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The little-known local connection to Juneteenth: Sodus native played key role


When the enslaved people of Texas learned they were free, more than four months after the House of Representatives passed the 13th Amendment, it was a Sodus native, Union Army Gen. Gordon Granger, who delivered the news.

The Civil War hero was given command of the Department of Texas on June 10, 1865. Nine days later, as one of his first official acts in that role, Granger published General Order No. 3.

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”
Gen. Gordon Granger, a Sodus native who delivered the news of emancipation to Texas. - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Gen. Gordon Granger, a Sodus native who delivered the news of emancipation to Texas.

Granger was born in the hamlet of Joy, southwest of Sodus, in November 1821. His mother later died while giving birth to a daughter and Granger was raised by his paternal grandfather in Phelps.

Before starting his military career at West Point, Granger was a schoolteacher in North Rose.

Bruce Farrington of the Sodus Historical Society said efforts are underway to erect a marker detailing Granger’s role in history.

“Hard to believe it's 2021,” he said, “and no marker has even been erected and that’s one reason so few people know about his story and his significance in history.”

Granger died at his post of duty in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Jan. 2, 1876.

Beth Adams is a reporter for WXXI, a media partner of CITY.