Previous Pioneers of Ontario (1923) Next

 

STRONG DRINK, RELIGION AND LAW 299

before taking possession, and, while on this spree, fell down a stairway and broke his neck.

York's first hanging, too, was directly trace-able to drink. Two men, Dexter and Vandaburg, were neighbours and friends. Dexter invited Vandaburg, who was cradling in an adjacent field into the house to have a drink. Angry words followed the drinking and Vandaburg was shot dead by Dexter. The latter, after due trial, was sentenced to be hanged. The scaffold was erected in a public place with steps leading up to the platform. When Dexter was brought to the foot of the structure he refused to mount the steps. Even Bishop Strachan's soothing plea of, "Do go up, Mr. Dexter!" failed to move him. Eventually a cart was brought and Dexter, placed in this, was driven under the scaffold, and on the noose being adjusted the cart was withdrawn. The usual inquest in such eases was held while the body lay on the currying-board in Jesse Ketchum's tannery and after-wards the body, not even boxed up, was taken home by Dexter's own team and buried on his own farm, a few rods from Yonge Street.

"One of the saddest tragedies of the period when taverns and distilleries were more numerous than schools are now, was connected with the death of a young lad," Ni. Langstaff stated. "This boy had gone with his father to a nearby distillery to get a keg of whiskey for harvest. Other men were at the distillery at the same time, and all, in accordance with the usual custom, helped themselves at the open tub over which a cup was conveniently hanging. While the men were otherwise engaged, the boy,


Previous Pioneers of Ontario (1923) Next