Friday, March 27, 2009

Mr. Perry Bartlett

This photo is from the “Sandy Pond Memories” book produced by Sandy Creek Town Historian Charlene Cole a few years ago. Thank you Charlene for graciously granting me permission to use photos from the books you and your crew put together.

The Sandy Pond Memories books inspired me to establish this web log.

If anyone would like any of their Sandy Pond memories, photos, etc. posted here just email them to me. Please put "Sandy Pond Memories" in the subject line of your email, thanks.

This site is intended to be a permanent record for our children and grandchildren…

OK back to the photo. This is Bartlett’s Bait Shop, also known as Bartlett's Marina. It was owned by Mr. Perry Bartlett, who was already an old man when I was a youngster during the ‘60s.
Mr. Bartlett had an ice-house built into the hill next to the road (County Route 15). Perhaps you can still see the remnants of the entrance to the underground ice-house across from Sandy Pond Marina's pizza parlor and boat ramp area today.

In this photo the entrance to the Mr. Bartlett's ice-house would be to the left and behind the photographer.
(Photo posted with permission of Charlene Cole, taken by Phyllis LeBeau.)

During the 60’s there were still a number of summer residents who were using the old-fashioned ice boxes instead of refrigerators, and they relied on Mr. Bartlett to periodically deliver the big blocks of ice. I remember my summer friend Michael Savage’s grandpa “Joker” Savage had an ice-box in his garage for his Piels beer. He said it needed a new block of ice once a week. I wouldn’t doubt that ice-box is still in that old garage…

During the winter Perry would monitor the thickness of the ice on the Pond until it was just the right dimension. Then he would spud out some starter holes for his big ice saw and start sawing the ice in long strips.
He had to carefully guide the saw on the cross-cuts in order to make good square blocks that would fit in a standard ice-box.
Then he would bring them in and stack them the ice house, opening the doors on the coldest winter days to get the ice as cold as possible. It would keep well into the late summer. I remember ice-block deliveries into late August. My Dad bought ice from Perry from time to time to cool down food and beverages for their clambakes and square dances in the driveway.

These guys are trying to figure out how the old-timers did it...

Ronny Whisnant used to hang out a lot with Perry in the big old workshop/bait shop, earning a few bucks tinkering on whatzits and thingamabobs. Ronny was a skilled jack-of-all-trades who worked as a handy-man for many residents and summer people. He used to plow the snow out of my Dad’s driveway with his old red and white ’46 Willy’s Jeep. There was a rumor that after he passed away his relatives found thousands of dollars of cash in his home - that he had a bathtub full of coins - pocket change saved for many years. Not sure if I believe it though.

Dad never made a habit of bragging and telling a lot of stories about his 25 year career as a State Trooper, but if you were peristent you could get one out of him eventually. This one about Mr. Bartlett is one of my favorites:

My Dad was a State Trooper from 1936 to 1961.
He heard stories from the older Troopers who enforced the Prohibition laws in the late ‘20s and early ‘30s.

One of the stories Dad relayed to us when we were kids was that Mr. Bartlett was under surveillance for a long time in those days because he was suspected of “Rum-Running” -transporting illegal Canadian liquor by boat into New York State.

It was alleged that Mr. Bartlett would wait until very late into the night and sneak a small sail boat with a black sail (an original "stealth boat" you could say) out of the Pond out onto Lake Ontario where he would either rendezvous with larger boat that had made it through the Coast Guard’s “Rum Line”, or come ashore at a pre-determined location where a load of liquor had been stashed earlier by the party who had transported it from Canada. Allegedly, Mr. Bartlett would take on the load of liquor and bring it in to for someone to pick up in a vehicle. For his clandestine activity he was allegedly well-paid.

Apparently this alleged information about Mr. Bartlett came from semi-trusted local sources but was legally hearsay. The authorities needed to catch Mr. Bartlett red-handed. Unfortunately the State Troopers simply did not have the resources in those days to watch Mr. Bartlett twenty four hours a day. The Troopers suspected that Mr. Bartlett would just bide his time and wait until they weren’t around, then slip out on his black sailboat to pick up the next load…

The State Troopers never caught him, and to the best of my knowledge Mr. Bartlett never confirmed or denied he was a "Rum-Runner".

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Frolicking at Sandy Pond in 1932

My brother Kip brought a shoebox of old photos to scan while visiting us here in Maryland a while back.
Browsing through them I found this.
My Dad, Ed Kappesser is the guy on the far right. He was 17 years old when this was snapped...

Reverse Side

They are definately at the beach on the lake. I think the guy on the far left is Don Dix, Dad's good friend. (I talked about Don and his magnificent ice boats in the earlier posting about ice boating.)

Here's another story I heard more than once.

One time, about when they were about this age vacationing at Sandy Pond from North Syracuse, Dad and Don decided to swim across the Pond just after they both ate a whole blueberry pie at the Bayview.

Don was in the lead but became sick and out came his blueberry pie. He didn't say anything and kept swimming, not missing a stroke. Poor Dad swam right through it on top of the water and almost lost his blueberry pie too.

