I am running quite late tonight... later than this Okie would like. As
I write this, my Pug puppy is lying in her crate fast asleep. I
have made a few changes to her name, though. You see ... when we
are outside in the yard she loves to tackle the dandelion flowers
and their puff balls. She doesn't eat them. She just picks them
as she plows through our dandelion patch... leaving a slight furry
residue on her lower puppy dog chin. So.... I changed her name to
Duchess Dande-Lion Rose! Duchess is 10 weeks old this Friday weighing
in at close to 2 or 3 lbs. A real sweetheart of a puppy.
I have been spending a lot of time up in God's Country in NW Oklahoma
helping some friends with their horses and my horses the last few
weeks. My mare (Cindy)
still has not foaled yet, but someday soon; my 2-year old (Kassie)
is in the process of being trained; and my yearling horse (George
a.k.a Li'l Doc) became a gelding this week.
Trick of the Trade & Flying Farmers of the 1940s...I
happen to run onto this old news clipping of my dad, Gene McGill,
that I believe was taken in the late 1940s (1946). It was entitled
- Trick of the Trade. It read, "No one could ever forget
a crop of whiskers like this and that is the very practical reason
Gene McGill, Alva, wears them in weather like this. He starts to
grow his crop about the time it comes wheat harvesting time for
other farmers. As he goes northward with three combine outfits his
beard grows more luxurious. He definitely did not bring them down
to the Flying Farmers Cconvention to get his picture taken
-- but he refused to cut them off despite the kidding. He uses an
airplane to spot wheat fields which need cutting even far off the
beaten roads followed by other outfits -- and the man with the whiskers
gets the job."
As to the Flying Farmers... I was going through some of
my Dad's treasures the other day and found this August 21-28, 1946
booklet (113 pages), "World Congress on Air Age Education,"
that was held at the International House in New York City. On page
21 there is an Article about Flying
Farmers - Utility of Aircraft in Agriculture creates Community Airport
Needs and a short article about Gene McGill, past president
- National Association of Flying Farmers showing a photo
of Joseph Geuting, Torsten Lund and Gene McGill.
Hope you all had a great Easter weekend. Besides the Oklahoma City
Arts Festival starting the first of this week, we have been having
some rain and thunderstorms across the state. The wheat is growing
fast and is about knee high in some places. Green patches of wheat
fields make up this wheat quilt that stretches across our northwest
area of the state.
I am going to let you go for now. It is way past my bedtime. I
will see you all next month and next weekend, and hopefully at a
Vol 10, Iss 25 Well! We made it through to the 3/4 mark of June, 2008 and into the beginning of the Summer of 2008.
We hear from Northwest Oklahoma folks that they had about 7 inches of rain around the Woods County area this past week and wheat harvest is still underway again.
This weekend we take you back to 1945 and just after WWII when the Flying Farmers of Oklahoma were about to go National and join the NAA (National Aeronautic Association). OR ... was it the other way around?
Anyway, Gene McGill had a big hand in organizing the Flying Farmers back then -- being a farmer/rancher who used his light aircraft on his ranch 8 miles North of Waynoka, Oklahoma along SH14 and during his wheat harvesting and coyote hunting days back then.
We also did some browsing through the online archives of The Oklahoman and found some more information on the Woods County Triplets we spoke of last week. AND... We have some more Alva square memories in the Mailbag section below.
It has been warming into the mid-80's and dry in the valley of SW Colorado this week. It is almost cooler to sit out under a shade tree than be inside the adobe on this first day of Summer 2008. As our SW Colorado gas prices go: Bayfield, Colorado had a listed price Saturday of $4.13.9 for regular. You all living and driving in Oklahoma have it easy compared to the price of gas in Colorado and other places.
I have three hummingbird feeders this Spring/Summer in SW Colorado that have been keeping me busy making sweet nectar and refilling the feeders about every other day. I need to go refill a couple of them now and make another batch of hummingbird juice this afternoon, Sunday, June 22, 2008.
Vol 14, Iss 5Bayfield, Colorado - According to the New York Tribune, dated Sunday, November 10, 1907, the big headline was reading, "Next Week Oklahoma Becomes the Forty-Sixth State In the Union." The front page also showed a couple of pictures of a typical Oklahoma village of eighteen years earlier of an Arapahoe Indian town; a typical town and street in Shawnee; and the product of a single farm (12 bushels of corn piled on the ground for want of cribs).
Who was the first president of the Oklahoma Flying Farmers? We heard through a comment on OkieLegacy Ezine Feature #1035 that Charles Ray Mickle mentions, "I have a belt bucket that says that H. G. "Heinie" Bomhoff was the first president of the Oklahoma Flying Farmers."
If this is so, we would like to learn more. If you have some facts that might help us sort out this information, we would like to have a copy to share with everyone out there through "The OkieLegacy Ezine."
N. Dale Talkington gave us this information about, "Henry Gilford "Heinie" Bomhoff . . . born June 21, 1898, Oklahoma; USA Died November 15, 1981, El Reno, Canadian County, Oklahoma, USA. He was born Heinrich Gottlieb Bomhoff, but he took a more American name of Henry Gilford Bomhoff. His burial was in the El Reno Cemetery, El Reno, Canadian County, Oklahoma, USA (The Angel Hunter Record added: Nov 28, 2008 Find A Grave Memorial# 31779889 ~N. Dale Talkington"
". . . . . On Aug. 3, 1944, the meeting was held and the Oklahoma Flying Farmers Association was born. The following year, after the idea had spread to other states, Bennett's vision became reality. On Dec. 12, 1945, the National Flying Farmers Association was incorporated under Oklahoma law.
"Airplane ownership then was not so very complicated. Farmers fixed their own tractors, and likewise, they fixed their own airplanes too. And, if they couldn't find a part, they made one. Farmers were very creative in their use of airplanes. During harvest time, they would land their airplanes in the fields to talk with the harvesters. One husband-wife team used its Piper to locate 200 prized Herefords scattered throughout a thousand-acre pasture. Sometimes the farmers-ranchers set their airplanes down in pastures during calving time to check on their livestock. As the first leader of the Oklahoma group, Heinie Bomhoff, had 4,000 hours to his credit, most of it flown at less than 100 feet while hunting coyotes. (Bomhoff, a self-taught flier, went on to teach some 200 of his neighbors to be pilots.)"
How's Winter in your neck of the woods? Any rain to measure in the old gauge? We have been hanging in the mid 40's during the day around the southwest corner of Colorado.
Vol 17, Iss 37Houston, TX - Woof! Woof! Want to know more about the "Flying Farmers" of the past? The image on the left is a picture of Gene McGill, his wife, Vada, and their daughter, Dorthy (about two years of age, 1945).
