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.

Archives News

A New Home for Deseronto’s Archives

Archives room in Deseronto Public Library Today the Deseronto Archives transferred 100 boxes of material from its former location in Deseronto Public Library to the Community Archives here in Belleville. The Community Archives [...]

Discover ‘Discover’!

Now you can explore the holdings of the Community Archives from home, if you have access to the internet. We are beginning to share descriptions of the materials we hold through a new service, which [...]

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: Santa Claus Fund for Children’s Shelter, Sergeant Harris Returns Home, Thomas Yateman Buried in Belleville, A Happy Christmas to Readers

The Intelligencer December 24, 1917 (page 1)

“Santa Claus Fund Children’s Shelter. Help the Kiddies to Have a Happy Christmas by Contributing to the Children’s Shelter Fund—A Worthy Object Blessed by the Christmas Spirit.

Dear Reader,—The children and staff will be delighted to welcome you tomorrow (Christmas Day) from 3 to 6 p.m. Father Christmas will visit the Shelter at 3.30 by special arrangement. Come and see old Santa distribute the good things to the children. The children and staff join in wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a prosperous new year. May the King of Peace reign in all your hearts. Yours sincerely, Thos. D. Ruston.”

The Intelligencer December 24, 1917 (page 2)

“Sergeant Harris Returned Home. There was great joy at an early hour on Sunday morning at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Harris, 152 James street, when their only son, Sergeant Albert E. Harris, walked in, having just arrived home from England. When the war broke out the young man enlisted and went overseas with the 34th Battery, being a bombardier.

He was instructor for some time at Shorncliffe, but he spent 26 months in France and on the 10th of May last was severely wounded in the right knee. Since that time he has been in a hospital. Sergt. Harris merited promotion but his modesty thus far has prevented public recognition of his gallant deeds.

Albert even today bears upon his face evidences of the injuries he received from a bursting shell—upon his forehead, nose, lip and eyelids are embedded pieces of shrapnel. After remaining home for a few days he will report at the convalescent hospital at Kingston. His many friends in Belleville will extend him a hearty welcome home.”

The Intelligencer December 24, 1917 (page 2)

“Died from Wounds. Buried in Belleville. That the late Private Thomas Yateman, of this city, had many friends here was evidenced on Saturday afternoon when his remains were laid at rest in Belleville cemetery. A large concourse of citizens followed the remains to their last resting place and members of the War Veterans in uniform and civilian clothes were present in large numbers.

From the family residence, Mill street, the cortege proceeded to Christ Church, where the impressive burial service of the Anglican Church was conducted by the Rector, Rev. Dr. Blagrave, who also officiated at the interment. The ‘Last Post’ was sounded at the grave. The floral tributes were many and beautiful in design. The bearers were returned soldier heroes, namely, Sergt. Reynard, Sergt. Tett, Sergt.-Major Spafford, Corp. Stiles, Bomb. Blaylock, Driver Saunders and Gunner Newton.”

The Intelligencer December 24, 1917 (page 4)

“A Happy Christmas to Our Readers. The Intelligencer wishes every one of its many readers a very happy Christmas, and may the homes where the blighting hand of war has left its mark in empty chairs and sorrowful memories of cross-marked mounds in distant lands be blessed with the consolation of the Man of Sorrows who was also acquainted with grief, but Whose touch always brings healing to the world’s sorrows. May the dawn of peace bless the world before another Christmas season comes around. …  Let us all seek that true happiness in the Christ spirit of making others happy, and may the Christmas spirit warm every home with the blessings of unselfishness and service.”

100 Years Ago: Funeral Notice by Great War Veterans’ Association, Letter of Thanks for Christmas Box, Exhibition of Sports by Men from Convalescent Homes

The Intelligencer December 21, 1917 (page 2)

“Funeral Notice. Great War Veterans’ Association are requested to meet at their Club rooms 157 Front Street at 3 o’clock on Saturday afternoon to attend funeral of our late comrade Thomas Yateman. All men requested to attend in uniform.”

The Intelligencer December 21, 1917 (page 7)

“Soldiers Appreciate Christmas Boxes. The following letter from one of the boys at the front is an evidence of how parcels are appreciated. France, Nov. 21, 1917. Mrs. K. M. Leach, Belleville.

