Videos of History and Proprietors of Zehr Estate
Four generations of the Slaughter/Knapp family occupied our "Zehr Estate" main house from 1857 to 1945 (88 years), when it was then sold out of the family and turned into apartments and remained apartments for 65 years until we purchased this Victorian historic estate for restoration in 2010.
Sometime around 1784, General Thomas Thomas was given a military grant to purchase land in this area which included all of Waverly plus much more. General Thomas was a Revolutionary patriot, who lived in Purchase, NY. At that time, our property was all woods.
In 1796, John Shepard purchased 1,000 acres from General Thomas, which included all of present day Waverly and more. He paid $5.00 an acre. Later, Mr. Shepard purchased more tracts of land. John Shepard was born in Plainfield, CT. He lived on a farm in Milltown, (Sayre PA.).
In 1813, Isaac Shepard purchased a large amount of land from his father, John Shepard, for $2,000. Our property plus much more was included in that purchase. Much of the land was farm land.
In 1824, Aaron Jackson purchased some of Isaac Shepard's farm land for $645.00. Our property plus more was included in that transaction. Aaron Jackson had his farm house on or near the southwest side of current day Waverly street, and his blacksmith shop on the current site of our main house. Rev. Jackson also had a barn in this vicinity. His buildings are no longer standing. Aaron Jackson was a blacksmith from Brookfield, Orange County, NY.
On March 23, 1824, the town of Barton was formed from Tioga, but only extended to just west of Cayuta Creek. What is now the village of Waverly was then included in Chemung county. The boundary line was changed in 1836 and what is now the village of Waverly became a part of Tioga county.
In 1835, Gilbert Hallett purchased Rev. Jackson's blacksmith shop, house, and barn including 45 acres of farm land for $1,200. Gilbert Hallett came to Waverly in 1833 with his father and brother, Joseph Hallett Sr. and Joseph E. Hallet Jr. Gilbert Hallet lived in the former Amos Spalding's log house on the current site of 311 Chemung street. (around this time, all of our property was a field of oats)
In 1846, Andrew S. Rice purchased a small part of land from Gilbert Hallett for $1,900. This purchase included the land of current day 208 Chemung street, 208 1/2 Chemung street, along with 3, 5, 7, and 9 Athens street. Andrew Rice had his octagon home built just west of the former blacksmith shop on Chemung street. The octagon home stood where our current yard is to the west of our main house today on Chemung street. He was a foundry man/machinist. In 1855, A. S. Rice along with Guy Tozer of Barton invented a new and improved "Kind of Self-Setting Sawmill Dog," in the use of which lumbermen were enabled to saw their lumber of a uniform thickness. Andrew Rice with his family later moved to Brooklyn, NY.
In 1850, part of our property became divided.
April 1, 1850, A. S. Rice sold off a lot where the blacksmith shop had stood, to T. J. Brooks and his wife, Cynthia Lowman Brooks for $400.00. Pre-1853, a rectangular home shows up on this lot. Thomas Brooks was born in Otsego County, NY. In 1852, he opened a general store on Broad street. In April of 1853, he was one of the men to make a formal application to incorporate the village of Waverly. Thomas Brooks became a ticket agent and paymaster for the railroad.
At this point, around early 1850's, our current property had a rectangular home where our current main house is and an octagon home to the west of our main house in our current Chemung street yard. The rest of our property was vacant according to an 1853 map.
In December of 1856, Luman Rice purchased a part of Andrew Rice's land, which is today's 3 and 5 Athens street for $700.00.
On April 8, 1857, Dewitt Slaughter purchased Thomas Brook's home for $1,500. According to maps and to inspecting our basement ceiling, first floor- floor joists, and the foundation, the home was then added onto by Dewitt Slaughter and by 1869 had the foundation layout it has today. Dewitt Slaughter was a retired wealthy farmer from Hamptonburg, Orange County, NY. Dewitt came here with his wife, Caroline Mills Slaughter, and their children, Samuel, 20 years old and daughter, Antoinette, 10 years old. Mrs. Caroline Slaughter died on November 9, 1861. Antoinette died on March 18, 1868 at 21 years old. In 1873, Dewitt had the home renovated as a wedding gift to his son, Samuel. The home was designed and redone by Azariah J. VanAtta. Dewitt Slaughter died on September 18, 1875.
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 February 9, 1858, Amelia J. Foster purchased the octagon home on Chemung street which included part of today's 9 Athens street and all of 7 Athens street for $1,500. In June of 1858, she also bought current day 3 and 5 Athens street for $1,000.
On July 2, 1858, Edwin Mills and his wife Libbie purchased the Foster property with the octagon home. In 1875, John S. Conkling purchased the octagon home along with a part of 9 Athens and all of 7 Athens street land. Then in 1876, Charles A. Luckey bought the Conkling property, only to sell it back in 1877 to the Conklings.
On October 25, 1877 Samuel Wickham Slaughter purchased the octagon home and land with it for $2,600. So, on that day, Samuel Slaughter owned the property that we own today. In 1879, Samuel moved the octagon home around the corner and down the hill to current day 7 Athens street, "in order to make a park next to his magnificent home on Chemung street." He had the carriage house at 9 Athens street and the former outbuilding at 208 1/2 Chemung street, built sometime between 1877 and 1888.
In 1894, due to Samuel's death, his wife, Charlotte Wells Slaughter owns the property.
