August 2, 2007

Ethelene Dyer Jones Recognized
With “Flying Machine” Paperweight

At the Annual Dyer-Souther Heritage Association Reunion held on July 14, 2007, at the Choestoe Baptist Church, Highway 180/Micajah Clark Dyer Parkway, Blairsville, Georgia, Historian Ethelene Dyer Jones was presented with a paperweight bearing the image of Clark Dyer’s “flying machine” in recognition of her many years of service as the historian, newsletter editor and organizer of the annual family reunion. Her dedication to preservation of family history is truly noteworthy. Ethelene, we salute your commitment and perseverance!

MCD paperweight

Micajah Clark Dyer’s invention of a flying machine in the Choestoe District of Union County in 1874, years before anyone else had succeeded in getting a guided craft airborne, is a point of pride within the Dyer family. The story of Dyer’s invention had been handed down orally to each generation of the family, and the first written account of it was by Dr. Watson B. Dyer in the Dyer Family History, privately published in 1967 and 1980. He reported interviews with people who were eye witnesses to several flights by him in his plane, as well as dozens of others who had been told the story by their parents and grandparents.

The image of the plane on the paperweight is taken from the drawings in the patent issued for the machine on September 1, 1874. It wasn’t until 2004 that Clark’s patent was finally discovered by one of the young descendents doing a Google search. Then, in the following year, two 1875 newspaper articles were discovered that reported the invention, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat on July 16, 1875, and The Eagle (Gainesville, Georgia) on July 31, 1875.

Clark invented many other gadgets during his lifetime (1822-1891), and the family legend is that there were one or more later models of his aircraft. But even if documentation cannot be found for any of his other inventions, the 1874 patent for his “Apparatus for Navigating the Air” gives Clark an honored place in aviation history.

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