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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 2
J. D. and H. N. Stephens

J. D. and H. N. Stephens, owners 'of the Stephens Department Store, are pioneer merchants of Vermilion. They were both born at Glencairn, in the province of Ontario, Sons of Marshall N. and Margaret (Frame) Stephens. The father was a native of' Ontario, while the mother was born in Scotland. Both parents are deceased. For many years Mr. M. N. Stephens engaged in the lumber business in his native province. He was a successful business man and enjoyed well-merited success.

J. D. Stephens was born on the 18th of March, 1857, and received his early education in private schools and later enrolled in the Upper Canada College. In 1899 he went to Manitoba and engaged in the conduct of a general mercantile business at Swan River until 1909. In the meantime his brother, H. N. Stephens, had established a mercantile business in Vermilion, in which he had an interest. After disposing of his store interests at Swan River in 1909 he moved to Vermilion and has since been active in the conduct of the Stephens Department Store in that town. Mr. Stephens married Miss Grace M. Rioch, of Hamilton, Ontario. He was for five years chairman of the local school board and is a zealous supporter of the Church of Christ.

H. N. Stephens was born on the 7th of September, 1863, and received his early education in the public schools of the Province of Ontario and was graduated from the Upper Canada College. He married Miss Jean R. Wilson, a native of Ontario, and they are parents of several children, the oldest son being lecturer in chemistry at the State University of Minnesota. Mr. Stephens held the office of mayor of Vermilion for a two-year term and during his administration gave to this community efficient and businesslike service, inaugurating and bringing to completion many movements for the 'development and improvement of the community at large. He and his family are likewise members of the Church of Christ and active workers in its support.

The Stephens brothers are held in high confidence and esteem by all who know them, They devote their ctire time and attention to the store, which was established here in 1904 on a very small scale. They located here some time before the railroad was extended to this place, traveling by rail as far as possible, then by water on the Saskatchewan river as far as Lea Park, Alberta, and thence by team to Vermilion. They brought with them enough supplies for the establishment of their store and this was the first enterprise of its kind in Vermilion. For some time they were located in a frame building but that was burned to the ground in the fire which destroyed the Vermilion district in 1918. Today they occupy quarters in a handsome brick building which has all up-to-date improvement, etc. They handle a complete and high-grade line of stock, covering every department of general merchandise and they enjoy an extensive and important patronage. The Stephens brothers represent that type of citizen who is regarded as an acquisition to any community, for- warding its development by their diligence and enterprise in matters of business, and promoting its general progress by maintaining a high standard of citizenship and cooperating in every commendable public movement.


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