GREAT SODUS BAY
A Booklet From 1912
GREAT SODUS BAY
A Beautiful Historical Sketch
Mrs. D.F. McNett
This booklet is issued under the auspices of the Publicity Committee of the Sodus Bay
W.H. Snyder, Elmira, N.Y., Chairman
GREAT SODUS BAY
By Mrs. D.F. McNett
Pearl after pearl has slipped from the rosary of time, since Champlain's wind tossed batteaux anchored in a safe haven, and the lilies of France floated over Great Sodus Bay.
Silvery Waters, murmured the dusky Indians in their frail canoes, crowding to the pebbly strand to greet the pale-faced strangers, pointing to the shimmering expanse of the unexplored, land-locked bay.
"Si Douce! Si Douce!" delightedly returned the intrepid voyageurs from far Mont Royale, as they surveyed the fair domain of unbroken forest, wooded bluff, island, and gently sloping shore. Boldly braving hostile Senecas and Cayugas, the Soldiers of the Cross preempted this virgin soil. And the Jesuit Fathers could hold their own with modern statesmen in diplomacy. M. Picquet, the Canadian Prefect Apostolic, Special Missionary of the King, in 1751, suggested the erection of a fort at this point, as a strategic measure to control the northern frontier of the future Empire State.
On the earliest maps extant, this body of water is known as the Bay of the Cayugas. It is six miles long, and three miles wide. A harbor for the largest ships of the Great Lakes to ride in safety.
To-day, the region of Sodus Bay, is known as the scenic resort of Western New York. Tourists often compare its beauties, to those of the Bay of Naples.
The historic village of Sodus Point, Wayne County, New York, was platted by the energetic Charles Williamson about 1794. He was the agent of Sir William Pultney, belonging to a titled, English syndicate in the days of the late Georges. In the fashion of the good old days, a public square was laid out in the centre of the townsite. In 1802, wolves and panthers prowled through the forests of the bay. A bounty of two dollars was offered for the scalps of the wolves, increased to ten dollars in 1810.
Revolving Light and Pier
June 19, 1813, the British fleet from York (now Toronto) shelled the hamlet. Silver was hastily buried, as the red coats landed. Sturdy yeomen sprang to the defense of their "altars and their fires." A second Paul Revere, galloped to South Sodus, rousing the country-side to repel the invader. The patriots left their "logging bee," without returning to wife or child, and hurried to the Point. At Sodus, forty men had just returned from a "raising," dropping their tools at the news, they were also, soon speedily on their way to join their neighbors. Excitement rose to white heat.
The warehouse, Wm. Wickham's store, and private dwellings were burned. Part of the military stores had been concealed in the woods and were saved. Only the Mansion House was spared the torch, where lay an American soldier named Asher Warner, whose life blood ebbed away." The area of the hamlet was small. Trees and brush nearly covered the public square. Fearing a trap, the enemy went no farther inland than "Cook's Corners," at the corner of Bay and Fitzhugh streets.
History has not forgotten the names of Isaac Davidson, who, spoiling for the fight, was accidentally locked in Maxwell's Mill, named for General Maxwell of Revolutionary fame. But Yankee ingenuity prevailed, and a triumphant Isaac emerged to face the foe. In August, 1912, Mrs. W.H. Warner, of Cleveland, Ohio, a great-granddaughter of the patriot, made a pilgrimage to stand upon the historic spot, hallowed by sacred memory. Well she remembered the nursery tale of a cherished looking-glass, and family plate concealed in the garden. Now, locust blossoms drift where the soldier died, and the old hostelry ebbed and flowed with the coming of the mail by stage from Lyons, in the stormy days of the Civil War.
During the anti-slavery excitement "be fo' de wah," Gerritt Smith colonized a number of slaves in this vicinity, actively interested in the workings of the "underground."
Sodus Point, is a government port of entry. Mail service by Marine Route is prompt and satisfactory. There are three churches in the village - Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal, and Roman Catholic.
The Guild Hall is used for entertainments and elections. Through the shaded streets, whose names commemorate the early settlers, may be seen charming vistas of lake and bay. Quaint, old houses, shaded by giant poplars and stately maples, invite a closer view. "Lake Stones," the handsome residence of the late Col. E.B. Parsons, rises from spacious grounds on the brink of the lake. On the lawn of the Old Stone Lighthouse, is held the annual reunion of the Putnams of the U.S. The lighthouse keeper, Mr. Daniel Phillips, being a lineal descendant of the hero, brave "Old Put" of the War of the Revolution. Sodus Point air is full of life-giving ozone. That pest, the mosquito, thanks to continual vigilance, has been practically eliminated. The roads are mostly well oiled, offering an excellent track for automobiles. Danger signals have been put up where necessary. Many of the residents open their homes to summer guests. Accommodations are reasonable and inviting. Nowhere, can a more delightful and convenient spot be found in which to spend the summer.
Old Stone Lighthouse
Southeast of Sodus Point, Sand Point pushes out boldly into the bay. Tradition avers that somewhere in this vicinity, General Simcoe's aid-de-camp met Washington's envoy, to conclude the terms of peace resulting in the evacuation of the lake ports by the British. Sand Point to-day is largely built up with cottages, many overlooking the harbor, and the Revolving Light with its flashing beacon. With its boat liveries, pop-corn stands, and the ubiquitous ice cream cone, Sand Point, is a bustling thoroughfare during the months of July and August. Many beautiful and artistic summer and winter views of Sodus Bay scenery, may be found at Draper's Studio.
Sodus Bay Yacht Club
Visitors are cordially welcomed to the spacious Club-home of the S.B.Y. Club, on the South shore of Sand Point. This organization is largely drawn from Western New York. The Club House is a rendezvous for the members and their friends from all points on the bay. A commodious dancing pavilion, greatly enjoyed by the younger members, has been a recent addition. During the season, Club "Events" are a prominent feature of Sodus Bay life. These "Events," with their attractive program of cards, music and dancing were largely attended during the summer, especially on Venetian night. Thursday has been set apart for Ladies' Day. Prizes are offered for winners in Sail Boat Races, Lark Races, and Motor Boat Races.
The bay is a veritable paradise for fishermen. Almost any hour of the day, from the boat landing may be seen a crowd of small craft. Or towards the Revolving Light, a string of expectant fishermen on the Government pier or breakwater, while wriggling eels and scaly-backed mud turtles, furnish amusement for the omnipresent small boy.
Pickerel, black bass, and lake perch predominate. Pickerel lurk along the shores, and trolling is a favorite sport, while perch fishing off "The Deep Hole" in front of Point Charles is generally satisfactory to the votaries of Isaac Walton.
Doubtless they sing in the words of the poet:
"Green are the waters, green as bottle glass,
Copyright © 2004 - 2011 Magill
Wayne County NYGenWeb
A County Site of the USGenWeb Project
All Rights Reserved.