Welcome to the Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County

The Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County preserves the history of our community through the records of local governments, individuals, families, businesses and organizations. Find us in the Belleville Public Library building at 254 Pinnacle Street, Belleville, Ontario. Call us at 613-967-3304.

The archives is open Monday to Thursday, 9.30am to 12pm and 1pm to 4pm and on Friday and Saturday by appointment.

Archives News

Belleville in World War I

Follow the citizens of Belleville and Hastings County as they face the challenges of the home front during the First World War through excerpts from The Daily Intelligencer, August 1914 to November 1918.

100 Years Ago: Poster for Boys for Farm Work, Soldiers of the Soil, Appeal to Ontario Farmers, Patriotic Tea at Belleville Club

The Intelligencer March 18, 1918 (page 2)

“Can’t You Hear Them Calling—Boys? The Soldiers of the Soil need 15,000 of you in Ontario to swell their ranks and produce food for your brother soldiers overseas. Starvation and defeat face the Allies unless more food is sent from Canada this year.

Boys, this is your grand opportunity to do your bit. You’re too young to serve in the trenches, but you can do something big—self-sacrificing—on the farm. For 3 months’ service on the farm, a Bronze Badge of Honour will be awarded. Make up your mind to win one.

Join Up! Join Up! Your Country’s Calling You! Canada Food Board, Ottawa.”

The Intelligencer March 18, 1918 (page 4)

“The Soldiers of the Soil. This is enrolment week for the Soldiers of the Soil in Canada, when it is hoped that at least 25,000 boys between the ages of fifteen and nineteen will enroll under the banner of Food Production and gladly pledge themselves to assist in the great conflict against German aggression by working on the farms to provide food for the soldiers on the firing line. …

The experiment last season of boy labor on the farms was so successful that plans for this season resulted in the present Soldiers of the Soil movement which, on a much larger and more efficient scale, will bring to the aid of the sorely pressed farmers thousands of boys whose work will be doubly valuable because inspired with true British patriotism. …

Canada is calling to its ‘teen age boys, and they are coming a-running. Heroes many, slackers few. ‘Teen age boys can enroll all this week as Soldiers of the Soil at the Y.M.C.A. building. Y.M.C.A. Secretary Brockel is already out organizing the boys of the district as far east as Cornwall, and with his well-known energy and enthusiasm is bound to meet with abundant success.”

The Intelligencer March 18, 1918 (page 4)

“Special Appeal to Ontario Farmers. With a view to doing its part in the monster greater production campaign under organization by the Dominion Government, the Ontario Department of Agriculture has issued 20,000 large advertising cards calling upon farmers and others to exert every effort on behalf of food production during the coming year. These cards have been distributed to railway stations, post offices, schools and stores throughout the Province.

In addition to the cards, 100,000 pamphlets consisting of four pages of printed matter, setting forth the Government’s aim toward a greater spring wheat production, and giving instructions in regard to the preparation of soils for this purpose have been issued. …

The movement toward registration of labor for agricultural purposes is well under way, and within a short time, it is expected that every man, woman and child, of workable age, will be asked to prove their loyalty to the Empire by working upon the land in the interests of greater production. As this is a Dominion project, the Ontario Government’s part in the scheme will be to place its share of the labor secured by registration.”

The Intelligencer March 18, 1918 (page 6)

“Patriotic Tea. The tea given by Mrs. Hyman’s Knitting circle at the Belleville Club on Saturday afternoon, in aid of the Women’s Red Cross and Patriotic Association was a great success and $120 was made to buy yarn for socks for the men in the trenches. The beautiful sweater coat donated by Miss Jessie Neilson was drawn for, and little Miss Gwen Lazier drew the lucky ticket, No. 43 giving the coat to Mrs. Gain, 302 Bleecker Ave. The prizes for the guessing contest were won by Mrs. Bird, Miss Downey and Miss McKay.”

Nurses of World War I: Agnes Foley Dick

Agnes Foley Dick was born in Lochgelly, Scotland on May 3, 1891 daughter of Elizabeth Dick. Elizabeth was the daughter of William and Jane Dick, born in 1861 and married George Oliver in 1883 but was abandoned by him shortly thereafter. When her daughter was born she named her after her mother Jane and stated that George Oliver was not the father; on March 15, 1892 she petitioned to have her daughter’s name changed to Agnes Foley Dick.

Miss Dick immigrated to Canada on May 24, 1911 and was a graduate of the Nursing School in Belleville in 1917. She established herself in Toronto where she enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps on January 24, 1918.

Height:  5’ 2”

Weight:  136lb

Age: 26

Knox College (later Spadina Military Hospital), Spadina Avenue, north of College Street, between 1889 and 1918. Photo by Galbraith Photo Company. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1587, Series 409, Item 47.

Nursing Sister Dick served at the Davisville Military Orthopaedic Hospital, the Spadina Military and Base Hospital in Toronto. Over the course of her military career she was hospitalized a half dozen times at Toronto, Burlington and St. Catherines with influenza and anaemia and was given a disability discharge on August 31, 1919.

Agnes Dick continued to work as a nurse in Toronto following her discharge and would make frequent visits to the United States; it is unknown where she settled or when she died.

