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: Captain Arthur G. Cousins Dies of Flu, Industrial Evening Classes Begin, Flu Hits Belleville Businesses, Renfrew Requests V.A.D. Nurses, Soldiers Undergo Gargle Drill, James H. Turney Thrice Wounded, Fire Prevention Day, Fifth Victory Loan Campaign Begins

The Intelligencer October 9, 1918 (page 1)

“Capt. Cousins Dead From Influenza. Capt. Arthur G. Cousins of the schooner Newlands and whose home is in this city, died at an early hour this morning in the General Hospital at Oswego, N.Y. He was taken ill a few days ago while in Oswego harbor with his vessel and despite every attention passed away, a victim of the prevailing influenza epidemic.

Capt. Cousins was the youngest captain between Father Point and Detroit, being but 34 years of age at death and was only 26 years old when he received his master’s papers. Previous to that he was employed at Point Ann. Mrs. Cousins accompanied him on the trip to Oswego, and was with him when the end came. He was a member of the I.O.F. Society. A family of five children, the youngest an infant, survives. The body will be brought here for interment.”

The Intelligencer October 9, 1918 (page 1)

“Industrial Evening Classes Formed. At the High School building last evening Night Classes were commenced under the supervision of Mr. P. C. McLaurin, Principal of the School. It was anticipated that a considerable number in the city would take advantage to thus improve their education, but the attendance was far in excess of anticipations. No less than 175 were present and among these were two who could neither read nor write.

The number desiring to take short hand and typewriting were such that three classes will be necessary. There was also a good class desirous of learning mechanical drawing. Many are desirous of taking French, and not a few made enquiries regarding being taught Spanish. A teacher is available in this city to teach this language. The chemistry, bookkeeping, dressmaking, English and higher mathematics were all well attended also the domestic science class. While a class in millinery was not formed, a number made applications to be taught how to trim head gear.

Ten teachers were last evening busily engaged and more teachers will have to be secured as it is deemed necessary not to have more than 12 or 15 pupils in any class, so that more individual attention can be given to the pupils.

Principal McLaurin is more than delighted at the prospects for a successful term, as it is apparent that there will be at least two hundred in attendance in the near future. Classes will be taught on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and possibly on other evenings.”

The Intelligencer October 9, 1918 (page 7)

“ ‘Flu’ Hits Business. Belleville business places are hard hit by the influenza epidemic and working staffs are very much depleted.”

The Intelligencer October 9, 1918 (page 7)

“V.A.D. Nurses Wanted. Renfrew is sorely stricken with the influenza epidemic but on account of the prevalence of so much illness in other centres is unable to secure a sufficient number of professional nurses to cope with the situation. A call has been sent out for V.A.D. nurses to go to Renfrew, and V.A.D.’s in this vicinity who are willing to go should telegraph at once to Dr. J. C. Mitchell, Eastern Hospital, Brockville.”

[Note: V.A.D. = Voluntary Aid Detachment.]

The Intelligencer October 9, 1918 (page 7)

“Gargle Drill. An interesting feature of daily routine at the local military headquarters is the ‘gargle drill,’ the soldiers being regularly lined up daily, each with a tin cup in hand containing antiseptic solution. When the word is given each soldier proceeds to gargle his throat and the ensuing noises are varied and weird, suggesting the last gasps of German kulture. This is just one of the precautions taken by the local military authorities to prevent an epidemic of influenza among the soldiers.”

The Intelligencer October 9, 1918 (page 7)

“Thrice Wounded. Sergt. James H. Turney, who went overseas with the 59th Battalion, and was wounded three times, has been invalided home, and yesterday his wife at 280 Coleman street, city, received a telegram from Quebec saying: ‘Arrived. Will be home soon.’ ”

The Intelligencer October 9, 1918 (page 7)

“To Reduce Fire Losses. Throughout Ontario to-day was observed as the first Provincial ‘Fire Prevention Day,’ which was set aside for this purpose by proclamation issued by the Ontario Government. The idea has taken hold throughout the Province, and everywhere steps are being taken to minimize as much as possible the appalling fire loss which this country annually suffers. In the various schools in this city the proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor was read, which set forth the needs of children and others co-operating in a general cleaning up day and removing inflammable rubbish.”

