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: Spanish Flu Spreading Westward, Toronto Motormen Wanted, Ontario Emergency Volunteer Auxiliary to Recruit Nurses for Epidemic, Called by Death: Alfred Barriage, Poster for Volunteer Nurses, Poster for Construction Workers at Mohawk and Rathbun Camps

The Intelligencer October 16, 1918 (page 1)

“Spanish Influenza Is Now Spreading To Western Canada. Toronto. Indications that the epidemic of Spanish influenza in Canada is passing westward appeared to-day in despatches from various parts of the country. From Quebec and the Maritime Provinces where the disease first reached its height as far as Canada is concerned, reports came today to the effect that conditions are improving.

In Montreal and Toronto and other Ontario cities, the death rate continues heavy, but it has not increased during the past few days and the medical health authorities are hopeful that with the continuance of fine weather the disease may be checked.”

The Intelligencer October 16, 1918 (page 3)

“Motormen and Conductors Wanted. Steady positions. Ten Days’ Training. New men earn an average of $90. per month. Others make from $70. To $110. per month.

The war will soon be over. Make preparation for the future.

The Toronto Railway Company, 165 Front Street East, Toronto.”

The Intelligencer October 16, 1918 (page 4)

Poster for volunteer nurses“Volunteer Army To Fight Epidemic. ‘The Ontario Emergency Volunteer Auxiliary,’ an organization that through branches in all parts of the province will endeavor to cope with the influenza epidemic, is one result of the conference of interested bodies held at the Parliament Buildings yesterday morning.

The Voluntary Auxiliary will at once begin to recruit volunteer nurses who will act as assistants to professionals or, with such training as can be given them, be sent into private homes to take care of the sick. These volunteers will be given a badge bearing the name of the association and the letters S.O.S. (Sisters of Service). Direction will be given to their work by a series of three lectures to be given on Tuesday and Wednesday dealing with the care of influenza patients. These lectures will be recorded in full and placed at the disposal of the volunteers.

Following the organization of the association yesterday telegraphic reports of the action taken were sent to the authorities of cities and towns in Ontario where the disease has put in appearance. These places will be encouraged to form local branches at once to recruit volunteer nurses and copies of the lectures will be sent to them by wire.”

The Intelligencer October 16, 1918 (page 5)

“Called by Death: Alfred Barriage. At an early hour this morning Alfred Barriage, second son of Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus Barriage, of this city, passed away after a few days’ illness. Deceased was 19 years of age and was born at Bath. He was a machinist and had been employed at Marsh and Henthorne’s plant. He was a member of St. Michael’s Church and a young man who had many friends. In addition to the parents five brothers and three sisters survive. The brothers are Leo, Harold, Kenneth, Gerald and James and the sisters are Emma, Mary and Kathleen.”

The Intelligencer October 16, 1918 (page 5)

“Ontario Emergency Volunteer Health Auxiliary. Wanted, Volunteers!

The Provincial Board of Health, with the authority of the Government of Ontario, has organized an ‘Ontario Emergency Volunteer Health Auxiliary’ for the purpose of training and supplying nursing help to be utilized wherever needed in combatting the Influenza outbreak.

The Volunteer Nurses will wear the officially authorized badge ‘Ontario S.O.S.’ (Sisters of Service). This ‘S.O.S.’ call may be urgent.

Young women of education are urged to avail themselves of this unique opportunity to be of real service to the community. If they are not needed, so much the better. If they are needed, we hope to have them ready.

All towns and cities are urged to organize and prepare in a similar manner.”

The Intelligencer October 16, 1918 (page 6)

“Imperial Munitions Board. Wanted—For construction work, Mohawk and Rathbun camps.

Steamfitters—Union wages; Sunday work; board six dollars per week. Fare refunded after 3 weeks.

Laborers—Wages 40 cents; Sunday work time and a half; board six dollars a week. Free fare after 3 weeks.

Labor Foremen—Three good labor foremen wanted. Wages 60 cents.

Apply to Westropp Armstrong, Resident Engineer, Deseronto.”



