Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Barbara Ann Rooney (Born Barbara Ann Thomason a.k.a. Tara Thomas, Carolyn Mitchell; January 25, 1937 - January 31, 1966) was born in Phoenix, Arizona. She was a pinup model and aspiring actress. She won 17 straight beauty contests in Southern California.
Barbara married actor Mickey Rooney in 1958. They had four children: Kelly Ann Rooney (born September 13, 1959), Kerry Yule Rooney (born December 30, 1960), Michael Joseph Rooney (born April 2, 1962), and Kimmy Sue Rooney (born September 13, 1963).
In 1965, Barbara began an affair with Milos Milos, an actor friend of Rooney's.
In 1966, while Rooney was working on the film Ambush Bay in the Philippines, Barbara and Milos were found dead in Rooney's Los Angeles house in 1966. Detectives ruled it murder-suicide.
The official inquiry found that Milos had shot Barbara with Rooney's chrome-plated .38 caliber revolver and then committed suicide. The official inquiry provoked rumors that they were actually both murdered in revenge for having an affair.
Barbara Ann Rooney is interred at Forest Lawn Glendale Cemetery.
Monday, January 30, 2017
Charles Edward Taylor (May 24, 1868 – January 30, 1956) was an American inventor, mechanic and machinist. He built the first aircraft engine used by the Wright brothers and was a vital contributor of mechanical skills in the building and maintaining of early Wright engines and airplanes.
Born in a log cabin on May 24, 1868, in Cerro Gordo, Illinois to William Stephen Taylor and Mary Jane Germain. Taylor worked as a binder at the Nebraska State Journal at age 12. He became a tool maker. At 24, he met and married Henrietta Webbert, who was from Dayton, Ohio. They had a child and moved to Dayton, where prospects were better. Stoddard Manufacturing Co. hired him to make farm machinery and bicycles. But when the Wright Brothers began renting from his wife's uncle a building for their bicycle shop, he went to work for them. Initially, Taylor was hired to fix bicycles, but increasingly took over running of the bicycle business as the Wright brothers spent more time on their aeronautical pursuits. By 1902, they trusted him enough to run the shop in their absence while they went to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, to fly gliders.
When it became clear that an off-the-shelf engine with the required power-to-weight ratio was not available in the U.S. for their first engine-driven Flyer, the Wrights turned to Taylor for the job. He designed and built the aluminum-copper water-cooled engine in only six weeks, based partly on rough sketches provided by the Wrights. The cast aluminum block and crankcase weighed 152 pounds (69 kg) and were produced at either Miami Brass Foundry or the Buckeye Iron and Brass Works, near Dayton, Ohio. The Wrights needed an engine with at least 8 horsepower (6.0 kW). The engine that Taylor built produced 12.
In 1908 Taylor helped Orville build and prepare the "military Flyer" for demonstration to the U.S. Army at Fort Myer, Virginia. On September 17, the airplane crashed due to a shattered propeller, seriously injuring Orville and killing his passenger, Army lieutenant Thomas Selfridge. Taylor was among the first to reach the crash. He helped lift Selfridge out of the wreckage, then undid Orville's necktie and opened his shirt as doctors in the crowd pushed their way to the scene. Orville and Selfridge were taken away on stretchers. After that,
"...Charlie leaned against an upended wing of the wrecked Flyer, buried his face in his arms, and sobbed. A newspaperman tried to comfort him, but he was past comforting until Dr. Watters assured him that the chances for Orville's recovery were good. Then he pulled himself together and took charge of carting the wrecked Flyer back to its shed."
Both Taylor and Navy Lieutenant George Sweet had been scheduled to make their first flights with Orville that day, but both were bumped in order to accommodate Selfridge who had to leave town shortly for Missouri. Despite this accident, Taylor wanted to become a pilot and sought Wilbur and Orville to teach him. The Wrights, reluctant to lose Taylor's services to the world of exhibition flying, discouraged him.
Charlie and Wilbur attach a canoe onto a new Flyer
at Governor's Island New York, October 1909.
