The Peconic Land Trust began work Jan. 28 moving the eighteenth century Lt. Moses Case House to the corner of Hortons Lane and Route 48 in Southold, reestablishing a farmstead on five acres of protected farmland there as part of the Agricultural Center at Charnews Farm, the Land Trust’s North Fork hub for encouraging new farmers.
The Agricultural Center includes nearly 100 acres of farmland leased to new and existing farmers.
The corner was known as Cleo’s Corner for its longtime resident Cleo Sellers, who passed away in 2016, after which his house, which was no longer in livable condition, was demolished.
The Cleo’s Corner property was donated to the Peconic Land Trust by Anne and Tom Hubbard in 2011, as part of a total of three parcels that included the house lot and two open farm fields, totaling 5.7 acres. Mr. Sellers held a life estate on the house at the time of the sale.
The Hubbards had previously given the development rights on all three parcels to Southold Town, which limited any future development of the Cleo’s Corner parcel to the replacement of Mr. Seller’s house. The Case house had a similar footprint, and a new foundation had been poured at Cleo’s Corner and was awaiting the arrival of the Case house as The Beacon went to press.
“Because this project is a combination of farmland conservation and historic preservation, both part of our mission, it is a unique model of how the past and present can not only coexist but also sustain one another,” said John v.H. Halsey, President of the Peconic Land Trust.
Built in 1747, one year before the marriage of Moses Luther Case and Mary Hutchinson, the Lt. Moses Case house has been located in three different communities within Southold Town, most notably in Peconic on the Main Road where, according to town records, town meetings were held. The house was owned over the years by several prominent North Fork families, including Goodale, Terry, Appley, and King.
Moses Case, born in 1723, was active in the Southold militia, ranking as a Lieutenant during the Revolutionary War. He became a Captain in November 1775. He is recognized as a Patriot of the Revolution and was buried in Southold upon his death in 1814. He and his wife raised seven children in Southold.
“The double cape design of the Case house is reflective of the colonial period in which it was built,” according to the Land Trust. “Exterior and interior changes were begun circa 1840, when the front door was replaced with a then-fashionable Greek Revival-style, side-lighted entrance, decorated with delicate tracery over the panes. A porch with a hipped roof and benches was added to enhance and protect the new front entrance. The roof cornice was widened and the end gables were modified.”
“The relocation and restoration of the Case House to this land is a substantive way of not only remembering and preserving the legacy of one of our historic Revolutionary-era figures, Lieutenant Case, but connecting it to our agricultural heritage, present and future,” said Tim Caufield a Senior Advisor at the Land Trust.
The Land Trust has assembled a historic restoration team for the restoration of the Case house, including historic architect John Cunniffe of Cunniffe Architects, master craftsman Scott Brown of Antique Carpenter and historic house mover Stanley Kazel of Dawn Movers.