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: Ad for Doyle’s Drug Store, Rodman Clark Newton Safe in England, Dance at Johnstone’s Academy, National Thanksgiving, Belleville Soldiers’ Monument, Called by Death: Thomas Peter Wims, Poster for War-Savings Stamps

The Intelligencer November 30, 1918 (page 4)

Ad for Doyle's Drug Store“ ‘His Master’s Voice. Records for December out To-Day. Same Price before the War—during the War—And Now The War Is Over.

Berliner Gram-o-phone Company.

The Above Machines and Records Are on Sale at Doyle’s Drug Store. You are welcome to come in any time and play any of Our Large Assortment of Records.”

The Intelligencer November 30, 1918 (page 7)

“Safe in England. Mrs. J. Newton, who resides at 46 Hillcrest Avenue, received the following cablegram from the Canadian Red Cross. It refers to her son who was a prisoner of Germany for the past five and one-half years:—’London. Nov. 29, 1918. Mrs. Newton, 46 Hillcrest Avenue, Belleville. R. Newton, 113457, safe in England. Canadian Red Cross.’ ”

The Intelligencer November 30, 1918 (page 7)

“A Successful Dance. Under the auspices of Argyll Chapter I.O.D.E. a dance was held last night in Johnston’s Academy and it proved to be a most enjoyable function. A large number were present and enjoyed themselves in the light fantastic until an early hour this morning. A most appropriate programme of music was furnished by the Sprague orchestra under the able direction of Mr. Frank Robinson. The assembly room presented an attractive appearance, being suitably decorated for the occasion. At the midnight hour a tempting luncheon was served. The proceeds amounting to a considerable sum will be applied to worthy objects.”

The Intelligencer November 30, 1918 (page 7)

“National Thanksgiving. In accordance with the request of the Dominion Government tomorrow will be observed as a national thanksgiving for the blessings of peace as the result of the great and complete victory of the allied nations over the Central Powers. Special services in keeping with the occasion will be held in all churches tomorrow and a union service will be held in Griffin’s Theatre beginning at four o’clock tomorrow afternoon participated in by the clergy and civic authorities.”

The Intelligencer November 30, 1918 (page 7)

“Soldiers’ Monument. The heroic sacrifice of Belleville soldiers who have given their lives for the Empire will be commemorated by the erection of a soldiers’ monument and a movement has been started by the members of the 15th Regimental Band with this end in view.

The following joint committee of citizens and bandsmen will direct the campaign and a fund will be raised by voluntary subscriptions. The committee is composed of the following gentlemen: Messrs. W. J. Carter, chairman; L. E. Walmsley, secretary; Arthur Jones, treasurer; Charles Hanna, Walter Asseltine and A. Wannacott. Various suggestions have been made as to the location of the proposed monument including the intersection of Bridge and Front street and the entrance to the park.”

The Intelligencer November 30, 1918 (page 7)

Thomas Wims“Belleville Soldier Dies in Scotland. The sad news was received to-day by Mr. P. J. Wims that his soldier son, Tom Wims, had died in Scotland, following an attack of influenza. The young soldier was a general favorite with all who knew him, blessed as he was with a fine, cheery disposition and manly character, and great sympathy will be felt for the bereaved relatives.

The following telegram was received by Mr. Wims this morning: ‘Regret to inform you Gunner Thomas Peter Wims, artillery, officially reported died of bronco-pneumonia, following influenza at 3rd Scottish hospital, Glasgow, November 28th.’

Gunner Wims enlisted with the 79th Battery at Montreal being previous to enlistment in the office of the Canada Cement Company at Montreal. He was the second son of Mr. and Mrs. P. J. Wims and was born at Deseronto. He received his education in Belleville, matriculating from the High School here. Upon arrival in the Old Country he was transferred to the 4th Division Trench Mortar unit.

At the time he was taken ill Gunner Wims was on leave and was visiting with relatives when he fell a victim to the influenza, pneumonia developing. Besides the sorrowing parents three brothers and four sisters survive, viz. : Will K., Manager of the Wims Store at Montreal; Alex, at home and P. J. Wims at Loyola College, Montreal; May, Grace, Jessie and Margaret at home.”

[Note: Gunner Thomas Peter Wims died on November 26, 1918. He is commemorated on Page 524 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer November 30, 1918 (page 8)

“On Monday, December 2nd, 1918, will be offered the First Issue of Canadian Government War-Savings Stamps. Issue of 1919—Payable January 1st, 1924. Price, $4.00 and Interest. $4.00 Grows to $5.00.

In order to make it easier to acquire War-Savings Stamps, THRIFT STAMPS are issued at 25 cents each. These do not bear interest, but 16 of them affixed to a Thrift Card will be exchanged for a W.-S. S. Issued under Authorization of National War-Savings Committee.”

100 Years Ago: Iced Cakes for Christmas, Badges for Food Production, Eric Oscar Keeler Receives Military Cross

The Intelligencer November 29, 1918 (page 1)

“Iced Cakes For Christmas According To Food Board. Local Bakers Received Announcement Today from Food Board—This Will Open Up Work For Many Girls and Women. Cakes iced with sugar will be here for Christmas. Puffed pastry will also make its appearance again. Cake-makers here received yesterday morning from Ottawa the following notice lifting the ban on iced cakes.

