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Archive for December, 2017

Fallbrook, Escondido, Pala and Mount Palomar, California

Posted by graywacke on December 29, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2382; A Landing A Day blog post number 816.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (33o 20.480’N, 116o 57.615’W) puts me in far SW California:

My local landing map:

I landed in the watershed of the Pauma Creek:

Which, as you can see, makes its way to the San Luis Rey River (1st hit ever!).

I’m going to knock over two beer cans with one stone, and look at my drainageway and my landing at the same time:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

So, we’ll take quickie visits to each of my titular towns, as I found no singular, compelling hook.  Let’s start with Fallbrook, where Wiki notes that a Notable Person is Tony Hawk.

For some reason, I was actually aware that Tony Hawk is (was?) a world-class skate boarder.  After a little research, I discovered that he was the first person in the world to do a 900.

900?  Well, if you spin all the way around once, it’s a 360.  You spin twice, it’s a 720.  You spin two and a half times, and it’s a 900.  So, here’s a You Tube video featuring Tony Hawk’s first 900. 




And here’s his last.  Give the guy a break.  His first was when he 31 (in 1999) and the last, in 2016, when he was 48. 


And in between Hawk’s first and last, another 15 guys have successfully landed a 900. . .

And this, from Wiki:

The advent of the MegaRamp, invented in 2002, gives much higher vertical height which enabled even more revolutions and on March 26th, 2012, Tom Schaar (at age 12) landed a 1080 on his 5th attempt:


Just in case you’re a skateboard junkie, here’s a video of Tony’s son Riley.  The kid’s not bad . . .


Moving way down south to Escondido.  While pretty much hookless (like Fallbrook), I noticed that the town is home to the Deer Park Buddhist Monastery, one of three monasteries under the leadership of Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.

As it turns out, I’m actually quite familiar with the writings of Thich Naht Hanh.  He has written over 100 books, and I’ve read maybe six or seven of them.  Although I can’t call myself a Buddhist, I do appreciate the wisdom of Buddhist teachings.

From his website (he’s the old guy):

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered around the world for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings on mindfulness and peace. He is the man Martin Luther King called “An Apostle of peace and nonviolence.” His key teaching is that, through mindfulness, we can learn to live happily in the present moment—the only way to truly develop peace, both in one’s self and in the world.

His teachings center around mindfulness and how to achieve mindful peace.

From Wiki:

In 1961 Nhất Hạnh went to the US to teach comparative religion at Princeton University and was subsequently appointed lecturer in Buddhism at Columbia University.  By then he had gained fluency in French, Chinese, Sanskrit, Pali, Japanese and English, in addition to his native Vietnamese. In 1963, he returned to Vietnam to aid his fellow monks in their non-violent peace efforts.

Nhất Hạnh returned to the US in 1966 to lead a symposium in Vietnamese Buddhism at Cornell University, and to continue his work for peace. While in the US, Nhất Hạnh stopped at Gethsemani Abbey to speak with Thomas Merton [an interesting fellow; more about him in a bit]. When Vietnam threatened to block Nhất Hạnh’s re-entry to the country, Merton penned an essay of solidarity entitled “Nhat Hanh is my Brother.  Merton also wrote a letter to Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1965 entitled: “In Search of the Enemy of Man,” mentioning Nhất Hạnh.

It was during his 1966 stay in the US that Nhất Hạnh met with King and urged him to publicly denounce the Vietnam War.  In 1967, Dr. King gave a famous speech at the Riverside Church in New York City, his first to publicly question the U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Later that year, Dr. King nominated Nhất Hạnh for the 1967 Nobel Peace Prize. In his nomination Dr. King said, “I do not personally know of anyone more worthy than this gentle monk from Vietnam. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity”.

The fact that King had revealed the candidate he had chosen to nominate and had made a “strong request” to the prize committee, was in sharp violation of the Nobel traditions and protocol.  The committee did not make an award that year.

From Wiki, about Thomas Merton:

Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968) was an American Catholic writer, theologian and mystic. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, he was a poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion.

Merton wrote more than 70 books, mostly on spirituality, social justice and nonviolent pacifism, as well as scores of essays and reviews. Among Merton’s most enduring works is his bestselling autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain (1948), which sent scores of World War II veterans, students, and even teenagers flocking to monasteries across the US.  The book was featured in National Review’s list of the 100 best non-fiction books of the century.

Merton was a keen proponent of interfaith understanding. He pioneered dialogue with prominent Asian spiritual figures, including the Dalai Lama, the Japanese writer D.T. Suzuki, the Thai Buddhist monk Buddhadasa, and the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh.

He remained Christian throughout his life, but he obviously embraced eastern philosophies. 

Time to move on to Pala. From Wiki:

Gem mines in the Pala District produce tourmaline, with the pink variety as the regional specialty.

China’s Dowager Empress Cixi (who effectively ruled China from 1861 until her death in 19098) highly prized the pink tourmaline mined in Pala. Under her influence, China’s demand for this gem created a boom in the California tourmaline industry beginning in the early 1900s.

Here’s a Wiki picture of “Green Cap” tourmaline from Pala:

My geologist wife Jody loves this type of tourmaline, which she calls “watermelon” tourmaline.  Here’s a picture of one of Jody’s earrings:

Yes, that’s me holding the earring . . .

I’ll now head up the road to Mount Palomar and its famous observatory:

And a closer look:

From the Observatory’s website:

Palomar Observatory is among the most iconic scientific facilities in the world, and a crown jewel in the research traditions of Caltech.

Conceived of nearly 100 years ago, the observatory has been in continuous scientific operation since the mid-30s, and remains productive and relevant today.

George Ellery Hale was the person most responsible for the building of Palomar Observatory. A graduate of MIT and a founder of Caltech, in 1928 he secured a grant of $6 million from the Rockefeller Foundation for the fabrication of a 200-inch reflecting telescope.

During the 1930s, he assembled a remarkable team of engineers and designers from academia and industry. Under his direction, these people set to work on the mirror, on the mounting, and on the dome and its support facilities on Palomar Mountain.

A triumph of innovation, insight, persistence, and precision the telescope was dedicated in June 1948 ten years after Hale’s death.  This is the Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory, an instrument that after many decades of service continues to play a leading role in the advancement of astronomy and astrophysics.

