Wandering Diogenes - Truth & "Junius Wentworth Harworth III"

Gyula Horváth
© 2013 - Carroll F. Gray
Posted: July 26, 2013

Gyula Horvath

      Gyula Horvath was, in the view of many people, and certainly in his own view, Gustave Whitehead's most dedicated advocate and keeper-of-the-flame. He was also Stella Randolph's "leading witness," and Whitehead's self-described "public relations man."

      Gyula (then about two) and his older brother Nicholas (then about four) were accompanied by their mother, Mari (nee: Orosz), as they traveled from Kassa (now "Košice"), Slovakia, Austria-Hungary, to the U.S., in 1891. Their father, Stephen Horvath, had preceded them in 1889, and after settling in Bridgeport, Connecticut, arranged to have his family join him, a common practice during the great wave of immigration at the turn of that century.

      In 1895, Gyula Horvath entered grade school in Bridgeport, under the name "Julius Hoey" - why that name was used, even Gyula wasn't certain, but that was his name through grade school. When he moved on to high school he did so as "Julius Horvath," and graduated in 1906.

      It's of some interest to note that in 1899 Stephen Horvath (and presumably the Horvath family) lived at 348 Hancock Ave., the same address as George Egry and where Louis Darvarich and Gustav Weisskopf lodged after arriving in Bridgeport in August of 1900.

      Horvath began his long association with Gustav Weisskopf/Gustave Whitehead in 1900, at the age of 12. His first job with Whitehead was to safeguard a trunk which Whitehead had just retrieved from Bridgeport's train station, until he could return the following day, a Saturday.

      "When he did arrive he found me seated on top of the box munching a cookie and he was so pleased with my vigilance that he gave me a brand new copper cent from his first pay. Needless to say I was pleased and felt well paid even though I refused to play run-sheep-run with my playmates. As I look back now, my life in mechanics and scientific interest started at the moment of receiving that copper, and strange to say it was the only money ever received from him in all the years that I was associated with him."

      Julius Horvath claimed he had assisted Whitehead to build the No. 21 machine and 35 years after later described the "first attempt" to operate No. 21. The attempt…

      "… took place along the Bridgeport Gas Company property, flying or hopping from Howard Avenue eastward to Wordin Avenue. At the eastern end of Pine Street, near the railroad tracks, we had ample room to turn the machine about, and flew and hopped to Howard Avenue. With homes on both sides and trees, we felt it risky so pushed the machine westward to Hancock Avenue, then from here on a flight was made, the machine rising about five feet."

      Horvath also recalled that

      "On August, Fourteenth, Nineteen Hundred and One I was present and assisted on the occasion when Mr. Whitehead succeeded in flying his machine, propelled by a motor, to a height of two-hundred feet off the ground or sea beach at Lordship Manor, Connecticut. The distance flown was approximately one mile and a half and lasted to the best of my knowledge for four minutes."

      Julius Horvath told Stella Randolph that his father disapproved of the time he spent with Whitehead …

      "My father was also against Whitehead and would not permit me to go to the shop. I went anyway and when anything happened, naturally I did not say a thing to anyone about it, much less my brother. My mother knew but she only."

Julius Horvath & The Inclusive Exclusive

      Beginning in July of 1934, Julius Horvath was a prolific source of material for Stella Randolph, and on August 13, 1934, she signed him under an exclusive contract and gave him a 10% share of her January 1935 Popular Aviation article about Whitehead, and also 10% of her two subsequent books. Of course, such a financial arrangement between an author and a source is generally frowned upon because a witness to events about which the author is writing would then have a financial incentive to concoct material.

      Despite his exclusive contract with Randolph, Julius Horvath also became a source for another author interested in Gustave Whitehead, Harvard Professor of Economics John B. Crane, whose article "Did Whitehead Actually Fly?" appeared in the December 1936 issue of National Aeronautics Magazine. At that point, Crane declared

      "1. The evidence that Whitehead made genuine, sustained, horizontal flight at any time is inconclusive.

