This week we conclude our three-part presentation on the attacks along the Greece shores of Lake Ontario during the War of 1812. Today we look at the battle fought on May 15, 1814. What occurred then never made it into any national history books, but is legendary in local history. Initially, 33 men from the volunteer militia responded to the sighting of the British fleet at the mouth of the Genesee River and fooled Commodore Sir James Yeo into thinking that they were “a substantial force” until more regiments could join them to turn away the enemy.
The Valiant 33
We know 17 these names of and members of the Valiant 33:
Isaac Stone, Francis Brown, Elisha Ely, Abelard Reynolds, Hamlet Scranton, Jehiel Barnard, Hervey Ely, Jesse Hawley, Silas O. Smith, Oliver Colby, Sam Latta‡§, George Latta*§Thomas King†, Bradford King†, Zaccheus Colby‡, Eastman Colby, Frederick Rowe
Note the symbols next to some of the names
*- Greece Town Supervisor
† – They are the Sons of Giddon King more on King’s Landing is in King’s Landing
‡ – They are Town of Northhampton Supervisors, not Gates or Greece – The town of Gates was formed in 1813 when the town changed its name to Gates, and for more information on the forming of the town of Greece check out the first snapshot of How Greece was formed
§- The Latta Family, Sam and George are brothers, born in Walkill, Ulster co., New York. More on the Latta Family in Snapshot #10 and in the publications Eight Miles Along the Shore and the latest book Pioneer Families of Greece Volume 1.
One of the Wearhouse that was hit was near Frederick Bushnell’s and James K. Guernsey’s mercantile business located in the Port.
The war of 1812 did last till February 18th, 1815 but there were so many small battles and wars in this battle, was the British attempting to retake the colony back and make America regret its choice to become its own country on July 4th, 1776.
General Peter Porter arrived that afternoon in time to receive a second flag. The British demanded that they surrender the provisions or they would land an army and 400 Indians. There were now 600 to 800 men on the east and west sides of the river ready to fight. Not knowing how many men were defending Charlotte, Yeo sailed away from the mouth of the Genesee on the morning of May 16, 1814.
General Peter Porter sent a message back to the Governor of New York that day stating:
“We saved the town and our credit by fairly outbullying John Bull.”
General Peter Porter
“At the Genesee, the enemy had a substantial force.”
Sir James Yeo wrote in his report to his superior officers:
This week we begin a three-part presentation on the attacks along the Greece shores of Lake Ontario during the War of 1812. Today we look at the British attacks that occurred on October 1, 1812, and June 15, 1813. At first, there was little support for the war in the Lake Ontario shoreline settlements. The causes of the war were not their grievances. They enjoyed a healthy trade relationship with their Canadian neighbors and it seemed so unlikely that the war would impact them. However, once British warships visited their shore and bombarded them with cannonballs their attitude changed; they realized that the war could be at their doors any time the lake was navigable, especially as Charlotte was a site where provisions for the troops were stockpiled.
The Greece Historical Society presents these weekly Bicentennial Snapshots to mark the 200th Anniversary of the founding of the Town of Greece. Each week we feature a particular aspect of Greece, New York history. Each Bicentennial story will be unique in nature and over the course of the 52 episodes, you will learn about the people and events that comprise the vibrant history of Greece from its earliest days to the present.
Each story is researched, written, and narrated by retired librarian and local historian Maureen Whalen; she has a unique style of storytelling that makes each Bicentennial Snapshot come alive and easy for everyone to understand.
The mission of the Greece Historical Society is to discover, research, and preserve the history of the Town of Greece and to share that history with its residents and the local community through public programs, publications, museum exhibits, and accessibility to its archives and artifacts.
This week we consider King’s Landing, the First European Settlement, and Lake Port west of the Genesee River. Natives of Sheffield, Connecticut, in 1797. the King and Granger families established a settlement on the banks of the Genesee River. They cut roads, built a bridge over the ravine, cleared the land, built a wharf and a schooner, sailed to Fort Niagara with their first load of produce and wheat, killed rattlesnakes, and went about their daily lives until the settlement was decimated by malaria or Genesee Fever as it was called then. In 1807, the seven Hanford brothers renewed the King’s Landing settlement and built a mill, hotel, and shipping center. More on Handford’s Tavern involvement in the War of 1812 Part 1.
The King’s Landing Bicentennial Snapshot was compiled by Lee Strauss, and Joseph Vitello, using notes by Helen Edson Slocum, Narrated by Maureen Whalen.
For more on King’s Landing check out: Eight Miles Along The Shore by Virginia Tomkiewicz and Shirley Cox Husted is the first book you should pick up.
There is a copy of King’s Landing, A History of the First Settlement west of the Genesee River in the State of New York 1797 by Helen Edson Slocum available in our reference library for research only.
Don’t forget to, check out the Digital Kiosk inside the Newcomb Museum Wing has a fully interactive exhibit on King’s Landing.
Eight Miles Along the Shore By Virginia Tomkiewicz and Shirley Cox Husted