Horse-drawn sleigh in winter (1900-1905)
Black and white photograph of a horse-drawn sleigh in front of the Waterloo County courthouse in winter (1900-1905). Image Citation: Kitchener Public Library. P000259 Waterloo Historical Society Collection.

Several days after his family left Berlin, Ontario, The New York Times ran an interview with Reverend CR Tappert’s brother. The brothers’ shared temperament, attitude, and nationalism were evident. Nothing, according to GH Tappert, his brother did or said while in Canada could ever be offensive or pro-German: “He is too conservative and too good and loyal an American to do anything of that kind.” The family’s troubles began when CR Tappert doubted British stories about the rape of Belgium, and continued when they—little ones and all—refused to bow to British pressures. GH Tappert then set the record straight about his brother’s attack. Astute readers would have noticed the near doubling of attacking soldiers, the incident’s later hour, and the more graphic abuse (than appeared in local papers).

The world’s largest petition

The previous week’s snowstorm didn’t stop The Committee of One Hundred’s prohibition parade. Thirty thousand delegates wound through Toronto’s streets to march on Queen’s Park. There, their leader, Berlin Ontario’s EP Clement, presented Premier Hearst a monster petition signed by 825,562 Ontarians (in 1911, the province’s population was approximately 2.5 million). Days later, Hearst heard the liquor interests’ counterarguments. Early indicators pointed towards a referendum on prohibition, but whispers circulated that the people’s voice was not in the cards.

On 13 March, Manitobans voted for prohibition, with only St. Boniface and North Winnipeg opposed. The referendum excluded the province’s women who attained franchise a few weeks earlier—the Norris government wanted prohibition to pass or fail without “feminine voters.” On 1 June 1916, 197 hotels, 40 wholesale liquor stores, and seven clubs stopped selling intoxicating spirits, except for medicinal, mechanical and religious use.

“Canada is too big, too cosmopolitan to be enslaved by a few zealots.”

Ottawa also dealt with alcohol-fuelled concerns, and debated a call for the total prohibition of the import, manufacture and sales of intoxicating beverages, until the war’s end.   While a Liberal and Unionist jointly presented it, support was not universal. Waterloo North’s MP, William G. Weichel, didn’t support the resolution and embarked on a lengthy and vigorous attack. This week, a compromise was reached, but not yet announced.

Votes for women, but not in Ontario

This week Mrs. Pankhurst’s war effort tour came to Ontario. Whether or not the suffragist’s presence was a key factor in Allan Studholme and William Macdonald asking Premier Hearst for women’s votes, I don’t know. Hearst was opposed to the idea, as “the government could not see its way clear to granting them the vote.”

Just another Saturday night in Berlin

A scuffle broke out during a parade of Berlin and Galt soldiers on 11 March. Someone heard someone else say something anti-British—or possibly pro-German—which escalated into a brawl (“If you weren’t an old man, I’d punch your face!”). The following Monday, Magistrate Weir fined a citizen and a county constable a combined $70 (almost $1900—see notes on conversion).

Next stop: Amalgamation Avenue

The joint Waterloo-Berlin committee of politicians and leading citizens explored amalgamation. After sorting through balance sheets, mill rates and other gauges of compatibility, a few attendees thought uniting the two cities could happen. Action was deferred until the provincial legislature deal with Berlin’s name.

The “subway question” came up (see notes). According to The Berlin News-Record, “a matter on which information was lacking was that of future subways in Berlin.” Waterloo and Berlin would cover costs for lines at King Street and Edward Streets, but committee members thought the estimates provided a few years earlier were low: the King Street route came in at $160,000 ($3.17 million), with the Grand Trunk Railway responsible for one-third the cost.

Will “Hydro City” win $200?

Assuming Queen’s Park would allow the name change and given the number of potential names pouring into City Hall and the newspapers, City Council decided to hold a contest to find the best three names. The winners would share in $300 (almost $6000) in prizes. Mayor Hett opposed City Council shelling out $100, as that money should go towards paying for a public vote, but the usual suspects who opposed the ratepayers’ voice won out. The prize balance would come from the city’s manufacturers and the Commercial Travellers’ Association.

Aldermen Cleghorn, Master, Hahn, and Rudell drafted contest rules. Only Canadian and American submissions would be allowed; reason(s) to select the name must be included, and the suggested name could not be in the Canadian post office registry. All nominations needed to be in by month’s end.

Not quite firewater

In Waterloo, the Kuntz Brewery fire raised concerns about fire response. A charcoal heater sparked a small blaze in a wareroom, which caused little damage. The bigger issue seemed to be the fire brigade’s response time. When the call came through, the driver was exercising the horses on King Street—changing their bridles took longer than ideal.

Lochead takes on smug Toronto (again)

Colonel Lochead took issue with a short editorial in The Globe: The young man “lying dangerously ill in hospital as a result of a beating” wasn’t English; he was German by birth. The lads from the 118th didn’t attack him; strangers in the city—including a soldier from a Hamilton battalion—came to Berlin, “apparently with the idea of going on a spree and misconducting themselves generally.” To punctuate Toronto’s issues, The News-Record placed unflattering articles about Toronto, the not-so-good near the piece on Lochead: the mob of soldiers and civilians who attacked the prohibition parade, and a Toronto soldier who got into a fight with six students, one of whom had his finger bitten. The Globe’s Berlin man denied filing the story—his Toronto editor probably went to one of the many other reporters in town who came “to write sensationalist stories without due regard for the truth.”