In September, 1909 Taylor accompanied Wilbur, with a new Model A Flyer, to Governor's Island, New York City. Wilbur was to make several over-water flights at the Hudson-Fulton Celebration, demonstrating the airplane to millions of New Yorkers and showcasing the new technology of practical flight. Charlie ably assisted Wilbur, though he did not fly with him. Charlie made sure the engine worked perfectly for the daring and dangerous over-water trips. The pair also installed a watertight canoe to the Flyer's lower wing for buoyancy just in case of an emergency landing in the Hudson River.
Taylor became a leading mechanic in the Wright Company after it was formed in 1909. When Calbraith Perry Rodgers made his trip from Long Island to California in 1911 in his newly-bought Wright aircraft, he paid Taylor $70 a week (a large sum at the time) to be his mechanic. Taylor followed the flight by train, frequently arriving at the next rendezvous before Rodgers, to make any required repairs and prepare the aircraft for the next day's flight.
Taylor worked for the Wright-Martin Company in Dayton until 1920. He later moved to California and invested his life savings in several hundred acres of real estate near the Salton Sea, but the venture failed. He returned to Dayton in 1936, and he and Orville helped Henry Ford in the planning, moving and restoration of the Wright family home and one of the Wright Brothers bicycle shops to Ford's Dearborn, Michigan, heritage village about great Americans. Orville also gave Taylor an annuity of $800 a year.
In 1941 Taylor returned to California, finding work in a defense factory. He had a heart attack in 1945 and was no longer able to work. By 1955 his annuity and Social Security income were inadequate and he became a charity case in the Los Angeles County Hospital. When his plight was publicized, the aviation industry raised funds to move him to a private facility.
He died on January 30, 1956, eight years to the day after Orville, his friend and employer. Taylor is buried at the Portal of Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation at Valhalla Cemetery in North Hollywood, a shrine to aviation history.
The FAA's Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award is named in his honor.
The Charles Taylor Aviation Maintenance Science Department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is named for him.
Aviation Maintenance Technician Day is observed in 45 U.S. States on May 24, Taylor's birthday.
1. Charles Edward Taylor. American National Biography. Charles Edward Taylor (24 May 1868-30 Jan. 1956), mechanic who constructed the engines that powered the first aircraft designed and built by the Wright brothers, was born near Decatur, Illinois. ...
2. Charlie Taylor: The Man Aviation History Almost Forgot, March 16, 2012
3. Fred Howard, "Wilbur and Orville," 1998, p.275
4. "C. E. Taylor Laid to Rest With Aviation Pioneers". Los Angeles Times. February 3, 1956. The body of Charles E. Taylor, the man who built the engine for the world's first airplane, was interred yesterday in the Portal of the Folded Wings at Valhalla Memorial Park, a mausoleum dedicated to aviation pioneer ...
5. "A Joint Resolution honoring Charles Edward Taylor" (PDF). New Jersey Senate. 2009. Retrieved 2015-04-15. A Joint Resolution honoring Charles Edward Taylor and designating May 24 of each year as “Aviation Maintenance Technician Day.” ... Charles Edward Taylor was born on May 24, 1869 and in 1902 began working as a machinist for Orville and Wilbur Wright at the Wright Cycle Company in Dayton, Ohio; and ...
AMT (Aircraft Maintenance Technology) "Charles E. Taylor: Who is he and why should we honor him?"
Howard R. DuFour with Peter J Unitt, The Wright Brother's Mechanician, 1997, ISBN 0-9669965-0-X. Published by the author. (196 pages, hardback.)
"Charlie's Engine," by Tony French in Pilot celebrates 100 years of flying, page 125, Archant Specialist, 2003.
Aviation Today "My Story: Charles E. Taylor as told to Robert S. Ball"
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
James Cooksey Earp (June 28, 1841 – January 25, 1926) was a lesser known older brother of Old West lawman Virgil Earp and lawman/gambler Wyatt Earp. Unlike his brothers, he was a saloon-keeper and was not present at the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral on October 26, 1881.