Perhaps the most historic scientific discovery using the 200 inch Hale telescope involved understanding the nature of quasars.  Here’s a bulleted Greg-style list:

  • In the late 1950s, astronomical objects were noted that had a strong radio signature, but no light signature. They had no idea where these objects were located.  In our Milky Way Galaxy, or in other galaxies?
  • In 1963, a faint blue star was noted at one of these radio source location (not by the Hale telescope). The light was studied, and its spectra could not be identified.  But astronomer John Bolton claimed that it was a Hydrogen spectra (common coming from stars), but red shifted a lot.  No one believed him.
  • Note 1: the red shift is similar to the Doppler Effect, whereby sound waves are lengthened when the sound is moving away from us, resulting in a lower pitch.  With light, if the light source is moving away (at incredibly fast velocities), the wavelength of the light gets longer – i.e., shifted towards the red end of the light spectrum. 
  • Note 2: The magnitude of the red shift is proportional to the recessional velocity.  It turns out that the farther a galaxy is away from us, the faster it is moving away from us.  Remember this.
  • Another visual identification of a quasar radio source was made using the Hale telescope. It showed the same spectrum, but better optics and sensors at Palomar allowed astronomers to definitely determine that the red shift interpretation was correct!
  • This discovery revolutionized quasar observation and allowed other astronomers to find redshifts from the emission lines from other radio sources. As predicted earlier by Bolton, 3C 48 [the radio source he observed] was found to have a redshift of 37% of the speed of light.
  • The term “quasar” was coined by Chinese-born U.S. astrophysicist Hong-Yee Chiu in May 1964, in Physics Today, to describe these puzzling objects:
    • So far, the clumsily long name ‘quasi-stellar radio sources’ is used to describe these objects. Because the nature of these objects is entirely unknown, it is hard to prepare a short, appropriate nomenclature for them so that their essential properties are obvious from their name.
    • For convenience, the abbreviated form ‘quasar’ will be used throughout this paper.

So here’s the bottom line:  A quasar consists of a super massive black hole surrounded by an orbiting accretion disk of gas. As gas in the accretion disk falls toward the black hole, immense quantities of energy are released. The most powerful quasars have luminosities exceeding 1041 W, thousands of times greater than the luminosity of a large galaxy such as the Milky Way.

Oh my.  Did you catch that?  One quasar releases light (luminosity) thousands of times greater than the entire Milky Way (which consists of approximately 250 billion stars). 

Here’s some more from Wiki:

The peak epoch of quasar activity in the Universe corresponds to redshifts around 2, or approximately 10 billion years ago.  (The Big Bang created the Universe approximately 14.5 billion years ago.) 

As of 2017, the most distant known quasar is ULAS J1342+0928 at redshift = 7.54.  Light observed from this quasar was emitted when the Universe was only 690 million years old (a mere toddler). The super massive black hole in this quasar is the most distant black hole identified to date, and is estimated to have a mass that is 800 million times the mass of our Sun.

I love it!  I love the fact that the Universe is so immense; so old; so exquisitely complex.  It drives me crazy that people of traditional religions generally reject (or ignore) science.  If one believes God created the Universe, why did He give us the brains to study it?

Moving right along . . .

Here’s a quote from my August 14, 2017 Liberty Mills and North Manchester, Indiana post:

By the way, this Breaking News just in:  yesterday, I saw my first Googlemobile!  It was in Pennington NJ on Broemel Place, and I was driving in the opposite direction.  I’ll be checking Broemel Place Street View coverage to see if my 2012 black Camry made the big time . . .

And here’s the very exciting update.  Yes, I checked Street View on Broemel Place and there I am! 

Here’s my Camry on Route 31, getting ready to turn left on Broemel Place:

And here I am in the middle of the left turn.  And yes, that’s me driving:

I immediately pulled over to try and get another look at the GoogleMobile (he turned right and sped away, never to be seen again):

I’ll close with some Mt. Palomar shots.  Here’s the dome (Pano shot by Ian Merritt):

Here’s the actual telescope inside the dome (from the Observatory website):

And a picture of the telescope getting ready for the night’s observations (by P.K. Cheng):

Here’s another GE Pano shot of the dome, by Kyrk Barron:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Smithfield and Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Posted by graywacke on December 18, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2381; A Landing A Day blog post number 815.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (35o 41.452’N, 77o 57.975’W) puts me in Cen-E North Carolina:

My local landing map shows many, many towns, with my two titular towns highlighted:

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of Contentnea Creek:

The creek discharges to the Neuse River (4th hit); as you can see, the Neuse makes it down to Pamlico Sound, behind the Outer Banks.

Google Earth (GE) gives me a good look at my landing location:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

I also get a good look at Contentnea Creek (just downstream from the Reservoir):

And here ‘tis:

So, I had a really tough time looking for that illusive hook.  Check out all of those towns near my landing (especially Wilson), but no hooks.  I spent an inordinate amount of time in my search.  But I had to go further and further away, and ended up with two a little less-than-inspirational hooks.

So, I’ll start with Smithfield.  Wiki notes that Ava Gardner was born in nearby Grabtown.  I searched for Grabtown, but couldn’t find it anywhere, so I’ll just trust Wikipedia that it’s somewhere near Smithfield.

Here she is:

So, here’s a bulleted, all-about-Ava list (pretty much from Wiki):

  • Born in 1922 in the afore-mentioned Grabtown, wherever that is
  • Raised in near-poverty; spent one year in secretarial school in Wilson (very close to my landing)
  • While visiting a sister in New York City, Ava’s picture was taken by her brother-in-law, a professional photographer. The photograph was placed in the display window of the photographer’s studio.
  • Some dude who worked for Loews theater (and was connected with MGM studios) saw the picture, and said “somebody should send this picture to MGM.”
  • She was interviewed by Al Altman, head of MGM’s talent department, and, with cameras rolling, was instructed to walk towards the camera, turn and walk away, then rearrange some flowers in a vase.
  • There was no attempt to record her voice because her Southern accent made it almost impossible for New Yorkers to understand her.
  • After seeing the film clip, Louis B. Mayer, head of the studio, sent a telegram to Altman: “She can’t sing, she can’t act, she can’t talk. She’s terrific!”
  • MGM’s first order of business was to provide her with a speech coach, as her Carolina drawl was nearly incomprehensible to them.
  • After a slow start with minor movie roles in the 1940s, Ava began getting roles in major movies with leading men such as Charlton Heston, Burt Lancaster, Gregory Peck, Clark Gable and Kirk Douglas.
  • Her personal life was more interesting; she married:
    • Mickey Rooney in 1942, divorced one year later due to Rooney’s “serial adultery.”
    • Band leader Artie Shaw in 1945, divorced one year later.
    • Frank Sinatra in 1951. The marriage was “tumultuous,” and lasted only 5 years, although they remained close throughout her life.
  • Ava was also a good friend to Howard Hughes through the 40s and 50s.
  • After divorcing Sinatra, she also became good friends with Ernest Hemingway (she had starred in the movie “The Sun Also Rises,” an adoption of Hemingway’s novel of the same name.)
  • She died in 1986 at age 67, of complications from smoking her entire life.