100 Years Ago: Boys Return to Farms, Harold Loadsman Invalided Home, Three Depot Battalion Soldiers Die of Pneumonia, Poster for Victory Loan, Raisins Not Allowed into Canada, No Spitting Strictly Enforced, Ralph Leavitt Killed in Action, Harvey Wheeler Twice Wounded, William Henry Lucas Gassed, Francis Leo Murray Wounded, Herbert John Oscar Collyer Wounded, Public Gatherings Banned in Belleville

The Intelligencer October 15, 1918 (page 2)

“Boys for the Farms. With the closing of the schools on account of the influenza epidemic many of the boys engaged during the summer on farms as Soldiers of the Soil will return to farm labor. Mr. Brockel, Secretary of Belleville Y. M. C. A. will be glad to put farmers in touch with boys willing to resume farm work.”

The Intelligencer October 15, 1918 (page 2)

“Invalided Home. Lance-Corporal Loadsman, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. G. Loadsman of Herkimer Ave., Belleville, arrived here on the 10th of October, being invalided home. On Saturday he entertained a number of friends and had a most enjoyable evening. Their oldest son George Loadsman, is still serving in France.”

The Intelligencer October 15, 1918 (page 2)

“Three Soldiers Pass Away. Within the past 48 hours three members of the Depot Battalion stationed in Belleville have answered the final roll call. Yesterday Pte. W. J. Griffin passed away and this morning Ptes. Cyril Henry Cox and George Edwin Dillow died. The latter two are cousins and they came from McKee’s Port, Pennsylvania. In both cases the mothers of the boys were here when the end came. Pneumonia was the cause of death in all cases.”

[Note: Private William John Griffin died on October 15, 1918. He is commemorated on Page 420 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

[Note: Private Cyril Henry Edward Cox died on October 15, 1918. He is commemorated on Page 390 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

[Note: Private George Edward Dillow died on October 14, 1918. He is commemorated on Page 398 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer October 15, 1918 (page 5)

“What last year’s Victory Loan achieved. Last year the people of Canada lent the nation $425,000,000 by buying Victory Bonds. And because Canada now needs more money and will presently ask the people to lend it, the people have a right to know what was accomplished by last year’s loan.

Every dollar of it was spent in Canada. Not only was it spent in Canada—it was circulated—it became the working capital of the nation.

Be ready when the call comes to lend your money.

Issued by Canada’s Victory Loan Committee in co-operation with the Minister of Finance of the Dominion of Canada.”

The Intelligencer October 15, 1918 (page 6)

“Christmas Puddings Will Be Raisinless. Overseas Christmas stockings will be minus something good to eat this year, says a Toronto despatch. So will Christmas plum puddings and mince pies, not to mention numerous other good things. It’s not nuts or dates—not figs or sugar—not currants or butter, but good, old-fashioned raisins.

For at present raisins are scarcely to be had in Toronto and there doesn’t seem to be much chance of a brighter outlook. The fact that many Christmas stockings will have to go overseas without raisins is a great blow to the women filling them for weeks past.

The Canada Food Board has notified importers in Toronto that raisins will not be allowed to come into Canada this year from Spain, from where the Malaga raisins for table use are shipped. …  The other source of supply for raisins is California, and though the Food Board has not forbidden their admittance into this country, the United States Government has. …  The reason given is that the Government needs all the raisins California can produce in its own country for its own troops. The raisins are being used in a number of cases in place of sugar, as they contain a large percentage of sugar.”

The Intelligencer October 15, 1918 (page 7)

“Spitting Rule Should Be Enforced. Police Magistrate Farrell of Kingston, announced in court that the regulation forbidding spitting on the street or in public places, would be rigidly enforced for the duration of the present epidemic, at least. This regulation is law in Belleville and should be strictly enforced.”

The Intelligencer October 15, 1918 (page 7)

“Sapper Leavitt Killed. Word has been received in the city conveying the sad message that Ralph Leavitt, No. 500703, had been killed in action on September 27th. He enlisted in 1915 and went overseas early in the spring of 1916, and was recently awarded the military medal at the battle of the Somme. Ralph was well known in Belleville. He was a son of Mr. Leavitt who for a number of years was the proprietor of the Massassaga Park Hotel. Two brothers are also in the service, Ray, who is with the Motor Air Line Signal Corps in France and Roscoe with the Canadian Engineers at St. Johns, Quebec.”

[Note: Lance Corporal Ralph Leavitt died on September 27, 1918. He is commemorated on Page 447 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer October 15, 1918 (page 7)

“Second Time Wounded. Mr. Walter Wheeler, residing at 37 Ridley Street, city, was yesterday in receipt of the following telegram from Ottawa which refers to his son: ‘Sincerely regret to inform you that 1027455 Lance Corporal Harvey Wheeler, admitted to Beaufort War Hospital, Bristol, on Oct. 4th. Gunshot wounds in right shoulder and neck.’

