Carla Charter is an author of three fiction novels, including Across Lots, which is based on the Kneeland Maids Murder in 1855. She is currently writing a non-fiction book based on the same crime.Her books are available at Amazon.com. She may be reached at email@example.com
We all know what we learned in history class. Orville and Wilbur Wright made their first flight on December 17,1903 from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
New England may also lay claim to the first flight much earlier. If a plaque in the Old North Church in Boston is to be believed, then the first flight in the country actually took place 145 years earlier in Boston.
The plaque at the church reads : Here on September 13, 1757, John Childs-who had given public notice of his intention to fly from the steeple of Dr. Cutler’s church-performed it to the satisfaction of a great number of spectators.” On this day, Childs strapped a feather glider to himself and flew from the steeple of the church about 700 feet on a slope. The flight was so popular with spectators that Childs made two more flights the following day, September 14. During one of those flights he discharged two pistols on his descent while in mid-air.
Due to the fact that Child’s flights brought a number of people away from their businesses, Child’s was forbidden from ever taking any more flights in Boston. According to records Child’s had also made flights in England including some of the country’s highest steeples.
Bridgeport, Connecticut also has a claim to a first motorized flight which may have occurred in 1901. The man who accomplished this feat was Gustave Whitehead. It is said he too made four flights. An eyewitness account of his flight was reported in the Bridgeport Herald. During the months that followed details were reprinted in other papers worldwide and his aircraft designs were noted in Scientific American.
So although the Wright Brothers have been listed in the history books as the inventors of flight, the true first flight may have actually had its roots in New England.
If you know of a New England Mystery you would like to see highlighted in this Mysterious New England blog, Carla Charter can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org