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: Plenty of Coal for Belleville, Day of Special Prayer to Be January 6th

The Intelligencer January 5, 1918 (page 1)

“Plenty of Coal in Sight for Belleville. The fuel famine situation which is causing so much concern in Canada and the United States at the present time looks decidedly better as far as Belleville is concerned.

Ten days ago Mr. Belair, Manager of the Schuster Co., purchased for his company sixty cars, approximately 3,000 tons. This consignment is Mine Run Anthracite in large chunks and not prepared in regular sizes. The reason for this being purchased was because there seemed to be no other available coal in the market at the time, that is no prepared sizes. This coal is coming along now and six cars have already been received with sixteen more this side of Bridgeburg, Ont. If the railroads are not blocked and do their part the entire sixty cars should be here in the course of the next thirty days.

The city crusher has been obtained to crush this coal, but new jaws had to be secured from the Greenleaf Co. for the purpose, creating a delay of about a week. In a nutshell this shows that Belleville will not suffer for the want of coal, and prepared sizes will be furnished the public as required.”

The Intelligencer January 5, 1918 (page 3)

“King Appoints Day of Special Prayer. Sunday, January 6th, has been fixed by proclamation as a special day of prayer throughout the Dominion. The proclamation cites the following message from the King:

To My People: ‘The world-wide struggle for the triumph of right and liberty is entering upon its last and most difficult phase. …  We have yet to complete the great task to which more than three years ago we dedicated ourselves. At such a time I would call  upon you to devote a special day of prayer that we may have the clear-sightedness and strength necessary to the victory of our cause. …  Let us seek to be enlightened in our courage in facing the sacrifices we may yet have to make before our work is done.

I therefore hereby appoint Jan. 6th, the first Sunday of the year, to be set aside as a special day of prayer and thanksgiving in all the churches throughout my dominions and require that this letter be read at the services held on that day.’ “

100 Years Ago: Belleville Fuel Controller

The Intelligencer January 4, 1918 (page 4)

“The City Council acted very wisely at their final meeting in appointing Thomas F. Wills City Fuel Controller. The appointment was made as the result of recommendations made by the Dominion Fuel Controller, C. A. Magrath, and there is no doubt that with the co-operation of the local dealers great good will result.

Any citizen in need of coal or having any complaint to make in regard to the fuel situation or information to impart as to people buying more coal than their needs for the immediate future warrant, should see Mr. Wills. …  The appointment of a city fuel controller is no reflection on the local dealers, who no doubt are doing their best to cope with a difficult situation.”


100 Years Ago: Penalties for Men Who Evade Draft, Ad for Sinclair’s, The Fuel Situation

The Intelligencer January 3, 1918 (page 1)

“Drastic Measures Against Men Who Evade Draft. Ottawa. With the calling up of the first draft, strong measures will be taken against men who have failed to register under the Military Service Act. Announcement of a reward ‘to any civil police or peace officer for the apprehension and delivery into military custody of a deserter or absentee without leave,’ is the forerunner of further steps to ensure that all members of Class 1 comply with the law.

Instructions for dealing with deserters and absentees without leave have been issued and the general policy determined.”

The Intelligencer January 3, 1918 (page 2)

“Sinclair’s Mid-Winter Early Closing. Help Win the War. Save Coal and Light.

Store Closes Saturdays at 6.30 p.m. Other Days at 5.30 p.m. Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 2nd, and continuing until Saturday, March 9th, we will close our store as above.

This means a real saving of Coal and Light. It also means the saving of long walks for our staff on Saturday nights to and from their homes; and above all, this means a Better Service for our customers from 8.30 a.m. until 6.30 p.m. on Saturdays, during which time our entire staff is at your service with no interruptions at the Tea Hour.

We Want You to Help Us. We believe our action in this matter of Early Closing will appeal to our citizens in general, and for this reason we ask the co-operation of our friends in order that we may successfully promote the Early Closing Movement.”

The Intelligencer January 3, 1918 (page 4)

“The Fuel Situation. The conservation of coal movement is spreading; and the fuel famine will be of service in one way at least as showing that there has been a reckless waste of fuel in the past with no provision for emergencies.

Railways are cutting off surplus passenger service which can be dispensed with without hardship during the winter months. Churches are amalgamating services, municipalities are cutting down their White Way illuminations and reducing street lighting to a minimum. Large business places are adopting early closing hours for the balance of the winter and even cutting out Saturday night shopping in some instances, and Belleville merchants are blazing the way in this respect.

The present fuel scarcity seems ridiculous in view of the fact that Canada is a wooded country and much good firewood is allowed to go to waste through forest fires, decay and lack of attention to reforestry. …  The forests of Canada have been sacrificed to a large extent by inefficient methods which should be replaced at once with a policy of conservation which will check the terrible waste of national resources which has been going on for years.”

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