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Mt. Vernon, Indiana

Posted by graywacke on June 23, 2019

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 2448; A Landing A Day blog post number 884.

Dan:  Before getting down to ALAD business, I’d like to say how much I enjoyed seeing you and Anya at your sister’s wedding.  I didn’t do too badly as officiant, eh?  And as I mentioned to you, I’ve been incredibly busy at work, thus explaining my much-longer-than-usual time between posts.  So . . .

Today’s lat/long (N33o 12.424’, W107o 36.585’) puts me in SW Indiana:

 

My local landing map shows that Mount Vernon is pretty much the only game in town:

 

My streams-only map shows that I practically landed in the Cypress Slough, on to the Ohio River (152nd hit).

It goes without saying that all rainfall landing on my landing (that doesn’t evaporate) of course, ends up in the MM (949th hit).

Moving over to Google Earth (GE), you can see that I have pretty decent Street View coverage of my landing.  It looks like the GoogleMobile was headed south on some little road, when the driver realized that he was actually on a driveway that went only to someone’s farm:

Here’s what the Orange Dude sees.

The OD, who has been working for me for years and knows well what to look for, took initiative and found that he could take a look at Cypress Slough:

And here’s what he sees:

The OD needed a little help to find the Ohio River crossing with Street View:

But he was excited to see a tug pushing a string of barges upstream:

A little bit of searching my earlier ALAD posts resulted in this discovery:

Oh my!  I landed just a little over a half mile from a previous landing!  Of course, I checked out landing 1962 – you can, too, by searching for “Mt. Vernon,” where you’ll find my August 2011 post.  In that post (which, of course, is very interesting), I featured Diamond Island, and included this quote:  “In the late eighteenth century, it was a hideout for river pirates, most notably, Samuel Mason and his gang as well as the notorious serial killers, the Harpe Brothers.”

I’m sure you’ll want to learn about the island’s nefarious past . . .

Before moving on to Mt. Vernon, I noticed that there aren’t many bridges over the Ohio River in the vicinity of my landing.  I went to Google Maps, to see what kind of trip was necessary to drive to the Kentucky side of the river, just across from my landing.  Well, here ‘tis:

And then, if heading downstream to cross the Ohio was your cup of tea, here’s the drive:

Now to Mt. Vernon.  This time around, I’m featuring a native son and a native daughter from Mt. Vernon.  Ladies first.

From Wiki, under “Notable People:”

Anna Byford Leonard (1843–?), reformer

Two things.  How is that we know when she born, but not when she died?  Also, she was a “reformer.”  What did she reform?

Her name was Wiki-clickable, so off I went:

Anna Byford Leonard (July 31, 1843 – ) [still unknown death date] was an American reformer, who was the first woman who was appointed sanitary inspector. She also served as president of the Woman’s Canning and Preserving Company.

[Sanitary inspector?  Sounds like a local political job.  I wonder where?  Continuing:]

Anna Byford was born in Mount Vernon, Indiana, July 31, 1843.

In 1889, Leonard was appointed sanitary inspector, being the first woman who ever held that position, and was enabled to carry out many of the needed reforms.

[Same question.  Also, what “needed reforms?”  Continuing:]

It was through her instrumentality, aided by the other five women on the force, that the eight-hour law was enforced, providing that children under fourteen years of age should not work more than eight hours a day. That was enforced in all dry-goods stores.

[Sounds good, but maybe peculiar for a “sanitary inspector.”  Funny that the 8-hr work day was enforced in all dry goods stores.  Tough luck if the kids worked anywhere else!  Continuing:]

Through her endeavors seats were placed in the stores and factories, and the employers were instructed that the girls were to be allowed to sit when not occupied with their duties. She was enabled to accomplish this through the fact that the physicians and women of Chicago were ready to sustain her, and the other fact that her position as a sanitary inspector of the health department made her an officer of the police force, thus giving her authority for any work she found necessary to do.

[Ah, finally!  Now we know she was the Sanitary Inspector for the City of Chicago . . .]

As a result of this eight-hour law, schools were established in some of the stores from 8 to 10 am, giving the younger children, who would spend that time on the street, two hours of solid schooling.

[They started working at 10?  Whatever . . .]