Civil War service
Earp was born in Hartford, Kentucky, and was reared in a tight-knit family environment. In 1861, at 19, he enlisted in the Union Army at the outbreak of the American Civil War, joining Company F, 17th Illinois Infantry in May, 1861. His brothers, Virgil and Newton Earp, also enlisted. His service was cut short when he was wounded in the shoulder, having lost the use of his left arm, in a battle near Fredericktown, Missouri, on October 31, 1861. He was discharged in March, 1863. Newton and Virgil served until the end of the war.
Life in the West
Following the war, James moved around quite frequently, an Earp family trait. He lived in Colton, California, Helena, Montana, Pineswell, Missouri, Birmingham and Newton, Kansas, before he wed the former prostitute, Nellie "Bessie" Ketchum, in April 1873.
For some time thereafter, he worked in a saloon in Wichita, Kansas, and then as a deputy marshal in Dodge City, Kansas, under Marshal Charlie Bassett, who had replaced Ed Masterson after Masterson's murder.
In December 1879, he and his wife moved to Tombstone in Pima County in southern Arizona, along with his brothers Wyatt and Virgil. His brothers Warren and Morgan and his wife Louisa joined them there in late 1880. The three younger brothers became involved in law enforcement in Tombstone, while James managed a saloon and worked in gambling houses.
He was not present at the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral on October 26, 1881. On December 28, 1881, his brother Virgil Earp was ambushed, shot three times with a shotgun. He survived, but only two months later on March 18, 1882, his brother Morgan Earp was assassinated in a billiard parlor.
The New Mexico and Arizona Railroad ended about 25 miles (40 km) away in Benson, Arizona. On Sunday, March 19, Wyatt and James Earp accompanied Morgan's body in a wagon to Benson, where it was loaded onto a freight train for immediate shipping to Colton. Morgan's wife was already in Colton, where she had traveled for safety before her husband was killed. James Earp and two or three close friends accompanied the body to California. Virgil and his wife Allie Earp followed the next day on a passenger train.
Wyatt Earp and James' youngest brother, Warren—with gambler Doc Holliday and gunmen Sherman McMaster, "Turkey Creek" Jack Johnson, and Texas Jack Vermillion—then hunted down those they held responsible for the attacks during the Earp Vendetta Ride.
Morgan was buried in Colton, California. James then lived for a short time in Shoshone County, Idaho, until settling permanently by 1890 in California.
James Earp died of natural causes in San Bernardino, California, on January 25, 1926. He is interred there at the Mountain View Cemetery.
In popular culture
In 1955, the actor John Smith, prior to his lead roles in Cimarron City and Laramie, played the part of James Earp in the film Wichita, starring Joel McCrea and Vera Miles.
In the 1957 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, it's the fictional assassination of Jimmy Earp (Martin Milner) that leads directly to the titular showdown.
In the 1994 film Wyatt Earp, Earp is depicted by David Andrews.
1. "The Nicholas Porter Earp Family". International Blacksheep Society of Genealogists (IBSSG).
2. "James Earp".
3. "Earp Brothers".
4. "Another Assassination Frank Stilwell Found Dead this Morning Being Another Chapter in the Earp-Clanton Tragedy". Tombstone, Arizona: The Tombstone Epitaph. March 27, 1882. p. 4.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Nellie Bartlett "Bessie" Catchim (Ketchum?) Earp (1840 - January 22, 1887) was married to James Cooksey Earp, an older brother of legendary lawman Wyatt Earp. Bessie and James married in Illinois on April 18th, 1873. James called Bessie "the Beautiful Brunette."
BESSIE & JAMES EARP
She had two children, Frank and Hattie, by a previous marriage. Bessie and James traveled to Witchita, Kansas where she managed a brothel. They moved to Tombstone, Arizona with the rest of the Earp clan, but neither were present at the "OK Corral Gunfight" on October 26, 1881. After the murder of Morgan Earp and the severe wounding of Virgil, Bessie and James joined the Earp clan in their move to Colton, California in San Bernardino County. She remained there until her death on January 22, 1887.
Bessie Earp is buried at the Pioneer Memorial Cemetery in San Bernardino next to Earp matriarch, Virginia Cooksey Earp.
