SAR group hears program about Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest extant masonry fort in the United States

Steve Boothe, president of the Chautauqua County Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution presented a program about the fort known as Castillo de San Marcos to members and guests. Boothe and his family recently visited this site, located in the old city of St. Augustine, Fla. during a vacation.

The Spanish began constructing the fort, located along Matanzas Bay in 1672. It is the oldest, extant, masonry fort in the United States, even though the English settled in Roanoke (present day North Carolina) and places in Virginia earlier.

The fort was constructed of coquina, which contain millions of microscopic air pockets. Cannon balls fired at the fort caused little damage, and merely became stuck in the walls, which helped guarantee the survival of the structure. Its parapets feature a star-shaped format, along with a large collection of field cannons. The lighter cannons are called grasshoppers because of the way they jump when fired.

The English conducted two sieges against the fort, one in 1700 and a second in the 1730’s, both of which failed. In 1924, the site was granted approval as a national monument.

In other items shared at the meeting, Norm Carlson, Fenton History Center historian, gave a brief presentation about the upcoming Fenton Travelers trip, being organized by Jack Ericson, Westfield historian, and Karen Livsey, Fenton historian. Participants will travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, to visit and conduct genealogical research at the Family History Library from Sunday, Oct. 26 to Sunday, Nov. 2. Participants will fly out of the Buffalo airport.

For more information, interested parties should contact Ericson at 326-4335 or Livsey at 665-3168.

The chapter will next meet on Saturday Aug. 2 at 10 a.m. at the Chatterbox Restaurant, Fluvanna Avenue Extension, Greenhurst, northwest of Jamestown.

For more information, contact Steve Boothe at 574-7995.