Pretty much confirming the above, here’s a quick You Tube bio:


In the movie “Show Boat,” her voice was dubbed when she sang a song.  I don’t know why, based on this video of the original take, with her singing:


And here’s a You Tube video of her 1954 appearance on the TV show “What’s My Line?”.  This is great, must-see TV:


Now, we’ll move from well south of my landing to well north, and the town of Rocky Mount.  Wiki notes that Thelonious Monk was born in Rocky Mount.

As likely known by nearly all my readers, Thelonious was a well-known and very accomplished jazz pianist (he died in 1986).   As known by some of my readers, I am also a piano player, but (of course), of minor skill and accomplishment.

Try as I might, I’ve never been able to embrace jazz.  Not as a listener, let alone as a piano player.  I remember back when we boomers were moving into our 40s, it became de rigueur to haughtily say something like, “I’m not rejecting rock ‘n roll, but I’m migrating to jazz.”

Not me.  I will remain a back-beat rock ‘n roller for the rest of my life.  The only jazz I can enjoy is jazz played with a back-beat rhythm (which rarely happens). 

Bottom line:  I would normally not feature Thelonious Monk, but will in this post for two reasons:  First, I landed in an incredibly hookless area – in fact, I normally would not feature Ava Gardner.  Second, Thelonious Monk has such a cool name, made all the more cool by his awesome middle name:  Sphere.

That’s right.  His given name is Thelonious Sphere Monk.  From Wiki:

Thelonious Sphere Monk was born on October 10, 1917, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and was the son of Thelonious and Barbara Monk.  Although his birth certificate does not list his middle name, it is taken from his maternal grandfather, Sphere Batts.

Although I’m no jazz fan (and therefore not a Thelonious Monk fan), he was a compelling character.  Always troubled (and suffering from bipolar disorder), he was passionately stubborn about his music in spite of a lack of commercial success.

From The Guardian (a very recent Jazz Music blog post by Candace Allen, 11/7/17):

Countering those who found Monk’s percussive, splay-fingered playing style untutored and crude, Juilliard-trained composer Hall Overton was among those who understood Monk’s genius, explaining that he “adjusted his finger pressure on the keys the way baseball pitchers do to the ball to make its path bend, curve or dip in flight.”  Tenor player Johnny Griffin said Monk’s music “was like leaves on a tree. His music grew from nowhere else but inside of him.”

He was a dedicated family man who worried about providing for his wife and children, but couldn’t give an inch. When you understand the inside the outside will be just fine, he’d say. Get inside the music and listen. Meanwhile, gigs and recording cash passed him.

When wearied beyond his considerable limits by his misdiagnosed and ignorantly medicated bipolar condition, ceaseless financial woes, his recording company’s unrelenting demands and the deaths of too many friends, Monk, in 1975, embraced the comforting mysteries of permanent silence. Taking refuge in the Weehawken NJ home of long-time friend and patron Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter, he stopped playing the piano, emerging only for neighborhood walkabouts until he suffered a stroke in February 1982.  The stroke that would prove fatal, and he died in the loving arms of his wife Nellie, 12 days later.

From The Guardian article, here are three pictures.  In New York City in 1947:

Also in New York, in 1959:

What’s he smokin?

With the Baroness Pannonica in New York in 1964:

Here’s a You Tube video of  “Round Midnight:”


I’ll close with this lovely GE Panoramio shot of Lake Wilson – just north of Wilson – by Scott Thompson:

I love it when the reflection is a richer, deeper, version of reality . . .

That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Cottonton, Dawson, Cuthbert and Plains, Georgia

Posted by graywacke on December 11, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2380; A Landing A Day blog post number 814.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (31o 57.222’N, 84o 50.817’W) puts me in southwest Georgia:

My local landing map shows the usual VP* of small towns:

*veritable plethora

Here’s my local streams-only map:

I landed in the watershed of good ol’ Stream Perennial; on to the Briar Branch; on to Pataula Creek.  Zooming back, Pataula Creek discharges into the dammed-up Chattahoochee River (3rd hit):

Zooming back even further, the Chattahoochee flows to the Apalachicola (10th hit) before making its way across the Florida Panhandle, into the gulf:

I’d like my readers to linger a bit on the preceding sentence, being sure to savor the poetic pronunciation of the two rivers:  “The Chattahoochee flows to the Apalachicola.”

And then, I’d like to head back to Pataula Creek.  Am I the only one who instantly thought of Petula Clark?  Probably.  But she takes me back in a rush to early 1965, with her hit song “Downtown.”  I was 14, and really getting into popular music.  I had been doodling around on the piano for years, including two years of lessons.  I had the ability to play simple tunes by ear (I remember playing the theme to the TV show Bonanza), but hadn’t yet figured out any Top 40 hits on the piano.  Until Downtown.

I loved the song, and began to pick out a halfway-decent arrangement on the piano.  I threw myself into it, and ended up with a version I liked (and play occasionally to this day).  I remember sitting in school (9th grade), aching for the day to end so I could rush home and play Downtown on the piano.  My poor mother heard the song dozens, if not hundreds, of times.

So, here’s Petula:


A quick side note:  Just now, as I listened, I realized that there’s a very distinctive piano introduction that I never played!  Of course, I sat right down and banged it out.

Even though I sounded a little arrogant in the preceding sentence, I am very aware of how lucky I am to have innate musical abilities.  As far as I’m concerned, it was jut something I was born with . . .

Let’s move right along to Google Earth (GE), and take a look at my landing:

Here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

And nearby, there’s a view of Briar Branch:

And here ‘tis:

I’ll be moving to my first featured town, but by way of introduction, I’ll start with a Bible story.  I can imagine that my regular readers are already thinking “Say what?  A Bible story??” 

