CRITTENDEN, Clarence and Georgia (Mr. & Mrs.)
Affidavit, October 11, 1944
We, Clarence Crittenden and my wife of 300 Lenox Road, Fairfield, Conn. do declare that the following information is true and correct to the best of our recollections and that we both having known Gustave Whitehead for a period of years feel qualified to remark about his character and his ability as a mechanic and builder of aircraft in the early 1900's.
At different times I, Clarence Crittenden saw Gustave Whitehead working on the construction of the bi-plane, I never helped him build the plane but I used to help him push it down the hill. At that time it never got off the ground. It was during the period of 1908 to 1910.
I first became acquainted with Mr. Whitehead through his son Charles. I lived on Old Stratfield Road. At the time I was renting a house. When I first came up to this area, there were no houses or roads in the area. They were just fields, and he had a small cobblestone building where his workshop was. We pushed the plane from here, Lenox Road area down to the place where the State Highway ends.... The airplane never left the ground. The plane went to as far as the old State Highway Garage approximately where the Fire House is now. I couldn't tell you right now how it got back up the hill. All I can recall is pushing it downhill. There were no more than 15 people who witnessed this trial. It was unannounced ahead of time that he was going to experiment.
I recall one other time later on, that he went for a flight over at Seaside Park. On this occasion he flew 100 to 200 feet out over the water and then came back in and landed. This was around a 3 minute flight. He just skimmed over the ground. This was at the place that is now occupied by by (sic) the baseball diamonds next to Barnum's statue. He headed west, circled South and landed headed East back where he started. He came down with a heavy landing, shaking up the craft quite badly, It wasn't a smooth landing.
After that I moved to Bridgeport and I never followed him up after that time.
The flight was witnessed by some 15 to 20 persons. I recall it was written up in the papers at the time. I have never read Lost Flights nor have I ever read any stories about him in the paper. Mrs. Crittenden, however read about him sometime in the papers.
I, Mrs. Crittenden, recall Mr. Whitehead talking to me one morning after I walkd (sic) over to the fence while he was looking at his flowers and we got to talking. I said, "I hear you have an aeroplane", He said, "Yah". I said don't you fly it ? He said, "Well, when someone takes what you have worked all your life on," and I said how did that happen ? Then he said something about some patents, and his loosing his rights to some of his inventions. He said he didn't have any money at the time and he wrote to the Wrights looking for help. They came out here and took some papers away with them. Mr. Whitehead said he visited somewhere, I don't recall where, but he did say he visited the Wrights, and they had an engine that was his design and were using it. He said it was the same as mine.
Whitehead never was one to talk too much, except to ask us to push his craft.
The 3 Bailey boy's (sic) used to help push the plane along with a man by the name of Verzaro. I never heard of any flights that landed in Mountain Grove Cemetery.
I would classify Whitehead as a genius. He should get credit for things that were never credited to him, but which he did do. A man by the name of Renzulli that died back a few years ago could have helped you out a lot. He was around Whitehead a great deal."
Signed and Witnessed (by both)