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Steuerwalds Silver Dollar – 1960


The pictures below show the Steuerwald’s Silver Dollar restaurant and the Chase family Coffee Shop as it appeared in 1960. The Silver Dollar was located on Greig Street where the Six Fifty restaurant is now located. The man in the second photo is Harold Ransley who was the pharmacist at the Rexall Drug store that was across the street. Photos courtesy of Dick Ransley



Memories of Steuerwald’s Silver Dollar restaurant 


Betsy Wahl remembers: It was called Steuerwald’s Silverdollar! Ed Steuerwald’s was the owner. He was a tough boss. Susie Ternoois worked there for a very long time. I don’t know how old she was, but it seemed like she worked there forever! I worked there as a teenager! We served breakfasts in the morning. Then hots, hamburgers, fries, and pizza for lunch and supper. We also served ice cream cones and popcorn. That ice cream was harder than a rock to serve!!!  I worked with my Aunt Jenny Jimerson. We made all of the homemade potato and Mac salads! There was a dining room with booths and tables on the right side of the restaurant. The dining room had real silver dollars in the middle of the red and white tiles on the floor. Kids used to steal them all the time. Eddie would really get upset about that!!! There was also a small arcade with games that we had to lock up at night. The left side had doors over the counter bar that would open up. So that we were serving people who walked by on the sidewalk. There were red wooden stools for people to sit on. There was an inside breakfast diner in the center. It was a fun job, for a teenager, because I got to see many of my friends and made lots of new friends. We had many regular customers, who would come every day. It was fun to visit with them. But we couldn’t talk too much or we’d get in trouble!!


Tim Frank remembers: My wife and I went there a long time ago. My wife screamed at a guy trying to dig one out of the floor with pocket knife.


Thomas Kirkpatrick remembers: Russer’s was a brand of hot dog. To the right and behind the phone  was an arcade with various pin ball machines. Eddie Steuerwald was indeed cranky. Put in the arcade but didn’t like kids hanging around (lol?) An elderly woman whose last name was Ternooris worked the outdoor grill and counter and inside was the silver dollar dining room with a linoleum tiled floor with silver dollars embedded in some of the tiles. My pony league team in 1961, 62 and 63 would go over there after our games in the adjacent ball park.


Richard Bennett remembers: Eddie Steuerwalds was the best place in town to get a white hot. My brother worked there in the 50’s


Sheryn Burnette remembers: Can still get White Hots. But now they are Zweigles not Russers. Terry’s favorite. Used to get Orange Crush and a Red Hot every week. I can still taste it. OC tasted better in the brown bottle


Memories of Chase family’s Coffee  Shop and Bait Store


Frank C Wackerle remembers: Bob Chase had Chase’s Bait shop in back and then he put in a restaurant serving breakfast lunch etc. Then put fireplace in and it became a local meeting place.  Bob Chase was a Wayne County Sherriff


Lynn Thayer remembers: I remember going in there as a little kid and looking at the minnows in the bait tanks. A scent you never forget.









Rexall Drug Store – 1965


The Rexall Drug Store was owned by the Knapp family and run by Carl and Jan Webster. It was open seasonally and was located on Greig Street across from what is now the Krenzer Marina store. It became  Natures Children from 1975-1993. The building has since been torn down and the property is owned by Krenzers now.  Photos courtesy of Dick Ransley.



Above photo: Popeye the Sailor


Above Photo: Big Jim and little Jim pose in front of the Rexall Drug Store (1965). Big Jim is Jim Swan brother-in-law to Henry Newport.


This store was originally the Bassage Store and Carl Webster was named to run it in June of 1916 as mentioned in the June 11, 1936 (page 9) issue of theRecord in their Twenty Years Ago column:





Frank Grosz remembers the “shocker” inside the store. It was a 1 penny machine that you pulled two handles and it would give you quite a shock! He liked to have the “city kids” on vacation hold onto him while he paid his 1 cent! It also had a soda fountain counter.



The original Rexall Drug Shocker! Photo courtesy of Rusty Schryer who owns it!


Fred Clevenger also remembers the shocker: I remember that it was at the counter; put a penny in it and hold one brass handle turn the other and it would Shock you and you turned it to see how much you can take


Kevin Herrick remembers: Yep, when it was natures children, they had a machine on the counter. You put in a penny and hold the handles, and as you pulled the handles apart, you would get a slight electrical shock. The farther apart the handles got, the more of a jolt you got……..test of either courage or stupidity, can’t remember which, but in hindsight and knowing me and how many pennies went in there, it was probably stupidity!


Candice Murszewski remembers: One cent candy!!!


Marcia Fowler remembers: Mr. and Mrs. Webster. Used to get 5 cent ice cream cones. What a treat to walk downtown and stop there.


Laurie Hayden remembers:  My dad used to take me for a vanilla ice cream soda, especially when I felt like things were just overwhelming. He always seemed to know when that little visit to Websters would cheer me up.
Bob Boise remembers: Great Old Fashioned Ice Cream Sodas served in real glass tall soda glasses!


