A Landing a Day

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Archive for March, 2020

Albion, Belgrade, Genoa and Ternov, Nebraska (Part 2)

Posted by graywacke on March 30, 2020

 First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week 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 relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2476; A Landing A Day blog post number 916

Dan:  As you know, this is my first venture into a two-part post.  So for Part 2, we’re going to look at Genoa and Tarnov.  Here (once again) is my local landing map:

If you’re looking for my watershed analysis and Google Earth shots, scroll down to see Part 1.

Anyway, moving to Genoa – I found this from Wiki:

The city was founded by Mormons in 1857.  In the fall of 1859, the Mormon Colony was forced to abandon Genoa when the town and surrounding area were incorporated into the newly created Pawnee Reservation. The Pawnee Indian Agency utilized the structures vacated by the Mormons.

Ouch.  Sounds ugly.  I decided to roll up my sleeves and learn a little more.  It turns out that a gentleman named Henry Hudson (not that Henry Hudson) was the leader of the Mormon band that founded Genoa.  And it also turns out that he kept quite the journal, which is available online!

But first, a little background, from a local Genoa city website:

In 1846, the Mormons left Nauvoo IL because of conflict and mistrust [Joseph Smith was murdered there].  Under the leadership of the new president, Brigham Young, they headed west and established winter quarters north of Omaha, Neb. The following spring, 143 men, three women and two children began their journey toward Salt Lake City, Utah, traveling in 75 wagons. This thousand-mile march is now known as the “Mormon Trail.”

The group made their way to the Platte River, and began traveling upstream (west) along the northern bank of the river.

They then followed the Loup (which goes right by Genoa, see above map), as explained by Deseret.com:

Historian Ronald Barney explains: “Rather than following the Platte as its course bent southwesterly near present-day Columbus, Nebraska [where the Loup joins the Platte, coming in from the north], the vanguard continued westward by following the Loup on its north bank for approximately 50 miles before breaking due south for nearly twenty miles to reconnect with the Platte River.”

Genoa is about 25 miles from the Loup’s confluence with the Platte, so the first party of Mormons (led by Brigham Young in 1847) passed right by what would become Genoa.

Numerous other Mormon parties would follow the Mormon Trail along the north bank of the Loup in the years that follow.  Including one in 1857 headed up by the aforementioned Henry Hudson, who intended on founding a colony (or a “mission”) in Nebraska, specifically Genoa.

Now onto Henry’s journal.  What I present below is significantly edited in terms of length – the full journal entries are typically 2 – 4 times longer than what I present.  I left out:

  • discussions of comings and goings of people & freight
  • religious stuff I found uninteresting
  • strangely worded passages I couldn’t really follow

So, here ‘tis.  In spite of my editing, this is really, really long, but obviously worth the read. Note that it seems that most, if not all of the Mormons on this trek were from England:

April 14th, 1857

Left St. Louis at ¼10 [15 minutes before 10]  on the S.B. Hannibal [a sidewheel steamer on the Missouri River] destination Florence, Nebraska [part of Omaha today, well more than 700 river miles from St. Louis] and all intermediate places.

Just as the first Bell rang about 20 minutes before 10 P.M. Bro Sanders stepped overboard but fortunately caught the sidewheel and was enabled to maintain his hold until assistance was obtained. We may indeed, regard this escape as a providential one, as the signal to move the sidewheels and the screams of the passengers were simultaneous, thereby arresting the attention of the engineer and thus saving the life of Bro. Alfred Sanders.

April 15

After a slow and easy passage of 15 hours, we reached St. Charles, 45 miles from St. Louis an average travel of 3 miles per hour, the day remained cold & piercing winds prevailed rendering it extremely uncomfortable. Brother Turner and I deemed it advisable to appoint watchers for the night as we evidently had a hard crowd on board. And in this we were not deceived for as night advanced we saw the propensities of some of the women & men more fully developed with an unblushing effontry that seemed to be shameless.

April 16

The wind has lulled and is somewhat pleasanter of which no better evidence is needed than to see the large number of men and women out upon the guards [decks?] which up to this present time have been deserted for the stoves around which they have been huddled like ‘Hogs in a Railway car.’

April 18

About 10 o clock p.m. we struck on a sand bar and there we appeared likely to remain for every effort was unsuccessful to get her afloat till about 1 a.m. when the Sultan [a work boat ?] was signaled by our Captain to come to his assistance, so that at 4 o clock we got off the Bar for which service the Hannibal had to pay the snug little sum of $400, another evidence of the disposition of the world to gloat over the mishaps and troubles of its neighbors.

April 19

This morning the sun rose in splendor giving that peculiar tint that the western waters alone are capable of at sunrise inspiring the soul with that majestic awe that the saint of God [referring to the Latter Day Saints] loves to feel. The atmosphere is bright and clear but still very cold rendering writing difficult.

At 7 oclock we passed Grand River, 301 miles from St. L.

April 20

This morning at 6 am left Camden only making 18 miles during the night. The air is cool and pleasant feeling spring like, making the spirits buoyant and the heart gladsome. Good nature and friendship beaming on every face.

April 21

At 10 o’clock this morning we landed at Kansas City where we lay till 4 o’clock and discharged some freight and 8 horses, the saints found only 1 store open and no bread to be had. Crackers 20 cents per pound, 45 cents per sack for salt, eggs 15 cents per doz.

After we had gone about 5 miles we got upon a sand bar with only 2 feet water and dead headwind. We have now been trying for eight hours to get her afloat but I fear there is no chance for us unless a boat should pass along and give us a pull. At our evening meeting a spirit of supplication was among the saints to ask our Father to liberate us from our position.

While the meeting was assembled the rope which had been fastened to the shore to assist in pulling us off the bar broke and thus was the matter abandoned. till morning, when about 3 o’clock a strong wind sprung up from the east and broke our anchor cable and drifted us into the channel.

April 22

At daylight we commenced to search for our lost anchor and thus we kept drifting to and fro till about 9 oclock a.m. when we had no sooner recovered our anchor then we found ourselves faster than ever upon the sand bar about a quarter mile lower down the stream.

The entire day was spent stuck on the sandbar.

April 23

At 5 a.m. a beautiful morning with frosty decks, all looking anxious for a change in our position. At 8 a.m. we got afloat and went ashore immediately for wood [to fire the ship’s burners].

Interestingly, there’s no detail about how they got off the sandbar.  After discussion about procuring cattle, and negotiating prices, this:

For the heavy prices cattle are fetching, it seems more than likely to make it a difficult matter to obtain all that are needed for our actual purposes. Of course men [the sellers of cattle] ought to do as they please but they should not growl if they miss their way when their course is so plain but some men grasp at what they have like the man who clenched the sand, the tighter he clenched the less he had, for he found it had slid through.

We are at Parkville 472 miles from St. Louis 2½ p.m., tied up for the night on the Kansas side of the river.

April 24

Morning bright· and clear at about 8 a.m. landed at Leavenworth City, discharged some freight & passengers and took some on board and after the saints had procured a small supply of ‘provisions which in some instances was at lower cost than towns below of older growth. Salt 25 cents per sack.  Bread fair sized loaves 10 cents, eggs 15 cents, sugar 6 lbs $1.

Arrived at Columbus Landing 8 p.m. and tied up for the night and discharged 6 cabin passengers being now 550 miles on our journey.

April 25

We left the landing at 4 a.m. the morning being beautiful and promising but had not traveled one mile before – chrunch –  we went on another sandbar. At 9 the E.A. Ogden passed us and half an hour after we got afloat. We put into Doniphan & left several tons of our freight to lighten our load, for it was evident that we could not reach St. Joe with the freight we had on the boat, for the river was falling fast. A number of the Bros. [i.e., male Mormons] got employ at 25 cents an hour for 4 hours of unloading, which was indeed a godsend & thus made them a dollar.

I felt glad to see some of them so willing, mingled with annoyance at others who were dependent upon some Bros. who were working for their sakes but would not work but rather run over the woods wasting their shot and powder that they still owed for and was in fact the little they had to depend upon in more urgent time ahead of them. They will know it and we shall have to remind them and reward their folly.

