Historic Southampton Home of Freed Slave Could Be Demolished

51 Pond Lane, Southampton Village. Photo credit: Sally Spanburgh
51 Pond Lane, Southampton Village. Photo credit: Sally Spanburgh

A Southampton Village residence believed to have been the home of slave-turned-sailor Pyrrhus Concer could be demolished soon, if the village signs off on an application to raze the house.

According to historic preservation advocate Sally Spanburgh’s blog Southampton Village Review, Concer was owned by the family of Captain Nathan Cooper, then sold to Charles Pelletreau at the age of 5. Pelletreau eventually freed Concer, who joined the crew of the whaling ship Manhattan and traveled the world. He is said to be the first African-American to visit Japan. After his whaling career, and traveling to California during the Gold Rush, Concer made a home in the village near Lake Agawam and started a ferry business, taking passengers back and forth from the village’s downtown to Meadow Lane. A group of village residents is hoping to revive the ferry in the summer of 2014 in honor of the 200th anniversary of Concer’s birth.

Spanburgh wrote in her blog that Southampton Town believes the existing house at 51 Pond Lane was built in 1920—after Concer’s death— but historic maps suggest it was built before 1858.

“It was definitely not built after he died, but I haven’t been able to prove that except for the maps,” she told Dan’s Tuesday.

The agenda for Wednesday’s Southampton Village Board of Architectural Review and Historic Preservation meeting includes a public hearing on an application to demolish the dwelling, cottage, garage, pool and shed to make way for a new two-story single-family dwelling.

“It should not be torn down but should be designated as a landmark and proudly protected and preserved for many years to come,” Spanburgh wrote.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at village hall, 23 Main Street.

For a detailed history of Concer’s life and home, visit shvillagereview.blogspot.com.

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