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Rec committee seeks to restore ledger of man who named Cherry Valley

Alva Stephens

Brian Conway a.k.a Alva Stephens

The man who is said to have named Cherry Valley wandered the Prince Edward County village Saturday morning telling his story. Alva Stephens, (Brian Conway) and his son Richard Stephens (Glen Wallis) helped history come alive during last Saturday’s Cherry Jubilee celebrations.

Stephens was an early United Empire Loyalist who came to the area from New York State sometime between 1812-15. He made and sold hats at Stone Mills (now Glenora), then erected a hotel and tavern there. He was also owner/operator of the ferry.

Alva Stephens' ledger on display in the Athol Town Hall.

Alva Stephens’ ledger on display in the Athol Town Hall.

For the first time, Stephens’ ledger was on display in the Cherry Valley Town Hall. The ledger reveals information about the tavern, the ferry operation and his hat making.

Athol Rec members Donna Kaye, Susan and Glen Wallis

Athol Rec members Donna Kaye, Susan and Glen Wallis

“The 200-year-old book is a priceless piece of local history,” says Glenn Wallis, dressed as Alva’s son Stephen. He and his wife Susan live in the Alva Stephens’ Cherry Valley home, just outside the hamlet on Cty Rd. 18. Alva married Hannah Walker and they had four sons and three daughters. He was the founder of the Prince Edward Masonic Lodge and when he died at age 99, he was given full masonic funeral honours. Son Richard was said to have been the leading force in building the Athol Town Hall. He was a farmer specializing in hogs and fruit.

The Wallis’ and other members of the Athol Recreation Committee, hope to restore the ledger to museum quality.

“We are looking into having the book digitized and as well, the pages can be restored chemically as well having the book properly re-bound,” he notes, which alone costs upward of $500.

Athol residents Barbara Wyatt and Linda Cole are spearheading the quest to preserve the ledger.

During the second annual jubilee, children also stepped back in time enjoying old-fashioned games – including bubble blowing, stilt walking, cherry pit spitting and sack races.

This year, a ‘Long Table’ locavore lunch was held for more than 80 guests who registered to dine on sausages, sauerkraut, potato salad and cherry tarts as served by volunteers in historical costumes.

Cherry Valley Jubilee Long Table Lunch

Dawne Jubb, Kato Wake, Angelo Bean, Karen Bean and Billy Munnely served up the  Long Table lunch.

 

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  1. Theresa Durning says:

    I hope the local Museum Manager and Archives Manager have been consulted with regard to the restoration of this book. Their input could prove invaluable!!

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