house now standing here was built in 1871 by Mary Jane Landon, who lived
in it until her death. She ran a well-known boarding house during that time,
and apparently built the place with that in mind.
This lot and the one
to the north were joined through most of their history. They were part of
a larger plot that William Babcock bought from Morris F. Sheppard in 1814.
In 1824 Babcock sold
the lot, with about 60 feet of frontage on Main Street, to Elijah Spencer
of Benton. Spencer apparently had no intention of actually living in Penn
Yan, as he had an extensive farm in Benton. The interesting thing about
this deed is that it is the earliest known document referring to the lane
on the south boundary, now called Mill Street. It is known from other records
that Jackson Street was opened up at about this same time, referred to usually
as Back Street or Second Street (now it's Linden Street). It is mentioned
in earlier deeds as a lane that led down from Head Street to Morris F. Sheppard's
fulling mill, which lay on the bank of Jacob's Brook. A 30-foot-wide right
of way had been reserved from Main Street to the mill as early as 1814;
but apparently about 1824 the location of the lane was moved some distance
to the south, to where Mill Street now is, in time to form the south boundary
of this particular lot.
resold the lot in 1830 to Morris Earle, a tailor who had his residence and
shop in the old Lewis Vanderlip stand, which stood on the site of 341 Main
Street, adjacent to this lot on the north. Earle lived in the old house
for the rest of his life, and presumably rented out the one on this lot,
which was shown on both the 1854 and 1857 maps of Penn Yan. In the latter
year, the house was the residence of N. Tracy; in the former, it is simply
shown as a tenant house.
In 1856 Morris Earle
sold several lots to Stephen Raymond, including this one (still including
#341, where he lived), and another across Main Street. He stayed in his
residence, so this must have been something like a mortgage arrangement.
It was Raymond who sold this part of the lot to Mary Jane Landon, in 1863.
The boundaries and conditions of this sale are quite interesting. The north
line was drawn 8 inches north of the house that stood on the lot, only 2
feet 10 inches south of Earle's house. It passed 4 feet north of a well
then used by both houses, and Raymond retained the use of this well for
his tenant, as well as a right of way to the well and past it to Mill Street.
In return, Miss Landon had an easement for access to the part of Earle's
lot that he used for a bleaching yard.
Presumably, Miss Landon
lived in the old house until she built the one that now stands on the lot
about 8 years later. In his notes on Main Street written in about 1874,
Cleveland says the house was new in 1872. The Chronicle reported
in its issue of 27 July 1871 that "Miss Jane Landon is building a new
house on Main street a short distance below Head street. It will be a good
improvement in that quarter, and afford her a comfortable home."
In 1898 she transferred
the house to the General Conference of Free Baptists, and five years later
it became the residence of Zebina C. Griffin, and of course remains virtually
unchanged until today.