Miles Benham plot: 1820


he "Miles Benham" plot is a shorthand way of indicating the southern half of Jonathan Bordwell's 1814 purchase. Clinton Street was laid right through the middle of it in 1835, and all the sales to individuals in this part of the plot were made by Miles Benham after he acquired the 14-acre tract in 1820. Bordwell and Benham were business partners, and both of them lived at this end of the property. John Dorman owned four acres south of the Benham plot; and then there was another that belonged to Bordwell. This seems to have been a pattern along this part of Main Street, where relatively large plots were bought early in the 19th century, and then broken up into quite small residential and commercial lots after about the middle of the 1830s, when business began to shift from the Head Street intersection south toward the canal and the mills.

Miles Benham built a house on this property, towards the south end, and so did his brother George. Their sister Harriet, widow of George D. Stewart, moved back to Penn Yan after her husband's death in 1825 at Bethel (now Gorham), and lived next door to George long after Miles went west in 1841.

All the lots that left the family's hands were sold before Miles left town: in 1833 the lot at the corner went to Samuel F. Curtiss, where he built a chair factory; another lot, about the same size (one acre) but with a longer frontage on Main Street, was sold to John Clark in 1835, where a group of iron-working shops were built; in 1840 two small lots were sold, one each to another pair of business partners, Leander Reddy and Roscius Morse, on which a "Pill Factory" was built. The last two lots were large ones, the acre or so on which Miles Benham built his own house soon after 1820; and the more than two acres on which George Benham built his house (known as the "Benham Cottage") in 1829.

On this last lot, the southernmost in the whole 14-acre plot, Charles Phillips built a tannery sometime around 1808 or 1810. This enterprise was down by Jacob's Brook (no doubt grossly polluting it). Phillips was the father of Samuel Curtiss' first wife Abigail and of Joshua Lee's wife Sophie; he also had a son named Perley. He lost his tannery to bankruptcy in 1815, as did a great many people after the end of the War of 1812. Phillips' land was auctioned to George D. Stewart, who was married to Miles's and George's sister, and this is where her brother George built his house. Miles ran the tannery in partnership with Jonathan Bordwell until he left Penn Yan, and after that George ran the business. The dam and the pond backed up behind it were in use at least through the 1860s and are mentioned in deeds for several decades after that.



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Use one of the buttons below to find out more about the individual lots and structures derived from this plot:

163 Main St.




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NE corner of lot 37

 


Use one of the buttons below to find out more about the smaller plots made from this one:

Leander Reddy lot
Roscius Morse lot



The southern part of the 14-acre Jonathan Bordwell plot was in the southeast quarter of Lot 37. Miles Benham acquired the whole thing in 1820, and sold it off beginning in 1835.