Notwithstanding anything contained in any order of the Canada Food Board this letter will be your authority to use what part of your allotment of sugar that you desire for the icing or filling of biscuits, cakes, etc. You will understand that the permission to ice and fill biscuits, cakes, etc., does not entitle you to any further allotment of sugar for this purpose, but merely permits the use of your present allotment in this manner if you so desire.

Notwithstanding anything contained in any order of the Canada Food Board you are permitted to manufacture products known as French or puffed pastry, doughnuts, or crullers, biscuits or cakes known as Scotch shortbread or cake, provided such is manufactured only with vegetable fats. The shortage of animal fats makes it necessary that the restriction on the use of animal fats is continued.

One of the most qualifying features of the new order is the fact that the manufacture of iced cakes, fancy pastries and biscuits will now be able to give employment to a great many people who, by reason of the closing of the munition factories, would be out of work at Christmas time. It was intimated that one biscuit factory would be able to employ two hundred girls right away owing to the text of the order from Ottawa.”

The Intelligencer November 29, 1918 (page 7)

“Badges for Food Production. The Organization of Resources Committee, representing the Ontario Government and Legislature of their plans for encouraging the production of food as a war-time service has had prepared a food production service badge for awarding to children and others who have done good work during the past season.”

The Intelligencer November 29, 1918 (page 8)

Eric Keeler“Awarded Military Cross. Another Belleville boy has won distinction at the front, by acts of bravery on the field of battle. Mr. E. O. Keeler, chief despatcher of the G. T. R. here, is in receipt of a letter from his son, Eric O. Keeler, which states he had been decorated with the Military Cross. The recipient is a young man who is well known in this city. He enlisted and went overseas with the 207th Battalion of Ottawa which unit was broken up in England and subsequently merged with the 38th Battalion. Previous to enlistment he was employed in the Post Office here. The many friends of the young man will be pleased to learn of the distinction which has been conferred upon him.”


100 Years Ago: Christmas School Holidays as Usual, Carl Kiser Receives Military Medal and Croix de Guerre, Called by Death: Harry Allen Shane, Salvation Army Drive to Start

The Intelligencer November 28, 1918 (page 1)

“Christmas School Holidays as Usual. Toronto. After due consideration of the suggestion advanced by several of the local school boards of Ontario that the Christmas holidays be either dispensed with this year or materially shortened to compensate for study time lost last winter and through the visitation of the Province by influenza during September and October, the Provincial Educational authorities have discarded the proposal as impractical and unwise.

The children having been in no remotest way responsible for the loss of time involved, and the Christmas holidays being an institution to which children should not be unnecessarily deprived, and having in view also the desirability of conserving the 1918-19 coal supply insofar as possible, it is held that the Christmas vacation should not be interfered with.

Provincially the Education office hopes to make up for time lost through the influenza by a readjustment of midsummer examination dates, the decision reached being expected to partially, at least, equalize the handicap imposed upon both the teachers and the scholars by school closings during the prevalence of the epidemic.”

The Intelligencer November 28, 1918 (page 7)

“Military Medal and Croix de Guerre. ‘I have received the Military Medal and Croix de Guerre. I expect to be in England in a few weeks to take out a commission as artillery officer,’ says an extract from a letter written by Sergt. Carl Kiser in France. Sergt. Kiser went overseas with the 34th Battery and his many friends in Belleville will be pleased to learn of the honors which he has won on the field of battle.”

The Intelligencer November 28, 1918 (page 7)

“Called by Death: Harry Allen Shane. At the family residence Donald Street College Hill Harry Allen Shane aged 12 years and 2 months, died yesterday afternoon from pneumonia following the flu. Deceased was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Shane and was born in this city, where he resided all his life. Harry was an exceptionally bright boy and a general favorite with his companions. He was a member of Bridge Street Church Sunday School. In addition to the parents, three brothers, William, James and Frank, two sisters, Elizabeth and Annie, survive. To the bereaved will be extended the heartfelt sympathy of their many friends.”

The Intelligencer November 28, 1918 (page 7)

“Salvation Army to Start Drive Now For Million Dollars. With the closing of the Victory Loan drive the headquarters for Eastern Ontario and the Province of Quebec of the ‘Salvation Army Red Shield’ drive for $1,000,000, 24 Canada Life Buildings, Quebec, have become a beehive of activity. …

In working up the drive forces in the various cities and counties in this region field representatives are now on work and many organizations like the Rotarians, the Kiwanis Club, Canadian Club, G. W. V. A. and in many cases the Victory Loan forces and others are assuming the responsibility and will put over the Red Shield drive for the Salvation Army.

The Canadian Government during the period of the war, put soldier welfare work into the hands of the Y’s, K. of C., the Salvation Army and kindred organizations, and how well the work was done by these is shown in the great victory which has come to the allied armies. All the organizations which have assisted in this work have had drives but the Salvation Army. They have done their work by self-denial among their own members and by a few tag days in some places but these have not brought in much money. If their programme of welfare work is to be carried on they will need this million dollars.

Welfare work among the Canadian soldiers and sailors is not completed because the fighting is stopped. If this work should end the demobilization would become demoralization and the fact stares us in the face that now the best effort has yet to be put forth, not so much to keep up the morale as to preserve the morality. …

The Salvation Army Red Shield drive campaign will open January the 19th, 1919, the objective for the Dominion will be $1,000,000 and every cent will go towards the welfare of Canada’s fighting men in the demobilization of Canada’s army in the next two years, in the care for soldiers’ widows and orphans, in establishing huts and hostels, where the need still remains, especially in Siberia and many other places.”

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