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: Married Men of First Contingent Get Furlough to Canada, Ad for Corn Flakes, Camp Mohawk Pierrots Present Minstrel Show

The Intelligencer February 16, 1918 (page 1)

“Married Men of the First Contingent Get Home Leave. Canadian Army Headquarters in France. Early this week the first batch of married N.C.O.’s and men of the First Expeditionary Force left the front on a three months’ furlough to Canada. Altogether, nearly 700 married men have applied for this special veterans’ leave which Canada has made possible by the striking support of its forces in the field.”

The Intelligencer February 16, 1918 (page 2)

Ad for Kellogg's Corn Flakes“Make Your Patriotic Meals Enjoyable. Our armies and our allies need every pound of wheat we can spare them. Three times a day you can help to save wheat by eating Kellogg’s Toasted Corn Flakes instead of bread. It is no sacrifice either, for Kellogg’s Toasted Corn Flakes are delicious, palatable and nourishing. They make a wheat-saving meal enjoyable.

Sold only in the original red, white and green package. Kellogg’s Toasted Corn Flakes. Licensed by the Food Controller under Number 2—055.

Only Made in Canada by The Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Co., Limited. Head Office and Factory: London, Ont.”

The Intelligencer February 16, 1918 (page 8)

“Camp Mohawk Pierrots Fine Entertainers. If all the members of the Royal Flying Corps prove to be as good experts in dropping bombs, etc., over the enemy’s lines as the Camp Mohawk Pierrots are in presenting a minstrel show, then the success of this branch of military warfare in the great world struggle which at present is taking place is doubly assured.

Of late a number of excellent entertainments have been provided for Belleville audiences but none have been more pleasing than that presented in the City Hall last evening by a number of the members of No. 2 Cadet wing, Royal Flying Corps, of Camp Mohawk.

Many a minstrel show has come to this city and presented a program which was far less meritorious in every respect. It was clean and wholesome and given in a manner that captivated all present. …  Cadet Edwards, who rendered ‘Macushla’ and ‘I Hear You Calling Me,’ was graciously received. The quartette, consisting of Cadets Owen, Edwards, VanNest and Robertson, deserve special mention for the manner in which they presented ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning.’ …  These Pierrots carry a large orchestra which kept everything moving.

The proceeds, which were large, as the auditorium of the City Hall was filled to capacity and overflowing, will be used in aid of the Royal Flying Corps comforts in the Dominion and overseas.”

100 Years Ago: Captain Vernon Castle Killed at Fort Worth Training Camp, Army of School Girls to Join Boys on Farms, Camp Mohawk Pierrots Arrive

The Intelligencer February 15, 1918 (page 1)

“Capt. Vernon Castle Killed This Morning at Fort Worth. Vernon Castle, Prominent Dancer and Aviator, Who Gained Considerable Distinction in Air Fighting in France, Met Death This Morning in an Aeroplane Accident at the Texas Training Camp.

Captain Vernon Castle had many friends in Belleville and while connected with Mohawk Camp as instructor was an almost daily visitor to Belleville. He was quiet, unassuming and every inch a gentleman. With his wife he came to the United States from England and won instant fame as a dancer and interpreter of new steps.

When the war broke out he at once volunteered his services and entered the Royal Flying Corps overseas. After two years of splendid service in France Capt. Castle was sent to Canada to act as instructor at Mohawk Aviation Camp near Belleville, leaving here last fall at the close of the flying season. …  Mrs. Castle visited Belleville and Camp Mohawk occasionally last summer enjoying some extremely high altitude flights.”

The Intelligencer February 15, 1918 (page 4)

“An Army of School Girls. With happy memories of national service on the farms during last midsummer vacation thousands of Ontario school boys are anxious to help win-the-war in similar service this year. …  Not to be outdone by the boys many of the girls of the Colleges and High Schools will pick fruit and help in the farm houses in united effort to help win the war by increasing production of food stuffs. Last summer 1,250 girls were organized for national service by the Trades and Labor Branch of the Ontario Government and did splendid service on the fruit farms.

The fruit growers were at first sceptical and it was somewhat difficult to get them interested in the movement, but the results were a complete surprise, and now they are so enthusiastic that the ‘National Service Girls’ will get a hearty welcome this year and be in great demand everywhere, with better pay for this work than prevailed last season. …  Badges with the inscription ‘Ontario National Service Workers,’ were worn and at the end of the season bronze pins were issued to all girls entitled to wear them. Wages ranged from fifteen cents per hour to twenty cents per hour and board, and will no doubt be larger this year. …

In truck gardening they hoed and weeded, they bunched carrots and onions, they cut asparagus, dug potatoes, picked peas, beans and cucumbers. They were girls who picked and packed tomatoes for weeks—work that is hard to get even a man to do. Some spent weeks driving a cultivator. Others drove disc harrow and roller. A few pitched hay. It is the success in the latter kind of work that has convinced the country that these women must now be used for more important forms of production.”

