Northeast quarter of Lot 37: 1799


ot 37 in the Seventh town, first range of Phelps & Gorham's Purchase comprises all of downtown Penn Yan; the whole length of Main Street from North Avenue (which is the line between Milo and Benton, the seventh and eighth towns) and the bridge across the Outlet, lies within the eastern half of Lot 37. Three quarters of the lot belonged to David Wagener by the time of his death, and made up the inheritance of his two sons.

The northeast quarter of the lot is one of those that was orginally given by George Wheeler to his son-in-law James Scofield in 1791. There is no recorded deed from Scofield to Wagener or anyone else for this property; Cleveland thought Wagener got the northeast and southwest quarters from Barnabas Brown in 1797, and so stated in an article he wrote on the Wagener family which he planned to include in his history of the county.

In any case, Wagener's elder son Abraham certainly inherited the whole of the northeast quarter from his father upon the latter's premature death in August, 1799. He began to sell it off in large plots of several acres each almost immediately. Of the original area of about 69 acres, Wagener sold at least 50 acres before 1810.

It should be remembered that though he owned a sawmill after his father's death, and built a gristmill on the bank of the Outlet in 1801, Wagener never seemed particularly interested in developing the land at the foot of Main Street. All the commercial development in the early years, and much of the industrial development as well, took place at the head of the street, clustered around the four-cornered intersection of Main and Head Streets. When he built his second house in 1816 down near the Outlet (later known as the Mansion House, and the site of today's Knapp Hotel), he farmed the land around it. When in the late 1820s and early 1830s stores began to spring up at the foot of Main Street, Wagener had little to do with it. In 1836 he sold his farm and his mills and moved as far away from Penn Yan as he could and remain on his own property. He returned in 1844, but not to his old farm.

 Above: The map above shows the approximate area along Main Street within the northeast quarter of Lot 37, shaded in pale yellow. The white area at the left is the northwest quarter, which was retained by Robert Chissom when he sold the southeast quarter to David Wagener in 1796. The east edge of the northeast quarter is east of Sheppard Street; its south edge is about where Court Street crosses.

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