Nowadays people visit Stone Valley to do some trouting or to pursue the lobster fishery around the rocky crags.
A visitor to Hermitage from Detroit, Michigan, on September 21, however, called upon me to see if we could learn of his grandparents who he had learned had lived in Little Bay, Hermitage Bay, before it was renamed Stone Valley and before resettlement. Robert Dickinson was returning, he said, to his grandparents’ roots; Rob had also grown a beard, similar to what his grandfather was supposed to have worn. The folks he was hoping to connect with in some way were Robert Newsome and Mary Percey (his spelling).
Well, Rob’s camping trip to Stone Valley to overnight on the land of his ancestors was cancelled because of the rain and wind on Sunday so he began the long trip back to Detroit. In my follow-up help for him, Mildred Harris, whose parents Bert and Eileen Strickland resettled to Hermitage in 1971, contacted her mother who is now 81 and living in Alberta. Eileen has no recollection of any Newsome family or of a woman Mary Percey.
Furthermore, Darlene Williams-Dominie spoke to her husband’s sister Margaret Engram who is 74 and has a good memory. Darlene wrote, “Margaret said the surnames of Stone Valley were Welsh, Engram, Dominie, Strickland, and one Simms. Therefore, the Newsome and Percey whom Rob Dickinson is looking for are not from Stone Valley (Little Bay).”
Rob is disappointed with the results, indicating that the Little Bay in Hermitage Bay was the closest place to the marking on an old map he has from his grandfather. He is aware of the other Little Bays in Newfoundland and will continue his search there.
Rob was curious about the name change. I informed him that, similar to Dawson’s Cove being renamed Sandyville, there were a number of Little Bays which sometimes brought confusion at the post office in the days before postal codes. Stone Valley was an appropriate name – and the only one in Newfoundland apparently- for a community nestled in the granite hills of southern Newfoundland. However, Farley Mowat in his book Bay of Spirits gives a different reason, also quite plausible.
After a conversation with Phil Dominie, who had resettled to Stone Valley from Raymond’s Point, Mowat wrote about the Dominie’s, “They shifted lock, stock, and (literally) barrel to a deep cove on the outer coast of the bay, where they joined fates and fortune with the dozen families of Little Bay Harbour, people who were so implacably opposed to the resettlement program that, Phil Dominie told us, they renamed their outport Stone Valley to proclaim their immovability.” If that’s the case, I like the metaphorical name.
Any of the Coaster’s readers who have more information on this topic can contact the Coaster office or the writer at his home in Hermitage-Sandyville.