East Bethany Fossils

Here are some more pictures from the East Bethany fossil site.  I had these in a bin and just hadn’t had a chance to photograph them.  All of these fossils are from the Devonian period.

 

Fossil Photo Set

Directions to the site

Posted in OSTH. 2 Comments »

Fossil Scouting

I decided to go down to Pittsford Plaza to see the old Erie Canal site for myself. I didn’t find any fossils, but I did find this neat piece of Obsidian. I was also able to identify the shale layer in the side of the canal. There aren’t very good fossil hunting spots close to the lock since the approaches to the lock are clad in stone, hiding the sediment underneath. The spot that I’ve heard of is further North East, behind the Spring House. I didn’t get that far north. The ice is thin this time of year, and I didn’t want to walk too far. the trail thins out as it goes north of the lock. Next time, I’m going to park in the Spring House parking lot instead of the Wegman’s lot.

Here are some pictures of the two halves of the lock.

A view towards the lock (left), and away from the lock (right) I didn’t wade into the water, there’s a little wooden bridge that crosses the old canal about 30 meters northeast of the lock.

Amber hanging out on the bridge and next to the lock intakes.

Posted in OSTH. 5 Comments »

Fossil Hunting in upstate New York

Crinoid

A straigtht shell Nautiloid/Cephelapod from the Devonian Era

Upstate New York is an interesting place to look for fossils.  The ice ages stripped most of the upper layers that would contain dinosaurs or larger fauna, but left some of the earliest eras of life on Earth near the surface.  You may not find a dinosaur, but the Silurian and Devonian eras are within a few inches of the surface in some places.  The fossils in these two eras record life as it began to differentiate and grow in complexity.  Trilobites and Eurypterids are common fossils in both eras.  The Eurypterid is the state fossil of New York.  Modern descendents of Eurypterids include Horseshoe crabs and scorpions.  Here are a couple fossil sites in upstate NY. If you need directions to each site,just zoom out on the Google map a bit.

DSC_0003A Devonian Trilobite

Pittsford Plaza This site is an old section of the Erie Canal that was bypassed during an enlargement late in the 19th century. It is right behind the modern shopping center. If you look closely, you can even make out an abandoned canal lock. This section of the canal cuts through something called Pittsford Shale. Here is a description of fossils that can be found there.  EDIT: I scouted the Pittsford site and posted about it HERE.  I think a better place to search for fossils would be behind the Spring House instead of the Wegman’s Plaza.  HERE is a google map of the site.  It’s a few hundred yards North of the abandoned canal lock.

DSC_0007Fossilized Silurian Seabed

East Bethany railroad It’s a little hard to make out on this Google map, they don’t have high resolution pictures of this area. Here is a road map version. The railroad cut off of Francis road was abandoned years ago. The site is just south of Francis road. The railroad cuts through a large hill that contains many fossils. this site is full of clams and other Devonian fossils. It’s very easy to find surface fossils here. A great site for beginners (like me)

EDIT: I went back to the East Bethany site: https://npanth.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/new-east-bethany-fossils/

DSC_0012A Devonian Trilobite

Long Pond Road Park on the circle of Marina Drive. This is a working part of the Erie Canal, so you have to go there when the canal is drained during the winter. I haven’t been there yet, but I’ve heard that this site doesn’t have a lot of fossils, but does have high quality specimens. The best place to search is to the east of the parking area.

Posted in OSTH. 39 Comments »

Trilobyte Tales

Google Map of railroad cut

Last fall, I went hunting for fossils in this old railroad cut.  I had the field notes from a 1972  expedition.  Thanks to the earth science teacher at the 9th grade academy, I’ve found some interesting fossils in the few trips I’ve made.   Yesterday, I ran into him again in between classes.  He has a new place for me to look.  It’s along the Erie Canal this time.  The canal goes right through a rich vein of fossils.  It’s only accessable during the winter, when the canal is empty.

Here is the Google map link for the new site.

