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The 2024 Solar Eclipse

Sodus Point has been waiting for 99 years for a total solar eclipse to come to our village. The last one occurred in 1925. Now it was coming once more on April 8, 2024  at 3:21 pm and we were to be near the middle of the 70 mile wide path of totality!


The excitement as this day approached was palpable. Many organizations in Sodus Point and the surrounding area made plans. Some were for fun and some were for fund raising. This enthusiasm was curbed somewhat by the long-term weather data from this day of the year which showed we had about a 50% chance of good weather.  People waited with high hopes and yet also a touch of trepidation. What would the weather be at the time of the eclipse was the question on everyone’s mind.


The day before the eclipse was a nearly perfect cloudless day and the day after would also be nearly perfect. On the days leading up to the eclipse, the weather forecast predicted a cloudy day during the afternoon hours of April 8th. many of us feared the worse and finally the day arrived….


Different Perspectives of the Eclipse:


Sodus Bay Heights

By Bruce Farrington


The morning of April 8th started with partially cloudy skies and high wispy clouds. This was acceptable but would it stay that way? The weatherman said no. As the morning approached noon, it got increasing overcast and with 2 hours to go it was fully overcast.  At this point, if you caught a glimpse of the sun, it was at best fleeting.


Yes it was a cloudy day for the eclipse in Sodus Point but I did record totality and it getting dark for posterity using a GoPro camera as a 360 movie. You can watch it as a standard movie on your PC, tablet, phone etc. or if you want the ultimate experience of being there, watch it with a VR headset. When you watch it click the tool icon to get the highest quality resolution since for some reason YouTube defaults to a lower resolution. Remember this is a 360 panoramic movie so you can move 360 degrees when viewing it. Here is the link:



Ontario Beach Parking Lot

 By Daniel Liut


A large crowd had gathered at the beach and in the adjoining parking lot to watch the Eclipse. There is excitement in the air despite the cloudy skies. Daniel Luit took a 6 minute video of the event. This is not a 360 video but he rotates the camera around to catch the view from all the directions. Listen carefully as you can hear a small boy say “this is the best 4 minutes o f my life!!”…


Here is the link to the video:


The Pier Light

 By Marina Crider

One of the cool and unique things about the eclipse that few people had considered was that due to the eclipse path being from Texas to New York, this would be the only time (as totality approached) in our lives that we would first see a sunset in the Northeast and as it departed we would see a sunrise in the southwest.

Marina Crider caught the sunset in the Northeast (from the beach with the pier light in the forefront) perfectly in this beautiful photograph:


On the Beach

 By Laurie Fowler

With the sun behind the clouds, the Lake Ontario beach was the perfect place to witness totality approaching and departing as well as the sunset in the northeast and the sunrise in the southwest in these stunning photographs by Laurie Fowler….


At the Lighthouse (Before Totality) 

 By Tom Plantz


One of the focal points for eclipse watching was at the lighthouse. This event was to be a fund raiser and the planning and advertising had begun months earlier and a large crowd was expected.



People had come from both near and far to catch this once in a lifetime party!

Soon the crowd gathered, and the festivities began.

There was even a large screen erected to track the progress of the eclipse as it got closer and closer…..

As totality approached, Tom Plantz (aka walking Tom) realized that the temperature would drop and came up with a daring plan to stay warm!


At the Lighthouse ( Totality) 

 By Harrison Vandewalle


It was now time for the big event….

The lighthouse was dressed in her finest…..

The crowd was expectant…..

And Totality was upon us!


As fast as it came, it was over and the crowds went home. Photo by Tom Plantz




I would like to thank all the folks who spent time planning and organizing this event in our community. A special “Thanks” also to all who contributed with their movies and photos for keeping this historic moment alive for posterity. You all made this once in a lifetime event truly a once in a lifetime event.

Compiled by Bruce Farrington

Old Post Cards

As a resort community, where people spent their vacations or just came for a short visit, they wanted something to remember it or something to show family and friends. Over the years many post cards of Sodus Point and Sodus Bay were created for that purpose. Collecting these cards is a popular hobby of many people today.


As they are shared, more will be added to this site.


Thanks to Bonnie Lee of Wickham Boulevard for the following cards, which feature the Yacht Club and the Sunbeam.


The next collection is from Sue Snyder.



Here’s one from Amanda (Pat) Parsons.

Trolley in the Snow

Back in the day of the Rochester-to-Sodus Bay trolley in the early 1900s, the roadways were not plowed in winter. There was, however, a trolley car that had a rotary snow plow attached to the front to help keep the trolley tracks clear.


Often the farmers drove their teams with sleighs down the trolley roadbed adjacent to the Ridge Road. When a trolley met a sleigh, the trolley car would back up to a driveway or road crossing, but if the trolley overtook a sleigh going in the same direction, it followed the vehicle to the nearest crossing or driveway.


Sometimes these villages along Ridge Road, including Ontario, were snowed in for 24 hours or even more without news from the outside world or newspapers or mail. (No telephones for most people in those days.) Some of the more nervous citizens would sit up late at night waiting for the rotary plow to get through for one or more trolley cars would surely follow it with shivering passengers, the mail and tidings as to how the outside world was going.


