Salt Spring Island Archives

Stevens now 961 North End Road

2006017010e 2006017010i 2006017010i2
2006017010e.jpg         2006017010i.jpg         2006017010i2.jpg        

why not?





I agree this is the Stevens' Boarding House, the Cunningham house of today (well, of recent history).
The Cunningham house has no verandah roof over a verandah deck all round, so it now looks like a cube, a box.

Charles' SOI p.121 pic is B-2-046.jpg (Bullock collection, I assume)
The tree on the right is incontrovertibly the same one in both B-2-046.jpg and 2006017010e.


Mr and Mrs Stevens, friends and relatives.

The Stevens family is photographed, with their near-neighbours the Broadwells, 219.jpg (Toynbee collection I assume)
This picture (219.jpg) is of an earlier age - the Stevens when younger.
The Stevens family is again photographed with Broadwells, 079.jpg (Toynbee collection?)
This picture is of the same vintage as the one under Frank's microscope.
Using this 079.jpg pics, Mrs Stevens is clearly the white haired woman in the 017010i3 close-up, with her right hand on the picket fence - we know that Mrs Stevens (Ann) is the central seated white-haired figure in 079.jpg

079.jpg stevens & broadwell

From this same photograph, we can see that the man driving the cart is Mr. Stevens (Henry - on the left in 079.jpg with the colourful beard). The couple on the right are Mr and Mrs. Broadwell. I'm pretty sure the young man above is Walter Stevens, but I don't remember if the young woman beside Henry Stevens is Eva Jenkins - to my eye she appears to be the same person who, in the 017010i3 close-up is seated beside Mrs Stevens, rather than the younger girl seated below her. She could be Ann Stevens' sister Sarah, but Sarah was only 3 years younger than Ann - this woman is of a younger generation, the same generation as the Rev. Wilson daughters, in 1901 in their young 20's. Eva Jenkins, aged 17 in 1901, could be the girl seated beside her foster mother Mrs Stevens in the 017010i3 close-up, and between her foster parents in 079.jpg attached. Eva could also be the the girl seated below Mrs Stevens in the 017010i3 close-up. I'm sure I have a pic with Eva Jenkins identified for sure, but can't immediately locate one here....


Well, we could establish what age they might all be, and somewhat else besides, from Census information -

Henry Stevens and his wife Ann (no final 'e' in either the 1891 or 1901 census) immigrated to Canada in 1872, according to the 1901 census records that Henry was an English Anglican - I believe Rev. Wilson records that they donated the rocky high portion of their land as the place for St. Mark's church to be erected.
They appear first on the Island in the 1891 census.
They figure frequently in the Parish & Home monthly magazine local news written by Rev. Wilson (1896 ff)

In the 1891 census, Raffles Purdy was recorded as lodging with them, while teaching (at Central School - Vesuvius they called it then) nearby. Eventually, his middle daughter of three, Margaret Cunningham, would be proud and pleased to be living where her father once lived. Mary Inglin was his eldest daughter, the youngest was called Helen and died first.
Also lodging with them was a John Smith aged 70 was lodging with them, as a gardener; probably Ann's father - Ann's sister Sarah Smith, a nurse, lodged with them later.

I would suggest that the photograph is closer to 1901 than to 1891.

