Description of Historic Place
The Kinsman-Salsman House is located on Arnold Road in Grafton, Kings County, Nova Scotia. This one-and-a-half storey Classic Revival style house lies in a beautiful rural setting, nestled into the bottom of the south face of North Mountain. Its immediate surroundings are those of a well kept barn, gardens, one- and two-hundred-year-old trees, and a three-foot front rock wall running the full length of the front of the property. The buildings, wall and property are included in the provincial designation.
The Kinsman-Salsman House is valued because this Classic Revival style house, dating from the first quarter of the nineteenth century, is among the oldest remaining homes of the migration of second and third generation New England Planters into western Cornwallis Township lands in Nova Scotia.
Each original Planter grantee received a total of six hundred and sixty-six acres, of which he was immediately given his town and farm lots surrounding the marshlands of the rivers draining into the Bay of Minas. The remainder was divided into two and three hundred acre lots to be paid off as desired in the western and northern lands of the township. It became the practice for the original grantees to pass on their lots to their sons and grandsons as part of their larger inheritance.
In the case of the present Kinsman-Salsman property, it was almost certainly part of the three hundred acre lot laid off to Benjamin Kinsman, an original grantee, who either sold or gave this part to his son, Robert. Robert, upon his death, left it to his son Theodorus. Theodorus, who had been living with his parents, but married in 1818, probably settled on his inherited lands and erected what appears to be the Kinsman-Salsman House. In 1834, however, it was extensively remodelled to take the form it has today.
The history of the house became intimately associated with another and later migration; the out-migration from Kings County to the United States that became a flood by the 1870s. Theodorus's second son, William Henry, was the first to go. He was sent to school in New York where he later became a lawyer and a colonel in the Union forces during the Civil War; he was killed near Vicksburg. Next in the family's male line were the twins Robert and Ezekiel. Of the twins, the evidence for Robert's departure is uncertain, but Ezekiel left sometime between 1864 and 1870 for Illinois. Upon their father's death in 1870, however, the house and all real estate went to the youngest, Theodorus. The house remained in his family until 1958.
The Kinsman-Salsman House was lived in by the Kinsman family for nearly one hundred and fifty years. The Kinsman-Salsman House and barn have been carefully and sympathetically restored and are in excellent condition.
Source: Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 79, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS.
Character-defining elements relating to the Classic Revival style of the Kinsman-Salsman House and surrounding property include:
- one-and-a-half storey wood construction;
- steeply pitched gable roof;
- centrally placed chimney;
- symmetrical floor plan;
- corner pilasters and frieze across the front elevation;
- transom and side lights over and round the central entrance.
Character-defining elements relating to the surrounding property of the Kinsman-Salsman House include:
- wooden barn;
- three-foot high rock wall running the full length of the front of the property;
- surrounding gardens and mature trees.