residents fled east along the Lewiston Trail to Batavia in Genesee
County where an arsenal was located.
Marker is located in front of 8108 Chestnut Ridge Road in Royalton
or Niagara Trail started in Geneseo, NY and followed what is now
Routes 63 and 77 in a northwest direction. This was the trail that
the Seneca Indians followed to Fort Niagara in September 1779 after
the Clinton-Sullivan Expedition raided Central New York State. This
offensive move by the American army during the Revolutionary War
destroyed at least 40 Seneca villages and all of the fruit and vegetable
crops in their fields. This was done in retaliation for the Seneca
attacks against Loyalist settlers in the Mohawk Valley. This attack
was approved by General George Washington whom the Seneca dubbed
“Town Destroyer.” Approximately 5,000 Seneca fled Central
New York to spend the winter at the British-held Fort Niagara. That
winter was one of the coldest on record up to that time and many
of the Natives starved or froze to death. The Fort had only enough
rations to feed the regular army there and had to send to Canada
for more provisions. Most of the Natives lived in tents just outside
the walls of the Fort. In the spring of 1780, about 3,000 returned
to their lands to rebuild and plant a new crop of food.
along the trail was the village of Batavia in Genesee County. Batavia
was founded in 1802 by Holland Land Company surveyor Joseph Ellicott.
In early 1813 a large stone arsenal was built on a hill at the junction
of West Main Street and Lewiston Road in Batavia. Its purpose was
to aid in the defense of the Niagara Frontier in case of invasion
by the British. The arsenal contained a few cannons and hundreds
of muskets. When the residents fled Lewiston, many of them chose
to head for Batavia because of the arsenal there. The arsenal was
taken down in 1871 and the stone from it was used to build a new
school. In a 1928 newspaper article, two elderly men were interviewed
who remembered playing in the arsenal as children and seeing the
muskets and cannons there. A memorial plaque was supposedly placed
at the site in 1928 but no record of it can found today.