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William Yates House

Bortree Road, Sterling Township This white clapboard farmhouse in southern Wayne County was built on 57 acres of land purchased by William Yates from James Spear and others in 1861. William Yates was born in Manchester, England in 1813 and came to America as a young man. The family soon moved to Sterling Township where William spent summers working on the railroad for the Delaware and Hudson Company and winters helping his father. a shoemaker by trade. In May of 1854 William was married to Eliza A. Stevens. Their only child. Minnie, became owner of the house in 1902. She married Ernest C. Garris. The property was sold in 1937 to Raymond and Bertha Exler, and shortly thereafter to Alfred and Edna Bortree. The Bortree family was among the earliest settlers of the area. Harry and Meredith Collins bought the farm in 1965 and it is now the home of their son Raymond Collins. In an article about the house in Historic Buildings of Sterling Township, Doris Bortree Goerlitz recalls her childhood in the house. "There was no central heating or indoor plumbing until the mid-1940s. High snowdrifts sometimes closed the road in winter ... but there was the warmth of happiness and comfort." Raymond Collins has done extensive renovation, but has carefully preserved the simple, charming lines of the old house. The one and one-half story building sits on a stone foundation. has a hand dug cellar and hemlock clapboards. An adjacent icehouse is now adapted to modern uses. One can sit on the long front porch and appreciate the beauty of an old farmhouse and the gently rolling land of southern Wayne County.

Text by Marge Hook and Sally Eno Soden

Line Drawing by William Amptman

From 1993 through 2008 the Honesdale National Bank published an annual wall calendar, each featured 13 historic sites. The sites were chosen and researched by a committee of the historical society and artwork was commissioned to Judy Hunt and William Amptman by the bank.

This page was one month of the calendar and was made possible through the Wayne County Commissioners and a Tourism Promotion Committee’s Tourism Grant.