We take you back of 1 August 1946, Stillwater, Oklahoma, and the Miami Daily News-Record, news article with page 3 headlines that read: "Planes Bearing Delegates To Stillwater Farm Meet."
Stillwater, Okla., Aug 1, 1946 -- (AP) - Assorted light aircraft roared over Stillwater on 1 August 1946, bearing delegates from more than a dozen states to the first annual convention of the National Flying Farmers association.
The delegates, whose knowledge of machinery extends to the power and maneuverability of aircraft as well as the mechanics of farm implements, opened a two day meeting held in conjunction with the annual Oklahoma farm and home week.
Highlighting the opening day's session of the farmers' meeting would be addresses by Gen. Ira Eaker, deputy commander of the U. S. Army airforces and Josh Lee, former U. S. Senator from Oklahoma, and a member of the Civil Aeronautics board.
Farmer aviators attending the meeting represented flying farmer groups organized in their home states since the national association's inception a year ago (1945).
The national organization grew out of the Oklahoma Flying farmers association, the first of its kind, which was formed i Stillwater in 1944 and whose membership was comprised of farmers using airplanes for use on farms at the time. Among the leaders in the movement were Henry Bomhoff, Calumet, Oklahoma, wheat farmer, who learned to fly a ship he built, and J. P. Ressen Rogers county farm agent, who learned i fly in 1942.
Twenty-six places attend the 1944 organizational meeting and the following year the group met again to form the national association which Gene McGill, Alva, Oklahoma, was chosen to head.
The first flying farmer to arrive for the convention was Myron C. Baker of Morrow, Ohio. Baker was secretary-treasurer of the Ohio Flying Farmers group.
(1946) Flying Farmers Would Organize Throughout U. S.
Oklahoma City, Nov. 21 (19146) -- (AP) - A national alliance of aerial agriculturists with he Oklahoma flying farmers as the parent group was planned on this date for immediate organization by the National Aeronautic association.
Forrest Watson, Thomas, Oklahoma, president of the Oklahoma unit, and William R. Enyart, Greenwich, Conn., NAA president, announced the group would be known as the National Flying Farmers association.
A state may organize when as many as 25 members have been secured. Membership would be limited to plan operators deriving 51 percent of their income from agriculture, watts said. It would conduct its own affairs through national, state and local officers but would be a part of the NAA.
Headquarters would be at Oklahoma A. & M. college, Stillwater, where the farm fliers held their organization session in 1944.
Watson said flying farmers and ranchers in Arizona, Texas and Kansas have already informed the Oklahoma group of their interest in organizing.
Vol 10, Iss 24
It was no secret in February 3rd, 1950 what Gene McGill stood for. He was a Democrat running for State Senator for Woods / Woodward Counties -- announcing his candidacy February 3rd, 1950 against Claude Seaman of Waynoka in Northwest Oklahoma.
My sister Dorthy says, "The photo looks more like Gene in 1950."
For many of you who knew Gene McGill, what his political pamphlet stated: He is a Leader ... Not a Follower! was absolutely true in his earlier political days.
Gene McGill gave considerable thought to the matter before announcing his candidacy for the State Senate for the Woods / Woodward District, and he took this means of conveying to the voters of these two counties a short biography, the principles for which he stood, and the program to which he would devote his time if elected. BUT... unfortunately, he was not elected that year.
The Daily Oklahoman, dated February 4, 1950, page 19, stated in the headlines, Gene McGill to Seek State Senate Seat."
The rest of the short, two-paragraph article stated, "Alva, Feb. 3 (1950) -- Gene McGill, Alva farmer, Friday announced as a Democratic candidate for the state senate in this year's primary elections. McGill, making his first legislative race, will attempt to unseat Republican Claude Seaman, Waynoka, who is ending his first term."
Gene (Merle) McGill was born in Woods County, Oklahoma, December 27th, 1914. He spent his entire life in western Oklahoma, having graduated from grade and high schools in Woods county. Gene attended Northwestern State College in Alva and obtained his degree at the University of Oklahoma at Norman in 1937. Since that time he had been a farmer and rancher. He was married and had four daughters. He was a member of the Presbyterian church, a 32nd degree Mason and Shriner, a member of the American Business Club (ABC), and a member of the Northwest Cattlemen's Association. He was organizing director and the first president of the National Flying Farmers's Association.
Dad, if you are up there looking down on all of us, this in memory of you and your accomplishments as a Northwest Oklahoma Democrat, the 1st National Flying Farmers President and Flying Farmers organizer. AND... the other accomplishments that you managed to put under your belt during your 72 years of your life (1914-1986).
Vol 10, Iss 23 The photo on the left is a picture of the McGill Brothers, Gene (left) & Robert (right), taken out at the ranch on Hwy 14 sometime around 1944 as the McGill Bros. were standing in front of Gene's light airplane.
My Dad, Gene McGill, was many things to many people. Some people probably did not care for him or his politics. BUT... He put on no airs and was himself. He worked hard and overcame many things growing up through two world wars (WWI & WWII) and the "Dirty 30's" or "Dust Bowl" days.
Gene wasn't perfect, but who is? BUT... He had his dreams, passions and fought for the rights of the little guys. He was one of the leading forces that established the "Flying Farmers!" He was an outstanding Northwest Oklahoma Democrat of the 1950's through the earlier 1960's.
Gene came from a family with a domineering, business-like Mother and a Father who was a lefthanded, fast pitcher for the Minor Southwest Texas League (1906-1907), Austin Senators, and pitched one season (1907) in the Majors for the St. Louis Browns before he headed back to Oklahoma in 1907 and went into the furniture business fulltime with his older brother, James McGill.
My grandpa, Bill McGill, married my grandmother, Constance Warwick McGill, in the Spring of 1910 and they had two sons, Gene (1914) and Robert (1916).
Gene's younger brother, Bob, was a handsome gentlemen and Veteran of World War II who earned the title of Major and fought overseas with the 193rd/165th & 27th Infantry Division.
Uncle Robert Lee McGill was a Lt. with the 193rd Tank Bn. for only a short time in the Hawaiian Islands around 21 October 1942. This outfit attached to 165th Inf. & 27th Inf. Divn. WWII. On Makin Island, was known as 193rd, and changed to 762nd Tank Bn., when sent on to Saipan and participated in "mop-up" operations at both locations.
Uncle Bob died young of lung cancer, 21 February 1954, while he was married to his second wife, Dr. Felicia Monfort. Whether Uncle Bob's illness was from his tour of duty during WWII, we are not sure, but suspect. Bob was only 38 years when he died in February, 1954 -- only four days before this NW Okie's 6th birthday. My memories of Uncle Bob are slim!
