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.

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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: Grace Brown Waters

Grace Brown Waters was born on June 15th, 1881, at the 9th Concession, Lot 34 in Brighton Township, Northumberland County near Campbellford, Ontario, daughter of David Waters and Margaret Keith. The family removed to Belleville about the turn of the century, the father of our subject employed as a tailor and living at 27 Forin Street.

27 Forin Street, Belleville

She was educated locally, was a graduate of a 3 year course, and was in the first graduate class of the Nursing School at St Luke’s Hospital in Utica, N.Y. on Oct 18, 1905. Miss Waters was a life-long friend and companion of Stella Jenkins and enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps on Jan 6, 1916 at Kingston, the same day as Miss Jenkins.

Height:  5’ 5”

Weight:  114lb

Age: 34 (stated age: 32)

Nursing Sister Waters served at the Duchess of Connaught Canadian Red Cross Hospital in England and with the # 7 Canadian General Hospital in Le Tréport, France; she was hospitalized in May 1917 with influenza at Étaples. She returned to Canada setting sail on July 3, 1919 aboard the S.S. Celtic and was discharged on July 15, 1919.

Photo by Grace Waters of staff and patients at the Canadian Red Cross Hospital at Cliveden

Miss Waters returned to the Red Cross Nursing Service in Utica and in 1921 was appointed Tuberculosis Nurse in the Utica Health Department. In 1924 Miss Waters and Jenkins, as former Bellevillians, welcomed Gwen Lazier to their Genesee Street home as she trekked on horse-back through New York State on her way to Washington, D.C.

In 1936 the two friends attended the unveiling of the Vimy Ridge Memorial to Canada’s fallen soldiers and were then guests of King Edward VIII of England at a Buckingham Palace garden party; the assembled Veterans sang The Maple Leaf Forever. After the death of Miss Jenkins, Miss Waters returned to Belleville and resided at 290 George Street.

290 George Street, Belleville

Grace Brown Waters died at the Belleville General Hospital on Mar 4, 1972 aged 90 years 8 months 19 days. She is interred at the Belleville Cemetery Section P, Row 7, Grave S5S. Her grave marker gives her year of birth as 1884.

Grave marker for Grace Waters

100 Years Ago: Two More Gasless Sundays, Depot Battalion in Belleville, No Epidemic of Flu in Belleville, Lieut. William Henry Freeman Ketcheson Returns, Michael James Callahan Wounded, Letter of Sympathy for William Hunter’s Mother, Poster for Saving Money

The Intelligencer October 5, 1918 (page 1)

“Gasless Sunday for Two Weeks More. Ottawa. Gasless Sundays are to continue for two weeks more. The Fuel Controller informed G. A. McNamee, secretary of the Automobile Club of Canada, that he had been in communication with the United States authorities relative to the supply of gasoline, and that the voluntary restriction regarding Sunday motoring would be continued for about two weeks more. He asks all Canadian motorists to adopt a singular courage and refrain from using their cars for two more Sundays.”

The Intelligencer October 5, 1918 (page 2)

“The balance of the Depot Battalion left the city and camp Thursday for Belleville and are now quartered in the Armories and the city hall there. About 250 in all including Lt.-Col. Smart and staff were in the contingent. It is said that the battalion will possibly remain in Belleville for the entire winter and the officers have moved their families with this intention. It is also said that they will not be among those who may return to occupy the new barracks now being built at Barriefield.—Kingston Standard.”

The Intelligencer October 5, 1918 (page 5)

“No Epidemic Here. Dr. Yeomans, Medical Officer of Health, is closely watching the local situation as regards influenza. Thus far a few cases of influenza have developed, but there is no occasion for alarm. Should there be any signs of an epidemic here prompt action will be taken to close places of public assembly and isolate the cases.”