In 1891, Leonard was made president of the Woman’s Canning and Preserving Company, which, after one short year from its organization, she left with a 4-story factory, with a working capital of $40,000.

[And I’m sure she treated her employees well!]

Leonard was an artist of ability, having studied abroad and traveled extensively.  She was a Theosophist.

Theosophist?  From Wiki:

Theosophy is an esoteric religious movement established in the United States during the late nineteenth century. It was founded largely by the Russian émigrée Helena Blavatsky and draws its beliefs predominantly from Blavatsky’s writings.

[Their logo is off to the right.  Don’t worry, that’ not a swastika – it’s backwards.]

As taught by Blavatsky, Theosophy teaches that there is an ancient and secretive brotherhood of spiritual adepts known as Mahatmas, who—although found across the world—are centered in Tibet.

These Masters are believed to have cultivated great wisdom and seemingly-supernatural powers, and Theosophists believe that it was they who initiated the modern Theosophical movement through disseminating their teachings via Blavatsky.

They believe that these Masters are attempting to revive knowledge of an ancient religion once found across the world and which will again come to eclipse the existing world religions.

Theosophical groups do not refer to their system as a “religion”.  As stated in their logo, “There is no religion higher than truth.”  Theosophy preaches the existence of a single, divine Absolute.  Theosophy teaches that the purpose of human life is spiritual emancipation and claims that the human soul undergoes reincarnation upon bodily death according to a process of karma. It promotes values of universal brotherhood and social improvement.

Membership of the Theosophical Society reached its highest peak in 1928, when it had 45,000 members.  It sounds very Buddhist . . .

So, I spent an inordinate amount of internet time trying to find the date (and cause) of Anna Byford Leonard’s death.  Strangely, no obituary, no luck.

Back to Wiki Notable People:

Frederick Charles Leonard (1896-1960), astronomer.

How about that, another Leonard!  I wonder if he’s related in some way to Anna, although “Leonard” is her married name and Mr. Leonard was from Chicago . . .

From Wiki:

Frederick Charles Leonard was an American astronomer. As a faculty member at UCLA, he conducted extensive research on double stars and meteorites, largely shaping the university’s Department of Astronomy.

Leonard was born in Mount Vernon, Indiana in 1896 and moved with his family to Chicago in about 1900.  From the age of eight, he showed great interest in the stars and by early adolescence had become an active amateur astronomer. In 1909 (at age 13) he attended the annual meeting of the Astronomical and Astrophysical Society of America. The same year, he organized the Society for Practical Astronomy (SPA),[6] a national amateur organization.

Leonard was a prolific writer and by the age of 14 had attracted the attention of numerous publishers.  He authored a year-long series of articles titled “Mr. Leonard’s Star Colors” in a popular international science magazine of the time – The English Mechanic and World of Science.

Quite the precocious kid!

So anyway, he researched double stars, which were unknown in the early part of the 20th century, and also studied meteorites, founding the Meteoritical Society (still active today, with over 1,000 worldwide members).  The Society awards an annual Leonard Medal, named in his honor.

Perhaps more interestingly, he was one of the first astronomers to hypothesize the existence of the Kuiper belt.  The Kuiper Belt includes far flung (beyond Neptune) solar system objects including Pluto, other rocky planetoids and a gazillion comets.  From Wiki:

In 1930, soon after Pluto’s discovery by Clyde Tombaugh, Leonard pondered whether it was “not likely that in Pluto there has come to light the first of a series of ultra-Neptunian bodies, the remaining members of which still await discovery but which are destined eventually to be detected”.

As I wrap this up, I must say that I had a tough time finding a decent scenery photo on GE.  As much as I hate to cross state lines, that’s just what I did, finding this picture by Travel KY, posted just across the Ohio River:

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2019 A Landing A Day

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Mt. Vernon, Indiana

Posted by graywacke on August 27, 2011

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-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 in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  Wow.  An eastern state.  A USer.  A nice change of pace as I landed in .  . . IN; 17/23; 3/10; 11; 158.1.  Here’s my landing map, showing that I landed right along the Ohio R, near the town of Mt. Vernon:

Here’s a broader view, showing that I landed in far southern IN:

Here’s my GE shot showing that I landed right on the edge of a farm field along a little drainage-way that heads into the river:

I hardly need to go through my watersheds, but I always do.  I landed in the Ohio R watershed (122nd hit); on to the MM (773rd hit).