Vol 7, Iss 45 Remember back to August 3, 1944 when the Oklahoma Flying Farmers Association was born and by December 12, 1945 the National Flying Farmers Association was organized, incorporated under Oklahoma law? We do know that Gene McGill was one of those farmers that was instrumental in getting the Oklahoma Flying Farmers organized. We also know that by 1946 Gene was a Past President of the flying farmers. So... was the year that he held office as President in 1944? AND... was he the first president of the Oklahoma Flying Farmers?
Remember back then when airplane ownership was not complicated. AND... Farmers were creative in their use of airplanes and worked on them as they did on their farm machinery. Sometimes making their own parts for needed repairs.
We also found out this week that the three Kelsey brothers of Waynoka, Oklahoma were airplanes pilots back in the 1940's. Roscoe was the pilot flying low over Waynoka area while his brother, Jack, took the movie film. AND... Their father, Bunk Kelsey kept gas at the Kelsey airfield for the pilots in the area. AND... that back in 1946 the Kelsey airfield was the only one around at that time. We knew that Jack was a pilot, but did not realize at the time that Roscoe and Punk were pilots, also. AND... the Kelsey's and McGill's go way back. BUT... that's another story.
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Memories of Flying Farmers & Gene McGill
Vol 9, Iss 26
We recently received a letter from Jack Kelsey this week, which included a copy of his family story he wrote for the Waynoka history book that the Waynoka Historical Society is helping organize and compile. That story is below in the Mailbag section. BUT... here are some memories Jack Kelsey shared with me concerning the Flying Farmers & Gene McGill.
Jack wrote, "We have very fond memories of the flying farmer organization. Your Dad was not only a member, but also one of the founders of the organization here in Oklahoma."
Jack Kelsey goes on to state that it was not long after Oklahoma was organized that it spread to other states and eventually became the National Flying Farmers organization.
Jack also says, "Your dad was one of the older flyers in Woods county (Oklahoma). I have very fond memories of Gene McGill. I flew to Nebraska with him once -- he was looking to purchase land. We stayed overnight in some town there and the next morning we found out that a tornado had almost wiped our the city of Woodward, Oklahoma. We were worried about our own family and homes, so we got into his Cessna 140 and flew directly to Woodward and observed the destruction there."
Jack also mentions in his letter, "As to your mention of Waynoka's railroad, Waynoka was no longer a division point, but they did have about 70 trains traveling through Waynoka everyday. Many of them have from two to four engines pulling about 100 or more cars. I agree it was great days for Waynoka when the division point was here."
Vol 10, Iss 25 Headlines: "Flying Farmers Still Looking For Plane To Do Chores Right."
The caption under photo: "Farming may not have been like this when grandpop was a boy but even the grandfathers now are joining the trend to aerial farming. Starr Nelson, 81, Delta, Colo., (upper left) was among the 600 arrivals at Stillwater Thursday for the National Flying Farmers convention. Nelson, with 700 hours in the air, hopped over from Colorado.
[caption continued:] Upper right, Miss Glenna Eiland, Amarillo, Texas, a flying farmerette, finds those are real whiskers sported by Gene McGill, Alva, first national president of the organization. McGill claims they are his trademark. Below, Flying Farmers get a practical demonstration of crop dusting.
Stillwater, Aug. 7 (1947) -- An airplane is a handy gadget to have around the farm, but manufacturer still haven't turned out the plane that meets all the farmer's needs.
This seemed to be the general opinion of farmers and ranchers from throughout the country who arrived here Thursday for the national convention of the Flying Farmers association.
Mrs. Tod Davis, Minco, a commercial pilot and re-elected secretary-treasurer of the Oklahoma Flying Farmers, put the whole problem in a nutshell.
"We need an airplane that you can go places in a hurry, that you can haul a heavy load of equipment in, that has lots of visibility and can land and get out of small fields and that doesn't cost too much."
More than 600 delegates and visitors representing 34 states and three foreign countries registered for the three-day convention which opened here Thursday. They arrived at North airport in more than 350 planes of all types and descriptions.
R. L. "Kid" Gibson, who at 77 years is the second oldest active pilot in the organization, flew here in his small two-place plane from is 640-acre ranch at Tahoka, Texas.
"A plane comes in awfully handy in locating lost stock, spotting water holes, hunting coyotes, hauling equipment and all that but I want one they haven't put out yet," he said. Gibson learned to fly when he was 74 years old.
All of the light plane manufacturers had their latest models on display at the airport here, hoping they had produced a plane that the farmers, who Contitute the largest market for personal planes, would buy.
Luscombe Aircraft Corp., Fort Worth, unveiled its new four-place plane here Thursday afternoon. The ship, which they hope will find favor with the Flying Farmers, is designed for "round the clock" visibility, and for handling 600 pounds of cargo by removing the seats.
Cessna Aircraft Corp., Wichita, Kans., displayed its new model 195.
Harry E. Bollar, Tulsa, was in charge of the flight showing how planes can be used for crop protection, held for the benefit of delegates attending a crop protection conference at Oklahoma A&M college.
Cedric Foster, radio news commentator, spoke at the opening banquet of the convention Thursday night at Willard hall on the college campus.
Friday's convention activities include an inspection of several large Oklahoma ranches. The convention delegates will be guests at a barbecue luncheon Friday at the Turner ranch in Hereford Heaven. They will return here for a banquet Friday night.
New officers of the Oklahoma Flying Farmers association, which held its business session Thursday morning, are: L. A. Decker, Lahoma, president; Oscar Megert, Colony, vice-president; Mrs. Tod Davis, Minco, Secretary-treasurer; and Ramon Martin, Oklahoma City, executive secretary. -- Aug. 8, 1947, The Oklahoman, page 1
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Flying Farmer '57 Article
Vol 9, Iss 24 This 1957 article was written by J. B. Kelsey in 1957 by request of his youngest son, Jack Kelsey, for the monthly Flying Farmers magazine. it was originally passed along to the Waynoka Historical Society. AND... now The OkieLegacy via of J. B. Kelsey's grandson, Barry Kelsey, has received a scanned copy to share with you all.
Page #2, Page #3 and Page #4.
"Jack asked me to write an article for this month's newsletter. I asked him what he wanted me to write about and he said, 'everything I want to write about, but would like me to say something about flying.' Well before I start, I would like to say 'hello' to my old flying farmer friends. When I was one of the Oklahoma Flying Farmers Directors -- back in the forties -- but before I say anything about flying, I am going to say something about transportation in my lifetime.
