A Landing a Day

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West Point, Illinois

Posted by graywacke on May 26, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much an every-third-day blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2015; A Landing A Day blog post number 433.

Dan –  Getting a bit of a USer roll (4/5) with this landing in . . . IL; 36/37; 5/10; 1; 151.7.  Here’s my regional landing map, showing that I landed close to the Mississippi, and close to the IL/IA/MO triple point:

 wp landing 1

My closer in shot shows my proximity to (as usual) a bunch of small towns:

 wp landing 2

The larger towns (in Illinois) near my landing are Warsaw (pop 1,800), Hamilton (pop 3,000) and Carthage (pop 2,700).  Keokuk is in IA, so I’m not going there.  Not ending up with a clear winner, my post title went to West Point (pop 195 ) by dint of its proximity alone (and hey, it got the closing picture, as you’ll see).

 Before I go any further with my typical ALAD material, I’d like to pause and note that I’ve landed in IL two times in a row.  No big deal, one might say, and I suppose that one would be correct.  But, since I keep track of all things landing (and therefore keep track of the times where I’ve landed in the same state twice in a row), I’ll digress a little with a few facts:

 1.  Out of 2016 landings, this was my 49th double.  That works out to one double every 41 landings.

 2.  I’ve had more TX doubles than any other state (7), followed by CA and MT (5 each), then NM and WY (4 each), MO, NV and UT (3 each); and by AZ (twice).  For thirteen other states (now including IL), it has happened once.

 3.  I had a crazy stretch between landings 1080 and 1093 (a mere 13 landings) where I had four sets of doubles (MT, NE, KY and CA).

 4.  I had a sense that pre-blog, I had doubles more frequently than post-blog (I began blogging on landing 1583).  A little math shows that my rate of doubles pre-blog was once per 36 landings, and my rate of doubles post-blog is once per 72 landings!  Twice the rate!  No wonder I had that sense!  This is yet another fluky statistical anomaly of the type that people grab on to when they’re looking for meaning in statistics, like “the Landing God has clearly decided to grant me fewer doubles now that I’m blogging . . .”

 Hmmm.  I’ve never had a triple.  Maybe next landing?  (But it would be much more likely with a bigger state!)

 Here’s my Google Earth shot, showing that I landed right at the edge of field:

 wp ge 1

Unfortunately, there is no StreetView coverage on the nearby road.

 I landed in the watershed of rather substantial creek, Bear Creek (43 mile-long stream with a 570 square mile watershed), which flows directly into the Mississippi.  The number 19 comes up twice with reference to the creek:  1) this was my 19th stream / river named “Bear,” and 2) this was my 19th landing that I landed in a creek that flowed directly to the Mississippi, rather than into a tributary river.  Here’s a GE StreetView shot of Bear Creek near the Mississippi R:

 wp bear creek near MM

As I was looking at information associated with the local towns, I realized that I stumbled into a hotbed of Mormon history.  Expanding my landing map to the north a little, you can see that I can also include the town of Nauvoo:

 wp landing 3

As any regular reader of my blog knows:  especially for western landings, I periodically and unavoidably bump into various events and places that involve the Mormons.  Well, although not a particularly western landing, this time I hit the mother lode.

 I’m going to be talking about Joseph Smith who I assume needs no introduction.  But just in case, he’s the founder and spiritual leader of the Mormon religion (the church known as the Church of the Latter Day Saints).  Here’s a much abbreviated early history of the Joseph Smith story.  After leaving New York, where he was born and received his divine inspiration – the Golden Tablets (and translating the book of Mormon from the Golden Tablets), etc.   Joseph Smith’s travels took him west to Missouri, picking up followers as he traveled.  He hoped that Missouri was the promised land for him and his followers, but the “Mormon Wars” resulted in a hasty retreat back east across the Mississippi.  They ended up in the town of Commerce, which Joseph renamed Nauvoo, more or less Hebrew for beautiful place.

 A Mormon temple was built in Nauvoo, and it soon became a bustling Mormon community.  But the Mormon detractors (like those in Missouri) were distrustful of the Mormon ways (to say the least).  A leading detractor was one Thomas Sharp, the editor of the Warsaw Sentinel, who published a series of articles that helped inflame anti-Mormon passions.  One thing led to another, and Joseph Smith was arrested and put in prison in Carthage.  A gang of locals, bent on taking matters into their own hands, stormed the prison and killed both Joseph smith and his brother Hyrum.

 Thomas Sharp and four others were arrested for the murders, and put on trial.  After a judge ruled that no Mormons should be on the jury, all of the accused were acquitted, and the murder of Joseph Smith was never “solved.”

 After the killing of the Smith Brothers, there was a bit of a power struggle; but Brigham Young became the heir apparent, and led the Mormons west where they eventually settled in Salt Lake City.  The rest is history . . . .

 By the way, the old Nauvoo Temple fell into disrepair after the Mormons were driven out of Illinois, and eventually burned down.  A new temple was rebuilt (that looks like the original) – it was dedicated in 2002.

 Obviously (I think, obviously) I’m not a Mormon, but I do find the history of this very recent, very American phenomenon to be fascinating.  A very casual Google search of the towns and history near my landing can keep anyone busy for a long time, piecing together the various story lines.  You can see that I did a little reading and decided to tell the story in my own words rather than attempting to pare down the voluminous materials that I could have copied and pasted (even using only Wikipedia).

 I mentioned Warsaw above; well, I found a nice piece of You Tube Warsaw history (very well done, by the by) that talks about Thomas Sharp, and the history of Warsaw in general.  It was a project by a Western Illinois University student, who posts by the moniker CrazyLegz70.  Click HERE for the piece:

 I’ll close with a couple of Panoramio shots.  First, this by SethMo38

wp pano sethmo38

I landed closest to the little burg of West Point.  I’ll close with a Panoramio shot by LSessions of the West Point Town Hall:

 wp ge pano lsessions

 That’ll do it.

 KS

 Greg

 

© 2013 A Landing A Day

2 Responses to “West Point, Illinois”

  1. Lance Clark said

    Hi Greg! I AM the WIU Student that posted the video on YouTube! Thanks for the mention! I worked on it as a Interpretation in Recs/parks class. The WIU library is a great resource for further info!

    • graywacke said

      Lance – Glad you stumbled on my post, and thanks for making it simple for me to bring a little Warsaw history to my readers.

      Greg

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