So, class.  Today’s Bible story is about Nebuchadnezzar.  I’ll do it Greg-style (bulleted):

  • Nebuchadnezzar was King of Babylonia from 605 BC to 562 BC.  Babylonia was centered on what is today Iraq.  The City of Babylon was along the Euphrates River, south of today’s Baghdad.
  • He is considered the greatest ruler of Babylonia; creator of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (more about them in a bit).
  • He is mentioned by name 90 times in the Bible, and is a main character in the book of Daniel.
  • In Daniel, the story is told of Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of Judah (an ancient kingdom that includes the southern portion of today’s Israel; Judah’s capital was Jerusalem.)
  • Nebuchadnezzar had conquered Judah at the very beginning of his reign, but Judah had rebelled twice. Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t happy:  he destroyed the temple and most of Jerusalem in 597 BC, and deported most residents as slaves to Babylon.
  • According to the Bible, Nebuchadnezzar was God’s instrument of justice, punishing Judah for its idolatry, unfaithfulness and disobedience.
  • Daniel was an advisor to Nebuchadnezzar, held in high favor because of his ability to interpret one of Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams.
  • Nebuchadnezzar created a gold statue of himself, and required all of the people to bow down before it.
  • Three of Daniels friends – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – refused to bow down before the statue, citing their belief in the one true God; the King had them thrown into a blazing furnace.
  • Miraculously, God protected the three, and they walked out unharmed from the furnace.
  • This blew Nebuchadnezzar’s mind, and he quickly decided that the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego was, in fact, the one true God.

I’d like my readers to linger a bit on the preceding sentence, being sure to savor the poetic pronunciation of the three friends of Daniel.

There’s more, but the above is the central nugget of the story.  So what does this all have to do with southwest Georgia?  Well, check out Daniel 3:1:

Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, the height of which was sixty cubits [90 feet] and its width six cubits [9 feet]; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.

It just so happens that about 2400 years after Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, a very small town in Georgia was named “Plains of Dura,” after the Babylonian region.  Why it became the plural “Plains” rather than the singular “plain” mentioned in the Bible is not known. 

After the Civil War, local Plains of Dura businesses began to thrive.  However, the business leaders felt the name was awkward; they successfully petitioned the State Legislature to change the name of the town to simply “Plains.”

None of us would have ever heard of Plains, Georgia, if it weren’t for a local peanut farmer from Plains who gained national prominence:

Before moving on, here’s a quick word about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.  From Wiki:

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, a term given to it by ancient Hellenic culture. The Hanging Gardens were described as a remarkable feat of engineering with an ascending series of tiered gardens containing a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and vines. The gardens were said to have looked like a large green mountain constructed of mud bricks.

They were supposedly built by Nebuchadnezzar for one of his wives; however, there are no extemporaneous Babylonian texts describing the gardens, and no archeological evidence has been found – although it is possible that if remains of the gardens exist, they are buried under the Euphrates

From IslamiCity.org, here’s an artist’s rendition:

Time to move to Cuthbert.  Under Notable People, I saw that “Winfred Rembert, artist” was wiki-clickable.  So, wiki-click I did:

Winfred Rembert is an African-American artist who hand-tools and paints on leather canvases. Rembert grew up in Cuthbert, Georgia, where he spent much of his childhood laboring in the cotton fields. He was arrested during a 1960s civil rights march. As a prisoner, he learned to make tooled-leather wallets and design on leather.

Rembert stretches, stains, and etches on leather and creates scenes from the rural Southern town where he was born and raised.

An award-winning documentary film about his life, All Me: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert, was released in 2011.

From the website for the movie:

With his intensely autobiographical paintings depicting the day-to-day existence of African Americans in the segregated South, Winfred Rembert has preserved an important, if often disturbing, chapter of American history.

His indelible images of toiling in the cotton fields, singing in church, dancing in juke joints, or working on a chain gang are especially powerful, not just because he lived every moment, but because he experienced so much of the injustice and bigotry that is apparent in hi work.

Now in his sixties, Rembert has developed a growing following among collectors and connoisseurs, and enjoyed a number of tributes and exhibitions of his work. In “ALL ME: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert,” the artist relives his turbulent life, abundantly visualized by his extensive paintings and, in a series of intimate reminiscences, shows us how even the most painful memories can be transformed into something meaningful and beautiful.

Here’s the trailer for the movie:


Here are some of his works; I’ll start with “All Me,” whereby Rembert painted every garbed inmate as if it were him; i.e., all me:

Dye on carved and tooled leather, 21 1/2 x 24 1/2

And a few others:

Time to move on to Dawson.  Under Notable People was one Otis Redding.

For my generation, “Sittin’ on the Dock o’ the Bay” is one of our most memorable songs.  It was recorded just three days before Otis died in a plane crash, en route from Cleveland to Madison. 

He never knew the success of the song.  From Wiki:

In early December 1967 Redding was working on a new song,  “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” which was written with guitarist and musical collaborator Steve Cropper.  At the time, they were staying with a friend on a houseboat in Sausalito [at the base of the Golden Gate bridge, across from San Francisco].

Redding was inspired by the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and tried to create a similar sound, against the wishes of Stax [his label].  His wife Zelma disliked its atypical melody. The Stax crew were married to a more traditional R&B format, and were also dissatisfied with the new sound.  However, Redding wanted to expand his musical style and thought it was his best song, correctly believing it would top the charts.

The song reached #1 on Billboard’s Top 100 weekly charts, and was ranked #4 for the year of 1968.

Here ‘tis:


Here’s my favorite verse:

Looks like nothing’s gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can’t do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I’ll remain the same.

Of course, I noted that he “left home in Georgia, headed for the Frisco Bay,” and that he traveled two thousand miles.  That always sounded a little on the short side to me.  It’s time for an ALAD fact check!

Well, by car it’s a little over 2500 miles (and 38 hours).  So, Otis must have been talking about the shortest straight-line distance, which is a little less than 2200 miles . . .

