Shown on the 1854 Wall Map of Chautauqua County in the name of John Steward, Esq., the home at today’s 32 East Main was shown on the 1867 Atlas of Chautauqua County in the name of J. Steward, and on the 1881 Atlas of Chautauqua County in the name of Mrs. M. Steward. John Steward, Esq. was probably a second-generation member of the John Steward, Sr. family who arrived early in Chautauqua County. Several members of this extended family are listed in Town of Harmony cemeteries as found on Chautauqua Gen Web, and some are listed in the “Business Directory” of the 1867 Atlas. An uncle Sardius Steward is also listed in the “Personal Notices” of the 1881 Atlas.
In her 1966 book Nineteenth Century Houses in Western New York, State University of New York professor Jewel Helen Conover covered this house as well as two homes owned by Sardius Steward. About the John Steward house, she wrote, “Another Steward house in Panama was built about 1827. The Ionic scrolls are larger than usual, owl-like, and the design is much simplified on the pilasters and on the Ionic columns flanking the entrance. A wood-carver and carpenter named John Newhouse worked on some of the Panama houses, and local tradition has it that he carved Greek-style columns out of solid tree trunks. He may have interpreted other Greek motifs, also, in his own way, and they may appear, unidentified, on some of the houses in this area.” For further information, consult the deed records of the Chautauqua County Clerk and the genealogy collection of the Chautauqua County Genealogical Society.