In 1912, due to Charlotte Slaughter's death, Mary Gertrude Slaughter, only child of Samuel and Charlotte, owns the property at just 22 years of age. In 1915, (Mary) Gertrude Slaughter married George Brinker Knapp. The property remained in (Mary) Gertrude Slaughter Knapp's name. George Knapp died in 1927.
In 1945, Mrs. Gertrude Slaughter Knapp sold the estate to Mrs. Mary Fralick and it became an apartment complex. In 1950, Mary Fralick sold off 7 Athens street for a building lot to Mary Alamo who had the current home at 7 Athens street built. The octagon home that had been there mysteriously vanished sometime after 1931 and before 1942. We are still researching to find if there was a fire or it was torn down for some other reason. In 1950, when Mrs. Fralick sold off 7 Athens street, she took away a piece of the original Samuel Slaughter estate. Mary Fralick owned the property for 12 1/2 years.
Mary Fralick was born in Bradford county on February 15, 1896, the daughter of Perry and Mary Huff Elsbree. In 1912, she graduated from East Smithfield High School. Her first husband, Loron Pierce, operated the Marilorn Cabins in Waverly for several years with her. She married her second husband, Ralph W. Fralick, of Kingston, PA. on November 27, 1943. They lived at the Marilorn in Waverly until purchasing 208 Chemung street on November 15, 1945 where they lived on a first floor apartment in the main house. They moved to Florida in 1962. She died in Florida on January 18, 1992.
In 1958, Robert G. and Vera Callison purchased the Fralick property, keeping it an apartment complex. Actually according to the late Gordon Callison, son of Robert, the property was given to Robert as a retirement gift from the company he had been employed with. The Callison's owned the property for 12 years.
Robert G. Callison was born in Bowser, Texas and attended schools there. In 1912, he moved to Arizona and attended the Phelps-Dodge Mining Corporation School in Bisbee, Arizona where he became a mining engineer. He was a veteran of WWI and later graduated from the El Paso School of Mines and worked for Ingersoll-Rand at El Paso. He was transferred to the Athens, PA plant. He was then sent to Mexico City and Central America for the Ingersoll-Rand and he joined the New York, Honduras and Rosario Mining Co. in Honduras, Central America. In 1926, he returned to the Athens plant and married Vera Carpenter. He then went to the Northern Peru Mining and Smelting Corp. After returning to the United States he was at the Phelps-Dodge Corp. in Arizona. He then went into business for himself as an oil distributor in New York. Later, he managed the El Dorado Mining in El Salvador. He liquidated the El Salvador and New York Honduras and Rosario Mining Co. and returned to Waverly, NY in 1957. On May 31, 1958, Robert G. and Vera C. Callison purchased the 208 Chemung street property and kept it apartments while living on the east side first floor apartment. Mr. Callison was a village of Waverly trustee for several terms. After selling the property in 1970, the Callison's remained on as tenants. Robert died in 1973. Vera remained a tenant at 208 Chemung street and later remarried becoming Mrs. Vera Coveney.
In 1970, Richard and Ruth Morris, my (Amy) parents, purchased the property on land contract at first, from the Callison's, then later a mortgage. My (Amy) parents owned the property for a total of 37 years, keeping it apartments. (William J. Rynone and D. Scott Jewell owned it for about 3 years, 1979 to 1981.)
Richard Morris was born and raised in Wyalusing, PA. He joined the army in June of 1955 and finished in 1958. While serving in the army, he was cook, truck driver, and worked in artillery. In 1958, he went to work for a construction company and helped, along with his father, to build the Towanda Hospital in Towanda, PA. Richard held various jobs through out his working career before becoming self-employed: riveter for Piper Aircraft in Lockhaven, PA, riveter for Schweizer Aircraft in Horseheads, NY, A&P grocery store in candy and shipping, produce manager for Acme grocery store in Waverly, NY (current "Jolly Farmer" building), worked on military jeep bodies at Twin Coach in Waverly, NY (about 1962), and worked on picture tubes at Westinghouse at Horseheads, NY. In the 1960's, he bought his first "Mr. Softee" ice-cream truck. Soon afterwards, he purchased another for his wife, Ruth, to operate. Later, their ice-cream business was changed to D&R, for Dick and Ruth. The locals still call him, "Mr. Softee" and Ruth, "Mrs. Softee," names that have stayed with them thru the years. Dick and Ruth also owned and operated the D&R ice-cream stand in Athens, PA for over 25 years until the flood of 2011 closed them down. Richard, "Dick" as most people know him by, still had one D&R ice-cream truck, which when it ran, his son, Herb, operated for him, up to about 2018. Dick and Ruth no longer operate their ice-cream truck/business. Thru Dick's years of self-employment he also owned and operated laundromats in Athens and Sayre, PA, a gas station in Athens, PA, and several rental/apartment houses in the valley. In 1980, he purchased "Van's" gas station on Elmira street in Sayre, PA and named it "Dick's Auto." For many years he sold auto parts, tires, gas, and kerosene. In 2011, he quit selling the gas and kerosene. He currently continues to sell, change and fix tires at Dick's Auto. He enjoys watching our progress at Zehr Estate.
In 2010, we purchased the 208 Chemung street property which included 208 1/2 Chemung street and 9 Athens street.
In January of 2017, we purchased 7 Athens street. With this purchase we brought back together the original Samuel and Charlotte Slaughter estate, which we have named Zehr Estate.