Here are some pictures I’ve taken of the Erie Canal, some fossil pics, random stuff for your momentary amusement 😉

 


Canadice Rocks

Original

Original

I like this two-tone rock. I don’t think it’s a meteor, but it does have a metal core.

I also found this quartz.

Posted in OSTH. 1 Comment »

OSTH – Photography

This is part of the Open Source Treasure Hunt. I have loved Hemlock and Canadice Lakes in central New York for almost 20 years. It’s a rare, unspoiled part of New York. So, I’ve decided to start a project to document the recreation activities available in the Park

Visiter’s permit

Looking North

Phelps and Corham Tract
I took these pictures in spring 2006. This field covers a ghost town from the 18th and 19th centuries.

There are also many ruins from 19th century summer homes along the lake. The old road to these houses is now a crushed gravel walking path, so it’s very easy to get to the foundations. The best time to go for metal detecting is in the spring. During those short weeks, the ground isn’t hard, but the underbrush isn’t thick yet. Summer is the time for fishing and photography on the Lake. There is good fishing for Trout, Bass, even Pickerel.

There is a nesting pair of Golden Eagles on the ridge between Hemlock and Canadice. There are several pairs of falcons that hunt along the shores of both lakes. One or two Egrets make their way up and down the lake occasionally. Dusk is when the show really starts. That’s when the unbelievable swarm of mosquitoes rises out of the southern marsh. They cling to the surface of the lake, sweeping North like a squall line. The fish rise to meet them, but they can only get a few. Just as that spectacle fills your eyes, a new sound comes from behind you. Strange, high pitched, half sounds fill the valley. A moment later, the bats stream through the trees and past your spot. For the short time before total darkness, you can see the most thrilling acrobatics, almost within reach.

I think I’ve found the general area of a roosting cave. It’s on the southwestern shore of Canadice. I’m going to go back down this summer for some pictures. I’m planning to hang an apple from a branch to attract insects. If I focus on the apple, then pan left or right until it’s out of frame, I should be able to get some realistic flash photos of the bats eating insects.

OSTH – Fossil and Rock Hunting

OSTH – Fossils

This is part of the Open Source Treasure Hunt

Hemlock Visitor brochure and permit
Mapquest Hemlock, NY
History of Canadice
1904 Map of Hemlock
Canadice Trail Guide

I would like to discuss some of the geology that exists in the Hemlock/Canadice Lake region near Rochester. These lakes, like all the Finger Lakes were created during the last Ice Age. As the Ice sheet advanced over the area, it gouged out the softer soil between the ridges, creating the bowls that the lakes sit in now. You’ll have to look in Pennsylvania for the missing soil. The Iroquois believe that the lakes were gouged out by the fingers of a deity.

This unique creation process has created some excellent opportunities for fossil and rock hunting. As you can see in this picture, there is a significant runoff in the spring. This area loses bridges to runoff every few years. This runoff has the effect of cutting deep channels into the surrounding hills, continuously cutting into new strata in the hills. There are many smooth rocks for collectors in the creek bed, with fossils mixed in. The hills have several fossil bearing strata that feed into the creek bed. So far, I’ve found minor fossils all over the road and creek beds. I’m not proficient in identifying fossils, but everything so far has been of the shellfish variety. You don’t have to go very far from the lake to see what’s up in the hills. There’s a good layer of quartz up there, somewhere. I think it will take a couple more trips before I find a really good example, but I’m expecting a good find eventually. The streams act as concentrators for the geology up on the hill. Instead of climbing every creek bed to see what’s up there, you can scout at the mouth of the stream, and then decide if climbing that steep hill is worth it.

Each lake has dozens of channels feeding down the hills. Since the majority of the creeks are seasonal, it is very safe to explore them in summer, fall and winter. The hills are very steep, so bring good hiking boots and BUG REPELLENT. By the time July hits, the place looks like an OFF! commercial.

