The Bliss-Beckwith House, situated at 750 Brunswick Street in Fredericton, is a prime example of a finely constructed Georgian residence from the late 18th to early 19th centuries. Built in 1800 for Rev. George Pidgeon, Rector of Fredericton, the house showcases the architectural style of the period.
Rev. Samuel Cooke, who was designated “Missionary to New Brunswick,” arrived in Saint John in 1785. By November that year, he visited locations like Campobello, Digdeguash, and St. Andrews, where he baptized 60 children. Cooke relocated to Fredericton in 1786. Tragically, on a dark, windy night on May 23, 1795, Cooke and his son drowned while crossing the river in a birch bark canoe to their home on Fredericton’s north side.
Rev. George Pidgeon, born in Kilkenny, Ireland, and married to Bishop Inglis’ daughter, succeeded Cooke as Rector of Fredericton. Before his appointment, Pidgeon officiated at Belleisle and Oak Point. When he became Rector of Saint John in 1814, Rev. George Jehoshaphat Mountain, the first Bishop of Quebec’s second son, took over as Rector of Fredericton. In this role, he also served as Chaplain of the Legislative Council and the troops in Fredericton. After three years, Mountain returned to Quebec.
The house likely functioned as a rectory until John Murray Bliss leased it in 1826-27.
In 1859, it was sold to John A. Beckwith, Fredericton’s Mayor, a member of the Legislative Council, and Grandmaster of the Orange Lodge of New Brunswick.
Beckwith, an engineer, businessman, civil servant, and politician, was one of Nehemiah Beckwith and Julie-Louise Le Brun’s six children. He studied at Fredericton Grammar School and in Montreal and Quebec, eventually becoming a professional surveyor and engineer. Beckwith had a long and active career.
The Bliss-Beckwith House maintains all its significant architectural elements, such as the axial symmetry, small roof dormers, double fireplace chimneys, pedimented side garden entrance, and the front entrance door featuring an impressively intricate fanlight and sidelight tracery.
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