Archives for August 2011

Underground Railroad in Sodus Point




Sodus Point and the surrounding area were active in the Underground Railroad. From stories passed down, several safe houses were used to harbor “Freedom Seekers” included what is now Maxwell Creek B & B, Silver Waters B & B, the old Cohn Farm and the old Sodus Fruit Farm. Sodus Point ran a Schooner out of the old Ore Dock that would pick up the slaves on its way to Canada.
Here is that story as told by George Arney and Elsie Parsons (the Grandchildren of the Captain of the Schooner)  in November 2010:

Captain George Garlock  ( 1829 – 1906 )  ran a freight schooner  (sail only ) out of Sodus Point, NY named “Free Trader” in the mid-1800’s. It was a two masted, one deck, 46 ton, squared sterned, carved head schooner with a crew of 4. He would take a load of lumber or ore out of the ore dock in Sodus Point to go across to Canada.  The schooner would leave anytime day or night depending on the weather.  He would be going on Lake Ontario west and then north toward Canada to Brighton, Ontario (a small town pretty much straight across the lake from Rochester).  If he saw a small rowboat off shore with people on it, he would stop and pick them up.

These fugitive slaves would come from the Cohn Farm (formerly the Horn Farm) and Old Sodus Fruit Farm ( Old Swales Farm ) and gather at a bluff overlooking Lake Ontario now known as “Freedom Hill”, then called “Nigger Hill”.  If daytime they would see the schooner coming and at night time they used a beacon to get its attention.  They would then go out in a small boat.   These African-American people would then be “stowed away” on board until reaching Canada.  Captain Garlock would then return with a load of grain to one of the local gristmills, or whatever he was bringing back from Canada.

This information above is accurate to the best of my knowledge.

Block and Tackle 667x500

This is the block and tackle used on the riggings of the Free Trader. They were donated to the Lighthouse by Elsie Parson who is the grand daughter of Captain Garlock. They are currently on display at the Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum and are believed to be the only artifacts of the Free Trader left in existence.

Austin Steward was a former slave who spent a year in Sodus Point (you can read his story on this website). He would go on to become a well known abolitionist and author. He said this about the Underground Railroad: “Is not the necessity of an “under ground railroad,” a disgrace to the laws of any country? Certainly it is; yet I thank God, that it does afford a means of escape to many, and I pray that the blessings of Heaven may ever rest upon those who willingly superintend its interests.”

For more information about the Underground Railroad in our country

Click on this link:




How do we know so much about the specifications of the Free Trader and what cargo it carried?


There is a rather amazing story that answers this question. In the 1850s, working  Schooners had to fill out quite a bit of paperwork. For local schooners, this paperwork was stored in a building at the Port of Rochester, NY. This paperwork laid there for decades gathering dust when it was decided to throw old records out. It just so happens that a friend of the grandchildren’s family was there when the records were being tossed out and looked through the records. This person found the Enrollment , Manifests and Entry of Merchandise records for Free Trader and gave them to the family which subsequently kept them for future generations.


The Free Trader Enrollment record is like a car registration for a schooner. It specifies builder specifications for the schooner, owner’s name, where it was built, etc.

To see the 1854 Free Trader Enrollment record click here:



When schooners transported cargo between Canada and the U.S. ports, they needed to fill out a Entry of Merchandise form which showed the cargo, the departure and entry ports and identified the Captain and vessel.

To see the Free Trader Entry of Merchandise dated Sept. 13, 1856 click here:


There is much  more to the story of the Underground Railroad in Sodus Point. For the rest of the story, please click the link:


Captain George Garlock’s Obituary


The Record – August 31, 1906




Captain George Garlock Of Sodus Point Died Suddenly.


The sudden death of Captain George O. Garlock occurred Monday evening at his residence at Sodus Point. Death resulted from an at­tack of heart disease, to which Mr. Garlock was subject. He spent the day at his store on Sand Point, and returned to his home about 5:30 p.m. After he had been home about an hour he complained of feeling ill. In twenty minutes be was dead. Coroner K S. Carr was summoned.


Captain George Garlock was born in Dutchess County, Pa., and was 76 years of age in May. His father was a soldier in the war of 1812, and lived, as his son did after him, in Sodus Point. Captain Garlock was a sailor, and made his living on the lakes for many years. He was twice married, his first wife being Miss Elizabeth Coon of Sodus Point,and his second Miss Adeline Nurden of Canada. Ten children besides the widow survive. They are Georgetta and Jennie Garlock and Mrs. John Bayless of Sodus Point, Mrs. Emma Cortright of Michigan, Mrs. Charles Collar of Sodus, Mrs. Elsie Gaskin and Mrs. Thomas Kelly of Weedsport, William Garlock of Pennsylvania, George of Oswego and Jacob of Sodus Point.


The funeral services will be held this afternoon at 2 o’clock, Rev. Miles of Wolcott officiating. Internment will be made at Bushnell’s cemetery.