Tags: , , , ,

Posted in OSTH. 1 Comment »

OSTH – September 1779

I’ve noticed a bunch of traffic coming through for this information, so I’ll finally clean it up. The Open source Treasure Hunt is just that. I’ve done this research on what I consider an excellent site for exploration. I would like to continue to fish, hike, explore here for years to come. As long as we respect the same rules that the Geo Cachers do, we’ll be fine. PLEASE do not dig up jogging trails, no matter how good that signal is….

The Hemlock and Canadice lakes are owned by the city of Rochester, NY, and used as a source of drinking water. The city owns 7100 acres surrounding the lakes, and allows access with a free permit. Here are the links you need to gain access to the property. If you can't get a permit, don't worry, there is a 24/7 self serve kiosk where you can get permits. It's right at the North end of Hemlock Lake. Sya hello to the giant Porta-potty when you go 😉

Hemlock Visitor brochure and permit
Mapquest Hemlock, NY
History of Canadice
1904 Map of Hemlock
Canadice Trail Guide

OSTH – Sullivan


A hand drawn map made by a member of General Sullivan's army. It shows the path that they took through the area during a campaign against the Seneca Tribe. Haunyauga is called Honeoye today. Conyeadice, is Canadice.

There's a local legend about a treasure in Gold and Silver Excerpt: Persistent of the sparsely settled hills is the belief in buried treasure, hidden it is alleged, by General Sullivan's officers, while crossing the narrow ridge northwest of the lake as a precautionary measure against being captured by the Indians. Sporadic fits of digging extended over a period of a century and a half have yeilded nothing, however, in the way of silver and gold .Source Article (wemett)

Here are some links to writings and letters by General Sullivan. The 1779 Sullivan Campaign emerged as one of the larger of the Continental Army's offensives during the American Revolution, yet remains relatively unknown. It was an act of reprisal to break the Iroquois Confederation, a Native American political and military alliance that included the Seneca, Cayuga, Mohawk, Onondaga, 0neida, and Tuscarora tribes. The Iroquois, with the exception of the Oneida and Tuscarora, openly sided with Great Britain to protect their homelands.
Revolutionary War Letters
Profile by FReeper

I took a 1904 Topo map of the area, and combined it with the hand drawn map above. Sullivan forded Hemlock Lake right at the north end. Evidence of the bridge he built has been found there. It makes sense that he would follow Canadice outlet until it merges with Hemlock outlet. There is a parking lot right at the Canadice outlet on Purcell Road.
I know that the hand drawn map shows Sullivan "crossing the T" on Canadice Lake, but having fished that lake for some years, I think they followed the Canadice outlet until it met up with the Hemlock outlet. That area is just too rugged to follow any other path, and still arrive at the North end of Conesus on the next day. Remember, Sullivan was moving 2,000 men and at least a few canons. I think they would have gone after the Indian settlement on the outlet, but sent scouts to the nearest promontory. That high spots in the area command views of both Canadice and Hemlock lakes. Sullivan could engage the village while his scouts watched for any Iroquois of British reinforcements. Most of this is pure speculation on my part, anyway. My feeling is that most of the searching has been NW of HEMLOCK lake, not Canadice. This promontory is out of the way, so it's unlikely that anything buried there would be found by natives walking on the Indian path hundreds of feet below. So, if Sullivan was concerned enough about being attacked that he buried part of his plunder, why not on the "nose of Bald Hill". It's easy to find when you come back for it years later. (Sullivan didn't return to NY as far as I can tell).I'll take some pictures of the area next time I'm down there. I think that the best time to take pictures will be this winter when all the leaves are off the trees.

