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 continue with part two of three presentations on the attacks along the Greece shores of Lake Ontario during the War of 1812. Today we look at the battle fought on September 11, 1813. For two years American Commodore Isaac Chauncey and British Commodore Sir James Yeo maneuvered for control of Lake Ontario. When they met at the mouth of the Genesee River on September 11, 1813, it was only their second direct engagement with each other. That morning the American fleet caught up with the becalmed British fleet at Braddock Bay. At 2:30 p.m., just offshore of Charlotte, Chauncey, and his fleet had closed to within ¾ of a mile of Yeo, putting him in long-gun range. The flagship, Pike, and the Sylph began to fire their cannons at the British fleet; the bombardment lasted for 90 minutes.
For more on the War of 1812 and its connection with Greece, New York check out: Eight Miles Along The Shore by Virginia Tomkiewicz and Shirley Cox Husted is the first book you should pick up.
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.
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.
If you like to learn more about the Town of Greece’s history, consider Subscribing to Our YouTube Channel Greece History, and when you are there don’t forget to click that bell icon 🔔, you will be notified when new content comes out for the Bicentennial Snapshots or other programs that the Society puts on about the Town of Greece and its past so future generations can understand how the town has taken us on multiple journeys.
The Bicentennial Snapshots video is assembled and produced by Pat Worboys, who manages video and Information Technology services for the Greece Historical Society and Museum.
All graphics that are used in the video are either from Public Domain Sources, Museum Collections, and contributions by members of the Greece Historical Society, and credit is given to each source either in the lower third or at the end of the video.