April 26

At 5½ a.m. we again resumed our journey – weather rough wind cold and piercing and steamed away at a good rate till within 14 miles of St. Joe when we hugged another bar and broke one of our spars and overboard they went and thus we were delayed for some time, but after a little we again got to rights and all went gaily again, the sun shining brightly.

While the boat was delayed for repairs, some of the Bros. left the boat, and traveled on foot to meet up with the boat later.

They said these Yankie 7 miles was tarnation long, it gave a change to some of their ideas when they had to jump creeks and go around a mile or two or wade. They thought travelling through the woods of America was not like walking on turn pike roads in England.

David Jones infant son, Sam’l died at 11½ oclock,  aged 4 mo. and 11 days from cold. We steamed along finely until about 10 o clock when we tied up for the night. All the saints well and myself recovering finely.  Praise the Lord our evening prayer meeting is well attended and much of the spirit of God in our midst.

It seems that Henry & company took Sam’l’s death rather lightly, but back in the day, death (especially infant death) was so much more common.

April 27

The family that have had the measels in their midst have nearly all recovered except one that died last night a boy about 7 years old. It has been resolved to carry the body to Councle Bluffs the destination of the parents. A case of measles and the stench not very pleasant, now what is it likely to be in 3 or 4 days.

[After discussing high prices for eggs at one of their stops:]  This is the way they filch the few dimes from the poor emigrant that has travelled 1000s of miles to come and spend their days with them and help enrich the neighborhood. I cannot yet say that I have seen any of the whole souled hospitality of Americans that I have heard so much about.


It is certain it is a country calculated to happify man with a few years industry but how few can stand and endure the unflinching energy and rigid economy – an economy almost amounting to penury [extreme poverty] in order to get a start for the necessarys of life to sustain a family.

For by the time a man has got his land broke and fences up, house built, barns raised and sheds necessary to protect his young stock he often falls down with the fatigue and changes of the climate and terminates an earthly life in a strange land leaving his orphans to the means of others. Oh my God give me strength to endure, for when I contemplate my weak body so easily exhausted and remember my dear wife and young family so far behind me.

Quite a number of new towns are laying out along the upper part of Mo some in very pretty locations, others look not so inviting.  Forest City the one we are now discharging freight looks well in some respects but to my mind it is a dangerous experiment to build in holes along the Missouri River. He [the river] is a capricious old fellow and in some mad mood he’ll swamp you, so look out Forest City and get up a little higher.

April 28

Today brought us through a good deal of Indian Country large numbers of the Red men are lying upon the banks of the River. We landed at Morgan Island 678 miles from St. L. to get wood and found a couple of huts newly built from which I got some ideas of log hut building. They are warm and can be made neat. The woman in one of the huts told us that a large number of emigrants that got into the territory last fall have been frozen to death in their wagons.  The past winter has been so severe.

Pay attention to the next paragraphs!

She· tells me that on the opposite side of the river is an Indian settlement for ten miles back and that they come in large numbers to her hut 30 to 50 at a time. They are generally civil but sometimes are troublesome and she takes a club and knocks them down. She says that you can do more with them by using a club than pistol or knife.

They are used to pistols or knives and will fight till they die. She has seen her men cut them nearly to pieces with knives but from a club they will run.

What a strange story!

April 29

This morning we left our moorings at 4½ a.m. A beautiful sun rise scene. The alternating bluffs and groves, the calm bosom of the river, the sweetness of the air, was well calculated to inspire the soul with hallowed feelings and promptings to join the warblers in the groves in the morning song of praise.

Some passengers went ashore, and one was gravely insulted by an intoxicated local . . .

Very insulting language followed when the passenger made his way on to the boat and was proceeding upstairs when he was immediately followed by the border ruffian.  The passenger drew his revolver and would have shot his insulter but was prevented by the friends and officers of the boat and the ruffians party came and took their man ashore.

The captain saw the difficulty that was still likely to arise and urged his men to get the flour onboard and thus avoid another collision, for the passenger had gained more anger by reflection upon the insult offered and was prevailed upon only by the most strenuous efforts not to go ashore and shoot his insulter. I have no doubt his southern dignity was troubled but mens morals are at a low ebb when nothing but blood will satisfy them for an insulting expression.

The more time he took to reflect the more thirsty did he become for his blood and reflected with bitterness that he had left him standing upon the Earth. Oh God how I long to live far away from such creatures whose feet are swift to shed blood.

I am sorry to say this evening seven of the children of the saints have symptoms of the measles: I administered to Bro. Rawlins 3 children and then spent a few minutes in prayer with Bro. Geo. Jarvis. I know not whether to attribute it willful neglect or utter recklessness with regard to the health of the saints, for the boy that died with the measles last Sunday is still uncovered and a very unpleasant odour is emitted from the corpse. It still remains a reproach to the captain, a disgrace to humanity and a nucleus of disease and pestilence.

April 30

The morning is hazy and dull and looks very much like rain. It has turned out a very uncomfortable day cold and rainy rendering it disagreeable causing a considerable aching among the carcases that have recently afflicted with chills and ague. Bro. Brecker has had a very heavy chill and is weary and restless with all the symptoms of chill. I feel in my own body that I felt as though I cared not if I went into the river or not for I never suffered from anything so depressing as the chills and ague.

We staid at Rock Bluffs Landing about 3 o’clock p.m. and a number of passengers debarked and truly did my soul grieve to behold men, women and children compelled to land in a cold and pitiless rain amidst strangers, seeking a home where there is nothing but the canopy of heaven for a covering. The privations and hardships of a new country can only be appreciated by those who realize them.

The rain continued to pour down and the night became so dark that we tied up and a comfortless night it was drawing through the boat a cold and piercing wind everything wet and damp and so I lay down dispirited and aching bones with an earnest prayer that the morning might be more cheering that the saints and sickly children might get the necessary exercise for the keeping them healthful.  Ecce Homo sic dulcet gloria.  [Behold the man thus sweet glory??]

May 1

This morning we slipped from our moorings by day break and a fine clear morning it was giving indications of a fine day the sun rose in splendor and shone in his strength as if to conciliate for his absence yesterday thus giving to natures face a smile that only sunlight only can inspire.

We landed at St. Marys about 8 o clock am 777 miles from St. Louis. We landed several of our passengers. We found a large number of Buffalo robes for sale by some hunters who appear ready for a trade with with our debarking passengers – prices from $6 to $10.

The boat reached Council Bluffs at three o clock and discharged an immense pile of freight taking us just 2½ hours employing 20 of our men at 25 cents per hour.

We got into a strong eddy that kept us in to the shore spite of all the pilot could do and thus we lost another hour not advancing 200 yards in the time. The shades of night came fast upon us and the captain tied up for the night.

May 2

Before daybreak we were underweigh the captain manifesting an intense desire to reach Florence [where the party will begin their overland journey] today. The sun rose in splendor the air cool and bracing as we neared Omaha.

We found a large number of persons collected to receive the Hannibal. She appeared as a curiosity to some when they heard we had been 19 days making the trip. We have a large quantity of freight to leave at this place.

The Indians appear to be in full force there is a large number of them around the boat begging. They look to be a forlorn and wretched tribe some of them having nothing more than a buffalo robe to cover their nakedness. They are of the Pawnee and Omaha tribes friendly to the whites.

Quite a number of squaws there with them and tried to obtain bread and money. One of them had an infant about two weeks old it was a male child and as white as if it had been born of white parents. She offered to sell the child for 75 cents.  I was thinking that the folks could not have understood her, but then I found the bargain was being made by a woman, but her husband would not consent to her buying it.

I took a stroll up onto the hill near the state house but I see not the evidences of prosperity such as I think should mark a section of country so fertile but where agriculture is not encouraged.  Poverty and high prices must rule.

We left this place at 2½ p.m. and set off for Florence whither our hearts are set and there will be no rest for us till we are tied up to the landing.  For if ever a company was heartsick of a journey our people are of this. I thank my God for so beautiful a day as we are favored with to land. May no accident occur and we all land in safety. We reached our destination at ¼4 o’clock.

A steady stream of Baggage and freight continued to pour from off the boat till 11 o’clock p.m., all being landed safely and nothing lost but one Barrel of Flour belonging to David Jones which he very unwisely put on board without any other mark upon it than the mill brand. ·

We were successful in providing the sick children and most of the women with a house to stay in until some satisfactory arrangement can be made by the men. The rest disposed of themselves in their wagons and under the few tents that are on the ground.

