August 23, 2012

Granddaughters of Pheasant Founder to 'Honor Our Heritage' at 2012 Antique Fair



Descendents of the founder of the Pheasant aircraft will be in Memphis this weekend for their first glimpse of the historic plane during the Antique Fair festivities.





Sisters, Sharon Briggs Morey and Pat Briggs Read, will visit Memphis during the Antique Fair to view firsthand some of their grandfather's handiwork in the form of the recently returned Pheasant Aircraft, manufactured by Lee Briggs in the late 1920s.


The Pheasant aircraft is undeniably a significant part of the history of Memphis, Missouri. The same can be said for the role the antique biplane plays in the genealogy of two California sisters.

Pat Briggs Read and Sharon Briggs Morey are the granddaughters of Lee R. Briggs, the founder of the historic aviation company that put Memphis on the national map back in the late 1920s.

But without the efforts of one of the Pheasant airplane restoration committee members, these two ladies may never have had the opportunity they will receive during the 2012 Scotland County Antique Fair. The sisters will be traveling to Memphis to view such a key piece of their family's history.

While the committee was hard at work raising the money to purchase one of only three remaining Pheasant aircraft, and making plans to return the bi-plane to its birthplace in Memphis, Stan Myers was busy restoring a related piece of history.

With the plane purchase secured, Myers turned his attention to restoring the linage that went along with the company's founder, and immediately started to search for descendents of Lee Briggs.

Through some genealogical research, Myers was able to identify San Antonio, TX as one of the final stops for Lee's son, Dan Briggs, and his wife and family. He found the 2009 obituary for Dan's wife and in the newspaper he found a tribute to her from one of the family's neighbors, and close family friends.

Myers contacted the family, and told them the story of the airplane and why he wanted to reach out to the two daughters. Stan left his contact information with the former neighbors, who ultimately passed on the information to Pat.

"I first heard of the restoration project through Stan who I'm very grateful went to great lengths to find us," Pat said. "Thank you, Stan Myers, for relentlessly trying to find Lee Briggs' surviving family members and thus giving us the privilege of seeing what you all have done."

Pat in turn contacted her sister, Sharon.

"I first learned of the Pheasant project when my sister called to tell me about Stan Myers contacting her," she said. "This was just before they brought the Pheasant home. I had known of the Pheasant but was unaware that any planes were still in existence."

Since the initial conversation, Myers has maintained regular correspondence with the sisters, who now both reside in California. Initially the idea was discussed to attend the welcome home festivities held in April for the plane's return but that idea was shelved for a later reunion that would allow the plane to be fully restored and on display.

'We had talked about the girls coming back to be here when the plane first arrived back home in Memphis," Myers said. "But it was partially dismantled for transportation from New York. Now it is back together. A picture of the two granddaughters in the plane's cockpit of the Pheasant will be a great addition to the historic display."

The two ladies are the lone descendents of the plane-maker, Lee Briggs. His daughter, Anna Lee, never married.



Lee Briggs


Pat and her husband Steve live in Huntington Beach, CA. Sharon and her husband Kent reside in Redlands, CA.

Their father, Dan Briggs was a 1940 graduate of West Point and a career military man, so the family lived many places in the United States and overseas.

"As best as I can remember, I've been to Memphis twice," Pat said. "Once when I was seven years old when we were on a change of station from Boise, ID to Bad Kissingen Germany. I don't remember Memphis, just being in Kirksville visiting some distant cousins to whom my dad was particularly close, the Parcells. Their daughter Frances Norman is still living in Kirksville."

Sharon recalls a couple of trips to Memphis, one before Pat's birth, when Sharon thought she was four or five years old.

The second trip left several lasting memories for Sharon, as she recalls her father driving the family around the town, pointing on landmarks such as the courthouse and the Ford dealership where the Pheasant airplanes were constructed.

Pat also made a much more memorable return trip to Memphis, traveling with her parents to attend the dedication ceremony for the Briggs-Smith Memorial Airport in 1967.

"My dad was really pleased to go," Pat recalled. "He was very proud of his father and that an airport was being named after him. It was a happy time for all of us."

Sharon had married and left home by the time of the airport dedication but said she recalls hearing about her parents and aunt Anna Lee attending.

The trip must have been particularly difficult for their dad, who was devastated by his father's death. When Dan was just 13 years old his father passed away. Lee R. Briggs died in December of 1927 when he and a student pilot were ejected from a plane.

"My whole world came crashing down on December 5th, 1927," Dan later wrote his memoirs shared by his daughters. "On that day my father was killed in an airplane accident. To say that there was a drastic change in my life is an understatement of great magnitude. My father had always preached to me that no matter how good a person is there is always someone who can take his place. He, himself, disproved that theory. No one was able to take over the Pheasant Airplane Factory and run it as he had done. No one could take over the automobile dealership and run it as he had. Most of all nobody could take his place in my heart and life. In short, he just could not be replaced."

