Sunday, May 30, 2010



Buffalo, N.Y. - May 27, 2010 - The Honorable Salvatore R. Martoche will speak on Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 7 p.m. on the life and times of General William "Wild Bill" Donovan. The program will begin with the screening of a video which was produced by WNED on Gen. Donovan

In the video, famed social commentator Mark Russell interviews Salvatore Martoche about the general. After the screening, Judge Martoche will speak further on the subject. This will be followed by a Q&A session. The program will last about an hour.

Buffalo native Donovan became best known as the founder of the United States' first intelligence agency, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which was formed during World War II.

Admission is free for members of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, and $7 to the general public. Those who purchase a membership will be welcomed free of charge to the event.

The event will take place in the auditorium of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, located at 25 Nottingham Court at Elmwood Avenue. Please call (716) 873-9644 or visit

for more information.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


5:00 pm, Wednesday June 2

Wells College boat dock, Aurora

The M/V Haendel, home of the Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom, will depart from the Wells College dock for a 90 minute educational cruise of the deep lake waters offshore. Join Floating Classroom instructors for a casual yet purposeful cruise on Cayuga Lake. Hands-on demonstrations will include a plankton trawl, Secchi disk water clarity tests, and water quality testing.

All are encouraged to participate! Storytellers are welcome, as we seek to bring the legend of Old Greenie, the Cayuga Lake monster, up to date!

A $10-$50 donation is requested to support the Floating Classroom's educational programs. RSVP requested - Call (866) 846-4376. Find Us On the Web at

The Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom is sponsored by local governments and community partners, and provides lake access and education for all residents. Cruises are available for classes, community groups and organizations from May to October.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


WXXI Rochester's 1370 Connection

Friday, May 28, 2010 / 1 - 2 PM

(subject to change - postponed from an earlier date) MOVED AGAIN to 6/1 - Same Time


Simulcast on WXXI-AM 1370 AM and City Cable 12

Dan Scoville and Jim Kennard discuss their exploration of the world

under the surface of the Great Lakes (tape)

IOA: Webster

Three authors to sign book about Webster

The Webster Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 1070 Ridge Road

will host the three authors of

Images of America: Webster, New York

John J. Mrazi, Carla Manzi, James J. Manzi

for a book-signing from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 29.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Game Boys

Script No. 545, February 2, 2008

© 2008 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Forced to lay over in Avon, New York, on August 27, 1830, John Fowler settles

down in one of the place's two inns, this one operated by a Mr. Douglas, on the

west side of the Geneseo-to-Rochester road. The rest of the place consisted of no

more than a dozen residences; it will not officially become a village until 1851.

The landlord offers Fowler his son as a guide, proposing the two of them get a

little shooting in as well as having a look at a nearby mineral springs. Fowler

admits to enjoying some shooting, so the two men enlist the services of a

not-too-unwilling hunting dog and set off.

They spot a few woodchucks and squirrels, but nothing too exciting. Besides his

borrowed weapon Fowler fires off a brief dissertation on shooting, both here and

back in England. He mentions that apart from a number of quail the game here is

not terribly exciting. He understands that pigeons are sometimes spotted in

miles-wide flocks and often plentiful ducks are encountered. Nothing that

exciting turns up today; he doesn't mention their actually doing any shooting.

The lack of action apparently gives Fowler a chance to think about the difference

in game laws between these former colonies and his British homeland. For once

the U. S. comes out on top; primarily due to the lack of many game laws to begin

with. As for Merrie Olde, he mentions that no one abhors England's game law

as much as he does, calling them, ". . . barbarous and absurd as they are

wantonly tyrannical and unjust, —the very fag end of the old feudal system when

barons could lord it over their debased vassals at their pleasure . . ." Citing his

countryman John Manwood's 1598 treatise on Forest Laws, he claims that a

still existing law permits a landowner - if a poacher so much as causes game to

pant or be out of breath – to have the miscreant skinned alive.

He goes on to thank Heaven that the days when that could actually happen back

home have passed, but would still like to see the laws expunged. On the other

hand, he considers New York hunters to be far too free with their shooting.

Also he's struck with the "death-like" silence encountered here in the local

forests. The only bird song is the occasional bark-like cawing of the crows, or

perhaps, ". . . the screaming of the buzzard hawk , or the tapping of a wood-

pecker." But the plumage of the birds here is "splendid and beautiful". He ends

his little digression by noting that not a single snake or other reptile his been

spotted all day.