The Intelligencer October 5, 1918 (page 5)

“Returned from England. Lieut. W. H. F. Ketcheson, son of ex-Mayor Ketcheson of this city, arrived home this afternoon from England. Some two months ago he left Canada on escort duty with a military draft for overseas duty. Previous to this Lieut. Ketcheson had been in France for 26 months and had been invalided home.”

The Intelligencer October 5, 1918 (page 5)

“Pte. Callaghan Wounded. Mrs. Ann Callahan, 141 Pinnacle Street, has received official notification that Pte. Michael J. Callahan, infantry, is dangerously ill at the Fourth General Hospital, Dannes-Camiers, France, where he was taken September 30, with gunshot wound in left leg. Pte. Callahan enlisted on January 4, 1916 and proceeded overseas on May 13, 1916, with the 80th Battalion. After three months of training in England he went to France and has been in the trenches since Sept. 1st, 1916. Pte. Callahan was well known and highly esteemed by his many friends, who all hope for his speedy recovery.”

The Intelligencer October 5, 1918 (page 5)

“Soldier’s Comrades Express Sympathy. The following letter was received by Mrs. Jas. Hunter, who resides at 180 James Street. The letter is in connection with the death of Pte. W. Hunter, who made the supreme sacrifice on Sept. 1st.

Mrs. James Hunter, 180 James Street, Belleville, Ont. Dear Mrs. Hunter,—It is with great regret that I have to advise you of your son’s death. He died with his face to the enemy at the Battle of Arras, a brave man and good soldier. His comrades in the company join me in expressing their deep sympathy with you. Yours very truly, C. Carmichael, Lieut.”

The Intelligencer October 5, 1918 (page 7)

“An Advertisement by Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens is one of the world’s great teachers.

The saving of a part of one’s income was always a good policy. Prudent men and women have always maintained a margin of saving.

If Charles Dickens were writing to Canadians to-day he would probably give us advice to this effect: ‘No matter what percentage of your annual income you have previously saved, your efforts to-day should be to save more. The advantage of so doing is threefold: By the practice of economy you conserve the material and labor which must be devoted to the grim task before us; you cultivate the priceless habit of thrift; you gather more and more money to lend to the Nation for the prosecution of the war to a quick and certain Victory.’

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

100 Years Ago: Bugle Band Parades, Toronto Civilians Get Spanish Flu, Ontario Raises War Tax at Theatres, Spanish Flu Hits Renfrew, How to Dodge Flu, Letter of Sympathy for Georges Thibault’s Wife, Poster for Thrift

The Intelligencer October 4, 1918 (page 1)

“Bugle Band Parades. The bugle band in connection with the depot battalion now quartered here paraded the principal streets this afternoon and presented a smart soldierly appearance. The local unit may be augmented in the near future as the exemptions to soldiers at work on the farms expire. About 1200 soldiers belonging to this district are still on farm service.”

The Intelligencer October 4, 1918 (page 1)

“Toronto Civilians Get Spanish “Flu.” Toronto. Spanish influenza has officially reached Toronto. Dr. Hastings, M.O.H., informed a representative of The Globe last night that there was now little doubt that the disease was the same as has been spreading through the United States.

Whether it is a new name or just a new alias for grippe is still in doubt, however. Some bacteriologists claim to have found the old influenza organism, while others have not located it in the new outbreak. …  Dr. Hastings said last night that he had been speaking with a medical man who had considerable experience with the disease in the old country. The mortality, he was informed was not high, ranging from 3 to 5 per cent.”

The Intelligencer October 4, 1918 (page 1)

“Toronto. The Ontario Government, in search of more revenue, has decided to raise the scale of war tax at the regulation theatres and the higher-priced concerts. Instead of the two cents being charged on tickets costing more than 45 cents and not more than 95 cents, 5 cents will be collected after November 1. When the price of admission is more than 45 cents and not more than $1.45 10 cents will be collected instead of 5 cents as at present. Fifteen cents will be charged when the price of admission is more than $1.45 and not more than $1.95, instead of the prevailing tax of 10 cents. Twenty cents will be charged on $2 tickets instead of 10 cents and 25 cents will be the tax on all tickets costing more than $2. There will be no change in the lower priced movie rates.”

