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Posts Tagged ‘Maida ND’

Hannah, Wales and Maida, North Dakota

Posted by graywacke on September 25, 2010

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

Dan –  I landed within spittin’ distance of Canada (well, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration) in . . . ND; 57/44; 5/10; 6; 154.7.  Here’s my landing map, showing Hannah, Wales, Maida & and Canadian Border:


The roads are on a one-mile grid, so it turns out I’m a little less than 4 miles from Canada (one heck of a spit).

Here’s a broader view:


The drainage is headed up into Canada, but I’m pretty sure that I landed in the watershed of a new river, the Pembina (which originate in Canada, but flows south into ND a little east of my landing); the Pembina flows to the Red River of the North (42nd hit) on to the Nelson (59th hit); and then (as I like to point out), on to the Hudson Bay.

Here’s my GE shot, showing a high plains agricultural/prairie setting:


I’m here to tell you this is a pretty much GD area.  (“GD” is a term I haven’t used much recently – in case you’ve forgotten, it means “Google deprived.”)   I’m not finding much, but I’ll see what I can come up with.  I’ll start this this StreetView shot of a grain elevator in Wales (showing that the area has agricultural viability):


Here’s the northern-most StreetView shot in Maida, showing the border crossing into Canada:


I couldn’t find anything about Hannah.  But that’s OK – it’s enough for me that Hannah is also the name of my lovely granddaughter.

This, from Wiki, about Maida:

Various possibilities have been suggested for the etymology of the name “Maida”:

  • A book read by Charles Howalt, the first postmaster
  • Suggested by two Canadian bankers from a dog in a novel by Sir Walter Scott
  • A clipping of “maiden” name for a haymeadow

I reject the third bullet (as boring).  The other two have some interest.  However, the idea of a book entitled “Maida” falls short.  There is a series of “Maida” children’s books, but the first wasn’t written until 1910.  The problem here is that the town of Maida was formed back in 1884.  No other “Maida” book shows up on Google.

So that leaves me the dog from the Sir Walter Scott novel.  From somewhere out there on the internet, I found this:

Maida was a deerhound belonging to Sir Walter Scott, reported to be his favourite dog.   Named after the Battle of Maida, which took place in 1806, he was a gift from Glengarry, a friend of Scott.

Which, of course, leads me to the battle of Maida.  From somewhere else out there on the internet, I found this:

The battle of Maida in 1806 came at a time when the French under Napoleon seemed almost unbeatable on land in Europe.  Austria and Russia had been dealt knockout blows at Austerlitz the previous year and, Trafalgar aside, little appeared to be going the way of the anti-French coalitions.

In 1806 the only potential point of land conflict between the yet unproven British army and the seemingly invincible French troops was in the south of Italy where a small redcoat force protected Sicily from invasion.  Somewhat surprisingly, the British were not in a defensive state of mind and looked to moving on to the Italian mainland and supporting the local rebellions occurring against the French invaders.

When the attack did come, the British showed themselves more than equal to Napoleon’s veterans, especially with their victory at the battle of Maida.

Which, of course, leads me to the town of Maida Italy, which now has a population of about 5,000.  Here’s a map:


Here’s a picture of the town.  What a wonderful place!  I’d visit there in a heartbeat . . .

Getting back to Sir Walter & his dog, here’s a painting of Sir Walter Scott and his family, including his dog Maida:


Here’s an excerpt from a letter he wrote about the painting.  It refers to two dogs – that’s Maida on the left, and you can see the second dog peaking out from behind some legs . . .

LETTER FROM SIR WALTER SCOTT TO SIR ADAM FERGUSON, DESCRIPTIVE OF A PICTURE PAINTED AT ABBOTSFORD BY DAVID WILKIE, ESQ. R. A., AND EXHIBITED AT THE ROYAL ACADEMY IN 1818.

The two dogs were distinguished favorites of the family; the large one was a stag-hound of the old Highland breed, called Maida, and one of the handsomest dogs that could be found; it was a present to me from the chief of Glengary, and was highly valued, both on account of his beauty, his fidelity, and the great rarity of the breed.

Sir Walter’s final resting place is Drybourgh Abbey in Edinburgh.  Here are a couple of pictures of a statue there of Walter & Maida:


The Wiki piece about the town’s name says something about Maida being a dog in one of Sir Walter’s novels.  I can find nothing to substantiate that.

So, here’s my take.  The most logical answer is that Maida ND is named after the town in Italy.  There are thousands of towns in the United States named after European towns.  If I give any credence to the Wiki entry, then the town was named after Sir Walter’s dog.  But think about it.  Naming a town after a dog?

Well, all of this talk of Sir Walter Scott, and I figured I better present at least a quick paragraph from Wiki on who he is (especially if you, like me, are not a scholar of British literature):

Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832) was a Scottish historical novelist and poet, popular throughout Europe during his time.

Scott was the first English-language author to have a truly international career in his lifetime, with many contemporary readers in Europe, Australia, and North America. His novels and poetry are still read, and many of his works remain classics of both English-language literature and of Scottish literature. Famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of The Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor.

That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

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