Small discrete pieces of land surrounded by water fascinate people. Treasure Island, mysterious island, paradise island, lost island, desert island- all find their way into literature, TV shows, movies, and songs. Islands are metaphors for all sorts of aspects of the human psyche. No man is an island said John Donne and so on.
As a sailor I'm as intrigued by islands as anyone if not more so. I'm especially partial to islands with harbors. Lake Ontario has a bunch of big and little islands. Has anyone ever counted them all? There's Nut and Grape, Fox and Wolfe ( named for a general not a critter), Scotch Bonnet, Simcoe, Amherst, Big, Stony, Horse, and Horseshoe, Calf, Lyons, (another human I think not a big cat) and lots of others. GLIN on the Internet says there are 35,000 islands on all the great lakes combined.
Recently a biggish U.S. Island on the lake Fox Island near Chaumont Bay sold for over three million dollars. (Now that's a treasure island I'd say) and the thousand islands up in the St. Lawrence have long been a popular vacation area going way back to well before the Civil War.
Sara B anchored behind Waupoose Island
I've written here several times about Main Duck. But other islands on the lake also have seen some interesting history and human activity. Horse Island just off Sacket's Harbor and Grenadier with its nice little Basin Harbor, for example, were witness to war time activity. In May of 1813 the British attacked America's key navy base on Lake Ontario at Sackets. They landed 750 troops on Hose Island and the red coats advanced under protective fire of grape shot and canister from the war ships offshore. They made it ashore and the Americans fell back and torched their stores and a wooden warship on the building ways. However, General Brown rallied the troops and managed at the eleventh hour to beat the British back with a flanking attack. This was among the bloodiest battles of the war on the Great Lakes with over 300 men killed or wounded or gone missing.
No actual fighting occurred at Grenadier Island, though I recall reading that some men died of exposure. This was a battle between man and the elements when in the fall of 1813 a large force of 8000 men set sail in small open transport craft from Sackets. The destination was the St. Lawrence and ultimately the key forts at Montreal and Quebec City. But a sudden late October gale blew in and scattered the fleet. Some washed ashore on the mainland but a number ended up on Grenadier where they huddled under scant protection of their canvas tents for several days. Ten inches of snow fell in that storm. The delay that gave the British time to fortify their own forces along the River and losses of supplies may have influenced the outcome of the bloody Battle of Crysler's Farm a couple weeks later on the St. Lawrence. It was lost by the Americans and with it any chance of taking Montreal that fall and ending the war in a clear cut American victory.