General Sullivan’s Correspondence related to his transit of the Hemlock and Canadice Lakes. I’m emphasizing quotes that may lead to interesting places to explore and use a metal detector. Sullivan's Letter In this letter, the general is reporting to congress on the battle of Newtown. Sullivan’s army defeated an Iroquois force. The warriors who had been in the action were equally averse to the proposal, and would think of nothing but flight, and removal of their families; that they kept runners on every mountain to observe the movements of our army, who reported early in the day on which we arrived, that our advance was very rapid; upon which all those who had not been before sent off, fled with precipitation, leaving her [lone old woman in village] without any possible means of escape. During August and September, 1779, the Iroquois of Central New York were fleeing for their lives in front of Sullivan’s force. His mission was to de-stabilize Iroquois settlements in PA and NY. Since Sullivan was burning their crops and villages, they certainly would have seen to necessities first, luxuries second. Sullivan was in a big hurry, he was two months behind schedule, and had to complete his campaign in NY before the weather turned.

http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/1998/sullivan.html This page describes Sullivan’s campaign in New York, 1779The army finally left Tioga August 26, at least two months behind schedule. Hand's light troops were out front, guided by a company of Virginia riflemen. Clinton took the rear and the other two brigades either flank, guarding the baggage train in a box like formation. Flanking parties were sent out. Their efficiency impressed even the British. John Butler wrote Fort Niagara informing them that they were "misinformed" about the composition of the force. It was not untrained militia, but "the best of the Continental Troops commanded by the most active of the Rebel Generals."27 Significantly outnumbered, Butler planned to ambush Sullivan's force and demoralize them before they got too deep into Iroquois territory. All was not well in Sullivan's army. The columns lumbering pace put them behind schedule. The artillery often bogged down, frequently overturning, creating a major headache for the troops
TIMELINE:August 29: Battle of Newtown
September 5: Took village of Kendaia along the west shore of Seneca Lake. At this point in the campaign, Sullivan is moving at about 11 miles per day
September 10: Sullivan reaches Canandaigua
September 11: Sullivan reaches Honeoye
September 13: Boyd’s scouting force is nearly wiped out by an ambush, Boyd is missing
September 14: Army enters Genesee: They found Genesee deserted, but in the town's center, they found the mutilated bodies of Boyd and one of his men. "It appeared that they had whiped them in a most cruel manner, pulled out Mr. Boid's nails, cut off his nose, plucked out one of his eyes, cut out his tongue, stabbed him with spears in sundry places, & inflicted other tortures which decency will not permit me to mention; lastly cut off his head & left his body on the ground."47 The barbarity outraged the men, who set about destroying the town "with great cheerfulness."48 Genesee was a huge town and required nearly two days to raze. Crops were gathered into the huts before they were set on fire. Stores that could not be burned were hurriedly dumped into the river.49

Sullivan turned back at this point
September 17: Sullivan reaches Honeoye. At this point, Sullivan exited my target area. His campaign wasn’t over, though. He continued to the East. The campaign can be seen in some ways as a prototype for Sherman’s March to the sea 80 years later. The operation's success resulted from a combination of careful planning and luck. The weather cooperated. Sullivan was aided by seasoned officers, who led a well-trained, disciplined army. They adapted their tactics to operating a large force in the wilderness. It was an unusual campaign, in that it was waging total war against an entire people, not just an enemy army .I’m trying to imagine what it would be like for the Iroquois in Sullivan’s path. After the battle of Newtown, the news must have spread like wildfire up the Chemung River. This river is a gateway to my research area. Sullivan’s army was in my target area 9/11 to 9/17, 1779. They were moving East-West 9/11-9/14, spent 9/15 and 9/16 at Cuylerville, then moved West-East on 9/17. There are reports from members of the army that the West-East trip took 2 days instead of 1. Sullivan would then have arrived at Honeoye on 9/18. If their best speed was 11 miles/day in the Chemung Valley, then their progress would be somewhat slower in the rugged terrain of my target area.