Kay Pennycoff-Gwilt remembers: Mr Webster was the nicest man. Always made everyone feel welcomed!


Dawn Cole remembers: Best chocolate ice cream sodas ever!!


Lynn Murray remembers: Loved it !! I think I still have a couple 70’s magnets with their sticker on it. Always gave free candy.


Gail Wackerle remembers: Carl Webster & his wife operated it. It was open spring til fall. It had a soda bar , served milkshakes, delicious phosphates, lime cherry you name it. Had medicine over the counter stuff, it was wonderful. Comic books, you name it. A place to set, with round tables & the Coca-Cola chairs, newspapers, gifts, postcards, film and cameras. Just great. When Helfers Krenzers Marina burnt so did the drug store.


Stephen Francis Ferola-Pope remembers: I remember that place very well! Mr Ransley use to be the Pharmacist! I use to go there all the time as a kid!


Delores Johnson remembers: The drug store had the best hot fudge sundaes in SP. 


Patty Parsons remembers: So many marvelous memories of that drug and sundries store. A joy. The onyx soda fountain was the best. Who knows where it originated, but it shone like a precious jewel. Rare and beautiful, it covered the back of the store and I can still conjure the magic of Nancy Proseus Campbell dispensing life sustaining treats from it. Lime phosphates were my absolute favorite and I still cherish them whenever I can find an old soda fountain. Almost every night we walked to the drugstore, stopping to take a ride on the merry go round next door (where Krenzer’s boats now rest) if we could convince our parents to swing for the few cents it cost. They had us do odd jobs to save up for the treats of uptown Sodus Point. It is a wonder that any local boys survived adolescence after testing their budding manhood on the electric machine to the right of the door. What was that thing called and who could have thought that charging electricity through your bodies was a fun idea? But the boys ( and I suppose an occasional brave girl lined up to drop a penny in and try it. The Websters were the best and seemed to have any treasure that a kid could want in that tiny store. Carl Webster’s facial birthmark taught all of us to never fear a disfigurement. There was so much kindness behind it. And if we had poison ivy or painful sunburns or bee stings, he was right there with soothing assurances and a solution.
When the store caught fire that winter and my parents had to tell me that the soda fountain had been destroyed and the Webster’s would no longer be able to rebuild it as it had been, I cried. The feelings of being in that repository of wonders remain.


John Pitts remembers: Great photo, with Mr. and Mrs. Webster out front. They were really nice people, an icon of my childhood, like Pam, and all of us from “The Bar” gang. Remember reading comic books with Pam’s brother Doug (“Skip”) back on the magazine rack in the front corner


Ella Larsen remembers:  I remember going there with my mother and getting the red licorice dollars. My mother used to say the pharmacist was always elderly and she remembered him when she was young. Mom was born in 1917.


Judy Tuck remembers: I have fun memories. We stopped there for bags of snacks on the way to the beach.

Wrnkle Yacht – 1913

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“Wrinkle” information by Ned Ludd


