1888, when this lot finally passed out of the Welles family, it was the
same size and shape as it had been in 1817 when Abraham Wagener sold it:
one acre, nearly square. The man he sold it to was John F. Ellsworth, for
$150. At that time the lot to the north was still owned by Asa Cole, and
presumably Ellsworth wanted this property also for commercial purposes.
However, he sold it
very soon to a cabinetmaker named Amasa Holden, who apparently never recorded
the deed. Holden had just brought his large family to Penn Yan, and began
immediately to craft the beautiful sideboards and other furniture for which
he is known (at least two of his sideboards are in museums). In 1819 he
sold this place and moved to a different one north of Head Street, and apparently
lived there until he died.
The man he sold the
property to was William Babcock, and there was again no deed recorded, but
Babcock makes reference to the transaction in his deed of sale in 1823,
when he resold it to a man named Samuel Babcock, probably a relative, .
The price was $1200; obviously there was a structure of some kind on the
lot, no doubt the combined dwelling and workshop that Holden had used.
By 1830 the lot had
again changed hands without anyone bothering to record the deed: Samuel
Babcock sold it to John and Robert Rumney, and they in turn sold it in that
year to Henry Welles.
Welles was a lawyer
(one of several who bought or built houses along Main Street; it must be
remembered that Penn Yan was the county seat), and he became a County Judge,
so he is generally called "Judge Welles" in narratives about his
life and times. His only son, Samuel H. Welles, also became a lawyer and
lived in a house on the same lot which is no longer extant. In 1866 Welles
and his next-door neighbor James Armstrong created a mutual right of way
between their lots which led to the rear where Samuel's house was.
A few years after Welles'
death in 1868, his widow Margaret made the property over to their daughter
Mary Welles Robbins. She resided there until she sold it to Laura Struble
in 1888. It was Mrs. Struble who subdivided the lot and sold the land on
which stand #s 304 and 308.
The house now standing
on the lot was built by Welles soon after he bought the property, in 1831.
It shows what is often called Transitional style, a hybrid between Federal
and Greek Revival that shows traces of both but is distinctively neither.
The semi-elliptical fanlight, the very deep porch and the general lightness
of the design show the Federal influence; the elaborate and beautiful entrance
along with the entablature and pediment with dentil work above the porch
are all typical of Greek Revival. The house is a happy mixture of both.