January 26, 2012

Group Seeking to Return One of Only Three Remaining Pheasant Airplanes to Birthplace



Dr. Harlo Donelson stands in front of a H-10 Pheasant biplane that is housed in New York. Efforts are underway to buy the plane and return it to Memphis, where it was originally manufactured.


More than 80 years ago, a group of area residents joined forces to help the community take flight, literally. Now, numerous community boosters with similar vision are making every effort to land a piece of this town's history back home for good.

In the late 1920's Memphis was home to the Pheasant Airplane Company. An untimely accident and a financial downturn that devastated the entire nation, made the venture short lived. Despite its brief tenure as the community's top manufacturer, the airplane builders put Memphis on the map.

On a recent trip to New York, a local dentist discovered that a big piece of this local history could be had for the right price.

Dr. Harlo Donelson took time out his Christmas trip to visit his son, to do some special sight-seeing. Doc had learned of a fully-functional Pheasant airplane, which was on display at the Bayport Aerodrome Museum.

"There are only three of these planes still in existence as far as anyone can tell," said Donelson. "One is in Wisconsin, one in Canada and this one in New York. Not only did I get to see her, but I got to touch her and boy is she a beauty."

As his words demonstrate, Donelson quickly fell in love with the plane. Anyone that knows Doc, knows he is not shy when it comes to promoting his community. Before he had departed the hangar, the plan had been hatched to return the plane to its birthplace.

"Somehow, some way, we are going to get that gal back to Memphis," Donelson stated.

Just weeks after returning to Memphis, the tales of the plane and its availability had led to the formation of a committee to make the dream come true.

Local pilot Fred Clapp is heading up the group that consists of numerous other flyers and community boosters.

The first task at hand will be raising the estimated $75,000 it will take to purchase the plane from owner Tim Dahlen of Vintage Aero Collection.

The plane was originally restored by Bill Schwenk of Southampton, NY. According to a November 22, 2007 article in the Southampton Press, the then 94-year-old sold the plane to Dahlen and his partner, Ed Katzen. As part of the transaction, Dahlen concluded the 77-year journey for the former owner, by taking Schwenk for a flight in the 1927 biplane.

Schwenk reportedly had purchased the plane back in 1930 from a Southampton junkyard for the price of $50. Over the years, the new owner worked to restore the plane, ultimately completing the task, but not before his age prevented him from flying it himself.

The news article indicated the plane had been owned by an East Hampton family, but following a crash, was sold to the junkyard, where it was reclaimed by Schwenk in 1930.

While it took nearly 80 years for the plane to change ownership for the third time in its life, local boosters are hoping the fourth transaction occurs much more rapidly.

At a January 14 meeting of interested parties, a steering committee was formed with Clapp, Fred Cordray, Jason Glass and Stan Myers charged with organizing a governing board and seeking 501c3 IRS status as a tax exempt entity.

A fund raising committee was also established with members Ronnie Brown, H Middleton, Peggy Brown and Laura Schenk. A checking account has been established for the group and donations are already pouring in.

Another key task for the group will be transportation and storage if the plane's purchase can be secured. Glass and Larry Wiggins were assigned the duty of identifying suitable temporary storage as well as determining requirements for a permanent display location.

The group will meet again on January 27 at the Scotland County Rotary Building at 6 p.m. New members and prospective donors are encouraged to attend.

Airplane Builder Plays Big, Albeit Brief, Part in Memphis History



A local pilot's teaching abilities at the outset of our nation's aeronautical era likely were at the root of one of the area's historical highlights.

In the 1920s, prospective flyers from across the nation were traveling to Memphis to study under the tutelage of pilot Lee R. Briggs, who opened a flight school in 1925. The pages of the Memphis Democrat and the Memphis Reveille, the region's two newspapers at that time, are filled with stories of reports of Briggs's exploits as a flyer and a teacher of the skill with students coming from as far away as Canada.

Once trained in the art of flying, the new pilots offered a captive market for airplane sales. Early on, the news stories indicate Briggs filled the needs by buying and selling the vehicles, but ultimately the idea was born to build a better plane right here in Memphis.

