100 Years Ago: Soldiers with Mental Disorders to Be Treated, Girls to Train for Farm Work in Ontario, Letter of Thanks for Christmas Parcels

The Intelligencer January 17, 1918 (page 1)

“Mental Disorders Specially Helped. Ottawa. An arrangement whereby soldiers returning from the front suffering from mental disorders will be treated in the Provincial Hospital for the Insane, was made at a conference between Sir James Lougheed and members of the Military Hospitals Commission and representatives of the various provincial governments. Under the arrangement the provinces which have the medical nursing and administrative organizations, will provide accommodation for the patients, and the Dominion government will pay a certain sum per day for each soldier treated. …

So far some 326 Canadian soldiers have returned to Canada insane, and it is stated that a like number, similarly affected, are in England.”

The Intelligencer January 17, 1918 (page 1)

“Ontario Is Short 7,500 Farm Hands. Toronto. Despite all that the Ontario Government can do to provide farm labor for the coming summer, there will be an estimated shortage of at least 7,500 farm hands, and these men provincial authorities are looking to the Federal Government to supply. …

The Ontario officials will submit the fact that this year 12,000 High School boys will spend their summer on the farm, and that the mobilization of women for farm work will provide several thousands of helpers. In this connection it was announced by Mr. Bailey yesterday that the department of Agriculture had arranged to provide special classes in general farm work for young women who want to do their ‘bit’ this summer.

The plan grew out of a suggestion by a number of university girls who worked on fruit farms last summer, that they would like to help on mixed farms. As a result arrangements were made for the use of Joseph Kilgour’s farm, ‘Sunnybrook,’ and every Saturday until spring arrives a capable instructor will be on hand to teach the girls how to harness and handle horses, do milking and general work around a dairy—in short, everything that they may be called upon to do next summer.

While it is expected that a fair number of returned soldiers will be available for farm work, Government officials are not counting too greatly upon soldiers. A large percentage of the returned men, willing though they might be, are not physically able to stand the heavy summer’s work on the farms. …

The fact that Ontario will be 7,500 men short suggests that the Federal Government will have to take some measures of a radical character, either by calling out drafted men of the lower categories or by shutting down unessential industries in order to provide needed labor.”

The Intelligencer January 17, 1918 (page 7)

“Received Christmas Parcels. Private F. W. Coon, writing from somewhere in France, under date of December 19, to his wife in Belleville, spoke of the joy occasioned in the trenches by the arrival of parcels of Christmas cheer, all of which are generously shared in the spirit of good fellowship. ‘Pals First.’

He received a parcel from home and one from Bridge Street Methodist Church, containing candies, a handkerchief and some sugar. He says it is a great treat to get sugar.

The boys were very well remembered by the ladies of Belleville at Christmas, and each one received a nice parcel. The one received by Private Coon had the names of Mr. O’Flynn and the pastor’s.

The letter notes the success of Union Government and the writer expresses the hope that every available man will be sent overseas as they are badly needed. The weather at the front was cold and the mud frozen, for which the soldiers were profoundly grateful.”