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: Coal Shortage Not Ended, Women Voters, John Thomas Hutchinson Dies

The Intelligencer November 23, 1918 (page 6)

“Coal Shortage Has Not Ended. ‘The anthracite coal shortage has not ended with the near approach of peace, and an imperative need for conservation and economy still exists,’ declares Mr. E. L. Cousins, Associate Fuel Administrator for Ontario. ‘We must continue to exercise the utmost care in the use of hard coal if we are to avoid a repetition of the distressing conditions existing a year ago. The exceptionally mild weather of late eased to some extent a serious situation but decreased production at the mines due to the Flu’ and the peace celebrations has offset this, and the net position has not been improved to any marked extent.

Consumers throughout Ontario must reconcile themselves to a period of coal shortage , and it will be necessary for the domestic consumer to continue the use of substitutes, such as soft coal and the smaller sizes of anthracite, while the larger consumers must do likewise to the fullest possible extent. …  The Fuel Administration is taking a survey of the large users of coal in Ontario. …  The information now being gathered will really be a census of the boilers and furnaces and their types and styles in the Province and with such information available the Fuel Administration will be able to judge whether a consumer can burn soft coal in his heating apparatus.”

The Intelligencer November 23, 1918 (page 7)

“Women Voters. Women entitled to vote should see that their names are on the City Voters List. The time for appeals expires next week and no names can be added to the Voters List after that. Women, who are property owners, or who have a salary or income of $400 and are British subjects are entitled to vote and should visit the City Hall and see that their names are on the Voters List.”

The Intelligencer November 23, 1918 (page 7)

“Pte. Hutchinson Dead. Mrs. John Hutchinson, 11 Harriett Street, has received the following message from the Director of Records at Ottawa referring to her son: ‘Deeply regret to inform you that Pte. John Thomas Hutchinson, infantry, officially died of pneumonia, No. 4 Scottish General Hospital, Glasgow, November 18. On Thursday Mrs. Hutchinson received word that her son was seriously ill. Great sympathy is felt for her in the death of her soldier son.”

[Note: Private John Thomas Hutchinson died on November 18, 1918. He is commemorated on Page 434 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]


100 Years Ago: Ritchie Employees Celebrate Victory, Railway Men to Be Released, Rule Britannia, Miss Palen’s Inspiration, John Thomas Hutchinson Ill, Billie Riggs and Vernon Doolittle Honored, County Council Opened by Prayer

The Intelligencer November 22, 1918 (page 3)

“Ritchie Employees Celebrate Victory. Last evening the spacious Mantle Room of the Ritchie Store was a riot of color and merriment in honor of the great allied victories on land and sea. On this occasion the Ritchie staff and wives, were the guests of Mr. Reid, Managing Director of the firm and the event was taken full advantage of by all. Everyone was attired in masquerade apparel and the collection of costumes was varied and numerous—presenting a weird and fantastic appearance—that helped to make the evening the decided success it really was.

The costume judges were Mrs. (Dr.) Scott, Miss A. Reid, and Mrs. C. M. Reid and they ably handled the difficult problem in a very impartial manner bestowing the honor prizes on Mr. B. Gilchrist as ‘Dutchy’ and Miss Mabel Thompson as ‘Minnie Ha Ha.’

A short and delightful programme was carried through by members of the staff, consisting of solos, scotch dancing, orchestra selections, readings and choruses, etc.

Dr. Scott gave a short spicy address on timely topics that were of interest to all. Mr. Reid and Mr. W. B. Deacon spoke along patriotic lines and then the evening was given over to various kinds of enjoyment: dancing, carpet ball, cards, etc.

At eleven o’clock the merrymakers adjourned to the gaily decorated millinery parlors and partook of a dainty luncheon, after which Mr. Thompson and Mr. Bryant passed a hearty vote of thanks to Mr. Reid and the Refreshment Committee for their kindness and thoughtfulness on this occasion.

‘God Save the King’ brought the happy gathering to a close in the early hours of the morning.”

