When Isaac Cox and his brother Joseph arrived in western New York in 1804, the area was still an untamed wilderness. They were among the earliest settlers in the Wheatland area. Today the vast area west of the Genesee River remains rural and is still known for its picturesque countryside.
The Cox family belonged to the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers. Quakers played a key role in both the abolition of slavery and the women’s rights movements of the 19th century. When Isaac married Anna Shadbolt in 1808, they began to buy up large tracts of land to clear for farming. They made good money raising wheat, which allowed them to invest in more and more land until they were harvesting thousands of bushels in one season.
By 1838, the family included nine children, outgrowing their log cabin. Construction began on a new Federal-style cobblestone farmhouse, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. New York had an abundance of cobblestones due to the glacial deposits and wave action of the Great Lakes. The stones were originally a hindrance to early farmers until they began to use them as an inexpensive building material.
The construction of cobblestone homes flourished in western New York from 1825 until the Civil War. It has been estimated that 90% of American cobblestone buildings are located within 75 miles of Rochester, New York. Isaac Cox selected cobblestones that were relatively uniform in size by passing them through a metal ring, adding rows of stones into lime mortar, carefully placed for decorative effect.
The home’s basement was used for fruit, vegetable, and milk cellars. An open fireplace in one of the cellars allowed the family to move into the home in the summer of 1839 before the house was completed. Elaborate orchards and gardens were designed by Ellwanger & Barry, renowned landscape architects from nearby Rochester. People came from miles around to see what was then called the “Show Place of Monroe County”.
Isaac and Anna Cox lived in the farmhouse until their deaths in 1846 and 1879, respectively. Thomas Brown and Melissa Cox Brown continued farming and living in the homestead until 1899, when they sold the estate to John and Catherine Resch, whose family owned the estate for the next sixty-six years. In 1964, the massive estate was split, the east side of the road sold to Frances Krenzer, and the home, barns and 30 acres on the west side sold to George and Ruth Letson.
The Letsons developed a successful Christmas tree business on the acreage, eventually passing the estate to their son Peter, a bachelor. Peter continued the business, although never taking up residence in the farmhouse. In Peter’s later years, he became friends with Kane Gascon, who helped out on the farm from time to time. Interestingly, Peter agreed to sell the entire property to Gascon, whose keen interest in the history and grandeur of the property led to the transaction.
Kane, his wife Kristina, and their son Remi (who interestingly enough was named for a former owner – Remington Resch) now live in the cobblestone farmhouse. Kane’s family spent the better part of two years converting the barns into a wedding venue. The truss barns were built in 1896 by J.T. Wells & Sons, who designed nearly two hundred barns in the region. The arched truss design, patented in 1889 by John Talcott Wells, Sr., feature a gambrel-roof form on the outside with enormous Gothic cathedral-like arches on the inside.
KANE & KRISTINA
In January of 2016 local history lovers and catering professionals Kane & Kristina Gascon purchased the property and began the process of preserving and restoring the barns and cobblestone Mansion. We invite you to visit the amazing homestead and be part of the preservation of this unique slice of American History.
Schedule a visit Today with Kane (585)447.0545
History of Wells Barns at the Cobblestone Wedding Barn see:
"Isaac Cox Cobblestone Farmstead." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 08 Aug. 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Cox_Cobblestone_Farmstead
"Town of Wheatland New York." Town of Wheatland New York. N.p., 2016. Web. 08 Aug. 2016. http://www.townofwheatland.org/#!town-history/c16nc