23 December 2013

Holiday Cheer

The Archives Volunteers celebrated their accomplishments in 2013 at a year-end get-together that provided a welcome opportunity for socializing, nibbling on holiday treats, and general merrymaking. Most of the volunteers from the Archives and the Historical Society Board of Directors attended, with a few other honoured guests and partners.

Many thanks to all who contributed their time and talents to the work of the Archives in 2013: Laurel Bishop, Marney Black, Gerry Boyce, Breanna Brethour, Ann Butryn, Al Cleary, Jeanne Delaney, Kieran Delaney, Adele Dibben, Donna Fano, Lois Foster, Lorna Garbutt, Sarah Herren, Richard Hughes, Janet Johnston, Matthew Lutz, Renée McWilliam, Katharine Mills, Elizabeth Mitchell, Bobby-Jo Morris, Annis Ross, Erin Ryan, Diane Sule, Mary Jane Throop, and Nick White.

Special thanks to Lois Foster for hosting our year-end celebrations, to the Historical Society Board of Directors (always supportive and helpful), and to the many others who have assisted with special projects, including Rick Garbutt, George Pearce, Lindi Pierce, Peter Ross, and Barb Throop.  It is a pleasure to work with you all!

Sharon White

26 October 2013

Coming Event

Saturday October 26, 2103


Travelodge Hotel Ballroom


Annual Banquet & Celebration of Local History


Our Guest Speaker: 

The Hon. Sheila M. Copps, PC, OC


" We Are Nobody's Babies" 

15 October 2013

HCHS Presentation October 15, 2013

Add caption


Coming Event

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Quinte Living Centre Auditorium


Bill Kennedy - Historical Society Director / Researcher


Men and Women of Hastings County Who Served in WWI



17 September 2013

HCHS Presentation September 17, 2013,

Coming Event

Tuesday September 17, 2013

Quinte Living Centre

Heather Hawthorne - Ontario Ministry of the Environment

Deloro Mine Site: Its Fascinating History & Heritage

24 August 2013

Queen of the Furrow - Hastings County Plowing Match & Farm Show

Pictured left is Rebecca Haan, the 2013 Queen of the Furrow, with three of the six new display panels made for the 2013 Hastings County Plowing Match and Farm Show.

All six of the new panels on the theme of Agricultural History in Hastings County, were researched and prepared by Community Archives / Historical Society volunteers.

The new panels can be seen in more detail at at this link.

In addition to the new panels, the exhibit featured a slide show of the 1986 International Plowing Match and a display of local history books, a number of which were for sale.  A (currently being updated) list of books and other publications on the history of Hastings County available for purchase can be found at this link.


As well as the other exhibitors, there were a couple of interesting pieces of transportation; a three wheel potty-on-the-go from Shannonville (left) and a popular paint your own slogan on a car (pictured below).


It was great to see everyone there.  A big thanks to Hastings County for the space in their tent and to everyone who dropped by to say hello and/or see the exhibits.

Photos by Bobby-Jo Morris, Lorna Garbutt and Donna Fano,

18 August 2013

Walking Around Belleville's Coleman Ward

David Bentley with HCHS president John Anderson examining the
 City of Belleville  General Leger No. 8. in this 1988 picture.
Source: Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County
Intelligencer Negative fonds
David Bentley, a long-time active member of the Society is also known for his work with the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario including the walking tours he organizes in the Quinte region.

The walk on Sunday the 19th of August focused on the Coleman Ward of Belleville- its architecture and its place in the history of Belleville's development.

The following pictures and words were supplied by David.

The Settling of Hastings

The first Loyalist refugees came to the front of Hastings County in 1784. Two of the first settlers were the families of Captain George Singleton and Lieutenant Isaac Ferguson who set up a trading post on the river the native people called "Sagonaska". For a brief period of time the area was known as "Singleton’s Creek". Both men died in the spring of 1790. By 1800 other notable Loyalist were in this area - John Taylor, James Mc Nabb, John Simpson and his wife, Margaret, and Asa Yeomans. The village did not extend further north than Dundas Street. Beyond were scattered farms and woods. The land we are now standing on originally belonged to the settler, John Taylor, who sold it to John Meyers.

