Abraham Wagener's individual lot sales


braham Wagener always exhibited an ambivalent attitude about the settlement that started around his father's gristmill. On the one hand, he immediately started selling off large portions at the north end of Main street, but held onto prime commercial property at the foot of the street for more than three decades. He was always identified with the group that wanted the are at the foot of the street to be "downtown", but his actions don't readily support that identification.

Be that as it may, as the land he was selling lay further and further south, he sold it in smaller and smaller pieces. These last three lots in the northeast quarter of lot 37 illustrate this pretty well.

The lot marked "A" on the map was sold in 1815 by James Smith of Benton to Asa Cole, for $100, marking it nearly certainly as unimproved land. Cole was a tavern- and store-keeper at the head of the street, who clearly saw opportunity to the south along Main street. Smith, obviously, bought the land, amounting to one acre, from Wagener in the first place, but the deed is unrecorded. He too was an entrepreneur at the head of the street; about this time he apparently fell on hard times, and perhaps that's why he sold this lot. The land was home to a succession of commercial enterprises, was split about in half, reunited as a dwelling lot, and then was split again into the lots that eventually became #s 310 and 312 Main street.

"B" was also intended to be a commercial property. Wagener sold it to John F. Ellsworth in 1817, for $150 (which seems to have been his standard price for a single lot). It was sold a couple of times in quick succession after that: to Amasa Holden, a cabinet-maker; to William Babcock; to Samuel Babcock (probably a relative, maybe a brother); and then in 1830 to Henry Welles who built the beautiful house that still stands at #306. The two lots on either side were also made from the Welles lot near the turn of the 20th century.

"C" is the only one of these lots that remained more or less intact. Wagener sold it in 1823 to Abel F. Turrell, also intended to hold a store. The interesting thing about the deed is that it doesn't mention Court Street. The lot abuts the two-acre "Public Square" directly on the north; by 1824 the street is mentioned in land transactions, thus giving us a pretty good idea of when it was opened for traffic.


Abraham Wagener, of course, was the origional owner of all the land we have been looking at. As the 1820s dawned he began to sell off land for development in much smaller pieces than those we've considered so far. Shown on the map are three lots in the northeast quarter of Lot 37 that Wagener sold to individuals for dwellings or stores. (A) is the one-acre Asa Cole lot; (B) is the one-acre Henry Welles lot; (C) is the lot sold to Abel F. Turrell. The last is the only one of the three not subsequently subdivided.


Abraham Wagener sold most of the northeast quarter of Lot 37 to people who intended to subdivide. He sold only these three smaller plots to individuals who meant to build on them.


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