Launched on Sodus Bay August 21, 1913
Operated by Capt. Morley
65 feet in length
35 hp gasoline engine
Said to attain speed of 21 mph
Cost $12,000
On August 1, 1914 the Democrat & Chronicle reported: “The cottages at various points of the bay will be brightly illuminated in the evening and decorated with flags throughout the afternoon, adding much to the brilliancy of the day. The commodore has visited them all personally, and everyone seems interested.
Prior to the fireworks being displayed, there will be an illuminated motorboat parade, headed by the tug Cornelia, with the Manchester Band on board.
The Wrinkle and the Seabird will come next, followed by as many launches as can be secured for the parade. and from the present prospects nearly all the boats on the bay will join. The parade will move across the bay to the south shore then around Sand Point, where the launches will circle the Cornelia.
When the last boats have passed, the fireworks will be displayed from the east breakwater.
The general headquarters will be at the Sodus Bay Yacht Club. It is expected that many people will avail themselves of this opportunity of having a good day, and that many basket parties will be on hand.”
~~~ ~~~ ~~~
Many thanks to Mary Lou Engels Ganio for the photo of “Wrinkle”, a postcard handed down in her family for generations.


Maxwell Settlement

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Photos of descendants of the Newport family that originally lived at the Maxwell Settlement as depicted in the February 1, 2009 edition of the Democrat and Chronicle:


The following information about the Maxwell Settlement comes from Marge Perez who is the former Wayne County Historian. The “colored settlement” as it was often referred to at that time was located on North Geneva Road across from  what is now the Steger Haus:


On the Outlots of Sodus Point:
The Making of an African American Community in Upstate New York


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. Many local residents simply referred to it, in the vernacular of the time, as the “colored settlement.” 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 heart of the community occupied a portion of land that had been divided into eighty 10 acre lots in a survey completed in June 1813 by Joseph Colt and in deeds identified as the “out lots.” The out lots straddled the main road leading south from Sodus Point (then called Troupville) to the settlements at Lyons and Geneva, now called the North Geneva Road.


The settlement was concentrated on about 60 acres, comprised of Lots 10, 11 and 12 in the 3rd and 4th Ranges of the out lots. Little remains of the physical fabric of this community except an abandoned road bed going east from North Geneva Road down to a creek, perhaps one small house, and an unmarked burying ground (now in the middle of a field across the creek). What does remain is the collective memory held by the children and grandchildren of the last residents of this once vibrant community that was home to generations of African Americans. And because those who hold the memories are aging, it is more important than ever that the story of this community be documented and shared.


In 1800 the census recorded only 52 households within the entire town of Sodus which at the present towns of Arcadia, Lyons, Williamson, Ontario, Marion and Walworth. It appears that at most six households, containing 40 persons, were actually counted by the census takers as being in the immediate Sodus Bay area. The Moses Sill household of ten persons, included two free persons of color and one slave. Ten years later the territory that was the town of Sodus had shrunk to include the present towns of Sodus, Lyons and Arcadia and the population was numbered at 1957, with 37 enslaved blacks and 37 free persons of color.


The first Southerner to reach Sodus Bay with his slaves was Captain William Helm of Virginia, who arrived about 1801. By 1803, Helm had relocated his base of operations to Bath, New York, leaving a small contingent of slaves on Sodus Bay, under the charge of his brother Thomas Helm. Following closely behind Helm was Peregrine Fitzhugh, who had purchased land on the western shore of the bay, bringing with him about 35 slaves.


It is the Fitzhugh slaves that would form the nucleus of the African American settlement of Maxwell. The African American settlement on the out lots of Troupville began to take shape sometime after the death of Peregrine Fitzhugh.


Main Families:


Abraham and Ven Bradington – daughters – Molly, married Alexander Lee; Nancy, married Joseph Wilbur, Margaret, married Robert Provost. Abraham Bradington left his 20 acres of land within the settlement to his three daughters and two grandchildren of a deceased daughter. Last of that land sold off in 1950s.


David and Polly Cooper – children – Ellen/Nelly, never married; Julia, married Taylor; Betsy, married Cornelius Hardin; Benjamin, married Julia A. Allen; George, may never have married; Sally A., married Titus Newport. David Cooper once paid taxes on 20 acres, but no deed was found. In 1855, daughter Nelly Cooper purchased a little less than 4 acres, which appears to be carved out of those 20 acres. The last of that parcel was sold in the 1920s or 30s.


Tom and Rosetta Lloyd – children – Jane, married Mr. Anthony; Lancaster, Thomas W.; Luther Abram; Julia, married Philip Newport; Margaret, Betsey, Henrietta. Jane, Lancaster and Luther A. all purchased land within the settlement.


William and Sarah Jane Newport – children – Titus, Hiram, married Sylvia Taylor; Philip, married Julia Lloyd; Polly Ann, Richard McKinney; Chloe Jane, married Charles Oakley; Margaret, James A. Potter; William, Mary, married John Wooby. Only deed located for purchase of land in settlement was by Margaret Newport Potter.


Civil War Soldiers with ties to Settlement:


• James A. Potter, husband of Margaret Newport, son of James and Chloe Potter; died while in service; 1st USCT
• William Newport, son of William and Sarah J. Newport; 29th Connecticut
• William T. Lloyd, grandson of Thomas and Rosetta; died in service, 8th USCT
• Charles Cooper, grandson of David and Polly Cooper, 8th USCT, Sgt.
• Prime Cortright and three sons – family lived in Huron, but had ties to Sodus through marriages; Prime buried in settlement cemetery – Prime, John Wesley and George Whitfield Cortright served in 11th USC Heavy Artillery; William Freeman served in 38th USCT. John W. Cortright died while in service.