The Intelligencer October 9, 1918 (page 8)

“Great Organization Rally Of Victory Loan Workers. The first shot in the 1918 Victory Loan campaign for the sale of one-half billion of Canada’s War Bonds was fired yesterday in Toronto, when the County Chairmen and Publicity Chairmen from all over the Province gathered together for the purpose of listening to inspiring addresses by Canada’s most representative financial business and professional men. …  If the loan were not a success all the magnificent work that has been done by our fighting men in the past four years would be in vain, as at the last moment Canada would have to slacken the efforts of her noble army because we at home had failed them. …

Mr. W. B. Deacon, Hastings County Chairman, and Mr. W. L. Doyle, Publicity Chairman for the County, were present representing Hastings County.”


100 Years Ago: Soldiers’ Wives and Children Return, Salvation Army Appeals for Grant, Sunday Gasoline Sales to Stop, In Memoriam for Sydney Hollgerson, Poster for Thrift, Fighting Flu at School for the Deaf, William Oliver Wardhaugh Gassed, Carpet Bowling, John Nelson Huddlestone Wounded, Letter of Sympathy for Alexander Beaton’s Mother, Flu Precautions, Spanish Flu in Kitchener

The Intelligencer October 8, 1918 (page 1)

“Several Thousand Soldiers Arrive. Ottawa. Several ships have arrived at a Canadian port conveying between four and five thousand returned soldiers. Nearly a thousand are ‘hospital walking cases,’ for whom berths have been specially erected in the ships under the supervision of the medical authorities, about 3,300 are ‘ordinary discharge cases,’ and there are three or four hundred soldiers’ wives and children, and 150 officers, who are returning.”

The Intelligencer October 8, 1918 (page 1)

“Deputation Asks City Council for Grant for Salvation Army Overseas Work. At the City Council meeting last evening the business brought forward was transacted in an expeditious manner, the session lasting but an hour. No matters of great moment were brought up. A request from the Salvation Army for a grant towards a campaign in Canada to raise a million dollars to provide comforts for the boys overseas was referred to the Executive Committee.”

The Intelligencer October 8, 1918 (page 1)

“Sunday Gasoline Sales Stopped. Ottawa. Fuel Controller Magrath announces that regulations have now been approved by the Governor-General in Council to control the wholesale and retail sale of gasoline in Canada. …  Provision is also made for the keeping of certain sales records, and all retailers of gasoline are called upon to post in their places of business the wholesale as well as the retail cost of gasoline handled by them. One important provision of the regulations is that for the duration of the war the sale of gasoline on Sundays is absolutely prohibited.”

The Intelligencer October 8, 1918 (page 2)

“In Memoriam. In proud and loving memory of my only son, Sydney Hollgerson, aged 20 years, a member of the 58th Battalion killed in action on the Somme, October 8th 1916.

Supreme and glorious sacrifice, / In great and noble cause to make / He with his life’s blood paid the price / And fought and died for freedom’s sake.”

The Intelligencer October 8, 1918 (page 6)

Poster for thrift

“The money is yours! You have earned it. But—Will you use it for Canada or against Canada? Will you save your money and help to shorten the War? Or will you buy what you want, go wherever your pleasure dictates, dress as well or better than you always have dressed, indulge such whims as you can afford? You must choose.

Save your money for Canada, and for Canada’s fighting men. Save your money to bring nearer that day we all long for—the Victorious end of the War..

Published under the authority of the Minister of Finance of Canada.”

The Intelligencer October 8, 1918 (page 7)

“Fighting the Flu. Precautions against the ‘Flu’ have been taken at the School for the Deaf. The pupils are not allowed to leave the grounds without permission and while school is continued the members of the staff are requested not to attend meetings or gatherings of any kind and to do no visiting, but to remain quietly in their homes.