Story and photo by Frank Robusto

Lead up to the Battle of Sodus Point


We now know a great deal more about the lead up to the Battle of Sodus Point thanks to Scott Bannister who did research on his ancestor Colonel Asahel Bannister who was the Quartermaster in charge of the supplies and barracks in Sodus Point during the War of 1812.  The information comes from the efforts of William Eadus who in addition to Captain William Wickham applied to Congress for compensation for the destruction of their houses that were used to store supplies for the militia and provided barracks as well. Ultimately neither man would succeed in this endeavor. The first account is William Eadus’s petition for compensation before Congress. The second account was Congress’s denial of this petition. Both accounts provide information about the battle that have not previously come to light. The two sections are somewhat lengthy  but  explains some aspects of the battle that have always puzzled me. Specifically:


Why didn’t the British attempt to negotiate the release of the Sodus Point supplies like they did in Pultneyville? The answer is they did.


If the British fleet was off the shores of Troupsville sometime in the afternoon of June 19th what were they doing between then and the attack that took place just before midnight? Why give up the element of surprise? The answer is they spent around 4 hours negotiating under a flag of truce.



Why did the British execute an attack at night. This was exceeding rare during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. It was considered to be very dangerous. The answer here is somewhat speculative but could be this: They knew the militia was already present from the negotiations and wanted to attack before it would be reinforced. Attacking at night would give them the element of surprise or so they thought.


The other piece of information is that the supplies and barracks for the militia was stored in at least two locations. Not just at Capt. Wickham’s house but at another house 2 doors west at William Eadus. Like Captain Wickham, he also attempted to get the Congress to reimburse him for his loss and was ultimately denied compensation.



Scott Bannister writes:


I recently have had the opportunity to look through your excellent website about all things Sodus. Of particular interest was the history of the Battle of Sodus Point since my ancestor, Colonel Asahel Bannister, was involved. Below is a bit of additional reporting on the Battle and especially interesting is the U.S. House of Representatives Committee Report regarding the claim of William Eadus for loss and damage to his property:


Asahel Bannister, was born at Goshen, MA on July 17, 1784 and he died at Geneva, NY on January 16, 1858 at the age of 74. Asahel Bannister married Polly Mighells on February 22, 1807. Polly Mighells was born on May 10, 1787 and died on January 23, 1837 at the age of 50.


As did many of the male members of the Bannister lineage, Asahel Bannister, at the age of 28, volunteered to defend American interests and was named as an officer of the U.S. Army in the War of 1812. Asahel is mentioned in at least one account as the Quartermaster of the 24th Brigade of the New York Militia under the command of brigadier general William Burnett. Colonel Asahel was involved in the battle with the British at Sodus, New York on June 19, 1813 (he was responsible for the successful storage and securing of a great deal of provisions and military equipment which were the subjects of a raid by the invading British forces and the eventual burning of the village of Sodus).


According to historical accounts, Lake Ontario provided the easiest way for travel in an east-west direction, and British ships took advantage of their strong Navy and the open lake to steal U.S. government supplies housed in such warehouse locations as Oswego, the Rochester port of Charlotte and Sodus Point, New York. On June 15, 1813, the British fleet attacked Charlotte for government supplies. When word of this incident reached Sodus Point, the militia was called up to defend the Wayne County village should the British continue moving eastward.


For five days the village waited for British ships. In the meantime, residents hid the highly sought supplies of flour, whiskey and pork in the woods. However, on June 19, 1813 with no British in sight four days after attacking Charlotte, militia members were sent home. That afternoon, the British ships finally came into view, approaching from the unexpected east, and about 60 residents and militia men who could be flagged down gathered to defend the village.


About 100-150 British soldiers came ashore at midnight and engaged in battle before retreating. They discovered that the warehouse housed very few supplies, and in anger returned the next day to plunder and burn the village. The only building spared was the tavern where injured local resident Asher Warner was brought to die.


Battle of Sodus Point: Village to Mark 200th Anniversary of Role in War of 1812, Finger Lakes Times (Susan Clark Porter May 19, 2013)


William Eadus’s  Petition to Congress  for War Reparation


A full account of Colonel Asahel Bannister’s involvement in the Sodus Point battle is set forth in the Reports of the Committees of the U.S. House of Representatives, Second Session of the 22nd Congress, December 5, 1832 (William Eadus war reparations claim– Report No. 45, January 16, 1833):




Page 45: “Case of William Eadus .