        2. The evidence that Whitehead made short momentum flights at different times between 1904 and 1908 is conclusive.

        3. The evidence that Whitehead made short momentum flights prior to 1904 is inconclusive."

      Crane's article caused concern for Julius Horvath, for by 1936 Julius Horvath was married and using the alias Junius Wentworth Harworth III (and also "Junius Wentworth Harworth"), under which alias he is often cited as an associate of Whitehead. Julius/Junius wrote in February of 1937 that Crane (whom he then called "Mudhen") had revealed his other name in the N.A.A. magazine article…

      "Dr Crane has sort of 'spilled the beans' as regards mentioning my name in the Bridgeport papers. Mother has not yet refered to this change as yet, but I have hopes."

      Julius/Junius had revealed his aliases to Stella Randolph in January of 1935, asking that she

      "… address me as Junius W Harworth and for Bridgeport purposes as Julius Horvath. This may be a ticklish request but some day I will explain it to you in person and I am certain that you will agree with me."

      The impression left is that Junius Wentworth Harworth had not yet discussed his change of names and heritage with family and friends. The explanation for the use of an alias (or two, or three) was provided many years later by Julius/Junius' Grandniece, Martha Matus Schipul. In January of 2010, she stated that …

      "Nicholas's brother, Gyula Horvath, was chief assistant and later public relations man for Gustave Whitehead. When he married Louise Swan, a member of the Daughters of the Mayflower*, he was persuaded to change his name to Junius Harworth III. He moved to Detroit and worked as an engineer for Packard. On one visit to the family in Bridgeport, he sat me on his lap and carefully explained the story of Mr. Whitehead's exploits, showing me letters from the flight pioneers Brazilian Alberto Santos DuMont (sic) and one of the surviving Prussian von Lilienthal brothers." (*Louise Swan Harworth was a member of the "National Society Sons and Daughters of the Pilgrims")

      The choice of the alias "Harworth" as a last name indicates a conscious decision to deceive, because the small English village of Harworth, Nottinghamshire, has an association with the Pilgrims, and this, conceivably, helped the Junius Harworth family to gain admission into the "National Society Sons and Daughters of the Pilgrims," something which was apparently of great importance to Junius amd Louise.

      The letters from Santos-Dumont and Gustav Lilienthal (Otto Lilenthal's brother), presumably written to Horvath/Harworth, have not surfaced.

This Name… That Name… This Birthplace… That Birthplace

      Mr. Gyula/Julius/Junius Wentworth Horvath/Haworth III did more than change his name to live the American Dream, he also lied about being a naturalized US citizen and - later - about having been born in Connecticut. As can be seen on his draft registration card for The Great War, dated 12 September 1918, he checked his status as "Naturalized." He has also adopted a middle name, "Wentworth." His brother, Nicholas, did become a naturalized US citizen, but while younger brother "Junius" said he was, he was not. During WWI, Junius "Wentworth" Horvath worked as an engine mechanic at Wright-Martin Aircraft.

      The 1920 US Census shows that "Junius W. Horvath," wife, "Louise S. Horvath," and their two-year old son, Donald, were living in Brooklyn, New York… it also shows that Junius' status was not declared as "naturalized," or "alien" - meaning, in the way the 1920 Census was composed, that Junius was a 'natural born citizen.' He now listed his birthplace as Connecticut, which is, of course, untrue - he was born in Kassa, Slovakia, Austria-Hungary. The box where a year of immigration is supposed to be written is blank, meaning that Junius had not immigrated - but, he had in 1891. As of 1920, Junius and family had not yet become the "Harworth" family.

      A 1928 Detroit city directory and the 1930 US Census tell us that by this point the Junius W. Horvath family had become the Junius W. Harworth family and were living in Detroit, Michigan. Junius' place of birth is still shown as Connecticut, again, not true. Since he was still claiming to have been born in Connecticut, the spaces for year of immigration and for naturalization status on the Census form are left blank.