John Meyers (1745 - 1821)

Captain John Meyers was a United Empire Loyalist who came to Upper Canada after the American Revolution. By 1806 the settlement at he mouth of the river was known as "Meyer’s Creek" even though it was situated some distance from Captain Meyer’s mill and dam. Meyers originally hoped to locate a mill close to the mouth of the river and had endeavoured to lease the land from the native people for an annual payment of "a gallon of rum and fifty weight of flour". Unfortunately, the government would not recognize this lease, so Captain Meyers was forced to purchase the north half of Lot 5 from John Taylor. On this land he erected his mills. which are now gone. The land is now the Lion’s Park on Station Street. In addition to a grist mill, Captain Meyers operated a sawmill, fulling mill, distillery, a fur trading enterprise, a nearby inn. To transport his lumber and merchandise Captain Meyers had several sailing vessels. He built the first brick house in the area on the hill over looking his businesses below.


Between 1806 and 1850 the village started to expand. By 1816 there were many buildings on Lot 4, which belonged to the native people, so the government purchased the land (428 acres) and ordered it surveyed. A road from Captain Meyer’s mills to the bay became a guideline for Front Street (Belleville’s downtown main street). In the same year, the name of the village was changed from Meyer’s Creek to Belleville in honour of Lady Arabella Gore, wife of the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada. Lord and Lady Gore had passed through the settlement in the spring of 1816 and the villagers had been very impressed with the charming lady.In 1836 Belleville became an independent municipality (separate from the Township of Thurlow) and was incorporated into a "police village". It was governed by a Council or Board of Police with Billa Flint elected as the first President of the Board. The first courthouse was built on the brow of the "east hill" in 1838. On January 1st, 1850, the village was incorporated by the Baldwin Act into a town. The town was divided into four wards: the Sampson Ward, the Ketcheson Ward, the Baldwin Ward, and the Coleman Ward.

The Coleman Ward

The Coleman Ward was named after Thomas Coleman who owned a saw mill and grist mill on the Moira River near the corner of present day Coleman and West Moira Streets. Coleman’s mills burned in 1884 but were rebuilt by R.B. Cooper, who had purchased the mills five years previous. The Coleman Ward was to comprise "all the land of the town which lies on the west side of the Moira River".In 1874, by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario issued in pursuance of petition by the Town Council of Belleville, the limits of the town were expanded. Three new wards were added; the Bleecker Ward, the Murney Ward, and the Foster Ward. The wording of the Coleman Ward boundaries was changed to add "North of Moira Street".

03 August 2013

Celebrating 100 Years of Marmora Town Hall

The Community Archives and Historical Society prepared an exhibit for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Marmora Town Hall held on the 3rd of August.

The handsome building (pictured to the right) was rescued from being a derelict and renovated in 1913.  It still retains the features of that time, including extensive pressed tin tiles on the walls and ceiling.  And they’re planning for the future: the tile roof, new in 2008, has a 100-year life expectancy!

Warden Rick Phillips (pictured left with Reeve Terry Clements) was there to present congratulations and a commemorative plaque from Hastings County and enjoy the exhibits, lunch and of course, the cake.

The exhibits of Marmora’s history assembled by Marmora civic staff were fascinating, as were the drawings by school children of how they imagined the village to be 100 years ago and 100 years in the future.

But the show stoppers were (1) a video shot in the 1920s showing the village and including parades and a re-enactment of the fire that burnt St. Agnes Church; and (2) entertainment by Marmora resident John Davidson. 

Admitting to be two years younger than the Town Hall, John (pictured above), a farmer for 61 years until he retired, entertained the audience with stories, poetry and rhymes that he learned as a young man in the 1920s.

Our exhibit (pictured left with Archivist Sharon White) featured 19 images of Marmora from the HCHS collections at the Community Archives.  Congratulations to Marmora and Lake, and municipal staff (especially Typhany Choinard) for organizing the event and inviting us—we always appreciate the opportunity to participate in our local history!

You can view the images we exhibited and listen to some of John’s recordings at the Heritage Centre in Cannifton.

Story and pictures, Nick White

01 July 2013

Celebrating Canada Day in Belleville

The 2013 Canada Day exhibit the Society and Community Archives presented at the Tom Gavey Pavilion in Zwick's Park was a brilliant success.

The nineteen volunteers worked really hard. They handed out 393 “Find the Picture” quiz forms and gave out approximately 500 prizes!

Although we do not have an exact count of the number of visitors to our exhibit, we estimate there were approximately 800 people who came through—that's about 1 in 8 of those attending the event.

We made a number of changes in 2013, dropping the treasure hunt and introducing two new puzzles/games.  The “Find the Picture” quiz was very popular and appealed to all ages, from the very young who had to have the questions read to them to “old- timers” who were part of some of the events on the poster boards.  And the quiz wasn't easy; we had forty display boards containing around 150 images.

It was great to see visitors (especially younger people) reading the stories on the poster boards and discussing them with our volunteers, with their friends and other visitors.  

