Zehr Estate

Designer/Builder

Azariah J. VanAtta

The following is taken from Our County And Its People. Tioga County, New York:

"An old English family is the Vanette one. The name is now spelled VanAtta. The first one we can trace in this country is Thomas Vanette, born April 5, 1717, in New Jersey. His children were Joanna, Anna, Bridget, Benjamin, and Lydia. Benjamin, born in New Jersey also, on April 12, 1753, married Margaret Middaugh, born June 23, 1755. Their children were Peter, Marietta, Thomas, Johannes M. , Elizabeth, and Isaac. Johannes M., born November 1, 1782, married Elizabeth Albright, born August 16, 1787, came to Barton in 1823, took up a lot of wild land, built a log house, and by industry and thrift developed a fine farm and aquired competence. Of their ten children were Peter, Margaret A., Adam, William, Caroline, Benjamin, Sarah, Isacc, Azariah J., and Rebecca, M. Mr. VanAtta (as now began to be known) died March 7, 1861, his wife surviving him until September 1, 1870. Azariah J. VanAtta, born on the new home in Barton, December 15, 1827, was brought up on the farm. He then married Carlista E., daughter of Calvin and Sarah Ames, and located in Waverly as a carpenter. He has been an active figure in Waverly for many years and the degree of respect in which he is held is derived from his uniform walk and conduct. Since 1880 he has been superintendent of the Waverly water works. Mr. and Mrs. VanAtta's surviving children are E. Clair, a dealer in coal of Waverly; John C., a leading druggist, and Edwin H., also a druggist.

Taken from newspaper: A settler of the 1820ís to Barton was John VanAtta, a native of New Jersey, born in 1782. He came here in 1824 or 1825 and settled on a farm near Straw Hill, which after his death, was owned by his son, A. J. VanAtta. John was a farmer right up to his death in 1861. Johnís wife was Elizabeth Albright and they had ten children: Peter, Margaret, Adam, William, Caroline, Benjamin, Sarah, Isaac, Azariah, and Rebecca.

In 1866, 441 Pennsylvania Avenue, was bought by Azariah Van Atta for $1800, from Cooley. "being the north half owned by Azariah Van Atta during his lifetime" Deed Book 270, p. 571.

Azariah J. Vanatta lived at 152 Chemung street in 1869 and don't know how long prior to that. In 1870, he bought and moved to 441 Pennsylvania Avenue. Azariah and Corlista's children were; E. Clair (dealer in coal in Waverly), John C. (leading druggist in Waverly), and Edwin H (drug clerk).

On August 22, 1869, the Cayuta Chapt. No. 245, R. A. M. was organized. Officers were; O. W. Shepard, H. P., R. A, Elmer, C. K., A. J. Van Atta, S., E. P. Curtis, secretary, Thomas Marsh, treasurer.

On an 1869 map Azariah owned the home at 152 Chemung street, Waverly, NY.

In 1870 George Walker sold the property at 441 Pennslylvania Avenue to A. J. VanAtta for $2500.

In 1871, Azariah J. VanAtta was a master of the Waverly Lodge, No. 407, F. & A. M. . This lodge was organized under a dispensation June 3, 1856, and a chapter granted on June 9.

1873, Azariah J. VanAtta was hired by Dewitt Slaughter to design and rebuild our home at 208 Chemung street, Waverly, NY. This was a wedding gift to Dewitt's only living child, Samuel Slaughter who was married in May of 1873.

In 1876, ground was broken for the new Primary School building on Lincoln street. Mr. Larnard had the job and he engaged A. J. Van Atta to superintend the job for him. The plans and specifications for the building were prepared by Mr. John Seacord.

1880, The Waverly Water Works was completed at a cost of $40,000. Azariah Vanatta was the contractor for this project and it was one of his last as a contractor.

1884 A. J. VanAtta was one of the trustees for the Waverly Lodge No. 497 F. & A. M.

1886 A. J. VanAtta had charge of the repair work being done at "Slaughter & VanAtta's store," Corner Drug Store. (A. J.'s son, John C. VanAtta was partner with Samuel Slaughter in the drug store business.)

