10 November 1900

"We thought the General Election a very big event, but it sinks into insignificance when compared with the great presidential election in America, just as the magnificent distances of America dwarf the tiny dimensions of our own little island home."

The Reporter marveled at the number of languages that election material was printed in, the Republicans publishing 70 documents and the Democrats 158, from simple leaflets to 456 pages of close type. Each were printed in their millions and the combined cost came to 300,000.

"Of course, there are many other ways to influence public opinion," said the Reporter. "Thousands of orators, grotesquely styled ‘spellbinders’ have been stumping the country and there have been no end of demonstrations, parades and rallies."

The candidates were Mr McKINLEY and Mr BRYAN, both deemed to be ‘good men’, but it was anticipated that Mr McKinley would be elected for a second term

"A numerous audience was at the Rink on Monday evening to be entertained with a cinematograph series of pictures of the war in the Transvaal and China, supplemented by humorous and other living photographs of miscellaneous characters. The entertainment is known as ‘Edison’s Animated Pictures’ shown on a screen by means of Edison’s telephoto lens."

The show was in two parts, the first a series of shorts with such snappy titles as: "Factory operatives leaving work at a Bury mill"; "Peculiar play of facial expressions on the reading of an interesting letter" and; "Elephants at the zoo"

After the interval, there followed reportage of the wars in South Africa and China, including the departure of the troops, the Relief of Mafeking and the arrival of General BULLER at Capetown.

"An amusing picture was a display of fisticuffs by Kruger and John Bull, Uncle Sam being John’s second and Kruger’s backers being a Frenchman and a Russian; needless to say, John Bull was the victor.

An Ashton man was accidentally shot and killed at Rotherham Fair when a sideshow went tragically wrong. The young man named Charles HILTON worked for George COPEWELL, also of Ashton, in running what was known as a ‘Battle Shooter’. Customers were issued with Winchester repeating rifles to shoot at bottles hung from string or eggs supported by jets of water.

It was Charles’ job to keep up the supply of eggs, while COPEWELL and his other assistant, Sarah CROSSITT saw to the customers. One that night was William HAGUE, a cycle maker of Rotherham. (No relation to Leader of the Opposition, surely? I think we should be told!) He had had several shots and was taking a fresh rifle from CROSSITT when it went off for no reason. HILTON was standing a few feet away and the bullet hit him in the head. He was pronounced dead on reaching Rotherham Hospital. At the coroner’s inquest, it was said that HILTON was on the wrong side of the stall replacing eggs when he was shot.

George CORNWELL from Bolton and the owner of the fair said that he had never known a gun go off accidentally in 18 in the business. He also offered to pay for HILTON’s funeral and traveling expenses for his father. The inquest concluded that his death was accidental and no blame was attached to either HAGUE or CROSSITT.

"The gunpowder plot celebration at Lees resulted in the loss of an eye to a young girl named Leah BUCKLEY, aged 11 years and living in St John-street. Her father had gone on a trip to Oldham. Leah and some companions were letting off some small Chinese crackers at the back of Hey Store.

"At about 7.30, she had one in her hand and as it seemed to miss going off, she turned it to her to see what was amiss with it. At that moment, the cracker shot into her right eye and completely destroyed the sight without in the least singeing the eyelashes."

Doctors McVEAN and APTHOMAN removed Leah’s eye the following day, at her home while she was under chloroform.

"The term is from the French word grace widow — that is one by grace or courtesy, and not in fact. It generally means one separated from her husband. It came into use with the Californian gold miners of ’49, but then only designated the adventurer’s wife left at home, and as she often had to ‘pick up her own living’, the change from ‘grace’ to ‘grass’ was a natural corruption."
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