• Six sons of James and Almira Gregor – family lived in Walworth, Ontario and Sodus between 1820 and 1870. David and Samuel Gregor served in 11th USCHA; Bradley and Elijah Gregor served in 8th USCT; Abram Gregor served in 43rd USCT; William Wilson (stepson of James, son of Almira) served in 31st USCT. Bradley and Elijah died while in service; Abram died within a few months of his return from service.
• Joseph Bulah, married to granddaughter of Tom and Rosetta Lloyd, 11th USCHA.
• John G. Hill, married granddaughter of Tom and Rosetta Lloyd, 11th USCH

• Margaret Newport, daughter of William and Sarah J. and sister of William Newport (who also enlisted in 29th Conn.) married their brother John Wooby. The Wooby men were children of John and Clarissa (Jacobs) Wooby, who lived in Canandaigua, then in Sodus, then Clyde and finally settled in Lyons. If I counted correctly there were a total of 6 deaths among the 18 men.



Maxwell Settlement Involvement in the Underground Railroad


I’d categorize it as substantial circumstantial evidence that the Maxwell settlement may have served as “safe haven” for freedom seekers. . Polly Ann and Chloe Jane Newport (daughters of William and Sarah J. Newport) both worked for Dr. Wm. Cooke (1850 census); Polly Ann married Richard McKinney, who traveled from Loudoun Co., VA – they married in Canada in 1858 and returned to Sodus about 1863. Chloe Jane married Charles Oakley and they also moved to Canada – don’t have any proof that Charles was a former slave, but he may have felt in danger. There is the story of Charles Dorsey, who married a granddaughter of Abraham Bradington, daughter of Molly and Alexander Lee, escaped from slavery in Maryland in 1836 and thought to have gone from Philadelphia to Canada about 1838, but may have returned to Sodus by 1840. There’s another story about Robert Provost, husband of Margaret Bradington Provost, taking freedom seekers by wagon from Pultneyville (Cuyler’s home) to Sodus Point, but I haven’t found any proof of it. It would have been natural hiding place for UGRR travelers, waiting for transportation by water to Canada. I have a vague memory of a clipping which refers to Elijah Allen transporting fugitives – think it came from Green’s scrapbook – will have to see if I can find it. Elijah was a Stockbridge Indian and may have been of mixed race – he was tied into the Taylor family, which also had ties to Gregor families – also Indian and mixed race families.


The following two photo are from

Uncovering  the Underground Railroad, Abolitionism, and African American Life in Wayne County, New York, 1820-1880

by Judith Wellman and Marjory Allen Perez, with Charles Lenhart and others

 Sponsored by the Wayne County Historian’s Office, Peter Evans, Historian


Maxwell Settlement Geneva Road, east side, corner of Halcus Road (across from Steger Haus) Town of Sodus, New York   Significance: African-American settlement established on the outskirts of the village of Sodus Point as early as 1817, by people who were formerly enslaved.

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Possible home of E. Cooper
Maxwell Settlement, Geneva Road
Looking north, April 2008

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If you would like to learn more about the Underground Railroad experience in Wayne County, New York, I highly recommend:


Final Stop, FREEDOM! by Marj Perez

Maxwell Settlement Cemetery – Rediscovering Our Past

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Photograph of Prime Courtright buried in the Maxwell Settlement burial grounds. Photo courtesy of Tom and Martha Lightfoot. The Maxwell area got its name from Dr. Lummis a long time ago in honor of the family name of his wife.

Have you ever wondered how Sodus Point history that was believed to be forever lost is still being rediscovered? This is a story that gives you an idea of how it is done.

This story illustrates many of the ways in which history can be rediscovered. It is seldom easy but like a detective on a cold case, unrelated pieces of information can sometimes fill in the puzzle and crack open a case. The process of this particular rediscovery can be broken down into these parts:

Painstaking research
Coordination of research efforts by multiple interested parties
Photographic evidence
Computer research and software enhancement of photographs

The group effort started on July 19, 2017 when Marjory Allen Perez gave a presentation on the Underground Railroad at the Sodus Point Village Hall. Marj is a former Wayne County Historian who has a passion on researching Wayne County African American history including involvement in the Underground Railroad and has spent years painstakingly going through County census and deed records in an effort to gather an impressive amount of information. For more details on the information she has gathered see her published work with Judith Wellman (Uncovering the Underground Railroad, Abolitionism, and African American Life in Wayne County, New York, 1820-1880 by Judith Wellman and Marjory Allen Perez) and her new book Final Stop, Freedom! In her Sodus Point presentation, she told specific family information of a number of the free black families that lived in the Maxwell Settlement on Geneva Road approximately across from what is now the Steger Haus Restaurant. The Maxwell settlement consisted of free blacks but was known to harbor and aid “freedom seekers” as part of the Underground Railroad in our area. Interestingly enough, Marj’s research indicated that some of the members of the Maxwell settlement, as well as freedom seekers that were harbored there, made the trip to Canada and sometimes came back during the days of the Underground Railroad.

During the question and answer segment following the presentation, Martha and Tom Lightfoot asked about information regarding the burial ground (believed to have been members of the Maxwell Settlement). Marj had few details about it but was eager to learn more and see any photographic evidence. The Lightfoots related that they had visited the burial site a few years ago and had photos showing a couple of headstones that they would be willing to share.

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The Maxwell Settlement burial site. Note a cemetery stone is visible. Photo courtesy of Bill Huff taken in the 1960s.

