History of Sandusky. Part 2: The Otey Era

The next principle family of Sandusky was the Otey family who owned Sandusky from 1823-1841. A Christopher Clark did own Sandusky for a short period (1818-1823) but it appears he simply rented it out. During this interim period the house appears to have become rundown as reported by Francis Steptoe Langhorne in a letter to her sister:

…the day before yesterday I proposed riding to San­dusky. It is going or has gone I may with truth say to ruin; there is not one pane of glass in the Kitchen windows the ice house fallen in the house going rapidly to decay, the yard quite grown up in weeds, scarcely any gravel to be seen and in fact the whole even the trees bear a gloomy aspect.

In 1823 Sandusky was sold to John Matthews Otey. Some accounts state that Sandusky was instead sold to his father Isaac Otey (pictured left); however it is John who is recorded as purchaser of the property per a deed book at the Campbell County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office. John, his wife Lucy, and their children lived in a house built for them by Lucy's father located at 1002 Federal Street. In 1823, following the death of Lucy's father's, John and his family moved the father's home at located at 1020 Federal Street. It is possible that John bought Sandusky for his father and mother to live in. Isaac Otey and his wife, Elizabeth, had twelve children; John and his wife, Lucy, had eight. It is possible that several generations of extended Otey family members lived at Sandusky during the Otey ownership.

Not much is known about the Otey residency; however, the family has a fascinating history. Isaac Otey was the oldest child of Colonel John Otey, a “hero” of the American Revolution for leading a company of riflemen in capturing a British vessel on the Pamunky River. Isaac Otey served as a Major, likely with the Virginia Volunteers during the War of 1812. After that he served as a farmer and as a member of the Federalist party served 30 years in Virginia Legislature representing Bedford County. Isaac died at Sandusky in 1839 and is buried in a family cemetery in Bedford, Virginia.

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