articles. My interest piques when I see a familiar name or read about a well known historical event. Last month, I couldn’t help but share with my colleagues when I read a marriage announcement:

Married

At the residence of the bride’s father by Rev. T. Henry, on Saturday evening, the 7th inst, Mr. Albert N. Henry and Miss Harriett T. Guy, both of Port Oshawa.

Oshawa Vindicator, June 11, 1862

Sadly, Harriett died in 1866 due to a typhoid epidemic in the community.

And while I thoroughly the catchy songs in the movie musical The Greatest Showman, we know in real life, PT Barnum was not the sympathetic hero he was portrayed as by Hugh Jackman. This was remarked on in 1865:

Barnum’s expressed design of exhibiting Tom Thumb in France, has called forth a good witticism from Ledru Rollin.  “Tom Thumb should exhibit Barnum,” said he, “for the latter is the greater curiosity.”

Oshawa Vindicator, December 6, 1865

Often, I laugh at what the newspaper deems worthy to print, giggling as I type it out for others to read. For example, in 1872, the Ontario Reformer had an article devoted to the calendar make up, as follows:

The year 1872 contains 52 Sundays. September and December each begins on a Sunday; January, April and July on Monday. October is the only month beginning on a Tuesday. February begins and ends on Thursday; consequently we have five Thursdays, which will not occur again until the year 1900.  In the year 1880, February will have five Sundays which will not occur again until the year 1920.  The year 1871 began on Sunday and ended on Sunday.

Ontario Reformer, January 19, 1872

And in our latest entry for the MTW, in the Oshawa-on-the-Lake column, the following was reported:

The lake water [can] get very cold, nevertheless, a number of campers take a regular morning dip. The first lady bather of the season is Mrs. Sparks of Toronto, who is visiting with the Misses King. She ventured out alone on Wednesday afternoon.

Ontario Reformer, July 11, 1902

There are, unfortunately, gaps in Oshawa’s newspaper history, and we are very fortunate when hard copies exist and are donated to the archives. Because of this, we have sometimes looked to surrounding community’s newspapers for news items about Oshawa.

Pupils of Mae Marsh Delight Big Audience at Masonic Temple

Parents and friends strained the capacity of the Masonic Temple, Oshawa, on Saturday afternoon, to see the dance recital presented by the Lillian Mae Marsh School of Dancing.  Picturesque costumes that would have qualified for a Broadway show and a smartly paced program held the interest of the audience.

Canadian Statesman, April 4, 1952

Perhaps the MTW that looked the farthest afield was April 1937. This was the month of the strike that saw the recognition of the auto workers union, and the strike itself made headlines in Canada and the US. As reported in Indiana,

Premier Hurls New Threat in Oshawa Strike
Oshawa, Ont., April 13 (AP) – A move by Canada’s minister of labor to mediate the Oshawa strike pivoted today upon consent by General Motors of Canada, Ltd.

Meanwhile, other developments added fuel to the already heated controversy of international scope: Hugh Thompson, John L. Lewis’s right-hand man in the Oshawa strike, asserted the US supreme court decision on the Wagner act would cast the United Automobile Workers’ union in the role of sole bargaining agent for the General Motors workers here and the in the United States.

Premier Mitchell Hepburn of Ontario accused Lewis of trying to become “economic and political dictator” of both the United States and Canada and declared that, if he came to Canada and sponsored any overt act, or if any of his aids should do so, they would be jailed “for a good, long time and there wouldn’t be any bail.”

Lafayette Journal and Courier (Lafayette, Indiana), 13 April 1937

When I randomly chose the Month That Was December 1872, I was highly interested to learn that it was during this month that a great fire affected downtown Oshawa, the paper remarking Oshawa had been ‘Chicagoed’ likening this disaster to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. I’d recommend reading this month in its entirety, HERE.

Be sure to watch our blog on the first of every month for the latest edition of The Month That Was, and I hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as I enjoy researching and writing them!

The Month That Was – July 1902

All articles originally appeared in the Ontario Reformer

July 4, 1902

Page 1
Lost. On or about the 21st of June, between Conlin’s School House and Oshawa, a finger glove used in ball playing, was lost. The finder will be liberally rewarded by leaving it at this office. July 3, 1902.

Page 4
Mr. John Goyne, formerly of Oshawa, is a member of No. 3 Field Hospital and Bearer Company, of Montreal, which won first prize in the first aid work and drill competition at St. Helen’s Island last week. The squad, which is comprised of six men, won 279 marks of a possible 300. John will be in Oshawa next week to spend his summer vacation.

Oshawa Old Boys Reunion – Many towns throughout the province have of late been holding re-union celebrations and on all occasions the event has proved successful in every respect. We think it now up to Oshawa to make a move for such a festival and suggest that action be at once taken in the matter.  There is plenty of time for a citizens committee to take hold of this scheme and make a successful demonstration here on the Annual Labour Day holiday.  We feel confident that whoever offers to take the matter in hand will receive the support of the entire community.  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Deaths
Farewell – In Saulte Ste. Marie, on Wednesday, the 2nd inst., Dr. George M Farewell in his 65th year.  The Funeral will leave the family homestead at Harmony, on Saturday afternoon, 5th inst., at 2:30 o’clock.

Page 8
Kawartha Lakes
Before deciding on a place at which to spend the vacation this summer, it is will to take into consideration the many advantages of the Kawartha Lakes region of Ontario, Canada.  As a place for camping the region has to superior.  For the most part, the shores of the lakes are untouched by man. Nature is seen in all her grand disorder, there being nowhere that artificiality which, to the true lover of nature, often spoils landscape.  Pure air and water, each which is a factor in choosing a summering place, are assured in that region.  Transportation on the lakes is also amply provided by a steamboat line plying between Lakefield and Coboconk, a distance of 70 miles.  There is an additional attraction for the angler, as the fishing in the lakes is very good.  The gamey maskirouge (sic) and black bass are there to reward the sportsman.

July 11, 1902, page 6

July 11, 1902

Page 2
Coronation in August

Report Says that It Will Be Earlier Than Expected
A despatch from London says King Edward will be crowned between August 11 and August 15.  His recovery has been so rapid and satisfactory that the above decision was arrived at today.  No [official] announcement of the fact has yet been made, however.  The pageant through the streets and the ceremony at Westminster Abbey will be much curtailed from the original plan.  Their Majesties will drive from Buckingham Palace to the Abbey through the Mall to Whitehall and thence to the Abbey, the same route as taken at the opening of Parliament.

Page 3
Oshawa-on-the-Lake
The warm weather of the past week has at last brought down daily a large crowd of visitors who spend a few hours with us and return home much refreshed

The cottages are now all occupied, as also are the rooms over Henry’s restaurant and the campers are thoroughly enjoying all the pleasures that life at the resort affords.

The lake water [can] get very cold, nevertheless, a number of campers take a regular morning dip. The first lady bather of the season is Mrs. Sparks of Toronto, who is visiting with the Misses King. She ventured out alone on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr CA Mallory for the past few years has become prominent resident as the resort [is not] with us this year, and his familiar form is greatly missed.  He has rented his restaurant to Mr. Ed Thomas and with his wife will sail to England to spend a month or so there.

July 11, 1902, page 7

July 18, 1902

Page 1
Oshawa-on-the-Lake
A number of picnics have been booked for this month and next at AD Henry’s grounds.  To-morrow Mount Carswell Sons of Temperance will be here, and Saturday, the 25th inst. the annual picnic of the employees of the Malleable Iron Works will be help. This picnic has been setteled for the 19th but owing to the large crowd coming from out of town on that day to attend the big lacrosse match up town, the Oshawa Railway found it would be impossible to handle the crowd.

On Wednesday the Argyle brought some seven hundred from Toronto to picnic at the Park., Some of our young ladies seem to look forward with great delight to the days the boat brings picnics and remains all day.  It is nice they can find some attraction on the boat since our resort affords them none.

Page 3
To visit Khartoum
The Prince, the Khedive and Lord Kitchener
A despatch from London says – it is stated that the Prince of Wales and General Kitchener will be present with the Khedive of Egypt at the formal inauguration of the great Assouan dam in December.  The party will afterwards visit Khartoum.

July 25, 1902, page 5

July 25,1902

Page 1
Reward
The undersigned will pay the ten dollars to any person who will give information that will convict the party or parties that broke in the door of the weigh scales at the Harbor, or [     ] the name F. Finnigan on the new store house at the Harbor
Henry Salter, [       ] of Words

July 25, 1902, page 6

Page 4
Proclamation
Civic Holiday
In accordance with a resolution of the Town Council in that behalf, I hereby proclaim

Monday, the 4th day of Aug – prox. A Public Holiday for this Corporation.  Accordingly all citizens are respectfully requested to refrain from their ordinary avocations on that Day.

FL Fowke, Mayor
Mayor’s Office, July 23, 1902