show (as far as is known) the original house to stand on this lot; by all
accounts it was very grand indeed. The lot it stood on stretched all the
way east to Sheppard Street, and north behind the houses on Main Street
to the boundaries of Eliah Holcomb's huge lot where #227 now stands. This
was the house where Samuel S. Ellsworth lived, and where his son lived after
him, until it burned in 1871.
The younger Ellsworth
and his wife Hebe afterwards moved into the house at #227; she died while
traveling abroad, in 1877; and at that time this lot was sold to John H.
Butler. He built a house for himself that was a prominent feature of Main
Street until it was razed in 1963 to make extra room for the new church
on the lot next door to the south.
The lot was part of
the property Samuel S. Ellsworth bought from Miles Benham in 1826; he sold
this part of the bigger lot to Harriet, the daughter of George Brown in
1830, but she and her husband Brinton W. Hazard sold it back in 1834. At
about that time the Ellsworth house was built, and the family lived in it
for nearly 40 years. In September 1871 it burned to the ground; Stewart
Ellsworth and his wife (known for her extensive and elaborate wardrobe),
escaped almost literally with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Luckily,
the place was so isolated on its large grounds that no other houses were
damaged. The house was never rebuilt. The lot was divided and two new houses
were built on the land facing Main Street. Eventually several more houses
were built on Clinton and Sheppard Streets on land that once comprised the
Mrs. Ellsworth sold
the land on which #215 stands to Charles R. King in 1875; and then the entire
rest of the property to Butler, who built his own large house on Main Street
there, and gradually sold off most of the rest of the property in house
lots. Later on, Clinton Struble lived in the house. It was his in 1917 when
Walter Wolcott's history of Penn Yan was published. Still later it came
back into the Butler family's hands, as it belonged to John H. Butler's
daughter Lillian when it was razed in 1963.