May 3

A fine morning with considerable frost some of the saints complaining a good deal of the cold night being unable to keep themselves warm.  [And then, much detail about getting supplies ready for the journey.]

May 4

We rose by day break the morning was hazy giving signs of rain.  [And then, more detail about supplies.]

The clouds began to gather thick in the evening and finally at sunset set into a rain and vivid lightning and thunder. It however did not continue long and the boys went to their tents in peace.

May 5

The air was cool this morning. The sun arose with plenty of sun dogs [more about sun dogs in a bit] about the horizon.  [And then, more supply details.]

We had a meeting in the evening to arrange with the Bros and to urge upon them to get everything ready for a start when the oxen arrive.

Before continuing, here’s a shot of Mr. Hudson himself, in his later years:


And here’s a sketch of a steamer at Florence, presumably similar to the S.S. Hannibal:

Almost 2 months later:  July 1

Letter to the Editor of The Mormon

Dear Sir:

According to the instructions of J. Taylor and E. Snow, I take up my pen (as Historian of the Nebraska Mission) to inform you of our progress and prospects.

As already published in The Mormon, we left Florence for this place on the 11th day of May and reached our destination after a tedious travel of 5 days. In consequence of the lateness of the season, the feed was poor and nevertheless, all arrived in safety and commenced putting in the plow. We have very little wheat; but intend to sow liberally in the fall. Our farm contains about 750 acres bounded on the south by the Beaver, southeast by the Loup Fork, north and west by a sod fence.

Our crops are of the most flattering character; corn, potatoes, buckwheat and garden stuffs are looking finely, and if our corn escapes the early frosts that are peculiar to this latitude, it is the opinion of some of our best judges that the yield of corn will be from 60 to 70 bushels to the acre. We have our saw mill in operation and expect enough lumber will be got out this season to help us put up houses sufficient for our present population.

We have a brick yard in full blast, and expect soon to be able, from such auxilliaries as saw mills, brick yards and willing hands, to build a city not a whit behind any other in Nebraska.

The City of Genoa is about 102 miles from Florence, contains about 400 acres [excluding farmland], 40 blocks at 10 acres to a block, 8 lots in a block. It is laid off a beautiful eminence near the bluffs on the north, gradually descending to the east, south and west.

As the ground is a little the highest in the centre, standing on the public square, you have a fine view to the east, some 20 miles. Looking to the south, the Loup Fork presents itself with its ever shifting sandbars, and zig-zag course, spotted with islands of cottonwood, box elder, willow and some cedar; still farther in the distance, you see the bluffs rising, the dividing ridge between the Loup Fork and Great Platte Rivers.

Strain your vision a little more, a dark blue line presents itself, that is the Bluffs. Beyond Platte.  Some 30 miles off, southwest, are groves of timber, the Loup, Bluffs, and a sea of grass meets your eye. At every turn west, bluffs in majestic grandeur, covered with ancient ruins, telling us plainly, without any translation, that their occupants understood the arts and sciences; for we have found specimens of both copper and earthenware, being another link in the great chain of testimony of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon tells of the Nephites, a tribe of Israel that came to America 600 years before Christ.  Mormons believe that there is archeological evidence of the Nephites’ ancient presence in America (such as the artifacts noted above by Mr. Hudson).  Unsurprisingly, this is vigorously disputed by the academic archeological community.

We number 97 men, 25 women, 40 children, 42 yoke of oxen, 20 cows, 6 horses, and some two dozen chickens, 20 hogs and 2 cats, and dogs plenty. ·

Yours truly, ·

Henry Hudson

And I thought that the Mormons were polygamists.  Based on the above numbers, it looks like it’s the other way around . . .

As promised, this about sun dogs (from Wiki):

A sun dog or mock sun, formally called a parhelion in meteorology, is an atmospheric optical phenomenon that consists of a bright spot to one or both sides of the Sun. Two sun dogs often flank the Sun within a 22° halo.

Here’s a Wiki pic:

Back to Henry Hudson – in 1859, after two years of successful planting and building:

While our best energies were being put forth to give to our improvements character and permanency, and while discussing the question of extending our fences, we were astounded by the information that the Pawnee Indians had selected our settlement as their Reservation.

Oh oh.  Here it comes . . .

A committee was appointed to confer with Judge Greenwood, the Secretary of the Interior under James Buchanan’s administration, to learn the facts.

An inexcusable misunderstanding of the language of the Treaty made with the Pawnee, had jeopardized all our labors and improvements. After we had laid our condition before the Secretary of the Interior, and had our case presented by Fenner Furguson, the delegate in Congress from the Territory, we received every assurance that we should remain undisturbed in our possessions.

Alas, by that peculiar class of injustice and treachery, that many others have been subjected to, six months after the most solemn promises to the contrary, we were notified that, like the heathen Chinese, we would have to go, and on short order.

On the afternoon of the 5th of September, 1859, the settlers finished up all their stacking, and the last hayrick was topped. The next day being the Sabbath, the day was set apart for a general praise and thanksgiving service. In fact, the people were assembling for the forenoon service which was held under a large Bowery, when two Half Breeds and four or five “Red men of the Forest,” as novelists call them, appeared. But to us, they were dirty, scowling, vicious looking Indians.

They sat around during a part of the service as they had occasionally done before. There was a peculiar restlessness about the movements of the Half Breeds. Some of the men looked toward the east. This was easy enough in a Bowery unobstructed by either walls or windows.

Then an immense concourse of moving objects was seen near the river in the broad bottom lands. The excitement became general throughout the congregation, so that the meeting had to be dismissed, as a group of Indians approached.

Baptist Bahylle, one of the Half Breeds stepped forward and asked for the Head Chief of the White man’s house. Being introduced to him [Henry Hudson], he made the announcement that the Pawnees were coming to take possession of their Reservation. A Council had been held in the morning with the Chiefs and their agent, a Major Gillis, to the effect that the Indians desired to move on to the old village they had been driven from by the Sioux about 10 or 12 years previously.

The Agent insisted that they should locate on the eastern limit of their boundary line for the selection of their reservation, and thus enclose all our improvements therein.

Frank Ditya, the other Half Breed before referred to, accompanying the five Indians, had a higher sense of right that did the Agent. He protested against the Indians being permitted to take from us all our improvements, since they were willing to move 10 miles further west and have us for neighbors. They stated in the Council (so we were informed by Bahylle and Ditya) that our people had used them well, and fed them, and they wanted to move beyond us.

So the Agent ordered a halt, and held two or three more councils, endeavoring· to induce the Indians to accede to his wishes [i.e., to take over the town]. Four days we were kept in suspense, the surveyors awaiting the Indians’ decision before commencing to lay out the Reservation, which was to be 15 miles in width by 30 miles in length.

Messengers were sent into our settlement from the Agent, telling of the difficulty he had in restraining the Indians from coming and taking possession of our houses, our grain, our everything.

The Agent saw he was fast gaining his point by getting them to disregard our advice.  He talked to them of how much of their timber we had used; that our houses were theirs; it was their wood that built our barns and our corrals; that the corn was theirs, it was raised on their land.

Finally, at the last Council, he refused to permit Ditya to be present, because he had pled our cause. When our true friend was excluded from the Council, an easy conquest was made over the minds of the Indian Chiefs.

A grand feast was prepared. Twelve large steers were turned over to the four Bands of Pawnees, and the grand Pow-Wow commenced. It was kept up with supplies of flour and provisions which had been brought along with the Agent. This ended in an agreement to let the Reservation be made as the Agent desired.

Thus was culminated a great wrong to a poor, industrious· people, who had endured untold privations to lay the foundations for homes for themselves and their families.

And now to be driven out so shamefully and unfeelingly with the winter just upon them! It looked more like a page of fiction drawn to show the lower elements of a vicious and vindictive character than the vaunted magnanimity of a titled American Major [the Agent]. But it is true, and I blush to pen it, because avarice, the most hateful trait of mankind, prompted· the cupidity of the perpetrator.

I wish I could drop my pen here, but the full sum of the villainous plot must be told or the truth of Genoa’s history will not be complete.