The Intelligencer November 22, 1918 (page 7)

“R’y. Men Released. All men who were railway employees when they were called up for volunteers for service, and are desirous of obtaining their discharges are to be released from service immediately.”

The Intelligencer November 22, 1918 (page 7)

“ ‘Rule Britannia.’ Not the least interesting feature of the gathering of the Victory Loan Campaign workers at the Hotel Quinte on Wednesday evening was the singing of ‘Rule Britannia’ by Mr. S. Burrows, who was in splendid voice and rendered this stirring patriotic song with great expression. The true Canadianism and strong Imperial sentiments of ‘Burrows of Belleville’ are never in doubt.”

The Intelligencer November 22, 1918 (page 7)

“Miss Palen’s Inspiration. Miss Helen B. Palen, one of the four Ontario women recently called to the bar, tells ‘Everywoman’s World’ of her inspiration and aspirations as follows: ‘I studied law because the profession offers exceptional possibilities for development of minds, sympathy and knowledge of human affairs. Also because it was practically a new departure for women and the experience had something of the appeal for adventure. I was articled to John B. Holden, of the firm of Holden & Grover, Toronto, and shall probably practise in Belleville.’

Miss Palen was born in Belleville, Ontario, and is the daughter of the late E. L. Palen, Esq., and Helen Blackley, the latter having been a first cousin of Helen B. Anderson, Consecon, their fathers, the late James Blackley of Stirling and Robert of Gilead, having been brothers.”

The Intelligencer November 22, 1918 (page 7)

“Seriously Ill. Mrs. J. Hutchinson, residing at 11 Harriett Street, is in receipt of the following telegram which arrived yesterday: ‘Sincerely regret to inform you that your son (412121) Pte. John Thomas Hutchinson, infantry, is officially reported seriously ill in No. 4 Scottish General Hospital, Glasgow, November 18th. No particulars given.’

Pte. Hutchinson enlisted with the 39th Battalion which went from Belleville on the 23rd of June 1915. Later he was transferred to the 14th Battalion and a little later to the Tunnelling Co. He was with this company for some time when he was again transferred to the Mortar Battery. He remained with this corps until a few months ago when he saw service with the 7th Canadian Battalion. Since leaving Canada Pte. Hutchinson has neither been wounded or sick except with a slight touch of tonsillitis. He was well known about Belleville as he has always lived here. His many friends will regret to learn of his illness.”

The Intelligencer November 22, 1918 (page 7)

“Singularly Honored. Two well-known Belleville boys, who have been overseas for some time doing their bit were recently singularly honored. They were privates ‘Billy’ Riggs and Vernon Doolittle and they were chosen to represent their depot battalion at the Lord Mayor’s show in London.”

The Intelligencer November 22, 1918 (page 7)

“Opened by Prayer. For the first time in Victoria County the regular session of the County Council, which opened on Tuesday, did so with the reading of the psalms and the rendering of prayer and thanks to God. After a word of thanks for great victory and peace, Warden Hawkins called on F. H. McIntosh of St. Andrew’s Church to read the 124th and 125th Psalms, after which Canon Marsh offered up a prayer, the members all joining in repeating the Lord’s prayer at the close.”

100 Years Ago: Hastings Victory Loan Workers Celebrate, Bull Dog in Celebration Dies, Delayed Patriotic Fund Payments, Appeal for Help

The Intelligencer November 21, 1918 (page 1)

“Hastings Victory Loan Workers Celebrate Glorious Victory. The glories of Hastings County participation in the Victory were told by the workers over the banquet table last evening at the Hotel Quinte when members of the organization which rolled up such a magnificent total of subscriptions related incidents grave and gay in the fight to reach and pass the high objectives set. The meeting was in charge of Mr. W. B. Deacon, chairman of the Victory Loan organization for Hastings last year and this year.

Mr. H. F. Ketcheson acted as Vice-Chairman, in his usual efficient and jolly manner. Mr. W. L. Doyle was Master of Ceremonies and director of entertainment features, consequently there was something doing every minute, and many rollicking songs of a patriotic nature were sung by the assembly between the courses. Prof. Hunt at the piano, and Mr. Sam Anglin, soloist, added greatly to the success of the evening with entertaining selections. The menu was worthy of the best traditions of the Hotel Quinte and was thoroughly enjoyed.

