330 Main Street: The Rhoda Leary house


nown as the Leary house, this structure was built in 1868 by Morris F. Sheppard, one of Charles C. Sheppard's sons, on the site of previously commercial property. In fact, the building that stood here when this house was built, was moved across the street, where it stood for some years until the John J. Wise house was built.

The previous building was Henry Bradley's first store, which he took over in 1823. He painted "Henry Bradley - Store" in huge letters across the end of the building, and the sign could be read through several paintings-over, even after it was moved and used as a parsonage, until the building was finally removed in the 1880s.

Bradley was not however the first storekeeper on this site. This lot was the one sold by Melatiah Lawrence to James Grieve, who was a Scottish immigrant and supposedly the man who suggested that the name of the village, then pronounced "Penn-Yank" would sound better without the final consonent. Lawrence lived at the south end of his property, on the site of #322, but the three-acre plot he bought in 1810 stayed in his hands until this piece was sold in 1818. The entire parcel had in the years before Lawrence bought it been owned by a succession of storekeepers, from Samuel Seeley to the Shearman brothers George and John. Presumably, this northernmost part of the lot, nearest to the crossroads, was where their stores stood.

In any case, this part of the Lawrence parcel later on became part of the Masten property and after that belonged to Charles C. Sheppard. He separated off this lot, somewhat smaller than it had been in "Jimmy" Grieve's day, and gave it to his son Morris F. Sheppard (who was of course named for his grandfather) to build his house on, and this is the house he built. It's been somewhat altered since 1868, the cupola is much smaller than the original, and the front portico took the place of a larger porch early in the 20th century. However, the house retains much of its Italianate decoration.

Charles C. Sheppard sold the lot to Michael Leary in 1877 (actually the sale was to Michael's wife Rhoda, who was one of the Sheppard grandchildren. It's a nice big lot with nearly 100 feet of frontage on Main Street. Rhoda's estate sold it to Ralph Hoyt and his wife in 1919, more than 40 years after she first came to live in it as a bride.



Above right: Compare this picture of #330 with the one for #332. The older photograph shows the much bigger cupola and the original east facade (without the portico). It also shows the original large size of the house, with its extensions back away from the street, ending with an outhouse bringing up the rear like a caboose. The style of the house is and remains a nearly pure example of the Italianate; with the added bonus of the delicate lacelike trusses in the peaks of the gables, a preview of the coming Victorian Gothic styles.


People related to this lot and structure:

     Abraham Wagener
     Cornelius Masten
     Charles C. Sheppard
     Henry Bradley
     The Shearman brothers

Related structures:

     351 Main Street

Related sites:

     328 Main Street
     326 Main Street
     322 Main Street

Related history:

     The return