The following day after Marj Perez’s presentation, my wife and I met with Bill Huff, Jr. for breakfast. Bill Huff is a life long resident of Sodus Point and a professional photographer who has amassed untold thousands of photographs of Sodus Point. As is often the case, Bill had brought along three photo albums he had taken over the years. One of the albums had photographs of headstones. When we asked Bill where he had taken the headstone photos, he told us that they were from the burial ground. Bill went on to say that one of the headstones used to have a GAR flag holder and he remembered as a boy that someone would put a flag in it on Memorial Day. After telling Bill about Marj Perez’s presentation, he let us scan in the photos and we were off to the races! The gravestones in the black and white photos were very difficult to read and only a letter or so were readable. We then brought the scanned photos into my Windows Live Photo Gallery. After enhancing the photos and trying various lighting schemes we could begin to make out letters (see next 3 photos).

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Thomas Loyd 672x
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Photos courtesy Bill Huff, Jr.

As we were now seeing letters and trying to figure out names, I vaguely recalled having come across a web site, years earlier, that mentioned names buried at this site. After searching, I finally found it again.

THE FOLLOWING ARE CLARK RECORDS (written in 1882, so references made to property owners of that time, not the present):
Clark records circa 1882: Another place where the colored people buried their dead is on the east end of the former Boyd farm, the one now owned by the Sergeant Brothers on the Old Geneva Road. It is difficult to see why this place was selected rather than one in the vicinity of the settlement. It is now only a clear plat about two rods square, with neither stone nor signs of graves. The plow has yet spared the place and at the present writing (1882) it is in the midst of a cornfield. In the nature of things it can hardly be saved from general cultivation many years longer. It is very near to the east line of the farm and thus but a short distance southwest of the barn belonging to John Bates which stands on the lot on the south part of his farm. The following persons were buried there and probably others: Thomas Lloyd and three of his children, Margaret, Betsy, Henrietta; two children of Mary Lee, Jane and William.

We now had the pieces in place to verify that Thomas Lloyd and Henrietta were buried there based on both historical and photographic evidence but what about this third headstone that seemed to have the name Courtright on it? Marj Perez knew who this person was and had been looking for his final resting place. Prime Courtright served during the Civil War in the 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery (Colored) and died Feb. 25, 1890. This explained why he was not mentioned in the 1882 information. At this point from the historical info and photos we now knew the identity of 7 people who were buried there.

The icing on the cake came about a week later when Tom and Martha Lightfoot shared their photos that had the benefit of being digitized at a much higher resolution than the 1960s photos and were in color. See the next 3 photos:

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GAR 750x
TL Rosetta 750x

The first two photos confirm it being Prime Courtright and show the Veteran’s Flag holder. The third photo shows that Rosetta (wife of Thomas Loyd) was also buried there which was not mentioned in the 1882 write up. This makes 8 people that we now know are buried at this site.

So we went from knowing only a rumor that black families from the Maxwell settlement were at this burial site to now being able to identify 8 of them. I believe we are probably missing some names but who knows when some tidbit of information may show up.

Written by Bruce Farrington August 2017

Swales Family

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The Swales manor house as it appeared in 1959. Photo by Byron White.
The William Swales manor house is located on the north side of Lake Road, Sodus near present day Burnap’s Farm Market. The house cannot be seen from the road and is set back in on a tree lined dirt road. The Swales family was one of the oldest families in our area. They were known to be abolitionists and may have been involved in the Underground Railroad.
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Front entrance hall and staircase, 1959. Photo by Byron White.
The following is an excerpt from Uncovering the Underground Railroad, Abolitionism, and African American Life in Wayne County, New York, 1820-1880 by Judith Wellman and Marjory Allen Perez, with Charles Lenhart and Others (Section 2.3.11) that tells the story of this family…..
Significance: English family who may (or may not) have been involved in the Underground Railroad. Owned mill at Maxwell Creek, where many African Americans lived, and farm at “Freedom Hill,” reputed to be a lookout for people traveling and working on the Underground Railroad. (Sometimes also spelled “Swailes.”)
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Swales Farmhouse, Looking northwest, April 2008
Probably built c. 1826-1832 by William Swales
The Swales (Swails) family owned mills and houses at Maxwell Creek and farm houses on Lake Road. Farmhouse with stucco is just east of cemetery on Lake Road. Freedom Hill is point just north. Julia Cooper, the first African American that Swales daughter ever saw, may have lived in Maxwell Settlement, east of Maxwell Creek.
Description: William Swales (September 26, 1776-January 28, 1855) brought his family from Hull, Yorkshire, England in 1819 and settled first in Geneva, on what is now the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. According to Swales’ daughter, Mrs John Preston, William Swales, who was “a lover of the broad acres,” bought one hundred acres of land in Sodus in 1826. They often traveled back and forth from Geneva to Sodus, and, in 1832, the family moved to their new home. The property included a mill built in 1812 by a man named Maxwell. The area is still called Maxwell Creek and Maxwell Settlement. On June 19, 1813, Isaac Davidson, the miller, was accidentally locked in the building. He escaped in time, however, to walk to Sodus Point and help defend the village when it was attacked by the British.
