The Imperial Order of the
Daughters of the Empire

136th Battalion collar tab The news that England had declared war against Germany struck terror into every Canadian heart and the women were not slower than the men in taking up the burden and doing their utmost to help win the War, little realizing the long years of anxious waiting and watching, agony of mind and broken hearts it would entail.

The women of Port Hope nobly rose to the occasion and in less than one week after the fateful August 4th, were making ready to do their part. As no organization under which to work appealed to them so much as that of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire, a chapter was formed bearing the name of Colonel Arthur Williams, the local hero who gave his life at the battle of Batoche.

Mrs. R.A. Mulholland organized it and was made first Regent, a position she held during the duration of the War and on her retirement in 1919 was presented with a life membership in the National Chapter as a token of appreciation and affection.

The officers for 1914-1915 were:

The Society became very popular, any woman of British nationality being eligible for membership; the roll soon mustered over 125 and in spite of losses for various reasons, the membership remained about the same and became the most important patriotic organization in the county.

It was due to their unselfish efforts that many warm comforts were sent to the men in both Army and Navy. Mrs. SC Bennett and Mrs. H. Hume gave out wool every week to anyone willing to knit and took in finished socks, which were shipped to both Canadian and French soldiers and sailors. During the War, more than six thousand, nine hundred (6,900) pairs of socks were handled by them. Belgian relief was afforded early in the War; many cases of excellent clothing valued at several thousand dollars were shipped. The Chapter also adopted four Belgian orphans, paying for their support by monthly donations. As there was no Red Cross Society in Port Hope, the Chapter made Red Cross work one of their principal objects. Thousands of surgical supplies of various kinds as well as large money donations were made. This work, requiring much thought as well as self-sacrifice, was largely under the supervision of Mrs. EE Snider, assisted by a committee of efficient workers. Nine prisoners of War were supported by the Chapter, the amount at first required for this being ten dollars ($10.00) per month, gradually increasing to one hundred dollars ($100.00) per month. Every device for raising funds was tried, and for such an appealing object, money poured in. No work was found too hard or too menial if by it the exchequer could be replenished. The sale of old books and newspapers was a most profitable undertaking; car loads were shipped at various times realizing many hundreds of dollars. Bazaars, dances, teas, card parties, lectures, concerts and moving pictures were all tried in turn, and besides bringing in a great deal of money, brought the women of the Town in closer touch than ever before and also helped those whose hearts were heavy with grief and anxiety.

For over three years monthly collections were systematically made, the same willing collectors doing the work for the entire time. From all of these sources the Chapter raised over twenty-six thousand dollars ($26,000.00) during the four and one-half years of War. With the exception of the first six months when Mrs. Walter Helm acted as Treasurer, Mrs. Jas. Reid, the most accurate and painstaking of Treasurers, filled the position.

The officers for 1915-1916 were:

The officers for 1916-1917 were:

The officers for 1917-1918 were:

The officers for 1918-1919 were:

As the War dragged on its weary length, more and more of the boys and young men of the Town joined the colours, and at every Christmas season the I.O.D.E. took the greatest pleasure in sending them appropriate Christmas parcels, for they received many leeters of sincere thanks from the grateful recipients.

This, in brief, is the history of the women's work for the War in Port Hope, the results of which will go down to posterity in the gratitude and affection of those for whom the effort was made.

Peter and Barbara Bolton - Port Hope, Ontario