100 Years Ago: Address of Parcels for Prisoners of War, Five-Minute Men Encourage Participation, Ad for Gillette, Patriotic Concert at Gilead, Private James Lancaster Wounded, Salvation Army Tag Day, Poster for Soldiers of the Soil

The Intelligencer March 16, 1918 (page 2)

“Address of Parcels For War Prisoners. Ottawa. The German Authorities have issued a memorandum to the effect that parcels for Prisoners of War interned in Germany must be addressed to the ‘parent’ (or main) camps to which the prisoners belong and must not bear the names of any branch or working camps or any other place to which the prisoner might be detailed for special services.

The memorandum states that prisoners who have been detailed for services outside the ‘parent’ camps have been enjoined by the German Authorities from the very first, to inform in this sense any relations or other persons from whom they expect to receive postal parcels. Parcels for Prisoners of War in hospitals also come within the meaning of these regulations.

In the interests of the prisoners it is therefore essential that these regulations should be strictly adhered to as otherwise the German Authorities will not deliver the parcels to the Prisoners of War for which they are intended, and it is suggested that persons in Canada when writing to prisoners in Germany should ascertain definitely the name of the ‘parent’ (or main) camp so that they can comply with the regulations of the German Authorities in addressing parcels to prisoners. R. M. Coulter, Deputy Postmaster General.”

The Intelligencer March 16, 1918 (page 4)

“Daddy, What Did You Do in the War? ‘Peptimism’ is a new word coined by one of the speakers of the War Lecture Bureau in connection with the Greater Production Movement. Pessimism is creeping in and there is need of a liberal injection of ‘Peptimism’ to get the people right up on their toes again purged of war weariness and determined to make Canada’s participation in the war a living sacrifice of joy from the grass roots up with everybody trying to do their bit—a big bit if possible—but even a little bit.

One thousand speakers all over Canada have volunteered as ‘Five-Minute-Men’ and in five minute rapid-fire talks will spread the gospel of ‘Peptimism’ in theatres, movies, concerts and public gatherings of all kinds.

Mr. Frank Yeigh is the officer commanding the ‘Five-Minute-Men’ Battalion and as he is a human dynamo of condensed force it looks as if the movement would accomplish all that is intended.

Pro-German and Pacifist influences are working quietly in Canada—the poison is being introduced in various ways, but the Five-Minute-Men are prepared to inoculate the people against infection. The end of the war is in sight, but if that end is not to be the end of freedom the final effort of the Allies must be the greatest.

The biggest question for the Stay-at-Homes is food production. How about that back-yard garden? Are you studying the seed catalogues and reading up on intensive farming? Wake up and get in the game!

Peptimism is the word—Pep for short—but get it, short or long.”

The Intelligencer March 16, 1918 (page 6)

“Canada Musters Her Manhood. Since our gallant First Contingent sailed to join the ‘Old Contemptibles’ in Flanders, Canada has answered every call for ‘more men.’ Her latest and perhaps most timely response is the new ‘Selected Army’—men worthy to reinforce the Divisions that upset precedent and astonished military Europe.

The shaving equipment issued to your boy or your friend in our Canadian Army must be on a par with his fighting equipment and clothing! Ask your Dealer to show you the new Gillette Military Sets!

Gillette Safety Razor Co. of Canada, Limited.”

The Intelligencer March 16, 1918 (page 7)

“Patriotic Concert. At St. Andrew’s Church, Gilead, Thurlow township, last evening, under the auspices of the Red Cross Union Jack Circle of Gilead, a concert was held, which was largely attended. A splendid programme was provided and thoroughly appreciated by all present. Mr. W. C. Mikel, K.C., of this city was chairman filling the position in a most acceptable manner.”

The Intelligencer March 16, 1918 (page 7)

“Pte. Lancaster Wounded. Mrs. E. Lancaster, residing at 95 Station street, received the following message from Ottawa:—’Sincerely regret to inform you that (454519) Pte. Jas. C. Lancaster, infantry, is officially reported admitted to fourth General Hospital, Camiers, March 5, 1918, gunshot wounds left arm, buttock, legs. Director of Records.

Pte. Lancaster lived in Belleville and was a sergeant-instructor in the army, which position he relinquished to go to France in November last as a private.”

The Intelligencer March 16, 1918 (page 7)

“S. A. Tag Day. The Salvation Army with the assistance of those interested in war work have been selling ‘Tags’ today in aid of their ‘Soldiers’ Huts and Comforts.’ It is to be hoped that a goodly sum will be realized. A collection was made in the public schools in the city, which netted over $131.00.

Those in charge of the Tag Day collection are: Organizer, Mrs. Waters, Quinte Chapter; Captains, Mrs. Clarke, Patriotic; Mrs. Ritchie, Salvation Army; Miss Falkiner, C.D.C.A.; Mrs. Ray, Y’S; Mrs. Allen, Argyll Chapter; Mrs. MacColl, St. Julien Chapter; Gordon Robertson, Boy Scouts; Harold Coppin, Y. M. C. A.”

The Intelligencer March 16, 1918 (page 12)

“15,000 Boys Needed in Ontario. Food is the crucial need of the Allies today. In England well-to-do people are standing in line for their food supplies. In France, the bread ration has been reduced. Surely every boy between the ages of 15 and 19 is old enough to realize his grave responsibility in this crisis, and will enrol immediately with the S.O.S. Soldiers of the Soil.

Of course wages will be paid. Boys earned from $12.00 to $30.00 a month and board last season. But the soldiers in the trenches never considered money—they went. You’re made of the same good stuff. You’ll go, too.

Canada Food Board. Ottawa.”


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