William Eadus claims payment for property destroyed or captured by the British forces at Sodus, in the county of Ontario, and State of New York; and the following is a statement of his claim:

1 two-story house – – – – –                                                               $2,500

3 feather bed.’, $60; bed clothes, $80 – – . –                                     140

6 bedsteads, $60; 5 under beds, $35 –  – –                                          95

1 carpet, $25; 1 mahogany dining table, $30 – –                                55

1 cherry dining table, $10; 1 bureau, $16    –                                      26

1 breakfast table, $10; 1 stand, $3; 1 dozen chairs, $12 –                 25

1 six plate stove and pipe, $25; 2 set bed curtains, $32 –                 57

1 barrel of mess pork, $25; 3 hair trunks, $24 – –                             49

2 1/2 barrels of flour, at $9 50 – – – –                                                   23.75

6 bed cords, $6; earthen, and 2 full sets of china, $100 .             106

15 stone pots, 87; paints for house and vessel, $60 –                       67

Black lead —                                                                                               2

Kitchen furniture – – – – –                                                                    200

Medicine and vials, $8; fringe, $18; books, $60 – –                        86

Soap and tallow, $8; tea and sugar, $10 – –                                      18

1 barrel of vinegar, $15; family pictures, $10 – –                              25

Looking glass, $12; 1 box of window glass, $8 – –                           20

3 tea boards, $10; 1 pair of plated candlesticks, $4 – –                   14

2 pair of brass candlesticks, $4; 3 pair of snuffers and trays, $6  10

Horse tackling (silver plated,) $30; 1 woman’s beaver hat, $10   40

Leech tub, $3; 6 table cloths and 12 towels, $40 – –                       43

1garden rake, $3; pick axe, $2; 2 hoes, $2    –                                    7

1 brace of pistols, $12; gun, $12 – –                                                    24

1 dirk bought of Darrer, purser of the Oneida brig – –                   12

Fruit trees and poultry — –                                                                  10

1 side board, $20; 2 bedspreads and one quilt, $30-                   60

1 spy glass  – –                                                                                        25

Wearing apparel for self and wife, and eight children,

estimated at                                                                                       500



It is alleged that the dwelling-house mentioned in the foregoing statement was destroyed by the enemy, and that the other property therein enumerated, was destroyed or taken by them in consequence of the house being occupied by order of an officer of the United States as barracks for soldiers then in their service, and in consequence of a party of such soldiers being stationed at a breastwork thrown up on the claimant’s lot, and very near his house for defence, and to prevent the enemy from landing.


The claimant has exhibited, in support of his claim, the following testimony taken on oath before Robert W. Stoddard, the special commissioner appointed for that purpose.


Evidence as to the destruction of the house, and the causes for destroying it.


William Burnett, brigadier general of the 24th brigade of New York militia, states that, on the 16th June, 1813, intelligence was received that the British had landed at Genessee river, and were coming to Sodus where was deposited large quantities of provisions and stores destined for the American army then in service against Canada; that he thereupon ordered into the service of the United States, the regiment of militia commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Swift, and ordered it to repair to Sodus for the protection of the public property; that such militia did assemble there and removed a considerable part of the provisions to a place of safety; that Elias Hull was a captain then in service in the said regiment, and Asahel Bannister was a quartermaster to it; that, on the morning of the 19th of June, 1813, the enemy not then appearing, the greater part of the militia was dismissed, and only a guard retained for the property so removed; that in the night of that day the British fleet put into Sodus Bay, landed a party of men, carried away or destroyed the provisions remaining in the storehouse of Nathanie Merrill, and burnt that storehouse and several other buildings, among which as he is informed and believes, was the house of the claimant; and that it is his opinion that the depositing the provisions at Sodus induced the enemy to come there, and was the cause of the destruction of the claimant’s house and the houses of other private citizens.


     Asahel Bannister states, that, in the attack made by the British on the village of Sodus, he acted as Quartermaster in Colonel Swift’s regiment of militia, then in the service of the United States, and was the bearer of a flag of truce to the enemy, and met by the flag from them; that the officer who bore the British flag proposed to him (Quartermaster Bannister) to spare the village, and not to burn or destroy private property, upon condition that the public stores and provisions which had been removed were given up to them; that he (Quartermaster Bannister) replied that he was not authorized to make any such stipulation, but would report the same to his officers, and in three or four hours would return them an answer; that he reported to his officers what had passed, and again bore a flag to the enemy and informed them that the public property would not be given up to them;


that the British officer distinctly stated that their intention was only to obtain the public provisions, and if they were given up peaceably, would engage not to come again to Sodus during the war, unless it should again be made a deposit for public stores or become a military post; that, for want of proper camp equipage, he, as quartermaster, was obliged to make use of private dwellings for barracks for soldiers then in service; and that he ordered a commandant of a company to take possession of the claimant’s house, and that he believes, in consequence of the orders so given by him, the house was occupied by the soldiers for barracks;


that, on the first landing of the enemy, a smart conflict ensued between the British and a party of militia a little west of the claimant’s house, in which several of the enemy were killed and wounded; and that he is of opinion that the depositing the public stores and provisions at Sodus, and assembling and stationing a party of militia in the claimant’s house, were the causes of the destruction of it.