In the 1901 census, Henry is recorded as being 63, d.o.b. 15 June 1837, farming, literate, and $700 per annum (quite a bit)
In the 1901 census, Ann is recorded as being 64, d.o.b. 23 Feb 1837, also literate, and C of E like her husband (Church of England, Anglican)
Living with them (among other lodgers in this 1901 boarding house) is Ann's younger sister Sarah, a nurse, who came to Canada earlier, in 1870. In 1901 she is aged 61, d.o.b. 12 June 1875. As a nurse, her income is $500 per annum, equal to the income of a good teacher.
Also living with them is Eva Jenkins, aged 17 d.o.b. 18 Oct 1883 (mentioned by Charles) who is listed as their daughter in the 1901 census, though she was not born to them. Her father, Chales Frederick Jenkins, was a carpenter in Lime Bay, Victoria West, when her mother died in childbirth, midwife Mrs. (Emily) Beddis, who, although a widow at the time with quite enough children of her own, adopted the newborn, Myrtle, and kept a close relationship between the sisters (and the father, who visited). Eva married Walter Stevens. (Myrtle's sponsors at her baptism were Sara Smith (Ann Stevens' sister) and one Francis Thomas Stevens, a mystery man I have not yet identified, but whose surname naturally intrigues... it used to lead me to wonder if the deceased mother might have been another Stevens sister. But there are too many trails to pursue for me to have stumbled across this one! - yet.)


- Why not indeed! I have other things I ought to have been doing, this has been much more time-consuming and more enjoyable!

But the question "Why was this photograph taken?" is no small matter.
I love this pic.
It records such an ordinary part of an ordinary day in the life of people I have come to know rather well, and respect quite highly.
A photograph of such informality but such extraordinarily high quality is rarely taken at the turn of the century - when a tripod was necessary, and a black cloth, and a rather good lens, to get such detail from this great distance.


Eva Jenkins, aged 17 in 1901, could be the girl seated beside her foster mother Mrs Stevens in the 017010i3 close-up, and between her foster parents in 079.jpg attached. Eva could also be the the girl seated below Mrs Stevens in the 017010i3 close-up. I'm sure I have a pic with Eva Jenkins identified for sure, but can't immediately locate one here....

On Jul 30, 2006, at 4:28 pm, Charles Kahn wrote:

Hi Frank:

I think it's the old Stevens boarding house on North End Road near St.
Mark's (compare the photo with the one on p. 121 of my book). The older
woman may be Anne Stevens, the woman beside her possibly Eva Jenkins. The
black woman on the right may be Louise Stark. I think there are some other
photos you can compare with. Sue can probably help you further or put you on
to someone who might know. There is a Stevens descendant on the island who's
done a lot of work on her family's genealogy. I can picture here in my
mind's eye (very attractive), but I can't bring up her name. Do you know
her, Sue?




Islands Heritage Buildings
by Thomas K. Ovanin, Islands Trust 1984 ISBN 0-7718-8588-1 p. 51
SALT SPRING—3 Location: North End Road near Central Date Built: 1887 Builder: Samuel Beddis and his son Charles

Historical Notes: The Henry Stevens family moved into a log house on a farm at Central Settlement in 1887. They hired Samuel Beddis and son Charles to build this large white frame house which soon became "Stevens' Boarding House". It was a very special place, the focal point for nearly everyone who visited the north end of Salt Spring Island. Until Ganges began to develop (after c. 1905), there was no where else to stay on the island except at "Travellers' Rest" in the Burgoyne Valley (see SALT SPRING—35). For example, Henry Bullock stayed here (in 1892) while his 12room mansion was being built (now gone), as did Rev. E. F. Wilson, Salt Spring's new Anglican clergyman in 1894. The parish of St. Mark's also used the boarding house for most of its regular meetings.

In 1889 Mr. and Mrs. Henry Stevens donated an acre on the hill above their house for a building site for an Anglican church (St. Mark's). When Walter Stephens (a nephew) and his wife Eva inherited the property, they no longer ran the house as a hotei and named the property "Church Hill Farm" instead.

Over the years, a lean-to was added to the back of the house and the attractive wrap-around verandah removed. Other than that, the house retains much of its original character.

Sources of Information:—Times Past, pp. 41-43.

—Bea Hamilton, 1969. Salt Spring Island, pp. 104, 115.

—Snapshots of Early Salt Spring, page 43.

—St. Mark's Church Diamond Jubilee (1892-1952) booklet.


Mr and Mrs Henry Stevens and Guests (c1895)

Maybe you'd like to add the pics as well?
Attached, for perusal.

