August 18, 2018

New book "Travels with Foxfire" tells about Georgia: First in Flight

Released August 15, 2018

It is exciting to see "Georgia: First in Flight, The story of Micajah Clark Dyer," included among the stories in Travels with Foxfire released just this month by Anchor Books, a Division of Penguin Random House LLC of New York.

      Foxfire student Jessica Phillips traveled to the foot of Rattlesnake Mountain in the North Georgia Mountains to interview local author Sylvia Dyer Turnage for the story. At the time, Turnage had written two books about Clark Dyer and was in the process of writing a third which would be a narrative nonfiction novel, Flying off Rattlesnake Mountain, essentially a biography of Clark's life and inventions. But her book is also about the lives of the North Georgia pioneers as they carved out a living in the rough backwoods country, lived through the Indian Removal, War Between the States, Reconstruction and political and economic upheavals in the 1800s.

      In Travels with Foxfire, native son Phil Hudgins and Foxfire student Jessica Phillips traveled from Georgia to the Carolinas, Tennessee to Kentucky, collecting stories of the men and women who call the region home. We are honored to have the story of Clark Dyer and his remarkable flying machine included among those stories.

      You can get both the books, Travels with Foxfire and Flying off Rattlesnake Mountain, at

August 3, 2018

Micajah Clark Dyer's Name Inscribed on Wall of Honor at National Air & Space Museum

       Several months ago, Dr. Sylvan Dyer, great-great-grandson of Micajah Clark Dyer, supplied information to the Director of Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum about his ancestor's 1874 invention of an "Apparatus for Navigating the Air"--the word "airplane" hadn't even been coined back in 1874!

        Last week Dr. Dyer received a letter from Smithsonian stating that in recognition of his contribution to our nation's aviation and space exploration heritage, Micajah Clark Dyer has been inscribed on the National Air and Space Museum's Wall of Honor as a permanent testament to his commitment to and passion for flight.

        If you're in the Washington, D.C. area, go by the Museum's Wall of Honor at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center and see the recognition of Georgia's Pioneer Aviator on Foil 63, Panel 1, Column 3, Line 75. 

        Our hope is to eventually have a replica of Clark Dyer's flying machine built for placement in the National Air and Space Museum. It would represent the earliest aircraft built and flown in the United States. If you're unfamiliar with the facts about Dyer's invention, scroll down to the posts made to this site over the past dozen-plus years and read about the evidence that has been uncovered about this amazing inventor-aviator. 

July 16, 2018

Amazon Donates to Micajah Clark Dyer Foundation

Help raise funds for projects to benefit  MCD Foundation!

Today is Prime Day! Amazon donates to Micajah Clark Dyer Foundation Inc when you shop Prime Day deals at

Let's make a project of placing a copy of  "Flying off Rattlesnake Mountain" in every public library in Georgia!  The history of Micajah Clark Dyer's invention and flights should be made known!

June 1, 2018

Interview of Author of "Flying off Rattlesnake Mountain"

New Novel tells the Amazing Story of Pioneer-Inventor, Micajah Clark Dyer
      On May 15, John Clark, Director of the Georgia News Network in Atlanta, traveled to the mountains of Northeast Georgia to interview author Sylvia Dyer Turnage about her recently published book, Flying off Rattlesnake Mountain. Her book is a narrative, non-fiction story based on life as it was experienced by the pioneers who came into the mountainous area in 1833 to a land that had long been occupied by Cherokee and Creek Indians. The story follows the life of Clark Dyer (1822-1891) and tells how he came to have a remarkable theory about a machine that could be built to enable a man to fly like a bird.

        Turnage is the great-great-granddaughter of Clark Dyer, and she based her novel on information gleaned from every available source – old newspapers, census reports, family recollections and historical records, some copies of which are included in back of the book.     
Sylvia Turnage and John Clark with flying
machine model at Historical Society Museum.
       John Clark began his interview with Turnage at the Union County Historical Society Museum located in the Old County Courthouse on the Square in Blairsville, where a scale model of Dyer’s flying machine is on display. The model was built in 2012 by retired Delta Airlines machinist, Jack Allen. The display case has a mirrored bottom that enables a viewer to see the pedals, gears and pulleys that moved the wings and rudder of Dyer’s machine to control its direction in flight.
Turnage and Clark at monument in
Old Choestoe Baptist Church Cemetery.
       From the Courthouse, the interview was  continued to the Old Choestoe Baptist Church Cemetery where Clark Dyer and his wife Morena are buried. Their original hand-carved soapstone grave markers were embedded in a new granite monument that was placed in 2010 to honor Dyer for his invention of an “Apparatus for Navigating the Air,” for which he received Patent No. 154,654 from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office on September 1, 1874. Negatives of drawings from his patent are also embedded in the monument.

Micajah Clark Dyer Parkway near Richard
 Russell Scenic Highway (ahead on right.)
      From the cemetery, the interview continued down the Micajah Clark Dyer Parkway (State Hwy. 180-East), which runs through the land that comprised the Dyer family farm property in the 1800s. The road was named to honor Clark Dyer in 2006 by Resolution of the Georgia General Assembly. The Parkway is pictured here near its junction on the right with Richard Russell Scenic Highway (State Hwy. 348). 
        A couple of turns off the Parkway brought John Clark to Dyer’s old homeplace located in a little valley lying between Cedar and Rattlesnake Mountains. A small marker posted by 
Marker at area where Dyer's flights
took place. 
the driveway announces that this is the area where Dyer’s flights took place (estimated to have been about 1875 to 1885—at least 28 years before the Wright Brothers’ flights).
        Rattlesnake Mountain rises to an elevation of 3,000 feet in back of where John Clark and Sylvia Turnage are standing in the photo below. Clark Dyer built rails on the side of this mountain to propel his flying machine into the air. With the passage of 130-plus years, there may no longer be any trace left of his rails, but family members continue to search for them. 
        There does remain a water trough above the creek flowing at the foot of the mountain that channeled water to strike a wheel and turn it for powering a gristmill and slash sawmill that Clark Dyer built and operated beside the creek. Part of the old millpond still remains, as well as portions of rock walls that were built to keep free-ranging livestock out of the yard and fields in those days.  
Turnage and Clark at the base of
Rattlesnake Mountain.
      Before John Clark left the flight site, Sylvia sang "The Ballad of Clark Dyer's Flying Machine" to him. She wrote the song in 1994 and included it in the book she published that year entitled "The Legend of Clark Dyer's Flying Machine." Much later, in 2011, the National Recording Corporation in Rome, Georgia, produced a CD of the song.
        "Flying off Rattlesnake Mountain" is available in both hardcover and softcover editions from the Union County Historical Society, directly from Sylvia Turnage, and from Choestoe Valley Store: Softcover books are also available at the Northeast Georgia History Center at Brenau University in Gainesville, Ga.; Mountain Crossings and Sunrise Grocery in Blairsville, Ga. and at In addition, the hardcover book is available for checkout at the Union County Public Library in Blairsville, Ga.