A MOST CURIOUS HISTORICAL MYSTERY
The puzzling tale of a Vallee Brothers plate from Island Pond that found its way to Canton, Michigan. Do you know how it got there?
In early July 2020 IPHS president Sharon Biron received a fascinating email from a gentleman named Marty Stanners. He was, he revealed, in possession of a white china plate which had recently come into his collection. Would the Island Pond Historical Society like the plate for its collection, he wondered?
The plate - which is very handsome indeed as can be seen from these photos, had once belonged to his late father, Mr. Stanners, Esq, a lawyer of Canton, Michigan. Thrilled with the donation, Sharon said she would be very grateful to receive the plate on behalf of the historical society and she would, she assured Marty, be very pleased to display it in the museum where, in these photos, the plate can be seen gracing the Betsy Ross exhibition, a temporary display set up in the doorway of the museum so that passersby can stop and view the artifacts.
Depicted on this plate are images of Island Pond in days gone by. On the reverse, the words Vallee Bros Made In England can be seen worked into the glaze. We're very proud to have this plate, the few examples currently held by the museum are very tiny and delicate, while this plate is large, sturdy, and in absolutely pristine condition!
Ordered from England by the Vallee Brothers who had a store in Island Pond, this plate would have made its way across the Atlantic by ship, and travelled up to Island Pond on the Grand Trunk Railroad. A plate of this substantial size would have been quite expensive. Great care has been taken to keep this plate in perfect condition. No doubt Mr. Stanners, Sr. and his family loved this plate and enjoyed looking at it over the years but where did they get it from?
That dear members is the mystery! Perhaps you know the answer: how did this plate reach Mr. Stanners, Esq in Canton, Michigan? Did he ever visit Island Pond? Did a native of Canton visit Island Pond and return home with this plate as a gift for the late Mr. Stanners? Or was Mr. Stanners Sr. related to a family in Island Pond? What's YOUR answer to this mystery? If YOU remember Mr. Stanners or know of a family from Island Pond who moved to Canton Michigan then do let us know at Po Box 408, Island Pond, VT 05846.
Meanwhile, the IPHS Vice President Craig A. Goulet and IPHS President Sharon Biron extend their sincere thanks to Marty Stanners and his wife Bridget for donating this handsome plate which they generously mailed to the historical society. We also join with the society's 500 members in welcoming Marty and Bridget as honorary Life Time members. Welcome to you both Marty and Bridget and many sincere thanks!