My uncle Gary was in a fatal plane crash just a few months before I was born. He was only 17 years old and he was taking flying lessons with the hope of earning his pilot’s license. It must have seemed a perfectly safe and reasonable choice to his parents, as they lived close to the Van Nuys airport and his father was also a licensed private pilot.
Gary and his instructor took off from Van Nuys airport in the single-engine Ercoupe on Saturday, January 22, 1966. The Ercoupe has only two seats—Gary was seated in the left-hand seat and his instructor, Donald K. Carey, was seated in the right-hand seat. On their approach to the Santa Paula airport from the northeast, their plane apparently ran out of fuel just short of the airport. Their plane sputtered and lost altitude. The plane hit a eucalyptus tree in a residential backyard, and nearly hit two houses before it crashed into electrical and telephone wires. The plane made a hard landing on its right side, crushing the right wing and causing fatal injuries to Mr. Carey.
This post may give you the feeling that you’ve walked into a room and found two people arguing so vehemently about such deep-rooted issues that you can’t figure out what they’re actually so upset about. My apologies for that, but currently I’ve only discovered a brief portion of what seems to be an impassioned row between two men of widely divergent political and personal viewpoints.
On the one hand is Joseph Askew, a self-made man who believed in success through hard work and sharing the wealth with the less fortunate. He was a religious man and became a liberal politician affiliated with the Populist party; in today’s political climate he might be fairly described as a Socialist. On the other hand is Mr. L. A. Paddock, a man with a troubled past who’s cast himself as a fiscally concerned individual who feels he’s paying too much in taxes to a government he sees as fiscally irresponsible; someone who, in today’s political climate, might be best described as a Tea Party Republican.
Clearly there’s a lot more to the animosity between these two men than what is presented in these two letters to the editor from 1891.
For today’s post, I’d like to present a transcription of an amusing article from 1890. I haven’t yet seen the article in its original published form, but when I do, I’ll attach a scan of the article to this post. The late Wadena historian Bob Zosel found this article in the May 22, 1890, issue of the Wadena County Pioneer. He transcribed it and sent the transcription along to my great-great-uncle, Gordy Askew. While visiting Gordy last month, I saw this transcription for the first time and scanned it to add it to the family archives.
What I present below is Bob Zosel’s transcription, plus a few notes of my own.