I first came to Oklahoma with my parents when I was two years old -- in the spring of 1894. We came to my father's homestead from Greensburg, Kansas in a covered wagon. We had three small horses, one cow, sod plow, a keg of water and a grub box -- my father and mother and four small kids. I was the third in the family -- two sisters older than myself and sister just a baby. My father was in the run of the opening of the Cherokee Strip -- staked his homestead and filed on it and lived there the remainder of his life. We still own the old homestead and is one farm in Woods county that never had a mortgage on it.
Yes, our transportation was a high wheel wagon with a spring seat and two broom-tailed bronks hooked to it. When the family went anyplace, mother and dad rode on the spring seat and us kids would ride on the floor in the back. We would throw a little hay on the floor and used an old buffalo robe spread over the hay for us kids to sit or lay down on. there were no automobiles or airplanes then. Could not use automobiles if we had them. There were no highways then, just trails across the country. Our transportation was horseback and high wheel lumber wagon. You will wonder how we made a living. Well, we always had plenty to eat. It did not take much money then. Every body planted a garden and a little corn. Broomcorn was our money crop. We did not know nothing about canning those days. The only thing I can remember my mother canning was sand hill plums and grapes. We would dry out corn and make hominy. We had all the meat that we wanted. There was plenty of wild game such as quail, prairie chicken, deer and rabbits. We raised our own beef and pork and had plenty of milk, but about the only way my father could get a little money were to haul cedar posts out of the hills west of the Cimarron River. Three or more homesteaders would go together with a wagon each and camp in the canyons until they got a load of posts out and loaded. It was hard work. The big drudgery was to ford the river with a load of posts, and then after they got home with their posts, they had to haul them up in Kansas and sell them to the farmers and ranchers for 9 to 10 cents each and would haul 100 to 150 posts to a load. If they got $10 or $12 dollars for a load, they were doing good. It would take about that many days to cut the posts and haul them to Kansas and get them sold.
My father did not sell many posts; he had a small business of his own. He had a little broom factory after he got to raising his own broomcorn. He always saved a few bails to make up in brooms in the winter months. There were a little grocery store in Waynoka and he would trade brooms for groceries and clothes. When he got a wagonload made up; he would load them up, put the bowes and wagon sheet over the wagon and start out making the little inland towns between Waynoka and Guthrie. When he got back, he would have some money and plenty of groceries and clothes for us kids. Yes, our transportation was the team and wagon and sure everybody had a saddle pony. If not, they would walk us kids -- walked to the school two miles and did not think nothing of it. My mother did not think nothing about walking one-half to one mile and half to a neighbor to borrow a little flour or something else to run us till father got to town to get supplies. When she walked and followed a path, she always carried a long stick or a garden hose to kill rattle snakes and they were a plenty of them there.
Well, this kind of living went on for years, as times progressed, so did the people. After so many years when us kids got where we could be a little help, my father would break more land and plant more broomcorn and finally he got a new spring wagon that was a light wagon with springs under the bed and had two seats we could all ride in style then. A young man's ambition was to own his own saddle and pony, then after he got a year or two older, he wanted a buggy all his own and when he got it by working for some rancher or farmer for a year or more, he would break his saddle pony to drive single and get him a girl. Pearl, my wife and I, did all our courting with horse and buggy. Then along came the automobile and the airplane. The first automobile I ever owned was a 1913 Model T Ford and of course -- it was the best Model T in the country. Everybody's Model T was the best and fastest. The first airplane I every saw was one that the Wright Brothers made -- it was back in 1909 or 1910. a neighbor boy and I put a tongue in my buggy and made a team out of his and my ponies and drove about 35 or 40 miles to Carmen, Oklahoma. One day to go and one day there and one day to come back home. They had some kind of big blowout, but the big attraction was the airplane that was flown in. He lit out in a pasture north of Carmen and what a crowd. People came in from every place to see this plane fly. Most people would not believe it till they saw it. When he got ready to fly it, he ask some of us boys and men to hang on to it till he got his engine warmed up and his prop enough speed to take off. When he got his engine started -- how our hats did fly. He finally motioned for us to let go and the way he went -- three or four hundred yards down across the pasture and finally set it back on the ground and I said right then, if I ever get a chance to ride in one of those blooming things, I was going to do so.
Well in 1912, Pearl and I was married and I had a lot of things to think about instead of flying, but I never got it out of my system. Every time I would hear of a airplane in the country any place, I would try and be there. The first lady flyer that I ever saw was in Wichita, Kansas. They were having a big wheat show in Wichita and it lasted for several days. I heard that Ruth Law, the great lady flyer -- in fact I think the only woman flyer at that time -- was going to do some flying and sky writing. So, I said to pearl, 'you and I are going to Wichita to the big wheat show.' Of course, what I really was thinking about was to a woman fly an airplane and at night. Well, we went and we went out to the Park where she was going to take off at that time. Wo when it got dark, Miss Law took for the sky after she got some altitude she went to writing her name in the sky RUTH LAW. she done a real good job. that was sure something then when she started to land she got lost and could not find the place to land, so she flew around awhile and finally set it down in the river without injury to her or her plane. Her plane sure was a crude looking thing. She sat out in front and the prop was in the back.
Well, as time went on -- airplanes got more common. More people learned to fly, so finally one day there were a small plane came to Waynoka. Some fellow had learned to fly it. He was out barnstorming trying to make money to pay for it. He set it down in a small pasture east of town and of course every body went out there, even some of the stores closed up to go and see the airplane. He was taking rides and charged $10 per person. Well, he was not doing so good. $10.00 was a lot of money those days and most people was afraid to ride in a airplane. So here was my chance at last. I asked the pilot if he wold let me take my 4-year0old son with me for $10.00 and he said he sure would. My little boy was at home taking his afternoon nap. I call his mother on phone and told her to get him ready he was going to take a airplane ride I knew he would like it because he watched every plane he ever seen just as long as they were in sight. Well, the ride was sure something. Everything I expected and more too. Roscoe, my small boy, liked it just as well as I did and he can tell about his first ride yet just as well as I can.
So, time went on they built better, faster and safer airplanes. One of my neighbor's boys went to Wichita to learn to be an automobile mechanic and while he was there, he learned to fly an airplane and he traded his car and some money for an old Jennie open cockpit and water cooled. When he would come home, he would land in his father's pasture. All I had to do to get a ride was to furnish the gas and him and I sure would have a lot of fun flying. I sure like it, buy my wife thought I was spending too much time flying with Ira Fox. He finally got rid of his plane and it sure did please Pearl.
