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Historic home donated to Marcellus Historical Society

Former residents donate Tefft House

By John Curtin

Lewis T. and Alma B. Steadman, former residents of Marcellus and now living in Lake Bluff, Illinois are the owners of the historic Tefft House, located at 18 North Street in the village of Marcellus. They have recently announced that they are gifting this property to the Marcellus Historical Society.

18 North Street was the home of Dr. Lake I. Tefft who settled in Marcellus in 1823, and practiced medicine in the community. He acquired the property about 1827 and built the house in the 1830s, where he and his family lived and he tended to farming, as well as his medical profession. On April 1, 1864, Tefft, because of ill health, sold the property and moved to Syracuse where he remained until his death in 1880.

The property had been sold to Robert F. and Mary Rhodes North and for a number of years they and their family occupied the house and farmed the land. The property was sold to Thomas Hill in 1880 and then to Jonathan Chrysler in 1881, pieces of it sold off to other individuals in the years that followed.

Steadman's parents, Prof. Robert F. and Calista Anne Steadman, acquired the property in the winter of 1934 and it was in this house that Lewis Steadman grew up, attending the new Marcellus school that was built on what is today Reed Parkway. It was at this school that he met his future wife, Alma, daughter of William and Alma Bailey of Marcellus.

Lewis Steadman and Alma Bailey were 1943 graduates of Marcellus High School and following their graduations from Syracuse University, were married in the house at 18 North St. on May 11, 1946. The couple moved to Detroit where Lewis took a job with the Ford Motor Company, and Alma, after attending Wayne State College, earned a Masters Degree and became a teacher of Latin. They moved from there to Washington, D.C. where, from 1948 to 1951, Lewis worked in the patent office while attending George Washington University Law School. Following graduation, the couple moved to Chicago where Lewis began a successful practice as a patent attorney and where, although semi-retired since 1998, he still practices law.

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