About the 20th of November 1859, the settlers· who refused to sell their produce and improvements to the Agent at his prices, had rebuilt themselves dugouts and shelter for their teams, and had all their grain stacks removed from the Reservation on to the land adjoining, adjacent to the Loup Fork.

I was sent for by the Agent to meet him in the village to hold a council with the Indians. This was to permit us to gather our corn, and not turn their ponies by the hundreds into our fields. The Agent did not come himself, but sent one of the employees of the Reservation in his stead.

We had hardly gotten into a discussion of the matter when I beheld a commotion among the Chiefs, and soon learned that a fire was sweeping over the prairie, driven by a fierce northwest wind that we sometimes experience in Nebraska.

Without ceremony, I left the Council, and saw myself cut off from my friends in our new location that we had designated Zig-Zag because of its tortuous streets winding with the banks of the Loup Fork.

My alarm and terror at discovering the grain stacks, hay ricks and houses on fire, was so great for the safety of the families and of my own, that I forgot my horse, and started on foot about two miles.

Reaching the settlement, I found smoldering and burning ruins with the exception of my own home, the Ferry house, and four or five others. These had escaped because of the frantic efforts of the women and children carrying water from the river.

Such a scene of desolation! Men and women dispirited and heart broken, with nothing before them now but to pull out for the Missouri river towns, and seek employment in Utah, Iowa, Kansas or Missouri, according to the means or pluck that each possessed. None returned to remain with us.

Rumors of various kinds reached us as to the starting of the fire that had come so inopportunely, and starting, as it did, between the Agent’s house and our recently vacated fields.

There’s a confusing part here, where Henry talks about a “Licensed Trader” who paid much money to “making the fleecing process a success.”  He was in cahoots with the “Agent,” and they ended “fleecing” not just the whites, but the Indians as well.

Here is ample room for much moralizing, but I must hurry on and recite facts, and let my hearers moralize on man’s avarice and inhumanity to his fellows, be they white, black or red. It was afterwards satisfying to really learn that the fire was started willfully, and not by the Indians, either.

Quite the story.  Like Henry, I’ll do no moralizing, but let the story stand on its own. 

Before leaving Genoa, I would be remiss if I didn’t say why the town was named Genoa.  Similar to Albion (Part 1 of this post), where I couldn’t find a single word about the name origin, I was similarly stymied here.  I really didn’t believe that some Mormons from England would name their town after the Italian city, so I kept digging.  I finally found out that Brigham Young briefly lived in Genoa NY as a child. Good enough for ALAD; and Genoa NY is named after Genoa Italy, speaking of which, here’s a Genoa Italy pic (from Forbes.com):

So here comes a very quick trip to Tarnov (pop 46).  From Wiki:

Tarnov was laid out in 1889.  A large share of the early settlers being natives of Tarnów, Poland, caused the name to be selected.

On Aug. 19, 1943, the U.S. Army dropped seven practice bombs on Tarnov, mistaking it for the Stanton Bombing Range (25 miles to the southeast).  he B-17s, from the Sioux City, Iowa Army Air Field, did little damage and no one was injured or killed.

I found a story about the bombs on NebraskaAirCrash.com, by Jerry Penry:

Here are some excerpts from the article:

Between 4:00 – 4:30 a.m on August 19, 1943, at least two bombers mistakenly thought that the small Nebraska town of Tarnov was their intended target. Although the military kept quiet about the incident, it is probable that the planes were B-17’s from the Sioux City Army Air Field who had assumed that the town was the Stanton Bombing Range which was located approximately twenty-five miles to the northeast.

Eyewitnesses claimed that two planes circled the town at least fifteen times while dropping the bombs as if they never realized their mistake once it had begun. The bombs were of the practice type, otherwise the town would have been obliterated. Three bombs hit the business district, and one came through the porch roof of a local house. Upon entering the house, the bomb angled into the pantry and went through the floor lodging itself in the dirt below. Six people were in the house including two small children age 5 and 9 who were sleeping in their bedroom just one wall away from the strike, but were unharmed.

Besides the one that had struck the house, another bomb narrowly missed another house, one struck a sidewalk, one struck a street, and two fell east of the school. One near the school also struck the ground just outside a dance hall that had just hours previously had many people gathered both inside and outside. Two days later a young boy discovered a seventh bomb in a potato patch.

The practice bombs were sand-filled with a small explosive charge, but apparently none detonated. After removing the charge and emptying the sand, the sheriff placed them on display at his office in Columbus. Two days later the military promptly came and removed them from his office and took them to the base at Sioux City.

So what about Tarnov, Poland?  Don’t worry, it doesn’t have the long and tortured history like Belgrade (and even if it did, I probably wouldn’t bother).  It was founded in the 1300s, and, in fact, this part of southern Poland did change hands numerous times. 

Tarnov had a substantial Jewish population before WWII (25,000, about half of the town’s population).  And yes, there’s a gut-wrenching story of the annihilation of essentially all of them by the Nazis.  I could present some details, but just imagine the ugliest it could be, and that’s how it was.

But luckily, historic downtown Tarnov has remained basically unscathed.  There’s a wonderful town square, known as Market Square.  From shutterstock:

A nearby street scene from 123RF:

Tarnow, Poland, August 19, 2018: Renaissance town hall on market square in Tarnow.

I dragged the Orange Dude all the way to Tarnov, and plopped him down on one of the streets near the Square:

Here are some pictures posted on GE, in and around the square.  First this, by Malgorzata Kuruc:

And this artsy shot, by Monika Szczepanska:

And this, by Tomasz Grebner:

To close this down, here’s a shot posted on GE by Chuck Leypoldt (who also closed down Part 1).  It shows the Loup River at Genoa, with a little bit of overflow in the flood plain:

That’ll do it . . .




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Albion, Belgrade, Genoa and Ternov, Nebraska (Part 1)

Posted by graywacke on March 24, 2020

 First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week 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 relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2476; A Landing A Day blog post number 914

Dan:  I believe that this is a first for ALAD.  I found so much material that I wanted to share with the ALAD Nation:  this landing will be divided into two posts.  This, Part 1, will contain my usual preliminaries, followed by material associated with titular town 1 (Albion), and 2 (Belgrade).  You’ll never guess what will be featured in Part 2 . . .

So here goes!

Today’s lat/long (N41o 34.787’, W97o 45.156’) puts me in east central Nebraska:

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

*veritable plethora

Before continuing:  while I was landing, I thought, “Wait a minute!  My readers have never seen exactly how it is that I select my random lat/longs.” So here goes.   I use the following website:

It allows me to generate the following:

So, I click “Rectangular region,” and add the various limits as follows in order to include the entire lower 48:

North 49o:  the northern-most latitude (northern boundary of WA, ID, MT & part of MN).  And no, ME isn’t further north.

South 24.5o:  The southern-most latitude (that runs along the southern edge of Key West).

West -124.5o:  The western-most longitude (in WA).

East -67o:  The eastern-most longitude (in ME).

I then hit “Get random point(s)”, and up pops the very specific lat/long for my landing!  (See above).   I then do some copy & pastes to insert the numbers into my spreadsheet, where it looks like this:

Left-most column:  my landing # (2476).  FYI, landing #1 was on 4/1/1999

Column A:  I’ve had 260 landings since I changed how I get my random lat/longs.

Column B:  Date

Columns C-O:  Hidden columns that have to do with all of my OSer and USer stuff

Columns P&Q:  The lat/longs

Column R:  The elevation of my landing (rarely referenced in ALAD)

Column S:  Describes my landing location

Column T:  My watershed analysis.  The numbers in row 2477 are the number of hits in each of the rivers (my cheat sheet).

Moving right along to my watershed analysis (even though I just gave you a sneak preview above).  Here’s my streams-only map:

I assumed that runoff from my landing would either head west to Beaver Creek, or east to Shell Creek.  So, I pulled up Google Earth, ready to use the elevation tool to figure out my watershed.  Following the slopes down hill, I ended up in the Loup (without touching either Beaver or Shell Creeks.  I then enabled GE Hydrographic Features and saw this:

So, Looking Glass Creek it is, flowing more-or-less along the yellow line, directly to the Loup River (13th hit).  In short order, the Loup discharges to the Platte (75th hit), and then on to the Missouri (414th hit); to the MM (957th hit).