Well finally the big thing happened! Charles Lindburgh flew in and made location for a big TAT Airport -- one large enough to land the big thru motored passenger planes on. The location was just across the road from my home place. What a time! My brother and my wife's brother owned the land -- 320 acres and they sold it for double what they gave for it. Things sure did pick up around Waynoka. They built three blacktop runways and a big hanger 150' x 205' -- office building, water system, boundary lights clear around the field and about every contraption that could be used around an airport. Finally, they got it completed. This was back in 1929 and the big planes started to come in from the East. This before they done much night flying. The passengers would come in from the West on the Santa Fe train. They had an airplane depot at Waynoka and big busses to haul the passengers from the train to the Airport ad from the Airport to town to take the train. They would travel at night by train and day by plane. Roscoe and Roland, my two oldest boys spent most of their time when they was not busy at the airport and watching the big planes take off and come in. They run three out in the morning and three in the evening.
This went on for a year or two, then they got to flying at night instead of the planes stopping at Clovis, New Mexico, they just came on through and would pass Waynoka up. Stopped at Wichita to take passengers on and off. Waynoka Airport was a dead duck, just used it for an emergency landing field. Finally, they sold the land and moved the big hangar and other buildings off. By this time, Jack and my two oldest boys, Roscoe and Roland, were like their Dad -- quite air minded. Roscoe and Jack went to Woodward and learned to fly. They never told their mother anything about it until they had soloed. So, one day here they came flying over our house each of them in a J-3 Cub, so I knew I had to do something about a strip for them to land on. I knew I had a good place down in the pasture just across the road where the old airport was, so I went to work and made a strip for them to land on.
Well, Jack went tot he Army and was gone for over two years, but Roscoe and Roland went ahead with our little airport. We made three runways and built a hangar. Gene McGill had a small plane and did a lot of flying, so we got an Instructor and started a school and about every kid in the country wanted to learn to fly. We had about all one instructor wanted to do. Some of them got their own planes, but not many of them could afford one. We finally got a little Aeronca Champion and how we did use it. It was in the air most all of the time when the weather would permit. Jack finally got back from the Army and he took over. Him and I bought us an Aeronca Champion and how we did use it for about every thing that you can use a plane for. I don't think there was hardly a town in a radius of 100 miles that I did not know it from the air.
I was a member of Oklahoma Flying Farmers and attended all of the meetings. I was elected to the Board o Directors and when the question came up how long a member was to serve on the board, they were writing up a new set of by-laws. I suggested that we should stagger the Directors and elect one each year. We had directors then, so we decided to do that. so We put 5 numbers in a hat and, of course, I had to draw the -year term. Well, I served 4 years and resigned my last year, then was when Jack got into the game. he was put on the Board. I think he served three or four years, then was elected President in 1956 and was elected back in 1957. He is still serving as you all know. I was very proud of him and I think he made a good president. I understand his time will be up when you have your next State Convention this year. I think two years is long enough for anyone to serve as State President.
The old Transcontinental Air Transportation Airline that colonel Charles Lindburgh routed and mapped was taken over by the T.W.A. and today the TWA Airlines is one of the largest in the world. When they were stopping at Waynoka, we got to see a good many noted people and a lot of movie stars. Meeting charles Lindburgh and his wife, Ann, and visits with them at the airport. Also, I talked to Will Rogers. He came in several times and always liked to ask questions.
I think I have already wrote too much for an article in the newsletter and I am guessing that Jack will never ask me to write something again. They say in two or 4 years, we will have Space Ships that will be taking us to the moon. Maybe we will have our National Convention on the moon sometime -- who knows. -- written by J. B. Kelsey in 1957"
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1960 - John Cronley's Once Over by E. M. Barker
Vol 10, Iss 25 While searching through The Oklahoman archives online, I came across this interesting article written by E. M. Barker and sent to The Daily Oklahoma sports editor, John Cronley for his Once Over column. It appeared March 3, 1960, on page 33, "... Some folks might have wondered when Gene McGill, ordinarily a mild-mannered man, stiffened his upper lip and stayed right in there and pitched when the governor was trying so hard to shell him from the mound ... Although he has no athletic record of his own, his father, the late Bill McGill, is regarded as Alva's most fabulous athlete.".
"The readers write -- well, at least one got through the tundra by carrier pigeon. Taking over at this point is E. M. Barker, sports editor of the Review-Courier in Alva.
"Have read your column religiously ever since you started writing it. Agree with you on most of your comments and get a lot of information I wouldn't otherwise. I have met you on several occasions down at Norman as I sat in the press box as a friend of Harold Keith.
"Have something that should interest the people of Oklahoma as well as yourself, who have a nostalgic yearning for the facts concerning those who helped make athletic history.
Some folks might have wondered when Gene McGill, ordinarily a mild-mannered man, stiffened his upper lip and stayed right in there and pitched when the governor was trying so hard to shell him from the mound.
"Here's the answer, Although he has no athletic record of his own, his father, the late Bill McGill, is regarded as Alva's most fabulous athlete.
"Standing 6-2 and weighing about 190 pounds, he first attracted attention as a pitcher while attending Friends University (Wichita, Kan.) on a baseball scholarship.
"After two years at Friends University, he enrolled at Northwestern State, then called Alva Normal. Once he attended a state track meet and got the medal as all-around athlete. There was little that he couldn't do at a track meet.
He Tries High Jump
"He never jumped before and they wanted him to try the high jump. After all but Bill had finished he told them to raise the bar to six feet.
"He commented later, "I jumped over easily and later I learned they were diving over the bar instead of jumping. I believe if they had let me dive I could have gone over 10 feet.
"After finishing the season with the Browns, he got homesick and came back to Alva to go into the furniture business with his brother, Jim, and they quit after 50 years.
"Gene never cared for baseball but turned to farming and ranching, and at one time was known all over Oklahoma as dan of the Flying Farmers.
"Bill excelled in sports and for years was Alva's leading golfer. He had few peers as a hunter and many envied his fine markmanship. He died August 7, 1959, at the age of 77.
"Categorically the careers of Bill and Gene differed sharply. Gene had no truck for competitive sports. But when it came to the great outdoors, once again their trails met as they tramped the untilled soil of Woods County in quest of the elusive stubble duck and migratory fowl.
Helps Game Situation
Charley Albright, former state senator and offtimes hunting companion of Gene, will tell you he has few superiors as a wing shot. Bill used to call him Hurry-Up Yost. "Young men today hunt too fast. They do not give the dog a chance to hunt out all the good places," Bill fumed. But Gene differed.
"The day of the old fashioned bob whites, which used to be sitting ducks for the pioneers, is gone. These new generations of quail move faster," Gene countered.
Hunters in northwest Oklahoma are very appreciative of the efforts of young McGill to re-stock the country with quail and pheasants, and he has done this often at his own expense.
Added to this, he has provided his own plane on numerous occasions to spot coyotes for his neighbors.
A successful rancher and farmer, people gradually became aware that this young man is fully cognizant of what makes the earth tick and is well acquainted with political issues.
