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JIM: Elder Williams & the aeroplane: 'It sure was a grand sight.'

The wonder Elder Williams wrote of, of seeing an airplane fly for the first time in his life, he could now see any day at the twin cities Esto/Montpelier International, aka Russell County Airport just a few miles from his birthplace - just 100 years after his thrilling experience in Belton, Bell County, TX
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In the forepart of 1917, Eld. Z.T. Williams and his esteemed wife Mary spent several weeks in Belton, Bell County, Texas (60 miles north-northeast of Austin), visiting his son Lawrence and several other Adair Countians who had "gone thataway" to Texas.

As was his wont when away from Adair County, Eld. Williams sent a series of letters to the local newspaper, missives in which he spoke of long ago friends he'd seen, the weather, crops, road conditions, price of land, schools, and whatever else that might have drawn his attention as a merchant, farmer, minister, teacher, and generally well-read man.

In this particular series, the next-to-last letter, datelined March 12, 1917 at Belton and published in the Adair County News on the 21st, he touched on a potpourri of topics but most notably, perhaps, he wrote of the wondrous sight he'd observed a few days earlier in a nearby town. Of that event, he wrote:

"One of the enjoyable events of the week was seeing for the first time in [my] life an aeroplane fly, at Temple, and people were there from all parts of the county...

"At five o'clock the Biplain was to fly. It was placed on a lot where all the people could see it. Two sides of the lot were surrounded by autos. When all things were ready she was given a little push, being on wheels, and away she went higher and higher, then sailed as gracefully as a bird around over the town in a circle and after all the people had looked and enjoyed it to their satisfaction, she began to lower herself, and after a few circles alighted as gracefully as she had gone up.

"It was great pleasure to me to see it as it was my first. I told Bro. Bledsoe, who was with me, when I first saw her, she would never fly, and she did make several efforts before she went. It sure was a grand sight."

This story was posted on 2017-03-16 10:52:02
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