Staying with GE, I was able to convince the Orange Dude that it was in his own best interests to find that spot where one of his roads crosses Looking Glass Creek:

And here’s what he sees:

I nudged him back a few yards, and looky here!

As always, thanks to the Nebraska DOT for their excellent signage!

Oh, all right.  I guess I need to explain why it’s in the Orange Dude’s best interests to go where I want him to go.  Well, it’s simple:  without me, he doesn’t exist!  Without me, he’s just an icon, with no one appreciating him for who he is and what he does.

But I couldn’t get him anywhere near my landing, so we don’t get to see the farm in the foreground with the big yellow arrow.  However, we do get this aerial GE view:

I wonder what the farmer thinks of the big yellow pushpin in his south field? 

So.  I think I’ll start with Albion.  This, from Wiki:

After several weeks of discussion, the name “Albion” was chosen in a game of euchre. Two men played for the name “Albion” and two played for the name “Manchester.”  The town was platted as “Albion” in 1872; the name is a transfer from Albion, Michigan.

First, about euchre (a card game).  As a kid in Zanesville, Ohio, I remember that euchre scores (from various euchre leagues in town) were published daily in the Zanesville Times Recorder.  Jody & I figured out how to play, and took on some across-the-street neighbors.  This was about 20 years ago, and now, I have no clue now how to play euchre . . .

So, Albion NE was named for Albion MI and now we have no choice but to check out Albion Michigan.  From Wiki:

The first white settler, Tenney Peabody, arrived in 1833. Peabody’s family followed soon after. In 1835, the Albion Company, a land development company formed by Jesse Crowell, platted a village. Peabody’s wife was asked to name the settlement. She considered the name “Peabodyville”, but “Albion” was selected instead, after the former residence of Jesse Crowell.

Whoa!  Peabodyville??  What a great name.  But now, we need to check out Jesse Crowell (who was Wiki-clickable):

His parents died when he was young. He eventually moved to Albion, Oswego County, New York.

That’s all I need to know.  So, moving over to Albion NY.  Per usual, I would be quoting some relevant verbiage from Wiki.  Not this time.  I’ll just present a screen shot of a portion of the “History” Wiki section, which (trust me) doesn’t mention where the name “Albion” comes from:

And then, excitedly, I found this Rootsweb page about Albion:

Ah, I thought, here will be some pertinent info.  Each of the references had robust verbiage about Albion’s history.  But not one mentioned where the name came from!  “Well,” I thought, “I guess I should simply Google Albion.”  Here’s what I see:

Albion is an alternative name for the island of Great Britain. It is sometimes used poetically to refer to the island, but has fallen out of common use in English.

Although it’s not clear (etymologically speaking) where the word “albion” comes from, Wiki presents the one possibility I like the best:

It may derive from an Indo-European root, meaning “white” [think albino]. This is perhaps in reference to the white southern shores of the island:

Good enough for ALAD.  Albion NY, Albion MI and Albion NE were all named after the above.

So next up, Belgrade (pop 126).  The only information presented about the town is that it was (unsurprisingly) named after Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.  So, off to Belgrade, Serbia I went.  I was immediately intrigued with a Wiki historical timeline of Belgrade that went on and on and on. 

I made the decision to present the highlights of the time line.  For brevity, I edited out probably two-thirds of the entries.  This is eminently skimmable, but spend as much time with this as you like:

6 CE: The city of Singidunum (ancient Belgrade) is the capital of the kingdom of Moesia.

441: The Huns destroy the city. Attila resides in the city.

460: Sarmatians (Persians) expel the Huns, take over Singidunum

470: The Ostrogoths expel the Sarmatians.

488: The Gepids conquer Singidunum.

504: The Goths capture it again.

510: A peace treaty handed over the city to the Byzantine Empire.

584: The Avars conquer and sack it.

592: Byzantine Empire regains the city.

Early 600s: The Avars destroy it again.

630: The Slavs conquer Singidunum; it becomes part of the Bulgarian Empire.

896: Army of Hungarians attack Belgrade (as the city is now known).

1018: The Byzantine emperor Basil II seizes Belgrade from the Bulgarian Empire.

1072: Belgrade was retaken by Byzantine Empire.

1096: The city was destroyed by Hungarians, but the Byzantine Empire remained in control of it.

1096–1189: The Crusaders are passing through Belgrade.

1127: Hungarian king Stefan II destroys Belgrade and used the obtained stones to build a fortress in Zemun (just north of Belgrade).

1154: Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus destroys Zemun and takes the stones back to rebuild Belgrade.

1182: Hungary attack and sacked the city.

1185: Byzantine Empire regained it by diplomacy

1202: The Hungarians seize Belgrade.

1203: The Bulgarians retake the city.

1213: The city is given to Hungary by emperor Boril.

1221: Belgrade is returned to Bulgaria.

1246: The city becomes part of Hungary.

1284: The Hungarians gift the city to the Serbian king Stefan Dragutin

1319: The Hungarians retake the city.

1382: The city is taken over by the Holy Roman Empire

1386: Hungary regains it.

1403: Holy Roman Emperor regains the city; gives it to Despot Stefan Lazarević [some dude?] for his lifetime. Despot Stefan builds Belgrade Fortress anew and establishes Belgrade as the capital of his Serbian Despotate.

1427: Despot Stefan dies. Hungary reclaims Belgrade

1440: The Ottoman Empire attacks Belgrade. The city endures the siege following heavy destruction.

1456: Siege of Belgrade: Sultan Mehmed II besieges Belgrade but fails to capture it.

1521: Siege of Belgrade: Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent conquers Belgrade.

1688: Siege of Belgrade: Duke Maximilian of Bavaria captures the city.

1690: Siege of Belgrade: the Ottomans capture Belgrade anew.

1717: Siege of Belgrade: Prince Eugene of Savoy captures the city.

1718: Belgrade becomes the capital of the Kingdom of Serbia.

1739: Siege of Belgrade by the Ottomans.  They recapture Belgrade.

1789: Siege of Belgrade: Marshal Ernst Gideon von Laudon captures the city.

1791: The Treaty of Sistova returns Belgrade to the Ottomans.

1806: Karađorđe Petrović captures Belgrade and makes it the capital of Serbia.

1813: The Ottomans reconquer the city.

1815: Miloš Obrenović started the Second Serbian Uprising and conquered Belgrade; the Ottomans subsequently recognized Serbian autonomy.

July 1914: Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. World War I begins.

2 December 1914: Austrians bombard and capture Belgrade.

15 December 1914: The Serbs recapture it.

6–9 October 1915: German and Austrian troops capture Belgrade.  Entire Serbian Legion is sacrificed for the city.

November 1918: The Serbs, with help of allies, recapture it.

December 1918: Belgrade becomes the capital of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

January 1929: King Aleksandar Karađorđević dissolved the National Assembly and started his dictatorship. Belgrade becomes the capital of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

April 1941: Nazi Germany bombs Belgrade. 2,300 – 4,000 casualties; many public and private buildings completely destroyed, including the building of the National Library of Serbia, along with an invaluable collection of books, manuscripts, charters, old maps, journals and many other documents. The Royal Yugoslav Army, while retreating, destroys all the bridges crossing Sava and Danube.

1941 – 1944: Nazi occupation

April–September 1944: The Allies bomb Belgrade eleven times. 1,000 – 5,000 civilian casualties.

October 1944:  Liberation of Belgrade by combined Soviet & Yogoslav armies.

November 1945:  Josip Broz Tito established as leader of Communist Yugoslavia; all industries nationalized.

1990 – 1991:  Communism falls.  Slobodan Milošević, Communist leader, is elected as new president of the Republic of Yugoslavia.  Huge protests greet his election.

1991 – 2000:  Yugoslav wars.  Immensely complex and bloody conflicts involving the former Yugoslav republics Serbia, Croatia, Kosovo, Slovenia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Masedonia, with various Muslim & Christian factions located throughout.  Milošević convicted of war crimes.

5 October 2000: Slobodan Milošević removed from power after huge protests in Belgrade. The House of the National Assembly was set on fire.

12 March 2003: Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić is assassinated

2004 – 2018:  Relatively calm period highlighted with positive public works achievements.