Lochead takes on smug society ladies

Lochead took aim at those who besmirched the honour of men of the 118th Battalion. “[A] few misguided creatures who should be placed in an environment hat would not permit of their doing further harm to themselves” sent him and other officers threatening anonymous letters from Berlin and Detroit. He also believed it was a matter of regret that society ladies—those “female curiosities”—thought their time was better used in being “idle scandal mongers” than in supporting the war effort.

And the sleigh had a getaway driver

On 13 March, the Battalion was on high alert for an attack on Queen Victoria’s statue in Victoria Park. Private J. Rich was on sentinel duty in the lane behind the barracks when a short, stout man in a cap and overcoat fired shots at him (and missed). Sergeant Peddlar arrived on the scene as half-dressed soldiers immediately “disgorged” themselves from the barracks’ upper floor windows. They chased the assailant up Benton Street, but he jumped into a waiting sleigh and escaped eastward on St. George Street.

Notes

  • Re: Subway: This was a bit of a surprise to me.  Whereas they could be talking about a tube/underground train system, it might also refer to a rail underpass (so as to not interrupt street traffic). To the best of my knowledge, it was never constructed. Talk of subways had been happening in Toronto from around 1909-1912, when it was shelved for a few years.  If Berlin’s train was intended to be a tube system, it could have been Canada’s first subway (TTC construction began in the 1940s), but I’m also curious as to how that sort of subway was justified in Berlin, given the city’s concentrated area and small population.

Want a bit more information?

The Recipe

Queen Apple Pie

While it’s not always possible, one thing I look for in recipes to attach to the Kitchener 1916 project is food I don’t often see today or foods presented/prepared differently than we’re currently accustomed to. I didn’t think I’d see anything terribly different when I looked for pie recipes—1916’s pies are for the most part similar to 2016’s pies. Then I stumbled upon this Queen Apple pie in an “ask the expert” –type column in a New York newspaper.

The Queen Apple Pie is a cross between lemon meringue, coconut custard, and apple pies. The marshmallowy meringue tops a sharp, creamy custard in which the shredded apple has a coconutty texture. It’s a bit fussier than my usual pies, but the extra effort is worth it.

Lemon Apple Pie (01 June 1916, Brooklyn Daily Eagle):

Dear Miss Leonard—I once tasted a pie, which was called an apple pie, but was quite different from the ones we usually call by that name. It was a one-crust pie, filled with a rich, creamy pulpy sort of mixture. In which I could taste apple and fresh lemon—lemon rind, I should say. If you have a recipe for anything like this I should much appreciate it if you should publish it—Mrs. LLW

I fancy that you mean what is sometimes called a queen apple pie and sometimes lemon-apple pie. This is, indeed, very rich and makes an unusually acceptable dessert. It is a mixture of cream, eggs, grated apple. Take one lemon and save the grated yellow part. Cut it in halves and squeeze the juice of one half over the grated apple pulp. Now, add the rind. Beat to a cream two level tablespoonfuls of butter, then beat in successively half a cup of water, the yolks of two eggs, half a cup of sweet cream and the prepared apple pulp. Turn into a small baking plate lined with a good pastry and bake until the filling is firm. Frost with a heavy meringue made from the whites of the two eggs.

Queen Apple Pie (Adapted; Modern Equivalent)

Yield: one 23cm (9”) pie

      1 23cm (9”) par-baked pie crust, cooled
For the filling
350g 500ml 2 large Granny Smith apples, pared cored and grated
      Juice and finely grated zest of one lemon
65g 82ml 1/3 Cup Sugar
165ml 165ml 2/3 Cup Water
165ml 165ml 2/3 Cup Heavy cream
      A pinch of salt
40g 45ml 3 Tablespoons Butter, cubed
3 3 3 Egg yolks
 
For the Meringue
3 3 3 Egg whites
1.25ml 1.25ml ¼ Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
      A pinch of salt
65g 82ml 1/3 Cup Sugar

For the filling:

Toss the grated apple with half the lemon juice and set aside.

In a small, heavy saucepan, rub the zest into the sugar. Add water and stir occasionally over a medium flame until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil and keep it there for five minutes, without stirring. Stir in the cream and salt. Scald the mixture.

Whisk the yolks in a heatproof bowl. Slowly whisk in the hot sweetened cream in a steady stream. Add the lemon juice in the same way.

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F.

Wipe clean the saucepan—or use a fresh one, whichever you prefer—and pour in the lemon custard. Over low heat and stir in the butter cubes one or two at a time, letting them melt completely before adding more. Cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Turn off the flame and seive out any cooked egg. Fold in the apple. Decant into the prepared crust.

Bake for about 35 minutes or until the filling is set around the edges, but wibbles in the middle.

For the meringue:

Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and beat to soft peaks. Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, then the salt, while continuing to beat the whites to stiff, glossy peaks.

Dollop billowy clouds onto the warm, cooked custard, spiking and shwooping as you see fit.

Return to the oven for 15-25 minutes, or until the meringue is nicely browned.

Cool completely before serving.

Notes

  • About the custard
    • I used all the juice, as I like things rather sharp, but the original recipe called for the juice of half a lemon
    • The original recipe didn’t call for cooking the custard before decanting into the pie shell, but I wasn’t happy with the results and it took too long for the pie to cook.
  • About meringues
    • Follow all the usual steps in meringue-making:
      • For added lift, let the egg whites stand at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes before beating them.
      • Use a squeaky-clean, dry metal or glass bowl and squeaky-clean beaters—If in doubt, damp some kitchen towels with white vinegar and wipe the bowl’s inside and the beaters.
      • When done, rub a little of the meringue between your fingers—it shouldn’t feel gritty, but silky. If it feels gritty or grainy, the sugar hasn’t fully dissolved. Continue beating until it’s smooth.

 

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