From Chronicles past – January

Ed Nicholson of the Ladysmith Historical Society compiles stories from past issues of the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.

January 1912

An article in the Chronicle’s Jan. 3 edition announced that a new navigational device to increase safe travel across the North Atlantic has been presented to the Department of Marine and Fisheries.

According to the inventor, Professor Howard Barnes of McGill University, “this device will minimize, if not abolish altogether, the risk from icebergs to steamships.” [Note: Despite Professor Barnes’ optimism, the  passenger liner RMS Titanic struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage from  Southampton, England, to New York City and sank on April 15, 1912, resulting in the deaths of 1,517 people.]

Chief of Police Allen made his annual report to city council and indicated that there had been 64 cases brought into police court during 1911. Allen also expressed concern about a “dangerous New Year practice wherein guns are discharged at midnight, seemingly without any care as to where the bullets would lodge. As a result, several houses were struck by bullets, and a High Street resident found a 32-caliber bullet on his verandah New Year’s morning.”

Dr. Roy B. Dier was re-elected mayor of Ladysmith by a comfortable majority of 268 to 30. He will be joined by three incumbent aldermen: M. Matheson, P. Malone and C. Campbell. Joining the city council were new aldermen Thomas Turner, William Bauld, William Siler and Daniel Matheson.

John Ross, 25, was killed Monday morning on Jan. 25. Apparently, Ross was running to catch the coal train to Extension and just as he was about to board the second car, he tripped on a small hillock of snow and fell beneath the wheels of the train. Ross was brought up in Ladysmith and Wellington and was the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Ross Sr., who lived on Baden Powell Street. He had five sisters and four brothers.

January 1937

The elections for the 1937 Ladysmith council were held in January, with Mayor Wymond Walkem defeating incumbent mayor J. Mason by a vote of 255 to 142. Walter Joyce, Walter Steele and William A Cullum were also re-elected as aldermen.

Goldya Beauty Parlor (on High Street between Third and Fourth avenues) announced the introduction of a new heater-less method of “perming” hair. Hairdresser Gladys Atkinson is also available for Shampoos, Marcels and Fingerwaves.

Mr. A.M. Stephen, a member of the executive from the recently [1932] formed Canadian Commonwealth Federation or CCF Party, spoke in the Rialto Theatre about the dangers of fascism to Canadian society. According to Stephen, another world war was imminent. “The preliminary for war has been underway since the Japanese attack on Shanghai in 1931,” the speaker said. “War may be the only solution for capitalistic society, as many countries would be overwhelmed by unemployment if re-arming were to stop.”

January 1962

Catherine Rosalind Cain was welcomed into the world at 7 p.m. on New Year’s Day as the first baby of 1962. Catherine is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Cain of the Diamond.

At a public meeting in Ladysmith on Mon., Jan. 8, a joint committee of citizens from Ladysmith and Chemainus voted 21 to 9 in favour of setting up separate hospital districts, with the boundary between the two established at School Road in Saltair. An editorial in the Chronicle expressed regret over the decision but admitted that “inter-community jealousies and the ghosts of the past forced the committee to settle for the ‘art of the possible.’”

Tom Strang Sr., a resident of Ladysmith since 1906, celebrated his 90th birthday on Jan. 21. Mr. Strang was superintendent of several of the local Canadian Colliers Mines beginning in 1914. [Note: Tom passed away in 1965 at age 93.]


Compiled by Ed Nicholson, Ladysmith Historical Society