The Joseph Hickman House, situated on “Cemetery Hill” in Dorchester, is notable for its connections to the Hickman family, the shipbuilding industry, the lumber industry, farming, and its architectural style.
The house is recognized for its long-standing association with the Hickman family, as it was home to five generations of Hickmans. Built by Joseph Hickman (1821-1889) who married Ruth Caroline Wells in 1845, the house was successively occupied by his son John Howard (1859-1921), grandsons William Marshall (1894-1952) and Robert Wells (1912-1975), and great-grandson Robert Stuart (1949- ) and his family.
The Joseph Hickman House is also acknowledged for its ties to the shipbuilding industry. The Dorchester-based Hickmans were merchants, businessmen, politicians, and community leaders, but they gained worldwide acclaim as shipbuilders. In the 19th century, several coastal communities in New Brunswick, particularly those near the Bay of Fundy, had thriving shipbuilding industries. William Hickman is credited with building up to 25 vessels at Dorchester Island and four in Hillsborough. Known for innovation and quality, the ships built at the Hickman yard on Dorchester Island were regarded as safe, well-constructed, and crafted from the finest materials.
The house’s connection to the lumber industry is also significant. Joseph Hickman and his descendants were farmers and tradesmen who owned shares in several ships, and they supplied timber and hardware for shipbuilding. As early as 1840, Joseph Hickman operated a general store that provided supplies for lumber camps and shipyards. In 1876, he built a new hardware and specialty store, and the Hickmans also owned sawmills in Dorchester and Port Elgin.
The Joseph Hickman House is associated with farming as well. The Hickman family maintained a large farm that was considered a model or “experimental” farm. At the time of Joseph Hickman’s death in 1889, his estate was valued at $31,893.
Lastly, the house is appreciated for its architecture. Constructed around 1840, it is an excellent example of two-story Neo-Classical residential design, featuring a depth of two rooms and a strict symmetrical arrangement of elements. The paneled front door is framed by a transom window with sidelights, and multi-pane windows are arranged symmetrically five across. The interior boasts lavish finishing touches, such as elaborate door and window molding, intricate staircases, plaster crown molding and rosettes, a plaster arch in the hallway, and numerous fireplaces, including a rare cast iron fireplace made in Sackville.
This post has already been read 1348 times!