30 November 2018: The beginning of mass protests against the president Aleksandar Vučić authoritarian government.

I’m sure unimaginable suffering went along with many of the above entries.  Imagine studying Belgrade / Serbia history in school! 

I need at least one nice picture of Belgrade today.  OK, how about two.  First this, from Forbes magazine:


And this (from nearly the same place), from Getty Images / Lonely Planet:

I’ll head back to my landing – Albion Nebraska specifically – for this shot posted on GE by Chuck Leypoldt, of the view from Albion looking southeast:


That’ll do it . . .




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Keene and Mount Monadnock, New Hampshire

Posted by graywacke on March 18, 2020

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week 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 relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2475; A Landing A Day blog post number 912

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N42o 51.386’, W72o 12.523’) puts me in southwest New Hampshire:

My local landing map shows my proximity to Keene & Mount Monadnock:

My local streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of the South Branch of the Ashuelot River (1st hit); on to the Ashuelot (1st hit):

Zooming back:

The Ashuelot discharges into the Connecticut (14th hit).  Zooming back once again, we can see that the Connecticut (after serving as the NH-VT state boundary, proceeds to bisect both Massachusetts & Connecticut on its way to Long Island Sound:

As you can see, I could position the Orange Dude pretty close to my landing:

Because I landed in the woods, I sent the OD up the road a piece to find a little opening so I could see something besides just trees:

And how about that!  There’s Mount Monadnock!

Not far away, we can get a look at the South Branch of the Ashuelot:

Looks like a creek to me, but I’ll defer to Street Atlas which calls it a river:

In spite of the fact that Keene is veritably hookless, I made it titular for two reasons:  it’s the biggest town around (pop 24,000) and I visited Keene a couple of times back in the late ‘60s (visiting my girlfriend who went to Keene State College).  Anyway, I had to feature something about Keene, so I found a couple good back-in-the day shots of Keene in the early 1900s:

So, my primary feature in this post is Mount Monadnock.  Although I remember seeing Mount Monadnock in the distance, my girlfriend and I never actually visited (let alone climbed) the mountain. 

From NHStateParks:

A large region of New Hampshire is named after a hill that would not even count as a mountain in many states.  Mount Monadnock stands only 3,165 feet tall, but it is an iconic New Hampshire landmark.

Moving on to Wiki:

At 3,165 feet, Mount Monadnock is nearly 1,000 feet higher than any other mountain peak within 30 miles and rises 2,000 feet above the surrounding landscape. It is known for being featured in the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

Mt. Monadnock has long been cited as one of the most frequently climbed mountains in the world (with 125,000 hikers/year, it ranks 3rd  behind Tai Shan in China with 2,000,000 and Mt. Fuji, with 250,000).  Monadnock’s bare, isolated, and rocky summit provides expansive views.

The word “monadnock” is derived from an Abenaki word that loosely translated means “mountain that stands alone.” The term was adopted by early settlers of southern New Hampshire and later by American geologists as an alternative term for an inselberg or isolated mountain.

Here’s a picture of the mountain from Outdoorsy.com:

If I hadn’t known better, I’d guess that this was a much higher mountain, and that the top of the mountain was above the tree line (which typically occurs at about 4,500’ in the northeast).  But there’s another reason that the summit is barren. 

Back to Wiki:

The summit is barren largely because of fires set by early settlers. The first major fire, set in 1800 to clear the lower slopes for pasture, swept through the stands of virgin red spruce on the summit and flanks of the mountain. Between 1810 and 1820, local farmers, who believed that wolves were denning at the higher elevations amongst damaged trees blown down by wind, set fire to the mountain again. The conflagration raged for weeks, destroying all vegetative cover above 2,000 feet.

Denuded of erosion-preventing roots, the top of the mountain lost all of its topsoil to erosion, exposing the bedrock.

OK.  It’s time to roll up our collective sleeves and learn a little geology.  As my regulars know, I take great pains to make my geologic discussions as jargon-free and as interesting as possible.  You be the judge . . .

I’ve borrowed some material from the NH State Parks website in an article entitled “MonadRocks: Mount Monadnock’s Fascinating Geologic History” by Neil Davis, a Ranger at Monadnock state park.  I won’t be quoting him word for word, so I’ll keep this in my blue font.

415 million years ago

I encourage my readers not to gloss over “415 million years ago.”  Take a deep breath and think about 100 years, 1,000 years, 2,000 years, 10,000 years.  Now multiply 10,000 by 10 to get 100,000.  Humans didn’t even exist.  Now multiply by 10 again to get to 1,000,000 – a period of time so long we have trouble imagining it.  And then – multiply that by 415.  Ouch.  (And that’s only about one-tenth of the age of the earth!)

So.  415 million years ago, North America didn’t exist, Europe didn’t exist, the Atlantic Ocean didn’t exist.  A precursor to North America (named Laurentia) did exist, although what is now New Hampshire was off the eastern coast.  There was an ocean (the Iapetus), and across the ocean to the east was a small continental landmass called Avalonia. 

So there were rivers in Laurentia and rivers in Avalonia that discharged to the Iapetus ocean.  These rivers carried the typical load of sand, silt and clay that was dumped into the ocean, and settled to the seafloor.  This sand, silt and clay are the stuff of what would become Mount Monadnock.

390 million years ago

Plate tectonics was doing its thing, and the gap between Avalonia and Laurentia was closing.  Something had to give, and Avalonia was subducting beneath Laurentia. 

375 million years ago

Although Avalonia was diving beneath Laurentia, the two landmasses actually came together, pushing up mountains.  This is similar to what’s going on today with the formation of the Himilayans, where the Indian plate is smashing into the Asian plate.  All of that sand, silt & clay was subject to intense pressure & heat, getting all smooshed up.  The small piece that ended up being Mount Monadnock was buried deep within these intensely-deformed sediments that became metamorphic rocks like quartzite (metamorphosed sand/sandstone) and schist (metamorphosed clay/shale).  Note that quartzite is particularly tough, and resistant to erosion.

375 – 175 million years ago

In our little corner of the world, things quieted down (tectonically speaking) for a long time.  A real long time, like 200 million years.  The mountains were no longer being uplifted, and in fact, erosion became the dominant land-forming factor.  Given enough time, even a mountain range like the Himilayas gets worn down. 

However, during this same time period, plate tectonics were (of course) active in other areas of the world, and in fact, all of the world’s landmass joined together to form a super continent, Pangea. 

FYI, Pangea was centered on the equator and surrounded by a super ocean, Panthalassa.

175 million years ago

Our little piece of Pangea was just sitting there, minding its own business, when the super continent started to break apart thanks to a tectonic spreading center (that would eventually become the mid-Atlantic Ridge).  The proto-Atlantic ocean began to form, and New Hampshire was more or less where it is today.  What would become Mount Monadnock was still buried (although at an elevation above sea level).  Thanks to erosion, it was gradually but inexorably coming closer to the earth’s surface.

5 million years ago to now

Phew.  Give good ol’ erosion enough time, and all things will end up at sea level.  But we’re not there yet, and rocks exposed to erosion at the earth’s surface can be readily differentiated based on their resistance to erosion.  This is particularly true in a tectonically-stable entity like the Appalachians Mountains where erosion is the only game in town  The most resistant rocks underlie the highest elevations, and the least-resistant rocks underlie the lowest elevations (on a spectrum including all of the in-betweens).

It just so happens that the metamorphic rocks that form Mount Monadnock are the most resistant to erosion in the entire region.  Et voila!  We have an isolated mountain that dominates the landscape, and has dominated the landscape for the prior 5 or so million years.

Here’s a geologic map:

The blue blob labeled “Dl” represents the Littleton Formation, which, of course, makes up the mountain.  While there’s a lot of variability in the rocks of the Littleton, the Littleton rocks under Monadnock contain many beds of resistant quartzite.  Obviously, all of the green & pink formations that surround the mountain (I’ll spare you the details) wear away much more readily . . .

Time to wrap this up by presenting (what else?) – pictures of Mount Monadnock posted on GE.  We’ll start with this by Kurt Langheld:

Casandra G took this one:

I usually shy away from pictures that feature people, but this one by Connor Haller is pretty cool

I’ll close with this vista by Robert Fitzpatrick:

That’ll do it . . .




