Ryno, a local innkeeper, bought this lot from Abraham Wagener in 1824; he sold it exactly two years later to Samuel Lawrence for $1250,
thus pinning down pretty accurately the date of the house's erection. Lawrence lived here with his second wife Polly Kidder Lawrence for the rest of his life. It was a brick
gable-front Greek Revival dwelling, as was William M. Oliver's mansion next
south on Main Street. Like Oliver, Lawrence was a local judge and politician
(he is credited with naming the town of Milo and was its first Supervisor).
Lawrence died in the house in 1841 and in July 1844 his heirs sold it to Leander Reddy, who could conceivably have occupied it while building his own house next door. In any case, Polly Lawrence bought it back for the same $2300 she and her children had sold it for only a year earlier.
Polly lived a few more years in the house, selling it to Joseph Elmendorf in 1848, after she moved to Grand Rapids. Elmendorf was the village's first dentist and was succeeded in his practice by his son Charles, who also inherited this house. He sold it to Lyman Munger in 1863, and Munger to George McAllister in 1866.
It was McAllister who made the Italianate changes. He
did not fundamentally change the shape of the house, but entirely altered its character. He added the delightful
decorative elements around the cornice and in the pediment; and
the two very elaborate porches. He was by profession a photographer, as was his daughter, in an upstairs studio downtown.
The house passed through
a number of other owners, including the attorney and judge William S. Briggs, and at the turn of the century Lucius P. Wagener. Daniel Morris, a Rushville lawyer who moved
to Penn Yan, bought the house next door to the north in 1867, and passed it along after his death to his son William Torrey Morris.
made the final set of extensive changes to this house, as well as to the old Hamlin house
next door. He was hugely expanding the Hamlin house, and needed more room. He bought this lot and had the house moved to its the south side and farther
back from the street, and then
had the brick covered with stucco (as he also did with the Hamlin house).
This magnificent row of houses was built to be the residences of single private families. None of them is that any more, but in the transition they have all been preserved. None is exactly as it was, but they all wear their various histories pretty well.