They wind up at the one mineral spring in the immediate area, first utilized

nine years previously – although known to the French over a hundred years

earlier. Perhaps grumpy because of his missed connection and/or the lack of good

shooting, he's not at all impressed with the lonely spot, but does note that the

minerals are probably impregnated with alum and sulfur. The Indians had

named the spot Canawaugus, meaning "place of bad-smelling water". It's

probably good that the two men haven't eaten yet. They may not be aware that

competition is springing – so to speak - up not too far away.

About a week earlier the Ithaca Journal reported the discovery of a mineral

spring just outside of Buffalo. But Avon's day will come. In the year before the

Civil War it and its reputation will grow, until this place of a dozen or so houses

will rival Saratoga Springs.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010



New York land speculator James Wadsworth arrives in Plymouth, England.

Mar 18

Steuben County, named for the American Revolution soldier Baron von Steuben,

is created out of Ontario County. Governor John Jay appoints William Kersey

county judge, Stephen Ross surrogate, William Dunn sheriff and George Cooper

county clerk. The Town of Frederickstown is renamed Wayne.

Apr 1

Moses Culver and Nathan Reeves and their families leave Long Island by

flatboat, heading for upstate New York. They eventually reach the site of the

future Newark.

Apr 6

The state legislature officially adopts the corrected Pre-Emption Line.


The English leave Ogdensburg, as well as forts Niagara and Oswego. ** James Wadsworth

reports from England that money is as scarce in Britain's as it is in the U. S. He continues

touring farms and manufactories.

Jun 11

New York land speculator Nathaniel (Nathaniel) Gorham dies of apoplexy in his birthplace, Charlestown, Massachusetts, at the age of 58. He’s buried in the Phipps Street Cemetery there.


The first visitors for Charles Williamson's fair begin arriving at Bath.

Jul 21

The Court of Common Pleas for Steuben County first sits in the Bath courthouse.


3,000 guests have arrived at Bath for the fair by the middle of the month and it

commences. Williamson's purebred Virginia Nell looses a £1,000 race to Silk

Stockings, a horse owner by New Jersey sportsman William Dunn. Southerners,

who bet heavily on Virginia Nell, lose money, goods and slaves. Bath acquires a

black population.


Williamson's fair draws to a close. The promotion will end up making a £50,000

profit. ** Over the last six months Williamson spent £1,252:4 in wages on a scheme

to make the village of Hopetoun a wheat distribution center. By the end

of the year he will spend another £1,524:4:2 more. The experiment will be a

failure due to declining levels of the water in the Seneca Lake outlet.


After conducting a survey of the Cayuga Reservation, New York auctions off the

land for $279,000 in contracts.


Williamson visits Philadelphia and agrees to take over part of the Morris Reserve

land sold to promoter Andrew Craigie. Pulteney refuses to finance the transaction,

but Williamson goes ahead.


