100 Years Ago: Captain Vernon Castle Killed at Fort Worth Training Camp, Army of School Girls to Join Boys on Farms, Camp Mohawk Pierrots Arrive

The Intelligencer February 15, 1918 (page 1)

“Capt. Vernon Castle Killed This Morning at Fort Worth. Vernon Castle, Prominent Dancer and Aviator, Who Gained Considerable Distinction in Air Fighting in France, Met Death This Morning in an Aeroplane Accident at the Texas Training Camp.

Captain Vernon Castle had many friends in Belleville and while connected with Mohawk Camp as instructor was an almost daily visitor to Belleville. He was quiet, unassuming and every inch a gentleman. With his wife he came to the United States from England and won instant fame as a dancer and interpreter of new steps.

When the war broke out he at once volunteered his services and entered the Royal Flying Corps overseas. After two years of splendid service in France Capt. Castle was sent to Canada to act as instructor at Mohawk Aviation Camp near Belleville, leaving here last fall at the close of the flying season. …  Mrs. Castle visited Belleville and Camp Mohawk occasionally last summer enjoying some extremely high altitude flights.”

The Intelligencer February 15, 1918 (page 4)

“An Army of School Girls. With happy memories of national service on the farms during last midsummer vacation thousands of Ontario school boys are anxious to help win-the-war in similar service this year. …  Not to be outdone by the boys many of the girls of the Colleges and High Schools will pick fruit and help in the farm houses in united effort to help win the war by increasing production of food stuffs. Last summer 1,250 girls were organized for national service by the Trades and Labor Branch of the Ontario Government and did splendid service on the fruit farms.

The fruit growers were at first sceptical and it was somewhat difficult to get them interested in the movement, but the results were a complete surprise, and now they are so enthusiastic that the ‘National Service Girls’ will get a hearty welcome this year and be in great demand everywhere, with better pay for this work than prevailed last season. …  Badges with the inscription ‘Ontario National Service Workers,’ were worn and at the end of the season bronze pins were issued to all girls entitled to wear them. Wages ranged from fifteen cents per hour to twenty cents per hour and board, and will no doubt be larger this year. …

In truck gardening they hoed and weeded, they bunched carrots and onions, they cut asparagus, dug potatoes, picked peas, beans and cucumbers. They were girls who picked and packed tomatoes for weeks—work that is hard to get even a man to do. Some spent weeks driving a cultivator. Others drove disc harrow and roller. A few pitched hay. It is the success in the latter kind of work that has convinced the country that these women must now be used for more important forms of production.”

The Intelligencer February 15, 1918 (page 5)

“The Camp Mohawk Pierrot troupe arrived in town this morning prepared to present their original minstrel show at the City Hall tonight. The tickets have been selling very rapidly and the hall should be filled to capacity when the curtain rings up. The entertainment will be different to any ever seen here before, and is not strictly a minstrel show, but a decided novelty in that line. It is a pierrot show and will prove most interesting, and enjoyable to the people of Belleville. The artists engaged are mostly professional and will consequently give a finished performance.

The total proceeds will be applied to purchasing comforts for the members of the Royal Flying Corps in Canada and overseas, and as this is the first appeal that the R. F. C. has made to patriotic Belleville it is to be hoped that the size of the audience will testify to the esteem in which the flying men are held here. There will be no reserved seats, therefor everyone will be accommodated at the hall. First come, first served. The price of the seats is 35¢ and can be had at Doyle’s Drug Store until 6 o’clock, and will be on sale at the City Hall at 7.30, when the doors open.”