      The 1940 US Census, three years after Stella Randolph's Lost Flights of Gustave Whitehead was published (featuring a photo of Junius Harworth in formal attire) and three years after John B. Crane made Junius' name change public, Junius Wentworth Harworth now claimed (as he had in 1918), that he was naturalized and had been born in "Austria." Louise's mother, Gertrude, 75, was then living with Junius and Louise.


      John B. Crane interviewed Nicholas about his younger brother's involvement with Whitehead - and also interviewed Whitehead's former neighbors - and reported …

      "Furthermore, Harworth's elder brother, Nicholas Horvath, who operates a drug-store in Bridgeport, asserts that he never once heard his younger brother mention the alleged one and one-half mile flight or the seven mile flight. It was news to him that Whitehead had made such flights. In fact, it was news to everyone (sic) of Whitehead's old neighbors and former helpers who still live in the vicinity of Pine Street."

      According to "Junius," a rough childish retaliatory prank caused a serious rift between the two brothers, which apparently never healed …

      "My brother states that I never mentioned any flights to him. That is correct but he did not state why. I'll tell you why. When he was nine years old, he played a trick on me and to get back at him I told all of our boy friends that it was his ninth birthday. The boys waylaid him and each youngster pounded him nine times. The result was that since that day he has been sore at me and I at him. We very seldom spoke to each other. If he or I ever were at a party, ball or picnic first the last arrival would stay away. We have been at odds all these years. When I refused to marry into his circle he was very bitter as he had planned to have me work for him in his drug store. I saw the light, wanted things of a higher sphere and married an American. Was he sore? You bet, even today as you see by his statements."

      "Junius" also thought his pharmacist brother Nicholas was mechanically naîve…

      "My brother would not understand the facts because mechanically he is rather even unable to drive a nail into putty, so how would he understand. It is a wonder to me today that he can run a car."

He's Here… He's There...

      The August 18, 1901, Bridgeport Sunday Herald article recounting a supposed half-mile "flight" by Whitehead, mentions that four people were present: the reporter, Whitehead, Andrew Cellie and James Dickie. By April of 1937, the story was showing signs of wear, since Dickie stated flatly that he was not present, saw not one of Whitehead's machines fly, did not know Andrew Cellie, and Cellie could not be located (this is covered in detail in Article # 4 on this web site). On August 21, 1934, Harworth gave a statement to Stella Randolph that he had been present on August 14, 1901, but at a different location and had witnessed a different flight…

      "On August, Fourteenth, Nineteen Hundred and One I was present and assisted on the occasion when Mr. Whitehead succeeded in flying his machine, propelled by a motor, to a height of two-hundred feet off the ground or sea beach at Lordship Manor, Connecticut. The distance flown was approximately one mile and a half and lasted to the best of my knowledge for four minutes."

      In December 1963, John Lesko stated that while a teenager he had watched an accident at Sea Beach, Lordship Manor, on some unspecified date. There was an attempted "flight" in a single-propeller, folding-wing plane...

      "… on the right-hand side there was marsh, salt weeds, covering the whole thing, and to us it looked level. He started up and got going a pretty good speed, and Junius, the fellow that was helping him, couldn't see the dike, for the seaweeds. One of the wheels hit the dike, and knocked it all to pieces. We had to put everything back as junk in the wagon and pull it home."

      In 1936, Louis Lazay remembered an accident that sounds very much like the one John Lesko saw…

      "Whitehead… started on a vacant lot next to the circus grounds. This is where he made a flight. His plane was driven by a gasoline motor. It was about 1900. I am 50 years old just this month, and this was about the time when I was 14. He lived on Pine Street, next to the Protestant church. His shed was on the lot now owned by Racocci. He had ropes on the plane to tow in starting it, and also started the motor. Junius Harworth was in the plane at the time. He went off the embankment at Bostwick Avenue and landed in a ditch. The distance must have been at least 175 to 180 feet. The machine rose about as high as 30 to 40 feet. This was a folding-wing plane. This particular flight occurred in the spring or fall, but I am inclined to think it occurred in the spring. The flight took place on what was known as the flats, but it was not marshy. The ground was hard. It was near the St. Stephen's School, between the woods and the edge of town. This was all vacant then, with only a few houses on Bostwick Avenue and Spruce Street."