The first printing press in Steuben County. William Kersey and James Edie begin publishing the Bath Gazette and Genesee Advertiser. ** Williamson builds a theater in Bath, holding performances every day. ** 800 settlers live in the immediate area, per Williamson's calculations. ** Williamson is elected as Steuben County judge. ** TheMcElwees finish clearing the Bath land, after 305 days of labor. Their bill will come to nearly $1000. ** A mineral spring bursts out of the ground at Dansville and is named The All Healing Spring. ** The Ontario County town of Pittstown (later Honeoye, then Richmond) is formed. ** The 40-ton Seneca Lake sloop Alexander, named for Williamson's father, is launched at Geneva. It inaugurates regular traffic on the lake. Albany-born lawyer James Cochran attends the festivities, gains some prominence when he plays for a dance that night. He will make a successful bid for the U. S. Congress in the fall, serve from 1797-1799. This year he will also be named to the State Board of Regents, serving through 1820. ** Williamson pays John Woods $112.60 for chimneys at Mile Point in Geneva. $500 worth of furniture and groceries are brought in. ** Williamson builds a hotel in Geneva. The cost of the masonry is $770, $1,400 for lumber from James Barden, and $4,538.47 for carpentry work by David Abbey. ** Printer Lucius Carey arrives in the Genesee Valley to publish a newspaper for Williamson. ** Williamson forms a company along with Samuel Colt, Jacob Hallett, John Johnstone, Thomas Powell, Polydore Wisner, and others, to provide a piped water supply for Geneva. ** Williamson's brother John dies in Scotland. ** Oliver Phelps mortgages several parcels of land near Canandaigua to Superintendent of Indian Affairs Israel Chapin and his successors, to serve as security for the regular payment of the rent due the Seneca Indians. ** Massachusetts sells lands abandoned by Phelps and Gorham to Robert Morris later to form the nucleus of the Holland Land Company tract. Land sales are begun. ** Richard Hooker and Joseph Blivin settle the Steuben County town of Cohocton. ** Charles Williamson builds the Painted Post Tavern on the future site of Corning, to host prospective land buyers. ** Early settler James Otto arrives in Macedon. ** Ontario County contains 1258 qualified electors. ** 100 settlers in the Genesee District (western part of Ontario County) register cattle earmarks in the town books. ** When the national land speculation bubble bursts Robert Morris is thrown into debt. ** The state legislature tables a report by Thomas Eddy and English engineer William Weston that advised building a canal from the headwaters of the Mohawk River directly to the Finger Lakes, bypassing Wood Creek and Oneida Lake. ** Scots ornithologist Alexander Wilson emigrates, eventually ending up in the Seneca Falls area. ** Braddock's Bay is settled. ** English traveler Isaac Weld reaches the Genesee Valley near Avon after a tour of the Great Lakes west of the state. He then travels on to Bath. ** The Ontario County pioneer Allen family arrives this year and next, settle Allen's Hill in the Town of Richmond.


Mr. Sprague moves away with his wife, three daughters and son-in-law named Fleming. Josiah Fish and his son Libbeus are joined at the mill by the remainder of Fish's Vermont family - his wife and five children, including daughter Philothetta. ** Gideon King and Zadok Granger began their settlements, having surveys made on both the larger tract and the Allan's Mill plot. King's Landing (later Falltown or Upper Landing, then Hanford's Landing) at the falls is settled.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Museum of Wayne County Map Club

May 19th, Wednesday - 7 PM

Peter Evans and Edson Ennis will be discussing ways to have the Sanborn maps professionally scanned.

This is a free event and open to the public. For more information about this event, call the Museum of Wayne County History at 315-946-4943 or look at the website,

The Museum is located at 21 Butternut Street, Lyons NY.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Lincoln at Gettysburg

LE ROY — The Genesee Valley Civil War Roundtable presents James McGrath on "Lincoln at Gettysburg" at 7:30 p.m. May 19.

The meeting will be held at the American Legion, 53 West Main St., Le Roy.

Discussion period will follow the program. New members are welcome.

Jim will present an interesting program on Lincoln's visit to Gettysburg

including his [Lincoln's] famous Gettysburg address on Nov. 19, 1863.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Canal News - 1823 / 1825 / 1833 / 1852

The Advertiser, Lyons, Friday Jan. 17, 1823

Canal Navigation. The following statements shews the amount of property which passed this village on the Erie Canal, in 1820 It will be recollected that this section of the canal was not navigable from the first of July till about the first of November

32,703 bbls. Flour

12,181 bbls. Salt

1,475 do. Provisions,

406 do Ashes.

7,849 bushels Wheat

92,507 feet Boards.

40,245 gallons Whiskey

14,492 lbs. Lard

87 tons Castings

349 boxes Soap

besides a great variety of articles, the amount of which in the aggregate, is considerable. The quantity of flour and salt is large, for the time the canal was navigable. The amount of toll collected on this section, is sufficient to shew the increasing importance of the "Big Ditch."

Wayne County Sentinel, Palmyra. Wed. March 30, 1825.

The Western Villages. - Under this head, some of the city papers have very properly noticed the extraordinary growth of several of the villages on the line of the Erie Canal since its partial completion; but we have not seen a single work respecting Palmyra . We cheerfully respond that great improvements are making in nearly all of our western villages, and few present greater evidences of the fact than the one in which we have the good fortune to be located. No speculating spirit has hurried its march of improvement beyond the degree which its own resources will warrant and sustain. Surrounded as it is by a wealthy and fertile country, and an enterprising and rapidly increasing population, it seem as if nature has heretofore done more for its facilities and importance that the citizens themselves. But we take pleasure in stating, that an enterprising spirit seldom witnessed, and a disposition to "put a shoulder to the wheel" to improve and raise up our village, is now universally manifested by them.

