STEEVES, Cecil A.
Affidavit, dated October 10, 1936, signed "sworn to before me" February 1, 1937
I, Cecil A. Steeves, residing at 405 Maplewood Avenue, Bridgeport, Connecticut, declare the following to the fact to the best of my knowledge and belief:
When a boy I lived only one block from the late Gustave Whitehead, my father's business having been located for over thirty years on Spruce Street, while Mr. Whitehead lived and did most of his experimenting on Pine Street. Naturally, but fashion, I was greatly interested in what Mr. Whitehead was doing, spending a great deal of my time there, both after school hours and during vacations, and he explained much to me about flying machines. Many and many a time I have watched him test a plane while it traveled around and around, in a circle, these tests taking place in his yard, with the plane tied by a rope to a stake which had been driven into the ground, the yard being so small that the plane would have had to have been dismantled in order to have tested it elsewhere. During these tests the plane would rise from three to five feet off the ground. At a later date Mr. Whitehead had a trial flight on the old Gilman Estate located on Fairfield Avenue, between Orland and Ellsworth Streets, the plane at this flight being up in the air.
Mr. Whitehead then moved his shop to Cherry Street where he continued to do his experimenting, this location being opposite the old Wilmot and Hobbs factory, now occupied by the American Tube and Stamping Company. It was here that the Wright Brothers visited Mr. Whitehead during the early 1900's, coming from Ohio and under the guise of offering to help finance his inventions, actually received inside information that aided them materially in completing their own plans. I was at the shop with him when they arrived and waited outside while they talked inside. After they had gone away Mr. Whitehead turned to me and said, "Now since I have given them the secrets of my invention they will probably never do anything in the way of financing me", this proving to have been a true prophecy.
January 2, 1966
excerpts of letter from Albert E. Burr to Wm. J. O'Dwyer, notes on interview of Cecil A. Steeves
says Steeves warned about need to be accurate, Steeves swore on Bible before interview
"1. He was very emphatic that the monoplane #21 was powered by steam and was fired by either gas or acetylene.
"2. He described very graphically a flight which left the Gillman estate from a long sloping field. After crossing Fairfield Ave he landed in the old circus tent lot a flight of about 700 feet in length and approximately thirty feet high."
"3. Mr. Steeves remembers very distinctly a visit made by the Wright brothers to Whiteheads (sic) shop before (underlined) 1903. In recalling this visit he claimed he met and spoke with both of these men and he described their physical characteristics in detail, he also recalls that Orville Wright did most of the talking.
"I believe this entire interview was very sincere and unbiased."
Stella Randolph typed notes 2 Jan 1935
Went to Barnum Hotel and was met there a 11:00 by Mr. C. A. Steeves. He looked over the pictures and identified some. He says he is probably the only person who knew the Wrights visited Whitehead. He just happened to be about when they arrived, and remembers them very well. One was tall and thin, the other short and rather stocky. They went inside and talked. They arrived one day just after noon in September or October 1902.
Mr. Steeves has a brother in Waterbury, Conn. who would recall about Mr. Wright.