One other thing.  Otis wrote “Respect,” which was a minor hit for him.  But it was a huge hit for Aretha Franklin, becoming a Motown anthem:


What you want
Baby, I got
What you need
Do you know I got it?
All I’m askin’
Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Hey baby (just a little bit) when you get home
(just a little bit) mister (just a little bit)

I ain’t gonna do you wrong while you’re gone
Ain’t gonna do you wrong  ’cause I don’t wanna
All I’m askin’
Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Baby (just a little bit) when you get home (just a little bit)
Yeah (just a little bit)

I’m about to give you all of my money
And all I’m askin’ in return, honey
Is to give me my propers
When you get home (just a, just a, just a, just a)
Yeah baby (just a, just a, just a, just a)
When you get home (just a little bit)
Yeah (just a little bit)

[instrumental break]

Ooo, your kisses
Sweeter than honey
And guess what?
So is my money
All I want you to do for me
Is give it to me when you get home (re, re, re ,re)
Yeah baby (re, re, re ,re)
Whip it to me (respect, just a little bit)
When you get home, now (just a little bit)

Find out what it means to me
Take care, TCB*

Oh (sock it to me, sock it to me,
sock it to me, sock it to me)
A little respect (sock it to me, sock it to me,
sock it to me, sock it to me)
Whoa, babe (just a little bit)
A little respect (just a little bit)
I get tired (just a little bit)
Keep on tryin’ (just a little bit)
You’re runnin’ out of foolin’ (just a little bit)
And I ain’t lyin’ (just a little bit)
(re, re, re, re) ‘spect
When you come home (re, re, re ,re)
Or you might walk in (respect, just a little bit)
And find out I’m gone (just a little bit)
I got to have (just a little bit)
A little respect (just a little bit)

*Taking Care of Busness

I’m going to close this post with a short visit to Cottonton.  Wiki has very little to say, but they did post a couple of back-in-the-day pictures.  First this, of a “well sweep:”

Here’s how it works.  The log with the chain on the end rocks up and down (teeter-totter style) on the fulcrum.  A bucket on the chain is lowered into the well, and then raised up using the sweep and emptied in the box.  The water then flows out of the box into the pipe at the bottom (headed towards the photographer). 

And the second Wiki picture is of an “old mule gin house,” which is a mule-powered cotton gin:

I found a working version of such a gin in North Carolina:

And here’s the mule doing his thing:

I’ll close with this Wiki shot (by Rivers Langley) from the town of Weston, about 14 miles east of my landing:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Pioneer, Ohio

Posted by graywacke on December 4, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2379; A Landing A Day blog post number 813.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (41o 39.642’N, 84o 33.767’W) puts me in far northwest Ohio:

My local map shows that I landed just outside of Pioneer:

My very local streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of the East Branch of the St. Joseph R (first hit ever!); on to the St. Joseph (first hit ever!).

Zooming back:

You can see that the St. Joseph heads due southwest, and then, the water molecules therein do a 180, and end up heading northeast up the Maumee (3rd hit) to Lake Erie (11); on, of course, to the St. Lawrence (108).

I have excellent Google Earth (GE) Street View coverage:

And behold!  The magnificent yellow spear has landed in yonder field!

And with such excellent Street View coverage, a good look at the East Branch of the St. Joseph River is inevitable:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

As always, I have the Orange Dude check to see if there’s a road sign announcing the name of the river, and indeed there is!

Notice that the sign makers didn’t bother with the “East Branch.”  Oh, well.

So, Wiki told me absolutely nothing about Pioneer, so I went to the Pioneer town website:

Earliest recorded settlers of Pioneer were P.W. Norris and Owen McCarty (brothers-in-law), who were hired to clear James A. Rogers land in 1842-3.

Both men were ambitious businessmen, a trait that is still prevalent among the citizens of modern day Pioneer. Mr. Norris built a grist mill and a saw mill along the north side of the creek.

Mr. Norris finally moved away to north of Detroit where he named a village “Norris.” It now has been incorporated into Warren, Michigan (a Detroit suburb).

Normally, the above information is not hook-worthy.  But ever curious, I took a long shot and Googled P.W. Norris.  Wiki took me to “Philetus Walter Norris.  I had to confirm that he was, in fact, the same as the founder of the town of Pioneer OH:

In 1845, Norris married Jane K. Cottrell of Fayette, Ohio. Once married, the couple became two of the original settlers of Pioneer, Ohio.

OK, so that’s out of the way.  Here’s some more from Wiki:

When the Civil War began, Norris joined the Union troops, eventually rising to the rank of Colonel.  He served as a spy behind Confederate Lines and Captain of the West Virginia Mountain Scouts. While fighting near Laurel Mountain, West Virginia, Norris’s horse was shot out from underneath him, severely injuring his shoulder and spinal cord.  After his injury, Norris returned to Pioneer.

I’ll be returning to his injury later in this post . . .

A quick aside.  In my July 2016 Richwood WV post, I featured Nancy Hart (I landed near her gravesite).  Nancy was a fascinating character, who became famous as a Confederate spy.  Just to give you a sense of who she was, here’s a small piece of her bio, which recounts an episode when she escaped from captivity:

One evening, Nancy grabbed the pistol from her naive young guard, and shot him dead with a single shot. She leapt out a second-story window into a clump of tall jimson weeds, stole a horse, and escaped to behind Confederate lines.

I wonder if Nancy knew of Philetus and if Philetus knew Nancy?  Spy vs. spy, eh?

Back to Wiki:

In 1870, Norris traveled west, entering the Yellowstone Park area; he returned again in 1875.  During this time, Norris wrote a series of articles on “The Great West” which were published in the Norris, Michigan Suburban newspaper.

Perhaps because of the series of articles, Norris achieved some fame as a western explorer, and in 1877, Norris became the second superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, a position he held until 1882.

Here’s Wiki’s picture of Mr. Norris:

What a dude!

A quick word about Nathaniel Langford, the first Yellowstone Park superintendent (from Wiki):

After the park’s official formation, Nathaniel Langford was appointed as the park’s first superintendent in 1872 by Secretary of Interior Columbus Delano. Langford served for five years but was denied a salary, funding, and staff. Langford lacked the means to improve the land or properly protect the park, and without formal policy or regulations, he had few legal methods to enforce such protection.

[Say what?  Yellowstone was declared as a National Park, but no money was allocated?  Not unexpectedly, the park was not properly protected.]

Observations about the lawlessness and exploitation of park resources were included in a report by William Ludlow [a Yellowstone explorer].  The report documented the poaching of thousands of buffalo, deer, elk, and antelope for hides.

As a result, Langford was forced to step down in 1877.

AYKM??  Poor guy.  Gets no salary, fails because of lack of support, then gets fired.

Very strangely, P.W. Norris was hired as a replacement, even though Congress had still not approved any funding to run the Park.  And he took the job!  And, after an arduous 14 months serving as Park Superintendent (and not getting paid), he sent a petition to the Secretary of the Interior asking for reimbursement.  In his petition, he had quite the story to tell (although he told it in the third person).

I’m going to present his petition in nearly its entirety.  This is going to be quite long by ALAD standards, but bear with me, as (obviously), I think it’s well worth the read!