Maxwell sold the mill within a year to his son-in-law, Dr. Lummis (probably William Nixon Lummis), a Philadelphia doctor who invested in lands at Sodus Point. The British burned his house at Sodus Point on June 19-20, 1813, during the War of 1812, and he moved his family two miles west to this mill site. Lummis was one of the supporters of the Sodus Bay Canal. In 1827, he ran for the Assembly of New York State as a pro-canal candidate. Dr. Lummis had a daughter, Elizabeth Lummis Ellet, who wrote Women of the Revolution (1848). Lummis died in 1838, only fifty-eight years old.
Lummis sold the mill to E. W. Sentell, who sold it in 1826 to William Swales. Using cobblestones and cut stone from a quarry on his farm, Swales built a cobblestone house with cut stone quoins and twelve-over-eight window panes at the mill for use as the miller’s residence. Swales’ daughter married John Preston, and together they ran the mill, using steam power, until 1881, “doing a large business and supplying many of the people of northern Wayne county with their flour.” William Swales died on January 28, 1855. He was buried in the Swales Family Cemetery on Lake Road. His epitaph read: “This I got by my hand labor. To lie here it was my favor.”
Using his own stone quarry, Swales also built a stone farmhouse (perhaps a cobblestone house) on Lake Road west of the mill. Labeled “G. Swails” on the 1858 map, it is located just east of the cemetery on Lake Road. In 1905, the Arcadian Weekly Gazette described the walls as “exceedingly thick,” as evidenced by the window openings and wide window seats. There were five fireplaces in the house, one of which included an oven and was big enough to hold four-foot logs. The farmhouse retains its original location and form and many of its features (including six-over-six windows). Casement windows, window placement, and stuccoed exterior may be later modifications, or they may reflect an English tradition of building. The Prestons willed the mill and farm to their children, who still owned it in 1905. The Arcadian Weekly Gazette called the “old stone house and mill” “two of the most interesting objects in Wayne County,” while the mill itself was “one of the most picturesquely beautiful spots in this section of the country,” “frequently visited by artists and others.”
Discussion: Local tradition states that the Swales family originally brought slaves to their farm. After manumission, they lived “in their own settlement on the Creek Road South of Maxwell” before they became abolitionists. Although there were African Americans who lived in the Maxwell Settlement, they were most likely formerly enslaved by the Fitzhugh family rather than the Swales family. Census records listed no free or enslaved African Americans in the Swales household. Mrs. John Preston, a Swales daughter, remembered that “the first colored woman I ever saw was at Sodus Point, and we children were afraid of her but we soon got over it and I have seen her many times since. She was known as Julia Cooper.”
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Every indication this is a cobblestone house that’s been stuccoed. Photo courtesy of Richard Palmer.
For additional information:

Kallusch Boat Builders

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The Kallusch Boat house (circa 1950) with its distinctive  Sodus Point painted on the north side of its roof. Postcard courtesy of Bill Huff, Jr.

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During World War II, the Kallusch Boat House had this sign painted on the  south side of the roof. It was used by aviators and pointed the way to the Williamson Airport. The Army Air Corp paid a small amount of money to the Kallusch family for its use. Unless otherwise noted all photos are courtesy of the Kallusch family.


In the 184o’s, Henry DoVille and David Rogers began a tradition of boat building in Sodus Point. That tradition continues today with three generations of the Kallusch family.


The following information comes from the 1971 Hoffman paper “With These Hands” written by Michael Kane and permission of the Hoffman Foundation and the Office of the Wayne County Historian:


“It is of the men who toil the age old craft of boat building along these shores that this story is written for they are the dreamers, the artists, the craftsmen who keep the bays alive. Their fame is not measured in money or material things, it is rather how “she trims”, how she “planes”, the beauty of the design, and her sea-worthiness. Bill Kallusch was one of these dreamers, an artist, a craftsman – Bill Kallusch, Master Boat Builder.


Born the son of Frederick Kallusch, a very well known Rochester Tailor on the night of October 17, 1897, William C. Kallusch started on a journey which was not to end until February 26, 1970.


As a child William and his family spent a great deal of time together at their cottage on Irondequoit Bay. Here the family had access to various boats. In addition to the iceboats, there were power boats and sailboats.


Carving small craft models and putting in detailed outlays of the boats he knew and loved was a personal hobby by the age of 15.  When Bill was still in high school (old East High), the Kallusch’s built a new home at the corner of Culver Road and McBeth Street in Rochester, New York.  It was about this same time that he built his first boat which was a row boat for the family camp. At this time he also built his first iceboat.


When Bill was working for Rochester Boat Works his name was listed in the Rochester phone book as “Boat Carpenter”.  In 1920 Bill decided to take his knowledge of boat building and his love for water adventure and try a business of his own.  With this in mind, he left the Rochester Boat Works and rented a small shop along the Irondequoit Bay.  He and Dean Russel, a newly acquainted friend, decided to design and race speedboats against Gar Wood on the Detroit River.  Gar Wood was a famous speedboat racer at this time and did a great deal of racing on the Detroit River.  The two men designed the boat, and Bill built it.  This boat was a hydroplane and won 3-4 races.  In the winter months Bill built iceboats and, loving the sport, spent many hours iceboating himself.

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William C. Kallusch and his iceboat creation the “Firefly” on Irondequoit Bay. It was basically an airplane on skis with its wing removed. It is said it could do 100 mph. Photo courtesy of his son Bill L. Kallusch.