Elias Hull states that a large quantity of provisions, destined for the American army, were deposited at Sodus, and on or about the 16th June, 1813, an alarm was spread that the enemy were coming to seize these provisions; that a large number of militia, under command of General Burnett, marched to the defence of Sodus; that he was a captain, and commanded a company in Colonel Swift’s regiment, and, with his company, went to Sodus, by command of General Burnett; that, by the exertions of the militia, a considerable part of the provisions was removed to a place of safety; that a breastwork or fortification was thrown up on the lot, and very near the house of the claimant, for defence, and to prevent the enemy from landing, and was occupied by the soldiers for that purpose; that a part of his company were, by his express and positive orders and direction, quartered in, and made barracks of the house of the claimant; that, for the want of tents and other necessary camp equipage, the commanding general ordered that the private houses in the village should be used for quarters and barracks;


that, in the night of the 19th June, the British fleet put into Sodus bay, and landed a party of men; that, at this time, a considerable part of the militia had been dismissed, but on receiving intelligence of the arrival of the enemy, he repaired to the scene of action, and collected as many soldiers as he could, and placed an outguard at the breastwork aforesaid, and stationed the main body at no great distance from the battery, in the road between the house of William Wickham and the house of the claimant; that the enemy the claimant, for purposes of defence, and, to prevent the enemy from landing; that, in the night of the 19th June, 1813, the enemy landed and made an attack on the village, and burnt and destroyed the claimant’s house; that there was a sharp conflict between the militia and the British on their first landing; and that it is his opinion the destruction of the house was in consequence of the throwing up and occupying the said breastwork for defence, and of the depositing the public stores as aforesaid.”


Congress’s response to William Eadus’s Petition


Here  is the link to the U.S. House of Representatives Report as to Mr. Eadus’ claim:



From the first couple of pages from the Report which are set forth below it appears that Brigadier General William Burnett first ordered on June 15 the call-up of Lieutenant Colonel Swift’s regiment and Major Granger’s rifle battalion along with Captain Dorsey. Other regiments and companies followed over the next two days according to Brig. General Burnett’s statement. From the Report it is stated that Colonel Asahel Bannister was assigned to Colonel Swift’s regiment.


The Report is lengthy with testimony procured from over a dozen people and it gives a very detailed account of the events. From what I could tell Lt. Colonel Swift along with his regiment including Colonel/Quartermaster Asahel Bannister) marched from Phelps to Sodus on Wednesday, June 15. General Burnett apparently dismissed the troops on Saturday morning, June 19. That evening he received information that the British fleet had arrived in Sodus Bay and called for the troops to march back. The battle ensued after the ‘parlay’ occurred on Saturday evening, June 19, according to witness Thomas Wafer. I would guess Col. Bannister and others did not withdraw during Saturday since he was present and on the battlefield on Saturday evening bearing the flag of truce. By Sunday the British had torched six buildings at Sodus and then withdrew. Apparently, over the following two days (Sunday, June 20 and Monday, June 21) additional troops arrived but by then the British had withdrawn from the area.




Read, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House tomorrow.


-Mr. McINTIRE, from the Committee of Claims, made the following REPORT:


The Committee of Claims, to which was referred the petition of William Eadus, report:


That this petition was presented at the first session of this Congress, and an adverse report made thereon March 26, 1832; which report was printed, and referred to a Committee of the Whole House.


Additional testimony has been taken by the petitioner, and presented to the House, and referred to this committee.


Elizabeth C. Fitzhugh testifies that the family of the petitioner, and particularly the two daughters, whose testimony is noticed in the report, were, for several days previous, and at the time the village of Sodus Point was burned by the British, in 1813, with her at her house, two miles from the village.


Bennet Farr, John Fellows, Elisha Sisson, and Nathaniel Kellog, jr. all testify, in general, without going into particulars, that the guard of about forty men, under Captain Elias Hull, retained by order of General Burnett, to guard the provisions and stores removed, were quartered, and continued to be quartered, in the house of the petitioner till the evening when the enemy landed and set fire to the village, and burnt the house.


It does not appear, what opportunity these witnesses had of knowing the facts to which they, in general terms, testify, unless it might be inferred from some expression in the affidavit of Farr, that he belonged to Captain Hull’s company. Every person, the least familiar with legal proceedings, knows the deceptiveness of depositions taken ex parte, unless made full and particular, showing the means the witness has of being acquainted with the facts he relates, so that it may be seen what he knows as coming under his own observation, and what he knows, or thinks he knows, from the relations of others. This case will illustrate this remark. Nearly every witness, whose affidavits were at first adduced last session, testified to a fact they could not know, except by hearsay, with the same positiveness in general terms as to the other facts in the case. Their general and unqualified language is, that when the enemy landed a skirmish took place, and several were killed on both sides. Now, the landing was in the night, or after dark, and our troops retreated. These witnesses, therefore, could not know from other testimony, appears to have been obtained by the officer who went with the flag.


The committee have again looked at the evidence adduced heretofore, and the additional evidence, and have also obtained again the transcript of the case from the Third Auditor’s office referred to in the report, and examined that. They have examined General Burnett’s official report of the affair, made a few days after it occurred, from the collections of the Third Auditor. In this report, he says: “On the evening of the same day,” (the 19th of June,) “an express arrived, that the enemy’s fleet had anchored off Sodus bay, and were preparing to land. I immediately ordered those who had not proceeded with me to return, and detached an officer for the remainder; but the enemy had effected a landing before more than forty or fifty arrived, and who, though provided with only a few cartridges, engaged with them, but owing to the darkness of the night,” &c.


