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Zebulon, Georgia

Posted by graywacke on January 29, 2009

First time visitors, I suggest you check out “About Landing,” above.

Dan –  Well, after two AZs in a row, the LG has skedattled back to the good ol’ SE . . GA; 25/32; 5/10; 9; 166.5.

I landed in the Flint R watershed (4th hit); on to the Apalachicola (6th hit); on to the G of M.

I landed near the little crossroads town of Meansville, and just a little further from the more substantial town of Zebulon.  Here’s a map:


As you may recall, I’ve landed near various round towns in GA before, and Zebulon is certainly round.  As I recall, I could only find some lame explanation that had something to do with making sure that the railroad station was in the center of town.

Here’s a broader map view showing Zebulon:


Meansville is totally GD; Zebulon’s not much better, but they do have their own website:

City of Zebulon

Zebulon, the county seat of Pike County, was incorporated November 25, 1825. The city and county are named after Zebulon M. Pike, a hero of the War of 1812, explorer of the Louisiana Territory, and discoverer of Pike’s Peak in Colorado.

The Pike County courthouse in Zebulon was built in 1895 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

There have been two motion pictures filmed in Zebulon: Murder in Coweta County (1982) starring Andy Griffith and Johnny Cash and Tank (1983) starring James Garner. Both of these movies were filmed on the city square because of the courthouse’s historic features.

It is a very nice courthouse:


So, of course, I Googled Zebulon Pike.  It turns out he was a bit of a ne’er do well, although he led a very full (although short) life.  I found his involvement in the war of 1812 to be the most compelling story in his life.  This from a National Park Service website:

Pike’s chance for personal glory came when war was declared on Great Britain in 1812. He was promoted brigadier general in 1813, and given immediate command of troops slated to assault York, the capital of Upper Canada (today’s Toronto). His force of 1,700 men was ferried across Lake Ontario from Sackett’s Harbor, New York, and prepared to attack the 800 man garrison at York, which guarded important storehouses and government buildings

On April 27, 1813, Pike led the amphibious assault. There was light resistance at the landing place, but this was by design. The British commander, Maj. Gen. R.H. Sheaffe, had constructed and concealed a huge explosive mine, and hoped to lure the Americans off the beach and over the position of the mine before it was detonated.

The mine went off prematurely, however, and killed 42 British soldiers and 52 American soldiers; another 180 were wounded.  Gen. Pike was fatally wounded by a heavy rock thrown up by the mine, which pierced his back.  He was 34 years old.

The American forces won the day, but the treachery of the mine and the death of Pike put them in a vindictive mood. Someone began to set fire to all of the public buildings, burning them to the ground. The British army paid the Americans back a year later by burning the White House and U.S. Capitol in Washington in 1814.

Pike had always expected the possibility of death in battle. He wrote to his father: “If we go into Canada, you will hear of my fame or of my death – for I am determined to seek the ‘Bubble’ even in the cannon’s mouth.”

I’m always amazed by the beastiality of war; this is yet another example.  Anyway, I wonder what Zebulon meant by the “Bubble?”  Intriguing, eh?  It seems to me as though his concept of “bubble”  may have something to do with duty and obligation (or something more vague like an ethereal goodness).

Anyway, I don’t know why Pike County Georgia and the town of Zebulon are named after Zebulon Pike.  I can find no connection whatsoever.

Searching for a little more local information, I expanded my search to Barnesville (about 12 miles east of my landing).  Here’s a cool shot of FDR in Barnesville:


It turns out that FDR visited Warm Springs in 1924 (about 20 miles SW of my landing) as part of his polio therapy.  He soon became attached to the Georgia countryside and people, and ended up making many trips there.  In fact, between 1924 and 1940, he made 37 trips to Georgia.  The picture shows him making a speech as President in 1938 at the Gordon Military College (in front of 30,000 people), talking about the beginning of electrical service to local rural customers — made possible through the efforts of the Rural Electrification Administration.




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