In addition to the forty posters and the map puzzles, we had a display of local history books, a video display of the Hotel Quinte booklet and a display of 2012 activities and upcoming 2013 events.

Our thanks, not only to those who staffed the exhibit, but to the Belleville Canada Day Committee and to all those volunteers who worked so hard in the weeks before to put all the pieces together!

24 May 2013

100 Years of Delivering Mail in Belleville

Travis Shalla, Letter Carrier Supervisor at Canada Post's Belleville Operations, approached the Historical Society and Community Archives last year about their celebration for the 100th anniversary of mail delivery service in Belleville.  Travis began collecting historical information from the letter carriers (active and retired), and the Archive Angels researched the collections at the Community Archives for information about the post office and postal service in Belleville.

The results of that work became apparent last week.  Travis give a short presentation at the Historical Society's meeting on May 21, describing the history of letter carriers in Belleville.  Some of the images he featured are in the Archives collections, including the photograph below of the posties assembled on the steps of the old post office at the corner of Pinnacle and Bridge Streets at 11 am on May 24, 1913 - just before the very first delivery mail in Belleville.

But the highlight of the week was the celebration at the Belleville Operations building on on the actual 100th anniversary date of May 24, 2013, with the unveiling of the cancellation stamp, pictured right, that will be used in Belleville from that afternoon until the end of the year.

The image of the old post office used on the cancellation stamp is based on a silk screen print, pictured left, that is part of the Mika collection in the Community Archives.

At the May 24th celebration, the Historical Society and the Community Archives were presented with one of the commemorative numbered prints showing a view of the old post office with the anniversary cancellation stamp.  Print #2, shown below, will be preserved at the Community Archives for future generations.

Story Nick White / Sharon White. Picture of Travis Shalla, Nick White, other images from Community Archives.

21 May 2013

The Masts of Hasting County

Our monthly meeting featured a talk by Lloyd Jones on the Masts of Hastings County.

Tacking into an area that would have been topical when European settlers first came to what is now Hastings County, Lloyd discussed the importance of the majestic white pine - the first tree harvested commercially in North America.

He outlined how early colonists realized that North America was full of these massive trees, and started harvesting the pine.  Not without controversy as evidenced by the Pine Tree Riot.

He discussed how the pine logs, up to 120 feet long and 3 feet in diameter were not easy to harvest.  Special crews and techniques were required to fell the trees and special equipment needed to haul the timbers out of the woods to a waterway for their journey to the shipbuilder's yard.

Lloyd touched on events that happened at the start of the 19th century, recounting how Napoleon blockaded wood shipments through the Baltic Sea to Great Britain, forcing the Royal Navy to find alternative supplies of this strategic shipbuilding material.  With the United States allied with the French, supplies from Canada became even more important.

There was also naval action close to home.  The HMS Royal George, shown above with Durham boats in a 2010 painting by Armata, was an example of the ships constucted in Canada to counter the US threat.

Lloyd discussed such famous ships as Nelson's flagship HMS Victory and the Nuestra Señora de la Santísima Trinidad which fought (on opposite sides) at the battle of Trafalgar and concluded with HMS Warrior which, although equipped with steam engines, was ship rigged and had a sail area of 48,400 square feet.

With the coming of the dreadnoughts, the age of wind powered warships and the need for those mighty Ontario pines drew to an end.

Addition information about Lloyd's talk can be read in the June edition of our Newsletter Outlook.

Story and picture Nick White, painting of the Royal George by Armata courtesy of Lloyd Jones

06 May 2013

Fifty Years of Walking Around Belleville - Part 4

Sunday May 5th 2013

The third Jane’s Walk, titled Down by the Bay, was held the next day.

Led by landscape architect Kevin Tribble, a designer of the city’s widely used Bayshore Trail, and Doug Moses, previously the City’s director of Parks and Recreation, the walk started at the boat launch at the end of South George Street and proceeded eastward along the Bay to the CN memorial. 

Talks along the trail featured an eclectic mixture of topics: the geological history of the land, its evolving ecology since the settlement of Belleville and the challenges of building the trail and the hopes for its future extension.

After passing by the sewage treatment facility the walkers had great views of the turtles sunbathing in the artificial ponds - see the album link below.

The walk ended at the CN monument with stories from Belleville’s days as a major railway centre.

Story: Nick White & Anthea Weese; pictures Nick White

Fifty Years of Walking Around Belleville - Part 3

Saturday May 4th 2013

The second walk, Back Side for Your Backside, was an accessible fitness trip following the Riverfront Trail along the Moira River.

Led by fitness expert Ashton Calnan, geologist Hannah Chittenden, and BDIA executive director Sarah Tummon, around 50 participants explored downtown's back side the buildings on the west side of Front Street and the east side of Coleman Street.

