Wednesday, June 1, 2011

UPDATED! 30 North Main Street: The Residence of W.R. Post

I know I say this often, but one of the things I love most about this blog is how often relatives of owners of historic houses here in the Village contact me! This happened recently and proved to be very fruitful!

Previously, I wrote about the history of 30 North Main believing it to have been built for L. Emory Terry. Nope. Because the 1894 map showed a smaller structure, I wrongly assumed the current house replaced the previous house, when actually the current house is the original house enlarged and modified, but still recognizable. Here is an early photo, courtesy of Joy Becker.

The house is and was originally full of Italianate style detailing, such as widely overhanging eaves with decorative brackets and a low pitched roof. Later, as the house was expanded, the Italianate detailing was continued with the addition of the cupola and the maintenance of the porch trim detailing. “Like its contemporary, the Gothic Revival style, the Italianate style was an outgrowth of the wave of artistic romanticism that swept western Europe at the turn of the nineteenth century.”[1] There are still a nice number of Italianate style homes in the village.

So it turns out, 30 North Main Street was built prior to 1858 and listed as the residence of W. R. Post. “William Rogers Post, the sixth in line of descent from Lieut. Richard Post, was born April 8, 1811. On his mother’s side he was descended from Obadiah Rogers, the founder of a family always prominent in the town…..At the age of nineteen he went on a whaling voyage in the ship “Phoenix” [with] Capt. Henry Green. He afterwards made several voyages, in all a period of five years. The next two years were spent at home, and he then went to Sag Harbor and became a partner in business with Judge John Osborn, and for a part of the time was ship agent. When the whale fishery came to an end, he returned to Southampton in 1852. A fortunate speculation in oil and bone had given him a fortune and he at once took a prominent position, built the finest home in the village, and in all things was the foremost man in Church, Sunday School, Village, Town and County. In 1852 he was elected Supervisor and held the office for five years. In 1865 he was again elected and occupied that office for twelve years. …..The great characteristic of Mr. Post was, that whatever he did was done well…..His useful life ended May 14, 1889.”[2]

Circa 1900 the house was purchased by Charles Lester Emory Terry (1860-1936), better known as L. Emory Terry. Mr. Terry was also a prominent Southampton Village citizen. Born in Southold, L. Emory grew up on the north fork with four other siblings. Sadly though, his father, Hampton Terry, died four years after he was born.

“Mr. Terry was a descendant of the first English settlers in New York State, who came to Southampton town in 1640 from Lynn, Mass. He was one of the most prominent bankers and civic leaders in Suffolk County for many years……For many years he was a member of the board of Education of the Union Free School District of Southampton, and also served as its president. He also was president of the Colonial Society of Southampton and the Parrish Memorial Museum Art Association. Mr. Terry was one of the organizers of the Southampton Bank in 1888, serving as cashier until his election as president….”[3]

In 1884 L. Emory married Helen Ann Halsey (1859-1916) and they had two sons together: James Foster and Hampton Emory. After Helen’s death, he married Ann Halsey White (1862-1928) in 1917. He outlived them both, dying in Southampton at the age of 76.

The property is currently owned by Timothy M. Bryan. Prior to them, David A. Sutton and Robert Tucker owned the home, and previous to them the house was owned by Achille H. (1911-2000) & Jeanette A. Colledge for about 65 years.

[1] Great American Houses and Their Architectural Styles, Virginia & Lee McAlester
[2] Celebration of the 275th Anniversary of the Founding of the Town of Southampton, 1915
[3] New York Times, Jan. 11, 1936

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