Thursday, January 29, 2015

My Canadian Branches ~ Martin Beck, the King's Baker



As I proceed with my blog theme for this year, I am alternating between my Nova Scotia ancestors and my New Brunswick ancestors. Thus I move on from my Nova Scotia Archibalds to my New Brunswick Becks. Evenly distributed research time makes for a fruitful assortment of stories. Enjoy!


During one of the most fluid settlement periods in Canadian history, my Beck ancestors traveled from Germany to Pennsylvania to New Brunswick, Canada.  Encouraged by William Penn's visit during a period of religious and spiritual controversy in their homeland, many Germans had crossed the Atlantic in search of religious freedom. A great many settled in Philadelphia and environs.

Families like the Becks (and many other families my "cousins" will recognize, like Stief and Lutz) , spurred on by land speculators like Benjamin Franklin, and the ever-present Alexander McNutt, eventually embarked for an even more uninhabited land, Nova Scotia.* In fact, as early as 1763, my fifth great grandfather, Martin Beck, affixed his name on a petition to the Governor for cleared land at Cumberland.  Such petitions were invariably met with enthusiasm, as expressed in this letter to London:

    "...German immigration from the older colonies to Nova Scotia ... will be materially strengthened by the acquisition of these 'frugal, laborious and industrious people'...[and] will not only improve and enrich their property but, if need be, 'pertinaciously defend it'."

If he received this land and sailed from Philadelphia right away, he would have arrived at Fort Cumberland during a time of immense upheaval. Fort Cumberland had been secured by the British in 1755, following its occupancy by the French, under the name Fort Beausejour.



Many new settlers found themselves dependent on "the King's Stores" at the garrison, especially during those first winter months. Flour, in particular, was very scarce.



It was in his capacity as King's Baker** at Fort Cumberland that Martin Beck had his first contact with the other Pennsylvania German settlers. My sixth great grandfather, Heinrich Stief, was one of the heads of households whom he undoubtedly encountered.

According to the so-called "1775 Hillsborough Census," the Becks had by then moved to Hillsborough, and were neighbors to many other Pennsylvania German immigrant families. His two daughters married two of Heinrich Stief's sons. Mary married Henry Stief/Steeves and had five surviving children. Sophia married Matthias Stief/Steeves (my fifth great grandfather!), with whom she had 13 children.

Thus, Martin Beck, the Baker of Fort Cumberland, became the father-in-law of Heinrich Stief's two sons.

*This part of Nova Scotia eventually became New Brunswick.
** Some sources on the Beck family cite son Jacob as "The King's Baker."




Photo credits:

Map

Part of brochure produced by the Societe du Monument Lefebvre and Parks Canada (http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/nb/beausejour/natcul.aspx)

Badge

Hempel, Rainer L., New voices on the shores: early Pennsylvania German settlements in New Brunswick (Toronto, German-Canadian Historical Association, 2000), p. 202

Sources:

Daniels, Michele LaBree, One Big Circle website,
(http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=mdaniels67)

Fort Beausejour-Fort Cumberland Une Histoire / a history : brochure produced by the Societe du Monument Lefebvre and Parks Canada (http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/nb/beausejour/natcul.aspx)

Hempel, Rainer L., New voices on the shores: early Pennsylvania German settlements in New Brunswick (Toronto, German-Canadian Historical Association, 2000).

No comments:

Post a Comment