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: Soldiers Honorably Discharged, Poster for Greater Production Meeting at City Hall, Theatres Open on Mondays

The Intelligencer March 11, 1918 (page 2)

“Service Records. Soldiers from this vicinity recently granted honorable discharge at Kingston include the following:

Private Arnold, enlisted 5th March, 1916, in the 155th Battalion in Marmora. He trained at Barriefield till the unit went overseas. In England he was stationed at Bramshott, where he transferred to the 254th Battalion. On going to France he was drafted to the 4th C.M.R. He was in action on the Vimy front. He was returned to Canada over age, coming back last month. His home is in Marmora.

Private J. H. York, enlisted on January 22nd, 1916, in the 155th Battalion in Marlbank. After training at Belleville and Barriefield he went overseas. In England the unit went to Bramshott, from there he transferred to the 21st Battalion in France, and was in action on the Vimy front, where he was wounded April 9th, 1917. He was four months and two weeks in France. After being wounded he went to Beechborough Park Hospital, Folkestone, and later at Epsom Convalescent. He returned to Canada February 7th. His home is in Marlbank.”

The Intelligencer March 11, 1918 (page 6)

“Public Mass Meeting. In the interests of ‘Greater Production.’ City Hall, Tuesday, March 12th. 8.15 P. M. Good Speakers, Special Soloist, also 15th Regimental Band.

Everyone urged to attend Belleville Production League. H. F. Ketcheson, Pres. P. F. Brockel, Sec’y. God Save the King.”

The Intelligencer March 11, 1918 (page 7)

“Theatres Open Tonight. Heatless Mondays having been abolished by the Government, theatres and other places of amusement will be open tonight as usual and on all Mondays hereafter. At Griffin’s and the Palace theatres special programs will be given this evening to mark the return to the regular order of things.”

Nurses of World War I: Ida Georgina Denmark

Ida Georgina Denmark was born in Belleville on July 13, 1886 daughter of George Denmark and Margaret Matthie. The father of our subject was a barrister and served on city council; the family lived on the corner of Alexander and Rear (now John) Streets.

Denmark residence on Alexander Street, Belleville

Denmark residence on Alexander Street, Belleville

She was educated locally and was a graduate of the Nursing School at the Royal Victoria Hospital in New Westminster, B.C. in 1912. In August 1909 she was a nurse-in-training at the Montreal Maternity Hospital; her father travelled to Montreal to visit his daughter, collapsed and died. Miss Denmark enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps on September 18, 1914 in Montreal.

Height: 5’ 3”

Weight: 132lb

Age:  28

No. 2 Canadian Stationary Hospital in Le Touquet

Nursing Sister Denmark served with the No. 2 Canadian Stationary Hospital in Le Touquet, France; this unit had the distinction of being the first of all Canadian units to place foot upon French soil. On November 27, 1914 it opened up the well-known Hôtel du Golf as a hospital of 300 beds. She served for 23 months before resigning “for private reasons” on July 15, 1916 and was united in marriage to Dr. Louis Wellington MacNutt shortly thereafter. Dr MacNutt went overseas as a Captain with No. 1 Canadian General Hospital, rising to the rank of Major. He served in a casualty clearing station and commanded the Hyde Park Place Hospital for Officers in London. Mrs. MacNutt returned to Canada in April 1919 aboard the S.S. Mauritania and the couple established themselves in Vancouver B.C. She was awarded the 1914 Star and the 1916 British War and Victory Medals.

Ida Georgina MacNutt died at the Amherst Private Hospital on February 12, 1969 aged 82 years 6 months 29 days. Her remains were cremated at the Mountain View Cemetery.