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Shemya Island (Revisited)

Posted by graywacke on March 11, 2020

Dan:  A comment was posted on A Landing A Day that I thought was worth featuring as the centerpiece of a “revisited” post.  First, I’ll summarize my December 2018 Shemya post, using some excerpts:

Rules are made to be broken, right?  The exception makes the rule, right?  As you know, I have had a hard-and-fast rule since I began my blog:  I always, always allow my random lat/long generator to select a location for each and every landing and each and every landing post.

It’s Christmas day as I sit at my computer writing this.  Christmas Eve night was (and how can I put this delicately) a bit of a hassle.  I was agitated, made all the more so because our indoor cat Lorenzo was outside and in no mood to come back in.

At 1:00 (Christmas Day!) I was lying in bed unable to get to sleep.  As is my wont, I reached over to my bedside table and picked up my iPhone.  I started to idly look at the news (as if that will put me to sleep), when I saw that a Christmas Eve Delta flight from Beijing to Seattle made an emergency landing at an isolated island at the western end of the Aleutian chain – about 1400 miles west of Anchorage.

The island wasn’t named in the article I read, but I have an app on my iPhone – FlightRadar24.  It is map-based, and you can scroll around and see all of the commercial flights in the air at any given time around the world.  You can also click on an airport, and get a list of all recent departures and arrivals.

I knew the flight was supposed to arrive in Seattle, so I clicked on the SEA airport, and hit “arrivals.”  After much scrolling, I saw this:

Hmmm. A Delta flight from Beijing to Seattle was supposed to land in Seattle at 7:36 am, but was diverted to “SYA.”  A quick Google search shows that SYA is Shemya Island, Alaska; more specifically Eareckson Air Station on Shemya Island.

I went on to discuss more about the ill-fated flight, the island (and military operations), and, Shemya and Aleutian Island geology.  Here’s a Google Earth map showing the island:

And a GE shot of the island:

So, anyway, here’s the comment (by Floyd Rasmussen):

I was stationed there in 1964-65. I’m glad I saw your article. It brought back many memories.

I was USAF and worked in a Top Secret group responsible for monitoring the nuclear test ban treaties. My specialty was monitoring the Atmospheric Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963.

I was there when the great Alaskan Earthquake hit on Good Friday [March 27, 1964].  I had just come on shift at 4PM.  We checked all equipment at 15 minute intervals. On my 4:45 check I found that all three pens of our seismic monitoring system had gone off the chart [the earthquake struck at 4:36 Shemya time]. We thought at first that we had detected an underground nuclear test on Komandorskie Island to our west. At closer inspection we realized the incident occurred somewhere to the NE, up the Aleutian Chain toward Alaska.

We discovered that Shemya no longer had contact with the mainland. Later it was learned that two of the White Alice troposheric scatter microwave communication antennas had been knocked out of alignment by the quake. It was by standard broadcast radio from Anchorage that the chief engineer on duty came on the air to announce that a huge earthquake had just occurred, and that he wasn’t sure he was getting out on just one-third of an antenna!  He was asking anyone who could to phone into the station and give reports from around Alaska.

One of my colleagues was a HAM radio operator so he went to our MARS station and established radio communication with the US mainland. Collins Radio Company in Iowa volunteered to provide continuous contact with us as long as needed. For three weeks we provided all high priority messaging for all units on the island, as well as our own!

RCA was finally able to realign the tropo system to provide normal communication with Shemya.

That’s one of my most memorable experiences on Shemya . There were many others, of course, but i’ll not go into them!

By the way, the unit i was in is called AFTAC, for Air Force Technical Applications Center. It was mostly declassified in 1997. You can check their website. You might find it interesting to learn about the Constant Phoenix aircraft that sniffs the air for radioisotopes that indicate a nuclear event. They are monitoring North Korea closely now, since AFTAC detected their nuclear tests.

AFTAC now supports the ICTBTO, the International Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna.

When I was in, any mention of what i just said would have probably landed me in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary!

In today’s world, many nations are now helping to keep track of nuclear weapons. I like to think I had a part in this!

Of course, as a geologist, what immediately got my attention was the Good Friday earthquake.  But before discussing the earthquake, here’s some information about Floyd’s “top secret group,” the Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC*).  From Wiki:

The AFTAC mission is to monitor nuclear treaties of all applicable signatory countries. This is accomplished by detecting nuclear detonations (both atmospheric & below ground) via seismic, hydroacoustic, air monitoring and satellite detection systems.

*As I was typing “AFTAC,” I saw and heard the duck yelling “AAAAFTAC!!”

Back too Wiki:

Soon after the end of World War II, General Dwight D. Eisenhower recognized the need to monitor nuclear testing programs. In 1947 he directed the Army Air Forces to develop technologies capable of detecting “atomic explosions anywhere in the world”.  AFTAC’s first detection was In 1949, when a particulate sampler aboard a modified B-29 flying between Alaska and Japan detected debris from the first Russian atomic test – an event experts predicted could not happen until the mid-1950s.

AFTAC has been very successful in detecting nuclear explosions, including:

  • China’s first nuclear test (1964).
  • India’s first test (1974).
  • Pakistan’s first test (1998).
  • North Korea’s nuclear tests (2006 – 2017).
  • Chernobyl (1986)

One of the satellite systems deployed to detect atmospheric nuclear tests is known as Vela.  In 1979, one of the Vela satellites detected a double flash of light, consistent with a nuclear explosion, centered over the Prince Edwards islands in the Southern Indian Ocean. The “Vela Incident” was Wiki-clickable:

The Vela Incident, also known as the South Atlantic Flash, was an unidentified double flash of light detected by an American Vela Hotel satellite on 22 September 1979 near the Prince Edward Islands in the Indian Ocean:


[Note that every atmospheric nuclear explosion creates a “double flash:” the initial brief, intense flash, followed by a second, longer flash.]

The cause of the double flash remains officially unknown, and some information about the event remains classified.  While it has been suggested that the signal could have been caused by a meteoroid hitting the satellite, the previous 41 double flashes detected by the Vela satellites were caused by nuclear weapons tests.  Today, most independent researchers believe that the 1979 flash was caused by a nuclear explosion — most likely an undeclared nuclear test carried out jointly by Israel and South Africa (or perhaps solely Israel).

So, Floyd.  Thanks much for your comment (and your service).

Moving right along to the Good Friday earthquake, some quick facts:

  • It measured 9.2 on the Richter scale. Remember that the Richter scale is exponential.  An 8.2 earthquake would be considered a massive earthquake, but a 9.2 is about 10x stronger!
  • It is the most powerful earthquake ever measured in North America.
  • It is the second-most powerful earthquake ever measured in the world. (FYI, the most powerful earthquake was near Valdivia, Chile in 1960; it measured 9.5. More about this quake in a bit.)
  • Six hundred miles of fault line ruptured, with movement of up to 60 feet.
  • Some land permanently rose as much as 30 feet.

Here’s a short USGS video about the earthquake:

And here’s a short video about the damage from both earthquake and tsunami in the Port of Valdez:

The 1960 Valdivia Chile earthquake caused a huge tsunami.  Here’s a map showing travel time of the tsunami in hours:

Note that the wave hit Hawaii (specifically Hilo on the Big Island) at about the 15-hour mark.  Here’s what happened there (from History.com):

The earthquake, involving a severe vertical plate shift, caused a large displacement of water off the coast of southern Chile at 3:11 p.m.  Traveling at speeds in excess of 400 miles per hour, the tsunami moved west and north.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning System, established in 1948 in response to another deadly tsunami, worked properly and warnings were issued to Hawaiians six hours before the wave’s expected arrival. Some people ignored the warnings, however, and others actually headed to the coast in order to view the wave.

Arriving only a minute after predicted, the tsunami destroyed Hilo Bay on the island of Hawaii. Thirty-five-foot waves bent parking meters to the ground and wiped away most buildings.  Reports indicate that the 20-ton boulders making up the sea wall were moved 500 feet. Sixty-one people died in Hilo, the worst-hit area of the island chain.

The tsunami continued to race further west across the Pacific. Ten thousand miles away from the earthquake’s epicenter, Japan, despite ample warning time, was not able to warn the people in harm’s way. At about 6 p.m., more than a day after the earthquake, the tsunami struck the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido. The crushing wave killed 180 people and left 50,000 more homeless.