Considering that when the evidence was originally taken, when the transaction was comparatively recent, no attempt was then made to show any occupancy of the house after the morning of the 19th of June, when the militia were generally dismissed; that there was an indiscriminate destruction of the whole village on refusal to deliver up the public stores and pro visions; that Mr. Hugunin, who had the facility of daily communication with the petitioner, did not pretend there was any military occupancy after the morning of the 19th–and his argument was founded on that fact; that the petitioner gives a singular account of the loss of his original papers, and after they were lost, and he knew it, he made inquiry for them of the Third Auditor before he took new evidence; that all the evidence first taken, and General Burnett’s report of the transaction, are inconsistent with the facts now attempted to be established; and that no attempt is made to explain the apparent discrepancy in the affidavits of Captain Hull, together with the loose manner and general terms of the depositions on which the petitioner rests his case; the committee are not satisfied that the destruction of the petitioner’s house was occasioned by its occupancy by the troops in the service of the United States as barracks; and they adhere to their opinion, heretofore expressed, that he is not entitled to relief.


PHELPS, June 26, 1813.


SIR: On the evening of the 15th instant, I received information by express, that the enemy had landed at Genessee river and committed some de predations, and were steering for Sodus bay, where considerable public property was stored. I ordered out Lieutenant Colonel Swift’s regiment and Major Granger’s rifle battalion, who marched on Wednesday. Captain Dorsey’s company of exempts marched at the same time, and under my directions removed the public property to the safest place, which time and the country afforded, and dismissed the troops on Saturday morning. On the evening of the same day, an express arrived that the enemy’s fleet had anchored off Sodus bay, and were preparing to land. I immediately ordered those who had not proceeded with me, to return, and detach an officer for the remainder, but the enemy had effected a landing before more than 40 or 50 arrived, and who, though provided with only a few cartridges, engaged with them; but, owing to the darkness of the night and the superior force of the enemy, were obliged to fall back to where the stores were secured, and had four men wounded, and one since dead. The enemy, as I am informed by the officer of the flag the next day, had seven men killed. In the meantime, I had ordered out Lieutenant Colonel Howell’s regiment, Major Rogers’s battalion, and Captain Rees’s company of artillery, who arrived the two following days. A number of volunteers arrived at the same time, part from Colonel Dobbins’s regiment, Seneca county. On Sunday morning, the enemy set fire to, and destroyed six buildings, and soon after embarked and left the shore, taking with them, as informed by Mr Merrill, about 230 barrels of flour, a few barrels of whiskey and pork, principally private property, and then demanded the surrender of the public property, and a deserter, whom they would exchange for one they had taken along the shore, which was immediately refused. I ordered Lieutenant Colonel Howell’s regiment, Major Rogers’s battalion, to Putneyville, where the enemy had steered their course, and had previously ordered part of Lieutenant Colonel Colt’s regiment to Sodus, and dismissed Colonel Swift’s, they having been on duty for some time. The property saved to the public consists of about 800 barrels of flour and pork, and is now sufficiently secured from the enemy, having or dered a guard to remain and protect it. – – The returns of the number of men have not yet been made out, but will be immediately attended, and sent to your excellency. The season of the year is now so important to farmers, who compose the greater part of our country, has proved to be such a loss to those ordered out, by leaving their business, that some provisions in this case will be necessary to be made, and for the teams that removed the public property. The alacrity with which the citizen soldiers obeyed the call of their country in its defence, cannot be too highly commended. The enemy, too well aware of the patriotism of our citizens, left their situation without effecting their greatest (the taking and destroying of our stores) before one hundred and fifty men had assembled.


I am, sir, with sincere regard,


Respectfully your obedient servant,


WM. BURNETT, Brig. Gen.


His excellency [Governor] DANIEL D. Tompkins.

The Other British “Invasions” of Sodus Bay

Most people in the Sodus Point area, know the story about the time the British landed in Troupville (later Sodus Point) on June 19th, 1813 during the War of 1812. It did not go well for our village as they fought a skirmish with a group of farmers and militia and ended up burning all but one of the buildings.
Lesser known is the fact that this was not the 1st “incursion” of British Troops into Sodus Bay. Actually it was at least the third!!! Fortunately the other times, it was before our village was founded and their stays were benign.
Here is the story of those other two times:


July 1, 1759 during the French and Indian War


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.
On July 1, 1759,  Gen.  John Prideaux’s army (perhaps as many as 2,300 men which included 700 New York Provincial troops and hundreds of Iroquois warriors that rendezvoused with him at Sodus Bay) camps in Sodus Point on their way to besiege Fort Niagara as part of the overall strategy for dominion of North America. General Prideaux would die 18 days later on July 19th, 1759 during the siege of Fort Niagara when he was decapitated by friendly fire by one of his own mortars.
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.
General Prideaux’s army traveled along Lake Ontario using bateaux.