100 Years Ago: Managers Object to Exemption Declined for Bank Clerks, Demand for Maple Syrup, Easter Message Popular, Food Production Meeting Held, Easter Bonnets Made by Wounded Soldiers

The Intelligencer March 9, 1918 (page 1)

“ ‘Bolt from the Blue’ Say Banks of Draft. Toronto. ‘A bolt from the blue’ very feebly describes the feelings of the local bank managers and executive officers towards the decision of Mr. Justice Duff in declining exemption to bank clerks in Category A. Managers and supervisors of most of the leading banks were unanimous in their opinion that the order cannot be carried out if the business of the country is to go on, and in particular no more Victory Loan business can be undertaken by the banks. …

Girls can take the place of men only to a limited extent, and cannot be expected in a few weeks to acquire the knowledge which men have taken years to acquire, say the bankers. …  ‘In the country a girl can be used as a teller where the manager has time to give close supervision, but no woman is able to come in and take charge of a city teller’s desk.’ ”

The Intelligencer March 9, 1918 (page 2)

“Great Demand for Maple Syrup. Before the war many owners of fine sugar maple groves had dropped out of the business or contented themselves with producing enough only for their own use. The chief reason for this was that the market for the pure maple products was undermined by the manufacturers of adulterants. …  An amendment to the Adulteration Act was passed in 1915, making it unlawful to adulterate maple sugar or syrup. …

Up to the present time 75 per cent of the Canadian maple products have been consumed in Canada. Most of the balance has found a ready market in the United States. In addition there is now being developed the foundation for a splendid market in Great Britain and France, where maple sugar has been introduced by the Canadian soldiers. Thousands of pounds have been sent to the Canadian army overseas by the Red Cross, and firms in London report a growing British demand and the possibilities of an enormous trade after the war. …

It behooves all those who have maple trees available to get to work this year and make the most of the short sap-running season. …  By tapping 100 trees at a time of year when the farmer is least busy with regular farm work, he can make 500 pounds of sugar or 100 gallons of syrup, netting him $100 to $150 for three weeks activity. This is more than the soldier fighting in France at the risk of life and limb earns in thrice that time, sad in view of the need it behooves farmers to bring out the sap buckets, old and new, and show that the ‘Land of the Maple’ can prove clear title to the name.”

The Intelligencer March 9, 1918 (page 7)

“The Easter Message. The Easter message to Canadians in khaki across the sea, prepared by Rev. A. M. Hubly and freely distributed in Emmanuel Church last Sunday to anyone in the congregation who desired a copy, has met with such public favor that a second edition was found necessary. The prose letter is to comrades and is a suitable expression of any relative or friend.”

The Intelligencer March 9, 1918 (page 7)

“Greater Production. The third meeting of those interested in greater production of food was held in the Council chambers, Friday afternoon, March 8th. President H. F. Ketcheson was in the chair. The meeting was attended by representatives of the various women’s organizations in the city, also a number of the city clergymen.

It was decided the official name of this organization should be ‘The Belleville Production League,’ and that the object should be to encourage greater production along all lines in the coming season.

Representatives were appointed for each ward who would become responsible for listing all vacant land which in turn will be allotted to those who will agree to properly cultivate the same. Assistance will be given in the matter of seed. A special seed committee was appointed for this purpose. The ward chairmen were appointed as a committee on registration of lots and also on plowing of them.

The Agricultural Society and Horticultural Society, both of whom were represented at this meeting, are co-operating to the limit of their ability. Arrangements were made for a special mass meeting of citizens to be held in the City Hall on Tuesday, March 12th, at 8:15, when the great need for production and the plans of the local organization will be placed before the public.”

The Intelligencer March 9, 1918 (page 10)

“Easter Bonnets Made by Wounded Soldiers. Wounded soldiers in the white cots of the military convalescent hospitals are as interested in the progress of the spring millinery season as any of their sweethearts or wives. They are big factors in Canada’s millinery trade this year through their weaving, milliners are on their knees to them.

The smartest houses in Montreal and Toronto have featured Turkish turbans of soft raffia textiles woven by the soldiers and the vogue has spread from coast to coast. Even New York has sent inquiries after reviewing the south-going millinery of the Canadian rich.

A fabric of very fine raffia, woven on the bed looms in the hospitals as occupational work has been termed the most beautiful straw of many seasons. It has a dull satin lustre which has rarely been seen and turned out in exquisite colorings which cannot be had elsewhere for love nor money, enjoys great distinction.

The men are very proud of their work. …  The orders already placed will employ the men until the season is well started. There is a certain soothing monotony in weaving which makes it possible for many men who are unable to do any other kind of bed work. The medical officers recommend it in many nerve cases.”



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