News broke in the June 6, 1927 edition of the Memphis Democrat of plans to form the Pheasant Airplane Corporation to build a new biplane designed by Orville Hickman of Lomax, IL.

The new business was housed in the garage of the Briggs & Son Ford dealership on the northeast corner of the Memphis square (the current Payne Funeral Chapel property).

The first model H-10 biplane "rolled off the assembly line" in August and pilot Harold Phillips was the first to take a Memphis-made plane airborne, as reported in the August 18, 1927 Memphis Reveille. Shortly after, well-known local pilot Leslie Smith, put the plane to a full test of stunts, "pronouncing the Pheasant as superior to any plane in its class."

A full-page ad in Aviation magazine resulted in hundreds of inquiries about the plane, and within months a number of contracts were arranged for salesmen to handle dealership rights in states across the Midwest.

By October 1927, the newspaper reported seven planes had been contracted for construction, and by November of that year the workforce at the plant had more than doubled to 25 employees, with projected output of a plane per week.

Tragedy struck the company in December, when founder Lee Briggs and a student, Otis Oliver, of Versailles, OH, were killed when they fell an estimated 1000 feet from a plane, that later crash landed.

A December 8, 1927 article in the Memphis Democrat indicated that Oliver was piloting the plane, and reportedly banked the plane too sharply, causing it to overturn and ejecting the two pilots.

Inspections by the U.S. Army and the Commerce Department ruled the accident was no fault of the plane, and manufacturing continued despite the resignation of Hickman. W. H. Raines was elected the new board president.

The company became bogged down awaiting official approval from the federal government's aviation department to certify and approve the planes design, which finally was received in April of 1928.

While waiting, in March of 1928, the company relocated to the O.O. North Building (the current Tri-State Used Furniture building) west of the southwest corner of the square.



Craftsmen work on wing assembly for a Pheasant H-10 bi-plane being constructed in Memphis. This photo was taken in the new workshop, located on the second floor of what is now the Tri-State Used Furniture Store.


Well known Wisconsin pilot, S. J. Wittman, arrived in Memphis in April and quickly became a champion of the Memphis-built planes. He became one of the company's leading salesman, as more than half a dozen Pheasants were flown home to Wisconsin buyers. Other planes were sold, including one that ultimately landed in Prince Alberta-Saskatoon, Canada.

Despite the solid sale numbers, the company fell into a capital crunch, and investors decided to offer the corporation for sale as opposed to extending further local investments. In July of 1928, a call was made for added stock sales to raise the capital investments from $10,000 to $40,000.

Meanwhile Wittman was gaining national notoriety for the Pheasant. He entered his plane in a trans-continental race from Long Island to Los Angeles, and finished ninth, despite featuring one of the race's smaller horse-powered motor.

Despite some limited initial success in reorganizing the company under local stockholders, the Pheasant Airplane Company was ultimately sold to T.W. Meiklejohn of Fondulac, Wisconsin, an associate of Wittman. The plant was relocated to Fondulac in May of 1929, but reportedly no planes were ever built there following the stock market crash later that year that took its toll on commerce across the nation and the Great Depression began.

Leo Brown of Memphis reported in documentation on file with the Scotland County Library, that a total of 37 Pheasant bi-planes were built in Memphis.

Similar history provided by former plant worker Herb Prather, seems to affirm those numbers, as his documented estimates were 30-36 planes built in Memphis. Correspondence from Wittman to Prather in April of 1980, did dispute the fact that no planes were built in Wisconsin, as the former test pilot, informed Prather that he believed three new ships were built in Wisconsin. Further investigation may have revealed that these were the new monoplane version, whose prototype was developed in Memphis.

Of the estimated three dozen H-10's built in Memphis, only three are believed to remain. One is on display at the EAA's Pioneer Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, near the site of the transplanted factory. The second is on display at the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon, Canada. The third, currently in New York, hopefully will be on display in Memphis in the not-too-distant future.

Lady Tigers Drop Two of Three at Schuyler Tourney

 

Maddie Brassfield slides into second base.

Maddie Brassfield slides into second base.

