1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Penn Yan

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PENN YAN, a village and the county-seat of Yates county, New York, U.S.A., situated N. of Keuka Lake, on the outlet extending to Lake Seneca, about 170 m. W. of Albany, and about 95 m. E. by S. of Buffalo. Pop. (1905), 4504; (1910) 4597. It is served by the New York Central & Hudson River and the Northern Central railways and by electric railway to Branchport, and has steamboat connexions with Hammondsport at the head of Keuka Lake. The lake, one of the most beautiful of the so-called “finger lakes” of central New York, abounds in lake and rainbow trout, black bass, pickerel and pike, and there are many summer cottages along its shores. At Keuka Park, on the west shore of the lake, is Keuka College (1890), and at Eggleston's Point is held a summer “natural science camp” for boys. The village is the seat of the Penn Yan Academy (1859). The lake furnishes water-power, and among the manufactures are paper, lumber, carriages, shoes, &c. Much ice is shipped from the village. Penn Yan is an important shipping point in the apple and grape-growing region of central New York, and winemaking is an important industry. The first frame dwelling at Penn Yan was built in 1799; the village became the county-seat in 1823, when Yates county was created, and was incorporated in 1833. The first settlers were chiefly followers of Jemima Wilkinson (1753-1819), a religious enthusiast, born in Cumberland township, Providence county, Rhode Island, who asserted that she had received a divine commission. She preached in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Obtaining a large tract (which was called Jerusalem in 1789) in the present Yates county, she founded in 1788 the village of Hopeton on the outlet of Keuka Lake about a mile from Seneca Lake. Many followers settled there, and she herself lived there after 1790. Some of her followers left her before 1800, and then the community gradually broke up. The name of the village is said to have been derived from the first syllables of “Pennsylvania” and “Yankee,” as most of the early settlers were Pennsylvanians and New Englanders.

See Lewis C. Aldrich, History of Yates County, New York (Syracuse, 1892).