Is making an attempt to recover General Sullivan’s treasure rational… or even reasonable? General Sullivan’s army was in this area for several days. That’s 5000 troops, hundreds of Iroquois all moving franticly into and out of the area. Sullivan won his greatest victory just two weeks earlier. His army was moving up to 10 miles per day. Up the Chemung river valley. Burning every native village they came across. The effect must have been to drive the entire population up the river valley in confusion. When they reached the western Finger Lakes, they had the choice of several routes. Each Finger Lake had North-south paths that were well developed and traveled by the Iroquois. Sullivan pushed them to the West, also. The westward part of the campaign ended in Cuylerville, just three valleys to the west of Canadice. That’s the place where Boyd died. I think this is significant. Sullivan didn’t turn back because of the torture and grizzly killing of his best scout. He had planned to turn back when he reached Genesee. It’s the first time he suffered this kind of defeat, though. It was a personal blow. Boyd was a trusted scout, commanding the most important sweeping units. They were used to scout ambushes ahead of the main army. This is really the only passage I’ve found related to the treasure: Persistent of the sparsely settled hills is the belief in buried treasure, hidden it is alleged, by General Sullivan's officers, while crossing the narrow ridge northwest of the lake as a precautionary measure against being captured by the Indians. Sporadic fits of digging extended over a period of a century and a half have yielded nothing, however, in the way of silver and gold.Source Page
Looking at the different parts of the passage, I’ve confirmed several things from other sources.- Sullivan was constantly aware of ambushes. His British and Iroquois counterparts had attacked him before. An ambush discovered by Boyd led to the Battle of Newtown, his greatest success. Now, an ambush had led to his greatest loss, the barbaric death of Boyd. Now that he was turning back, I think he would have wanted to travel as light as possible. Especially now that his best ambush scout was dead.- Sullivan was also constantly concerned about supplies during this part of the campaign. To Sullivan, I think the plunder his army was gathering was less important than the food. Genesee was a bonanza for Sullivan. He plundered corn, beans, all manner of foodstuffs. Now if one packhorse was carrying two chests of native trinkets instead of two bushels of corn, I think Sullivan would definitely leave the chests behind.- Sullivan was also very concerned about how quickly his army could move. Every time he stopped for more than a day, he left behind wounded soldiers and canon. He knew that he would be meeting up with 40 wounded and several canons (incl. 1 Howitzer) that he had left at the town of Honeoye. As he moved Eastward across the North end of Canadice Lake, he would have wanted to lighten himself as much as possible before entering Honeoye.

The real treasure may not have been buried by Sullivan after all:- As Sullivan pushed the wave of natives and British before him, they may have buried the important things that they couldn’t lose, but couldn’t carry. These things may be near the old native villages.- The speed with which the Continentals over ran the area is remarkable. There are contemporary reports of fully cooked meals in empty houses. Several people were left behind and questioned by Sullivan’s advancing army.- There are also contemporary reports that the natives knew Sullivan’s position and progress. They posted scouts on high points between the lakes.- So a controlled panic might be descriptive of the mood in the Hemlock/Canadice villages. They knew that they had to leave to the West. After having 1 or 2 days to prepare for flight, several native caches may exist in the hills overlooking village sites.

Tags: , , , , ,

Posted in OSTH. 2 Comments »

Going Batty

I’ve had this idea for photographing some bats that live near Canadice Lake. At dusk, I’d hang a cut apple from tree branch. I think they’re insect eaters from the little I’ve seen of them. I think a cut apple would attract insects. My problem has always been that I don’t know where the bats are coming from. I’ve only seen them once, flying over the lake.
Well, I was dragging the dog out of a thorn bush, when I saw a hollow tree. I couldn’t see a thing up in there, so I jammed my camera up the hole, and snapped a couple flash shots. I figured I’d find out what was up there when i got back home. Well, lo and behold, there was a bat up there!
Now that I know where some bats roost, I can put the apple close by. Hopefully, that will increase my chances of getting a good shot. We’ll see.

Hemlock Lake Research

This is reprint of some research I did on a metal detecting site. It refers to Hemlock and Canadice Lakes in Central New York.
All of the research is related to either Victorian history or September 11 – 18 1779.
I will continue to clean up this post as I get a chance.

