Preston-Gaylord Cobblestone Farmhouse: (Maxwell Creek Inn Bed & Breakfast)
Located at 7563 Lake Road, Sodus, NY 14551
Steeped in history the Preston-Gaylord Cobblestone Farmhouse was built by William Swales in 1846 for his daughter Elizabeth as a wedding gift. Elizabeth Swales married a John Preston.
Thanks to Belinda McElroy, diaries have surfaced telling the story of John Preston and Elizabeth Swales. Here is an article about both of their journeys from England to our area: http://www.maxwellcreekinn-bnb.com/search/
They had seven children and the cobblestone farmhouse remained in the family for nearly 150 years. One of Elizabeth’s and John’s daughters married Willis T. Gaylord. The third generation and last generation of Gaylord’s to live on the old farmstead had ten children.
In 1838, William Swales purchased approximately 1000 acres along the Lake Ontario shoreline in the Town of Sodus, NY and started the fruit farm. In 1845 William purchased “Preston Farms” from Col. Sentell and built the cobblestone home in 1846 for his daughter Elizabeth. He built seven cobblestone homes in the Wayne County area. His estate and original farm stand two miles west of Salmon Creek and the Preston-Gaylord Farmhouse. The Preston-Gaylord Cobblestone Farmhouse sets on a knoll with its back to Lake Ontario on the east bank of what is still officially called Salmon Creek, but known as Maxwell Creek. The cobbles are water-rounded, predominately red in color with a sprinkling of white, gray and black and were retrieved from the shores of Lake Ontario. They were laid nine courses to two quoin heights with thin stones inserted under the quoins to fill in the half-course. The round almost egg shaped cobblestones are about one and three quarters to two inches in diameter and one-half inches in thickness. The horizontal joints are embellished with “V’s” or triangular pyramids. The windowsills are of stone five inches thick and the lintels are vertically laid red stones. The cornice is Federal in character tooled lime stone. The mortar is said to be from materials from the land. The porch was a handsome addition in the 1870’s. The cobblestone carriage house sets behind the main house and was built about the same time.
The Preston-Gaylord Cobblestone Farmhouse is nestled on six acres along Salmon Creek (Maxwell Creek) and Preston’s pond (Maxwell Bay) where small schooners sailed into the small embayment from Lake Ontario to trade wheat for the flour produced at Preston’s Mill. Part of the old 1794 grist mill still stands on the property today. The mill was washed out and rebuilt in 1812.
The property along Salmon Creek (Maxwell Creek) was originally owned by Dr. William Nixon. Dr. Lummis migrated from Philadelphia and settled in Troupville (Sodus Point). Because of the Anticipation of the British invasion in the War of 1812, Dr. Lummis moved to Salmon Creek (Maxwell Creek).
Salmon Creek was a wide rushing stream that supplied water power for the grist mill rebuilt in 1812 by John Maxwell, Dr. Lummis’s father in-law. Dr. Lummis purchased the mill from John Maxwell and developed quite a hamlet at the spot where Lake Road crosses the CREEK. The hamlet was known as the locality as it is today as “Maxwell”. The hamlet consisted of several mills along the Salmon Creek (Maxwell Creek), a wood turner, blacksmith shop, scythe shop, tannery and others. In the early 1800’s, Maxwell Bay was a thriving metropolis. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the mill was used as a powerhouse until World War II and at one time leased by Rochester Electric.
The property is rumored to have been on the Underground Railroad. There is a said to be a tunnel that runs from the creek bed to the back of the fireplace in the Keeping Room (dining room) in the main house. Although, the current owners have never seen this closet size space behind the fireplace because it has been cemented closed. , However, the Gaylord children have stayed at the Inn over the years and gave accounts of standing behind the fireplace while a fire was burning. This gave them the understanding of what the slaves had to endure during this time period. Additionally, there is no solid documentation of the home being a stop for the slaves. However, it is well documented that the Swales, Preston’s and Gaylord’s were abolitionists. With Preston’s pond, (Maxwell Bay) being a small shipping port in the 1800’s it is quite likely that run-away slaves could board a ship to Canada.
One of the original territorial lines that divide Massachusetts and New York runs straight through the property to the Pennsylvania boarder. This still well documented and historical territorial line is called the “pre-emption” line and dates back to the Revolutionary War. Pre-emption means: the act or right of first purchase. The east and west pre-emption lines mark the boundaries of the area where Massachusetts had the right of first purchase from the Indians.
This information was submitted by Belinda McElroy
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