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Historic EVENTS in and around Welland

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FIFTY YEARS AGO

[Welland Tribune, 22 October 1897]

This is the way it was bound to look
When grandfather had his ”pleter took.”
These were the shadows cast before
The coming of Conjurer Daguerre
And his art; like a girl in a pinafore
Some day to bloom to a goddess fair.
Men certainly were not as black, we know
As they pictured them, 50 years ago.

SUICIDE OF A HORSE AT THE FALLS

[Welland Tribune, 30 July 1897]

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y., July 25- Hundreds of people visiting her today witnessed what seemed to have been the deliberate suicide of a fine looking chestnut colored horse, which swam out into the rapids and over the Horseshoe Falls. The incident occurred about 5 o’clock this afternoon.

The horse had been out in a field not far from Port Day, where the Schoelkopf canal starts from the river, and had been fastened by a long rope to prevent it from wandering away. Shortly before 5 o’clock the horse wandered on the railroad tracks and across them, the rope being long enough to allow this, and then a passing train cut the rope and freed the animal. It immediately began running out toward Port Day, crossing on to the new loop drive of the reservation. Then to the surprise of everyone the animal leaped into the river and swan deliberately out and away from the shore.

WALKED OVER SHALLOWS

Many saw the horse and followed it excitedly. He continued his course, occasionally walking over it, and swimming in the deeper portions of the river.

He never stopped a moment, but steadily pursued his way toward the Canadian shore, passing the head of Goat island and reaching a point nearly half way between there and the Canadian side of Goat island.

When this distance had been covered the animal was seen to turn and face the rapids just as they broke from the upper river, and then he began his journey downstream, toward the Horseshoe Falls.

TOSSED LIKE AN EGG SHELL

At first the horse kept his balance fairly well, but the turbulent waters soon told and the unfortunate beast was tossed about like an egg shell. Now and then his body would be seen passing clearly up in view on some rock or boulder, and then it would be swallowed up in the spray of the foaming rapids whenever he was seen.

Life was visible as he struggled and tried to get on his feet. When half way down the rapids, and nearing the brink of the falls, the animal began to show signs of exhaustion and his struggles were feebler, so that by the time the body swept over the falls it was apparently motionless and probably lifeless. Many tried to see the remains below the falls, but could not after they passed over the brink.

CASE OF SUICIDE

The actions of the horse are considered remarkable and almost unexplainable. He was owned by an Italian baker in the tunnel district and was regarded as pretty steady sort of an animal, and his death was taken by many as a suicide pure and simple.

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Astor Café is Robbed of $110

{Welland Tribune  Monday, November 15, 1943}

Entering the Astor Café for the second time on Sunday a young man who had been accompanied by a young woman earlier in the day, ordered a couple of hamburger sandwiches late last night, and while they were being prepared in the kitchen he went to the café till, and took out approximately $110 in bills, rushed out of the café and has not been seen since. Inspector Tom Gee is investigating,  and he has asked for the co-operation of anyone who may have been in the place at the time. Conferences with the police will be strictly confidential the inspector told the Tribune.

According to Wong Pang, one of the proprietors, the man had come into the restaurant earlier in the  day, and had asked what time the café closed, and had promised to bring a party of four at night. He came alone at night, got two club sandwiches, and was refused a second cup of coffee in consonance with Wartime Prices Board regulations. He then got a soft drink, looked about to see who was around, and then ordered two hamburger sandwiches, David Wong went to the kitchen to prepare them, and on glancing out he saw the stranger at the cash till. He shouted and rushed to the front of the premises but by the time he reached the till the stranger had grabbed a pile of $1 and $2 bills out of the till and had dashed from the café. David Wong chased him along West Main Street but it was dark, and he could not easily see the man, who finally turned a corner and disappeared from view. Police were notified and inspector Gee immediately began the investigation.

MISS GUILFORD’S VOW OF SILENCE

She Said She Wouldn’t Speak for Fifty Years, and Didn’t. And Now She Can’t Talk.

[Welland Tribune, 23 July 1897]

East Bluehill, Me., June 29- The people in the southern part of Hancock county are deeply interested in a peculiar malady which afflicts Miss Experience Guilford, an aged woman of this place, who has not uttered a word or any audible sound for fifty years. The original reason for Miss Guilford’s speechlessness was anger because she could not marry the man of her choice. When she was nineteen years old she fell in love with William Simson, the village schoolmaster. They were to be married on June 18, 1847. One of Miss Guilford’s rejected suitors told tales about the schoolmaster, and Miss Guilford’s parents stopped the wedding. Miss Guilford thereupon said:

“I swear I will not speak a word, though I live for fifty years, unless I marry this man.”

