Friday, June 2, 2017
A Fresh Start
What can one do for a livelihood, after having been released from Federal Prison? Burley R. Chaney, now having the onus of adding a year's sentence for violation of federal immigration laws to his record, still had a wife and four children under the age of ten to support. Perhaps things did not go so well for the Chaney family after Burley's release from McNeil Penitentiary on June 10, 1928.
There is no way to determine just how he tried, between that out date in 1928 and the next U.S. Census in 1930, to make a go of remaining at his southern California home. What we do know, though, is that he and his family eventually did return to the same area from which his whole west coast adventure began: Zanesville, Ohio.
Before he had left his hometown in Ohio—a rural area known as Coshocton—he had been listed in the preceding census with his wife and infant daughter, all living with Burley's parents. By the time of the 1930 census, the family was situated with his wife's parents in that same area.
Shortly after the beginning of that year, Burley had been able to obtain work at a garage, serving as a mechanic—the very skill which had led to his meeting Marion Daugherty and, eventually, Marion's older brother Arthur, the now-deceased student pilot who had been training at Chaney's air field in California before his unexpected death.
By 1930, with trial, conviction and sentence behind him, Burley Chaney was back home with his family, and back to work at the relatively tame occupation of auto mechanic.
But what do you tell others about those missing years in a life's story? Apparently, the understanding around town about Chaney's return was that in California, he had been "flying in the government airmail service" and that the reason for his return to Ohio—and a more mundane line of work—was that "a slight accident resulted in injury."
That, at least, was what had been reported on the front page of The Times Recorder in Zanesville, Ohio, on a cloudy Monday, March 17, 1930—barely one month after his return to work in that city.