73 Second Street
The original (lower, north) part of this house was built for a Blacksmith Shop by Joseph Lawrence very early in the 19th century. Colonel Lawrence (a title gained during service in the War of 1812) and his wife came to Geneseo in 1794. Their first house was a log one east of the Homestead. This burned and they built the original part of the house at 17 South Street. Their garden was on the corner where the house at 75 Second Street is located today. In 1834, he deeded all of this property to his son, Joseph Lawrence, Jr. and he and his wife migrated west. Three years later, Joseph Lawrence, Jr. followed and the property was sold to Hezikiah Ranney who ran a dry goods business on Main Street.
In 1853 the house was sold to Joseph Vanderbelt. Joseph Vanderbelt came to Geneseo in 1839 and was apprenticed to the harness maker, J. B. Hall. He later bought out the business which he conducted until a few years before his death in 1909. In 1850, he married Helen Reed of Geneseo and they were the parents of two sons and two daughters. It is likely that the south wing of the house was added shortly after its purchase by the Vanderbelts. At the time of their 50th wedding anniversary in 1900, the local newspaper noted that the house had been remodeled twice.
The 1869 photograph above shows the Vanderbelt family. On the left side of the porch are John Olp Vanderbelt and his wife Hattie. On the right side of the porch is Mattie. At the gate are Elizabeth and Delia. The boy may be Charles or John.
After Mrs. Vanderbelt’s death here in 1914, the house was transferred to their daughter, Delia Scriver. Mrs. Scriver had married the Honorable Hiriam Scriver of Massachusetts in 1886 but returned to Geneseo after his death in 1890 and assumed a teaching position at the Normal School. She added the attractive porches in 1923.
Charles H. Lawrence, a descendant of the original owners of the home, recounted some information about the family. According to his notes, the 1901 photograph above shows Henry N. Lawrence standing in front of the house in which he was born in 1826. If Henry was one of Colonel Lawrence’s children, he would have been only eight years when the family moved out west.