19 December 2011

2011 Volunteers

It was great to see so many people at our Christmas celebration (hosted by Volunteer Extra-Ordinaire Lois Foster) held on December 19th to honour the many people who volunteer their time and talents for Society.

Standing left to right: Bruce Bedell , Vera Morton., Sharon White , Bill Kennedy, Mary Jane Throop, Anne Rector, Lindi Pierce, Hazel Lloyst, John Lowry, Katharine Mills, Laurel Bishop, Marilyn Hughes, Adele Dibben, Mary-Lynne Morgan, Bill Hunt, Kay Manderville, Lorna Garbutt, Doug Wilson, Mary Wilson, Sylvia French, Kieran Delaney, Orland French, George Pearce, Bobby-Jo Morris, Jeanne Delaney, Gerry Boyce, Richard Hughes, Al Cleary, Annis Ross, Ruth Boyce.
Seated at front Lois Foster, Donna Fano, Elizabeth Mitchell, Beth Green, Erin Ryan, Breanna Brethour.
Not in the picture: Nick White (taking picture) and volunteers not able to attend Diane Sule, Marney Black and Michael Shaw

11 November 2011


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, May 1915

31 October 2011

Angel Cake

Orland French brought a cake to the Hastings Heritage Centre to recognise and thank the Archive Angel volunteers for their help in making the Society's 2011 Annual Banquet a success.

In the picture below, starting on the left and proceeding clockwise around the table: Elizabeth Mitchell, Katharine Mills, Lorna Garbutt, Donna Fano, Orland French, Mary Jane Throop, Erin Ryan, Marilyn Hughes, Jeanne Delaney, Kieran Delaney and Laurel Bishop (back of head only); Archivist Sharon White is standing on the left, and on the right are Dick Hughes, Adele Dibben, Bill Kennedy, Lois Foster, .

Photos by Nick White

29 October 2011

Annual Banquet

The Society’s 2011 annual banquet was a sold-out success!  Keynote speaker Senator Mike Duffy gave a boost to the archives campaign and entertained us with his own unwritten stories about politics and Prime Ministers from Sir Mackenzie Bowell to Jean Chr├ętien.
The political dignitaries of Hastings County were well represented.

City of Belleville Councillor Garnet Thompson, County of Hastings Warden Jo-Anne Albert, and Quinte West Councillor Ron Hamilton all brought greetings from their respective municipalities.

Other dignitaries attended, including Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith and MP Daryl Kramp.
The exhibit of posters featuring Hasting County's political history and the design drawings of the proposed new community archives attracted considerable interest, but the main draw was the stories and anecdotes from Senator Duffy's long career as a political reporter and broadcaster.
Senator Mike Duffy with the man he calls his mentor – Peter C. Newman, Companion of the Order of Canada and Honorary Chair of the Society's Capital Campaign Committee.

In his talk Senator Duffy encouraged the community to rally behind the Society's push to create an archives where people can learn more about local history and access the wealth of information that is their heritage.

For the article in the Belleville Intelligencer click on this link. Opens in a new window.

For additional pictures of the event click on this album link. Album opens in a new window.

Story and pictures Nick and Sharon White

18 October 2011

175 Years of Policing in Belleville

Uniforms from around 1900
To an audience of over seventy members, guests and visitors, John Lowry (assisted by Staff-Sgt. Tony MacKinnon) gave an overview of the history of policing in Belleville and the work that is now being undertaken to preserve that history for future generations

He recounted how Belleville’s police service was officially established in 1836 with the appointment of Henry Avrill as high constable and Hiram Fulford as bailiff. The village had at that time a population of about one thousand souls and encompassed an area of just over six hundred acres at the mouth of the Moira River.
Its early beginnings make Belleville's police force one of the oldest police services in Canada, pre-dating the Kingston Police (founded 1843), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (founded in 1873) and the Ontario Provincial Police (1909).

Belleville moved from village status to that of a town in 1850 and to a city in 1878. By this time the city Police Department had expanded to six members headed by Hugh McKinnon. The population had grown to nearly ten thousand people living in an area covering 1,760 acres.