The old friends always thought that was a funny story and we heard it many times. I don't know why. We thought it was pretty gross.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Plane Crash at Sandy Pond

C-47 cargo transport aircraft

Since I was a boy I have always been interested in aviation. If I heard a plane I would run outside to look at it. I still do that sometimes.

One day while surfing the WWW, I stumbled on information concerning a plane crash at Sandy Pond.
It happened in 1944 during the War.

2 other planes went down in this area in 1944 - a B-24 Liberator bomber named "Getaway Gertie" offshore in Lake Ontario about nine miles east of Oswego and another C-47A cargo transport in Oneida Lake. Both crews perished.

Fortunately the 2 young pilots of this plane were rescued by some brave and quick-witted residents of Sandy Pond.

If anyone knows more about this, please tell me.


Lt. Frederick Frenger, pilot and Lt. Curtiss L. Aultman, co-pilot and crew of a C-47 transport which crashed into Lake Ontario last Friday afternoon, undoubtedly owe their lives to the quick action of Mr. and Mrs. Elwin Kast, Mrs. Robert Sawyer, Miss Clairene Greene and Miss Faith Sawyer who went to their rescue in a speedboat, pulling them from the icy waters of the lake when they were all but exhausted.

Mr. and Mrs. Kast were painting their barn located near the Oswego-Jefferson county line of the Scenic Highway when they heard the motors of a plane which sounded as if it were having engine trouble, although the plane was not within their sight. They then heard the motors of the plane cut out, followed by an explosion. Phoning nearby Greene Point, they notified them of the explosion and preparations were made to start a search. The inboard speedboat, Miss Binghamton, owned by Gilbert Whipple of Endicott, which had recently been brought to the Point from Oswego, was gassed up and blankets placed in the boat in case of a possible rescue. Miss Faith Sawyer of the 4th grade SCCS, who had been shown by Mr. Whipple how to start the motor, was one of the rescue party.

Going out into the Lake from the Pond they were unable to see either a plane or anyone in the water, visibility being poor owing to a mist over the water out from shore. However, they did spot what appeared to be a couple of ducks, but on closer inspection proved to be the two pilots, struggling in the water. On reaching them the rescue party assisted into the boat the exhausted pilots who were suffering from the cold and shock.

On reaching Greene Point, the party found everything prepared by Mrs. Faith Greene to make the two pilots more comfortable. A warm fire, hot coffee and plenty of blankets were waiting for them, while other cottagers on the Point assisted in their care. Dr. H.L. Hollis was contacted, came immediately and gave them medical attention. Everything was done to make them more comfortable while waiting for the ambulance from the Syracuse Airbase which arrived about two hours later.

It is believed the plane crashed shortly before 2 o'clock about three-quarters of a mile out in the Lake just north of the cottage on the lake shore owned by Delmar Hawkins of Skaneateles. The crash was seen by cottagers at Montario Point and several boats went out from there to the spot where the plane was believed to have gone gown. Because of their dazed condition due to the shock of the crash, the pilots appeared to have been swimming south, parallel to the shore line rather than in towards shore, for they were picked up by the rescue party about a mile from the spot where the plane crashed. Owing to the poor visibility, the boats from Montario Point failed to see the pilots in the water, or the rescue boat and were still searching at 6 o'clock when they learned of the rescue.

The pilots reported that they were piloting one of the oldest planes at the Air Base, on a routine low altitude training flight from Syracuse to Rochester when one of the engines began throwing out oil. Due to their low altitude, they had little chance to manipulate the plane, although the plane pulled up from the water once, only to crash again. They tried to radio for help, but the radio was damaged.

FBI men and a couple officers from the Air Base came here Saturday and operations have been continued since to locate the wrecked plane, but without success.

Position of crash offshore from the channel.

SANDY CREEK, N.Y., JULY 12, 1944
Oswego and Galloup Island coast guardsmen have temporarily discontinued search for the C-47 transport plane from the Syracuse Army Air Base which crashed into Lake Ontario some distance north of the channel into North Pond. The fruitless search has been continued since the accident more than three weeks ago, planes and dragging operations by the coast guard failing to locate any evidence. The search will be resumed upon order of the army authorities.

PULASKI - Two pieces of wreckage, believed to be from a plane, were picked up on the shore of Lake Ontario Wednesday by Gordon Gerowe of Adams, opposite the northern end of Sandy Pond, and directly inshore from the point where a C-47 from Syracuse sank several weeks ago. The Wreckage was turned over to Sgt. Barnard Sockman of the Pulaski sub-station who has notified Syracuse Air Corps officials.

The larger piece was a shelf like structure, open on the front and top, about 30 inches wide, 20 inches deep, and 15 inches high at the rear. Two inch high cleats separated the bottom section into three parts. Two hinged legs were attached to the front. Underneath, was printing "To Service Receiver Remove Hex head bolts as indicated by arrows." Also on the bottom was part of another compartment about 10 inches square by three inches in depth, labeled "Stow-age for pyrotechnic pistol and Amun."

The second piece was a block of heavy wood nearly two feet long, five inches across and four inches high, semi-wedge shaped on one long side. A half inch white cotton rope whipped at the free end, and about eight feet long was driven through a cable in one end. There was an open glove at the other end of the block, about the size of the rope. The piece was painted green with the number "160" stenciled on it. The larger piece was of plywood; painted green with the lettering in yellow.

