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.

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: Belleville City Council Grants $50,000 to Patriotic Fund, Robert Gibson Is Wounded

The Intelligencer March 30, 1917 (pages 1, 3)

“City Council Grants Fifty Thousand Dollars. A communication was read from the Belleville Branch of the Canadian Patriotic Fund asking the Council to make a grant of $5,000 per month for this year to the fund. …  Ald. Platt—We have given $5,000 and we should give $45,000 for the balance of the year, making a grant of $50,000 for the year. Mayor Ketcheson—We could issue a debenture now for $25,000.

A motion prevailed that the city make a grant of $50,000 to the Canadian Patriotic Fund, and be paid over at the rate of $5,000 per month, commencing on April 1st.

Sailors’ Relief Fund. A motion moved by Ald. Marshall prevailed that a grant of $500 be made to the British Sailors’ Relief Fund. Committees adjourned.”

The Intelligencer March 30, 1917 (page 2)

“Robert M. Gibson Wounded at Front. Mrs. Gertrude J. Gibson, 16 Harriet St., Belleville, Ont. Sincerely regret to inform you, 455,899 Pte. Robert Wm. Gibson, Infantry, officially reported wounded, March 20, 1917. Will send further particulars when received. Officer in Charge Records.”

100 Years Ago: Lieutenant Ernest Wallace Killed in Aeroplane Accident

The Intelligencer March 28, 1917 (page 2)

“Lieut. E. D. Wallace Killed in England. Another well known and popular Bellevillian has sacrificed his life for King and Country and in consequence the inmates of a home are in sorrow over the loss of a beloved one.

Yesterday Mr. and Mrs. Robert Wallace, residing at 132 South John St., received the following cablegram: London, March 27, 1917. A. A. A. Regret to inform you, your son Lieut. E. D. Wallace killed in aeroplane accident this morning. A. A. A. Aeronautics 40 Reserve Squad, R. F. C. at Oxford.

The victim of the unfortunate accident was one of Belleville’s most popular young men and was widely known throughout the city and vicinity. He was born in this city 29 years ago and virtually all his life was spent here. After passing through the public school he graduated from the High School with honors. In early life he evidenced a military spirit and for eight of nine years was connected with the 15th Regiment, A. L. I. of this city.

Lieut. Wallace was for some time in the local office of the Bell Telephone Company and owing to his business capabilities succeeded in obtaining promotions and at the outbreak of the war was Manager of the Bell Telephone Company’s office at Port Perry.

He immediately resigned his position and took out a commission and enlisted in the 46th Battalion at Port Hope and was transferred to the 34th Battalion. He went overseas with the 2nd contingent and was transferred to the 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade, and was in the trenches with that unit for a period of thirteen months. Desirous of joining the flying corps he was allowed to do so and had been in training in England and Scotland and was on the last part of his course when the accident occurred, the particulars of which have not yet been learned.

Lieut. Wallace was connected with a patriotic family. Two brothers of deceased are at present in France, Fred being with the artillery and Sergt. Chas. Wallace is connected with the Army Service Corps. A third brother Capt. Harry L. is connected with the 254th Battalion of this city. Two other brothers also survive, namely Frank D. of North Bay and H. B. of Winnipeg. A cousin of the deceased, Flight Lieut. Wallace Earle of Picton, was killed when the machine he was on fell to the ground.

The heartfelt sympathy of all citizens will be extended to Mr. and Mrs. Wallace and the members of the family, who have been called upon to mourn the loss of a faithful son and loving brother.”

100 Years Ago: Red Cross Penny Bag Collection, 235th Battalion Prepares for Overseas

The Intelligencer March 27, 1917 (page 2)

“Red Cross Penny Bag Collection to-morrow, Wednesday, please have your bags ready with as many pennies as you feel you can spare in them. This month we are again aiming at $300.

Last month some of the collectors in going their rounds, met the charge in a very few instance that ‘the Penny Bag people were too grasping, that they were doing very well indeed, and should be satisfied, instead of aiming at more each month.’

Those in charge of this fund have been so delighted at, and grateful for the generous response of our interested citizens, and for the interest which has increased rather than diminished, as the months passed, in this simple means of raising money to expend for our brave soldiers. The need is so great, the money so well expended.

We don’t want one cent given grudgingly, but we would like to feel that every man, woman and child in our city, was each month trying to do their bit (no matter how small if it’s all they are able to give) towards supplying the needs of those who are suffering so much, for our safety and peace.

Many questions have been asked about the Red Cross Penny bags. About a year ago Miss Greene, Superintendent of the Belleville Hospital, instituted this plan of raising funds toward providing material for the supplies, which a number of faithful workers, met, twice a week, to make up into ‘hospital supplies’ for the wounded soldiers in the hospitals overseas. The penny bags were at first used only by these workers and their friends. The plan appealed to everybody as the simplest way of raising money, a way in which everyone, down to the smallest child, who would sometimes forego a picture show, some candy or other treat, could participate in without feeling any real pinch.

After the first month Miss Greene passed it over, a committee was formed, and the entire city was divided into districts, looked after by various collectors. Anyone who has ever done any collecting knows that it is by no means pleasant work and much gratitude is felt for those who have undertaken this part of the work.”

The Intelligencer March 27, 1917 (page 3)

“The 235th Battalion has been warned to prepare to leave for overseas. The unit will leave Ottawa in the course of a few weeks. When the announcement was made to the officers and men, the news was received with great rejoicing.

The battalion was organized late last summer by Lt.-Col. Scobell and the majority of the recruits were taken from the counties of Hastings and Prince Edward. Headquarters were established at Belleville. A few weeks ago the 235th came to Ottawa and here several men have been enlisted.

Yesterday the battalion mustered 500 strong and Col. Scobell hopes that by the time he takes his unit from Ottawa there will be an additional 300 men in the ranks. Serving in the 235th are many professional men. Six ministers deserted their pulpits, three lawyers, left the bar, two professors forsook the lecture room and joined the 235th in order to go forward quickly. The battalion is considered one of the foremost in Canada.”

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