A little over a half century later during World War II the force consisted of ten members. In 2010 there were 132 members of the police force.

A more complete history of the Police force can be read in the November issue of the Society's newsletter Outlook

A copy of that edition can be viewed by clicking this link.  

The link will open in a new window.

John Lowry and Staff-Sgt. Tony MacKinnon display equipment once used by Belleville's Police Force
Pictures Nick White, story based on Outlook article


26 September 2011

No Tweeters Here!

Thank you to everyone who filled in the questionnaire on Internet use that was handed out at the Society's September meeting.  The answers you gave us are helpful in understanding how the Society’s website is used by our members.

Use of Internet by people filling in the survey
Why the questionnaire?  Well we know a lot about our website visitors, how many there are, where they are logged in, how they get to the website and what type of machine they are using.

Based on those people at the meeting who filled in a questionnaire, it seems reasonable to expect almost three-quarters of our members to be regular internet users. That is lower than the Canadian average but the average age of a Society member is probably higher than the Canadian average.  

Not counting non-members who didn't know the Society had a website and people who said they never used the Internet it seems that other members do use the Society's site. The three most mentioned features are shown in the following chart.  People said they used a lot of different Internet tools but nobody admitted to “tweeting”.

Reported Use of the Society's Web Site
Some general statistics - discounting, bots, crawlers, worms and their ilk we currently have about 6,000 “hits” a month. In August 2011 that translated into 329 "different people" (based on IP addresses) visiting the website. And they must find something interesting because many of those people returned.  In August we averaged 1.7 visits per visitor and they looked at an average of 5.7 pages on each visit.

The current website was published in December 2010 and is kept up to date (usually) on a monthly basis. Based on the feedback in the questionnaire we may re-arrange the site to make popular pages easier to find, but, to keep those visitors interested in the history of Hastings County and the Society we need (like any other publication) have fresh interesting material to publish.

Contributions and Ideas are Always Welcome!

19 September 2011

Ontario Volunteer Service Awards

Ruth Boyce receives her five-year 
pin from Richard Hughes

Luella Parkhurst receives her ten-year
 pin from Richard Hughes
Volunteers have been a very important part of the Hastings Heritage Centre's operations since it opened.

Pictured here Ruth Boyce and Luella Parkhurst being awarded their five and ten year pins respectively by the Society's acting President Richard Hughes.

In June this year service award pins were presented to Hastings Heritage Centre volunteers Bobbi Jo Morris (five years), Bill Kennedy (five years, and Katharine Mills (ten years) at the Ontario Volunteer Service Awards ceremony held on the 3rd of May at the Banquet Centre in Belleville.

08 July 2011

A Country without a History is a Country without a Soul

The Society's and Belleville's Town Crier, Bruce Bedell
opened the event with a fine Cry
“A country without a history is a country without a soul”

Founding member of the Society
Lee Jourard was the MC for the ceremony.
He noted the Trillium grant was
"another step towards reality"

for the archives project.
I attended an event today which was opened by a town crier. It’s not often that we get a chance to do that these days; it hearkens back to days lost to history. But this town crier is quite real and quite NOW - Bruce Bedell opens many history-making events in Belleville. And today’s event certainly made history.

Today, at the future home of the Community Archives, the Society accepted a plaque commemorating a $34,500 grant from the Trillium Foundation towards the cost of shelving in the new Community Archives.

A goodly number of folks attended. There was pride and excitement in the room as momentum is clearly building in the the campaign to bring the Community Archives home to the new building on Church Street.

Noting that Trillium receives its money from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission, Honorary fund raising chairman Peter C. Newman hit the nail on the head. He said “buy tickets”. It’s that simple - our governments are showing their commitment and the citizens of Hastings and Belleville need to show the same in raising the remaining money for the campaign.
Lou Grinaldi, MPP for
Northumberland-Quinte West
Sometimes speeches can be dull. Today was really an exception as political representatives from the City, County and Province shared their own personal reasons for investing in archives and offered complimentary and encouraging words to the volunteers who have worked so hard to get this far.

