A Landing a Day

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McIntosh, Leroy, Jackson and Saint Stephen, Alabama

Posted by graywacke on March 16, 2018

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 2392; A Landing A Day blog post number 826.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (31o 17.998’N, 88o 0.998’W) puts me in southwest Alabama:

I suspect that approximately zero of my readers noted that the last three digits of my random latitude are exactly the same as the last three digits of my random longitude.  See the .998? 

Moving right along to my local landing map:

I found at least a minor hook with each of the four highlighted towns. But before checking them out, here’s my watershed map:

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of good ol’ Stream Perennial, to the Tombigbee River (9th hit).  Although not shown, just a little ways downstream, the Tombigbee hooks up with the Alabama River to form the Mobile (24th hit) – and on to Mobile Bay.

I don’t get a good Google Earth (GE) Street View (SV) look at my landing, but I can look at the little road upon which I landed:

And here’s the SV shot of the little road:

I couldn’t get the Orange Dude (OD) to take a look at the Stream Perennial, but of course, he could get a look at the Tombigbee.  I was shocked as I saw this image:

. . . until I realized that this bridge is just downstream from where the Alabama River and the Tombigbee come together to form the Mobile . . .

Here’s a look upstream:

This bridge is part of a system of bridges about 6 miles long crossing the flood plain of the Mobile River:

So I have some minor tidbits for each of my four titular towns.  Since it’s the closest, I’ll start with McIntosh.  From Wiki:

McIntosh is near the site of Aaron Burr’s arrest in 1807. A historic marker has been placed to document this event.

What the heck; here’s a little Aaron Burr (mostly taken from Wiki) for you to chew on:

  • He was the third U.S. Vice President, serving under Thomas Jefferson
  • In 1804, the last full year of his single term as vice president, Burr shot his political rival Alexander Hamilton in a famous duel.
  • The two had been locked in a bitter political feud for years, and eventually agreed to the duel.
  • They were both in NY City, but rowed across the Hudson to Weehawken NJ (anti-dueling laws were less enforced in NJ than in NY).
  • It was common for both principals in a duel to fire a shot at the ground to exemplify courage, and then the duel could come to an end.
  • However, it likely that Hamilton fired first, but intentionally missed Burr.
  • The bullet hit a tree above and behind Burr.
  • Burr knew that a projectile from Hamilton’s gun had whizzed past him and crashed into the tree to his rear.
  • According to the principles of the code duello, Burr was perfectly justified in taking deadly aim at Hamilton and firing to kill.
  • Hamilton was mortally wounded by the shot in his lower abdomen; he was taken back to NY where he died the next day.
  • Burr was charged for murder in both NY and NJ.
  • Burr fled to South Carolina, where his daughter lived with her family, but soon returned to Philadelphia and then to Washington to complete his term as Vice President.
  • He avoided New York and New Jersey for a time, but all the charges against him were eventually dropped. In the case of New Jersey, the indictment was thrown out on the basis that, although Hamilton was shot in New Jersey, he died in New York.
  • What happened next is confusing (at best) and tedious/boring at worst (this is me talking). The bottom line is that he traveled to Louisiana involving some land deal, made some arrangements with some local militia, and ended up being charged with conspiracy (and treason) by President Jefferson.
  • He was arrested near my landing!
  • He was tried, but acquitted; he lived in NY until his death in 1833.

My next three towns are clustered a few miles north of my landing.  I’ll start with Leroy, home of portrait artist Simmie Knox.  He is best known as the painter of the official Bill Clinton presidential portrait.  From Wiki:

Simmie Knox was born in 1935 in Aliceville, Alabama to Simmie Knox Sr., a carpenter and mechanic, and Amelia Knox.  At a young age Simmie’s parents divorced and he was sent to live with his aunt and uncle on their sharecropper farm with his eight cousins in Leroy.

At age 13 he was hit in the eye by a baseball while playing a game, and it was suggested that drawing would aid his recovery. His segregated school did not have an art program, but the Catholic nuns who taught him recognized his talent and found someone to teach him.

He attended Central High School in Mobile.  Subsequently, Knox studied at Delaware State College while working in a textile factory. He then enrolled at Tyler School of Art, Pennsylvania, where he attained his masters degree.

Comedian Bill Cosby is credited with raising his profile in the 1990s when Knox was commissioned to paint 12 members of the Cosby family.  He subsequently painted notable figures such as Muhammad Ali, and Supreme Court Justices Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, before coming to the attention of the White House.

In 2000 he was selected to create a portrait of President Bill Clinton, becoming the first black American painter to paint an official portrait of an American president.  The paintings of Bill and Hillary Clinton took two years to complete and are hanging in the White House’s East Wing.

He has painted dozens (hundreds?) of portraits both official (government-sponsored) and private.