His father once said, "Once Gene has made up his mind, nothing can change it. Oh, well, just another McGill, I guess. A chip off the old block."
Record Score Posted
AND it was while pitching at Friends that a duel with Art Griggs of Washburn gave rise to one of the most unusual games ever played in the Texas League. Griggs defeated McGill, 4-0, as he personally accounted for all Washburn scores by lacing out a couple of home runs.
This infuriated McGill, and right then and there they made an agreement that if they ever met again each pitcher would go the route without relief.
This resulted in the most lopsided game played in the history of the Texas League, with Austin defeating San Antonio, 44-0. McGill was the victor.
That was the season McGill was the leading pitcher in the Texas League while hanging up the most strikeouts. He also led the league in batting. Using a blinding fast ball and cross-fire delivery, he was sold that Fall to the St. Louis Browns for $500, then a big sum.
His most notable game in the majors was a 2-2 tie with the Cleveland Indians, called in the 12th inning on account of darkness.
He once told me, "I could have won easily, but I just couldn't get the ball past the Cleveland second baseman, a man by the name of Napoleon Lajole. But if I had brought my Austin outfield with me I could have still won. Those Browns just wouldn't hustle like the boys in the Texas League."
Vol 17, Iss 35Alva, OKlahoma - According to the 1945, December 13, news article that appeared in "The Ada Weekly News," page seven, via Stillwater, Oklahoma, December 11, 1945, there was this clipping concerning an "Alva Man To Head Flying Farmers."
Stillwater, Okla., Dec. 11 (1945) -- Gene McGill, Alva, would head the national flying farmers association.
McGill was elected yesterday (10 Dec. 1945) by Oklahoma flying farmers preparing to incorporate and expand the group on a nationwide basis. McGill said the first organization work probably would be done in Kansas and Texas.
Forrest Watson, Thomas, president of the Oklahoma group, was named to the national board of directors. Arvid Temple, Buffalo, was named vice president of the nation association. Other national officers" R. M. Irvin, Woodward, secretary-treasurer, and Mrs. Todd Davis, Minco, and Cecil Neville, Chickasha, directors.
Vol 1, Iss 5 NW Okie wrote this on a Thursday, June 3, 1999, "Harvesters & Prairie Skyscrapers (The Man with the whiskers Got the Job). Because of her father's whet harvesting photo in the 1940's with his full-grown beard he supported during harvest times.
"What Are Prairie Skyscrapers? Up in Kansas they are referred to as Prairie Skyscrapers (a.k.a. grain elevators). In most areas of the Heartland, you can see at least one elevator off in the distance. Every town has at least one and, in some cases, the elevator is still standing (and may even still be used) even if the town has bee abandoned."
You won't find Godzilla perched on the top of these skyscrapers swatting off airplanes. You might see a few flying farmers and harvesters flying low to the ground scouting out the golden, ripe, waving wheat fields from south to north all through the heartland region.
This is the hectic time of the year for a lot of farmers. They are looking toward the skies and praying for Mother Nature's cooperation with sunshine instead of rain, hail and storm.
Within a couple of weeks you will notice more activity springing up around all the prairie skyscrapers in the smalll, rural farming communities. Small towns will become alive again with harvesters buying necessities, supplies and groceries. Wheat trucks will be lined up to unload their grains into the elevators in each of the rural towns.
The harvesters will have gathered their combines, grain carts, wheat trucks and crews. They will working from south Texas and moving toward Canada. Harvesters will be hitting all the Heartland and Wheatland regions in between.
I overheard a farmer say just this morning, "I'll be glad when they start, and I'll sure be glad when they leave."
A local paper mentioned that because of the mild winter and the rain we've been having this year that everything in the wheat field is germinating along with the wheat, even the Cheat and Rye. It even mentioned that the harvest looked to be 80% less than last year's dcrop. In the NW part of the state the wheat heads were just beginning to turn last weekend. The further south you travel the riper it became. There were a lot of farmers that have been baling and putting up their wheat as hay.
My dad made what living was possible in the 1940s by "wheat harvesting" for other farmers with his three (3) Baldwin combines outfits and an airplane. He was known as the whiskers "flying farmer." He would start his crop of whiskers about the time it came to wheat harvesting for the other farmers.
As he went northward with is three combines outfits his beard grew more luxurious. He had a picture taken during one of those trips when he found a "farmer look-alike." He and the farmer are dressed in similar clothing; same expression and both have full whiskers.
My father would use his airplane to spot wheat fields which need cutting even far off the beaten roads followed by other outfits - "And the man with the shikers and the airplane got the job."
Here is an "Old Time Harvesting Wheat Binder." One of my farmers told me this was a picture of a "wheat binder" pulled by four horses. I'm told it was the next step up from the hand scythes and hand binding days. I suspect it was in the early 1920s before the first tractor. The first tractor, I'm told, came out around the 1929 era sometime.
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Harvesters & Prairie Skyscrapers
Vol 11, Iss 26 What are Prairie Skyscrapers? Up in Kansas they are referred to as Prairie Skyscrapers (a.k.a. grain elevators). In most areas of the Heartland, you can see at least one elevator off in the distance. Every town has at least one and, in some cases, the elevator is still standing (and may even still be used) even if the town has been abandoned.
You won't find Godzilla perched on the top of these skyscrapers swatting off airplanes, either. You might see a few flying farmers and harvesters flying low to the ground scouting out the golden, ripe, waving wheat fields from south to north all through the Heartland region. The man with the whiskers and airplane got the job in those earlier harvesting days of flying farmers. This is the hectic time of year for allot of farmers. They are looking towards the skies and praying for Mother Nature's cooperation with sunshine instead of rain, hail and storm.
Have you noticed more activity springing up around all the prairie skyscrapers in the small, rural, farming communities? Small towns are awakening and becoming alive again with harvesters moving down the road, buying necessities, supplies and groceries. Wheat trucks line up to unload their grains into the grain elevators in each of the rural communities where they will be cutting wheat.
The harvester's will have gathered their combines, grain carts, wheat trucks and crew and will be working from south Texas and moving north through Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, and moving towards Canada. They will be hitting all the Heartland and Wheatland regions in between. My dad (Gene McGill) made a similar route in the 1940s "wheat harvesting" for other farmers from Oklahoma to South Dakota with his three (3) Baldwin combines outfits, an airplane and a crew. He was known as the "full-bearded flying farmer".
Gene would start his crop of whiskers about the time it came to wheat harvesting for the other farmers. As he went northward with his three combines outfits his beard grew more luxurious. He had a picture taken during one of those trips when he found a "father figure look-alike".
Gene and his older look-alike are dressed in similar clothing; same expression and both have a fully-bearded. There is no relationship other than friendly farmers shooting the bull, as some might say.
