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.

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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.

Nurses of World War I: Jean Kathleen Boyce

Jean Kathleen Boyce was born in Grafton, Ontario on June 11, 1889 daughter of Dr. Walter William Boyce and Jessie McKenzie.
She removed to Belleville with her family in 1894 when her father relocated his medical practice. Educated locally, Miss Boyce was a graduate of the Nursing School at the Toronto General Hospital in 1916 and enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps in Kingston on March 12, 1917.

Height: 5’ 4”

Weight: 116lb

Stated age: 25 (actual: 27)

The converted indoor tennis court at Cliveden, the Duchess of Connaught Canadian Red Cross Hospital (photo from the Grace B. Waters albums)

Nursing Sister Boyce served at the Duchess of Connaught Canadian Red Cross Hospital at Taplow, England. She returned to Canada on transport duty, setting sail on June 4, 1918 aboard the ill-fated Llandovery Castle which was later sunk off the Irish coast by a German submarine. She served at Hospitals in Kingston, Montreal and at the Cobourg Military Hospital where she was admitted for diphtheria. Miss Boyce was discharged on April 30, 1920 and was united in marriage to Harold Fisher on September 1, 1923.

The couple resided in Belleville but following the death of her father in 1935, Mrs. Fisher, then a widow, removed to be near her children in Fonthill, Ontario.

Jean Kathleen Fisher died on December 12, 1965 aged 76 years 6 months 1 day. She is interred at the Belleville Cemetery Section M, Row 15, Grave 3E.

100 Years Ago: Fuel Controller Gives Reasons for Shutdown, Ad for Sinclair’s, Ad for Comfort Soap, C.W.C.A. At Home, Heatless Day Observed

The Intelligencer February 9, 1918 (page 1)

“Fuel Controller Gives His Reasons. Ottawa. The following statement was issued from the office of the fuel controller: ‘On the eve of the period of heatless days, I desire to address a word to the citizens of that portion of Canada affected by these regulations, which is, in fact, that part of Canada depending entirely upon the United States for its coal supply. …

The recent cold weather and snowstorms have created a most difficult situation. Eastern Canada’s coal consumption has been greater than ever in her history. South of the line coal shipments are badly tied up, and as Canada’s coal consignments have to work their way through these congested areas, we evidently cannot hope for very prompt relief. …

Fuel consumption has now developed into an absolute necessity. …  I would urge the proper authorities in localities where emergency conditions prevail, to close all schools during the very severe weather. I feel confident that clergymen in such localities will cheerfully lead the way, and to co-operate to the extent of discontinuing week-day services and arranging joint services as far as possible.

Mayors, wardens and others in authority will perform valuable public service by impressing upon citizens the great need for rigid economy in the use of coal and the substitution of wood as far as possible. …  (Signed) C. A. Magrath, Fuel Controller.”

The Intelligencer February 9, 1918 (page 1)

Ad for Sinclair's“Sinclair’s Store Is Saving Coal. Closed All Day Saturday and Monday. Business as Usual on Tuesday. When We Will Help You Save Money!

We Have the Goods at Right Prices. Sinclair’s.”

The Intelligencer February 9, 1918 (page 3)

Ad for Comfort soap“No Premiums Now—more Soap instead. A bigger bar for you now because we are withdrawing all Premiums—due to the impossibility of getting good ones in the face of war conditions. This will be great news to many thousands who bought Comfort Soap because of its sheer merit and never saved the wrappers for premiums.

Why do we prefer to give up premiums? It pays you in war time. We’ll wait until after the war, anyhow, and see how the premiums are then. In the meanwhile, of course, all present Comfort wrappers and coupons now out in the stores will be redeemed as formerly, but understand the wrapper on the new big Comfort bar is not good for premiums.”

The Intelligencer February 9, 1918 (page 8)

“Heatless Day Observed. The order of the Fuel Controller for the closing of all stores and industries today and on Monday was observed in this city without exception. All stores except those selling food were closed all day and the grocery stores closed at noon. The barbers were allowed to do business today, but will be compelled to close on Monday.”


100 Years Ago: Ed. F. Dickens & Son Open, Patriotic Concert at City Hall, Ad for Ritchie’s

The Intelligencer February 8, 1918 (page 2)

Ad for Dickens & Son“NOTICE. We Will Be Open To-morrow as Usual. Ottawa Ont. Feb. 7, Ed. F. Dickens & Son, Belleville. Your Wire Seventh, you may continue operations as usual. C. W. Peterson, Deputy Fuel Controller 8.30 a.m.

The above wire received from Deputy Fuel Controller C. W. Peterson, Ottawa is our authority for being open tomorrow under clause B. of Regulation Three and Regulation Five enacted.

And as above stated we will continue operations as usual. Ed. F. Dickens & Son.”

[Note: Ed. F. Dickens & Son were bakers and confectioners.]

The Intelligencer February 8, 1918 (page 5)

“Patriotic Concert Great Success. The City Hall was last evening filled to overflowing with citizens, who assembled to hear a grand concert, which was given by local talent. The object of the entertainment was to procure funds for the Red Cross and Patriotic Association of the city and a goodly sum was realized.

Mayor Platt had been requested to preside, but owing to other engagements was unable to be present all the time, but opened the proceedings with a brief and appropriate address. He referred to the worthy object of the concert and wished the ladies every success in the worthy object they were engaged in.

At the conclusion of the programme, Mrs. F. E. O’Flynn, on behalf of the organization, thanked all who had contributed to the programme and especially Mr. Knight McGregor, whose selections were one of the chief features of the evening. He was in fine voice and his numbers were beautifully rendered.”

The Intelligencer February 8, 1918 (page 6)

Ad for Ritchieès curtains“Ritchie’s. Beautiful New Swiss Curtains That Have Just Arrived From St. Gail, Switzerland. $4.00 to $10.00 pr.

In accordance with the ‘Order in Council’ of the Dominion Government—Ritchie Co. Store will remain closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday February 9, 10, and 11.”


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