House Steeped in History on Market for First Time

The Deacon David Hedges house in Sagaponack, a farmhouse built in 1775
“Entering the house is like a walk back in time,” John Wilkes Hedges said of the 1775 Deacon David Hedges house in Sagaponack, which has been in the Hedges family since it was built and is now for sale. Durell Godfrey

The Deacon David Hedges house in Sagaponack, a farmhouse built in 1775 by a descendant of one of the founding families of East Hampton, was listed for sale last Wednesday for an asking price of $11.95 million.

Deacon David Hedges, who lived from 1744 to 1817, was a prominent preacher and statesman. He served for 20 years as supervisor of Southampton Town, was a member of New York’s Fourth Provincial Congress, which adopted the first State Constitution, and was a delegate to the convention that ratified the Constitution of the United States. The house he built is located on Hedges Lane, a street that was named for the family and which, at one point, consisted only of houses owned by Hedges relatives. 

The current owners are John Wilkes Hedges, Walter Rose Hedges, and William Huntting Hedges, who are siblings and 12th-generation descendants of the original Hedges family in East Hampton. “My brothers and I did a lot of manual labor on the house back in the early ’70s, when we were teenagers,” recalled John Hedges. “We dug out and created crawl spaces and did a great amount of other under-house work. My parents were preservationists before it was fashionable. They were determined to try to save the old house, which was in poor structural condition.”

The eight-bedroom, four-bath house is on 3.2 acres and overlooks 81 acres of agricultural reserve. It also features a second structure that can be converted into another residence. “Most likely, the perfect buyer would have a desire to be rooted in the heart of Sagaponack,” said Linda Haugevik, a broker at Douglas Elliman, who is one of the listing agents for the property.

The house is steeped in history. “It was said that during the Revolutionary War, Deacon David Hedges hid his livestock in the small, original cellar which is just under the front portion of the house,” said Mr. Hedges. Even the amenities within the house are vestiges of the past. “Entering the house is like a walk back in time,” he said. “It is basically unchanged since the 18th and 19th centuries. One of the bedrooms has only single-plank boards as walls. The fireplaces and chimneys are original, and the kitchen still has the beehive oven.”

After years of renting out the house (Annie Liebovitz, the photographer, was once a tenant), Mr. Hedges said that he and his brothers decided to put it on the market because certain circumstances made it the only viable option for the family. He added that there were “rumors and musings” about the Village of Sagaponack purchasing it, but no deal had yet been reached.

When it is sold, it will be the first time that the house will not be owned by a member of the Hedges family. Mr. Hedges said he hopes that whoever buys it will honor the family’s legacy. “We are looking for someone who will appreciate the value and role of the house in East End history,” he said.