Members of the staff having influenza in their homes are required to report at once and to remain away from the school while there is any danger of them carrying infection. An extra nurse has been engaged and extra hospital accommodation provided.”

The Intelligencer October 8, 1918 (page 7)

“Pte. Wardhaugh Gassed. Mrs. Viola Wardhaugh, Front St., Belleville, has been officially notified that her husband, Pte. Wm. Oliver Wardhaugh, infantry, was admitted to No. 18 General Hospital, Dannes Camiers, France, on Sept. 28th, suffering from the effects of Shell Gas. Pte. Wardhaugh went overseas with the 155th Battalion and his many friends hope that he will have a speedy recovery.”

The Intelligencer October 8, 1918 (page 7)

“Carpet Bowling. At the True Blue hall last evening a well contested match was played between teams skipped by Messrs. B. Kelly and G. W. Kerr of the Belleville Carpet Bowling Club. The match was an exciting one; during the first half, the team skipped by Mr. Kelly held the upper hand, the second half was so skilfully played by Mr. Kerr’s team that the victorious team led by only one point, final scores being 36 to 24. Mr. Kelly’s team won. …  Great enthusiasm was shown by both players and spectators.”

The Intelligencer October 8, 1918 (page 7)

“Pte. Huddlestone Wounded. Mr. Miles Huddlestone, residing on Great St. James street, in this city, was to-day in receipt of the following telegram from the Director of Records: ‘Sincerely regret to inform you 636443, Pte. John Nelson Huddlestone,infantry, officially reported admitted to No. 1 Casualty Clearing Hospital, Sept. 29th, gunshot wound right arm, fractured knee.’ Pte. Huddlestone enlisted and went overseas with the 155th Battalion of this city. He was only 19 years of age. Previous to enlistment he was an employee of the G.T.R. here.”

The Intelligencer October 8, 1918 (page 7)

“Gave His Life For Cause of Freedom. Copy of a letter received by Mrs. Flora Beaton, relative to the death of her son, Alexander Beaton: 5th Can. Infantry Batt., B. E. F., France. Mrs. Flora Beaton, Belleville, Ont.

Dear Mrs. Beaton:—I regret to inform you of the death of your son yesterday, Sept. 2nd, from wounds received in action. I was with a field ambulance at an advanced dressing station when this boy was brought in dead on a stretcher, where he had expired while our bearers were bringing him back off the field where he fell. I read his identity disc at once. It was marked Alexander Beaton, No. 455036, 2nd Battalion East. The stretcher bearers found your name in his paybook.

You will have the consolation of knowing that he was not instantly killed; that he had time for preparation for death and also that our chaplains warned our boys before [going] into this sector of the impending battle and gave them facilities for approaching the sacrament. Your son was wounded in the head. His death resulted apparently from loss of blood.

I am writing to you from the field, and when the action is concluded should I be detailed for burial at the cemetery where he will be interred I shall advise you. Should you wish to have the location of his grave and a photo thereof, you should address ‘Director of Graves Registration & Enquiries, War Office, London, England. The military authorities will of course forward his personal effects to you in due time.

I may add that I felt a special interest in the matter since I left Stirling to come to France. May God bless and comfort you in your hour of bereavement. Yours sincerely, J. J. O’Reilly, Chaplain.”

The Intelligencer October 8, 1918 (page 8)

“ ‘Flu’ Precautions Are Advised by M.O.H. Toronto. Dr. Hastings, Medical Officer of Health, has issued the following statement on Spanish influenza. Influenza is an acute communicable disease, and is contracted by coming in contact with the secretions from the nose, throat, and mouth of a person, who is ill with the disease. For this reason every effort should be made to avoid such contact. …

Crowded places such as street cars, mass meetings, moving picture shows, theatres and other gatherings should be avoided at this time. Kissing should be avoided. No food should be taken without previously washing the hands and the hands should always be kept away from the mouth and nose at all times. The nose and mouth should always be covered with a handkerchief while in the act of coughing or sneezing.