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Dr. David Burbank (December 17, 1821 - January 21, 1895) was a businessman and dentist originally from Effingham, Carroll County, New Hampshire. He moved to San Francisco and then to the Pueblo de Los Angeles, establishing a dental practice.
In 1867, he purchased Rancho La Providencia (4,600 acres) from David W. Alexander and Francis Mellus, and he purchased the western portion of the Rancho San Rafael (4,603 acres) from Jonathan R. Scott. These he combined to form a large and extremely successful sheep ranch. Dr. Burbank wouldn't acquire full titles to both properties until after a court decision known as the "Great Partition" was made in 1871 dissolving the Rancho San Rafael. He eventually became known as one of the largest and most successful sheep raisers in southern California, resulting in him stopping his practice of dentistry and investing heavily in real estate in Los Angeles.
A shrewd businessman, foreseeing the value of rail transport, Burbank sold Southern Pacific Railroad a right-of-way through the property for one dollar. The first train passed through Burbank on April 5, 1874. A boom created by a rate war between the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific brought people streaming into California shortly thereafter. In 1886, he sold his holdings to the Providencia Land, Water, and Development Company for about $240,000. The future development was named "Burbank, California" in his honor. One account suggests Dr. Burbank may have sold his property because of a severe drought that year, which caused a shortage of water and grass for his livestock. Approximately 1,000 of his sheep died due to the drought conditions.
Burbank as envisioned by Providencia Land, Water and Development Co.
The arrival of the railroad provided immediate access for the farmers to bring crops to market. Packing houses and warehouses were built along the railroad corridors. The railroads also provided access to the county for tourists and immigrants alike. A Southern Pacific Railroad depot in Burbank was completed in 1887.
The boom lifting real estate values in the Los Angeles area proved to be a speculative frenzy that collapsed abruptly in 1889. Much of the newly created wealthy went broke. Many of the lots in Burbank ended up getting sold for taxes. Vast numbers of people would leave the region before it all ended.
Dr. Burbank also later owned the Burbank Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, which opened on November 27, 1893, at a cost of $150,000. Though the theater was intended to be an opera house, instead it staged plays and became known nationally. The theatre featured famous actors of the time including Fay Bainter and Marjorie Rambeau, until it had deteriorated into a burlesque house.
David Burbank was married to Clara A. Burbank (1830 - 1903). They had two children: Adie Burbank (1860 - 1870) and Flora W. Burbank Griffin (1864 - 1932). David Burbank and his family are buried at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery (Plot: Section J, Lot 222).
Dr. David Burbank Statue and Dedication
January 12, 2010
From the programme:
David Burbank was born in Effingham, New Hampshire on December 17, 1821 and spent his early childhood in Cumberland County Maine. He practiced dentistry at Waterville, Maine until 1853 when he moved west to San Francisco and set up a successful dental practice. In 1866 Dr. Burbank left San Francisco to practice dentistry in the Pueblo de Los Angeles.
He bought 4,600 acres of the Rancho San Rafael from Jonathan Scott and 4,600 acres of Rancho La Providencia from David Alexander and Alexander Bell for one dollar an acre and combined the two ranchos as one large ranch. David and his wife Clara were owners of one of the largest and most successful sheep ranches in Southern California. They built their ranch house on what was later to be a backlot of the Warner Bros. studio and the house stood until the early 1950's. The ranch was so successful that in 1872 Dr. Burbank stopped practicing dentistry and invested heavily in Los Angeles real estate.
In 1879 the first Burbank school building was built on an acre of land that Dr. Burbank donated. He sold his Burbank Ranch to the Providencia Land, Water and Development Company for $250,000 in 1886, but stayed on as director. The land was surveyed and a business district was laid out, surrounded by residential lots. Dr. Burbank and his son built the Burbank Villa for the land company.
In 1893 at a cost of $150,000 Dr. Burbank opened the Burbank Theatre on South Main Street in Los Angeles. The theater seated 2,000 and soon became the leading theater and opera house in Los Angeles. Dr. Burbank also built the Tally-Ho Stables. Dr. David Burbank died at age 73 on January 21, 1895.