Here are a few of his more famous portraits:

And this cool one of Hank Aaron and his parents:

 

Moving over to Jackson.  This Wiki piece caught my eye:

During World War II, a prisoner-of-war camp was built and operated that held 253 captured German soldiers.  Many of the prisoners were members of the Afrika Korps.

“Afrika Korps” was Wiki-clickable, so click I did (starting with their creepily-cartoonish logo):

The Afrika Korps (German: Deutsches Afrikakorps) was the German expeditionary force in Africa during the North African Campaign of World War II. First sent as a holding force to shore up the Italian defense of their African colonies, the formation fought on in Africa from March 1941 until its surrender in May 1943. The unit’s best known commander was Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (“The Desert Fox.”)

And here’s a shot of some German military hardware in the desert:

I certainly can’t tell their nationality . . .

In 1940, the Brits routed the Italians based in Libya, an Italian Colony.  Hitler sent Rommel to shore up the Italians, and stop the Brits, which he did.  But as time went on, the tide turned for the Germans.  From Wiki:

The remnants of the Afrika Korps and surviving units of the 1st Italian Army retreated into Tunisia. In May 1943, the Afrika Korps surrendered, along with all other remaining Axis forces in North Africa.

And some of the Afrika Korps ended up in Jackson, Alabama . . .

Now we’ll head upriver to Saint Stephen.  FYI, “Old Saint Stephen” was right on the Tombigbee River.  Based on railroad availability, the current Saint Stephen “New Saint Stephen” was located a few miles east of the river.  Old Saint Stephen exists only as a historic park.

From Wiki:

Old St. Stephens was situated on a limestone bluff that the Native Americans called Hobucakintopa, at the fall line along the Tombigbee River where rocky shoals forced the end of navigation for boats traveling north from Mobile, 67 miles to the south.

As early as 1772, British surveyor Bernard Romans noted that “sloops and schooners may come up to this rapid; therefore, I judge some considerable settlement will take place.”

Notice the phrase “fall line?”  In the eastern US, the fall line designates the line separating hard bedrock formations from the younger, unconsolidated sediments that make up the coastal plain.  Here’s a USGS shot (the Piedmont Plateau is much older bedrock):

As in Saint Stephen, the fall line was identified as a spot for development because ships couldn’t go further upriver, and needed a port to off-load cargo ships and transfer the cargo to land-based transport.  Here’s a Wiki-list of Fall Line Cities:

Watertown, Massachusetts (Charles River)
Lowell, Massachusetts (Merrimack River)
Hartford, Connecticut (Connecticut River)
Fall River, Massachusetts (Quequechan River)
Bangor, Maine (Penobscot River)
Augusta, Maine (Kennebec River)
Rochester NY (Genesee River)
Pawtucket, Rhode Island (Blackstone River)
Trenton, New Jersey, on the Delaware River
Paterson, New Jersey, on the Passaic River
Conowingo MD (Susquehanna Riveer)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the Schuylkill River
Wilmington, Delaware, on Brandywine Creek
Baltimore, MD, on Jones Falls, Gunpowder Falls and Gwynns Falls
Washington, D.C., on the Potomac River
Fredericksburg, Virginia, on the Rappahannock River
Hanover, Virginia, on the North Anna River
Richmond, Virginia, on the James River
Petersburg, Virginia, on the Appomattox River
Weldon, NC and Roanoke Rapids NC on the Roanoke River
Rocky Mount, North Carolina, on the Tar River
Raleigh, North Carolina, on the Neuse River
Fayetteville, North Carolina, on the Cape Fear River
Camden, South Carolina, on the Wateree River
Columbia, South Carolina, on the Congaree River
Augusta, Georgia, on the Savannah River
Milledgeville, Georgia, on the Oconee River
Macon, Georgia, on the Ocmulgee River
Columbus, Georgia, on the Chattahoochee River
Tallassee, Alabama, on the Tallapoosa River
Wetumpka, Alabama, on the Coosa River
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on the Black Warrior River

Hmm.  Don’t see Saint Stephen on the Mobile River.  Strange that it didn’t take off . . .

Speaking of Saint Stephen, here’s GE shot of the limestone bluffs at Old Saint Stephen, by Ryan Beverly:

I’ll close with this GE shot from a few miles west of my landing (by Jan Bowen):

 

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2018 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

 

 

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One Response to “McIntosh, Leroy, Jackson and Saint Stephen, Alabama”

  1. buzzcreek said

    I need to get to this location sometime soon. It figured as a “fort” in the Creek Wars fo 1813-14 (War of 1812). A massacre took place across the river at Fort Mims and Fort St. Stephens became a place of refuge for some of the few who survived. http://fortwiki.com/Fort_St._Stephens. I truly enjoy your posts and try to spread the word. It seems the occasional pin drop falls into something I certainly want to know more about. 12ponder.com

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