The Intelligencer February 15, 1918 (page 5)

“The Camp Mohawk Pierrot troupe arrived in town this morning prepared to present their original minstrel show at the City Hall tonight. The tickets have been selling very rapidly and the hall should be filled to capacity when the curtain rings up. The entertainment will be different to any ever seen here before, and is not strictly a minstrel show, but a decided novelty in that line. It is a pierrot show and will prove most interesting, and enjoyable to the people of Belleville. The artists engaged are mostly professional and will consequently give a finished performance.

The total proceeds will be applied to purchasing comforts for the members of the Royal Flying Corps in Canada and overseas, and as this is the first appeal that the R. F. C. has made to patriotic Belleville it is to be hoped that the size of the audience will testify to the esteem in which the flying men are held here. There will be no reserved seats, therefor everyone will be accommodated at the hall. First come, first served. The price of the seats is 35¢ and can be had at Doyle’s Drug Store until 6 o’clock, and will be on sale at the City Hall at 7.30, when the doors open.”


100 Years Ago: Wednesday and Friday to Be Beefless and Porkless, Flight-Lieutenant Laurence Herbert Wrightmeyer Wounded, Notice from Bell Telephone, Depot Battalion Departs, Ad for Camp Mohawk Pierrots

The Intelligencer February 14, 1918 (page 1)

“Wednesday, Friday Beefless, Porkless. Ottawa. The food controller’s regulations in respect to the serving of beef and bacon in public eating places have been amended, making Wednesday and Friday of each week Canada’s beefless and porkless days, instead of Tuesday and Friday as heretofore.

The change went into effect on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten period. The new regulations extend their restrictions on the use of bacon to pork of all kinds, so that Ash Wednesday was the first beefless and porkless Wednesday throughout the Dominion.

Under the amended regulations beef must not be served at more than one meal on any day, while its use on Wednesdays and Fridays is absolutely prohibited. Similarly pork must not be served at more than one meal on any day, and on Wednesdays and Fridays must not be served at any time.”

The Intelligencer February 14, 1918 (page 2)

Lawrence Wrightmeyer“Belleville Flight-Lieut. Meets Accident. Lieut. L. H. Wrightmeyer went overseas as a private in the 155th Battalion in 1916. He was gazetted Second Flight Lieutenant in the R. F. C. in October last year and has since been actively engaged in coast defence. His parents have received no word from, or of, him since the middle of January, this year, until yesterday, when the following letter from a lady who visited him in hospital was received.

Chichester House, Kemptown, Brighton, England, Jan. 30th, 1918. Dear Mrs. Wrightmeyer, 93 Mill St., Belleville. I have made the acquaintance of your son in the Second Eastern Hospital here and he wishes me to write and tell you that he is doing very well indeed.

I am a mother, too, and feel sincerely for you in this anxious time, so far away, and think a few lines from one who has been with him will be a comfort to you. …  I cannot tell you how splendidly he has behaved or how much he is liked and admired for his courage and fine spirit at the hospital. It is that which has helped to pull him through. He is much better and getting on well—very cheerful and contented and says they are all very good to him. It is beautiful to see his faith and trust in God, and his example and character must do us all good. You may indeed be proud of such a son. He is thinking much of you. Believe me, yours truly, Mrs. Nina H. Butler.”

The Intelligencer February 14, 1918 (page 3)

Bell Telephone notice“Give At Least 10 Days Moving Notice — There is a great scarcity of skilled telephone men through army enlistments.

If you have a telephone and intend moving, we should be notified immediately so that arrangements can be made to move your telephone promptly.

War-time demands have also caused a shortage of all telephone materials. Subscribers are asked to co-operate with us in conserving telephone supplies by ordering only absolutely necessary changes or new installations. The Bell Telephone Co. of Canada.”

The Intelligencer February 14, 1918 (page 5)

“Off To A Training Camp. One hundred and fifty members of the Depot Battalion which has been stationed in Belleville for a few weeks left today for a training camp in the east. The departure of the men from the city was an exceptionally quiet one. A few of the battalion are left here and their numbers will be augmented.”

The Intelligencer February 14, 1918 (page 5)

Ad for Camp Mohawk Pierrots“No. 2 Cadet Wing Royal Flying Corps (By Permission of the Officer Commanding) MINSTRELS Presented by the Camp Mohawk Pierrots.

To-morrow, Friday at 8 p.m. in the City Hall. Admission 35¢. Tickets at Doyle’s. Entire proceeds in aid of R. F. C. Comforts in Canada and Overseas.”


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