First Vermont Woman To Fly In A Balloon – 1909

First Vermont Woman To Fly In A Balloon – 1909

     The following newspaper article appeared in The Barre Daily Times, (Barre, Vermont), on August 13, 1909.

LANDED IN BRANDON

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Yesterday’s Balloon Ascension

At Rutland Had Lady Passenger

     “Rutland, Aug. 13. – Mrs. Edith I. Sawyer, a reporter on the Evening News in this city, has the distinction of being the first woman in Vermont to make a balloon ascension.  She was a passenger yesterday afternoon in the big balloon Heart of the Berkshires, piloted by William Van Sleet. 

     The ascent was made at 3:25 and was witnessed by a large number of people.  Ezra Allen of Fowler was the second passenger in the car.  Harold F. Keyes of Boston was to have been a passenger, but failed to show up.  A place was then offered to Charles S. Fairfield, editor of the Evening news, and he assigned Mrs. Sawyer, who was in the crowd watching the ascension, to make the trip.

     The big bag was in sight from this city until after five o’clock and the landing was made near Brandon, on land belonging to Dr. O. A. Gee, shortly after that time.  The balloon was seen by many people as it slowly traveled in a southerly direction, and in some instances people on the ground talked with the occupants.  At Fowler the balloon had dropped so low this it was necessary to throw out considerable ballast, and they were plainly seen by the operatives in the mill at that point.

     The landing was made easily and without mishap and the party returned to this city shortly after 11 o’clock.”      

Update January 29, 2017

     Mrs. Sawyer may been the first woman born in Vermont to make a balloon ascension, but the following advertisement promoting the 1887 Lyndonville, Vermont, July 4th celebration indicates that the first woman to go aloft in a balloon over Vermont might have been Mary Myers, (1849-1932,) of Mohawk, New York, better known by her professional name of “Carlotta”.  She was married to Carl Myers, a famous aeronaut and inventor of the time.   

    

Advertisement from The United Opinion newspaper of Bradford, Vermont, June 17, 1887.
The ad was promoting the Lyndonville, Vt., July 4th Celebration.

 

 

 

Vermont Balloon Ascension – 1858

Vermont Balloon Ascension – 1858

 

     On July 5, 1858, John La Mountain made a balloon ascension from Rutland, Vermont, and reportedly reached an altitude of five miles – a remarkable feat for the day.   

     The following is an excerpt from The Middlebury Register, of Middlebury, Vermont, dated July 4, 1858. 

     “Mr. La Mountain in his account of his balloon ascension from Rutland on the 5th estimates that he reached an altitude of five miles.  He was able to count 53 villages.  The Earth appeared concave and there was no perceptible difference between mountains and valleys.  The wet sand in his (ballast) bags was frozen solid.  The rarified atmosphere and intense cold caused painful and alarming sensations.”

     Mr. La Mountain was quoted as saying:

     “At this woeful scene I still retained presence of mind enough to be aware of my condition. I immediately pulled the valve-rope to discharge gas to descend.  The Balloon having been continually ascending for about forty minutes, was at a height of at least five miles.  In the course of a few minutes the Balloon began gradually to descend, and my suffering began to be somewhat relieved. ”   

     The trip lasted one hour and twenty-two minutes during which the balloon traveled forty miles before it landed in the town of Windham. 

     Source:

     The Middlebury Register, (Middlebury, VT.), “News Of The Week”. July 14, 1858 

St. Johnsbury, VT. – September 11, 1914

St. Johnsbury, Vermont – September 11, 1914

Caledonia County Fair

     balloonOn September 11, 1914, the last day of Vermont’s annual Caledonia County Fair, a hot air balloon unexpectedly landed on the boardwalk in front of the grand stand where several persons happened to be standing.  Three ladies were injured when the balloon came down on top of them, the most serious being a 66 – year-old woman who suffered a scalp laceration and bruises to the face.  She was transported unconscious to Brightlook Hospital for treatment.  It was reported that she was expected to recover.   

     No further details were given.

     Source: The Bennington Evening Banner, “Accident At Caledonia Fair”, September 16, 1914

Updated October 6, 2016

     The accident occurred while Harold Cates of Boston was giving a parachute exhibition.  He’d ascended in the balloon alone, and at the proper altitude, jumped with his parachute, and landed safely on the field.  The unmanned balloon came down upon the boardwalk.   

     Source:

     The Burlington Weekly Free Press, “2:24 Pace Is A Feature Of Fair At St. Johnsbury”, September 17, 1914     

 

 

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