      From the statements available, it appears that the activity at Sea Beach, Lordship Manor, did not happen on August 14, 1901, but at some other date. Louis Lazay believes it was 1900 or 1901 (Stella Randolph's note, from which the affidavit was prepared, says "1900 or 1901," while the typed statement which Lazay signed only cites "1900"). Whenever it happened, it was a notable accident, and Junius is placed in the machine by at least one witness, while John Lesko's statement is not entirely clear as to who might have been aboard.

      The only people locating Junius at the supposed August 14, 1901, 10-minute half-mile "flight" are Whitehead advocates seeking to corroborate the August 18, 1901, Sunday Herald story. Georg K. Weissenborn, for example, does that very thing in the often quoted 1988 Air Enthusiast (#35) article he wrote titled "Did Whitehead Fly?" - he conflates the accounts of Anton Pruckner, Junius Harworth and the Herald into one story. No one - other than Junius himself - recalls another "flight" of a mile-and-a-half lasting some 4-minutes on August 14, 1901. Junius' statement, therefore, ought to be dismissed as being untrue.

Horvath/Harworth, Stella Randolph, John B. Crane & Albert Francis Zahm

      Stella Randolph was concerned that her proposed book on Whitehead might be scooped by John Crane, and what began as a collegial professional relationship soon became one characterized by suspicion.

      Crane first contacted Randolph in October of 1935, telling her he planned to publish a book on early aviation, in which, he said, he wished to devote "... a paragraph or so to Whitehead; but I should like to state only facts about him which are irrefutable." Crane sought information and photos from Randolph, but Randolph was unwilling to share the fruits of her labors - though she did say she would entertain offers to purchase her research materials.

      Randolph looked askance at the approaches Crane made to her, because Crane had made contact with Albert Francis Zahm, then head of the Library of Congress Aeronautics Branch. Zahm had a friendly relationship with the Wrights initially, but that relationship turned sour, so much so that Orville Wright saw Zahm's fingerprints on almost every article or book which presented the work of the Wrights in an unflattering light, whether or not Zahm was behind it, and often it was true that he was. Randolph suspected that Crane and Zahm were working together, with the shared objective of wresting the status of First To Fly from Wilbur and Orville Wright.

      Zahm was centrally involved in the 1914 Hammondsport, New York, "trials" of the significantly modified and rebuilt Langley Large Aerodrome "A" which were conducted on Lake Keuka, New York, by the Wrights' arch-rival Glenn H. Curtiss. The purpose of those "trials" was to establish that Langley's Large Aerodrome "A" had been capable of flight in 1903. That, it was thought, would provide evidence of "prior use" in the on-going patent war between the Wrights and Curtiss. The trials proved no such thing, but they did generate considerable ill-will.

      Randolph had a bad reaction to meeting Zahm...

Albert Francis Zahm
      "Call it woman's intuition if you wish, I knew at my first meeting with Zahm that I must never release anything to him. And I never did. Whether as a result of this, or whether my visitors came from other sources, I never knew, but during the three years of the 1930's research I was constantly harrassed. I tried to stave off efforts of others to induce me to release the results of my work, which included affidavits of witnesses to Whitehead's work, photographs and memorabilia from his home, and information secured by my efforts."

      One of the most interesting skirmishes between Randolph and Crane concerned whether or not Stella Randolph possessed one or more photos of Whitehead in flight. On July 13, 1936, Randolph had an unexpected, odd and apparently uncomfortable evening visit at her home with Crane and two others, about which Randolph wrote a multi-page remembrance of their conversation the following day. During the visit Crane probed her about her information and whether she might work with him. Crane told Randolph that he had come across information which was (in Randolph's recollection of his comments) "... quite new and startling." The discussion became heated and ended.

