100 Years Ago: Wood Fuel to Relieve Coal Shortage, Merwin Wilkins Given Farewell Party

The Intelligencer January 28, 1918 (page 4)

“The Commission of Conservation has just issued a circular to the press on the coal situation, pointing out the possibilities of wood as a substitute, particularly in Eastern Canada.

Coal scarcity will continue while the war lasts, with possibly worse conditions next winter, in the opinion of the Commission, which urges immediate action in having cut, piled and stored as much firewood as possible to save the coal. …

The great question in regard to wood is that of labor, employment being so plentiful, according to all reports, that it is just a matter of choice, and few men unaccustomed to the bush would voluntarily choose the job of woodcutter. Many of Canada’s best bushmen are away overseas in forestry battalions, but there are still many men available for a wood-cutting campaign on quite a large scale, and now is the time for cutting so that the snow can be utilized for drawing, and big reserve supplies piled up to season for summer, fall and winter use.

Farmers with their help who have been generously treated by the military exemption tribunals can do their bit by joining heartily in a wood cutting campaign, especially as the prices available promise a highly profitable venture.

The fuel famine in Belleville is very real and serious and many families, if not actually suffering, are daily scraping the bottom of coal bins and being doled out half a ton at a time.

The appointment of a City Fuel Controller does not end the responsibility of the City Council. Action should be taken now to provide for present needs and anticipate a fuel famine next winter—ACTION, not words or resolutions.”

The Intelligencer January 28, 1918 (page 5)

“Presented with Wrist Watch. Merwin Wilkins, who resided on Octavia street and was in the employ of the Canadian Northern Express Co., has reported at Kingston for military duty. On Wednesday evening Pte. Wilkins was guest of Honor at a farewell party given at the residence of Mr. W. Merritt, North Front street, and was presented with a wrist watch as a token of the esteem of his friends, members of the local staff of the Canadian, Dominion and Canadian Northern Express Companies.”