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: 45,000 Canadians Are in Hospitals, Save Hard Coal

The Intelligencer December 4, 1918 (page 1)

“45,000 Canadians Are in Hospital. Ottawa. There is no prospect of any diminution in the work of the Board of Pension Commissioners for some months to come. There are in Canada at the present time approximately 7,000 soldiers under treatment or receiving vocational training who are in receipt of pensions.

The evacuation of the numerous hospitals and convalescent homes all over Great Britain will result in a large influx of Canadian invalided soldiers whose case for pensions will have to be considered. A rough estimate places the number of Canadian soldiers at present in British hospitals alone at 45,000. It is possible of course, that many of these may be eventually deemed as fit.

With the cessation of hostilities it is expected that a large number of Canadian pensioners who have remained in the Old Country and whose pensions have been paid through the British branch of the Board of Pension Commissioners will probably evince a desire to return to their native soil. During the war many partially disabled soldiers have been transferred to the non-combatant units, such as forestry, pay corps, etc., and the claims of these men will have to be considered by the board.”

The Intelligencer December 4, 1918 (page 3)

“Urges Consumers To Save Hard Coal. A review of the coal situation coupled with a soberly worded warning that Ontario will be face to face with a serious coal shortage before spring, is issued by the Provincial Fuel Controller, R. Home Smith. …

‘The Fuel Administration, reluctant as it is to interfere with the public or to make regulations, has no option but to insist that bituminous coal and wood be substituted for the use of anthracite in every building in the Province of Ontario which is fitted with a furnace in which bituminous coal or wood can be used. This rule will apply to all buildings, but the largest saving can probably be made in public or semi-public buildings. It is therefore advisable that all occupants of such buildings should at once set their house in order.’

The Controller warns owners of office buildings, apartments, warehouses, factories, etc., to make arrangements at once to sell their coal and divert shipments not yet received. Those who do so will benefit compared to those who are forced to substitute under the regulations to be issued. …

In concluding, the Controller says: ‘Speaking generally, there is no longer any doubt that the anthracite situation in the province will be serious, and unless the public co-operate and where possible take steps to protect itself by the substitution of wood, buckwheat and bituminous coal conditions may become critical. There is, however, no reason for panic, and we will come through the winter satisfactorily, if we, one and all, save coal and co-operate in the observance of the fuel regulation, for the spirit which won the war can and will solve every peace problem.’ ”

100 Years Ago: Soldiers’ Memorial Building Proposed, Ad for Shredded Wheat

The Intelligencer December 3, 1918 (page 1)

“Soldiers Memorial Building Proposed By War Veterans Assoc. At the City Council meeting last evening considerable business was transacted. A large deputation of the Great War Veterans’ Association was present and through Col. E. D. O’Flynn and Major A. C. McFee asked the Council to submit to the ratepayers of the city at the approaching municipal election a debenture By-law to grant $10,000 to the Association to assist in purchasing or erecting a suitable memorial to those who took part in the war. It would be a building where the members could meet and also provide temporary accommodation to any returned soldier who might be in the city.

The Council coincided in the idea and the By-law will be submitted to the electors for their approval or rejection. …  Mayor Platt said the deputation could rely upon the Council doing what was requested. You risked your lives for us and we will do what we can in return.”

The Intelligencer December 3, 1918 (page 2)

“When Your Boy Comes Home you will be glad you gave the last dollar you could spare to keep him at the front and to keep him happy, well clothed and well fed.

Shredded Wheat paid its heavy toll for doing a restricted business during the war and it paid it gladly. It was a patriotic privilege. Shredded Wheat is the same breakfast cereal you have always eaten—clean, pure, wholesome and nutritious. Eat it with hot milk and a little salt. No sugar is required.”


100 Years Ago: David V. Ketcheson Receives Military Cross, Thanksgiving Service in Griffin’s Opera House

The Intelligencer December 2, 1918 (page 1)

David Ketcheson“Brave Belleville Officer Receives The Military Cross. Lieut. David V. Ketcheson, son of ex-Mayor Ketcheson, of this city, received to-day the Military Cross which was awarded to him for bravery upon the field of battle. It is beautifully engraved medal hung from blue and white ribbons. Accompanying the medal was a communication from the Government House, Toronto, also a copy of the details of service for which the coveted decoration was awarded. They were as follows: Government House, Toronto, Nov. 30. Dear Mr. Ketcheson: By request of His Honor the Lieutenant-Governor I am sending the Military Cross awarded to you to your address by registered mail. Will you kindly acknowledge the receipt of same and oblige. I also enclose copy of the details of service for which the decoration was awarded. Yours very truly, Alexander Fraser, Official Secretary.

‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of a raiding party; although wounded he continued in command of his men, and led the attack on the enemy trench in a most determined manner. Later, he was again, severely wounded.’

Lieut. Ketcheson is to be congratulated upon having acquitted himself so nobly in the great world war as to merit Royal recognition. He has not only brought honor to himself and his parents but also to the City of Belleville and this entire district. Belleville is proud of Lieut. David V. Ketcheson.”

The Intelligencer December 2, 1918 (page 7)

“Thanksgiving Service. A union Thanksgiving service in every sense of the word was held on Sunday afternoon in Griffin’s Opera House. Not only were Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians and Baptists represented by ministers who took part, but the Salvation Army and the Y.M.C.A. were represented. During the service, which lasted from 4 to 5 o’clock, the spacious building was filled with an audience which entered heartily into the spirit of the service. Previous to the opening exercises the Salvation Army band occupying a place on the platform rendered a number of appropriate selections, which were inspiring.

Ministers occupying seats on the platform were Rev. Dr. Scott, of Bridge street church in the chair, Ven. Archdeacon Beamish, rector of St. Thomas church, Rev. A. S. Kerr, M.A., of St. Andrew’s church, Rev. J. N. Clarry, B.A., of Holloway street church, and Rev. W. H. Wallace of the Baptist church. Adjutant Goodhew and Capt. T. D. Ruston represented the Salvation Army and Mr. P. F. Brockel the Y. M. C. A. Prof. Hunt and Prof. Wheatley played the accompaniments upon the piano. …

Adjutant Goodhew gave the address and it was in keeping with the occasion. …  In his opening remarks the Adjutant said that this day had been set apart as a National Thanksgiving day. We should thank God for the many blessings which we as a people enjoy. First we should thank God for peace, a victorious peace for all the allied nations. Our dearly beloved flag still floats at the mast head. Secondly, we should thank God for power. Our Empire to-day as in years gone by was a mighty power for good. Thirdly we give thanks for patriotism which permeates all our hearts. To-day God fearing people were rallying around the God fearing leaders who would lead our Empire for a God fearing peace. Whatsoever is right must come out on top. Fourthly, we give thanks for prosperity. Let us all thank God for the prosperity we enjoy as a nation. …  May our greatest cause of thanksgiving be for the highest ideals of life. …  At the close of the address the National Anthem was sung and the benediction pronounced by Rev. Dr. Scott.”


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