After dropping two of three games at the Schuyler County Tournament on Saturday, the Scotland County softball program returned from Lancaster under the .500 mark on the season with a 7-8 record.

SCR-I got off to a  horrible start Saturday morning. After leaving the bases loaded in the top of the first, Knox County jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the frame, taking advantage of a pair of SCR-I errors as well as a home run.

Chelsea Wood singled and Stevi See walked with two outs in the third inning before Ashleigh Creek cracked a triple to trim the deficit to 5-2.

Another two-out rally in the sixth inning made the final score 5-3. Kaylyn Anders singled and scored when Abby Blessing reached on an error.

Creek pitched six innings, allowing just one earned run on seven hits and a walk while striking out five.

Wood went 2-3 with a walk and a run scored. Creek was 1-2 with two RBIs.

In game two, freshman Kaitlin McMinn got her first varsity pitching victory as SCR-I rallied for a 9-5 win over Brashear.

SCR-I fell behind 4-0 before Wood and See singled in the third and scored on a two-run hit by Creek.

The fifth inning put SCR-I over the top as Abi Feeney reached on an error and scored on a double by Wood. Creek added an RBI triple before Maddie Brassfield was hit by a pitch and scored on a base hit by Abby Blessing to make the score 6-5.

Creek took over in relief and notched the save with two scoreless innings of work.

Abby Blessing fires in a throw from center field.

Abby Blessing fires in a throw from center field.

SCR-I tacked on three more runs in sixth. Wood and See singled in front of a three-run homer by Creek to make the final score 9-5.

McMinn allowed two earned runs in four innings of work on four hits and three walks.

Creek struck out four in two innings of relief. She was 3-4 at the plate with six RBI and finished a single short of the cycle after hitting a double, triple and homer.

Wood was 3-4 and See went 2-4 as SCR-I finished with 10 hits after a slow start.

The consolation game slipped away from Scotland County as the host team broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning en route to the 5-4 win.

Schuyler County took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on an SCR-I error.

Abi Feeney singled and came in to score when Wood reached on an error to trim the deficit to 2-1.

Creek singled in the fourth inning and courtesy runner Hailey Darcy stole second base and came in to score when Anders reached on an error.

In the sixth, Creek smacked her second homer of the day to trim the lead to 5-3.

Katie Feeney squeezes a throw at first base on the bunt attempt.

Katie Feeney squeezes a throw at first base on the bunt attempt.

Julie Long reached on an error to start the seventh and pinch runner Khloe Hamlin stole second before scoring when Abi Feeney reached on an error. Wood doubled but SCR-I stranded the winning run at second base as the Rams held on for the 5-3 win.

Creek took the loss, despite not allowing an earned run. She held Schuyler County to five hits and three walks while striking out seven.

Lady Tigers Knock Off Novinger 15-1

abi-novinger

After a slow start Monday night, the Scotland County softball team came on strong late to close out Novinger 15-1 in five innings of play in Memphis.

Abi Feeney was hit by a pitch to lead off the game and stole second base. She scored on an RBI single to give SCR-I a 1-0 lead.

Stevi See reached on an error and scored on an RBI ground out by Creek in the third to extend the lead to 2-0.

Novinger trimmed the deficit to 2-1 in the top of the fourth inning when a walk  led to a run on a wild pitch.

But SCR-I closed the door on any rally with a huge fourth inning that saw the Lady Tigers send 17 batters to the plate en route to scoring 13 runs.

Abby Blessing and Katie Feeney had RBI singles to start the rally before Abi Feeney delivered an RBI triple. Chelsea Wood followed with a double  before Creek drove in another run with a two-bagger. See also contributed an RBI single during the onslaught.

Creek finished off the five-inning no-hitter with a one-two-three inning to record the victory. The junior allowed one run on no hits and three walks while striking out 11.

SCR-I improved to 8-8 on the season with the win.

Rams Outlast Lady Tigers 2-1 In Defensive Battle

Shortstop Abi Feeney makes a throw to first from her knees after one of her several nice defensive plays at Lancaster.