February 18, 1882.

To the honorable the Secretary of the Interior:

Sir:  Your petitioner [i.e., P.W. Norris] presents this memorial of facts in connection with his appointment as superintendent of the Yellowstone National Park by the honorable Secretary of the Interior, on the 18th day of April, 1877.

Your petitioner would respectfully state that he immediately entered upon the laborious and then dangerous duties of his office, and by the expenditure of his own private means proceeded to the said park and assumed exploration, care and protection thereof, which, under the name of the Yellowstone National Park, was set aside by an act of Congress, approved March 1, 1872, a copy of which act, as well as the rules and regulations of the honorable Secretary of the Interior for its management, are as follows:

[ALAD readers:  Although the ACT is interesting and worth the read, feel free to skim through it or skip it altogether.]

AN ACT to set apart a certain tract of land lying near the headwaters of the Yellowstone River as a public park.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that the tract of land in the Territories of Montana and Wyoming lying near the headwaters of the Yellowstone River, and described as follows, to wit:

Sec. 1 [A detailed description of the boundaries of the park follows but is not included here]

[The described area] is hereby reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale under the laws of the United States, and dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasure ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people; and all persons who shall locate, settle upon, or occupy the same or any part thereof, except as hereinafter provided, shall be considered trespassers and removed therefrom.

Sec. 2. That said public park shall be under the exclusive control of the Secretary of the Interior, whose duty it shall be, as soon as practicable, to make and publish such rules and regulations as he may deem necessary or proper for the care and management of the same. Such regulations shall provide for the preservation from injury or spoliation of all timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities, or wonders within said park, and their retention in their natural condition.

The Secretary may in his discretion grant leases for building purposes, for terms not exceeding ten years, of small parcels of ground, at such places in said park as shall require the erection of buildings for the accommodation of visitors; all of the proceeds of said leases, and all other revenues that may be derived from any source connected with said park, to be expended under his direction in the management of the same, and the construction of roads and bridle-paths therein.

He shall provide against the wanton destruction of the fish and game found within said park and against their capture or destruction for the purposes of merchandise or profit. He shall also cause all persons trespassing on the same, after the passage of this act, to be removed therefrom, and generally shall be authorized to take all such measures as shall be necessary or proper to fully carry out the objects and purposes of this act.

Approved March 1, 1872.


Ist.  All hunting, fishing, or trapping within the limits of the park, except for purposes of recreation, or to supply food to visitors or actual residents, is strictly prohibited; and no sales of fish or game taken within the park shall be made outside of its boundaries.

2d.  Persons residing within the park, or visiting it for any purpose whatever, are required under severe penalties to extinguish all fires which it may be necessary to make, before leaving them. No fires must be made within the park, except for necessary purposes.

3d.  No timber must be cut in the park without a written permit from the superintendent.

4th. Breaking the siliceous or calcareous borders or deposits surrounding or in the vicinity of the springs or geysers for any purpose, and all removal, carrying away, or sale of specimens found within the park, without the consent of the superintendent, is strictly prohibited.

5th.  No person will be permitted to reside permanently within the limit of the park without permission from the Department of the Interior, and any person now living within the park shall vacate the premises occupied by him within thirty days after having been served with a written notice so to do by the superintendent or his deputy, said notice to be served upon him in person or left at his place of residence.

[Amazing that the above ACT was passed, but no money allocated for implementation and enforcement.  Anyway, back to P.W.’s narrative.]

As above shown, at the time of your petitioner’s appointment as superintendent, although no money for services or expenses was furnished or specifically promised, it was confidently expected, that through the recommendation of the department, an appropriation for such purposes would be made, at a then anticipated special session of Congress, which however was not called.

[So at least P.W. thought he was going to get paid . . . ]

The honorable Secretary of the Interior made a request upon the War Department for transportation from Chicago to the Yellowstone National Park and return, but this request was never received by your petitioner, nor was the transportation or any portion thereof ever furnished him.

[So at least P.W.’s boss put in for some transportation expenses.  But alas, no luck.]

Therefore, by the expenditure of his own means he proceeded by railroad to Bismarck, and thence by steamers to Fort Keogh, at the mouth of Tongue River. At this point your petitioner purchased saddle and pack animals and outfit, and then proceeded up the Yellowstone Valley, and through the ”Gate of the Mountains” to the Mammoth Hot Springs in the National Park.

Here finding his animals worn out your petitioner hired fresh animals and proceeded 80 miles to Fort Ellis and Bozeman to purchase supplies, and for consultation with the civil and military officers of those regions.

From this point he returned to Bottlers, 40 miles below the park, where he hired an assistant and ascended the Yellowstone and Gardiner Rivers to the Mammoth Hot Springs, and thence throughout much of the central and northern portions of the park; with fresh animals and an additional assistant explored a new pass to the Stillwater and lower Yellowstone Rivers.

Thence returning to the Mammoth Hot Springs and Bottlers Ranch, went down the Yellowstone toward the “Gate of the Mountains,” until meeting Generals Sherman and Pope with a small escort, from which fact, as well as from a desire for further explorations in the park, he returned with them to Bottlers Ranch and hired fresh animals and outfit, and with two companions proceeded with General Sherman’s party to “Tower Falls,” 17 miles below the ” Great Falls” of the Yellowstone.

[Remember when I said that I’d have more to say about his injury when he was a spy in West Virginia?  “Norris’s horse was shot out from underneath him, severely injuring his shoulder and spinal cord.”  Well, check out the following:]

While your petitioner was proceeding alone, some miles in advance of the party, he met with a severe accident by the breaking of one of his stirrup straps, caused by a bucking horse; your petitioner was precipitated from a ledge of ”Lava Rocks,” receiving such severe injuries to his neck and spine as to render him unable to proceed or even to return, save, with extreme difficulty and great suffering; he was thereby compelled to return to Mammoth Hot Springs and Bottlers for aid and care.

[Hmmmm.  Sounds like he aggravated his previous injury!  He should call one of those ambulance-chasing injury lawyers!]

He would state that as a result of this accident, occurring in the line of his duty, he has suffered ever since much bodily pain and inconvenience, and has been obliged to expend considerable sums of money for medical aid and assistance.

[Dude!  Go for the jugular!  Pain & Suffering!]