OSTH – OPEN SOURCE TREASURE
Just to get your bearings
Hemlock Mapquest
Rochester City Permit (free)
OSTH – Victorian I’m pretty much finished researching Sullivan’s 1779 campaign in Hemlock/Springwater/Canadice. After researching the events of 7 days in 1779, that only leave 200 years worth of history to go (image placeholder)I’d like to use this post as a repository for some of the stories/ideas I have about 19th century history around the two lakes.Here are some links to get started:
Hemlock Mapquest
Watershed Visitor’s Guide
Jacksonville – Ghost town!
Hemlock Lake Resorts

And a picture of the Port House, a notorious drinking and gambling house that burned down mysteriously.
Two great sites…Both about 18th century History on the Lakes. While reading the descriptions, I marked the locations on a topo map of the area, so we should be able to get right to the sites without having to search too extensively. Today, there are established hiking paths that go right by the old houses… hikers talk about the foundations still being visible. Mrs. Wemett describes and locates all the hot spots from the 1870’s through the 1920’s. Dance Halls, Drinking houses, Crazy hermits, Iroquois Ritual sites. This place seems to have something for everyone. Great!Guide to Houses on Hemlock Lakelocations of Houses on Hemlock LakeI’ve attached a copy of the map Here

OSTH – Sullivan
The Hemlock and Canadice lakes are owned by the city of Rochester, NY, and used as a source of drinking water. The city owns 7100 acres surrounding the lakes, and allows access with a free permit.Here is a list of research links I’ve compiled so far:Hemlock Visitor brochure and permit
Mapquest Hemlock, NY
History of Canadice
1904 Map of Hemlock
Canadice Trail Guide
And a hand drawn map made by a member of General Sullivan’s army. It shows the path that they took through the area during a campaign against the Seneca Tribe.

BTW,There’s a local legend about a treasure in Gold and Silver Excerpt:Persistent of the sparsely settled hills is the belief in buried treasure, hidden it is alleged, by General Sullivan’s officers, while crossing the narrow ridge northwest of the lake as a precautionary measure against being captured by the Indians. Sporadic fits of digging extended over a period of a century and a half have yeilded nothing, however, in the way of silver and gold.Source Article (wemett)

Here are some links to writings and letters by General Sullivan.The 1779 Sullivan Campaign emerged as one of the larger of the Continental Army’s offensives during the American Revolution, yet remains relatively unknown. It was an act of reprisal to break the Iroquois Confederation, a Native American political and military alliance that included the Seneca, Cayuga, Mohawk, Onondaga, 0neida, and Tuscarora tribes. The Iroquois, with the exception of the Oneida and Tuscarora, openly sided with Great Britain to protect their homelands.
Revolutionary War Letters
Profile by FReeper

Take a look at this 1904 topographic map(top) of the area.I scaled the hand-drawn map to the same size as the topo map, then tried to think of the best route Sullivan might have taken through the area. He forded Canadice Lake right at the north end. Evidence of the bridge he built has been found there. He also forded Hemlock Lake at the North tip, so it makes sense that he would follow canadice outlet until it merges with Hemlock outlet. The hand drawn map shows an indian village on canadice outlet.Sullivan’s route is in grayIroquois trails and possible village location? in greenPossible path of scouts from Sullivan’s army? in redI think that a good place to look for artifacts is at the end of one of the red trails

I know that the hand drawn map shows Sullivan “crossing the T” on Canadice Lake, but having fished that lake for some years, I can tell you that they followed the Canadice outlet until it met up with the Hemlock outlet. That area is just too rugged to follow any other path, and still arrive at the North end of Conesus on the next day. Remember, Sullivan was moving 2,000 men and at least a few canons.I think they would have gone after the Indian settlement on the outlet, but sent scouts to the nearest promentory. That high spot at the end of the red lines commands a view of both Canadice and Hemlock lakes. Sullivan could engage the village while his scouts watched for any Iroquois of British reinforcements.Most of this is pure speculation on my part, anyway (image placeholder)My feeling is that most of the searching has been NW of HEMLOCK lake, not Canadice. This promontory is out of the way, so it’s unlikely that anything buried there would be found by natives walking on the indian path hundreds of feet below. So, if Sullivan was concerned enough about being attacked that he buried part of his plunder, why not on the “nose of Bald Hill”. It’s easy to find when you come back for it years later. (Sullivan didn’t return to NY as far as I can tell).I’ll take some pictures of the area next time I’m down there. I think that the best time to take pictures will be this winter when all the leaves are off the trees.