Bill decided to move to the Point and set-up his business.  In 1923 Bill’s father purchased what is now Anchor Yacht Sales, for his son.


He rented out fishing boats, sold tackle, hunting equipment, boating accessories and gasoline.  His sister Margaret Kallusch moved to the Point with him to help with the settling of his home and business.  They lived in an apartment over the shop and later moved to a cottage near the Yacht Club.  In order to make the business thrive they would devote Sundays to the renting of fishing boats for an extra income.  There was very little boat building going on during this time.


Bill’s dream and whole interest centered around the building of boats – being a store keeper was not in his heart.  His one idea was to build boats. He was ready to starve to death to do that which was most important to him.  Bill like many of them who struggled to make dreams a reality, found he had lost all he had invested.  His sister Margaret tells of his driving to their camp in the Adirondack Mountains to tell his father of his failure.  Ever since the start of this venture, his father had not been too compatible with the idea of Bill’s only building boats.  It seemed that he really wanted Bill to stay in the tailoring trade.  So that the investment would not be a total loss, Bill’s father gave the business to Bill’s younger brother, Herb Kallusch who had also tried and failed in tailoring.


Upon leaving the area by the Yacht Club, Bill moved down the road and rented a small building from George Helfer, and started building his beloved boats once more.  This time he was right in the middle of the main street of Sodus Point. The first big job was a tour boat which he and his brother Herb worked on together.  Bill built the boat and his brother who was mechanically inclined, installed the engine.


Bill loved sailing and he started to build a few sail boats.  Unlike most builders, he did not start with small ones, but instead he built larger vessels and gradually dropped down to the smaller ones. In fact, his first was a Star class boat.  He sold this to two sisters who in turn named it “the Two Sisters”.  Sleek and fast, this boat soon became local champ.  The finishes which Bill put on his boats were always perfect and this is why they often slid through the water to victory.  He built two Star class boats.  In the North Fitzhugh Street shop, Bill started the construction of the “Robin” class boat.  In fact, he was one of the first boat builders to start building these.  He built one champion Robin #18 for Terry Patton, a local sailor from Lyons.  He also built a number of other Robins of lesser fame.  This Robin Class has been replaced by a new design. The old Robins are still around on the bay, but their class boat no longer exists.

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About this same time Bill designed his own boat, the Kallusch Buzabout.  These Buzabouts were built in three models:  the Buzabout Deluxe, the Super Buzabout and the Baby Buzabout.  These boats were fast, seaworthy and safe family outboard boats with the pride of craftsmanship built into everyone.  They became so popular that people were inquiring about them as far away as Europe.


Buzabout 750x480


In 1934 Bill sold the Fitzhugh Street shop and moved over by the coal trestle at Sodus Point where Bill Kallusch Boats stands today.  Although he had built many beautiful boats, he was by no means rich.  He had put so much time into each craft to make it perfect that he could not have possibly prospered.  In his new shop bill continued to build the Buzabout and Robins.  When the United States entered the Second World War, Bill was too old to serve as a soldier.  Penn Yan Boat Works again enlisted his aid as head of Quality Control. They were at this time building an eighteen foot power utility boat for the Army which was used mainly on the Rhine River to move docks and equipment and make repairs in shallow waters.  Bill designed and drew most of the hardware for the boat which was published in book form by Penn Yan Boat Works.


In 1952 Bill started his last custom boat.  This was the “Kid Boots”, a 22 ft. inboard hydroplane powered by a Lincoln V8 300 hp engine.  This boat could do 70 mph on the water with no effort.  It took him four years to build this boat.  He designed and built it with all his many skills and it was considered perfect when finished. This was the first pleasure boat he had built for himself; he had poured thousands of dollars into it.


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Kid Boots III with its distinctive fin


In 1956, Bill Jr. returned from four years Coast Guard duty to run the business while his father devoted full time to boat building.  Bill, Jr. has been helping his father around the shop since he could walk.


In the late 50’s Bill started building Rhodes Bantams for area sailors. In the early 60’s he built boats for the Jr. Sailing Association of the Sodus Yacht Club.  His boats won numerous races on the Bay and several of his crafts were area champions.  In 1964 he built the “Yankee”, a perfect Rhodes Bantam and sold her very inexpensively to Fisk Hayden, a young sailor on the bay. Bill Jr. was the one who put the finishing touches on the overhaul of the Rhodes Bantam sailboat which placed 6th in the international races held in Kentucky, 1965.  This boat won all races in her class.  In 1966 Fisk Hayden sold her to a boat firm for a plug of the new fiberglass boats.  This was heartbreaking for Bill, but the consolation was that his boat was considered good enough to be a pattern for new boat models.   All told, Bill built 19 Rhodes Bantams.”


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Bill was still building his beloved wooden boats when he passed away on  February 26, 1970.


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Photo of Dorathea Kallusch, the wife of William C. Kallusch who passed away when she was young


Since 1970, Bill Kallusch Jr. (William L. Kallush) and his son Todd Kallusch have been carrying on the family boat building tradition.


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Bill Kallusch (William L. Kallusch) and his son Todd Kallusch. Second and third generation Kallusch boat builders. July 2017, photo courtesy of Edith Farrington