I’ll close with a couple of Shemya photos from my original Shemya post.  First this Wiki shot:

And then, a shot from an article about Shemya by John Reisenauer that appeared on the website “US Islands Awards Program”:


Shemya or Hawaii?  Looks the same to me . . .

That’ll do it . . .




© 2020 A Landing A Day


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Terlingua, Texas (Revisited)

Posted by graywacke on March 5, 2020

Dan:  Right after I posted my January 31 Terlingua, Texas landing, my friend Bill from Delaware posted a comment.  Here ‘tis:

Wow, I cannot believe that you did not make the connection with the classic Jerry Jeff Walker album titled “Viva Terlingua”. AllMusic.com web site says this of the album:

Viva Terlingua, recorded live in Luckenbach, TX, on a hot August night in 1973, is among the most legendary of “live” singer/songwriter albums ever released. It’s the Live at the Fillmore East of redneck Texas folk-rock.

Essentially, it’s Jerry Jeff fronting the Lost Gonzo Band at the beginning of their long run together playing, living it up, having a ball, giving everybody the impression that life was a party, and to be sure, it was for a while. Given the loose, inspired performance on this set, Walker was every bit the equal of Willie, Waylon, and Billy Joe Shaver at the time.

The material is terrific. It doesn’t sound anything like it was recorded in front of an audience, but it does sound live as hell. These folks were partyin’ it up and layin’ down the tracks at white heat. This record was made in a night and it feels like it was made in your living room. It’s guaranteed to lift any dark mood within 15 minutes. This record asks no questions and there are no hidden meanings in Walker’s or anybody else’s lyrics; it’s all there for the taking. And that’s what makes it the enduring classic it is.”

I responded thusly:

Bill –  OK.  OK.  I’ll do a “revisited” post sooner than later.

I then immediately downloaded the album and listened to it 5 or 6 or 10 times (that’s my M.O. when I like an album).  Before I post some songs and lyrics, I needed to figure out the connection between Luckenbach (where the album was recorded) and Terlingua.    Here’s what Google Maps has to say:

So, it’s something over 6 hours and 400 miles of driving to get from Luckenbach to Terlingua.  So why was an album recorded in Luckenbach called Viva Terlingua? 

Well, it turns out that there’s quite the chili cook-off held annually in Terlingua, drawing more than 10,000 folks.  Even back in 1973, it was quite an event.  A poster advertising the chili cook-off with the words “¡Viva Terlingua!” was on the wall at the music hall in Luckenbach.  Jerry Jeff saw the poster (or bumper sticker or whatever) and decided on the album title then and there.  Here’s the album cover:

A little background:  Jerry Jeff Walker was born Ronald Clyde Crosby in 1942; He picked Jerry Jeff Walker as a stage name in 1966.  Born in Oneonta NY, he was part of the early 1960s NY City folk music scene.  He wrote “Mr. Bojangles” in 1968. 

To this day, I consider Mr. Bojangles an absolute classic, and maybe one of my top 100 favorite songs of all times. 

In 1970, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band recorded the song and got themselves a hit record.  Jerry Jeff appreciated the royalties (also beginning to come in from what would eventually be dozens of covers), and decided to head west to California.  He got as far as Austin TX, decided to stay awhile, and never left.

Before moving on to the Texas part of his career, here’s the Mr. Bojangles backstory, from Wiki:

Walker has said he was inspired to write the song after an encounter with a street performer in a New Orleans jail. While in jail for public intoxication in 1965, he met a homeless man who called himself “Mr. Bojangles” to conceal his true identity from the police.

He had been arrested as part of a police sweep of indigent people that was carried out following a high-profile murder. The two men and others in the cell chatted about all manner of things, but when Mr. Bojangles told a story about his dog, the mood in the room turned heavy. Someone else in the cell asked for something to lighten the mood, and Mr. Bojangles obliged with a tap dance.

People often assumed that Mr. Bojangles was black. Not true. Jerry Jeff (who is white) set the record straight, noting that back then, the New Orleans jails were segregated . . .

Of course, I have to include a Mr. Bojangles YouTube (the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band version I grew up with):

Here’s a 1969 album cover, with JJ’s look probably influenced by Bob Dylan (or is it Paul Simon?):

Back to Jerry Jeff in Texas.  An amazing transformation seemed to occur when he became ensconced in the Texas music scene.  He went from a laid-back beatnik folk singer to the dean of Texas Outlaw Country music and the vibrant Austin music scene.  Once in Texas, he became as hard-drinkin’ and hard-partyin’ as his music sounds like.  He has sobered up and slowed down, recently recovering from a bout with throat cancer.  Luckily, he still sings and performs.

ALAD disclaimer:  The music on Viva Terlingua is not great music; it is not sophisticated, no nuance in the words or music.  So, here goes:

Let’s find out what happens to hippies in Oklahoma.  Here’s “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother:”


This song is by Ray Wylie Hubbard

He was born in Oklahoma
And his wife’s name – Betty Lou Thelma Liz
And he’s not responsible for what he’s doing
‘Cause his mother made him what he is

And it’s up against the wall, Redneck Mother
Mother, who has raised her son so well
He’s thirty-four and drinking in a honky tonk
Just kicking hippies’ asses and raising hell

Sure does like his Falstaff beer
He likes to chase it down with that Wild Turkey liquor
He drives a ’57 G-M-C pickup truck
He’s got a gun rack, “Goat ropers need love, too” sticker

[Chorus, instrumental fill]

M is for the mudflaps you give me for my pickup truck
O is for the oil I put on my hair
T is for T-bird
H is for Haggard
E is for eggs
And R is for red neck

[Chorus x 2]

What’s that smell?
Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA

Here’s Jerry Jeff in 1975 (on the right, not looking very sober), singing with none other than the afore-mentioned Ray Wylie Hubbarb:

“Sangria Wine” (the next song) sounds very much like it was written by Jimmy Buffet – but it wasn’t.  In fact, Jerry Jeff wrote this song well before Jimmy broke out with “Margaritaville,” et al.  However, the two musicians have a connection that goes way back.  From Wiki:

In 1970-71, Buffett could be frequently found busking [playing music on the street for voluntary donations] for tourists in New Orleans. Fellow country singer Jerry Jeff Walker took him to Key West on a busking expedition in November 1971.  Buffett then moved to Key West and began establishing the easy-going beach-bum persona for which he is known.

Sangria Wine:


My friends come for Saturday night
Man it’s nice to make up some sangria wine
It’s organic and it comes from the vine
It’s also legal and it gets you so high

Yeah and I love that sangria wine
Love to drink it with old friends of mine
Yeah I love to get drunk with friends of mine
When we’re drinkin’ that old sangria wine
Whoa I love sangria wine
Whoa I love sangria wine

Start with some wine
Add some apples and brandy and some sugar, just fine
Old friends always show up on time
That’s why you add ????? burgundy wine


In Texas on a Saturday night
Everclear is added to the wine sometimes
The nachos, burritos, and tacos who knows
How it usually goes, it goes

[Instrumental; Truncated Chorus]

Yeah I love that sangria wine
Just like I love ole friends of mine
They tell the truth when they’re mixed with the wine
That’s why I love the lemons and lime

[Chorus, etc.]

I’ll close with this next song “Getting’ By,” which sort of says it all:


Hi, buckaroos
Scamp Walker time again
Yeah I’m trying to slide one by you once more
Don’t matter how you do it
Just that you do it like you know it
I’ve been down this road once or twice before

Yeah gettin’ by on gettin’ by is my stock-in-trade
Living it day-to-day
Picking up the pieces wherever they fall
Just lettin’ it roll
Lettin’ the high times carry low
Just living my life easy come, easy go

Last week I was thinking
It’s record time again
And I could see Mike Maitland* pacing the floor
Ah Mike, don’t you worry
Something’s bound to come out
Besides, I’ve been down this road once before

*The president of MCA records

[Chorus x 2]  (It’s probably not a monster track, Mike, I mean, uh . . .)

Income tax is overdue
And I think she is too
Been busted and I’ll probably get busted some more
But I’ll catch it all later
Can’t let ‘em stop me now
I’ve been down this road once or twice before

[Chorus x2]

That’ll do it . . .




© 2020 A Landing A Day


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