And a note re dating of 2006017010
The 1905 pic shows the house earlier than Franks' pic under recent discussion 2006017010
The tree beyond the roof on the right has grown up more - clearly the shrubbery has too, but that might simply have been a seasonal difference. So the 2006017010 pic is later that 1905.


There was a Frank Stevens who worked in Mouat's. Died about in the 70s. Possibly a son of Francis ? Try Joan McLean she is a daughter of Jimmy Stevens ( son of Eva's,I think) The Anglican church records might have some helpful stuff.
While we're on the subject - text to add to the pic on the archives site?
I am delighted to find my memory is still intact! But I don't retain perfect recall of all details...
I have added a note re dating (for that, scroll to bottom)
I am speaking of the Stevens Boarding House pic Frank recently sent out 2006017010
Proof positive of the identification of the house made by Charles and seconded by me:

Stevens' Boarding House (c1910) -m Toynbee Collection 175

Helen suggested I revisit the Salt Spring Island Archives website to see if I could add my two cents' worth to the discussion of some of the pictures regarding the Stevens' Boarding House, etc.

I don't think I can add to the discussion other than clarifying who Francis Thomas Stevens is (one of Myrtle's sponsors at her baptism). Francis Thomas Stevens was the husband of Emily (Jenkins) Stevens, Charles Frederick Jenkins sister and aunt to Eva and Myrtle. Francis (or Frank) and Emily lived in Victoria and I don't believe they had any children of their own.

As well, Nancy Stevens, Eva and Walter Stevens' daughter, has explained to me that Myrtle Adelaide was officially adopted by the Beddis's, and Eva was not adopted by the Stevens'. You might say she was their foster child.

I have not clarified the relationship between the Stevens and Jenkins (and Beddis for that matter) but I'm sure it'll become apparent eventually.

Carol Jenkins


On Mar 5, 2007, at 3:46 pm, royaltruk wrote:

Hi, I'm researching the Stevens family who ran the boarding house by St. Mark's Church. I'm trying to find out when Henry Stevens died. The cemetery record for St. Mark's has a question mark for his date of death, and I can't find a record of his death at the BC Archives. He was listed on the 1911 census under the mistaken name of Starery. I was wondering if there was any mention of his death in your collection of material. The young lady living with this family was Eva Jenkins, not Rankins and she married Walter Stevens who was supposed to be a nephew of Henry. I haven't been able to confirm that yet, so I'm working on Henry's background. One of the things I read about the Stevens family was that they came from England in 1884. However, I have found them living in Ontario in 1881. I'm doing this research for an 84 year old lady who is the daughter of Eva Stevens. I hope you can be of some help, and I hope I will be able to contribute information about this family to you. Yours, Lynne Crowe


Re Carol Jenkins' note:
I have not previously read Carol Jenkins added note (at the bottom of Frank's page of the 'conversation').

Great to find that Eva Jenkins' father was Mrs. Stevens' sister-in-law's brother.
Hence Eva being brought up in the Stevens Boarding House.

(Mrs. Stevens - Ann - was married to Henry Stevens, brother to Mr. Francis Stevens, who married Emily Jenkins, sister to Charles Frederick Jenkins, father to five children in addition to the youngest two, Eva and Myrtle. Francis, Emily and Charles all living in Victoria while the Stevens and Eva and Myrtle were living on Salt Spring. The five older Jenkins children are mentioned by Margaret Cunningham, in Times Past (p.43) where she writes that the Stevens couple "were friends with" the Jenkins couple and their family of six children, and when the mother died having the seventh child, Mrs. Emily Beddis adopted the newborn baby, and Mrs. Steven promptly took in Eva and raised her. Margaret would know this from her father Raffles Purdy, brother to Emily Beddis and boarder in the Stevens Boarding House for ten years, from when it was built in 1887 until he retired in 1897 from teaching 12 years in the Central school nearby.)

