Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page
Rushden Echo, 22nd July 1921, transcribed by Kay Collins
Mr. J. Hornsby Visits The Old Country

Rushden Canadian at Home
Hard Work Leads to a Good Position
A Rain-Producing “Scientist”

€œNearly everyone who wants work can get it on farms in the summer time and in lumber camps in winter—€ a representative of the "€œRushden Echo"€ was informed by Mr. J. Hornsby, son of Councillor J. Hornsby, of Rushden.
Councillor J. Hornsby

In 1913 he was one of seven councillors and members of the Liberal Party, writing a letter to the electorate, setting out their pre-election targets for the town, education and trade.

Jos. Hornsby
Jos. Hornsby

Mr. Hornsby junr., is home on three months'€™ holiday from Ontario, Canada. He left home about nine years ago to try his fortune in Canada. He didn'€™t just drop into a feather bed job and become wealthy, but by hard work at the first job that offered itself and by at the same time a strenuous effort to learn telegraphy he became proficient so got an excellent situation under the C.P.R.

Mr Hornsby has moved about many hundreds of miles in Ontario. From Alliston, 50 miles north of Toronto city, he moved in 1915 to Copper Cliff, north of the nickel district.

At a place—not a town; scarcely a settlement—some distance west, and named Turbine, a huge dam was under construction at an estimated cost of £1,000,000, and Mr. Hornsby was placed in charge of the C.P.R. Company’s junction there, to deal with the vast amount of railway traffic consequent upon the huge contract, etc. From there Mr. Hornsby was transferred at the end of 1920 to another junction, Franz, of which he is now in charge.

“Trade is bad in Canada,” Mr. Hornsby told our representative, “but not so bad as in England, and it is believed that the worst has been experienced—the bottom has been touched. If a man is physically strong he can get work and good food out west. Unskilled labourers are paid 1s.3d. per hour (a great reduction on war rates) for an eight hours’ day. Mr. E. Drage, formerly of Rushden, secretary of the Boot and Shoe Operatives’ Union of Preston and District, tells me that the boot trade is poor out there, whereas in some of the mining districts there are more workers with than without motor cars of their own, and in Manitoba very few householders are without a telephone.”

Gold prospects are likely to be opened up in the district where Mr. Hornsby lives, he told our representative. Prospectors have had specimens of quartz tested, and, convinced that the mining could be a commercial success, they have only to get investors to capitalise the concern. There is nothing of the supposed muleting of

Rich Fools

as in Wild West films, but prospective capitalists visit the place, ascertain that there is a reasonable chance of getting good quantities of ore of commercial value.

Mr. Hornsby showed a specimen of ore, including several containing gold, nickel, platinum, silver, and other valuable metals in varying proportions. One of the most curious and interesting specimens was a piece of crude asbestos as taken from the mine. This is divisible into shreds of tough fibrous tissue. In the solid lump it is a semi-transparent brown-coloured material, yet in shreds it looks like white cotton.

Speaking of the harvest, Mr Hornsby told of a stranger who went into the district and told the farmers that he could produce rain and make their farms enormously productive. An agreement was arrived at that the 'scientist'€ would be paid £1,000 for every inch of rain he should bring down on the district. By some strange chance rain came last season in large showers. When an inch had fallen the first £1,000 was paid over, and, the farmers congratulating themselves on having got a real weather controller, paid further sums for rain produced to order. When, however, the district had had its fill and a little sunshine was wanted, the 'weather clerk'€ was asked to turn off the water. He told his farmer friends that he could not turn it off, as he had only learnt the art of making it rain at "£12,000 an inch."

Mr Hornsby has paid visits to the Niagara Falls, and he gave a very interesting description of the wonderful sight and amazing engineering achievement there which supplies power and light to towns hundreds of miles away. He has a piece of hard limestone (over which the water falls) and a piece of soft shale (on to which the water tumbles). If the soft were at the top and the hard at the bottom, obviously the falls would gradually disappear.

Mr. Hornsby left Franz on June 2nd and reached home after less than a week on the Atlantic, travelling on the Empress of Britain, one of his company'€™s boats.

Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the People & Families index
Click here to e-mail us