All persons, especially those engaged in factories, large business establishments, etc., where a number of people are congregated should report on the first sign of illness, and be relieved of their duties. To endeavor to fight off the disease by continuing at work not only renders the severity of the illness more serious, but also exposes others to the disease.”

The Intelligencer October 8, 1918 (page 8)

“Spanish ‘Flu’ Still Spreads. Kitchener. Medical Officer of Health Dr. J. McGillawee, acting under instructions from the Kitchener Board of Health, has issued an order closing all schools, churches, and theatres, and forbidding public gatherings until further notice. This action was taken in an attempt to check the spread of Spanish influenza, which already has claimed twelve victims in the past seven days. Reports from local medical men show there are over 3,000 cases in the city.”

100 Years Ago: Victory Loan Campaign, Letter of Sympathy for William Woods’s Wife, Leo Hamilton Wounded

The Intelligencer October 7, 1918 (page 1)

“Victory Bond Local Campaign Organization Complete. The campaign which will be waged from coast to coast in Canada for the raising of $500,000,000 for Canada’s Victory Loan, 1918 will take place from October 28th to November 16th. The organization in Belleville is being rapidly completed. The various heads of committees have signified their willingness to once more undertake this very necessary work.

The following telegram was received by Mr. W. B. Deacon, who was so successful last year as county chairman, and in answer to this he has once more agreed to assume this heavy responsibility. …  ‘W. B. Deacon, …  Shall be greatly obliged if you will kindly consent to act again as chairman of Victory Loan Committee for Hastings County. The loan is of most vital national importance and I feel that your services will materially contribute to its success. W. T. Hite, Minister of Finance.’

Mr. H. W. Ackerman has also consented to act as secretary and an organization meeting will be held shortly to complete committees. …  Last year the county of Hastings subscribed over two and one-half million dollars of Victory loan and this year it is expected that the good old county will far exceed the record of last year.

No stone will be left unturned to make this, which will probably be the last call on the resources of Hastings county, the biggest and best effort of the citizens towards the winning of the war. Every citizen of the county of Hastings is expected to do his bit in assisting the organization in every way possible, as co-operation means success and without this co-operation of the citizens it will be impossible to have a complete success. Hastings County must not lag behind her sister communities in this great war effort.”

The Intelligencer October 7, 1918 (page 3)

“Brave Soldier Loved by Pals. Mrs. S. Woods, who resides at 20 Water Street, received the following letter from Chaplain J. L. McInnis, Capt. The letter is in connection with the death of her husband, Pte. Wm. Woods who made the supreme sacrifice on September 2nd:

France, Sept. 5th, 1918. Dear Mrs. Woods:—As the Chaplain of the battalion of which your husband was a brave and loved member, I beg to offer my deepest sympathy in your great loss.

The attack, in which he was one of the first to go over the top was one of the most bitterly opposed in the experience of our troops. That we won such splendid victory is due to the high courage of men like Him who feared failure and defeat more than death.

You have endured a long and trying separation. It is hard to walk through this Valley of The Shadow. May God Comfort you. May you have the companionship and sympathy of Him who loved not his own life unto death. May the twin stars of Faith and Duty guide you and yours through these coming days.

Our sacred dead are buried in a cemetery near the village of Dury. His commanding officer unites with me in paying tribute to a gallant soldier who showed splendid devotion to his duty to the end. Believe me, Yours in deepest sympathy, John L. McInnis, Capt. Chaplain O.M.F.C.”

The Intelligencer October 7, 1918 (page 5)

“Pte. Hamilton Wounded. Mr. and Mrs. Geo. T. Hamilton, residing on Albion Street, received word on Saturday from the Director of Records, at Ottawa, stating that their son, Leo, was admitted to the Fifth General Hospital, Rouen, suffering from a gunshot wound in the right foot. Leo is well known in this city and his many friends hope that the wound will not prove serious.”

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