Monday, June 5, 2017
The Lure of Those Flying Machines
It may have seemed the logical move for the Chaney family to return home to Ohio after all they had been through in California. Not only was the shooting at the Gardena airfield a shock, but the resultant arrest, trial and conviction for violation of immigration laws must have made it hard on the family to find work—perhaps even maintain social ties.
After the family's return to the Chaneys' Coshocton, Ohio, hometown, it wasn't long until further devastating events caught up with them. There's a reason why, by the time of the 1930 census, we can only find Burley Chaney's wife and four children enumerated in Coshocton. Though all six of the family had arrived in Ohio recently, by the time of the census that year, Burley was no longer with them.
In fact, it was shortly after he had finally secured work for himself that the change had occurred. Burley had extended his job-hunting efforts, since Coshocton was such a rural area, to the nearby city of Zanesville—the very town where he and the two Perry County boys, the Daugherty brothers, had, five years earlier, met to head west to California.
It was a snap, considering his recent history, that he would no longer be able to seek work with his former employer, the Coshocton police department, where he had once been the town's first traffic officer. Perhaps it was that same personal history that had made it necessary for the family to leave California in the first place. Falling back on his previous occupation, Burley once again found work as an auto mechanic at a garage in Zanesville, only a month or so before the 1930 census.
The lure of those flying machines still had a grip on Chaney, though, and he found ways to connect with others who were as fascinated with them as he was. Whether Burley Chaney was as knowledgeable about the craft as he gave the impression of being, I'm not sure. Still, whether a lack of experience or the bad luck of a mechanical malfunction, it was a surprise to see the headlines in the Zanesville Times Recorder on March 17, 1930, and realize one of the names below was that of Burley Chaney.