We had indulged a hope that a correct census of this village, accompanied by a minute statement of its growing condition, would be furnished for publication before this time; but we cannot forbear to mention, while on this subject, some of the great improvements now going on.

New streets are laying out, and preparations for building are making. In addition to the three large and commodious store-house already erected in this village, three more are now building, which will probably be finished in the course of four weeks; an excellent and convenient wharf is also constructing by the Messrs. Thayres, connected with Rogers Basin. The business done on the canal last year, at this point, proved the necessity of these conveniences. The number of dwelling houses, merchants, and mechanics shops &c.,&c.,&c., to be erected the ensuing season, is greater, perhaps, than was ever before known in any season.

The Wayne Sentinel, Palmyra Wednesday, May 1, 1833

The great eastern mail is now received at this place, by the way of the Free Bridge and Vienna, from eight to ten hours earlier than it was before the change in the route, and generally in advance of the mail which is brought with all reasonable speed on horseback over the old route through Montezuma and Lyons - both leaving Elbridge simultaneously. The proprietors and the public have abundant reason to be well satisfied with the change. The particular arrangements of the stages over this route, we understand, will be announced to the public by the proprietors in a few days.

Syracuse Journal, April 26, 1852

The Canals. The Oneida Lake is still blockaded by ice, and boats from the east bound for Oswego will be obliged to come by way of this city for the present.

Business at this point started rather sluggishly, owing to the insufficiency of water. UP to 6 oíclock last evening there were 20 clearances ó all loaded, except one, with corn from Canton, Camillus and Bellisle. The amount of tolls received was $543.37. The water on the long level east was not high enough to permit the lockage of boats. The water was not let in here until Monday night, and consequently there have been no boats loaded.

Syracuse Journal, April 30 1852

Canal Tolls - The amount of canal tolls received at the Collector's office in this city during the first ten days of navigation, ending the month of April, the present year is $4,462.64. During the corresponding period last year, the amount received was $5,346.33 exceeding the present year by $883.69 - The decrease is much less than might have been anticipated from the embarrassments that have been experienced from scarcity of water, and from Railroad competition. The ensuing half month will doubtless put another face on the aspect of things.

Submitted by Richard Palmer

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Central Library / Mt. Hope Cemetery

This coming Sunday, May 16th from 2:00 - 3:30 PM

The Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County and
The Friends of Mt. Hope Cemetery
will present the last in this Spring's series of "Rochester's Rich History" lectures

Vice President and Tour Chairperson of The Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery
Dennis Carr will speak on

Mischief, Murder and Mayhem
Some of Mount Hope Cemetery's permanent residents,
who bent, broke or enforced the law

At the Kate Gleason Auditorium of the Bausch and Lomb Building
(handicapped accessible)
115 South Avenue (free parking on Sundays at the Court Street Garage)

Monday, May 10, 2010


WXXI Rochester's 1370 Connection

Friday, May 14, 2010 / 1 - 2 PM

(subject to change

All programs are live in studio unless otherwise noted)

Simulcast on WXXI-AM 1370 AM and City Cable 12

Dan Scoville and Jim Kennard discuss their exploration of the world

under the surface of the Great Lakes (tape)

Samuel J. Ciurca’s website has posted a page called:

Prehistoric Honeoye Falls/Mendon

Featuring fossils of the area, especially eurypterids,

Including Silurian fauna of the Pittsford area at

with a large number of link to other fossils in other areas around the state and the world.



Town and Village historian Audrey Johnson, along with Vicki Profitt – a Civil War Veterans Genealogist, will discuss the history of the Pittsford Cemetery and the early residents buried there.

Participants are to meet the instructors at the cemetery flagpole. Pittsford Cemetery is on Washington Road. This FREE tour will be held on Saturday, 5/15

from 10AM to 12PM. To register, click

Discover the South Wedge: Two Centuries of Historic Architecture

Thursday, May 20th, 7 PM – 8:30 PM at

The Ellwanger Estate, 625 Mt. Hope Avenue, Rochester

The Landmark Society's Cynthia Howk will present a visual tour of the South

Wedge neighborhood, followed by a tour of the historic Ellwanger Mansion.

Ticket price includes a complimentary glass of wine from Solera Wine Bar and a

treat from Hedonist Chocolates at the event.