Guest speakers included the Greenleys, erstwhile booksellers, and Shane Ross, owner of The Old Firehouse restaurant, who discussed the history of their buildings.  Lots of stories, including how the former Eddie Thomas Cigar Store (now Earl & Angelo's) hosted a 30-year-long gambling game on the second floor.  Police department insiders would tip off the gaming room in advance of any police raids.  Two house rules: answer phone calls immediately, and don’t spit on the floor.

As the leaders wrapped up the Walk, one participant declared it to be “fabulous, nobody wanted it to end.”
And another observed, “History and fitness, life doesn’t get any better!”

Story: Nick White & Anthea Weese; photos Marianne Scott.

Fifty Years of Walking Around Belleville - Part 2

Saturday May 4th 2013

Trailed by around 150 explorers, Orland French led the Meet Me at the Four Corners walk a celebration of downtown with a poke into history, an introduction to present downtown uses and culture, and an exploration of issues and possibilities for the future.

Orland fed the walkers on a diet of juicy historical tidbits along the downtown Front Street route, and was joined by downtowners such as restaurateur Paul Dinkel and Funk 'n' Gruven's Mike Malachowski who introduced the crowd to the charming courtyard alley behind their establishments.

Richard Courneyea discussed his family's decision to “put their money where their mouth is” and to make the move to living downtown, above his Richard Davis store.

Returning to the market, Don Wilson told how, with the participation of his grandchildren, seven generations of Wilsons have now been market merchants in downtown Belleville.  That’s a story in itself.

Story: Nick White & Anthea Weese; photos Kim Stinson

Fifty Years of Walking Around Belleville - Part 1

November 11th, 1963

It isn’t know when the first walking tours of Belleville were held, but Jane’s Walks continue a tradition.

It has been nearly fifty years since the Intelligencer announced on August 26, 1963 that the Hastings County Historical Society would hold it’s first “experimental Walking Tour”.

The event must have been successful as the Walking Tour of Lower Front Street held on September 1st was followed by six additional walks in October and November of that year.

As evidenced by the pictures, believed to have been taken on November 11, 1963, the weather wasn't always as pleasant at that time of year as that we experienced on the three Jane’s Walks held this year.

Photos and clipping from the HCHS scrapbooks at the Community Archives

01 May 2013

2013 Ontario Volunteer Recognition

Six people were nominated for volunteer awards this year by the Society.  The awards, made by MPPs Todd Smith and Rob Milligan on behalf of the Provincial government, recognise each five years of continuous volunteer work performed by a person to the nominating organisation.

In this picture, taken after the awards ceremony at the Banquet Centre in Belleville, from left to right, Gerry Boyce (56 years), Orland French, Mike Shaw, Elizabeth Mitchell Dick Hughes (back) and Nick White (foreground).  Picture taken in very difficult lighting conditions by Sharon White.

25 April 2013

Presentation - Historic Wooden Ship Masts

In the 1800's it was the great wooden ships that help transform North America. These ships were the means of transporting the masses of European people to a new homeland, of transporting lumber and farming products. These ships were also vehicles of warfare and destruction.

How and where were the massive masts of the wooden ships made ?

Join the Hastings Historical Society on May 21, 2013 and hear the answers from historian Lloyd Jones.

15 April 2013

Stories from the Archives

At this month's meeting we will be featuring more stories from the Community Archives.

Last year we had a fascinating mixture of snippets of history from around Hastings County.

Expect more of the same.

28 March 2013

At The Senior's Information Fair

Elizabeth Mitchell with display

The Historical Society joined forces with the Community Archives to present an attractive and iformative display at the 2013 Seniors Information Fair held at the Sports and Wellness Centre on March 28th.

The Hotel Quinte was the theme of the photo and story display highlighted by a video presentation.  Visitors received brochures and listings of coming events. A busy team of volunteers greeted the visitors and promoted the work of the Society and Archives while exchanging many memories of the history of our city and county.

Donna Fano, Katharine Mills and Annis Ross

Also featured was a display of books by Gerry Boyce, Bill Hunt and Orland French with signage encouraging the reading of historical books by local authors. Shown top right are Donna Fano, Lindi Pierce and Mike Shaw.

The lower right picture shows (some of) the afternoon crew.  In this picture, Dick Hughes, Katharine Mills, Mary-Lynne Morgan, Mary Jane Throop, Diane Sule and Bill Hunt.

Below are general pictures taken from the gymnasium balcony showing the booth setup in new Sports and Wellness Centre.
Pictures: Nick White  Story: Donna Fano and Nick White.