"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press & Thorndale Champion
25 December 2003

More 100 Years of Flight

My column last week generated a lot of e-mails and letters! What great memories! I'd like to share one of the letters with you from Arlene Schroeder of Yorktown, Texas:

"Your column got me to thinking about my late grandfather, Robert B. Jacob, who was born in 1899 and died in 1998. During that time-frame he saw mankind go from horse and buggy to the moon.

A story he loved to tell was that when he was a very young lad, somewhere between 6 and 8 years old, the Wright brothers brought their airplane to Yorktown, Texas, as part of a barnstorming tour they made around the country. To help them take off from the old fair grounds, they recruited some local boys to push the aircraft. My grandfather was much younger than the other boys, but he begged to be allowed to help push the plane, and he was!

We've tried to pin down the exact date of when this might have happened, but so far have been unsuccessful, but we do know that the Wright brother's plane was taken around the country during that approximate time frame.

Anyways, thanks for your story that brought back some memories."

What a wonderful addition this story makes to Arlene's family history. I would suggest that she begin looking at old newspapers for her community. Yorktown is located on State Highway 72 and Coleto Creek, about 75-miles east of San Antonio and 36-miles northwest of Victoria in southwestern DeWitt County.

Arlene has a great number of places to begin looking for newspaper stories about the Wright Brothers tour of Texas. We know the original flight occurred in 1903 and her grandfather was born in 1899 and so, she should begin her search of newspapers between 1905 and 1910. Wilburn died in 1912 and Orville carried on with their invention.

Stories related to this event could be found in any newspaper from Corpus Christi to San Antonio to Houston to Dallas. This type of event would have been featured in almost every Texas newspaper. What a treasure hunt! But documenting this family story with a newspaper article would be a gold mine for any genealogist!

Ancestry.com has old newspapers on-line through a subscription service and many individuals have a membership.

Another good source would be the Texas Newspaper Collection at the Center for American History. To search their collection, go to: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/tnp/ where you can search by city or county for old newspapers or visit the Center for American History on-line at: http://www.cah.utexas.edu/.

Other resources for old newspapers would be local libraries, historical societies or the newspaper offices. Arlene is in luck as the Texas Newspaper Collection has the "Yorktown News" newspaper on microfilm for Feb. 6, 13, 1908 and May 15-Jul. 3, 1913. While this isn't a lot to go on, it's a beginning. Check with your local library and see if they can obtain this microfilm for you via inter-library loan.

Let's keep our fingers crossed for Arlenes treasure hunt!


In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/lks_friday/COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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Copyright 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604