Tickets are $10. Available at Mise En Place Market, Hedonist Chocolates, and

Historic House Parts. Limited supply available, advance sales only. Visit

for details

Friday, May 7, 2010

Local Literati Will Bloom at Apple Blossom Festival

Williamson's Apple Blossom Festival, a May tradition in Wayne County for a half century, this year has adopted Books In Blossom as a theme and includes a mid-week literary happening. On May 12 a day-long series of presentations of local authors, organized by Jane VerDow and others at the Williamson library, will celebrate regional literature, its creation, enjoyment, and impacts on the area. Authors will read, discuss, and take questions on their books. Wolcott's Susan Peterson Gateley, an artisan publisher who uses Whiskey Hill Press as her imprint for local works on Lake Ontario, will answer questions on the art and business of regional literature and artisan publishing at the Williamson Library at 10:30 am. Gateley has authored five full length nonfiction books and five shorter works since 1995. She estimates she has sold about 5500 copies of her various titles and currently has four books in print. Whiskey Hill Press has offered regular softcover books and e books as downloads through on line store since 2005 and distributes books to various specialty shops and book stores between Toronto and Watertown, NY

Peterson Gateley and Pat Cooper Maxon of Sterling have just published a full color photo book titled Our West Side Story as a fund raiser for the West Barrier Bar Park on Fair Haven Bay. They used a Print On Demand format and a completely automated on-line submission process. Gateley says,”You lay the book out, make up the cover on line, and upload the file. Pay for express delivery and five days later you can have a full color hard or soft cover book in your hands. You never have to leave the house.”

Like the publishing business, the traditional printed word, whether news story, magazine article, or novel, is being transformed. Today e readers, Droids and other devices supply readers with tweets and blogs anywhere anytime. As long as the batteries hold up. Is the paper and ink book about to go the way of the dodo and the mastodon? Will all future hard copy books be printed in China?

Come to the Williamson Apple Blossom Festival and find out what the local authors and publishers of Wayne County including Peterson Gateley are thinking and how they are coping with and adapting to this brave new world of the written word.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Greece Historical Society meeting

Tuesday May 11, 2010 GREECE TOWN HALL

One Vince Tofany Blvd, 14612

7:00 P.M.

Following a brief annual meeting, the Greece Historical Society presents,


by: Katie Eggers Comeau

Strip malls, diners, ranch houses, fast-food restaurants – icons of the 1950s and 1960s

are coming of age! What should we save, and why?

In this illustrated presentation we'll find out why we should love – or at least appreciate –

the extraordinary and ordinary buildings of the post-war period. Preservationists around

the country are fighting to save some of the most beloved, and most hated, designs of

the era; we'll look at what this means for some of our area's own 20th-century icons.

Katie Eggers Comeau is the architectural historian at Bero Architecture PLLC, a Rochester

architecture firm specializing in historic preservation. Prior to joining the staff at Bero,

Katie was the director of preservation services at the Landmark Society of Western New York,

where she worked for over 8 years. A native of the Rochester area, Katie has a master's

degree in historic preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor's degree

in humanities from Yale University.

Reservations are not required. Greece Historical Society members FREE.

donations are appreciated from others.

For more information Call 225-7221 or visit

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

NEW Society of the Genesee - May/June Meetings

May 8th

Gerry Muhl has arranged for us to meet at the Campbell-Whittlesey House on

South Fitzhugh Street at 11:00, followed by lunch at Simply Crepes at the Rundel

Building and a tour of the new home of the Rochester Historical Society. If you

are planning to attend but have not yet replied, please let Martha Johnstone


The June meeting will be a tour of Sonnenberg Gardens (and house) in

Canandaigua on Saturday, June 19. Don Kneeland has arranged for us to have a

conducted tour at a reduced rate ($8.50). Please plan to arrive by 9:45 a.m. for the

10:00 tour (advise admission booth person that you are with the New Society of the

Genesee group). Lunch will follow at Doc's Seafood and Steak restaurant

at 726 South Main Street in Canandaigua.

Please let Martha know if you plan to attend - - or (585) 473-0404.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Finger Lakes - Pattern of Creation

By Albert Parkman - Spring 2010


The longstanding wisdom about the Finger Lakes can best be summed up by a

passage from a 1951 book entitled "Slim Fingers Beckon" by Arch Merrill. This local

historian writes:

"There is an old Indian Legend that the Finger Lakes came into being when the

Great Spirit placed the imprint of his hand in blessing on the Upstate Land.