Sharon recalls stories of how her grandmother took Lee's place on the board of directors, but how the company ultimately was sold and relocated to Wisconsin as the nation was entering the grips of the Great Depression.

The family moved to Dillon, Montana for a short time before ultimately returning to Memphis.

Lee's tragic death stalled his son's pursuit of flying.

As he was nearing graduation from West Point, his mother, who was on her deathbed, made Dan promise not to enter the Air Corps.

"My father kept his promise, but I think he regretted it the rest of his life," Sharon said.

Ironically, his sister, Anna Lee, went on to join the Air Corps during World War II and completed a long career.

"I think that would have been okay with grandmother, because in those days women were not allowed to become pilots," Sharon said.



Dan Briggs and sister and Anna Lee.


Ultimately Dan did follow in his father's footsteps, learning to fly while he was stationed with the National Guard in Boise, ID.

"When he finally got his license, I was the only one around to be his first passenger," Sharon said. "Despite my reputation for severe motion sickness, he took me up and the result was predictable."

After Dan Briggs retired from the Army, he went on to work for Gen Aero, the Cessna dealer in San Antonio as a flight instructor. After he received his multi-engine rating, he began flying charters for a medical radiology group and for Texas governor, John Connally.

From its humble beginnings in the 1920's, the family's love for aviation endured, despite the tragic circumstances. Now the two granddaughters and a great-granddaughter will get to see Lee Briggs' handiwork first hand.

"My only regret is that my father, Dan Briggs and my aunt Anna Lee Briggs are not here to witness it as well," Pat said.

August 1st Blood Drive Asking Donors to ‘Knock it Outta the Park’

The American Red Cross Memphis Blood Drive will take place Tuesday, August 1st at the First Baptist Church in Memphis.  The blood drive is from 12:30-6:00 p.m. and all presenting donors will receive a commemorative St. Louis Cardinals Blood Drive T-shirt, while supplies last.

Healthy individuals are needed every day to maintain an adequate blood supply for patients in need. Once a donor has made the commitment to give blood, it is important to take a few simple steps to prepare and help ensure a good donation experience.

The Red Cross recommends getting a good night’s sleep, eating a good breakfast or lunch, drinking extra water and fluids to help replace the volume you will donate, avoid caffeinated beverages, and eating iron-rich foods to boost your iron level.

Donating blood is an easy way to help others and only takes about an hour of your time. The Red Cross encourages donors to give blood every time they are eligible: every 56 days for whole blood donations and every 112 days for double red cell donations.”

Donating blood is easy…simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

The American Red Cross provides shelter, food and clothing to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; ministers international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at blog.redcross.org.

The need is constant. The gratification is instant. Give blood.'”

Petition Calls for Highway 15 Improvements North of Memphis

A rash of recent traffic accidents on Highway 15 north of town has led a local veterinarian to start a petition drive to drive to get improvements on the road.

Larry Wiggins, DMV, recently started a local petition drive and already has more than 200 signatures on the paperwork that is calling on the Missouri Department of Transportation to address the concerns.

“Too many of my friends have been hurt or killed in accidents on that road,” said Wiggins. “It is time to try to do something about it.”

Doc started the petition last week after hearing other area residents share their frustrations about the road, its current condition and the lack of improvements being made by the state.

“I’ve talked with lots of folks who have called MoDOT or other government officials and felt like they haven’t got anywhere,” he said. “It left us feeling like one person alone really cannot get anything accomplished. That’s what led to this petition drive. Hopefully a whole lot of voices coming together will make sure our concerns are heard.”

Wiggins highlighted the narrow bridges on Highway 15, the general lack of shoulders as well as the declining road surface itself.

“I had a customer in from Iowa last week who had brought her dog down for care,” he said. “Her car was side swiped on that narrow bridge just north of town.”

That is just one of the signatures on the petition. Countless others have followed suit, with a number of serious accidents recently on the road, including one fatality.

“The road edges are in horrible shape, and there is a six to eight inch drop off in most places along the shoulder,” said Wiggins. “When people’s vehicles drop off that, that leads to over correcting when they come back on to the road and we’re seeing lots of accidents because of it.”

Wiggins said he hopes to get at least 1,000 signatures before he and several other concerned citizens plan to travel to the Hannibal regional office of MoDOT to deliver it personally.

“If that doesn’t get their attention, then we’ll head right on down to Jefferson City and deliver it there until we can get something done,” he said.

