Description of Historic Place
The Beck House is a mid- to late-19th century wood-framed vernacular home, built in three sections with distinct gable roofs. It is located near the Petitcodiac on the River Road in the Village of Salisbury.
The Beck House has heritage value for its association with some of Salisbury’s founding families, the Shermans and the Becks, for its association with Princess Amelia, niece of King George III of England, for its architecture and for its association with silver fox farming.
The Beck House is recognized for its association with the Sherman family. Caleb Sherman, originally from New England, was granted land in the vicinity of Fort Cumberland (Beauséjour) in 1764. In 1787, Ring Sherman, son of Caleb Sherman, bought Lot One (500 acres) of the Martin Gay Grant in present day Salisbury. Later, other members of the Sherman family bought Lots Two and Three of the Martin Gay Grant. Thus the Sherman’s came into possession of the land that makes up most of today’s Village of Salisbury. The Sherman’s eventually owned almost half (4,000 acres) of the entire 9,000 acres of the Martin Gay Grant. Two daughters of Young (son of Caleb) Sherman married two boys from the Beck family.
The Beck House is also recognized for its association with the Beck family. Jacob Beck of German descent was the “King’s baker” at Fort Cumberland during the Seven Years War. After the War he settled in the lower end of Hillsborough Parish. Two of Jacob Beck grandson’s, married daughters of Young Sherman and settled in Salisbury Parish. Caleb Beck, born in 1818, married to Amanda Sherman, born in 1829, is believed to have built the first section of the Beck house circa 1850.
The Beck House is recognized for its association with Princess Amelia, a niece of King George III of England. According to family tradition Jacob Beck had eloped from Germany to New York with Princess Amelia, a niece of King George III. Jacob Beck from Hanover, Germany was at Fort Cumberland in 1763, known as the “King’s baker”. He later settled in what became Hillsborough Parish, Albert County. Caleb Beck, the probable builder of this house, was the grandson of Jacob Beck.
The Beck House is recognized for its architecture. Caleb A. Beck is indicated as a farmer in Salisbury on the Hutchinson Business Directory of 1865-1866 and on the Lovell Directory of 1871. An 1862 map indicates the name “Peck” where the Beck family farm is located, this was probably a mapping error. Caleb Beck and Amanda Sherman’s eldest child, Martin, was born in 1853. It is probable that they got married a few years earlier and could have settled and built on the property as early as 1850. It is thus possible that the main part of the house could have been built in the 1850’s. It is also possible that the first house was abandoned and a new house was built circa 1870-1880. The present house has three sections. The two front sections have a cut stone basement. The basement could have been dug when the second section was added to the house. The back section seems of more recent construction. The presence of square nails with machine-forged rectangular heads and arc-shaped marks on the boards are indicative of its mid- to late-19th century construction. The higher-pitched gable roofs were more popular in vernacular houses or “National” houses of the second half of the 19th century.
The Beck House is recognized for its association with silver fox farming. The Beck family kept silver foxes on this farm, located near the Petitcodiac River.
Source: Salisbury Village Office, Local Historic Places file #6
The character-defining elements relating to the Beck House include:
- original location of the house;
- distinct gable roofs for each section of the house;
- gable dormers;
- original location and size of windows and doors;
- original cut stone basement;
- original staircase;
- original wooden window and door frames.