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Posts Tagged ‘Wallback West Virginia’

Wallbach, West Virginia

Posted by graywacke on November 3, 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 2374; A Landing A Day blog post number 808.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (38o 30.887’N, 81o 12.511’W) puts me in Central West Virginia:

Here’s my local landing map:

Today’s landing is the one to the west (just inside the Clay County line).  The other landing is my recent (9/26/17) landing, documented in my “Clay County” post.   What are the odds of landing in the same county so quickly?  I don’t know, but they’re PDS*.

*Pretty damn slim.

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of the Upper King Shoals Run; on to the Elk River (3rd hit):

Zooming back:

The Elk discharges to the Kanawha (16th hit); on to the Ohio (147th hit).  Not shown, but known by all (OK, almost all), the Ohio makes its way to the Mighty Mississippi (924th hit). 

Let’s jump over to Google Earth, and check out the real estate where the yellow push pin randomly lands.  Click HERE to do so.

Here’s a nice GE shot of my local watershed, the Upper King Shoals Run:

I landed in the woods, so of course there’s not much to see on Street View.  This is closest I could get – where the GoogleMobile dead-ended:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

I’m not sure why the GoogleMobile just stopped shooting all of a sudden . . .

Fortunately, there’s a river road with Street View coverage, so we could get a look at the Upper King Shoals Run just before it discharges to the Elk:

Ain’t much to see:

I was able to get a nearby look at the Elk River:

Here’s the view:

It looks like a cool bridge.  I had the Orange Dude go to the end of the bridge and look back:

Moving right along – as mentioned above, I landed in Clay County recently (a mere seven landings ago).  For that post, I scoured the long list of unincorporated “towns” in the county looking for a hook. 

But I think I missed Wallback, today’s titular town.  From Wiki:

The community is named for John de Barth Walbach, an Alsatian hussar of the French Revolutionary Wars who became an aide to Alexander Hamilton, rose to Adjutant General of the United States during the War of 1812, served in the Army for 57 years and was on active duty until his death at age 90; the oldest acting officer in U.S. history.

“Alsatian hussar?”  What the heck?  So, he was from the Alsace region of eastern France, along the German border.  Historically, Alsace has swung back and forth between France and Germany; in fact, Walbach is a German name. 

Wiki tells us that the term “hussar” is of 15th century Hungarian origin and refers to lightly-armed calvary.  The term came into general European usage in the 18th and 19th century.   

His career was distinguished, as is clear from his official Army eulogy:

“His long life and military career were characterized by some of the best traits of a gentleman and as soldier – unwavering integrity, truth and honor, strict attention to duty and zeal for service; and he tempered the administration of an exact discipline by the most elevated courtesies.”

Also –  I love that the Americanization of “Walbach” is “Wallback.”  Let’s take a quick GE look at Wallback:

And there’s Street View coverage!  I think I’ll get wild and crazy and call this “Mowing the grass in Wallback:”

Here’s some more on Wallback from Wiki:

John de Barth Walbach inherited 10,000 acres on the Elk River (including the land surrounding the town of Wallback) from his father, Count Jean-Joseph de Barth, who led the “French 500” fleeing the French Revolution and founding Gallipolis, Ohio.

I’ll bite.  I checked out Wiki and some other general sources of information about the French Revolution and the French 500.  Here’s my summary:

The French Revolution (1789 through most of the 90s) was a crazy, tumultuous, deadly time.  Although the French monarchy officially ended with the arrest of Louis XVI in August 1792 (he was guillotined the next January), the seeds of the revolution were planted in the late 80s, inspired at least in part by the American Revolution.

The early phase of the uprising culminated on July 14, 1789 when rioters stormed the Bastille fortress in an attempt to secure gunpowder and weapons; many consider this event, now commemorated in France as a national holiday, as the start of the French Revolution.

It wasn’t a good time to be a French aristocrat (or anyone against the revolution).  The first wave of killings of such folks occurred in 1792, culminating in the Reign of Terror (“la Terreur”), a 10-month period in 1793 when suspected enemies of the revolution were guillotined by the thousands.

So, smart loyalists got out early.  That’s where the French 500 come in.  Five ships left France in 1790, filled with loyalist families who had bought shares for land along the Ohio River in what became southeast Ohio.  Their settlement became known as the town of Gallipolis (City of the Gauls). 

From HubPages.com:

Life was not easy for these settlers. Most of them were accustomed to the finer lifestyles of nobleman France, having been part of the upper class of the reign of King Louis XVI. The life in their new colony was rough and basic, but many strove to make it work because the alternative would have been to return to France and possibly face the guillotine.

Before leaving the French Revolution, I felt like I needed to learn how the revolution led so quickly to the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte who came to power sometime around 1800. I didn’t have a clue, until now.  From History.com:

On August 22, 1795, the National Convention, composed largely of Girondins (a moderate revolutionary party), approved a new constitution that created France’s first bicameral legislature. Executive power was in the hands of a five-member Directory (“Directoire”) appointed by parliament.

The Directory’s four years in power were riddled with financial crises, popular discontent, inefficiency and, above all, political corruption. By the late 1790s, the directors relied almost entirely on the military (led by a young general named Napoleon Bonaparte) to maintain their authority.

On November 9, 1799, as frustration with their leadership reached a fever pitch, Bonaparte staged a coup d’état, abolishing the Directory and appointing himself France’s “first consul.” The event marked the end of the French Revolution and the beginning of the Napoleonic era.

There you have it (and I hope you learned something).

So I need to close this admittedly lackluster post with a little music followed by a couple of local-to-my-landing GE Panoramio shots.

Music?  Well, since this is my second WV post in short order, I thought I’d give a listen to “Almost Heaven,” by none other than John Denver.  Poor John.  He has often been dismissed as a light-weight pop singer, which I guess he is.  But I like several of his songs, including this one:

Now on to some GE Pano shots.  First this, by Lawlimoth, of the Elk River:

I close with this classic barn shot by West Virginia Explorer:


That’ll do it . . .




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