Sodus Point – Founded in 1794

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From the 1860 Gazetteer of the State of New York, by J. H. French


A part of Great Sodus Bay (1) lies in the N. E. corner. Its surface in the N. part is mostly level, with a gentle inclination toward the lake. A ridge 140 to 190 ft. higher than the surface of the lake passes through near the center; and S. of this the surface is broken by several ridges extending N. and S. The lake shore varies in height from a low swamp to bluffs 70 ft. high. Second and Salmon Creeks are the principal streams. The soil in the N. part is a clay and sandy loam, and in the S. gravelly loam. The manufacture of lime is extensively carried on in the S. part; and red sandstone is quarried in the S. W. Red oxide of iron (argillaceous ore) is found 2 mi. W. of Sodus Point.  Sodus Point, (p.v.) on the lake, W. of the entrance to the bay, is a U. S. port of entry in the Genesee District. It has a lighthouse, a church, a steam sawmill, and about 200 inhabitants. The first settlement was made in 1794, under the auspices of Charles Williamson, agent of the Pulteney Estate. (2) Mr. Williamson caused a road to be cut through from Palmyra to Sodus Point in the spring of 1794. During the summer the town was surveyed, an extensive city plan laid out between Salmon Creek and the Point, and within two years mills were erected on Salmon Creek. A tavern was built at an expense of $5,000, a pleasure yacht was placed upon the bay; and in roads, surveys, buildings, &c., over $20,000 was expended. Thos. Little and Moffat were the local agents of Mr. Williamson. Of all those connected with these premature improvements, but few remained after they were completed. Elijah Brown was an early settler, 4 mi. W. of the Point, and Amos Richards, 7 mi. W. Ammi Ellsworth came from Conn. in 1801, and settled near the Point. Dr. Wm. Nixon Lummis settled at the Point. He built mills and a forge. A daughter of his is Mrs. Elizabeth Ellet, author of the “Women of the Revolution”, and “Domestic History of the Revolution”. Col. Peregrine Fitzhugh came from Md. in 1803, with his family and slaves, – over 40 persons in all. Dr. Thos. G. Lawson, an Englishman, settled 1 mi. from the Point, in 1803. After expending considerable money in attempting to form a settlement, he abandoned the enterprise in 1805. In 1799, besides those already mentioned, there were 25 families in town on roads leading to Palmyra and Lyons. The first church (Bap.) was organized in 1805; Elder Seba Norton was the first settled minister. (3)




  1. Called by the Indians “Assorodus”, meaning “silvery water”.
  2. Moses and James Sill kept the first inn, at Sodus Point, in the building erected for that purpose by Mr. Williamson. On the evening of June 13, 1813, a party of about 100 English landed at Sodus Point in boats, from the fleet of Sir. Jas. Yeo, for the purpose of seizing or destroying what public stores they could find. They were opposed by about 40 Americans, under Capt. Hull of Lyons. After the first fire the Americans retreated. The enemy burned 5 houses, and the old Williamson Hotel, owned by Capt. Wm. Wickham. The public flour had been secreted in a ravine, and remained undiscovered. The next day a gunboat proceeded up the lake to Nicholas Point and burned a warehouse. The British had 2 killed, and the Americans 1 killed and 1 mortally wounded. The total amount of property destroyed amounted to about $25,000.