Lance Corp. Wheeler enlisted and went overseas with the 235th Battalion from this city. Previous to enlistment he was employed at the Ontario Office in this city. This is the second time he has been wounded.”

The Intelligencer October 15, 1918 (page 7)

“Pte. Lucas Gassed. Mrs. Elenor Lucas, residing in this city, received the following telegram from the Director of Records. ‘Sincerely regret to inform you that 1027631 Pte. Wm. Henry Lucas, infantry, officially reported admitted to No. 58 General Hospital Etaples Oct. 2 shell gas.’ Pte. Lucas enlisted with the 235th Battalion and went overseas from this city.”

The Intelligencer October 15, 1918 (page 7)

“Pte. Murray Wounded. Mrs. A. Murray residing at 90½ Canifton Road, city, is in receipt of the following telegram from the Director of Records: ‘Sincerely regret to inform you 636621 Pte. Francis Leo Murray, infantry, officially reported admitted to 32 Canadian Clearing Station, Sept. 30th gunshot wound in knee.’

Pte. Murray enlisted and went overseas with the 155th Battalion from this city. Previous to enlistment he was a G.T.R. employee and was only 19 years of age. His many friends in this city will hope for a speedy recovery.”

The Intelligencer October 15, 1918 (page 7)

“Pte. Collyer Wounded. Mr. W. R. Collyer, residing on Herchimer Avenue, city, to-day received the following message from the Director of Records: ‘Sincerely regret to inform you 192194 Herbert John Oscar Collyer, infantry, reported officially admitted to 7th Convalescent Depot, Boulogne, Oct. 3rd, gunshot wound in right hand.’

Pte. Collyer, who was formerly a G. T. R. fireman, enlisted with the 92nd Highlanders, but is now with the 42nd Highlanders. This is the second time he has been wounded. He has been overseas two and a half years. It is sincerely hoped that the wound will prove to be only slight.”

The Intelligencer October 15, 1918 (page 8)

“Board of Health Public Notice. Owing to the prevailing epidemic of Influenza, it has been decided that in the interest of the Public Health, that all precaution should be taken to prevent the spread of the epidemic.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that all Schools, Churches, Theatres, Lodges, and other places of Public gatherings shall close from this date October 15th, 1918, and shall remain closed until further notice. A. McGie, chairman, Board of Health. H. A. Yeomans, Medical Officer of Health.”

Nurses of World War I: Florence Helena Upton

Florence Helena Upton was born in Trenton, Ontario on June 20, 1884 daughter of Richard Upton and Rachel Pepper. The father of our subject was a blacksmith in Belleville in the early 1880s; Miss Upton, and her brother, consistently identified her birthplace as Belleville on her attestation papers and travel documents.

Lady Stanley Institute, Ottawa

Maternity Hospital, Ottawa

She was educated locally, removed with her family to Saskatchewan about the turn of the century and was a graduate of the Lady Stanley Institute for Trained Nurses in Ottawa on May 28, 1907. Helen was charge nurse of the operating room in the Saskatoon Hospital before establishing herself at Winnipeg, Manitoba. Here she enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps on July 1, 1915.

Height:  5’ 4”

Weight: 112lb

Age: 31 (stated age: 28)

Nursing Sister Upton initially served with the No. 1 Field Ambulance Depot, Sewell Camp in Winnipeg and embarked for overseas service on May 19, 1916.

Field Ambulance Depot, Winnipeg

She worked in hospitals in Shorncliffe, England and Étaples, France before becoming ill with bronchitis. After 9 week hospitalization in Étaples and the Canadian Red Cross Special Hospital in Buxton, England she was invalided home to Winnipeg, setting sail on January 31, 1918 aboard the S.S. Olympic; Miss Upton was given a medical discharge on Feb 7, 1919. After the War she was one of 9 Military Nurses employed in the Soldiers Civil Re-Establishment Staff in Winnipeg. She moved shortly thereafter to California where she worked as a nurse for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and was united in marriage to Charles Corlett on January 11, 1945 in Santa Ana.

Florence Helena Corlett died on Nov 5, 1973 in Pasadena aged 89 years 4 months 15 days; her remains were cremated and scattered at sea.

Load More Posts