Mrs. Mary Savage
Original Content Is © 2013 - Carroll F. Gray

SAVAGE, Mrs. Mary

The Story of Gustave Whitehead - Before The Wrights Flew, Stella Randolph, 1966, p. 117-118; Mrs. Savage very ill at time of interview

She could read or write little English, and had not read about Gustave Whitehead. Her son [Joe, a friend of O'Dwyer] showed her pictures of the Whitehead plane Number 21, and asked whether she had helped sew the wings. She denied having done so, but said she had asked to help Whitehead; however, she couldn't make her desires known too well at the time because she did not speak English. She said, "I used to watch him making the plane, with my late husband, in the Pine Street area where we were living, right across from his shop. The engine noises were terribly loud all the time, and every day blasting motor noises were to be heard for hours on end." Mrs. Savage reported having watched Whitehead attempt to get his plane in the air, but he succeeded in making only short hops in it. The men in the neighborhood tried pushing and pulling at the same time, but it only succeeded in continuing to make short hops.

Then, Mrs. Savage reported, one early morning, about 3:00 A.M., there was a terrific noise outside their home; it sounded like Whitehead's machine ! "I asked my husband to go outside and see what was going on," Mrs. Savage said, "as I wasn't feeling too well at the time and didn't feel like getting up. He went out the door to our front porch and said that they were trying to fly the airplane. It didn't get up in the air, although the men were pushing it again. Then, as dawn came along, the breeze came up and all of a sudden the plane went up in the air. We saw it fly all over the neighborhood. It went up and down and flew like it was out of control, then it straightened up and flew to about fifty or more feet in the air; it headed toward Seaside Park and the water in the harbor. The plane settled down in the water rather hard, and some men went out and pulled the plane, with Whitehead in it, to the shore. The craft was damaged slightly, but Whitehead wasn't hurt at all."