      Two weeks later, Crane phoned Randolph to tell her, much to her surprise, that he had spoken with none other than "Junius Harworth," the person whom Randolph called her "leading witness" and who was then under exclusive contract to Randolph "to supply information about Whitehead."

      Although Junius Harworth was bound by his exclusive contract with Randolph - and stood to profit from Randolph's book (a fact which seldom has been noted) - Crane said Harworth told him that Randolph had pictures of Whitehead in flight in his airplane, and Crane wanted to see the photos, Randolph notes "... to satisfy himself that they existed, so that he might say so in his book that is forthcoming." After refusing more than once to admit or deny that she had the "photos" (plural) of Whitehead in flight, Randolph said "If you and Mr. Zahm are so eager for this material I have collected why don't you make me a business offer ?" In her contemporary notes about this unexpected and troubling meeting, Stella Randolph doesn't reveal her reaction to learning that Junius Harworth was helping her competition… it can only have been irritating, to say the least, that her primary source, and someone under an exclusive contract, would be helping 'the other side.'

      Seven months earlier, on January 3rd, Stella Randolph was told by Anton Pruckner that Crane visited and told Pruckner that Randolph had given permission for Crane to speak with Pruckner, who was one of Randolph's sources and who, like Harworth, had a financial interest (5%) in her book. The problem was Randolph had not given Crane permission. She was told by the Pruckners that "They felt he was an imposter, however, and had not given him any information."

      On June 17, 1936, Zahm wrote a letter (on Library of Congress letterhead) to Pruckner which, in essence, invited Pruckner to remember Whitehead's "flights." Zahm write (in part) "I am told you witnessed some early power-plane flights of Gustave Whitehead. Can you say for certain that you ever saw him fly some considerable distance, say more than 500 or 1000 feet, without touching the earth? About how far and how high are you sure you saw him fly in his power-driven monoplane? Did you ever fly with him a distance of several hundred feet without touching ground?" "If Whitehead made true power flights before 1903 those achievements are very important and should be permanently recorded. His skilled assistants can tell such facts as they remember for certain, and thereby do honor to Mr. Whitehead and his family. I would like to place such true testimony on file in the Library of Congress, along with our many other aviation records."

      On August 27, 1936, Junius Harworth wrote to Randolph, telling her that… "He [John B. Crane] had also said that he had talked to Pruckner and that he had repudiated his statements to you. I am wondering if this Dr. C. [Crane] is going about paying these people to do so. This has been done before in other matters."

      The discord more or less ended the relationship between Randolph and Crane. If there was a breach between Randolph and Harworth, it was apparently patched up, since Junius and Randolph continued their amicable correspondence, as did Junius' widow when that time came.

      By January of 1937, as Stella Randolph's book Lost Flights of Gustave Whitehead was approaching publication, Crane told a reporter that "There are several people still living in Bridgeport who testified to me under oath, they had seen Whitehead make flights along the streets of Bridgeport in the early 1900s." and that he, Crane, was considering requesting a Congressional investigation into the matter. This could hardly have escaped Stella Randolph's notice, for she had called for a Congressional committee to examine the evidence in 1936… the US Congress, not surprisingly, took no action.

      Crane's aviation history book apparently never appeared in print, and a manuscript for his book has not surfaced. Crane wrote a few more magazine and newspaper articles, many related to the economics of aviation, including "Air Trade with the Americas" and "Slow Plane to America." Crane also wrote "Early Airplane Flights Before the Wrights" for Air Affairs magazine (Winter issue, 1949), revising his earlier position regarding "flights" by Whitehead, yet he also including the statement that the Wright brothers "… were the first to fully master the art of flying."

      In 1944 Zahm published Early Powerplane Fathers, a 39-page booklet that devoted ten pages to Whitehead, citing Randolph's Lost Flights of Gustave Whitehead as the main source. Zahm headlined his piece on Whitehead as "Whitehead First To Fly With Petrol Power."

      Randolph remained suspicious that Crane's approach to her had been instigated by Zahm.