Spotlight on Female Ancestors ~ It Happened One Night in Washington, D.C.

I just recently discovered that I am related to Amelia Earhart. I was so excited because as a young girl she had been one of my heroines. There is an old saying that “kin is kin” no matter how separated you are. So with this in mind, Amelia is my 6th cousin twice removed. I was thinking about writing a blog about her, however most people know who she is and most of her accomplishments. So what could I contribute to a blog about her?

A couple of days ago I was doing some research on her and I came across a story about her that I had never heard of before.I thought, this could make an interesting blog.

Amelia Earhart was born on July 24, 1897, in Kansas City, Kansas. This is a quote from her biography, “When 10-year-old Amelia Mary Earhart saw her first plane at a state fair, she was not impressed. It was a thing of rusty wire and wood and looked not at all interesting, she dismissively said. It wasn’t until she attended a stunt-flying exhibition, almost a decade later, that she became seriously interested in aviation. A pilot spotted Earhart and her friend, who were watching from an isolated clearing, and dove at them. I am sure he said to himself, Watch me make them scamper, she exclaimed. Earhart, who felt a mixture of fear and pleasure, stood her ground. As the plane swooped by, something inside her awakened. I didn’t know it at the time, but I that little red airplane said something to me as it swished by. On December 28, 1920, pilot Frank Hawks gave me a ride that would forever change my life. By the time I had got two or three hundred feet off the ground, I knew I had to fly.”

On April 20th, 1933, Amelia along with her spouse, George Putnam, were invited to dinner at the White House. President Roosevelt was away for the occasion and Eleanor was accompanied at the dinner table by her brother. Other guests included the president of Eastern Air Transport, Thomas Doe, as well as the head of the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Air Commerce, Eugene Vidal and his spouse.

Before dessert, Amelia suggested they take a little ride in a twin-engine aircraft which belonged to the Eastern Air Transport. According to protocol, the company pilots were supposed to operate the craft, however, Amelia insisted on flying it.

She must have looked charming and bold at the same time, she was wearing a white, silk-sewn evening dress while holding the controls of the cockpit. Eleanor sat by her side all along this unplanned flight. During the flight with over Washington D.C., the First Lady must have been exhilarated. “It does mark an epoch, doesn’t it when a girl in an evening dress and slippers can pilot a plane at night,” Eleanor is quoted as saying.
After the flight was through and everyone was back on the ground, the Secret Service is said to have accompanied the two women and the other guests as they returned to the White House. The evening casually resumed, and they all enjoyed a wonderful dessert.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

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