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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.

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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: Consumption of Wheat, Beef and Bacon to Be Cut by One-Third, Celestina Geen Welcomed Home

The Intelligencer July 12, 1917 (page 1)

“Canadians Must Cut Consumption of Food. Ottawa. Hon. W. J. Hanna, the food controller, in a statement issued last night, says that the consumption of wheat, beef, and bacon in the Dominion must be reduced by at least one-third to meet the needs of the allied armies and people. …  Every man, woman and child in Canada is under a direct war obligation to assist in that reduction. …

The allies look to Canada to relieve their food shortage. Both the producer and the consumer must assist to give that relief, the producer by producing and conserving to the utmost of his capacity and the consumer by substituting perishable and conserving storable foods for export. By such joint action the soldiers of Canada, the empire and the allies will be strengthened in the struggle for victory.”

The Intelligencer July 12, 1917 (page 1)

“Welcomed Home. A large number of citizens gathered at the C.N.R. station yesterday afternoon and tendered a hearty welcome to Nursing Sister C. Geen who has returned for a brief furlough from actual military service in the war zone, and will take a well-earned rest at the home of her parents, Rev. A. L. Geen and Mrs. Geen, West Bridge street.

On behalf of the citizens Mayor Ketcheson and Lieut.-Col. Ponton extended a warm welcome to the young lady and hearty cheers were given in appreciation of her work in the war zone. A feature of the gathering was the presence of a large number of returned soldiers who added a military welcome to the civic reception. Nursing Sister Geen came over on a hospital ship with a large number of wounded Canadian soldiers whom she ministered to on the voyage.”

100 Years Ago: Andrew Stark Killed in Action, Public Reception Planned for Miss Geen, At Home Held at Hotel Quinte, Poster for War Savings Certificates0

The Intelligencer July 11, 1917 (page 1)

“Private Stark Was Killed in Action. Mrs. Stark, who resides at 173 Mary street, Belleville, yesterday received an official notice from the Record Office, Ottawa, that her husband Private Andrew Stark, who was reported missing since October 8th, 1916, is presumed to have been killed in action at that date.

Private Stark enlisted in Belleville in 1915 and was for some months in camp at Kingston. In March, 1916, he went from Brockville overseas. He was 43 years of age when he enlisted. For six years he had been a resident of Belleville, and was much respected by all who knew him.

He resided in Montreal for 23 years, during which time he was engaged as an engineer for the Imperial Oil Company. Whilst in Belleville he was similarly employed at the Rolling Mills and for the Graham Company. The hero was a member of Court Moira I.O.F., and in religion a Methodist.

In addition to the widow a family of four sons and three daughters survive. The sons are William Gordon, Russell and Laurence at home and John Andrew, who is working in a munition plant at Toronto. The daughters are Mrs. Finley, of Toronto; Miss Agnes, engaged in a munition plant at Toronto and Ethel at home. The sincere sympathy of citizens will be extended to Mrs. Stark and family.”

The Intelligencer July 11, 1917 (page 1)

“Public Reception for War Nurse. A public reception will take place at the C.N.R. station this afternoon at two o’clock, upon the arrival of the C.P.R. express from the east with Nursing Sister Geen, of the Canadian Army Medical Corps. Miss Geen has just returned from active service in the war zone, and accompanied a party of returning wounded soldiers to Canada.

Prior to the war Miss Geen was a graduate from the military hospital at Halifax, and was one of the few military nurses in Canada when the call came. She has had an interesting experience in England, France and Belgium, and for a time was stationed near Ypres where German shells were continually falling. Nursing Sister Geen is the daughter of Rev. A. L. Geen, of Belleville.”

The Intelligencer July 11, 1917 (page 2)

“For the Fighting Men in France. A most charming afternoon and evening was the verdict of all who attended the At Home in the Quinte Tea rooms on Friday, July 6th, given by the Belleville Branch of the Canadian War Contingent Association in aid of supplies for our fighting men in France.

The tea table, which was presided over by Mrs. G. W. McCarthy and Mrs. W. Jenkins, was most attractive with its silver candelabra, flowers and refreshments. The girls of the C. W. C. A. looked after the guests. The homemade cooking table was in charge of Mrs. Spence Clarke and Mrs. Bongard and was a most popular corner. The flower table, which was a mass of fragrant bloom, was in charge of Mrs. W. Campbell and Miss Palen.

During both afternoon and evening several musical numbers were given, the ladies contributing to the pleasure of the guests, being Mrs. Duff, Miss Stork, Miss Milburn, Mrs. Singer and Mrs. S. Burrows. Two popular fortune tellers were kept exceedingly busy, and great amusement and pleasure was derived from visits to their sanctums.

During the evening, by special request, the living pictures, so much enjoyed at the hospital garden party were reproduced, and were better than ever. Too much praise cannot be given both to Mrs. R. J. Bell who had charge of the pictures, and the girls who took part. …

The chief event of the At Home was the presentation of a Life Membership in the Red Cross Society to Mrs. W. J. Brown, one badge was presented by the President, Miss Falkiner, and the certificate and a huge bouquet of beautiful roses by the Hon. President, Mrs. G. W. McCarthy. Both ladies paid high tribute to the magnificent work done by Mrs. Brown since the beginning of the war, and expressed great pleasure in making the presentation on behalf of the association and a few friends.

The proceeds, which will be used for comforts for the men in the trenches, amounted to well over one hundred dollars.”

[Note: Living picture = a group of people attractively arranged as if in a painting.]

The Intelligencer July 11, 1917 (page 5)

“Pay Your Debt To Your Defenders. Turn Your Luxuries Into Comforts For Those Who Have Sacrificed Most.

Is it nothing to you that men from all round you have sacrificed home and salary, safety and life, to defend your home as well as their own? Is it nothing to you that their wives and families tremblingly scan each casualty list, and pale at the step of the postman or telegraph messenger?

You can at least save—and lend your savings to the nation. Canada needs every dollar her loyal sons and daughters can spare, to meet the growing expenses of the struggle. Every dollar you invest in Canadian War Savings Certificates helps the nation to deal generously with those who are defending you. The National Service Board of Canada, Ottawa.”

100 Years Ago: Herbert John Dawson Receives D.S.O., Eat Fish Instead of Meat

The Intelligencer July 10, 1917 (page 3)

“Lt.-Col. H. J. Dawson Gets D. S. O. Official confirmation has been received on the report that Lt.-Col. H. J. Dawson of this city, officer commanding the 59th Battalion, which was recruited in Kingston, has won the D.S.O. Col. Dawson is now in France, where he has been for some time, and it was while in action, for his bravery and heroism under fire that he won the coveted honor.”

[Note: D.S.O. = Distinguished Service Order.]

The Intelligencer July 10, 1917 (page 4)

“Eat Less Meat. How often has it been said by expert dieticians that we ought to eat less meat. Particularly in the summer months we load up our systems with too much meat. …  Today the meat problem is becoming serious, and those who are familiar with the situation are seeking the co-operation of the public to make the supply go as far as possible.

To stop eating meat one must find a substitute, and Ontario is happily placed with having a substitute that costs nothing to produce, which can when a good home market is developed, be handled at a price far below what is the present cost. The substitute is fish. …  Fish could be sold in Ontario at a much lower price than what obtains on the market at present if people would only learn to use it more frequently and the dealers were able to handle it in sufficiently large quantities to buy more economically. This important consideration is being placed before the people of the Province by the Organization of Resources Committee. …

On patriotic grounds, on economic grounds and—particularly during the hot weather—on the ground of health, it is good to eat more fish. Think it over tomorrow when arranging for dinner.”

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