October 13, 2011

Setting Foot on Fly Soil



     Up until early afternoon on October 13, 2011, I could I’d never set foot on Fly soil.

     I can’t make that claim anymore.

     On a mid-October 2011 weekend my husband Monte and I took a mini-vacation/research trip  to Galllipolis, Ohio. We drove along Ohio Route 7, which follows the Ohio River downstream from its entrance into Ohio. The river is rooted in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where it is formed at the point where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers merge.

     When it was time to take a rest stop we pulled off the road in a restaurant parking lot.  We’d been looking for a stop with a good photographic view of the river, and this spot proved perfect. We soon discovered that we were stopped at a ferry station.

     We also noticed that we had just entered the town of Fly, Ohio. The ferry took passengers, and their cars, across the Ohio River from Fly to Sistersville, West Virginia.

     While Monte parked the car I meandered down to the river’s edge. Numerous ducks were on the shoreline. As I moved closer to them they flew off, as their ilk is prone to do. Then I looked down river and the view, pieces of which we had seen as we drove along the road, was spectacular. I was able to capture photographs without a lot of marks of civilization in them.

     This was likely the view that the French 500 saw in October, 1790, when they traveled past the future town of Fly to Gallipolis, where they were to become the founding settlers of the second European settlement in the Ohio territory (Marietta was the first European settlement).

     The French 500 had bought what many thought were deeds to the land they were traveling to. They had purchased from an office of the Scioto Company set up in Paris, However, the papers they had in their possession only provided them with an option to purchase the land.

     After what the French discovered were many deceptions they were on the Ohio River traveling to Gallipolis, to a future of being pioneers in a new territory of a new country. What would this new life be like?

     Their voyage along the Ohio River ended on October 17, 1790, when they landed on the steep river bank border of Gallipolis.

     Their travel down the Ohio River offered a welcome respite of calmness and beauty following their difficult  traipse across the Nemacolin Indian Trail in Maryland and Pennsylvania—which involved crossing mountains and rivers—and their difficult life to come as pioneers in Ohio.

     Having been told that Ohio was a Utopia, a land of milk and honey, they left France to escape the French Revolution. Their expectations were high that life would be better when they reached their destination, Gallipolis. Little did they know that the hardships they’d already experienced would continue to confront them and sometimes be considered worse than things would have been if they had remained in France.

     And how foolish, naïve, they were to transport fashionable French clothes and musical instruments rather than axes, nails, and hammers.

     These were my thoughts as I photographed the peaceful Ohio River on October 13, 211 years after the French 500 did.

     While I photographed the river a truck and a car arrived and drove down the cement “driveway” to the water’s edge. They parked, waiting for the ferry that would transport them to Sistersville. We watched (and I photographed) the ferry as it crossed the river to pick up its passengers. It was interesting to see how the ferry was maneuvered into position.

     While traipsing to the river’s edge to I noticed a lone violet blossom peeking up through the brownish-gold leaf ground cover. A vision of hope, a vision of royalty.

     We earmarked the Riverview Restaurant as a breakfast stop on our upcoming travel from Gallipolis to Cleveland Heights, where we were to visit with our son, his wife, and our two grandsons.

UPDATE: Somehow a road was missed, a turn was done wrong, and we didn’t travel through Fly on our way to Cleveland Heights. However, might I suggest that if you are traveling through Fly you could stop to eat there. Let us know about your experience.



The Start of Marietta and Gallipolis in Ohio

The French military in America during the American Revolution Part 1

Native American Warfare on the Western Frontier

ALEXANDRIA, D. C. (Virginia) IN THE 1790s


From the Bastille to Cinderella

Madame Rosalie de la Val: A Character Sketch


1 Comment »

  1. […] FIRST STORY […]

    Pingback by A Fly’s-Eye View of Things | Carolyn's Online Magazine — March 24, 2015 @ 1:34 am | Reply

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