Scientists will tell you that those long, slim streaks of blue in the center of the

New York State map go back to the glacial age, that when the great ice sheet

melted, its deposits dammed the parallel north and south valleys, which filled with

water from springs and streams".

Merrill goes on to define 10 fingers from Skaneateles in the East to Conesus in the West.

This designation leaves out Otisco lake, which is smaller than Skaneateles but lies only a

short distance to the West. Merrill's designation also ignores the fact that Keuka lake

does not look like a finger at all, having a stunning Y shape and centered further to the

south than the other 10. So there appear to be 11 lakes in the group, with Keuka lying in

the center and 5 on either side.

This essay takes a fresh look at the patterns of the Finger Lakes, and asks basic

questions about the meaning and implications of the "old Indian legend". The evidence

points to some remarkable suggestions that evidently have not been previously discussed,

and leads to some modifications in how the patterns of the lakes can be interpreted, and

what these patterns might imply.

Unconventional View – Fingers plus Ayin

Another viewpoint can be taken by considering two groups of 5 fingers each as

follows: the larger right hand is composed of Seneca through Otisco lake, whereas the

smaller left hand is denoted by Canandaigua through Conesus lake, including the

relatively small Canadice Lake. These are reasonable interpretations considering the

figure below but leaves out Keuka Lake. Consider that Keuka, the "crooked lake" of old,

actually resembles the shape of the Hebrew letter Ayin.

This letter, a silent vowel, has the symbol or meaning of "eye" or seeing, in some

contexts alluding to the Divine. By extension it is commensurate with wisdom and

vision, also the divine light. A secondary meaning has Ayin representing a fountain, an

inexhaustible supply of life-giving water. In numerology it has the value of 70, which

associates with a fullness of age and a complete, abundant quantity. The re-grouping of

the lakes into 3 partitions; the larger left hand, the smaller right hand, and a symbol of the

divine vision, also suggests a Trinitarian concept.

Figure (above): Color enhanced rendering of the Finger Lakes from high altitude, as seen from a southern viewpoint.

The Question.

Even if we disregard Keuka's resemblance to Ayin, there remains an additional

and important question: if the Finger Lakes are the imprints of the Creator's fingers, what

do they point to? If they were all directed true north/south according to the general flow

of glaciers, they would point northward along longitude lines towards the Arctic Pole.

However, the northernmost parts of the major lakes actually point towards a particular

focus, located only a modest distance to the North, in Canada.

This figure was created by examining the northernmost quarter of each lake, determining the central axis of each and projecting that central axis along its direction. A convergence is found across Lake Ontario to the North. Another way of stating this is “the fingers are pointing to a place on the Northern shore of Lake Ontario”. A few neighboring lakes also point in the same direction.

The Bay of Quinte

The general locus of projections of the major “fingers” brings us specifically to the Bay of Quinte, an unusually long series of connected channels surrounded by fragments of land and islands. The area has a fascinating history, as the navigable bay and surrounding farmlands attracted both the Mohawk Nation and the Loyalists (resettling near their allies in Canada after the American Revolution).

Figure: the Bay of Quinte with inner channels highlighted in yellow for enhanced contrast.

Lake on the Mountain

One of the striking features above the Bay of Quinte is the mysterious Lake on the

Mountain, a small round lake that is consistently full and overflowing without any major

inlet of water. The surface elevation of the lake is nearly 200 ft higher than the Ontario

lake level, with a steep cliff and a waterfall separating the two. A little thought would

convince skeptics that any body of water held 200 ft. above Lake Ontario would have

immense pressure (or hydrostatic "head") that would tend to drain the water through rock

fissures. Thus, it is remarkable to have a full, overflowing lake so close yet elevated

above the bay, especially with no major river to supply fresh water. According to the

local legends, the Mohawks called this Onokenoga, or Lake of the Gods, and held that

spirits dwelled within its deep waters. During the planting season they offered gifts to the

spirits to ensure a successful crop. The Mohawks and the early settlers to the region

considered the source of the overflowing lake to be a great mystery, with some

suggesting that deep underground conduits supplied water from far away Great lakes.