Hon. Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of  
Education, MPP for Prince Edward-Hastings
MPP Lou Rinaldi reminded folks that qualifying for a Trillium grant is a vote of confidence in the importance and viability of the project and talked about his personal commitment to preserving our history for our children and grandchildren.

MPP and Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky spoke of the need to “preserve the stories of who we are” and the importance of  archives "even for those who think they don't need it."  She shared tales of her family's long history in Tweed and Hastings County. Inspiring. The archives are all about honouring our ancestors and our past.

People like Orland French had a vision for this new home for the archives. The Society's Board of Directors has done amazing work. Archivist Sharon is providing outstanding leadership. HCHS volunteer labour is legendary, and it continues. Work has been painstaking, but progress is being made every day. The Unlock the Archives campaign is succeeding. The downtown storefront is engaging the public. A substantial amount of money has been raised, but more is needed.
From left to right, Lou Rinaldi, Richard Hughes, Hon. Leona Dombrowsky and Bonnie Pelletier 
(of the Trillium Foundation) with the commemorative paque.
Rick Phillips, Reeve of Tyendinaga Township, representing the County of Hastings, and Councillors Pat Culhane and Garnet Thompson, representing the City of Belleville, were also there to express the continued support of the other partners in the Community Archives.
Strong supporters of Canadian Heritage - Minister Dombrowsky, Reeve Phillips, Councillors Thompson and Culhane pose with Peter C. Newman at the end of the ceremony.
A story about the event in the Belleville Intelligencer may be viewed here.

More pictures taken at the event may be viewed in this album.

Story Lindi Pierce, pictures Nick White

01 July 2011

Canada Day 2011

The Set Up Crew
Dick & Marilyn Hughes, Susie Boyce, Bev Boyce, Bobby-Jo Morris,
Mary Jane Throop, Barb Throop, Sharon White (archivist), Bill Kennedy,
Gerry Boyce, Stanley Jones and Lindi Pierce of Heritage Belleville
The Hastings County Historical Society had no shortage of volunteers to man its displays at the Canada Day festivities July 1st. The gang shown on the right pitched in to help make Canada's 144th birthday at Zwicks' Park a big success. The Society has been a participant in Belleville's Canada Day celebrations since the current Canada Day Committee was set up in 2005.

The Society combined its activities with Heritage Belleville and Glanmore National Historic Site to provide visitors with information about Belleville and Hastings County. 
Crying in the Morning Crew
From left to right - Bev Boyce, Bobby-Jo Morris, Barb & Mary Jane Throop, Gerry Boyce, Dick & Marilyn Hughes, Sharon White, John Lowry, Elizabeth Mitchell, Orland & Sylvia French, Bill Kennedy and Bruce Bedel
Not in picture Adele Dibben, Donna Fanno, Marney Black, Katherine Mills, George Pearce, Diane Sule, Mike Shaw (afternoon crew) and Nick White (taking picture)
In addition to historic photographs of the city and surrounding area there were checkers games, history type jigsaw puzzles composed of historic sites, a display of architectural drawings of the proposed Community Archives renovation and the annual Scavenger Hunt.This year there were exactly 200 entries in the  Scavenger Hunt which is comprised of ten historical questions stapled to posts throughout the Canada Day venue. Contestants need to answer all ten questions and deposit their answers in a ballot box with some very nice prizes going to the winners.

A more complete set of pictures of the event (including the huge queue for Daryl Kramp's free hot dogs) can be seen here.

30 June 2011

A New Sign in Belleville

To the sounds of the Town Crier, and short speeches by the Mayor of the City of Belleville, Neil Ellis, the Warden of Hastings County, Jo-Anne Albert and the president of Hastings County Historical Society, Orland French the official sign identifying the sity for the new Community Archives was unveiled on Thursday the 30th of June 2011.

Click on the pictures to see a larger version.

An article in the Belleville Intelligencer by Luke Hendry can be viewed at this link

Other pictures taken at the event may be viewed on this album

After the unveiling, drawings of the proposed renovation were on display inside the building.

21 June 2011

Strawberries and a Virtual Tour and a Fund Raising project

A quick quality check
before the start
There was a very special flavour to the Hastings County Historical Society's June 2011 general meeting attended by nearly fifty people, namely strawberry!

Strawberries and and ice cream were served prior to presentations by Hazel Loyst on the progress of the Capital Campaign fund raising and by architect Ray Zaback on the renovations being made at the new location for the Community Archives on Church Street.

John Lowery, Mary Jane Throop and Hazel Loyst

The million dollar Capital Campaign includes bronze, silver and gold levels for contributions, a total of approximately $650,000 having been funded at this time. Ray's presentation was a virtual computer tour shown on the big screen of the way the building will look when renovations are complete.

The fresh strawberries were donated by Shelter Valley Farms and the ice cream was provided at a discount by Reid's Dairy. As can been seen in the two photographs below they made for a deliciously enjoyable evening! There were seconds and even thirds for everybody.
Pictured posing with strawberries, left to right, Orland French, Mike Shaw, Gerry Boyce (getting a refill), Bruce Bedell, John Lowry (serving), Laurel Bishop, Elizabeth Mitchell, Sylvia French, Marilyn Hughes and Dianne Sule

Sharon White
outlined the elements
that go into an archives
Sharon White (archivist for the CIty of Belleville, County of Hastings and the Society) outlined the various features that have to be considered in designing an Archives building.

Building project architect Ray Zaback (of Shoalts & Zaback Architects) took people through a virtual tour of the proposed design.
And Ray Zaback took the audience for
a virtual tour of the proposed design

Listening and asking questions

10 June 2011

From Pearl Harbour to Hudson's Bay to the Belleville Club

Lee Jourade
One of the founding members of the Hastings County Historical Society, Lee Jourard, was the Master of Ceremonies at an eclectic evening.

Starting with traditional Anglo-Celtic and Mohawk music the evening progressed with the theme of respecting and preserving our heritage and of course...

...the Society's campaign to raise funds to renovate and equip the new Community Archives.

Traditional Anglo-Celtic

Traditional Mohawk

Then, as the Master Crier of the Society loudly cried, proceeded to:

"Peter C. Newman Esquire: Companion of the Order of  Canada!

Discussing Canada from Cabot to Ignatief, with stops for:

The Company of Adventurers trading into Hudson’s Bay!

A Renegade in Power also known as John George Diefenbaker; 

And his current research of the United Empire Loyalists, who have given us Captain John Walden Meyers U.E. who built a dam on the Moira River making Belleville for over 200 years; the friendliest City by a dam site"

Stories and anecdotes spanned the globe

As the author of 24 books and Honorary Chair of the Fund Raising campaign , Peter C. Newman spoke of the importance to preserving the documents that will become tomorrow's history before digressing into many fascinating anecdotes of Canadian history.  At more complete story will appear in the September edition of the Society's newsletter Outlook.

A selection of photographs taken at the event can be viewed on the album here.

There is also a story by James Hurst about the event in the Wellington Times

Pictures and story by Nick White 

28 May 2011

HCHS Launches "Unlock the Archives" Capital Campaign

To the ringing tones of the Society's (and Belleville's) town crier the Society launched its "Unlock the Archives" fund-raising drive at its campaign headquarters located at 208 Front Street in Belleville.  Over seventy members, guests and officials were present to hear about the progress and remaining steps required to refurbish and equip the new community archives on Church Street in Belleville.

The Community Archives is a joint project between the County of Hastings, the City of Belleville and the Hastings County Historical Society.  In addition to the Society's collection of pictures, negatives, deeds, letters and other documents (dating back to the early 1800's) the archives will house important collections from the County and City.

In the years since the Society's founding  in 1957, the need for a permanent home for the collected material has grown with the size of the Society's collection which is now believed to include over 10,000 documents, 50,000 pictures and a million photographic negatives.

The Honoury Chair of the fund-raising campaign, the well known author Peter C. Newman, spoke of the importance of archival records in preserving Canada's history for future generations. He congratulated the three parties on their progress in hiring an archivist and securing a building for the collections.

Peter presented symbolic "Unlock the Archives" keys to partners from each of the three organizations and officially launched the campaign to refurbish and equip the Church Street building.