Further: Your petitioner states that, in the line of his official duty, he had printed at considerable expense 500 copies, on cloth, ‘Notices of Warning’ to the public against careless use of fire, and acts of vandalism in the park, many of which were affixed to trees therein, and others distributed throughout the regions adjacent thereto, a copy of which is hereto attached, and reads as follows, viz:


Notice is hereby given that extreme caution is necessary and required in building and extinguishing fires within the National Park.

Vandalism in breaking, defacing, or carrying off cones or specimens from the geysers or hot springs or any section of the park is prohibited; also wanton destruction of game, fish, or fowl is in violation of law.

Law, public sentiment, the future attractiveness of Wonderland and the good fame of Montana alike forbid violation of this notice.



[At least $1.00 a copy.  That’s $500.00!  Anyway, continuing his narrative.]

Unable to otherwise return east, he here assisted in the cost of construction and outfitting a small boat, in which with two comrades he descended the Yellowstone through the ”Gate of the Mountains” and by the course of the river, fully 500 miles to a steamboat near the mouth of Tongue River, and then by steamboat to Fort Keogh.

Here your petitioner met General Miles. After this long and tedious journey he imparted to the general, information regarding the regions that he had explored upon this and previous expeditions and of the different Indian tribes therein, which proved valuable in his subsequent successful operations against Chief Joseph and his hostile Nez Perces.

[And go for a hazardous-duty Indian-fighting bonus!]

He descended the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers to Bismarck, thence by rail to Duluth and by steamer to Detroit, and from thence to Washington City, where he reported in person to the honorable the Secretary of the Interior, who approved the recommendations of your petitioner and in his report to Congress makes the following recommendations, viz :


[His recommendations follow.  As before, feel free to skim or skip.]

On the 18th of April, 1877, P. W. Norris, of Michigan, was appointed superintendent of the Yellowstone National Park. As no appropriation was made for the payment of a salary to the superintendent, the services rendered by Mr. Norris have been without pay.

By reference to his report it will be seen that he has visited the park and taken such measures toward the protection of its natural curiosities as were deemed practicable.

He recommends adequate appropriation for the following purposes:

First. Survey with distinct and durable evidence of the boundaries of the park.

Second. Construction of a plain but substantial wagon-road connecting the two entrances to the park, and the laying out of necessary bridle-paths.

Third. Salary sufficient to justify a capable and experienced superintendent, and at least one resident assistant, in devoting their time to the improvement and care of the park.

Other recommendations are made by the superintendent, looking to the improvement and protection of the park and its approaches.

Under the act of March 1, 1872, this tract of land was reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale, and dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.

It was placed under the exclusive control of the Secretary of the Interior, who was authorized to make such regulations as would provide for the preservation from injury or spoliation of all timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities or wonders, within the park, and their retention in their natural condition.

[OK.  Back to P.W.’s narrative.]

Very little has been done toward carrying out the provisions of the act referred to. No appropriation has been made for the pay of a superintendent or the survey of the park, and no revenues have been received, nor have any leases been granted by the department.

Without the necessary appropriation by Congress very little can be done toward making this land of wonders, what it deserves to be on account of its natural formation, one of the most attractive public parks in the world.

[Here comes a great summary . . . ]

During the arduous and responsible duties of your petitioner, while on horseback or on foot, in the snow-girt [snowbound] park, or on the desert paths around it, the dangerous descent in a skiff of a rapid and nearly unknown river, an aggregate distance of fully three thousand miles through regions infested with hostile savages, by whom several of his comrades were killed and various articles of his own outfit captured, your petitioner furnished his own outfit, consisting of provisions of all kinds, fire-arms, ammunition, saddle and pack animals, tools, and all necessary supplies, skiffs and such things as were needed in his undertaking as forage, assistants, guides, transportation, and innumerable articles necessary to carry out his commission and perform the duties incumbent upon him.

[Wow.  How can one read this and not pay the guy?!?]

From the 18th day of April, 1877, to the 30th day of June, 1878, a period of one year, two mouths and thirteen days, your petitioner was on continuous duty, and has never for his services or for money advanced, received one dollar in money, transportation (except transportation from Saint Paul to Bismarck and return), supplies, or other assistance or remuneration whatever, nor for continuous and costly medical treatment for the injury to his neck and spine, received at Tower Falls, while in the line of his official duty, and from the effects of which he never has, and probably never will recover.

In conclusion your petitioner will only add that from misfortunes largely resulting from inattention to his private interests while for nearly five years absent, and wholly engrossed in his official duty as superintendent of the Yellowstone National Park, he finds himself at the close of these duties in financial circumstances imperatively requiring the payment of what he claims his due

Such payments are necessary in order to provide for his advancing age, and hence most respectfully, but earnestly and confidently, presents this candid statement of facts and sustaining proofs, relying upon Congress for justice in this matter by making an appropriation at an early day to reimburse him for the time and means dedicated to the arduous and responsible efforts which have resulted in securing all the protection and improvement which has ever been afforded to the people’s heritage of wonders in the Yellowstone National Park.

The following bill of particulars, hereto appended, shows the amount due your petitioner, $3,180.41.

All of which is respectfully submitted.


Statement of salary due, and expenses incurred by P.V. Norris while discharging the duties of superintendent, Yellowstone National Park, for the period from April 18th, 1877, to June 30, 1878, inclusive, as follows, vis:

[Of course, the following is skimmable.  But check it out to the extent necessary to get a feel for it . . . ]

May 29. For salary, superintendent, Yellowstone National Park, from April 18, 1877, to June 30, 1878, inclusive, being one year, two (2) months, and thirteen (13) days, at $1500 per annum:   $1,805 57

May 29. For railroad fare from Detroit, Mich. , to Saint Paul, Minn:  $23.00

May 29. Sleeping car fare from Detroit, Mich., to Saint Paul, Minn:   $4.00

June 4. Sleeping car fare from Saint Paul to Bismarck:   $2.00

June 4. For charges on extra baggage from Detroit, Mich., to Bismarck, Dak:  $4.35

June 12. For meals and lodgings from May 29, to June 12, inclusive, including unavoidable delays at Chicago, awaiting transportation orders, and in Bismarck, awaiting a steamboat to ascend the Yellowstone River, being 15 days, at $3 per day:   $45.00

June 13. Steamboat fare (steamer General Meade) from Bismarck to Fort Buford, Mont:   $12.12

June 18. For meals on steamer, 13th to l8th June, inclusive, 6 days, at $2 per day:  $12.00

June 19. For fare on steamboat (steamer Ashland) from Fort Buford to Fort Keogh on Tongue River:  $18.95

