Omaha Beach, A Covered Wagon, and the Legends of Wade

“He tolde a tale of Wade”
Chaucer: Troilus and Criseyde

Weyland the Smith, son of Wade, whose swords and metal work were legendary. Some mythology says he created Excaliber.

What if you discovered you were the descendant of a king and a mermaid? If you have a nodding acquaintance with common sense you’ll probably snigger, but go on and enjoy the tale. That’s what I’ve done. Not only that, I tell people I’m a descendant of a king and a mermaid. I mean, how often can you know for a fact that people are listening when you talk? Well. This is the way to do it.

The WADE surname originates in Norse mythology, and is of Teutonic and Scandinavian origin. The name in the north countries have been written as Wada, Woden, and is thought to derive from the Norse mythology of Odin. The surname WADE has since spread throughout many countries.

The tale of the king and the mermaid is well-known in mythological circles.

The Tale of King Vilkinus and the Mermaid

One day a certain king Vilkinus was walking through the forest when he was stopped by a young woman. Later they met again when she rose out of the sea and stopped his boat.  She told him she was to bear his child and was taken on board.  After the child’s birth, she disappeared.

The child was named Vathe (Wade) and grew up to be a giant with an affinity for the ocean.  Later Wade had a son [Weland or Wayland] and the saga also recalls how Wade forded [wade-d] the deep channel of Groenasund between two Danish islands, with his little Weland on his shoulder. [Quoted from]

Folktales abound about the exploits of the Germanic hero WADE and is mentioned in early English literature. The actual surname WADE is found even before the Battle of Hastings on 1066 and is associated with geographical places near water. — As early as 798 A.D. there were one or more famous Anglo-Saxon chiefs named WADE — The Wade Genealogy, by Stuart C. Wade.

 Most likely the name WADE, and subsequent English folklore, came with the Viking raids. They not only took, but gave in return. Consequently the appearance of little fair-haired bairns (babies, or children) throughout the isle.

In medieval literature, the name WADE is mentioned along with Sir Lancelot, including the renowned Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory. In the legend of Sir Bevis of Hampton, it is written that Wade and Sir Lancelot fought a fire drake [dragon) together.

Some stories are thought to be true. At least they are being eyed by archaeologists and other lore diggers. One WADE who has defied being penned down by history was a certain Scot or Pict chief or leader who is said to have breached the Roman Wall, better known as Hadrian’s Wall, which was a 73-mile stone wall between 13 and 15 ft. high.

Thumbnail for FacebookHadrian’s Wall today

It is known that in 798 a Duke Wade helped lead a conspiracy against the Anglo-Saxon King Ethelred, which ended in the King’s death. When a battle ensued at Langbo Fell in Lancashire, Wade and his co-conspirators were routed. Camden’s “Britania” (1695) writes this about Duke Wade:

“Hard by upon a steep hill near the sea [which lies between two hills that are even higher], a castle of Wada (Wade), a Saxon duke, is said to have stood with those who murdered King Ethered . . . was routed and forced to fly for it. Afterwards he died and was buried on a hill between two hard stones about seven feet high, which being at 12 foot distance from one another, occasions that he was a giant of a man in bulk and stature.”

Leland’s “Itinerary” (Vol 1 pg 59) says, “Mulgrave Castle near Scarborough in Yorkshire stands upon a craggy hill, and on each side of it is an hill far higher than that whereon the castle stands. The north hill on top of it hath certain stones called Wade’s Grave, (or Wadde’s Grave) whom people there say to have been a giant and the owner of Mulgrave.”

A Covered Wagon and Omaha Beach

Anyway, whether folklore, legend, or simply a ghost of truth hidden in the thick mists of time, those are the earliest instances of the surname Wade.

A picture that is said to be Henry Wade – born circa 1793 – died 1855 – Veteran of the War of 1812 — resided with his wife Tempe Jordan in Habersham County, Georgia

I am a descendant of Henry Wade, who was born about 1795 in North Carolina. Henry served in the War of 1812, became ill, and one leg was amputated, probably below the knee. So naturally I’m interested in the origin of the surname WADE.

My ancestor, Edie Matilda Wade, daughter of Henry, was over 80 years old when she traveled by wagon from Marshall County, Alabama, to Tyler, Texas, sometime shortly after 1900. She died in 1905 and is buried in Tyler where many of her descendants live and work.

In another war in the past century, World War II, another Wade fought the dragons of Omaha Beach in the Normandy Invasion. He was wounded shortly after landing on the beach and laid there for three days waiting for medics to get to him and others in his platoon. His name was Colquitt Jasper “Collie” Wade. One of the three Purple Hearts Collie Wade received was personally delivered to him by General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Yes. Giants once walked the earth. They did at Omaha Beach.

I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith. II Timothy 4:7

The story of Collie Wade at Omaha Beach, was graciously submitted to me by his son, Bruce Wade, who is my third cousin. I had photos from his site, but they don’t seem to stay on my blog. I’ll have to see what the problem is.

Thank you, Bruce. And thanks to all the great cousins on our Henry Wade Genealogy Forum who so graciously share their family photos and information. You are all a fine bunch and I’m proud to call you family



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