“Bateau” is French for “boat,” but it was also the name for a flat bottomed watercraft, 25 to 40 feet long, that was used on Lake George and the Great Lakes. The vessel was made of pine planks with oak frames, stem, and sternpost. The boats may have been Dutch in origin. Bateaux were also used by the French, British, and later, by Americans. The bateau was pointed at bow and stern and had an oar tied at the stern for steerage. A bateau could be rowed, poled in shallow water, and sometimes a crude mast and sail were used. During the French and Indian War, bateaux were built in Schenectady and Albany boatyards and then transported over water and land to Lake George and Lake Ontario.


May 14, 1764 during Pontiac’s War:


Pontiac’s War (also known as Pontiac’s Conspiracy or Pontiac’s Rebellion) was launched in 1763 by a loose confederation of American Indian tribes, primarily from the Great Lakes region, the Illinois Country, and Ohio Country who were dissatisfied with British policies in the Great Lakes region following the French and Indian War (1754–1763). Warriors from numerous tribes joined the uprising in an effort to drive British soldiers and settlers out of the region. The war is named after Odawa leader Pontiac, the most prominent of many Indian leaders in the conflict (from Wikipedia).
(the following information thanks to Tom Sawtelle of Clyde, NY)
A body of troops in bateaux, consisting of 5 Canadian companies and some Royal artillery, and  led by British Captain John Montresor, landed at Sodus Bay on May 14, 1764 on their way to Fort Niagara. The troops were part of the Bradstreet Expedition. They “Encamped on the Presque-Isle as being the most defensible.” This, I believe, would be Charles Point. There were 20 bateaux and over 300 men. The small army’s departure was delayed by a gale, and remained at Sodus until the morning of the 17th.  Even when they did depart, the seas were quite rough.

Painting of British Captain John Montresor by Copley

Here is the link to John Montresor’s journal which mentions this:
Here is biographical information about John Montresor:


Here is information about the Bradstreet Expedition:


Here is some additional information about Col. Bradstreet:


The Canadian forces under Montresor’s command were the first such troops raised after the capture of Canada by the British during the French and Indian War.

The Day an Airplane Crashed Into Sodus Bay


March 23, 1951 was a sad day for this area. An airplane carrying two people crashed into Sodus Bay killing both passengers. Here is its story:


From the April 5th, 1953 Sodus Record



Above photos courtesy of Bob Miller

Sodus Bay Junior Sailing Association

Photos from the Sodus Bay Junior Sailing Association Facebook page


Click this link  to watch a 4 minute slideshow of the Sodus Bay Junior Sailing Association:


A special thanks to Ed St. George for documenting the history of this wonderful organization!

A Brief History of Sodus Bay Junior Sailing Association

In 1956, several visionary members of the Sodus Bay Yacht Club (SBYC) joined together in a “Junior Sailing Committee” to explore the possibility for creating a youth sailing instructional program. Commodore Garrett Smith, Charles K. Bloomer, Richard Chittenden, Edward Sohmer, C. William Stuart and Lyman Stuart incorporated the Sodus Bay Junior Sailing Association in March of that year and in 1959, it officially became a 501c(3) educational organization, completely separate from SBYC. This was a first-of-its-kind organization for youth sailing in the upstate NY area, as most all other similar programs across the United States were part of a Yacht Club’s organization, without the benefit of 501c(3) charitable status. Rhodes Bantams were chosen as the small boat for sail training. They could accommodate up to 4 students and provide experience with jib, main and spinnaker sails.


In the mid-60s, a small cottage on the east side of SBYC was rented annually from the Yacht Club for $200. Annual summer camp participation grew during the 1960s and 70s to almost 100 children, ages 8-18. In 1975, a small red cottage was purchased from Jerry Harris, owner of the neighboring marina to the east of SBYC, and a right-of-way was established with SBYC for access to the waterfront, as the property had no waterfront boundary. By the late 1970s, with support from donors and a regional foundation grant, SBJSA’s fleet of small sailboats grew to include (9) Rhodes Bantams, (5) Flippers, and (3) 420s, plus a used 22 ft. Aquasport center console powerboat for coaching and safety purposes.


In the 1980s, the camp operation was split into two daily half-days of sessions (A&B) and a new 2-hour daily bus run was established to help transport kids from neighboring towns in Penfield at 8 a.m., Pittsford, Perinton, Macedon, Palmyra, Newark and Lyons, arriving at SBJSA at 10 a.m. A racing program was established and camp instructors became certified under a new set of U.S. Sailing guidelines. Late in this decade, the daily A/B split schedule across 6 weeks was replaced by an all-day schedule that ran for two 3-week sessions. Early in this decade, all of SBJSA’s wooden sailboats were replaced by fiberglass models and by the late 1980s, the camp was utilizing a few Lasers and Optimist dinghies for instruction, in addition to 420s.