Anyone interested in signing the petition can stop by the Scotland County Veterinary Clinic in Memphis or catch Dr. Wiggins in person.

Memorial Services Thursday for David Hayes

FAIRFIELD, IOWA – Memorial services for James David Hayes, 53, of Fairfield will be at 10 a.m., Thursday, July 20th at the Barker Cemetery.   Officiating the service will be Larry Smith, pastor of the Downing Christian Church.

James David Hayes died Sunday, July 16, 2017 at his home in Fairfield.

Memorials are suggested to the family and can be left at or mailed to the Gerth Funeral Service, 115 S. Main St., Memphis, MO 63555.

He is the son of David and Bonnie Hayes of Memphis.

A complete obituary will appear in next week’s edition.

Condolences may be sent to Mr. Hayes’ family by signing the online guestbook at gerthfuneralservice.com.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Gerth Funeral Service.

State Regent Visits Local DAR Chapters

Susan Fain Bowman, MSSDAR Regent, was honored by her area DAR Chapters during her annual June visit to all Missouri DAR Chapters.

Schuyler County Chapter, MSSDAR, with Clark County Chapter and Jauflione Chapter as co-host, feted Regent Susan Fain Bowman, MSSDAR, with an afternoon social, June 16, 2017.

Following opening ritual, Regent Bowman presented an interesting program featuring the role of Missouri DAR Chapters during WW1.  Regent Bowman had a slide presentation featuring numerous pictures of these activities. An especially interesting item was a picture of a 1916 ambulance purchased by Missouri Daughters of the American Revolution.

Regent Bowman also told the group of her enthusiasm for the WW1 museum in Kansas City.  She urged everyone to visit this WW1 memorial.

All Missouri Chapters are honoring the 100th anniversary of WW1.

Light refreshments were served by Schuyler County DAR, the host Chapter, along with Clark County and Jauflione Chapters. Everyone enjoyed a pleasant social hour.

City of Downing Addresses Property Concerns

The Board of the City of Downing convened at 6:00 p.m. on July 10, 2017 with Mayor Alan Garrett presiding. Present were Aldermen Bill Anderson, Ray Bange, Gene Bruner, and Hannah Poe; City Clerk, Carol Dryden and Water/Waste Water Operator, Larry Smith.

Copies of the agenda, minutes from previous meeting, water/waste water report, deposits & disbursements and account balances were given to those present

Mayor Alan Garrett called the meeting to order.

A motion to approve the agenda was made by Ray Bange and seconded by Bill Anderson and carried unanimously.

A motion to approve the minutes from the presiding meeting was made by Bill Anderson and seconded by Gene Bruner and carried unanimously.

A motion to approve the bills was made by Bill Anderson and seconded by Gene Bruner and carried unanimously.

Visitors: Joe Webker, Schuyler County Sheriff came to talk to us about how we can get someone to patrol our town and help in the issuing of citations for the problems we are having with people not cleaning up their properties.  Ben Gray, Attorney: came to talk to us about how we can legally go about getting the unlivable properties taken care f. He will be doing more research on this and get back to us.

Water/ Waste Water: Nothing to report.

Street Maintenance: We got some more rock delivered, still more to come. Several ditches around town need to be dug out so water can flow better when it rains.

Cemetery: Sold 2 plots to Junior and Millie Elliott. Received $30.00 from Darrell Downing for a memorial for Fred Havens. Received a donation to the cemetery for $100.00 from Arthur Robinson.

Old or Unfinished Business: Carol talked to Cheryl Elliott about the PER report and things are moving forward. Larry has been working on painting the parking lines.

New Business: Nothing to report.

Positive Thoughts: Trying to keep stepping forward toward getting improvements made in the town.

A motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:20 was made by Bill Anderson and seconded by Gene Bruner and carried unanimously.

Submitted by Carol Dryden, City Clerk

SCMA Back-to-School Fair Set for August 5th

The Scotland County Ministerial Alliance is sponsoring the Back-to-School Supply Fair once again this year.  The purpose of the event is to encourage and bless families in Scotland County by providing the necessary school supplies needed by their student/students to have a successful start to the upcoming school year.

Pre-registration for the event is Thursday, July 20, 2017 from 5:00-6:30 p.m.  Pre-registration is located outside, under the overhang, at the SCR-1 Elementary School entrance.  Parents may pre-register their kids through Thursday, July 27, 2017 by contacting Marie Ebeling or through a local church.

A packing party to organize supplies is scheduled for Thursday, August 3, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. at the home of Curtis and Marie Ebeling.

Distribution of the supplies will take place during Ignite Ministries’ Back-to-School Bash on Saturday, August 5, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the Memphis Square.