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Bad Company was built and designed by Todd Kallusch


While interviewing William L. Kallusch  and Todd Kallusch for this historical article, one thing came across loud and clear. The love of boat building and the craftsmanship of the finished product has been handed down from William C. Kallusch and that the boat building tradition of Sodus Point lives on.


Bruce Farrington July, 2017

Fitzhugh to Jefferson (Letter 8)


To Thomas Jefferson from Peregrine Fitzhugh


15 October 1797

This letter is written from Fitzhugh to Jefferson.
Historical Background for this letter
Col. Fitzhugh still lives in Ann Arundel, Maryland, and resided there until he moved to Geneva, N.Y., in 1799. This letter is written when John Adams was in his first year of his presidency as the second president of the United States. In Europe, war is waging between France and Britain and there is concern that we may declare war against France.

The first part of this letter repeats information he has been told about Logan and Cresop and their involvement in 1774 in what is known as the Yellow Creek Massacre. . This discussion requires some historical background that many people today do not have. A good discussion of the historical events behind this discussion can be found on wikipedia:
in the next part of the letter, Fitzhugh (in his long flowery style of writing) apologizes to Jefferson for the fact that someone has used the contents of one of Jefferson’s letters to Fitzhugh and misrepresented it in an attempt to damage Jefferson’s reputation. He recounts that he has publicly written newspapers to deny these misrepresentations as gossip.He then discusses the situation in France and their attempt at Democracy.
The last part of the letter deals with a subject near and dear to every farmer: the weather. They have suffered a great drought and he wanes almost poetic in his description of its affect on his crops. He ends the letter by thanking Jefferson for the peas he sent him and relates how successful the resulting crop was.
You can click on the letter below to read the letter:

Jefferson to Fitzhugh (Letter 5)


To Peregrine Fitzhugh from Thomas Jefferson


4 June 1797

This letter is written from Jefferson to Fitzhugh in response to Fitzhugh’s letter of 19 May 1797 (see Fitzhugh to Jefferson Letter 4 for more details). You will notice that Jefferson’s style in this letter is very flowery language and circumspect as was the style in those days…
Historical Background for this letter
Col. Fitzhugh still lives in Ann Arundel, Maryland, and resided there until he moved to Geneva, N.Y., in 1799. Jefferson first thanks Fitzhugh for the corn seed he has sent him. He then goes on to discuss the merits of several newspapers that Fitzhugh may consider for getting the best coverage of what is going on in the political happenings in Congress.
The next part of the letter is all politics. You will recall that in 1797, war is raging between England and France for dominance of Europe. Fitzhugh and Jefferson, like many farmers in the United States at that time, wants to stay neutral in the conflict so that it does not affect their commerce based on trading with both sides. Both men are very concerned that many in Congress are taking a decidedly anti-France attitude. Jefferson’s friend (James Madison who will ultimately be the 4th President of the United States, 1809-1817) is opposing a part of the draft constitution hammered out at the Constitutional Convention (1787-1789). James Madison is rumored to oppose the House of Representatives being left out of the Treaty making process which is the domain of the President with Senate approval. Ultimately this resistance by James Madison will prove to be futile. Jefferson is also concerned that John Adams (recently elected 2nd president of the United States) is being advised to perhaps enter into a war with France. Jefferson indicates that the fact that the new federal government has difficulty in collecting taxes from the states in a timely fashion is helping them because it would be very difficult to finance a war. He then discusses the idea of property taxes as a better way forward for states to collect and pass on this tax revenue to the federal government.
The next part of the letter is talking about Logan and Cresop. This discussion requires some historical background that many people today do not have. A good discussion of the historical events behind this discussion can be found on wikipedia:

In the last part of this letter, Jefferson addresses his concerns with the federal court of Virginia and the stifling of freedom of speech. Fitzhugh has shared one of his letters from Jefferson with an acquaintance and this person ( a hostile) is using it as a public weapon against some of Jefferson’s view. Jefferson chides Fitzhugh to keep his correspondence (and therefore his views) private.
At the end of the letter in the Jefferson letter in the Jefferson archives, are more details about this letter. You can click on the letter below to read the letter:

Fitzhugh to Jefferson (Letter 6)


To Thomas Jefferson from Peregrine Fitzhugh


20 June 1797

This letter is written from Fitzhugh to Jefferson. You will notice that Fitzhugh’s style in this letter is businesslike and to the point as opposed to his often very flowery language and being very circumspect.


Historical Background for this letter


Col. Fitzhugh still lives in Ann Arundel, Maryland, and resided there until he moved to Geneva, N.Y., in 1799.


This letter is all about politics. The first part of this letter goes on to talk about the war in 1797 that is raging between England and France for dominance of Europe. Fitzhugh like many farmers in the United States at that time, wants to stay neutral in the conflict so that it does not affect their commerce based on trading with both sides. He is very concerned that many in Congress are taking a decidedly anti-France attitude.


The next part begins discussing how the Federal Government is going to insure that the States pay their taxes to the Federal Government in a more timely fashion.


The remainder of the letter is talking about Logan and Cresop. This discussion requires some historical background that many people today do not have. A good discussion of the historical events behind this discussion can be found on wikipedia:


You can click on the letter below to read the letter: