Kenneth Whiting, pioneer naval aviator

If you have been following the snippets of Bishop Milton Wright’s diary that we’ve been posting on Twitter and Facebook, you may have noticed the relatively frequent mention of one “Lieut. Whiting” in several entries in the summer of 1914:

Sunday, July 19: …Lieut. Whiting & wife called an hour, about 4:00.

Sunday, July 26: …Lieut. Whiting & wife dined with us, after one o’clock and remained till nearly bedtime.

Thursday, August 13: Katharine & Orville went down with Lieut. Whiting’s and came home at 4:30…

And this one yet to come (more on this in a later post):

Tuesday, August 18: …Orville and Lieut. Whiting tried the airship on the River.

Perhaps you have wondered, Who was this “Lieut. Whiting”?

Milton is referring to 33-year-old naval Lt. Kenneth Whiting. Whiting came to Dayton in late June specifically to attend the Wright Flying School and was trained personally by Orville Wright. He completed his training and was designated Naval Aviator #16 in September.

Kenneth Whiting seated in Wright B Flyer, 1914 (photo # ms1_20_8_4)

Kenneth Whiting seated in Wright B Flyer, 1914 (photo # ms1_20_8_4)

Whiting had a long career in naval aviation. He commanded the 1st Naval Air Unit in World War I. In the interwar years, he was instrumental in the development of the aircraft carrier and is sometimes called “the father of the aircraft carrier.”

Whiting and Wright center, 1940 (ms1_23_12_17)

L-R: Edward P. Warner, Captain Kenneth Whiting, Orville Wright, and General Henry H. Arnold, at Wright Memorial during the dedication ceremony, 1940 (photo # ms1_23_12_17)

The Kenneth Whiting Papers, 1901-1943, can be found at the Special Collections & Archives of the United States Naval Academy, of which Whiting was a graduate. The online finding aid includes additional details about Whiting’s life and career before and after his time learning to fly with Orville.

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TDIH 1914: James M. Cox nominated for Ohio Governor

On August 11, 1914, Ohio Governor James M. Cox was nominated to run for re-election to the governorship. However, despite his success in working with the state legislature to implement several Progressive reforms in 1914, he was defeated in the 1914 election by Frank B. Willis. However, Cox ran for governor again in 1916 and 1918, winning both times. He was the Democratic nominee for President in 1920, but he was defeated by Warren G. Harding.

The following are a few materials from our James M. Cox Papers (MS-2), pertaining to Cox’s 1914 election campaign:

James M. Cox 1914 campaign excerpt (MS-2, Box 1, File 54)

James M. Cox 1914 campaign excerpt (MS-2, Box 1, File 54)

The above is an excerpt from a speech given by James M. Cox during his 1914 election campaign. He starts out: “You ask me why this administration should continue for two years more…” He reminds voters of the good he has already done and makes mention of areas in which he intends to continue to work for progress, including: Workmen’s Compensation, agricultural activities, rehabilitation of country schools, fiscal reforms, and widows’ welfare.

Below are just two of several cartoons from “A Campaign Picture Book: A Story in Pictures of the Administration of JAMES M. COX, as told by ‘Billy Ireland,’ the Noted Cartoonist,” from the 1914 election campaign:

"The High Spot in Special Legislation" James Cox cartoon by Billy Ireland, 1914 (from MS-2, Box 5, File 4)

“The High Spot in Special Legislation” James Cox cartoon by Billy Ireland, 1914 (from MS-2, Box 5, File 4)

"The Pack at His Heels" James Cox cartoon by Billy Ireland, 1914 (from MS-2, Box 5, File 4)

“The Pack at His Heels” James Cox cartoon by Billy Ireland, 1914 (from MS-2, Box 5, File 4)


For more information about James M. Cox, the following resources may be of interest:


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Last Letter from John Patterson

On August 9, 1864, John H. Patterson wrote a letter to his brother Stephen.  The letter indicates that passes are no longer being issued, possibly because their 100-day tour is about to end.  However, they still go on patrol.

A major part of this letter is John’s description of he and another man’s escort of a Union deserter to the Provost Marshall.  The man tried to escape.  His partner, Dutchy Marshall, kept trying to shoot the man, but John stayed in the way to prevent the deserter being shot.  They were finally able to chase him down and take him to the Provost Marshall.

This was the last letter from John H. Patterson.  On August 19, the 131st Ohio National Guard was ordered to return to Ohio.  On August 25, John was mustered out. (Transcript of John H. Patterson Letter, August 9, 1864)











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