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.
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
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
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.