Gene would use his airplane to spot wheat fields which needed cutting even far off the beaten roads followed by other outfits -- "And the man with the whiskers and the airplane got the job."
This picture was taken some time on June 20, 1942, 5 miles South (think it was south of Alva, Oklahoma. But I'm not sure. The photo shows Gene (on left) standing in back of wheat truck with another crew member and wheat spilling out the back of the truck. On the back of the photo it shows the date and 30-bushel wheat is written.
On this same day on June 20, 1942, 5 miles South of who knows where three (3) Baldwin's Combines are working behind one case tractor out in the wheat field.
If you look closely into the field with this photo you will see Gene's three Baldwin combines outfit out in the field at work. Those combines now have a permanent home nestled far back in the pasture near Two Buttes, Baca County, Colorado.
Here is another shot of Gene's harvesting outfit with a Phillips 66 fuel truck to the right and the outfit crew standing and posing for the cameraman in the 1940s.
Another view of some old photos shows the Case tractor loaded on back of truck that my dad used in his combine outfit. They were either unloading or loading after or before a job. I'm not quite sure.
Here is an "Old Time Harvesting Wheat Binder". Some farmer told me this was a picture of a "wheat binder" pulled by four horses. I'm told it was the next step up from the hand scythes and hand binding days. I suspect it was in the early 1920s before the first tractor. The first tractor, I'm told, came out around the 1929 era sometime.
Vol 10, Iss 26 "The image on the left is a give away match book advertising the White Bros. airport.
The White brothers, Leslie and Orville, were early members of the Flying Farmers. They farmed a few miles west of Lamont in Grant Co., OK. Their air strip was located about three miles west of Lamont on U.S. 60. They started out with an old Piper Cub and went on to be Cessna dealers back in the 1950?s. They and my grandfather Clarence McCary helped each other farm and fished and grabbled together over the years. All these people have passed on.
After Leslie retired, he made the most marvelously perfect furniture from native Oklahoma black walnut. The OKC daily newspaper once featured his furniture making. He was truly a man for all seasons. Besides being a farmer, a pilot, and furniture maker he was also a good mechanic, welder, carpenter, and a fine human being. He could do it all." -- Charles M. Cook in Louisiana Bayou Country
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Flying Farmers '57 Article
Vol 9, Iss 24 "My Uncle Jack Kelsey found this in his barn. It was written in 1957 by my Grand Father. My Uncle Jack had ask him to write something for the monthly flying farmers magazine. Since Gene McGill was mentioned and the old Kelsey air field etc. I think it may interest you. It's fun to know that my family were pioneers." -
Page #2, Page #3 and Page #4. -- Barry Kelsey
Vol 7, Iss 45 "Linda, my information came from Jack Kelsey. I visited him in the hospital today, and he is much, much better! The Kelsey Airport was in use by the time Jack Kelsey came home from military service in 1946. Jack and his brother Roscoe learned to fly in 1943. Gene McGill was about the only pilot in the whole country. Bunk Kelsey, Jack's father, kept gas at the airport for airplanes. A lot of people flew in there. The Flying Farmers flew into Kelsey Airport a lot. Gene (McGill) was instrumental in starting the Oklahoma Flying Farmers, the first one in the United States. Bunk Kelsey was on the board of directors. He didn't fly, so Jack flew him to meetings. Gene and the Kelsey's had Aeronca Champion planes. Then Gene got a Cessna 140. Jack was the photographer, and his brother Roscoe the pilot, when the (1946) photos were taken of the trains at Waynoka while Roscoe flew the plane at a low altitude. The movie of the train, and the rail yards at Waynoka, and aerial views of Waynoka, are all on the video that you have. The Kelsey Airport was the only one around at that time. Alva didn't have an airport. Leo Strickland opened a flying school at Northwestern for college boys during the war. I think all 3 of the Kelsey sons were pilots! Jack's first plane ride was in a TAT Ford tri-motor, sitting on his father's knee, in 1929. And the legacy continues - Jack and Jean's son Jeff works for Cessna." -- Sandie Olson, Waynoka Historical Society
Vol 7, Iss 45The History... The Oklahoma Flying Farmers got its start in 1944 in Stillwater, Oklahoma, when two men decided to visit some flying farmers. H.A. "Herb" Graham, director of Agricultural Extension at Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College, and Ferdie Deering, farm editor of the Farmer-Stockman magazine, traveled across the state, meeting with different farmer-flyers. One stop was at Henry G. "Heinie" Bomhoff's wheat farm; thinking Bomhoff would be an ideal subject for a magazine feature, Graham wanted to interview the colorful character. As Bomhoff talked, Graham and Deering learned there were many other farmers who owned and used airplanes in their farming and ranching operations. So they asked Bomhoff (as they had asked the other flying farmers they visited) if he would be interested in meeting with others like himself at the annual Farm and Home Week, hosted by Oklahoma A & M at Stillwater ..... On Aug. 3,1944, the meeting was held and the Oklahoma Flying Farmers Association was born. The following year, after the idea had spread to other states, Bennett's vision became reality. On Dec. 12,1945, the National Flying Farmers Association was incorporated under Oklahoma law. Airplane ownership then was not so very complicated. Farmers fixed their own tractors, and likewise, they fixed their own airplanes too. And, if they couldn't find a part, they made one. Farmers were very creative in their use of airplanes. During harvest time, they would land their airplanes in the fields to talk with the harvesters.
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Membership List - Oklahoma Flying Farmers
Vol 10, Iss 25
We are not sure what year this list of members for the Oklahoma Flying Farmers was made, but assume it may have been around 1946. If anyone out there can help us identify the exact year, we would love to hear from you. Thanks!