If you are interested in helping with any of the above events, please contact Marie Ebeling at 465-2445 or 660-342-0917.

Meeting Planned to Provide Input into Federal Conservation Programs

A local working group charged with identifying local priority resource concerns and providing input about program criteria to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will meet at 2 p.m. July 27th at The Edina USDA Service Center.

The working group is comprised primarily of representatives of various local, state and federal agencies with knowledge of natural resource concerns. Specifically, the group will help prioritize selection criteria for NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) applications in Knox, Scotland, Lewis and Clark counties. The meeting is open to the public and will include time for comments from residents of the represented counties. While final decisions will be made by NRCS leadership, local input is requested. Anyone needing accommodation to participate in this meeting should contact Ashley Johnson at the Edina Service Center seven days prior to the meeting.

For more information, contact Ashley Johnson at 660-3972223 or email ashley.johnson@mo.udsa.gov

Burlington Woman Killed in Crash Near Cantril

A Burlington, IA woman was killed and six passengers in her vehicle sustained serious injuries in a one-car crash just east of Cantril, IA on Highway 2 at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Friday, July 14th.

According to the Iowa State Patrol, Mindy Raye Johnson, 26, was eastbound on Highway 2 in a 2005 Mercury Mariner when the SUV went off the right side of the roadway onto the gravel shoulder. The driver overcorrected and the vehicle returned to the roadway and traveled off the left side of the roadway, traveling down a steep embankment on the north side of the road where it overturned before coming to rest on its wheels in a cornfield.

Johnson was pronounced deceased at the accident scene.

April I. Maul, 36, of Burlington suffered serious injuries as well as two eight-year-old passengers. They were taken to University Hospital in Iowa City. Another eight-year-old passenger, a five-year-old passenger and a three-year-old passenger were also injured in the wreck and transported to Van Buren County Hospital.

The Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office.

Stolen Vehicle Recovered in Memphis

A follow-up review after a routine traffic stop in Memphis over the weekend has uncovered a stolen vehicle that authorities believe may also have ties to a local burglary.

According to the Memphis Police Department, a white Honda Civic was stopped near Gas & More on Friday evening, July 14th at 10:30 p.m. The driver of the vehicle, Chanyel T. Crow, III, 27, of Kansas City, formerly of Memphis, was ticketed for no valid driver’s license. During the stop it was determined that Crow was wanted on probation violation warrant, and he was subsequently taken into custody and transported to the Scotland County Jail.

On Sunday, officers returned to the vehicle, which had not been moved from the original stop location in the Gas & More parking lot. Further inspection of the vehicle revealed that the license plates on the car, while for a White Honda Civic, did not match the vehicle VIN number. Further investigation revealed that the car had been stolen out of Kansas City.

A passenger in the vehicle, Sky White, 21, of O’Fallon, is now being sought for questioning in a local theft investigation.

Anyone with knowledge of her whereabouts is asked to contact the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office at 660-465-2106.

Downing House Museum Complex Awarded $2000 US Bank Grant

US Bank representative Bill Kiddoo presents a check for $2,000 from the US Bank Foundation to Downing House Museum volunteers Rhonda McBee and Julie Clapp.

This grant project, “Opening the Doors of the Past to Future Generations” focuses on an effort to provide a greater number of our community’s children aged 12 and under, the opportunity to participate in historical and cultural activities. The ultimate desired outcome is to “Open the doors of the past to our future generations” by providing children with opportunities to actually view the past and apply the information to the current world today. Oftentimes, students read about history, but without actually visiting and participating in activities with historical significance they cannot experience the history of our community and state and apply it to their own lives. We want to bring history to life for our younger generations.

With this in mind, the Downing House Museum Complex in Memphis, Missouri was awarded a US Bank Grant to provide area students (an estimated 200 3rd graders), tours of the Downing House Museum Complex at no charge. Typically, the cost for tours is $5 per person and schools often do not have available funds to provide local field trips. A trip to the museum complex could enhance the study of local Missouri history for area students in counties surrounding Scotland County that are within a 30 mile radius of Memphis, MO. The museum offers Civil War History and the battles fought in Missouri, railroad history, famous Missourians such as Ella Ewing and Tom Horn, historical musical instruments, medical equipment used throughout the early days of Missouri’s statehood, Indian artifacts, blacksmithing history, and many items that were invented and manufactured in Missouri. Additionally this grant will provide 50 tickets to children aged 12 and under (priced at $5 each for a total of $250) at no cost for the “2nd Annual Evening at the Museum, Candlelight Tour of the Past” event on October 13 & 14, 2017. These tickets will be offered on a first come first served basis and children must be accompanied by an adult. The evening event is being planned based on the great success of our first candlelight tour, held in October 2016.

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