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Benjamin Reesor Diary, 1871-1878

Reesor, 18.pdf

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Oct 1871

9 I took 50 bus 29 lbs barly to bay @ 56cts W began to plow in barly stubble East of dam W. fine warm Cler

10 I & Dave drew in clover seed out of little Orchard & 2 loads Corn W. fine Clear

11 I helped W plow AM helped Flavius get Out Telegraph posts PM There is a line to be built between Whitevale & The Kingston road. W a little rain last night rather Cloudy today raining tonight

12 I & Nancy went to John Stover's on a visit Then I & John went to Joseph Ramer's sale I bought woodenheaded horse fork @ 75cts W fine Clear

13 Cleaned a load barley AM W took it to bay PM 53 bus @ 58 cts I & Dave picked apples. I & Nancy went a while to AB's PM W. fine Clear

14 Cleaned load barley & I & W sawed rail timbers AM W took 42 bus barly to bay PM @ 57 cts I brought windlas & buckets from J Clark's to deepen our back well next week W. a little drissly

Sunday 15 Went to Meeting at Hebron remarks by Br C Sermon on {blank space} by Red H Barkey Saml Ramer & his sister Adeline & Matty Shank were here after service W. very heavy wind last night & today. Terrible fire in Chicago on the night of the 8th Oct & following day. the main part of the City is burnt. 150,000 people houseless

16 W finished plowing barly stubble in turnip field I brought home {illegible meattubs?} from Dimmer AM Picked some apples & drew a load of Corn PM. W. Cool. Clear

17 I & W put in a few Posts opposite Br Cs in a low place am I went to Henry Peter's sale {&?} boys drew in last load of Corn PM W. Clear AM a little drissly PM

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Current Page Discussion [edit] [history]


By the mid-nineteenth century, the telegraph served as a community's link to the outside world, offering a way to send messages between remote rural communities and major urban centres. The first telegraph in North America was conceived by Samuel Morse in 1837, but Canada's first telegraph company, the Toronto, Hamilton and Niagara Electro-Magnetic Telegraph Co., was not established until 1846. Telegraph keys were used by telegraphers to encode, transmit and decode messages sent along the wire. A special telegraphic alphabet, Morse code, was used to send messages by way of a series of dot, short-dash, and long-dash sounds. The audible clicking noise was transformed by a sounder, and then focused into a resonator hood, which allowed the signal to be heard by the operator. Volume had to be loud to ensure the telegrapher could hear each click in the noisy environment of a busy railway station.

Telegraph lines were often built along railroad rights of way, which made the lines easily accessible to repair crews. In return, railways relied on telegraphs to report train loads, manage schedules, and prevent collisions. Small communities were often served by a telegraph office or railway station, but if they were fortunate, they were served by both.

The railway arrived in Napanee in October 1856, when the Grand Trunk Railway route from Montreal to Toronto opened. By the time Stephen Benson photographed his Napanee views in the 1860's, the telegraph had arrived. At the Grand Trunk Station, Robert McCrossie was employed as a telegraph operator. The 1874 Bird's Eye View of Napanee shows telegraph lines stretching along the Grand Trunk tracks.

In 1879, construction began on another railway linking Napanee to Tamworth. The Napanee, Tamworth and Quebec railway opened in 1884, stopping in communities along the Napanee River Valley. Extensions were laid to Tweed in 1888, Harrowsmith in 1889 and Sydenham in 1893. The same year, the line, renamed the Kingston, Napanee and Western Railway, merged into the Bay of Quinte Railway. In 1914, it was purchased by the Canadian Northern Railway.

NTQ trains had running rights over the rails of the Kingston and Pembroke line into Kingston from Harrowsmith. The "Kick and Push", incorporated in 1871, had been completed to Renfrew by 1884, the year the NTQ line opened. In 1912, the line was leased to the Canadian Pacific Railway.

The telegraph illustrated was used at the Tichborne and Parham railway stations on the Kingston-Pembroke line. It has an adjustable swinging arm which allowed the telegrapher to move the resonator close to his or her ear the best volume possible. This telegraph was manufactured by the O.C. White Company, of Worcester, Massachusetts, which was founded in 1883, by Dr. Otis C. White.

The Great Chicago Fire -

The Great Chicago Fire was a conflagration that burned in the American city of Chicago during October 8–10, 1871. The fire killed approximately 300 people, destroyed roughly 3.3 square miles (9 km2) of the city, and left more than 100,000 residents homeless.[3] The fire began in a neighborhood southwest of the city center. A long period of hot, dry, windy conditions, and the wooden construction prevalent in the city led to the conflagration. The fire leapt the south branch of the Chicago River and destroyed much of central Chicago and then leapt the main branch of the river, consuming the Near North Side.