June 24. For meals while on steamer Ashland, from June 19th to 26th, inclusive, 9 days, at $2.50 per day:   $22.50

Aug. 15. For use of saddle and pack animals and outfit from June 29th to August 15tli, inclusive, 48 days, at $4 per day:  $192.00

Aug. 15. For subsistence for self, forage for animals, fire-arms and ammunition furnished, and camp outfit during the period from June 29th to August 15th, 1877, inclusive, while engaged in exploring the park, going to, and returning from the park to the skiff near Bottlers, 48 days, at $5 per day:   $240.00

Aug. 15. For hire of guide or assistant with saddle and pack animals, including outfit and subsistence, from June 29 to August 15, 1877, inclusive, 48 days, at $5 per day $240.00

Aug. 15. For hire of passage on skiff in running the Yellowstone River from above the “Gate of the Mountains,” to near Tongue River:  $50.00

Aug. 15. For subsistence while descending the river from August 16 to 25, inclusive, 10 days, at $3 per day:  $30.00

Aug. 26. For transportation on steamer Far West, from above Tongue River (Ft. Keogh) to Bismarck, Dak:   $31.07

Aug. 27. For meals on steamer Far West, August 26 and 27, 2 days, at $2 per day $5.00

Aug. 28. Sleeping car from Bismarck to Saint Paul:   $2.00

Aug. 29. For railroad and steamboat fare from Saint Paul, Minn., to Detroit, Mich:  $27.35

Sep. 3. For 21 meals, from August 28 to September 3, 1877, inclusive, 7 days, at $3 per day:  $21.00

Oct. 2. For railroad fare from Detroit, Mich., to Washington, D. C, for consultation with the honorable Secretary of the Interior, on business concerning the Yellowstone Park:   $16.50

Oct. 2. Sleeping car fare from Detroit, Mich., to Washington, D. C.:   $2.00

Oct. 3. For 6 meals en route, at 75 cents each:   $4.50

Oct. 6. For board and lodging in Washington, D. C, October 4 to 6, inclusive,  3 days, at |1.50 per day:  $4.50

Oct. 7. For railroad fare from Washington, D. C. to Detroit, Mich:   $16.50

Oct. 7. For sleeping car fare from Washington, D. C, to Detroit, Mich.:   $2.00

Oct. 7. For 6 meals while en route from Washington, D. C, to Detroit, Mich., at 75 cents each:  $4.50

Dec. 12. For railroad fare from Detroit, Mich., to Washington, D. C.:  $16.50

Dec. 12. For sleeping car fare from Detroit, Mich., to Washington, D. C.:  $2:00

Dec. 12. For 6 meals, at 75 cents each, while en route from Detroit to Washington, D. C.:  $4.50

June 30. For board and lodging in Washington, D. C, from December 3, 1877, to June 30, 1878, while engaged on duty, 210 days, at $1.50 per day:  $315.00

Total amount due:   $3,180.41

I certify that the foregoing statement is correct and just; that the detailed items charged herein are taken and verified from memorandum kept by me; that the amounts charged for subsistence were actually paid, and were occasioned by official business or unavoidable delays, and that I have not been furnished with transportation, or money in lieu thereof, for any part of the journeys herein charged for.



Geez.  $3,180.41 doesn’t sound like much.  For the record: 1$ in 1877 is equal to about $22 today (according to some inflation calculator I found online).  So, $3,180.41 x 22 = about $70,000.  Still doesn’t sound like much!

Continuing this dramatic story, here’s a letter from President Chester A. Arthur:

MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, TRANSMITTING A communication from the Secretary of the Interior relative to the pay of P. W. Norris as superintendent of the Yellowstone National Park from April 18, 1877, to July 1, 1878.

March 1, 1882.

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I submit herewith, for the consideration of Congress, a letter from the Secretary of the Interior, enclosing a petition of Mr. P. W. Norris, for compensation for services rendered and expenses incurred by him as superintendent of the Yellowstone National Park from the 18th of April, 1877, to the 1st of July, 1878.


Executive Mansion, February 28th, 1882.

Department of the Interior,

Washington, February 24, 1882.

Sir: I have the honor to state that the act of Congress, approved March 1, 1872, setting apart a tract of land on the headwaters of the Yellowstone River as a National Park, placed the same under control of the Secretary of the Interior, who was authorized to make and publish regulations for its proper care and management. These regulations were to provide for the preservation from injury and spoliation all timber, mineral deposits, and natural curiosities within the park.

It was also made the duty of the Secretary to provide against the wanton destruction of fish and game within the park, and for the removal of all trespassers.

The Secretary of the Interior, on the 18th of April, 1877, appointed Mr. P. W. Norris, of Michigan, superintendent of the park, with the following reservation as to pay, stated in the letter of appointment:

As Congress has not provided any appropriation to carry out the purposes of the act of March 1, 1872, relative to the park, you will understand that no obligation is incurred by this department in regard to payment for your services.

[So they gave P.W. heads up that he might not be paid!]

Mr. Norris acted as superintendent under this appointment until the 1st of July, 1878, when an appropriation made by an act approved June 20, 1878, to protect, preserve, and improve the park became available, and he was reappointed at a salary of $1,500 a year.

I have the honor to enclose herewith a petition of Mr. Norris for compensation for services rendered, and for reimbursement of expenses incurred by him, as superintendent of the park, for the period prior to July 1, 1878.

As Mr. Norris, during the period stated, performed faithful service for the government, in enabling the department to execute the law relative to the park, his claim, in my judgment, should be favorably acted upon by Congress.

Very respectfully,


Acting Secretary.

Was he paid?  From Wiki:

Philetus W. Norris (August 17, 1821 – January 14, 1885) was the second superintendent of Yellowstone National Park and was the first person to be paid for that position.


Here’s the cover page of the President’s letter:

By the way – all of the materials I’ve quoted in this post were attached to the on-line document – which was digitized by diligent Mormon students from Brigham Young University.  OK.  I don’t know they’re Mormons, just guessing . . .

I have no choice but to present some iconic Yellowstone pictures!

From Wiki:

From You Tube:

From YellowstonePark.com:

From NationalParks.org:

From FoundTheWorld.com

From Wallpapers13.com:

From Yellowstone Valley Lodge:

And from Wiki – a picture of the location mentioned several times in P.W.’s narrative, Mammoth Hot Springs:

I’ll return to Pioneer to close things out with this GE Panoramio shot by my long-time contributor, JB the Milker:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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