Monday, May 29, 2017

Great Friends

When the oldest son of Lewis James Daugherty and Nora Flowers was born, it was right in the middle of the year 1900. By the time young Arthur James Daugherty was old enough to register for the draft, it was one day shy of two months before the German signing of the Armistice. It is doubtful that Lewis and Nora ever had to face seeing their son leave home to serve his country in war time.

Nor did they ever endure the same for their second son, Arthur's younger brother Marion, who trailed him by two years. Yet the two Perry County boys, who shared so many interests and experiences together, also shared a friendship with another local boy who did serve in what was then known as the Great War.

Burley Russell Chaney, born May 9, 1897, in nearby Coshocton County, was just the right number of years older than the two Daugherty boys to be part of the United States armed forces to serve in that war to end all wars. He enlisted only a week before Arthur had registered, and almost immediately received his honorable discharge on December 20 of that same year.

Arthur's brother Marion had been the first to meet B. R. Chaney, most likely on account of the three young men's mutual interest in mechanics and employment in local garages. When Arthur had begun discussing his dreams of working in the emerging field of aircraft, Marion knew just the person to whom he should introduce his aspiring aviator brother.

The year was, by then, 1921, and the Daugherty boys were off, having left their Ohio home to seek work in various garages in Florida. Chaney, after his service at the end of the war, had returned home to Coshocton, married, and signed on with the city's police force as their first traffic officer.

By the time the idea had fully formed, it was 1925. Marion had contacted Burley Chaney and the three had agreed that the Daugherty brothers would return to Ohio and meet Burley in Zanesville, "and from there go on to California." As Marion explained,
Chaney, I think, had some interest in a commercial aviation field near Los Angeles and I know for sure he was in the government service during the World war.

Sharing a mutual interest in "airships," Arthur and Burley, upon meeting, became "great friends." The three friends stuck to their plan and headed to southern California. When they arrived, Burley arranged to give Arthur the coveted job at the air field and, as we've since discovered, a chance at learning how to fly.

As for Arthur's brother, it's unclear whether he had planned to stay all along but then changed his mind, or had planned on tagging along just for the journey, itself. When Marion Daugherty concluded, in the May 2, 1927, recounting in The Zanesville Signal of how it all started, his was an explanation of "the circumstances which led his brother to engage in aviation and his ultimate separation from family ties."

When Chaney gave Arthur the job he was hoping for, his younger brother's plain explanation of what happened next was simply, "I came back on July 5, but Arthur stayed on."


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