Battle of Sodus Point Mural

The Battle of Troupesville, now called the Battle of Sodus Point, occurred on the crest of a hill (now the intersection of John and Bay Streets) on the evening of June 19th,1813 during the War of 1812.

A group of approximately 50 patriots (a combination of poorly trained militia and local volunteers with no military training) fired into the lines of advancing British marines as they ascended the hill from the western shoreline.

Although greatly outnumbered and fighting some of the best trained and battle hardened soldiers in the world, these brave Americans had the courage of their convictions to defend our village from the British incursion.

Unaware of either’s fighting strength and numbers, both British and American forces retreated; Britons to their ships and Americans to the heavy underbrush.

The next day after a barrage from the cannons on their ships, the enemy landed once more. The British marines seized some stores in the warehouses (most provisions had been hidden in a nearby ravine the previous night) and burned most buildings in the village.

Only one building, a tavern known as the “Mansion House”, survived the battle. This building was spared conflagration due the repeated efforts of commanding British naval officers who used the tavern to place fatally wounded American, Asher Warner who died later that day.

Another American wounded during the battle was Charles Terry who died from complications of his wounds a few weeks later.

Two British Marines are known to have been killed during the battle. Privates Job Allen and John Whammond of the 1st (Royal Scots) Regiment of Foot -1st Battalion died of wounds suffered during the battle according to the War of 1812 Casualty Database.

The  mural is dedicated to the bravery of those early patriots who defended this village and, it is hoped, whose courage may serve to inspire future generations.

For additional information about the Battle of Sodus Point, click the following link:

Historical Markers

This plaque is located at 8487 Greig Street, Sodus Point on the north side of the street on the Green Way path by the Oscar Fuerst baseball field.


GPS Coordinates:  Latitude:   43.270520      Longitude:  -76.980570


The Interpretive Panel reads:


The Great Lake Seaway Trail region was the vital transportation and communication link between France and her colonies.

The struggle for control of this area was essential to the early settlers.

This interpretive panel is one of twenty along the Seaway Trail.  On July 1, 1759,  Gen.  John Prideaux’s army camps in Sodus Point on their way to besiege Fort Niagara as part of the overall strategy for dominion of North America.

Twenty years before American colonists declared their independence from Great Britain , another great conflict was fought between 1754 and 1763 for control of North America.

Popularly known as the French & Indian War, the struggle began as a contest for the Ohio River Valley and quickly developed into a multinational struggle fought throughout North America and in Europe, Asia and on the high seas.

The war pitted Britain and her American colonists along the Atlantic seaboard against the French and their colonists in Canada, the Great Lakes Basin and Louisiana. Native peoples supported both sides, but early in the war France had the upper hand in recruiting Native warriors to her cause.

Besides determining that England, not France, would control the American interior, the war had other far-reaching consequences. Many future leaders of America’s revolutionary cause received their early military training in this conflict. American attitudes about Native peoples also hardened during the war’s long years of violent border warfare.


Norse Spear Head

 On Sodus Bay at Charles Point a Viking spear point was found in 1929 by Augustus Hoffman while repairing his boat. It was  properly identified from a study by the University of Toronto as being of Norse manufacture and dating to about 1000 AD.




The Spear Head now resides at the Wayne County Museum in Lyons, NY.

For more information,

click this link:


   Sodus Point WII POW Camp


  • Was one of four WW II POW Camps in Wayne County
  • The camps were necessary because of the severe labor shortage during the war
  • Was located on what is now South Shore RV Park and White Birch Park and RV Campground on Lake Road
  • Was occupied by German POWs from September 7, 1944 to early 1946
  • At its maximum, it held 135 POWs
  • The POWs worked on local farms and in canning factories
  • When working outside the Camp, the POWs were not heavily guarded
  • The POWs were well fed and treated fairly. After the war, several former POWs moved back into the area

For detailed information and photos about this POW Camp

click on this link:

Blessing of the Murals

 Blessing of the Murals In Sodus Point, New York
from Historic Sodus Point

This is the blessing of the murals that take place May 28 – June 1 and again July 11 – 16.  The shadow of the cross from the nearby Episcopal Church is positioned just right to make this happen!

Amazingly, from the Winter Solistice the shadow of the cross moves toward the south and stops moving farther south on the anniversary of the Battle of Sodus Point (June 19th) on that mural and crosses the figure of Asher Warner who was killed at the battle! Also the transition of the cross on the mural starts at 6:19 PM! Between June 1st and the summer solstice, the shadow of the cross make daily transitions across the mural covering numerous locations on the second mural. At various times during that period, every figure in the mural is touched by some part of the shadow of the cross.

After extensive research  on the internet, we believe that there is not a similar occurance anywhere in the world!

For more information and photos about the Blessing of the Murals as well as transition schedules

click this link: