A Landing a Day

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Posts Tagged ‘Clay WV’

Clay County, West Virginia

Posted by graywacke on September 26, 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 2367; A Landing A Day blog post number 800.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (38o29.964’N, 81o 6.992’W) puts me in Central West Virginia:

As you can tell by the title of this post, My local landing map must show the entire extent of Clay County:

I know you’re waiting with bated breath to know the watershed that surrounds my landing spot.

  Well, here’s the map:

You can see that I landed in the watershed of the Hansford Fork, on to Laurel Creek; on to the Elk River (only my 2nd hit ever).

Zooming back, we can see that the Elk makes its way to the Kanawha (15th hit); on to the Ohio (145th hit).

As is getting routine, I didn’t bother showing the ultimate destination of a drop of water that falls on my landing – i.e., the MM (920th hit).

So.  Every landing, I enter the lat & long into Google Earth, and watch as the yellow pushpin zooms on in to my landing location.  I then re-create that moment for the purposes of this blog.  Click HERE to check it out.

Even though I’m out in the boonies, Street View coverage isn’t far from my landing.  However, I’m in the woods, so I put the Orange Dude at a driveway so we’d have something to look at:

Here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

I also found Street View coverage of the Hansford Fork:

And here ‘tis:

While I’m at it, here’s a Street View look at the Elk River in the town of Clay:

And yes!  Note that the sky isn’t splotchy?  I performed the following Google search:  Google Earth Street View splotchy.  Lo and behold, I found a website with instructions I could actually follow that allowed me to clean up Street View shots . . .

I’ll put the Clay County map up again:

(BTW, there is town called Ovapa that is covered by my landing flag.)

Believe it or not, there is only one town in the county that is really a town (i.e., incorporated).  A good guess would be Clay, since, after all, we’re in Clay County.  And Clay it is (along the Elk River):

From Wiki:

Clay (pop 491) is the county seat of Clay County. It is the only incorporated town in Clay County.  The town and county are both named for U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Henry Clay (1777–1852).

The town was incorporated in 1895.  Before 1880, Clay was inaccessible to traffic from horse-drawn vehicles.  A horse trail along the Elk River and the river itself provided the only access to the town.

Here are a couple of GE Panoramio shots of Clay.  First this, of downtown, by David Stephenson:

Sticking with Mr. Stephenson, here’s a shot of the County courthouse in Clay:

So.  I’ve heard of namesake Henry Clay, as likely many of readers have.  But I know little about him (which probably is also true of most of my readers). 

From History.com:

Leader of the Whig party and five times an unsuccessful presidential candidate, Henry Clay (1777-1852) played a central role on the stage of national politics for over forty years. He was secretary of state under John Quincy Adams, Speaker of the House of Representatives longer than anyone else in the nineteenth century, and the most influential member of the Senate during its golden age.

Clay’s personal magnetism made him one of America’s best-loved politicians; his elaborate scheming made him one of the most cordially hated. Through it all he displayed remarkable consistency of purpose: he was a nationalist, devoted to the economic development and political integration of the United States.

Although a slaveholder, Clay disapproved of slavery as a system; he advocated gradual emancipation and the resettlement of the freed people in Africa. He defended, unsuccessfully, the right of the so-called Five Civilized Tribes of Indians to their lands.

He warned that annexation of Texas would provoke war with Mexico and exacerbate tensions between North and South, and he opposed the war when it came. He consistently fostered good relations with Latin America.

The centerpiece of Clay’s statecraft was an integrated economic program called ‘the American System’ that supported federal subsidies for transportation projects and other ‘internal improvements’. Public lands in the West were to be sold rather than given away to homesteaders so the proceeds could be used for education and other public infrastructure projects. The program was intended to promote economic development and diversification, reduce dependence on imports, and tie together the different sections of the country.

The American System became the chief plank in the platform of Clay’s Whig party, which was formed in opposition to the Democratic party of Andrew Jackson, creating the two-party system. Clay never became president, and his Whig party disappeared shortly after his death. But its successor, the Republican Party, put many features of the American System into operation. In the long run, his economic and political vision of America was largely fulfilled.

So back to Clay County.  The population of the county is something over 9,300, and the population density is about 25 people per square mile.  Contrast this with my home State of New Jersey, with a population density of 1,200 people per square mile.  Wow.  NJ is almost 40 times more dense than Clay County . . . er . . . I mean more densely populated.

The county is in the Appalachian Plateau region of West Virginia.  Actually, it is more properly called a “dissected plateau,” because while maybe the plateau was more-or-less flat millions of years ago, erosion over the eons has created a landscape with steep-sloped valleys, and very little flat uplands. 

The low population density is due primarily to the preponderance of steep slopes and the scarcity of land suitable for cultivation.

I’ll pay a very quick visit to two other Clay County towns.  First, how about the name of the town covered by my lat/long flag, Ovapa.  OK, OK you doubters.  Here’s a map showing the town:

 Wiki let me know that it’s a portmanteau of Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania.  Very cool!

The second little town is Lizemores.  Here’s what Wiki has to say:

The community derives its name from the local Sizemore clan.  A recording error by postal officials accounts for the error in spelling, which was never corrected.

AYKM???  Imagine that you’re a Sizemore back in the day.  You succeed in a significant effort to have your little town named after your family.  You strut around town, filled with pride and a warm glow.   The Post Office is opened, and with a huge smile on your face, you walk in the front door to check out your namesake facility.

And then, with a flash of consternation, you see “Lizemores,” not “Sizemore.”  Not just the “L,” but what’s up with the “s” at the end?  Do you just say “Aw shucks?”  Do you just walk out with a shrug?

Hell no!  You should be outraged, and you shouldn’t quit until the proud Sizemore name is appropriately honored.

But for unfathomable reasons, you just shrug . . .

Before moving on, let me share this GE Pano shot from the town of Clay:

The photo is entitled “The Old Sizemore Store.”  I’m glad it’s not entitled “The Old Lizemores Store.”  But the big story on Action News is the name of the photographer.  It’s R. Tom Sizemore!  Obviously (at least highly likely), one of the now-infamous Sizemore clan!   I’ll try to get in touch with Tom – I’ll let you know if I get any news . . .

Let me move along to the Wiki entry for Clay County:

In the motion picture The Silence of the Lambs, the victim was found in the Elk River in Clay County.

I haven’t seen the movie and don’t intend to.  I know, I know, it’s an excellent movie, but I tend to avoid violent movies.  So, my only comment is “no comment.”  Back to Wiki:

Clay County is also the birthplace of the Golden Delicious Apple.

“Golden Delicious” was Wiki clickable . . .

This cultivar [any plant enhanced by selective breeding] is a chance seedling possibly a hybrid of Grimes Golden and Golden Reinette.  The original tree was found on the Mullins’ family farm in Clay County, WV and was locally known as Mullin’s Yellow Seedling.

Anderson Mullins sold the tree and propagation rights to Stark Brothers Nurseries for $5000 [$121,000 in today’s dollars], which first marketed it as a companion of their Red Delicious in 1914.

Geez.  Mr. Mullins should have been able to retire on his wonderful tree.  Tough to do on a measly $120,000.  Here’s a GE Pano shot by DotGuy of the Mullins homestead in Clay County:

Staying with GE Pano shots, I’ll close this post with a couple of Elk River shots by David W. Hill (close, but not quite my brother, who’s David L. Hill).  First, this reflective shot:

And then this shot of a great looking swimming hole:

That’ll do it . . .




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