Illegal Shooting From Mud Roads and Plank Sidewalks Part 13



J3361835813.jpgIllegal Hunting

From Mud Roads and Plank Sidewalks Part 13

by Samuel Herbert (1876-1966)

When I was about fourteen years of age, I bought a “Flobert” single shot .22 rifle and was very proud of it.

Looking n.w. to Toronto skyline in left background by John Willson 1899
Ashbridge’s Bay painting by John Willson 1899

I kept it for eight or nine years and as I had plenty of practice in the fields and Ashbridges Bay, I developed into a pretty good shot.

Eaton's 1899 1900 Fall and Winter Catalogue
A Flobert was a cheap rifle, made of soft steel and imported into Canada, mostly from Belgium. Made in different calibres, the .22 calibers were known as “Boy’s rifles” and the main market was adolescent males. Big mail order companies like Eaton’s and Sears sold them across Canada. Illustration from Eaton’s 1899-1900 Fall and Winter Catalogue.

On one occasion I was coming home across the fields from the direction of Logan Avenue, — not having fired a shot, although there was a shell in the breech.

1885 Settler and Sportsman hunters2
from The Settler and Sportsman, 1885
1878 Toronto police
Some Toronto Police officers,1883, from The Canadian Courier, Vol. III, No. 18, April 4, 1908

A member of the police force [Detective Stuart Burrows], who kept a good trotting horse and also a flock of game birds lived up the street quite a little distance from our place.


I rested the rifle on the fence, and allowing for wind and distance, took careful aim and fired, never thinking I would really hit the target.

Clarkson rabbit hunt, hunter pointing gun. - January 18, 1930

However, the rooster rolled down the pile and lay still. I got panicky, and though of jail, police court, fines and so on, so hurried into the house, cleaned the rifle and put it in its place, and cut across the meadows and fields to Logan Avenue, and walked slowly down to Queen Street, speaking to everyone I knew and came home.

I was very nervous for days, and during the following week was in the local barber shop, and who should be in the chair, but the policeman in plain clothes. The barber casually asked him if he had found out who shot his rooster. He said, “No, but I am pretty sure it was a fellow on Logan Avenue, and if I am right, dear help him.”

18940502 GL Stuart Burrows
The Globe, May 2, 1894

Years went by, and after I was married, the policeman and I became very good friends. While sitting on his verandah one evening, the conversation drifted around to the shooting, and I asked him if he ever found out who shot the rooster.

He said, “No, but I was plenty mad at the time.”

I then said to him, “I know who shot it.” He came right back and said, “Who?”

I told him I did it.

He muttered something under his breath, and then said, “Tell me about it.”

I told him the whole story and offered to pay him for the damage. He just laughed and we were better friends than ever, right up to the time of his death. Those things can’t happen in the Toronto of today.


Published by Leslieville Historical Society

Welcome to the Leslieville Historical Society's website. Please feel free to join us, to ask questions, to attend walking tours and other events, and to celebrate Leslieville's past while creating our future. Guy Anderson, President, Leslieville Historical Society and Joanne Doucette, local historian and webmaster.

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