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Another historic Wright house

November 12, 2015
By Marybelle Beigh - Another historic Wright house , Westfield Republican

There are some fascinating stories and mysteries about another historic Wright house at 309 E. Main St. Known variously over the years as the Seymour House, the Guile House, and "Drovers Inn/Home/Rest," this long brick house dates back to at least 1829, or possibly earlier.

According to Andrew Young's 1875 history of Chautauqua County, Reuben Wright, father of Reuben Gridley Wright who built the Wright House at 233 East Main, "came to Westfield in 1814... [He] established the carding and cloth-dressing business on the west side of the [Big Chautauqua] creek, near the present [1875] site of Rorig's mill and brewery, which business he continued until 1829. He then bought a farm about a mile east from the village now owned by James O. Guile. A public house was for many years kept there by a son of Mr. Wright [Allen], and was distinguished as the 'Drovers' Home.'"

Maureen Ross, who wrote a history series for the Westfield Republican newspaper called "Westfield Past and Present" describes "The Guile House" in the first article of the series. "The Guile House, 309 East Main Road, the home of Wellington Guile Seymour, was built by Reuben Wright, a native of Connecticut who came by ox cart to Westfield in 1814. Wright operated a carding and cloth mill above the Rorig bridge until 1829 when he bought the farm a mile east of town from the Holland Land Company and soon after built the long brick house.

Article Photos

Courtesy Patterson Library
This photo, circa 1875, shows 309 E. Main St. Standing in the gateway is Annie Guile Mateer, who was about eight years old in 1875. Behind her are Grandpa and Grandma Guile.

"Two years before his death in 1847, Wright deeded the house and farm to his son Allen Wright, who for about 10 years conducted the Farmers and Drovers Hotel in the homestead. In 1866 he sold it to Jonathan Watson who in 1867 sold it to James O. Guile, the grandfather of Wellington Seymour as well as of Edward and Robert Mateer and Mrs. Harlan Munson of Westfield. Mr. Seymour inherited the homestead from his mother, the late Belle Guild (Mrs. Carl) Seymour."

Research of family tree for Reuben Wright (17 Nov 1784-13 Oct 1847) shows the following information: Reuben's parents were Reuben Wright (1749-1841) and Martha Gridley (1756-1844); married spouse, Betsey Seymour (1787-1880) on 10 Mar 1811; Children: Unnamed Child Wright (died at birth), Betsey Maria Wright (1813-1814), Allen Wright (1814-1887), Betsy Marie Wright (1817-1901), Charlotte Wire Wright (1820-1884), Reuben Gridley Wright (1824-1906), Martha Mills Wright (1828-), Franklin Martin Wright (1834-).

In a Patterson Chapter DAR bio of Reuben Wright's father is a statement that he "Came to Westfield in 1817 [1814?] and bought land on the Wright Road where his son, James, afterward lived and now owned by his great-grandson, A.S. Fitch." Mystery! Could Wright Road be what we call "Martin Wright Road" since a grandson is named Franklin Martin Wright?

The Ross Article contains many interesting facts and anecdotes about the Guile House, including that there are about 30 rooms in the house, and that the basement contains 10 rooms, one of which is the old wine cellar from when the house was a tavern. "In another room of the cellar is an eight foot bath tub made of cement which was constructed for the comfort of Allen Wright, the tavern keeper, who was more than six feet tall and weigh 300 pounds." Apparently the tendency to being large was inherited as the DAR biography comments that "He [Reuben Wright, Allen's grandfather] was said to have been a remarkably strong man, over 6 feet in height and of powerful frame."

In the Westfield Republican of March 15, 1990, former Westfield Historian, the late Billie Dibble, wrote a Dibble's Dabbles titled "Indian Trails, Stagecoach Stops, Were Part Of Westfield's Early History" in which she includes "Old Drover Inn." Dibble provides some additional descriptions after quoting from the Ross' article. "It is difficult for us to picture in our minds the huge droves of cattle which at one time were transported on their hoofs through this area. Of course, the cattle and drovers must stop for rest and refreshment along their route The Holland Land Company usually granted an inn-keeper a large lot for an inn in order to provide plenty of room for settlers moving to new homes for their cows, sheep and hogs, and drovers taking livestock to market"



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