She kept her pledge. Her parents died, and she went to live with her married brother. When he died she made her home with her sister, and after her sister’s death she went to a camp in the woods and kept house for a brother, with whom she is now living. All this time she performed her share of the household work, and did not show any regret for having made the vow. When the fifty years of silence expired, ten days ago, she was visited by a large number of relatives and friends, who went to the camp for the purpose of being present when she was at liberty to speak. Soon after the midday meal Miss Guilford dressed herself in the garments which she had worn for half a century. At 2 o’clock she stood up before the people, smiled and opened her mouth to speak; but though she tried hard, and got red in the face in trying, she could not utter a sound. Her vocal muscles had become atrophied from long disuse and refused to work.

When Miss Guilford found that she could not speak, she sent to Bangor for a physician and took to her bed. The doctor gave no hope of recovery, but suggested that she be sent to a Boston hospital for treatment. As soon as Miss Guilford gets strong enough to take the journey she will make another effort to regain her speech. Her father left her a good sum of money at his death, which has been growing every year in a savings bank, so she is well able to obtain the treatment she requires.

‘BATCH’ GETS A MARRIED MAN’S DOCTOR BILL

And he has to Come all the Way from Toronto and Prove that He Never had a Wife

[Welland Telegraph, 11 October 1910]

             H.G. Wiltse, of Toronto, general agent of the Niagara Navigation Co., was received in our fair city on Wednesday in a most melancholy and dejected frame of mind. He came on an errand such as few men in his position have ever been called upon to perform.

             Truth to tell Mr. Wiltse was served with a bailiffs warrant, summonsing him to appear in Division Court at Welland on Wednesday morning. He had to answer to the serious charge of having neglected to pay his wife’s doctor’s bill. The doctor in the case hails from Niagara Falls and he had a lengthy bill, including several treatments for housemaid’s knee and also $18 for a confinement.

             Mr. Wiltse deputed the bill though not on the grounds that the charges were excessive. Having been a bachelor all his life until the very day of trial, he could not well see how he could have contracted the expenses referred to in the bill.

             But he walked into court with a heart heavily palpating, for one never knows what may be proven in a court room. The doctor got one good, square, searching look at him and then threw up his hands. Mr. Wiltse was the wrong party.

             Mr. Wiltse was naturally overjoyed as any faithful bachelor should be, to learn that he had no wife and family and consequently had not doctor’s bills to settle, but it ruffled him a bit that he had to come all the way from Toronto to make the claimant aware of the fact.

             In view of the circumstances set forth on the Wiltse case, The Telegraph advises its readers to make careful scrutiny of doctor’s bills. If an innocent bachelor is to be charged heavily for confinements, what assurance has the man of the family that he is not being charged for twins and triplets when the doctor brings but a solitary unit to join the family circle.

DEATH OF POLLY

[People's Press, 22 May 1906]

              On Friday last a death occurred at the home of Mr. A.E. White, West Main street, when “Polly” an old familiar figure, passed away after a short illness, the immediate cause of death being sunstroke. “Polly” had never been known to have been sick before. She was a member of the parrot family and was brought from Toronto in the year 1875 by Mr. White and had lived in the family ever since. She was 31 years and 18 days old. Poor “Polly’s” last words were “Polly cold.” She will be greatly missed by the children who liked to hear her talk as she sat perched in her cage in front of the store. She was buried by the children under a chestnut tree.

WAS IT AN EARTHQUAKE?

[Welland Tribune, 25 November 1892]

             On Thursday forenoon last week a shock as of an explosion was distinctly felt over portions of this county. At this (TRIBUNE) office, Welland, the shock was felt by all in the building, the plate glass giving an alarming jolt. From Fort Erie to Sherkston the shock was still greater. Windows rattled, houses shook and a distinct sound was heard. It was believed at first that there had been an explosion in the gas field, but inquiry by telegraph to Sherkston and Ridgeway put this theory at rest. At Sherkston the noise was that of a distant explosion of nitro-glycerine. Inquiries fail to reveal any source of such trouble and the conclusion is that an earthquake or that something gave way in the bowels of the earth-possibly owing to the extraction of the natural gas from the earth-as the shock was most apparent along the gas field. Nature abhors a vacuum, and if the gas is taken away from a large space in the earth’s interior it would seem almost a necessity that something should tumble into its place. What affect the wholesale reduction of gas inflation in the interior may have upon the world’s surface it would be decidedly unwise to prognosticate.