Here’s a StreetView shot looking SW towards my landing, which is about 2/3 of mile away:

This, about Mt. Vernon from Wiki:

Mt. Vernon was named for George Washington‘s plantation at Mt. Vernon.  That name derives from Edward Vernon, a British naval hero, under whom Washington’s half-brother served, and in whose honor Rule Britannia was written.

How about that!  George Washington’s hometown was named after a British Naval Hero.  A little irony there . . .

As you can see on my landing map, I landed right next to a big island out in the river – Diamond Island (it’s the land on the other side of the river you see on my GE shot).  Here’s a page about Diamond Island  from the Ohio River Guidebook by Jerry Hay:

 

And this, from Wiki about Diamond Island:

Diamond Island is an island in the Ohio River. It has an area of about one half square mile. In the late eighteenth century, it was a hideout for river pirates, most notably, Samuel Mason and his gang as well as notorious serial killers, the Harpe Brothers.

Diamond Island is also known as the site of the Diamond Island Massacre:

In 1803, Barnard family was emigrating from Virginia when one son, James, shot a deer on the bank. The family landed the boat to retrieve the deer and were ambushed by ten Native Americans, who were hiding in the canebrake. The first to board the boat was killed by Mrs. Barnard with an axe. Mr. Barnard killed shot two before he was killed. The son, James, ran away with a corn knife, pursued by two. When one fell behind, James turned to fight, and the last pursuer fled.

When James returned to the boat, his mother and father lay dead, and his two younger brothers and one sister were missing. What became of the three children was never known.

OK, so Wiki decided to feature the rather grim story about the Barnard Family.  I Googled Barnard and Diamond Island, and there is only one reference – a book by Harold Allison entitled “The Tragic Saga of the Indiana Indians.”  I went to Amazon, and there it is.  It can be yours if you’re willing to pay the purchase price – a mere $322.  OK, OK, that’s the price for a new book.  If you’re willing to settle for a used book, it’s a bargain at only $122.

I have to admit I’m a little suspicious about the validity of the story.  It seems to me that if it really happened, there would be more than one internet reference . . .

Anyway, moving right along to the notorious serially-killing Harpe brothers.  Here are some excerpts from “Jon’s Southern Illinois History Page”, by Jon Musgrave:

Two centuries ago this fall a murder spree began stretching from the Cumberland Gap in westernmost Virginia to Cave-in-Rock and Potts Spring in southeastern Illinois.

During the next nine months the murderers killed at least 40 men, women and children on the frontier until a posse caught up with the killers and took the leader’s head on Aug. 24, 1799. Known as the brothers Micajah and Wiley Harpe, the two started out life as first cousins William and Joshua Harpe. In addition to their other aliases, frontier historians simply remembered them as Big and Little Harpe.

James Hall, a Philadelphia native and judge in Shawneetown during the 1820s, wrote the first histories about the characters. His introduction from his 1828 “Letters from the West” serves best for the story:

“Many years ago, two men, named Harpe, appeared in Kentucky, spreading death and terror wherever they went. Little else was known of them but that they passed for brothers, and came from the borders of Virginia. They had three women with them, who were treated as wives, and several children, with whom they traversed the mountainous and thinly settled parts of Virginia into Kentucky marking their course with blood. Their history is wonderful, as well from the number and variety, as the incredible atrocity of their adventures…”

Click here to check out Jon’s full article, which tells the whole story . . .

The other bad guy associated with Diamond Island is Samuel Mason.  He was more of a run-of-the-mill river pirate, not killing folks willy-nilly like the Harpes.  They did operate on the river at the same time, and apparently knew each other.  In fact, according to Wiki, Sam Mason died when he was with one of the Harpe brothers:

While being transported back up river, Mason and gang member John Sutton (aka Wiley Harpe) overpowered their guards and escaped, with Mason being shot in the head during the escape.

I’ll close with this nice Panaramio shot of the Ohio from Henderson KY, just upstream from my landing (by “MasterPoopie”):

 

That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2011 A Landing A Day

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