A section of pictures taken at the event may be viewed here.

More information about the capital campaign can be viewed here.

Peter will also be hosting an "evening with Peter C. Newman" at the Belleville Club on Thursday the 9th of June.  Tickets to the event (which starts at 7:30) are available at a cost of $50 from Greenley's Bookstore.

Luke Hendry from the Belleville Intelligencer takes a shot of (from left to right) Neil Ellis (representing the City of Belleville), Peter C. Newman, Orland French (representing the Society) and Rick Phillips (representing the County of Hastings) posing with their keys. Luke's article in the Belleville Intelligencer may be seen here.

An article written by Jennifer Bowman from Loyalist College and published in the Qnetnews can be viewed here.

07 May 2011

HCHS Bus Tour Goes to Northumberland County

Story courtesy of Jack Evans, pictures by Jack Evans and Elizabeth Mitchell.

 Susanna Moodie has been dead for more than 100 years, but she still did her bit Saturday for the Hastings County Historical Society’s fund drive toward the new archives project.

The well-known pioneer era writer and her sister, Catherine Parr Trail, another writer, and the years they spent in Northumberland County were the focal point of a day-long bus tour Saturday arranged by the historical society.  The tour drew several dozen society members plus other fans of the Strickland sisters (their maiden name) including some from as far as Toronto.
Belleville author William C. Hunt played a key role in arranging the tour as a fund raising event for the society’s share of the joint Belleville-Hastings County archives project. That included arranging for a specialist guide, Peter Brotherhood of Cobourg, an expert on Cobourg and area history and especially the Strickland sisters.

With a naturally sheltered cove and a lengthy dock built by community effort, Cobourg had become a major port on Lake Ontario in the early 1800s It was here where Susanna Moodie and Catherine Parr Trail landed, following grueling sea voyages of several weeks from their native England in 1833.

As the tour rolled around routes and sites the two women and their husbands would have seen in their day, Brotherhood explained how the two came from a large, genteel family from rural England who sought new wealth as their established family fortunes failed. Thus, from lives of comfort and culture, they entered a new world fraught with hardship, harsh climate, drudgery and isolation.
Susanna, for instance, amused her scornful neighbours when she confessed to being terrified of cattle, even though she was expected to milk them.

In historic St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Cobourg, Brotherhood reviewed the historic setting. The church’s first minister was an Archdeacon Bethune, a player in the notorious “Family Compact” which in essence ran the province in the early 1800s and sparked the William Lyon MacKenzie rebellion in 1837. (And yes, the famous Canadian medical missionary in China, Dr. Norman Bethune, was a great grandson.)
The next stop was the modern concrete dock in Cobourg harbour, which replaced the original wooden dock. The popular sandy beach and the rising hills to the north would have looked the same to the Strickland sisters, said the guide.

Hunt, an expert on the early 20th century rum running years, contributed a talk about hugely successful Cobourg-based rum runners, the Staub brothers and others. The senior Staub used a large, powerful yacht with steel plating and mounting a 50 calibre machine gun, bigger than anything the Coastguard had, he said.

Brotherhood then took the bus along the route Moodie family would have followed on present day McClelland Road, called “Melsetter.” The original owner retained use of the existing house and put the Moodie family in what Susanna described as “more of a stable for cows or pigs.”

A lunch break at the Cobourg Legion Hall was followed by a return to surrounding Hamilton Township and places where Catherine lived including an unusual eight-sided, multi-storey building called “Wolf Tower,” long gone) also the area of a large ice-age boulder and a later Trail home, Mount Ararat overlooking the shores of Rice Lake, where Trail became deeply interested in the unusual variety and types of native wild flowers, and went on to write a book about them.
With selected readings plus volumes of historic information along the way, the tour ended with a stop at the Rice Lake shoreline at Harwood, the site of a washed-out bridge which once carried rail traffic between Cobourg and Peterborough.to view the landscape, it was easy to visualize the homes and people they knew.
A final stop was Railway Point in Harwood, where the Cobourg-Peterborough Railroad crossed Rice Lake. Today the only indication of the past is the small rocky spit of land which was the beginning of the railroad causeway.