1907 A. J. VanAtta donated land next to his home for the Waverly Instititute for the new school building.

1910 A. J. VanAtta was 81 years old living with his wife, Corlista, also 81 years old and their servant, Ruth Davenport, 63 years old, at 441 Pennsylvania Avenue., Waverly, NY. He was superintendent of the Water Works. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 1910.

In 1910 Azariah was nominated as one of the men elected for vice-president of Old Home Week Association.

February 23, 1912 - Obituary of Azariah's wife, taken from Waverly Free Press: Mrs. Carlista Van Atta
After an illness of several years duration, Mrs. Carlista Van Atta died Tuesday night at the family home on Park Avenue, aged 83 years. She was born at Berkshire, Vt., in 1828 and married her husband at West Danby Feb. 12, 1850. Since that time she has lived here and was one of the last residents who had watched with interest the growth of the place from a few farm houses to the village of today. Mrs. Van Atta had been an attendant of the M. E. church for years, and the beauty of her christian character was shown in her unselfishness, and patience during her long Illness. She was devoted to her home, her children and her husband, and it is given to few to have passed 62 years of such happy married life as Mr. and Mrs. Van Atta. Their old age has been ideal and the devotion and care of the husband to the wife most touching.
The sympathy of the community will be glven to the aged husband, two sons E. C. a n d J. C. Van Atta of this place, two grandchildren, Ronald Van Atta also of this place, and Miss Virginia Van Atta of Chicago, and a daughter-in-law, Mrs. E. H. Van Atta of Chicago. Funeral services will be held at the home this afternoon at 2:30 o'clock, conducted by the Rev. Parke Richards. The bearers will be C. E .Brooks, F. E. Lyford, H. H. Kinney, John Shear, W. H. W. Jones and E. F. Perkins. The burial will be at Forest Home Cemetery.

Obituary from Waverly Free Press: May 30, 1913
(Died May 27, 1913):
AZARlAH J. VANATTA HAS PASSED AWAY
Aged Resident Dies at His Home on Pennsylvania Avenue. Was Former Architect and Contractor.
The death of Azariah J. Van Atta, one of the oldest and most prominent residents of Waverly, occurred at his home, 441 Pennsylvania avenue, Wednesday night about nine o'clock. The funeral was held yesterday afternoon at 2:30 from the residence, Rev. Parke Richards officiating, and burial was made in Forest Home cemetery.
Azariah J. Van Atta was born at Barton on December 15, 1827. His parents were John W. and Elizabeth Albright Van Atta, and he was the ninth child in a family of eleven children. The family originally came from Rockburg, Warren county, about 1827. Mr. Van Atta was married in 1850 to Miss Carlista Ames of Danby, and moved at once to Waverly, where he has lived ever since.
On May 1, 1867, Mr. Van Atta joined Waverly Lodge 407 F. & A. M., and in 1871 was chosen Worthy Master of that body. He was the oldest living Past Master of the lodge. Besides being a member of the Masonic lodge here, he was a member of St. Omer's Commandery Knights Templar, of Elmira.
Mr. Van Atta was one of the most highly respected of Waverly's residents, and up to a few years ago, when his advanced age compelled him to abandon his more active pursuits, he was active in the affairs of the community. By occupation he was an architect and contractor. Among the buildings in Waverly which he designed and built are the Shipman building, the Merriam block, the building occupied by Simon Zausmer, the town clock block, the Slaughter residence, the Methodist Episcopal church and the old Baptist church. After the building of the water works plant he gave up his work as an architect, and from that time until a few years ago he was superintendent of the water works. In his later years, though unable to follow the strenuous life he had lived so long, he still retained much of his vitality, and never lost his interest in anything that pertained to Waverly.
He is survived by two sons: John C. Van Atta and E. Clair Van Atta, both of Waverly; and a daughter-in-law, Mrs. E. H. Van Atta of Ithaca.

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