Thanks to funds raised during special events and generous individual and organization donations, including the Sodus Bay Yacht Club, the Sodus Bay Historical Society and the C.H. Stuart Foundation, SBJSA began a scholarship program in the 1990s that enabled less-fortunate children from nearby towns to attend summer sailing camp, an annual tradition that continues today. The Stuart Foundation also continued to support SBJSA and enabled a fleet expansion that included some JY-15s and additional Lasers and Optimists. Annual camp attendance of about 110 kids successfully continued. The racing program also launched a new “Travel Race Team” for Optimists that enabled some of SBJSA’s more competitive students to race against kids from youth programs at Yacht Clubs in our region.


With SBJSA’s 50th Anniversary approaching, a new Legacy Committee, chaired by Nancy Ghertner and Margaret Tiedemann, began planning in 2004 and soon established a goal of building a new Sailing Center facility in time for the celebration, along with some additional new boats for the fleet and a scholarship endowment fund. A large fundraising campaign began in 2005 and with generous donations of cash, materials and labor received from many individuals, families and local businesses, along with a $30,000 grant secured by NYS Senator Mike Nozzolio,, administered through the Town of Sodus, SBJSA demolished its old red cottage in 2006. A new facility, designed by local architect and supporter Mark Vande, began construction in 2007. John Hayslip and Dr. Lory Ghertner served as volunteer construction managers and coordinated a number of contractors and other volunteers to successfully complete the building in 2008. The new facility was officially dedicated as the “C.H. Stuart Foundation Sailing Center” in August during our Annual Family BBQ event. Designated funds from the capital campaign were also used to purchase (3) new 420s and (3) new Optimist sailboats, along with the establishment of a scholarship endowment fund at the Rochester Area Community Foundation. The beautiful new building provided much needed space for equipment storage, a small workshop area and kitchenette, larger restrooms with showers and a large multi-purpose space for instruction, meetings and events.


By the end of the 2000s, SBJSA’s fleet had grown to include almost 50 boats, including (2) Boston Whaler center-console powerboats, and average annual camp attendance had also grown to about 135 students, along with a seasonal instructional staff of 12 high school and college students, plus approx. (3) CITs, or ”Counselors in Training”. For insurance and other cost reasons, the daily bus service had been discontinued, but kids from all over the United States were attending, usually as a result of family vacations and cottage ownership connections on Sodus Bay.


Up until the fall of 2011, SBJSA’s property was always “landlocked” and water access was limited to the small beach area that Sodus Bay Yacht Club had generously provided on its property for many decades. In 2011, after previous owners of the former Anchor Marine property (located directly between SBJSA’s existing property and the water) had been unsuccessful in selling it for several years, including a failed joint purchase by SBJSA, SBYC and the Village of Sodus Point, SBJSA was ultimately able to buy it directly from the private mortgage holder at a greatly reduced price. A generous bequest from the estate of a longtime supporter of SBJSA, Mr. Richard Brown, provided about 50% of the purchase cost early in 2012, and together with a bridge loan and some cash reserves, the purchase was completed in the spring of 2012, an historical moment for the organization to be sure!


In the fall of 2012, another major capital fundraising campaign began, led by Hank Stuart, to fund improvements and development of the property and also advance SBJSA’s overall programs. In 2013, a large project was completed to install a new sheetpiled seawall around more than 200 ft of the waterfront perimeter, now known as the “Richard Brown Waterfront”. Generous contributions from private donors, the C.H. Stuart Foundation and others over the next 3 years also enabled the purchase of new outboard engines for the fleet of 10 powerboats, (12) identical 420 sailboats in excellent condition from Hobart-William Smith College, growing the fleet to 70 boats, (2) new large storage sheds for Optimist and Laser equipment, a new transport trailer for 420s, and a few kayaks and stand-up paddleboards as part of a new summer camp “adventure” program that widened SBJSA’s curriculum.


In 2014 and 2017, memorial donations also funded a new, raised hardscaped area with flagpoles (the “Max Buzzell Awards Court”), a beautiful timberframe structure (the “Marcus X. Costich Racing Pavillion”) and a large custom concrete pad for playing a popular game (the “Heidi VanVoorhis 4-Square Court”). In the fall of 2014, an agreement was formalized with Rochester Institute of Technology’s Sailing Club for their use of SBJSA boats & facilities for 8 weeks in both the spring and fall, with over 40 collegiate sailors participating. As its “home base”, RIT continues to sail and practice on Sodus Bay to this day. In the summer of 2015, SBJSA & SBYC partnered to become the permanent hosts of the annual “Centrals on Sodus Regatta”, primarily a youth-centered event, keeping alive the Centrals One-Design Regatta that had been held annually in central NY for decades. US Sailing regional qualifiers for the Bemis and Smythe Youth National Championships were held as part of the regatta that year, chaired by Mike Foley. A record 88 boats and 160+ young sailors participated!