I can clarify the relationship between the Beddis family and Myrtle - why she was adopted by Mrs. Beddis.
Mrs. Beddis was used as a midwife by a number of families, and Myrtle's mother died in childbirth or very shortly afterwards, in Mrs. Beddis' home, and under her care. She would have known the mother personally - the community was small.

My memory asserts that the father, Charles Frederick Jenkins, who was a carpenter in Lime Bay, Victoria West, was able to assist financially in the care of these two daughters, but not able to bring them up himself. When I first contributed to the conversation, that I could quote Charles Jenkins' middle name tells me I had my source notes in hand. Tonight I don't remember their oigin. My guess would be that I remember the financial arrangement because it was first put there by Mary Inglin. The information was followed up in less memorable census and church records. Mary Inglin and Margaret Cunningham were sisters, daughters of Raffles Purdy (they have both died). Mrs. Beddis (née Emily Purdy) was their aunt (sister to their father Raffles Purdy).

All such relationships far easier understood by me when drawn in a chart - I hope text alone is comprehensible.

I could add here that I am rather fond of a number of Salt Spring Island women, for the influence they had over families other than their own - women like Granny Gyves in the south, Mrs. Griffiths (later Mrs. Booth) in the north, Emily Beddis on the east side of the island, and Mrs. Stevens at Central. Mrs. Griffiths and Mrs. Stevens, without children of their own, took on the upkeep and upbringing of the children of others, while running businesses with and for husbands who became unwell. They both seem to have been warmly appreciated for their good hearts.

Re Historical Notes paragraph below the Cunningham House photograph of 1984
(from the Island Heritage Buildings book published by the Islands Trust)
Other vital 'guests' housed by the Stevens' Boarding House were the island's teachers serving in the area. Raffles Purdy boarded there, as did Mr. Cooke, two long-serving teachers - Mr. Cooke taught in many of the island's schools, for many years; Raffles Purdy taught at Central (just up the road from the boarding house) for many years, in an era where disruptive short term stays of teachers were the expected norm. What the Stevens offered in the way of room and board was more congenial than boarding with school families - usually a school trustee, but sometimes the closest home to the schoolhouse. So I would suspect that the Stevens Boarding House contributed to the quality of the education of Salt Spring's children... I don't know off the top of my head how many other teachers stayed there, but I do know that after the turn of the century, when Ganges began to rival (and later outstrip) Central as a hub of community doings, the Harbour House Hotel was where the island's teachers boarded.

Besides the regular meetings of the parish of St. Mark's, The Stevens Boarding House served as a general gathering place for islanders from further afield - much the same service Harbour House Hotel served later. Margaret Cunningham writes in Past Times (p.41) that from 1887 it was a very special place, "the focal point for for all the comings and goings of nearly everyone who came to this end of Salt Spring Island ... while looking for land, or for other business or pleasure reasons."

It was here that a historic meeting was held which came up with the idea of calling a meeting of farmers from north to south of the island, and from the Outer Gulf Islands, with the idea of forming what became the Islands Farmers Institute, whose first decisions were to build the island's first community hall (Central Hall), and to hold the island's first annual Fall Fair. Since this meeting in the Stevens Boarding House occurred while the community-minded Rev. Wilson was boarding there, I suspect he played a part in bringing about such a meeting, and the Stevens' well-settled neighbour Mr. Broadwell was likely to have been a man with a vision to spread around. One could say the Boarding House contributed to the development of the island's community, by being somewhere people with such ideas and stamina could meet to spark ideas off each other and spread their inspirations further.

Re Henry Stevens' death, I'm afraid that if it is indeed Henry who is erroneously listed in the 1911 census, Reverend Wilson's monthly records won't be of help (they ceased before 1911). However, if I come across an account of Mr. Stevens' death prior to the last edition of these records, I will let you know... The church records of Births, Deaths and Marriages (in the Salt Spring Island archives) might be a better source?