Photo: Lake on the Mountain, Ontario, Canada, high above the Bay of Quinte

Aleph Mem Nun

The shape of the Bay of Quinte is characterized by a series of long branching

inner channels. These make an unparalleled set of sheltered waterways for boating and

sailing. A canal at the western end enables one to enter from the eastern inlets, and then

exit from the western side without the need to retrace the journey through the long

channels to the open waters of Lake Ontario.

The orientations of the different branching channels at first appear to be somewhat

irregular. However, the shapes can also support an alternative interpretation: the pattern

of channels resembles three Hebrew letters: Aleph, Mem, and Nun, albeit with a tilt of

the letters towards the northeast. Hebrew is read and written right to left, the opposite of

the Roman alphabet. Therefore, the letters Aleph Mem, Nun (reading from East to

West) would be read as "AMN" or phonetically "Amen". In fact there are several

meanings of the word "AMN" depending on the variants of the pronunciation of the

letters. From the Maskilon Hebrew dictionary,

( the variants are as follows:

1. To confirm or verify

2. To train or tame

3. Artist or Craftsman

4. Amen, or "may it be so"


If we allow the suggestion that the Finger Lakes point across Lake Ontario to a

great AMN written in stone and water, what possible meanings could this have? The first

variant, to confirm/verify suggests a permanent, indelible mark of confirmation of the

work of the Creator. He created the heavens and the earth, left his finger marks on the

crust of the North American continent, and then left a confirming signature just as an

artist would sign a work of art.

The second variant of meaning, to train/tame suggests the sentiment expressed in

Genesis and in Proverbs about ordering the world and setting limits to the waters.

The third variant, Artist or Craftsman, suggests a reference to the Creator in the

most literal sense within the book of Genesis, and to Wisdom in Proverbs.

The fourth variant, Amen, meaning "may it be so" or "so may it be" suggests the

end of a prayer with fervent intent that the words or works may come to completion as

intended. Remarkably, Proverbs 8 (see endnotes) conveys and combines in very poetic

language the four variants discussed above.

Is there any precedent?

Has God ever undertaken a direct written communication, in his own hand and in

a human alphabet, or is it preposterous to even consider this? From the Old Testament

we have two examples of highly dramatic written communications. Moses received the

commandments in written form on tablets. The prophet Daniel was called in to interpret

"the writing on the wall" which was seen but not understood by the King and his court.

Thus it is not impossible that the Creator could write with his own hand (utilizing

whatever physical forces of glaciers and geology) an indelible message, and there are

precedents for God's direct signing in readable alphabets. It is true that the knowledge

of Hebrew and Scriptures would not arrive in these territories until the 1600s with the

arrival of the French Jesuits. However, the Native Americans (according to the legends)

understood the general authorship and implied blessing of the fingers of the Great

Manitou, even without satellite photographs and knowledge of written Hebrew letters.

The message simply has become clearer with time and additional tools, indicating: the

Craftsman verifies, confirms, and tames the creation, and seals it with a lasting "Amen".


This approach suggests an interpretation of the Finger Lakes that is more in line

with the original concepts attributed to the Native Americans; that the Lakes' pattern is

the anthropomorphic signature of the "hands" of the Creator, pregnant with meaning and

implied blessing, gift, authorship, and relationship. Furthermore, there is an additional

layer of meaning tied to the Hebrew alphabet. Ayin (Keuka Lake) signifies the wisdom

and "eye" or vision of the divine. The fingers themselves point to a specific target, where

the letters AMN confirm the great work of creation, and confirm the Artist and

Craftsman's intent to tame the elements and provide a blessing, and leave an indelible

Amen that all this would remain as He intended. One is always free, of course, to

conclude that these patterns and pointers are simply the result of random chance

operating on geology and glacial flows.

Albert Einstein and other scientists have referred to the sense of awe that arises

from the contemplation of the created universe. Psalm 19 says "The heavens declare the

glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork". Those of us living in the Finger

Lakes region can contemplate the impressions that were placed directly in front of us, in

creation, hidden in plain sight, and ponder what that handiwork could mean.

Footnote: Proverbs 8:22-31 NIV; the famous discourse on Wisdom:

22 - "The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old;

23 - I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began.

24 - When there were no oceans, I was given birth, when there were no springs abounding with water;

25 - before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth,

26 - before he made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world.

27 - I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,

28 - when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,

29 - when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command,

and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.

30 - Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence,

31 - rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind.