A Walk Around Town – Walk P- A Little of This, a Little of That

Excerpt from “Walk P” in “St. Catharines A-Z” by Junius, originally published in the St. Catharines Journal on August 21st and 28th, 1856.

Around the time “Walk O” was printed, Junius began to add a secondary column titled: “Our Town Wheelbarrows”. In these articles Junius simply talks about his neighbours, just letting the reader know what everyone was up to, or shall I say, everyone else’s business? What is wonderful about these little narratives, is that they provide a picture of daily life experiences of individuals living in St. Catharines in the mid-1800’s.  I thought I would share a few with you today. Some are pleasant and some show the more…adventurous side of people.  All in all, these stories are colourful to say the least and, in his usual rag-mag style, they are chock-full of Junius judgement….  Enjoy!

S1944-8-11-6
Welland House Dining Room 1944. St. Catharines Standard Collection, StC Museum S1944.8.11.6

“On Saturday evening last, the Boon children (two lovely girls and one fine boy) went thro’ their performance in the dining room of the Welland House to a crowded auditory, highly creditable to themselves, and delightfully interesting to all present. This family is an honorable exception to those hordes of travelling trucksters who show, as the song goes, ‘tis this way and that way, then this way, then that way, annually throughout our Province, and who gather up bags of British silver, and sacks of Canada currency thereby; if the pen can’t write these lazy vagabonds out, or the press publish them out, or the community drive them out, or the people starve them out, then let all Canadians smoke them out (mosquito like) for ever!”

1968-27-5A
Whiskey Jug 1866-1929. StC Museum 1968.27.5A

 

 …

 “We saw a grievous, youthful drunken sight today, Friday. A young boy, say 10 years old, dead drunk and perfectly helpless; so much so that he had to be picked up off the street, handed over the fence, and carried into the house! Oh horrible! If such be our youths, what will be our grown up men? Oh whiskey! Whiskey!! Whiskey!!!”

 …

 “Our Major Friend asked us why some of the horses in Canada were white on their rumps, and a very little sprinkling of white before? We gave it up! Because, said he, in our severe winters, they turn their back parts towards the snow-storms, to shelter themselves, as best they can, and the white, severe, cold snow makes a vivid impression upon the dam, which marks the fold! Thus, we suppose, were old Jacob’s cattle turned ring-streaked, speckled and spotted.”

S1939-34-4-2
Horse on display at horse show in 1939. St. Catharines Standard Collection, StC Museum S1939.34.4.2

 

 “If the Homeopathy sugar pill which Mrs. Johnson, with her spectacles on, administered recently in the Post to several sickly, incessant Town growlers here, stirred up the bile of their diseased stomach, we wonder what will be the effect of her Allopathy, Prussic acid dose on them, when it is hereafter administered.”

1972-20-2E
Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup Medicine Bottle, 1849. StC Museum 1972.20.2A

 

 “Cock Fighting! – Kimball says the times have got so tight here that he has left off the livery business and gone to cock fighting which pays well. His cock, only ten months old, flew at Jim “ace’s and the first dash knocked him into blue blazes! Kimball stumps the whole world in cock fighting. Also: Barney bluffed Kimball on Saturday last on a horse race; Kimball had, it seems, taken an oath not to bet any more, but Barney got him into it. He surrendered. Oh Kimball! Kimball!! Kimball!!!”

 

Alicia Floyd

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