Re Westcott:
Might Ann Stevens' sister Sarah the nurse have been married to Mr. Westcott?
No Westcott appears anywhere in the Snapshots of Early Saltspring (which I have indexed)
No Westcott appears in the indexed Parish & Home (Rev. Wilson's monthly newsletters) - but I have only indexed 1895 and 1896 so far
No Westcott appears in my A-Z index of Salt Spring Island names in the 1881, 1891, 1901, or 1911 census
(although at one time I most strangely chose not to maintain the entries that occurred only once - my sole reason for creating the index was to track children, particularly girls who grew up to change their names upon marriage. All I thought I was researching then was the early schools of Salt Spring, and I was seeking to establish as far as possible the enrolment in each of the first schools.)

Re 'Starery' for Ann and Henry Stevens, aged 76 and 75 respectovely.
You are clever to have deduced Starery was Stevens! The handwriting of the 1911 is frequently indecipherable - but I can indeed see from the copy of the handwriting (BC Archives) that not only are they Henry and Ann, but also Stevens.

Re the death date of Henry Stevens
I did check the SSIA website documents re deaths, and his name does not appear, except in the graveyard where the date is listed with a question mark.

In case you might find useful any of the insignificant snippets I have unearthed, here they are:

My Notes 'from census':
Stevens, Henry b.1837, came to Canada 1872
This 1872 date for emigration to Canada is again confirmed in the 1911 census. Ann also emigrated in 1872.
According to the 1911 census, both were born in 1830, both born in England, Henry was born in June, Ann was born in February (so the census was recorded before his June birthday, he being listed as 75 and she 76.)
Both are Canadian citizens, both of English origin, and both Anglican of course (St. Mary's Church on Salt Spring)
His occupation is listed as a retired farmer, and she as having 'None' - most unfair! Retired Boarding House keeper... and foster parent.
The Boarding House seems to have been referred to as Mrs Stevens' business and not her husband's, although the residence and the boarding house were one and the same building.
(See the quote from July 1896 below, where the boarders are hers, though the residence is his. Many such references to 'her' boarders)

From Rev. Wilson's Parish and Home monthly parish magazine:

March 1896 (info)
Stevens, H. listed as member of St. Mark’s Church Committee

May 1896 (info)
With Mr. Bullock, Henry Stevens was appointed church-warden of St, Mark's Church for the year 1897

July 1896: (direct quote)
Church Hill Farm is undergoing a thorough renovation—papering and painting—in preparation for the summer season. In addition to her present boarders, Mrs. Stevens will be able to accommodate about six other visitors.
The road past Mr. H. Stevens' residence has been widened and improved and the top of the hill past St. Mark's Church has been lowered. This, with the extensive slashing done on the west side of the road by Messrs. Harrison, has made quite a change in the appearance of this part of the Island, opening up to view St. Mary's Lake and the distant mountains.

July 1897 (info)
H Stevens donate 50 cents for medical supplies to be used on the island

(- many issues omitted, as I started working backwards instead)

July 1906
Lenten envelopes and subscriptions to the Diocesan Mission Fund: H. Stevens $1

October 1906, (by then called the Church Monthly) - the very last issue written.
"Bishop Cridge (Ref. Episc.) paid a visit to the island September 13 to 18. He and his two daughters were the guests of Mrs. Stevens."

I can't keep up with Usha's fantastic research, but I did visit the Baker Rd. cemetery today and discovered Henry Stevens's gravestone. According to it, he was born in 1837 and died in 1919.


Hi Charles,

Thank you for finding out about the date. Today I found Henry and Ann Stevens living in Bristol Eng. in the 1871 census. Francis T. Stevens (Henry's brother?) was (age 18) living in Bristol with Thomas Stevens and wife Charlotte. In 1881 Francis T. is still in Bristol with wife Emily (Jenkins?) , brother George and family and Thomas and Charlotte. I'm having a difficult time putting them all together, but have established that they all originated in Devon. Can't figure out why there is no death registration for Henry at the BC Archives. Oh well,...always liked a challenge. Lynne