“The Beck Place” as it has been known in Camden for many years is a two-story frame house with balcony over the front porch. Originally it had no kitchen in the main house but one was built about ten feet from the northwest corner of it, probably some years after the original house was built. The main house was “T” shaped, having a large bedroom or sitting room located in rear of the front hall. There was an open porch on either side of this sitting room. The first floor also contained a living room and a dining room, each with doors opening into the front hall and also onto the open porches to the rear. The second floor contained three bedrooms, each with fireplace.
The Wilcox County Courthouse has record of the land purchase by Thomas Dunn from Martin Van Buren, then President of the United States, of the forty acres of land described as NE 1/4 of NE 1/2 of Section 19, Range 8 East, Township 12 North, Wilcox, County, Alabama. Thomas Dunn gave certain lands to churches, Masonic Lodge, Court House and others in order that the town could be established. Mrs. Paula Dexter Curry advises that her mother’s uncle William King Beck
bought the “Beck Place” shortly after the Civil War ended. He had lived in Canton Bend on a plantation now known as the Bryant Place which he sold before moving to Camden. Judge William King Beck was the uncle and guardian of Mrs. Paula Dexter Curry’s mother and she made her home with the Beck’s until her marriage to Mr. Dexter. Both Judge Beck and his wife died in the house. Judge Beck left the house to his daughter, Miss Ada Beck, a teacher of piano and music. Mr. W.A. Dexter took care of Miss Beck’s business for her and sold the property for her to Joseph Neeley Miller on Sept. 8, 1904. The court records show that he sold twelve acres of land with the house. William King Beck was a brother of Col. Franklin King Beck who lived on Clifton Road in the house which the Darwin’s have restored. They were both nephews of William Rufus King of Selma who was a vice-president of the United States and ambassador to Russia and France.
Miss Alice Vivian Strother wrote an article in the Progressive Era in 1922in which she states that Judge William King Beck married Eliza Smith,daughter of Duncan Smith who was the first Circuit Clerk of Wilcox County. Mr. Smith owned a large tract which was known as the Ellis place (probably the Pressley Bryant Place). She says that Judge Beck bought this plantation from a Gus Carter before the Civil War. They had no children but adopted Ada Beck whom they reared and educated. She and the Beck’s are buried in the Camden Cemetery.
The millwork in The Beck Place, particularly the window sash and the two-paneled doors, seem to place it in the same age group as the Franklin King Beck house, the Masonic Hall, the old Baptist Church and several other of the older houses in Camden.
The Beck-Creswell House is located at the intersection of Bridgeport Road and Broad Street at Camden, AL (GPs coordinates N32.003972,W87.300222).
This is a private residence – drive by only.