The Intelligencer October 4, 1918 (page 1)

“Spanish ‘Flu’ Hits Renfrew Hard. Toronto. The town of Renfrew is in the grip of the first epidemic of Spanish influenza to strike Ontario. Word reached Lt.-Col. McCullough, Provincial Officer of Health, from Renfrew yesterday, stating that there were between 400 and 500 cases of the disease in the town, and that ten deaths had already resulted from pneumonia.

The matter appeared so serious that an immediate conference was held between the Provincial Secretary, Col. McCullough and Hon. Mr. McGarry, whose home is in Renfrew. As a result a bunch of telegrams were sent out at once to the medical superintendents of the provincial institutions at Brockville and Kingston, and also to the General Hospitals at Almonte, Belleville, Brockville, Kingston, Lindsay, Mattawa, Ottawa, Peterborough and Smith’s Falls, requesting them to reply at once stating how many doctors and nurses were available to go to Renfrew.”

The Intelligencer October 4, 1918 (page 4)

“How to Dodge the “Flu.” Many people are sick in Belleville with colds. Influenza or grippe cases are numerous—Spanish, Russian or plain everyday grippe, common to this time of the year and aggravated by the wet and cold weather. What is known as Spanish “Flu” is very prevalent in the United States and is getting a foothold in Canada. …

Avoid all unnecessary crowds, such as in theatres, movies, crowded street and railroad cars, also all private and semi-public gatherings. …  It is essential that all those coming in contact with the sick should wear gauze face masks covering the nose and mouth with at least four thicknesses of the cloth. These should be changed at two-hour intervals and either burned or boiled for five minutes. …  All persons should wash their hands immediately before eating. Avoid all sneezing and coughing individuals. …  Refrain from eating at restaurants where dishes are either imperfectly sterilized or not sterilized at all. …  Ask for destructible cups and saucers, or be sure all dishes and spoons are sterilized by being boiled.”

The Intelligencer October 4, 1918 (page 5)

“Brave Soldier Mourned by Pals. The following letter was received by Mrs. G. Thibault, who resides at 18 Murney Street. The letter is in connection with the death of her husband, who was killed in action on August 28th: France, Sept. 18, 1918. Dear Mrs. Thibault: It is with the deepest regret and sympathy that I write to you of the death of your husband, Pte. G. H. Thibault, of this battalion, who was killed in action on August 28th. So far as I can discover he was killed instantly during the attack that morning, and one can only feel thankful that death came so quickly and that he was spared all suffering and pain. He is buried in Quebec Cemetery about one and a half miles in front of the village of Cherisy and about seven miles southeast of Arras.

His death has been a great blow to us all who knew him. …  I know it was always a pleasure to have him around Headquarters and after Mr. Wilson (whose batman he was) came to headquarters your husband was always with us too and I can assure you he is very deeply and sincerely mourned by us all. …

Your husband’s was a splendid life and he crowned it all with a heroic death and he has won his reward. We can only leave him there and look forward to that great day when we shall see him again in the land where there is no parting or pain. Again assuring you of my deep sympathy and praying that God may send you his comfort and strength in your grief. Yours faithfully, C. Stewart, Capt. Chaplain 24th Can. Batt. V.R.C.”

The Intelligencer October 4, 1918 (page 5)

“Say NO! ‘You might as well have it,’ whispers temptation, but your Canadian Patriotism says ‘No!’

Except for the bare necessities of life, we should not be spending five cents a day. For every expenditure we make on things not absolutely necessary directly affects the fighting strength of Canada and her allies. The materials that go into the making of things you can do without are needed for our soldiers overseas.

Resist indulgence, cultivate thrift—for thrift is an evidence of patriotism. And the money you save by thrift will be yours to lend to your country whenever the call comes.

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

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