a number of lots at the upper end of Main Street, this one's very early
history is a bit obscure; ownership in some cases is by inference, not necessarily
all that well documented. It's obvious from subsequent deeds that this was
once part of the Lewis Vanderlip property (or one of them), the northern
half of William Babcock's parcel south of Mill Street.
When John VanPelt Jr.'s
property was sold up in 1834, this was Lot 6 in his subdivision, and as
such was sold by VanPelt's agent to William M. Oliver of Penn Yan; Oliver
paid $1317 for the property, which should indicate that there was a house
(or other structure) on it, but none such is mentioned on the subdivision
map. The Greek Revival style of this house argues that it must have been
built soon after that, if it wasn't already there.
It came into the hands
of David L. Phelps, who bought the lot from Oliver in 1839, and might have
built the house, though its style seems early for that year, there were
certainly Greek Revival houses built that late and even later in Penn Yan.
Phelps lived there for some years and sold it to Jane Elliott in 1858. The
1857 map of the village shows the occupant as "Mrs. Brooks," probably
Mary Brooks who was David Phelps' sister.
Charles C. Sheppard
bought the lot and house in 1865, unquestionably as a rental, and he sold
it a few years later to the heirs of John Powell, the blacksmith. Powell's
widow is probably the "Mrs. P" who is shown as the occupant on
the village map in the Atlas of 1876.Cleveland's notes on this house indicate
that John Powell's widow lived here with her daughter Sarah Butterfield,
The little house was
sold several more times until in 1911 it was acquired by Clarence Ferenbaugh,
son-in-law of Claude Birkett who moved in next door at #331 in 1915. Ferenbaugh
added the porch on the west (front) side about 1933. After his death it
remained essentially unchanged for the next 50 years, until it was burned
to the ground.