Mr. W. B. Deacon briefly sketched the campaign in Hastings County, the difficulties and discouragements, and the victories achieved. It was the banner county of Eastern Ontario for subscriptions. …  The city won an honor flag, and the county and every township did likewise while many crowns were won for exceptional records. The County Honor Flag would be presented to the County Council on December 4, and flung to the breeze over the Court House. As Chairman of the County Victory Loan organization he was proud of the workers and the results achieved.

Mr. W. B. Evans, the official organizer for Hastings County told of the preliminary steps taken to organize. …  The campaign in Hastings county opened under ominous clouds. There had been abnormal rains making country roads almost impassable, the Trenton explosion shook the investing spirit out of that pocket looked upon as a gold mine ordinarily, then came the flu, and many of the canvassers sick and the lookout blue all round. However, objective was raised and passed, more money was subscribed than last year as the result of hard and patient endeavor, with the northern districts on top. Mr. Evans paid a glowing tribute to the efficiency, optimism and pluck of the County Chairman, Mr. W. B. Deacon, who radiated confidence and good cheer and inspired the workers to greater and greater efforts. …

Mayor Platt said that he was proud of Billy Deacon, Mr. Evans and the entire noble band of workers who had accomplished the seeming impossibility. The Mayor spoke eloquently of the glorious record of Canada during the past four years and the necessity of putting our best efforts to the task of reconstruction where there were other great victories to win in the development along the best lines of our social life, economic life, political life, and national life. Dr. Platt suggested the erection of a monument to the memory of our fallen heroes. …

The aggressive energy of the Victory Loan workers convinced Mr. D. V. Sinclair that the same energy applied to the development of Belleville and district would work wonders. With the finest city and district in Ontario great things could be accomplished along progressive lines if united effort was exerted, high ideals set and the same energy displayed as had made such a striking success of the Victory Loan, said Mr. Sinclair. A true vision of things as they should be was needed and the determination to make the vision a reality. …

Major R. D. Ponton told of his experiences in canvassing the local aviation camps where $40,000 had been subscribed by the soldiers of the sky, most of it in small subscriptions on the installment plan, mortgaging their slender allowances to help Canada. The local aviation camps led all other camps in Canada of the R. A. F. in Victory Loan subscriptions.

As the evening was now well advanced it was thought advisable not to call upon any more speakers and the gathering dispersed after singing the National Anthem.”

The Intelligencer November 21, 1918 (page 7)

HC09386 - dog on car hood

CABHC: HC09386

“Dies of Injuries. On Monday, a valuable bull dog (the property of Dr. D. H. Ackerill, V.S., of this city, was run over by an auto at the corner of Front and Bridge Sts. and yesterday died as the result of injuries sustained. The dog with its owner marched proudly at the head of the celebration held in the city on the day the armistice was signed.”

The Intelligencer November 21, 1918 (page 7)

“Delayed Payments, A correspondent of The Intelligencer asks why Patriotic Fund checks are being received later than usual. Formerly, says the correspondent, the checks were ready for distribution not later than the twelfth of each month but for the past two or three months the checks were paid out about the 20th. Inquiry made by The Intelligencer elicited the fact that patriotic fund checks have been delayed at Ottawa on account of illness among the staff on account of the epidemic.”

The Intelligencer November 21, 1918 (page 7)

“An Appeal for Help! Father seriously ill in the hospital, mother and eight children at home recovering from the effects of the influenza, the oldest child only fifteen years of age—such is the condition of a family in Belleville as reported to The Intelligencer. An allowance of two dollars per week for groceries was given by a local organization toward the support of the family but we understand even this has been discontinued.

It is only necessary to bring these facts to the attention of the good citizens of Belleville to awaken active sympathy and practical assistance and The Intelligencer will be pleased to accept subscriptions for this purpose and see that the money is placed in good hands for the benefit of the family in distress.”

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