The Fair Valley Cemetery©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko
Fair Valley was a small farming hamlet in Simcoe County first settled by Elmes Steele, a retired British naval officer, who received a 1000-acre land grant. Upon his arrival he, along with his 15-year old son John, built a rambling 80-foot long estate named Purbrook. A small parcel of land was set aside for an Anglican church. The following year Steele was joined by his wife and the rest of his family.
Elmes Steele's wife died in 1846. A year or so later Steele remarried. Their first son, Samuel Benfield Steele, joined the Northwest Mounted Police (later RCMP) in 1873, rising to the ranks of Superintendent, and achieving legendary status as the most famous cop this country has ever known.
In the meantime a small farming settlement had grown up around the Steele estate. Known informally as Purbrook, it was renamed Fair Valley after the post office was opened in 1880. Like most farming hamlets, it contained a number of farm dealers, a general store and post office. A new Anglican church was constructed in 1884.
By the time the 20th century arrived, Fair Valley had gone the way of most farming hamlets. Although the Steele home was eventually demolished, the fireplace and a few other pieces were salvaged and used to build a memorial cairn.
Today Fair Valley contains a number of historical monuments dedicated to Elmes, John, and Sam Steele. St. George's Church, known as the Fair Valley Church, continues to hold regular services. The remainder of the community has reverted to farmland.