The Lawrences                                

ohn Lawrence was one of the earliest settlers in the town of Milo, arriving with his family in early July, 1789. They settled in Lot 3, for which he paid 40 cents an acre. He built one of the early mills on the Outlet, (at Milo Mill) and kept one of the very early stores, near the highway on Lot 15. He dressed and spoke in the Quaker fashion; but he had fought in the Revolution. Like the Hathaways who were members of the Society of Universal Friends, he was from New Bedford; in fact his wife was a relative of theirs, Anna Hathaway.

Anna died in 1830, aged 75; her husband survived her, dying in 1833, aged 80. They had nine children, several of whom were involved in Penn Yan's history.

  • Melatiah Lawrence, the oldest son, was born in 1774; in 1811 he married the widow Mary Alford, who already had a daughter by her first husband. After their marriage the couple lived in Penn Yan, on the site of 322 Main Street. He owned a sizeable plot of land adjacent, and also all of Lot 32, where all of the village east of Jacob's Brook now lies. He died in 1824, aged 50.
  • Mary Lawrence married James Stoakes, a native of Maryland. The couple lived in Milo for a time, went to Maryland and then, after Stoakes died the widow and her seven children returned to Penn Yan. She owned land along Main Street in the village that she bought from Joseph Jones and from Samuel S. Ellsworth. She remarried, to Hendrick Miller, and died in 1836. Her children by Stoakes and Miller's children by his first wife disposed of her property. Her daughter Ann Stoakes Parrott owned the house next door for a time; she married William Griffin, and the couple later moved to Goshen, Indiana.
  • Samuel Lawrence was much involved in local politics, being an early Supervisor of Milo, and was elected to the Assembly in 1818. Governor Dewitt Clinton appointed him Sheriff of Ontario County in 1821, an office he held when Yates County was set off in 1823. He was twice married, first to Anna Clanford, a niece of David Wagener's, and second to the widow Polly Kidder. He lived at least part of the time in Penn Yan, building a house on Cherry Street in 1802 which stood for 150 years and was the oldest house in the village when it was destroyed by fire. The couple also lived in a house on Main Street, in which both died.
  • Reliance Lawrence was the wife of Joshua Way.
  • Anna Lawrence married first to Henry Townsend, and then after his death to Martin Kendig.
  • Olive Lawrence married Joel, son of John Dorman. She bought a lot on Main Street and had an office in it. The lot was for years called the "old Dorman lot" though she was neither the builder of the house on it nor the lot's first owner.
  • John Lawrence Jr. married Hannah Cornwell, William Jr.'s daughter, in 1817. He died in 1833, at the age of 37.
  • Sabra married Abraham Townsend, a brother of her sister Anna's first husband.
  • Silas Lawrence married Caroline Cornwell, a daughter of William Jr.'s brother John. After her husband's death she moved to Penn Yan and lived there some years.

Mary Lawrence Stoakes was associated with:


  225 Main Street
  219 Main Street


  The County Seat


Melatiah Lawrence was associated with:

Land plots:

  His 3-acre purchase




Olivia Lawrence Dorman was associated with:


  219 Main Street