General Sullivan’s Correspondence related to his transit of the Hemlock and Canadice Lakes. I’m emphasizing quotes that may lead to interesting places to explore and use a metal detector.Sullivan’s Letter In this letter, the general is reporting to congress on the battle of Newtown. Sullivan’s army defeated an Iroquois force.The warriors who had been in the action were equally averse to the proposal, and would think of nothing but flight, and removal of their families; that they kept runners on every mountain to observe the movements of our army, who reported early in the day on which we arrived, that our advance was very rapid; upon which all those who had not been before sent off, fled with precipitation, leaving her [lone old woman in village] without any possible means of escape.During August and September, 1779, the Iroquois of Central New York were fleeing for their lives in front of Sullivan’s force. His mission was to de-stabilize Iroquois settlements in PA and NY. Since Sullivan was burning their crops and villages, they certainly would have seen to necessities first, luxuries second.Research more about 18th century Iroquois society and customs.Sullivan was in a big hurry, he was two months behind schedule, and had to complete his campaign in NY before the weather turned.http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/1998/sullivan.htmlThis page describes Sullivan’s campaign in New York, 1779The army finally left Tioga August 26, at least two months behind schedule. Hand’s light troops were out front, guided by a company of Virginia riflemen. Clinton took the rear and the other two brigades either flank, guarding the baggage train in a box like formation. Flanking parties were sent out. Their efficiency impressed even the British. John Butler wrote Fort Niagara informing them that they were “misinformed” about the composition of the force. It was not untrained militia, but “the best of the Continental Troops commanded by the most active of the Rebel Generals.”27 Significantly outnumbered, Butler planned to ambush Sullivan’s force and demoralize them before they got too deep into Iroquois territory. All was not well in Sullivan’s army. The columns lumbering pace put them behind schedule. The artillery often bogged down, frequently overturning, creating a major headache for the troops
TIMELINE:August 29: Battle of Newtown
September 5: Took village of Kendaia along the west shore of Seneca LakeAt this point in the campaign, Sullivan is moving at about 11 miles per day
September 10: Sullivan reaches Canandaigua
September 11: Sullivan reaches Honeoye
September 13: Boyd’s scouting force is nearly wiped out by an ambush, Boyd is missing
September 14: Army enters Genesee:They found Genesee deserted, but in the town’s center, they found the mutilated bodies of Boyd and one of his men. “It appeared that they had whiped them in a most cruel manner, pulled out Mr. Boid’s nails, cut off his nose, plucked out one of his eyes, cut out his tongue, stabbed him with spears in sundry places, & inflicted other tortures which decency will not permit me to mention; lastly cut off his head & left his body on the ground.”47 The barbarity outraged the men, who set about destroying the town “with great cheerfulness.”48 Genesee was a huge town and required nearly two days to raze. Crops were gathered into the huts before they were set on fire. Stores that could not be burned were hurriedly dumped into the river.49Sullivan turned back at this point
September 17: Sullivan reaches HoneoyeAt this point, Sullivan exited my target area. His campaign wasn’t over, though. He continued to the East. The campaign can be seen in some ways as a prototype for Sherman’s March to the sea 80 years later.The operation’s success resulted from a combination of careful planning and luck. The weather cooperated. Sullivan was aided by seasoned officers, who led a well-trained, disciplined army. They adapted their tactics to operating a large force in the wilderness. It was an unusual campaign, in that it was waging total war against an entire people, not just an enemy army.I’m trying to imagine what it would be like for the Iroquois in Sullivan’s path. After the battle of Newtown, the news must have spread like wildfire up the Chemung River. This river is a gateway to my research area.Sullivan’s army was in my target area 9/11 to 9/17, 1779. They were moving East-West 9/11-9/14, spent 9/15 and 9/16 at Cuylerville, then moved West-East on 9/17. There are reports from members of the army that the West-East trip took 2 days instead of 1. Sullivan would then have arrived at Honeoye on 9/18. If their best speed was 11 miles/day in the Chemung Valley, then their progress would be somewhat slower in the rugged terrain of my target area.