Shortstop Abi Feeney makes a throw to first from her knees after one of her several nice defensive plays at Lancaster.

Tuesday night saw an old-fashioned pitching duel in Lancaster backed up with plenty of defensive gems. Unfortunately for the Lady Tigers, Schuyler County was the last one standing in the 2-1 defeat.

Scotland County took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Abi Feeney led off with a walk. With two outs, she was able to score all the way from first base when Ashleigh Creek reached on an error on an errant throw from third base that got by the first baseman.

Schuyler County came right back in the bottom of the frame. The Rams led off the inning with a blooper that landed and died between the pitcher and home plate for an infield single. After a wild pitch and a sacrifice bunt, Megan Haley delivered an RBI ground out to knot the score at 1-0.

After that point, pitchers Ashleigh Creek and Dystine Priebe locked horns, putting up zeros on the scoreboard.

Ashleigh Creek fields a bunt and fires to Katie Feeney at first base to record the out.

Ashleigh Creek fields a bunt and fires to Katie Feeney at first base to record the out.

SCR-I managed a base runner each inning until the sixth, but was unable to advance anyone past first base. Julie Long singled in the second, but was stranded. Stevi See and Abby Blessing walked in the third and fourth innings before Abi Feeney got a base hit in the fifth, but Priebe worked out of the jams, in large part thanks to nine strikeouts.

Her defense helped out a bit, as center fielder Brooke Whitton made a fine running grab in deep center field to rob Creek of extra bases in the third and Haley made a nice catch to rob Chelsea Wood of a hit in the fifth.

Creek matched the zeroes, albeit with a little more effort, struggling a bit with wild pitches that had the Lady Rams with runners in scoring position every inning.

Priebe singled and moved to second on a wild pitch in the second inning. Abi Feeney ended the threat with a diving grab on a line between short and third base.

The senior shortstop made back-to-back put outs in the third to leave a runner at third base. Maddie Brassfield then made a defensive gem at first base to end the threat in the fourth.

Schuyler County finally broke through for the winning run in the fifth inning. A leadoff single followed by a passed ball and a wild pitch allowed the Rams to score on a sacrifice fly.

Long smacked a one-out single in the seventh, her second hit of the contest, but Priebe closed out the rally to secure the 2-1 win for Schuyler County.

Scotland County fell to 6-5 on the season and 4-3 in the Lewis & Clark Conference.

Creek pitched six innings and allowed two runs, one earned on five hits and no walks while striking out three.

Priebe held SCR-I to just three hits and three walks over seven innings, surrendering just the one unearned run.

Rutledge School Building Sold

rutledge-web

The Village of Rutledge sold the school to the Restoration Society for $1.00 on Tuesday, September 20th at 12:00 p.m.  Those at the closing were Society members L to R Lyle Otte, Reva Hustead, Charlene Montgomery, Gwen Ludwick, Bob Hunolt, Dorothy Hunolt, Elaine Forrester, Betty Lodewegan, Lynn McClamroch,  (Keith Zimmerman and Carol McCabe from the Village) and Leon Trueblood.

Grand Hall Singspiration in Memphis

by-grace-ministry-web

The Rabers, part of the By Grace Ministry, will be hosting a Grand Hall Singspiration in Memphis at the Grand Hall, across from the BP Station, 418 E. Grand, on Sunday, October 2nd at 7:15 p.m.  They are also hosting a Men of Valor men’s meeting on Monday, October 3rd at 7:15 p.m.  Everyone is welcome and admission is a free will offering.  For more information about the By Grace Ministry, visit www.bygraceministry.com.

Area Children Enjoy Games at Annual Rutledge Fall Festival

The annual Rutledge Fall Festival was held Saturday, September 17th and several area children enjoyed participating in various games.  Karl DeMarce emceed the games this year.

Balloon Toss winners in the six to eight division included Trevor and Evan Tague (1st), Kadence Burnett (2nd), and Craig Pflum and Cole Mazziotti and Nina Knepp (tied for 3rd).  In the nine and over division winners were Owen and Lucas Durflinger (1st), Hunter Holt and Aden Aldridge (2nd), and Aaron McDaniel and Hugh Baker (3rd).