Dear Madam and Friend:—I am greatly pleased to acknowledge receipt of the most excellent ‘Xmas box, arrived to-day (my birthday), and I wish, through you, to thank very heartily the women of the Red Cross & Patriotic Association for the dandy parcel, and also the excellent work they are doing for the comfort and general benefit of ‘Boys in France.’

Your parcel is in the very best condition and came at a most opportune time, as we have just returned from a very rough trip in Belgium, and the luxuries contained in your box were just the proper thing to cheer a fellow up and make the old world look brighter.

Again thanking the W. R. C. & P. Association for their kindness on my behalf, and wishing them a very Merry Xmas and every success in the New Year, I am

Very gratefully yours, Homer E. Leavitt.”

The Intelligencer December 21, 1917 (page 9)

“Wonderful Results of Treatment at Hart House Shown at Sports. Toronto. The necessity of the gymnasium in the rehabilitation of the men who, through their services overseas, have been crippled or paralyzed was plainly evidenced at an exhibition of sports in the Hart House at the University yesterday afternoon.

Men from all the different convalescent homes throughout the city took part, and keen enjoyment was evinced in the different exercises. The program lasted from two o’clock until four o’clock, and included in it were walking races, indoor baseball, volley ball, tug-of-war, badminton match and various other exercises.

There were also tests showing how the various exercises the men were put through in the gymnasiums tended to make the diseased or artificial parts once more useful. …  The desire is to have a gymnasium at all of the convalescent hospitals.”

100 Years Ago: Wounded Canadians Dock at New York, Dancing with Aviators

The Intelligencer December 20, 1917 (page 1)

“Wounded Canadians Arrive at New York. The first ship to put in at an American port, carrying as its cargo human war wreckage—the wounded and maimed from the battlefields in France—arrived here today. It was a British liner with more than 2,000 Canadians aboard.

Under normal conditions the ship would have gone direct to Halifax. Owing to the explosion which partially wrecked that city the convalescent wounded were taken off here, and will be sent to Canada as rapidly as possible.

Canadian officers and their staffs are here to care for the wounded. Arrangements have been made for special docking privileges for the men, which will bring the wounded men as close to transportation centres as possible so that they can readily be moved in ambulances to Dominion-bound trains.

Scenes new to America, despite the fact that she has been in the war since April, were presented as the British ship moved slowly up the bay today. Men with heads bandaged and swathed in yards of gauze, men with their arms strapped tightly to their bodies, or hobbling on crutches, were to be seen lining the rails. These were the most lightly wounded soldiers. More serious cases were below decks. It was to care for them that ambulances were summoned from hospitals, and automobiles were sent hurrying toward the waterfront. …

The British Red Cross flag flew from the mast of the liner, as she brought her touch of war closer to America. In her war paint, a dizzy mixture of lines and colors, the liner made her way through warships now in the harbor and proceeded toward her pier, after being quickly passed by officials of the port.”

The Intelligencer December 20, 1917 (page 2)

“Dancing with the Aviators. Flight Cadets of Mohawk Camp Gave Most Enjoyable Assembly, Last Evening.

And the night shall be full of music, / And the cares which infest the day / Shall fold their tents like the Arab / And as silently steal away.

The above lines are but faintly typical of the glorious evening of unalloyed pleasure enjoyed by many of the fairest daughters of Belleville and other nearby places at Mohawk Camp last evening, where they were the guests of the young aviators in training at an assembly which will long be remembered as the brightest and most successful social event which ever took place in this vicinity.

Upon arrival at the camp the guests were escorted to an assembly hall decorated with flags and many Christmas emblems. Here a concert was given showing the ability and talent that can be produced and so successfully carried out among such a happy group of young manhood, khaki clad. Many encores were generously responded to and while the programme was not of a lengthy nature, it was most gratefully appreciated.

Dancing then took place in the lounging and study quarters of the cadets. …  The quarters were turned into a perfect ball room most elaborately decorated with evergreens and flags, giving it the spirit of Christmas cheer.

Moshers Orchestra, of Toronto, in an alcove banked by evergreens, furnished the music, and were most liberal with encores. At intermission luncheon was served on the buffet plan most generously to all by Morrisons, caterers, of Toronto, and excellent is not the appropriate word for the ‘eats.’

The programme was then fulfilled and finished with God Save the King, and the Merry Happy Weary crowd tripped to the Mohawk Camp Depot to catch their trains both East and West homeward bound.”

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