Is making an attempt to recover General Sullivan’s treasure rational… or even reasonable?General Sullivan’s army was in this area for several days. That’s 5000 troops, hundreds of Iroquois all moving franticly into and out of the area. Sullivan won his greatest victory just two weeks earlier. His army was moving up to 10 miles per day. Up the Chemung river valley. Burning every native village they came across. The effect must have been to drive the entire population up the river valley in confusion. When they reached the western Finger Lakes, they had the choice of several routes. Each Finger Lake had North-south paths that were well developed and traveled by the Iroquois. Sullivan pushed them to the West, also. The westward part of the campaign ended in Cuylerville, just three valleys to the west of Canadice.That’s the place where Boyd died. I think this is significant. Sullivan didn’t turn back because of the torture and grizzly killing of his best scout. He had planned to turn back when he reached Genesee. It’s the first time he suffered this kind of defeat, though. It was a personal blow. Boyd was a trusted scout, commanding the most important sweeping units. They were used to scout ambushes ahead of the main army.This is really the only passage I’ve found related to the treasure:Persistent of the sparsely settled hills is the belief in buried treasure, hidden it is alleged, by General Sullivan’s officers, while crossing the narrow ridge northwest of the lake as a precautionary measure against being captured by the Indians. Sporadic fits of digging extended over a period of a century and a half have yielded nothing, however, in the way of silver and gold.Source Page
Looking at the different parts of the passage, I’ve confirmed several things from other sources.- Sullivan was constantly aware of ambushes. His British and Iroquois counterparts had attacked him before. An ambush discovered by Boyd led to the Battle of Newtown, his greatest success. Now, an ambush had led to his greatest loss, the barbaric death of Boyd. Now that he was turning back, I think he would have wanted to travel as light as possible. Especially now that his best ambush scout was dead.- Sullivan was also constantly concerned about supplies during this part of the campaign. To Sullivan, I think the plunder his army was gathering was less important than the food. Genesee was a bonanza for Sullivan. He plundered corn, beans, all manner of foodstuffs. Now if one packhorse was carrying two chests of native trinkets instead of two bushels of corn, I think Sullivan would definitely leave the chests behind.- Sullivan was also very concerned about how quickly his army could move. Every time he stopped for more than a day, he left behind wounded soldiers and canon. He knew that he would be meeting up with 40 wounded and several canons (incl. 1 Howitzer) that he had left at the town of Honeoye. As he moved Eastward across the North end of Canadice Lake, he would have wanted to lighten himself as much as possible before entering Honeoye.The real treasure may not have been buried by Sullivan after all:- As Sullivan pushed the wave of natives and British before him, they may have buried the important things that they couldn’t lose, but couldn’t carry. These things may be near the old native villages.- The speed with which the Continentals over ran the area is remarkable. There are contemporary reports of fully cooked meals in empty houses. Several people were left behind and questioned by Sullivan’s advancing army.- There are also contemporary reports that the natives knew Sullivan’s position and progress. They posted scouts on high points between the lakes.- So a controlled panic might be descriptive of the mood in the Hemlock/Canadice villages. They knew that they had to leave to the West. After having 1 or 2 days to prepare for flight, several native caches may exist in the hills overlooking village sites.

Posted in OSTH. 11 Comments »