Zehr Estate


Four generations of the “Slaughter”/"Knapp" family occupied the Zehr Estate main house from 1857 to 1945 (88 years), when it was then sold out of the family and turned into apartments and the apartments were rented for 65 years until we purchased this Victorian historic estate for restoration in 2010.

The property was orignally woods and owned by General T. Thomas. In 1795 Thomas sold it to John Shepherd. In 1813, John Shepard sold it to his son, Isaac Shepard, who had it as farm land. In 1824 Isaac Shepard sold it to Aaron Jackson who had a blacksmith shop where the main house now stands. In 1835, Gilbert Hallett bought the property from Elder Jackson. In 1846, Gilbert Hallett sold it to Andrew S. Rice. On April 1, 1850, Rice sold just the lot where the main house stands to T. J. Brooks and his wife, Cynthia Lowman Brooks for $400.00. Thomas Jefferson Brooks built a house on the property where our main house is. Andrew Rice and family lived in the octagon house which stood to the west (our yard on Chemung Street).
Dewitt Slaughter moved to Waverly in 1857 and on April 8, 1857 bought the portion of the property where sits the main house, from Brooks for $1,500.00. Dewitt Slaughter came here with his wife, Caroline and their only remaining living children, Samuel (20 years of age) and Antoinette (10 years of age). It was the local rumor that Dewitt Slaughter had the house built for his son, Samuel Slaughter. We know that the main house was built and designed by Azariah J. VanAtta. We can assume that Dewitt Slaughter hired VanAtta to build the house. Dewitt Slaughter and his family then lived in it. With our research we have narrowed the building of the house to 1857-1868,with remodeling done around 1881. Caroline Slaughter, Dewitt’s wife, died November 9, 1861. Antoinette, Dewitt’s daughter, died March 18, 1868 at 21 years of age. The carriage house was probably built sometime between 1877 and 1888. Dewitt Slaughter died September 18, 1875 and he did leave the house to his son, Samuel Slaughter.

On February 9, 1858, Andrew S. Rice sold to Amelia J. Foster for $1,500, the octagonal home with a part of 9 Athens street and all of current day 7 Athens street. On June 14, 1858, Luman Rice sold current day 3 and 5 Athens street to Amelia J. Foster. On June 25, 1858, Amelia and Henry Foster sold to Edwin Mills for $3,000, the octagon home and current 3, 5, 7, and parts of 9 Athens street.
Samuel Wickham Slaughter married, on May 13, 1873, Miss Charlotte Wells, youngest daughter of Mr. Alfred Wells, of Goshen, N.Y., “a lady whose sterling qualities of womanhood were well fitted to make his home life pleasant and attractive.”

On March 16, 1875 the octagonal house was sold by Edwin Mills and Libbie B., his wife to John S. Conkling. On September 14, 1876 John S. Conkling and Addie sold it to Charles A. Luckey. Then on Sept. 5, 1877 Luckey sold it back to John S. Conkling. Then just over a month later, Samuel Slaughter bought the octagon house and lot immediately to the east for $2,600.00 from John S. Conkling and Adeline, his wife on October 25, 1877.
On October 25, 1877, The “Slaughter” estate consisted of the property at 208 & 208 1/2 Chemung St. and 7 and 9 Athens Street, Waverly, NY. All owned by Samuel Slaughter. In 1879 Samuel Slaughter removed the "Octagon House" on Chemung street to 7 Athens street in order to make a park next to his magnificent home on Chemung street.
An 1888 Sanborn map shows the octagon house where present day 7 Athens Street is. It also shows the "Carriage House" at 9 Athens Street and a small building where the current cottage now is.
Samuel W. Slaughter and Charlotte W. Slaughter had one child, a daughter, Mary Gertrude, born on April 26, 1890. Mary, later went by her middle name, Gertrude (1890-1956).
On Aug. 24, 1894 Samuel Slaughter died at 56 years of age.
Charlotte Wells Slaughter, widow of Samuel Slaughter, inherits ownership of our property. On July 27, 1912 Charlotte Wells Slaughter died and her daughter, (Mary) Gertrude Slaughter (22 years old at that time), now inherits our property. A living descendant of Gertrude Slaughter says the the former carriage house was at one time “Gertie’s playhouse."
A 1908 and 1914 Sanborn Map shows the main house at 208 Chemung Street, small building at 208 1/2 Chemung Street, the carriage house at 9 Athens Street, and the octagon house remains at 7 Athens Street.
Gertrude Slaughter marries George Brinker Knapp (1885-1927) on February 2, 1915. They had one daughter, born in 1916, Charlotte Slaughter Knapp.
On October 8, 1927, George Brinker Knapp died. Charlotte Knapp, his daughter, is only 11 years old.
The 1927- 1945 Sanborn Map (started in 1927, but wasn't finished until 1945) shows the main house at 208 Chemung Street, garage apartment and garages at 208 1/2 Chemung Street, the carriage house at 9 Athens Street is now labeled as an automobile garage, but octagon house and two small buildings behind it are gone. 7 Athens Street is an empty lot.
On November 15, 1945, Gertrude Slaughter Knapp (55 y.o.) sold the property to Mary I. Fralick. Mary Fralick converted the property into the apartment complex and around 1949, to the rear of the main house, a one story porch was replaced by a two story addition. On March 16, 1950, the empty lot at 7 Athens Street, Waverly, NY was sold to Mary Alamo who had the current home there built.
On March 16, 1950, our property consisted of 208 & 208 1/2 Chemung St. and 9 Athens St. Waverly, NY as it remained until January 17, 2017, when we purchased 7 Athens street rejoining the property as it was prior to 1950. From 1945 to 2010 (65 years) the property was owned by 4 separate landlords: Mary Fralick (12 1/2 years), Robert G. and Vera C. Callison/Coveney (12 years), William J. Rynone and D. Scott Jewell (3 years) and Richard Morris who owned the property for a total of 37 years and who graciously sold the estate to us in light of our restoration intentions. He shows much interest in our restoration of Zehr Estate and continues to lend a very knowledgeable helping hand.

In June of 1956, Mary Gertrude Slaughter Knapp died. On Feb. 7, 1985 Charlotte S. Knapp, daughter of George B. and Gertrude Slaughter Knapp died at Los Angeles, CA. She was 69 years old. Charlotte Knapp was the last of the “Slaughter” line to have lived at Zehr Estate.

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