The First Generation
Elizabeth Emma (1.1,)
Elizabeth , the oldest of Vere’s family, was born in England on April 28, 1809, and would have only been four when the family arrived in Guernsey Cove. She married Thomas Roberts, a shipbuilder, and they had eight children. They owned a shop in partnership with her sister, Martha Lucy Beck, and her husband, Peter Roberts. Both families were said to have moved to Pugwash, N.S. Margaret C. Emerson (1.1,2,6.1,) said that later both families settled in Parrsboro, N.S. Elizabeth died in 1884.
Martha Lucy (1.2,)
Like her older sister, Martha was also born in England and her birthday was September 17, 1811. That means she probably would have arrived in P.E.I. before her second birthday. There were a lot of parallels in the lives of the two sisters. Martha married Peter Roberts, also a shipbuilder, and likely a brother of Thomas. Peter and Martha also had eight children. The two Roberts families were partners in the shop, and they all moved to Pugwash, N.S. before settling in Parrsboro. Martha was only 54 when she died on July 20, 1865.
Mary Ann (1.3,)
Mary was born July 7, 1813. She may have been born at sea as the ship approached North America or else she was the first of the Beck family to be born in Prince Edward Island. Not much is known about her. She married William Derby and they had one daughter. There are reports that she may have kept a diary. However, that would seem to be doubtful as there was no school in Guernsey Cove until after Mary was grown up. She died on December 19, 1879.
John was born on January 25, 1815, in Guernsey Cove. Even though he was 5’11 he was still the shortest man in his family. He had brown eyes and small feet with a high instep. Will Jordan believed he wore a size 6 shoe. He was said to be a good natured man and was very neat and tidy about everything. He bought a farm at White Sands and spent his entire life there. In his old age, he signed the property over to his sixth child, John Penny Beck. He was a member of the Methodist Church and he was not pleased with the conversion of his children to the Church of Christ. John died suddenly at the age of 83. He had eaten his dinner and went outside and was found dead there.
Caroline was born on April 5, 1817. She was the fifth child of Vere and Elizabeth Beck. She was born in a decade that was the coldest on record throughout the world. This was due to the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia in the spring of 1815 that sent a cloud of ash swirling around the world. A lot of livestock died in New England due to the cold in the winter of 1817, and it would be reasonable to assume conditions were much the same in the Maritimes. Not very much is known about Caroline herself. She married John Penny and they had 4 children - two girls and two boys born between January 1838 and November 1843. Caroline died April 2, 1893, just three days short of her 76th birthday.
Vere was born on August 7, 1819, in Guernsey Cove. He grew up there but later moved to White Sands. He made his living as a shipbuilder. He was married twice. His first wife was Margaret Stapleton and they had three children, probably all three born in the late 1840s. He married his second wife, Susan Phillips soon after his first wife died. They also had three children, with the oldest Selina Jane Ford Beck born on June 15, 1850. There was a long gap before their second child, John Charles Beck, arrived in October, 1866, followed by a second boy a little over a year later. Vere died in 1906 and is buried in Murray Harbour.
Samuel was born on July 25, 1821. He became engaged to a local woman and they made plans to marry. Samuel went to Newfoundland and found work as a shipbuilder. He wanted to keep in touch with his fiancée back on P.E.I. but he couldn’t read or write. A woman named Jane Ford wrote letters for him, but apparently Samuel’s message did not get through for soon the mail from P.E.I. stopped coming. Samuel married Jane Ford and they moved to the Island, bought a small farm in Murray Harbour and raised six children. They were devoted members of the Methodist Church and attended regularly. Jane read from the Bible each morning and Samuel prayed. He died in 1907.
The eighth child, Eliza was born on September 15, 1823. However, she died as an infant and didn’t live long enough to see her first birthday. She died on April 15, 1824, exactly seven months from the day she was born. Was she a sickly child or did she succumb to some childhood illness? We have no information about that. What we do know is that she was the only child that Vere and Elizabeth lost. A remarkable outcome in an era when there were no doctors, nurses or medicine available to the settlers.
James Irving (1.9.)
James was born on July 30, 1825, at Guernsey Cove, P.E.I. He was a tall man, but apparently his most remarkable feature was his large feet. He was sometimes referred to as “Jimmie Broadfoot” indicating that his feet were much wider than normal. On March 28 he married Jane Sencabaugh, daughter of Benjamin Sencabaugh and Elizabeth Windsor LeLacheur. They bought a farm in White Sands, and had eight children, six boys and two girls. James went to a Bible Christian Church as a young man, but later joined the Methodist Church. He died at the age of 74, after undergoing surgery in his home. He is buried in the Murray Harbour Cemetery.
William was born February 16, 1827 at Guernsey Cove. He was a quiet man and never smoked nor drank. He inherited the family farm and cared for both his parents until their deaths. He owned the first threshing machine, or drum, in the area and worked with it from Murray Harbour to Murray River. He was married twice. His first wife was Jane Hawkins, and they had four sons and two daughters. After her death, William married Jane LeLacheur and they had two sons and two daughters. William was an elder in the church for many years. He died September 16, 1913, at the age of 86.
Thomas Marfleet (1.11.)
Thomas was born in Guernsey Cove, on September 10, 1830, and attended the new school and worked around the farm. As an adult he worked for several years as a ship carpenter until he was 31. He married Mary Margaret Hawkins of White Sands and they settled on a farm owned by Capt. William and Mary Hawkins. They took care of the elderly couple and received the farm in return. The Becks were said to have “established a home long remembered for hospitality and kindness.” Thomas and Mary belonged to the Methodist Church and gave it their full support. They had nine children, 6 sons and 3 daughters. Thomas died on January 5, 1914, at the age of 83.
Margaret was the twelfth and youngest child of the family. She was born February 23, 1833 in Guernsey Cove. She would have attended the local school and helped her mother with the household chores. She married Thomas White and they had eight children - four boys and four girls. In their younger years they farmed near Murray River, but later moved to Cape Bear. Margaret died in February, 1901, at the age of 68.