Beggs, Ralph, Jefferson, OK; Berry, Jack D., Stillwater, OK; Bollenbach, Irvin, Kingfisher, OK; Bomhaff, Mr. & Mrs. H. G., Calumet, OK; Brundadge, Dr. B. T., Thomas, OK; Brown, Thomas, Jefferson, OK; Buster, Bob, Guymon, OK; Coyle, E. A., Idabel, OK; Crusha, Vernon, Woodward, OK; Chambers Lloyd, El Reno, OK
Cornelsen, Wayman, Fairvies (sp), OK; Cook, Bronnie, Seiling, OK; Craig, Carl, Texhoma, OK; Chaband, Jack, Carnegie, OK
Daubert, Dan L., Gotebo, OK; Davis, Mr. & Mrs. Tod, Minco, OK; Daily, O. H., Lamont, OK; Decker, L. A., Lahoma, OK; Detweiler, John R., Thomas, OK; DeWess, Clarence L., Roosevelt, OK; Dixon, Ira, Kingfisher, OK; Eversole, R. A., Grandfield, OK; Eckleberry, Nelson, Calument, OK; Eulberg, William, Medford, OK
Fox, Sam, Hobart, OK; Ford, Wilbur, Carrier, OK; Francis, Mary, Oklahoma City, OK; Freeman, Buzz, Belva, OK; Flaming, O. S., Cloudchief, OK; Ferrell, Edward, Mt. View, OK
Griffin, L. M., Idabel, OK; Grant, B. M., Frederick, OK; Grantham, Frank, Gage, OK; Hays, James H., Enid, OK; Hemminger, Harry, Elmore City, OK; Hutchison, Frank, Thomas, OK; Hutchison, L. J., Thomas, OK; Hickman, French, Minco, OK; Harmon, Melvin, Calumet, OK; Hines, Bill, Roosevelt, OK; Hitch, H. C. Jr., Guymon, OK; James, H. F., Gage, OK; Jones, Floyd, Thomas, OK; Jones, Georgia L., Roosevelt, OK; Jones, David W., Roosevelt, OK; Julian, H. L., Guymon, OK
Kelsey, Jack Jr., Waynoka, OK; Kelsey, Jack Sr., Waynoka, OK; Kelsey, Roscoe, Waynoka, OK; Kelso, Miss Jery, El Reno, OK; King, Sherman G., Cordell OK; Kreoker, Sam, Corn, OK; Klein, Victor, Shattuck, OK; Kippenberger, Stanley, Thomas, OK; Keller, Mr. & Mrs. Clyde, Thomas, OK; Krittenbrink John T., Jefferson, OK; Lathrop, Mr. & Mrs. Rolla, Keyes, OK ;Lathrop, Jerry, Keyes, OK; Linch, C. W., Pond Creek, OK; Lynch, H. F. Medford, OK; Leonard, Dutch (E.R.), Hobart, OK; Leonard, Mrs. E. R., Hobart, OK; Louthan, Virgil, Seiling, OK
Madison, G. B., Clinton, OK; Moore, C. s., Roosevelt, OK; Moore, George R., lamont, OK; Moyers, Raymond, Drumond, OK; Morton Herman L., Grandfield, OK; Myers, Escal, Ada, OK; Megert, Oscar, Colony, OK; Mauk, Dewey, Blackwell, OK; McGill Mr. & Mrs. Gene Alva, OK; McNeill, R. C., Thomas, OK; McMullen, J. L., Okemah, OK; McCulloch, Doyle, Blackwell, OK; McAvoy, K. S., Thomas, OK; Nossaman, E. E., Buffalo, OK; Neville, Mr. & Mrs. Cecil, Chickasha, OK; Nash, Ed, Guymon, OK; Nigh, M. W., Waynoka, OK
Peters, Mr. & Mrs. L. D., Hobart, OK; Portwood, Mr. & Mrs. J. Edgar, Hobart, OK; Pile, C. V., May, OK; Roetker, Walter, Selman, OK; Schwal, Alex M., Shattuck, OK; Schoenhals, Dave, Shattuck, OK; Shriner, Wm. Dale, Hobart, OK; Simpson, Rolland C., Goltry, OK; Sipe, Robert C., Tonkawa, OK; Sipes, E. a., Cordel, OK; Son, James V., Crodell, OK; Spear, Loy, Calumet, OK; Stephens, George A., Anadarko, OK; Stewart, W. H., Shawnee, OK; Stone, Ralph Jr., Coweta, OK; Stoops, Hugh E. Roosevelt, OK; Streck, Virgil, Carrier, OK
Temple, Mr. & Mrs. Arvid, Buffalo, OK; Temple, Jo Nell, Buffalo, OK; Temple, Shirley, Buffalo, OK; Temple, Mary Lou, Buffalo, OK; Taylor, W. L., Butler, OK; Talley, Mr. & Mrs. Ben, Roosevelt, OK; Van Dorn, Duane, Woodward, OK; Watson Mr. & Mrs. forrest, Thomas, OK; Watkins, Mr. & Mrs. Lloyd, Hobart, OK; White, Orville, Lamont, OK; Wyler Ernest C., Tonkawa, OK; Whelchel, J. W., Thomas, OK; White, Leslie, Lamont, OK; Whipple, Monte, Waynoka, OK; Wrobbel, Dale, Kingfisher, OK; Wendt, Emil, Kingfisher, OK; Zook, Fred, Waynoka, OK. -- Two sheets of typed lists found in Gene McGill's old papers.
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1945 - National Flying Farmers Group To Be Formed
Vol 10, Iss 25
A national association of flying farmers and ranchers, with the Oklahoma Flying Farmers as the parent group, will be organized immediately by the state group and the National Areonautics association, it was announced here Tuesday.
Forrest Watson, Thomas, president of the Oklahoma Flying Farmers, and William R. Enyart, Greenwich, Conn, president of NAA, said the nationwide organization will be known as the National Flying Farmers association.
It is to be set up as an autonomous group with membership open only to farmers and ranchers using the airplane in their business. While the national association will conduct its own affairs under national, state and qualify.
Plans for expansion of the Oklahoma organization into a nationwide group were presented to directors of NAA, here for the national Aviation clinic, by Gene McGill, Alva, chairman of the organizing committee.
As in the Oklahoma organization membership of the National Flying Farmers association will be limited to plane operators deriving at least 51 percent of their income from agriculture. Watson said. The wife of a farmer who is a pilot also may be a member, or the husband of a farm wife who is the pilot.
"The flying Farmers organization is typically grass roots, and so it NAA." Enyart said, "It will bring into our organization a segment of consumers which heretofore has lacked definition in NAA affairs."
Agriculture was slow to recognize the need for good roads but here in Oklahoma is a spontaneous organization. It means that farmers wre accepting the airplane as a part of their daily lives and the airplane has widened the horizons of those living on the farm."
Watson said flying farmers and ranchers in Texas and Kansas already are interested in organizing, and he returned last week from Tucson, Ariz., where he spoke at the Arizona State Aviation conference and found widespread interest in the Oklahoma Flying Farmers and the idea back of it. remote ranches in Arizona are finding the airplane almost indispensible, Watson said.
The Oklahoma flying Farmers president said merchanics of integraing the national association into NAA are yet to be worked out, but when it is finally accomplished the group will have complete control of its own affairs although a part of the corporate structure of NAA.
Starting point of the campaign to make the Flying Farmers nationwide has not yet been determined. A state may organize when as many as 25 members has been secured.
The Oklahoma flying Farmers were organized when a group of farmer pilots and their wives flew to Stillwater two years ago to attend a farm club conference at Oklahoma A&M college. The group is now recognized as a chapter of NAA.