Description of Historic Place
The Amos Thomas Seaman House is located on Barronsfield Road, overlooking the marsh and the tidal flats of the Bay of Fundy, in Minudie, Nova Scotia. This two-and-a-half storey Georgian estate house was built in 1843. The house, wood shed and property are included in the provincial designation.
The Amos Thomas Seaman House is valued for its close historical associations with the era of Amos "King" Seaman, through his eldest son, Amos Thomas. It is also valued because its exterior has been largely unaltered since its construction in 1843 and it has remained in the Seaman family to the present day.
In 1833, Amos Peck Seaman, or as he was known, "King" Seaman, purchased the land on which his eldest son Amos Thomas Seaman built this house in 1843. One of the most dynamic and wealthiest men in nineteenth century Nova Scotia, "King" Seaman rose from boyhood in humble surroundings to become the owner of an extensive commercial empire centered on the exportation of grindstones to the United States from the Minudie area.
"King" Seaman's eldest son, Amos Thomas, entered early into business with him, assisting in the operation of stores and mills, as well as running a large farm. Amos Thomas married twice and the house may have been built during his second marriage.
Amos Thomas died in 1856, predeceasing his father by eight years and therefore was not involved in the legal matters brought about by his father's complicated will. Amos Thomas's son Ephraim, who inherited the house, did become caught up in this, though it is unclear whether this house was in dispute. The house has remained in the Seaman family to the present day.
The Amos Thomas Seaman House is a large wood frame structure comprised of three distinct sections. These include a principal section with a slightly pitched hip roof; an adjoining kitchen wing; and beyond this a wood shed/storage area.
The overall form of the principal section derives from the typical Georgian style of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, though detailing demonstrates the more contemporary Greek Revival style. On the exterior this includes the architrave surrounding the front entrance and the wide cornerboards and fascia detail. The foundation is built of cut stone, some rusticated, and skilfully constructed. The construction date of 1843 is cut into the foundation by the front door.
The kitchen wing includes a large fireplace with bake oven and stone hearth. Also remaining are the original ceiling hooks, from which various foods were hung to dry.
The last section was originally on another site, and was moved to its current location to serve as a wood shed/storage area. Of most interest is the construction detailing, such as the split lathes, which suggest a construction date far earlier than 1843, possibly very early nineteenth or late eighteenth century.
The Amos Thomas Seaman House is set on a hill which overlooks the dykes of the Minudie marsh and the tides of the Bay of Fundy. The grounds are now overrun with abundant shrubs, flowers, elm and apple trees, hiding the house from clear view at any angle. The Seaman House is the last remaining vestige of grandeur in "King" Seaman's empire, and still holds a commanding presence over all who see it.
Source: Provincial Heritage Program property file, no. 151, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Character-defining elements of the Amos Thomas Seaman House include:
- two-and-a-half storey wood structure;
- slightly pitched hip roof;
- architrave surrounding the front entrance;
- wide cornerboards and fascia detail;
- cut stone foundation;
- attached kitchen wing containing large fireplace with bake oven and stone hearth;
- wood shed/storage area.