Shoe Kick winners in the five and under division were Natalie Tague (1st), Travis Tague (2nd), and Ethan Pflum (3rd).  In the six to eight division winners were Evan Tague (1st), Cole Mazziotti (2nd), and Nina Knepp, Trevor Tague and Cole Pflum (3rd).  In the nine and over division winners were Owen Triplett (1st), Riley Small (2nd), and Lucas Durflinger (3rd).

Running Race winners in the five and under division were Landon Davis (1st), Kinze Mallett and Travis Tague (2nd), and Natalie Tague (3rd).  In the six to eight division winners were Kaden See (1st), Cole Mazziotti (2nd), and Evan Tague and Nina Knepp (3rd).  In the nine and over division winners were Owen Triplett (1st), Hunter Holt (2nd), and Lucas Durflinger (3rd).

Egg Race winners in the five and under girls’ division were Kenzie Mallett (1st), Nora Guthrie (2nd), and Natalie Tague (3rd).  In the boys’ division winners were Travis Tague (1st), James Guthrie (2nd), and Clay White (3rd).  In the six to eight girls’ division, winners were Natalie Howerton (1st), Kayla Pflum (2nd), and Tegan Mallett (3rd).  Boys’ division winners were Trevor Tague (1st), Kadence Burnett (2nd), and Craig Pflum (3rd).  In the nine and over division, winners were Braydon Tietjens (1st), Aden Aldridge (2nd), and Owen Triplett and Lucas Durflinger (3rd).

Afternoon games included a Kiddie Tractor Pull, Tug-of-War Race and the Shirley Chancellor Memorial Hot Cookie Race.

SCR-I School Menus

Breakfast

Thursday, Sept. 29 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Friday, September 30 – Sausage/Gravy Biscuits, Choice of Cereal, Blueberry Muffin, Banana, Juice/Milk

Monday, October 3 – Waffles, Choice of Cereal, Cinnamon Biscuit, Apple Wedges, Juice/Milk

Tuesday, October 4 –Cinnamon Rolls, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Half, Juice/Milk

Wednesday, October 5 – Ham/Cheese/Croissant, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Fruit Medley, Juice/Milk

Thursday, October 6 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Lunch

Thursday, Sept. 29 – Spaghetti/Meat Sauce, Chicken Wrap, Hamburger Bar, Green Beans, Garlic Bread, Sliced Peaches, Fresh Fruit

Friday, September 30 – Sack Lunch Today – HOMECOMING

Monday, October 3 – Chicken Ala King/Biscuit, Juicy Burger/Bun, 5th/6th Grade Chef Salad, Onion Rings, Peas, Mandarin Orange Slices, Fresh Fruit

Tuesday, October 4 – Cheeseburger/Bun, Tenderloin/Bun, 5th/6th Grade Taco Bar, Oven Ready Fries, Tomato Slices and Pickles, Applesauce, Fresh Fruit

Wednesday, October 5 –Country Fried Steak, Chicken Alfredo, 5th/6th Grade Potato Bar, Whipped Potatoes/Gravy, Broccoli/Cheese Sauce, Dinner Roll, Sliced Pears

Thursday, October 6 – Beef ‘N’ Tator Bake, Chicken Wrap, Hamburger Bar, Green Beans, Dinner Roll, Pineapple Tidbits, Fresh Fruit

Scotland County Senior Nutrition Center

MENU

Thursday, Sept. 29 – BBQ or Plain Pork/Bun, French Fries, Cauliflower Blend Veggies, Mandarin Oranges, Cake

Friday, September 30 – Hot Beef Sandwich, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Coleslaw, Buttered Carrots, Pudding

Monday, October 3 – Juicy Burger/Bun, French Fries, Mixed Vegetables, Cottage Cheese, Peaches

Tuesday, October 4 – Roast Pork/Stuffing/Gravy, Sauerkraut, Green Beans, Slice Bread, Cake

Wednesday, October 5 – Chicken Strips, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Buttered Carrots, Hot Roll, Fruit Salad

Thursday, October 6 – Meatloaf, Macaroni Salad, Buttered Broccoli, Applesauce, Bread, Glazed Donut

ACTIVITIES

Thursday, Sept. 29 – Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 6 – Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Special 100-Year Homecoming Services This Weekend at First Christian Church

The Memphis First Christian Church will be hosting Homecoming Services to celebrate the completion of the current church building (located on corner of Jones and Main Streets) which was completed in 1916.  The celebration will take place this weekend –  September 30- October 1-2, 2016.