With the formation of a new “Liaison Committee”, led by Ed St. George and made up a few members from SBYC & SBJSA, in March 2017 a new agreement was unanimously approved by both Boards, establishing the framework and specifics for a long future of continued cooperation between both organizations.   Following the complete flooding of SBJSA property in 2017, a major project was completed to raise the nominal level of the overall property and re-contour it with many tons of stone, plus a concrete retaining wall and perimeter sidewalk work. In addition, after a comprehensive application and evaluation process in 2017, U.S. Sailing certified SBJSA as an officially accredited Community Sailing Center, a special distinction enjoyed by only about 45 of the over 600 existing sailing schools and community boating organizations across the United States! We are most pleased with this accomplishment, which says a lot about the quality of our programs and instructional staff, our attention to water safety, the condition of our facilities and fleet and the excellence of our curriculum.


In 2018, a significant new initiative was begun to widen SBJSA’s outreach and new overall purpose of providing “water access and education for all”. A Community Boating Program enables people of all ages, including individuals and families, to join SBJSA for a very nominal fee and utilize our fleet of boats for watersport recreation during specific summer hours of operation. The number of scholarships awarded to underserved youth in our area is significantly increased in 2019, and for the first time, Adult Learn-to-Sail instructional courses are available.


With all the investments in our facilities, boats and equipment and the work of many volunteers over the last 6 decades, we are well positioned to not only continue our longstanding core youth programs that have served thousands of children over that time, but also a new and enlarged audience of families and adult individuals in nearby communities. As the organization moves ahead into the next decade, continuous improvements will no doubt be regularly made towards the fulfillment of our Mission:


“SBJSA is committed to making the joys of sailing & other watersports available to everyone, building lifelong boaters and fostering responsible eco-awareness and stewardship of our natural resource, Great Sodus Bay on Lake Ontario. Fun activities on the water are at the core of our educational/recreational programs and our community partnerships. Reaching out to both locals and visitors, including the underserved, we promote teamwork, leadership, community spirit and healthy lives.”Bay on Lake Ontario.

ctivities on the water are at the core of our educational/recreational programs & our community partnerships. Reaching out to both locals & visitors, including the underserved, we promote teamwork, leadership, community spirit, & healthy lives.



April 2019   EStG

Black Community Plaque / Marker

Photo by Jim Wood

The Black Community Plaque is located at 7171 North Geneva Rd Sodus New York  in front of the Steger Haus restaurant.

GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 43.258392  Longitude: -77.014324

The Plaque reads:

Black Community – Free Slaves & Freedom Seekers Lived And Farmed In This Area. At Least 15 Men Served In Civil War 1861-1865 Several Died In Service William C. Pomeroy Foundation 2018  531

Historic narrative:
A small hamlet located just west of Sodus Point, New York in Wayne County was never assigned an official name – one that would be found on maps – but it existed as a place and touchstone in the lives of hundreds of African Americans from the early 1800s through the first quarter of the twentieth century and beyond. Its physical boundaries fell within Sodus School District #2 which was also referred to as the Maxwell District, taking its name from the mill site developed by William N. Lummis in the early 1800s. The Maxwell area got its name from Dr. Lummis in honor of the family name of his wife. Some vital records for its residents placed their birth place as “Maxwell.”

The Maxwell Settlement community began along what is now North Geneva Road just south of Margaretta Road and comprised approximately 60 acres.  In 1813 several men, women and children, who had been enslaved by Peregrine Fitzhugh, were freed following his death by his wife. Prior to abolition the community served as a safe-haven for refugees fleeing slave states. Many Maxwell Settlement residents helped those escaping the horrors of slavery on their harrowing journey to the protection of Canada. Various documentation indicates that some of those would return from Canada back to the Maxwell Settlement.

During the Civil War, over fifteen men who had at one point resided within the community or whose family would reside in Maxwell Settlement, joined the United States Colored Troops’ regiments to fight in the war. Five died in the service of their country.

• James A. Potter, husband of Margaret Newport, son of James and Chloe Potter; died while in service; 1st USCT

• William T. Lloyd, grandson of Thomas and Rosetta Lloyd; died in service, 8th USCT

• John Wesley Cortright, son of Prime Cortright, served in 11th USC Heavy Artillery; died while in service.

• Bradley and Elijah Gregor, sons of James and Almira Gregor, served in 8th USCT; died while in service.

Residents of the Maxwell Settlement contributed to 19th and 20th century community life in much the same way as their fellow townspeople, with the added burden of negotiating the dangers of structural, institutional and individual racism.


Here is a five part series of videos of the Dedication Ceremony for this plaque:

E A Button General Store – 1907


Photo from the Collection of Naomi Sill Taylor


Oct. 30, 1969 edition of The Record


The general store operated by E. A. Button on Sentell Street, Sodus Point, many years ago had an extremely varied stock of goods.


Nov. 6, 1969 edition of The Record


People In Photo Are Identified


Mrs. Harold Carson of Sodus, who was a customer at the Button General Store many times as a girl, has Identified the boy and woman in the photo published in The Record last week. According to Mrs. Carson, the boy is Willard Schuyler, who still lives on Sentell Street In Sodus Point, and Miss Elvie Button, sister of the late Harry Button, Sodus attorney and father of Fred Button, Sodus Central School teacher.