A restored C-47 painted with the white invasion stripes used on D-Day.

It was believed the larger piece was the foundation of the radio set with the compartment underneath for a Vary pistol and signal ammunition. The smaller piece looked like a wheel chalk or something similar. Serial numbers were stamped on both pieces. From the condition of the paint the wreckage had not been in the water long, and those who saw it believed it was probably from the lost C-47 rather then the bomber, "Getaway Gertie," lost in the lake last winter.

PULASKI - More airplane wreckage, believed to be parts of the C-47 transport from the Mattydale field which plunged into Lake Ontario early in the summer, was washed ashore on the beach at the north end of Sandy Pond, near the Oswego-Jefferson county line late Saturday afternoon. The wreckage was found by Mrs. Betty Sheldon, Pulaski, and Mrs. Dorothy Correll, Sandy Creek, sisters-in-law, and was near the point where wreckage came ashore several weeks ago. It was reported to the state police with Trooper Donald Murphy investigating, and to the Rome Air Base.

The wreckage consisted of a 10-foot section of either wing or tail surface, a switch board with release attachments, a first aid kit, and various medical supplies which are parts of a long range plane equipment. The C-47 went into the lake about one and one-half miles southwest of Montario Point, and its two occupants were rescued by a boat from Sandy Pond. Dragging operations later failed to locate the plane. The point where the present wreckage came ashore was about due east of where the plane hit the lake, and it is believed the heavy seas of last week were breaking up the ship.

It is regarded as certain that the wreckage came from this plane and not from the big bomber which is believed to have sunk in the lake some 20 miles southwest during the winter and carrying its entire crew to death.

C-47 Drawings

While walking on the Lake Beach between the Hawkins cottage and the Renshaw late Saturday afternoon, Mrs. Axel Correll and her sister-in-law, Mrs. Robert Sheldon discovered five pieces of various types that appeared to be airplane wreckage. The matter was reported to the State Police sub-station in Pulaski and the Rome Air Base.

It is presumed that these pieces which included part of a first aid kit and some medical supplies, a ten foot section of airplane wing or tail, and a board with switches for the releasing of some mechanism, are a part of the wreckage of the C-47 transport from the Syracuse airport which crashed in the Lake near this point early last summer.

SYRACUSE, N.Y., JUNE 25, 1944
Youthful stunt-swimming around the Los Angeles pier in carefree childhood summers paid heavy dividends to Lt. Frederick Frenger, air transport pilot from Syracuse Army Airbase who was rescued after his plane crashed in Lake Ontario Friday. "We didn't have Mae Wests, or a life raft, or anything," reminisced yesterday, interviewed in his room at the base hospital.
Yet for 30 long minutes, in the icy waters of Lake Ontario, and hampered by his full army uniform, Lt. Frenger kept himself afloat, and helped his tired co-pilot, Lt. Curtiss L. Aultman. Both men were recuperating from shock and exposure yesterday at Syracuse Army Airbase, where they have been stationed since May 11. "The right engine cut out - that's all I remember," explained Lt. Frenger. With Lt. Aultman at the controls, the men fought to gain altitude with only one engine. But is was impossible

"So we ditched it, with the tail low," Lt. Frenger continued. In about 10 minutes, the plane nosed under. The men were about a quarter-mile from shore, off the Sandy Pond peninsula. They heard boats, and shouted, but none came near. They ripped off their shoes, and Lt. Aultman unzipped his summer flying suit, and kicked it off. Half stunned by the terrific impact when the plane hit the water, they struggled towards the distant shoreline. Lt. Frenger was uninjured except for shock; Lt. Aultman was cut on the scalp, and blood trickled down his face.
"You can keep those babies flying on one engine if you have altitude," explained Lt. Frenger. "But we were on a low altitude navigation training flight, and were flying between 300 and 500 feet." Both officers had high praise for the efforts of their rescue party, led by Mr. and Mrs. Elwin Kast of Mannsville RD1. They told of blankets being wrapped around them, of stimulants being administered, during the hour and a half while they waited on shore for the arrival of the airbase ambulance.

The Kast boat knifing thru the water toward them was a sight they won't soon forget. "I guess we'd have made it, but I don't know," said Lt. Aultman. "I've never been so tired in my life; I got tired from the hips down."


Both officers expressed a desire to climb right back into a plane and fly again "as soon as they'll let us." Lt. Frenger, 25, whose home is in Los Angeles, enlisted in March, 1941, and received his commission and the silver wings of a pilot June 30, 1943. Lt. Aultman, 22, of Lynnhaven, Fla., entered service Feb. 1, 1943, and was commissioned in April, 1944.

The possibilities for salvaging the plane remained undetermined yesterday. Capt. Jerome Entis, airbase adjutant, said a board of inquiry had been assigned to investigate the crash, the first accident involving planes reported on the base since the air transport training command started operations two months ago.

According to, during World War II over 7100 Army Air Forces aircraft were involved in fatal accidents in the US, killing over 15,500 fliers.