Phillip Gore and Tim Hawkins former ministers of the Memphis First Christian Church will be the speakers for the Sunday, October 2, morning worship service, and former Memphis resident Terry Rush will speak at the closing service on Sunday afternoon.  Following the morning service, there will be a luncheon served.

There will also be services on Friday, September 30, beginning at 7:00 with a “Linger Longer” fellowship time after the service.  On Saturday, October 1, there will be a barbecue at 5:00 with services beginning at 6:30.

Special music for the services will be provided by the Gateway Singers and Paul Burton and Mercy’s Bridge Band, a country gospel group.  The Planning Committee for the Church Homecoming Celebration will share historical information about First Christian Church as part of the three special services.

Members of the community are cordially invited to attend all of the services and meals for the celebration.

Mayor Reckenberg Proclaims Constitution Week, Sept. 17 – 23, 2016 in Memphis

Memphis Mayor William Reckenberg was joined by members of the Jauflione Chapter of the NSDAR to sign a proclamation declaring Constitution Week in Memphis.

Memphis Mayor William Reckenberg was joined by members of the Jauflione Chapter of the NSDAR to sign a proclamation declaring Constitution Week in Memphis.

On Friday, September 23, 2016, Mayor William Reckenberg signed and issued a proclamation announcing September 17 through 23, 2016 to be Constitution Week in Memphis, and asks our citizens to reaffirm the ideals the Framers of the Constitution had in 1787.

The Proclamation reads as follows:

Whereas, September 17, 2016 marks the two hundred and twenty-ninth anniversary of the drafting of the Constitution of the United States of America by the Constitutional Convention; and

Whereas, it is fitting and proper to officially recognize this magnificent document and the anniversary of its creation; and

Whereas, it is fitting and proper to officially recognize the patriotic celebrations which will commemorate the occasion; and

Whereas, public law 915 guarantees the issuing of a proclamation each year by the President of the United States of America designation September 17 through 23 as Constitution Week;

NOW THEREFORE, I, William Reckenberg, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Mayor of the City of Memphis in the County of Scotland do hereby proclaim September 17 through 23, 2016 as CONSTITUTION WEEK and ask our citizens to reaffirm the ideals the Framers of the Constitution had in 1787 by vigilantly protecting the freedoms guaranteed to us through this guardian of our liberties, remembering that lost rights may never be regained.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of Memphis to be affixed this twenty-third day of September in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen.

The United States Constitution stands as a testament to the tenacity of Americans throughout history to maintain their liberties and freedoms and to ensure those unalienable rights to every American.

In 1955 the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) petitioned the Federal Government to dedicate September 17-23 as Constitution Week.  Congress adopted the resolution and on August 2, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into Public Law 915.  DAR Chapters have been observing Constitution Week various ways since then.  The local Chapter, Jauflione, places a display in a store window to remind the public of the Constitution and its significance to our way of life.  The city Mayor also issues a proclamation declaring Constitution Week.  This is an annual reminder of the inalienable rights the Constitution affords all Americans.

The aims of the celebration are to:  (1) Emphasize citizen’s responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution, (2) Inform people that the Constitution is the basis for American’s great heritage and the foundation for our way of life and (3) To encourage the study of the historical events which led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787.

Written in 1787, the Constitution was signed September 17th.  But it wasn’t until 1788 that it was ratified by the necessary nine states.

The Constitution is a living document, being amended 27 times.  Of the written national constitutions, the U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest.

Jauflione Chapter, NSDAR helps keep alive the memory of the men and women who secured the Nation’s independence, whose bravery and sacrifice made possible the liberties Americans enjoy today.

« Older Entries