Pabos Burial Site

Town of Victor - County of Ontario NY

From: VICTOR - The History of a Town; Lewis F. Fisher; 1996;

The identity of the first European visitor to Victor is also shrouded in the mists of time. Traditionally, the distinction has gone to Etienne Brule, a Frenchman serving as an emissary of Samuel de Champlain. On his journey from Niagara to northeastern Pennsylvania in 1615, Brule is thought to have followed a route through Victor. Or the first Europeans in Victor could have been a group including a man known only as Pabos. His flat, handsize sandstone grave marker was dug up in Fishers in 1907 by workmen loading a wagon with red clay bound for the Locke Insulator Company in Victor. The stone was crudely inscribed with name "Pabos", the date of June 10, 1618, and the inscription "IYIM," which translates to "at home with Jesus in death." It is believed to be  the earliest dated European burial in New York State.

Pabos appears several times as a place name near the mouth of the St. Lawrence River on the Gaspe Peninsula, an area occupied at that time by migrant bands of fishermen from the Basque region of southern France who had discovered abundant fish off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. A reasonable assumption is that the stone marked the burial of a Basque man who died during a search for waters leading to the Northwest Passage to the Pacific Ocean. This particular search could have been made up the St. Lawrence River to Lake Ontario and into Irondequoit Bay, and on up Irondequoit Creek through Fishers.

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