AEA’s, J.A.D. McCurdy’s Silver Dart Cases Held Hostage at Iona NS, Awaiting $425.00 Payment.

The original registered documents of the day reveals: Canada Customs never prevented AEA’s aerodrome No. 4 Silver Dart, from entering Canada, or any brief incident with import duties at the border, occurred. The Village of Baddeck, from conception was without a mayor, while the Premier of Nova Scotia, George Henry Murray, never led Canadian authorities too vastly reduce the import tariff on the aerodrome. If historians had taken the time in conducting the proper leg work, they would’ve uncovered the facts. Acknowledged by Victoria County Heritage & Archives:— “Prior April 1851 part of Cape Breton County, proclaimed Victoria County designated as a rural municipality with a Warden and Councillor system. Organised the first assembly styled as “Court of Sessions,” with eleven “Justices of the Peace,” among them elected a “Custos Rotulorum,” establishing the “county’s seat,” (H.Q.) at  Baddeck. In 1879, the Province passed the “Rural Municipalities Act” which instituted the form of municipal government as it is at the present time, with Councillors from each district and an elected Warden.  The first Municipal Council session was held in January, 1880, and it consisted of sixteen Councillors from the various districts of the County.  The first Warden elected by Council was Dr. John L. Bethune, a resident of the Village of Baddeck. The elected warden for1909 was John M. Buchanan representing District 4 (South Gut); the councillor for the Village of Baddeck was Murdoch D. MacAskill: Only towns and cities have ‘mayors’ and councillors.”

A.G. Bell’s press despatches, bulletins etc., declared Canadians would soon witness aviation history, Baddeck residents, and others “very anxious,” when cases of the flying machine arrived. This prompted Baddeck resident Kenneth J. McKay, a prominent respected businessman, partnered in MacKay, MacAskill general store on Main Street, to cable from the Telegraph House. Telegram to Hon. Mr. Patterson, Minister of Customs, Ottawa, Canada:Citizens Baddeck very anxious that you allow free entry on experimental flying machine and apparatus for Dr. Graham Bell which arrived last night. The Minister hastily responded: Have written Collector Baddeck respecting admission flying machine…. that there shall be no duty charged if machine is returned within two years.

The Dart was first delayed by the weather, as McCurdy pondered, awaiting favourable conditions for trials, and underestimating time required in the construction of wooden cases and boxes: “Fête sur mesure.” Curtiss on Jan 6th 1909 transported No. 4 Drome by express rail, informed after reaching Bath his “over size package” would be transported by “freight as far as Niagara Falls.” Curtiss informed Prof. Bell on Jan 9th of this matter further adding: If the Canadian Express cars will accommodate it, it will go by express from there, otherwise it will go all the way through by freight.

A few examples of mainstream historian’s narratives as fallows:—

Although Canada Customs originally prevented the Silver Dart from entering the country, an urgent request from Baddeck convinced them to allow it duty-free entry with the condition that the aircraft not remain in the county more than two years. http://www.427wing.com/TheLink/07082015LondonLink.pdf

 The aerodrome was shipped via rail from Hammondsport through Buffalo, NY to the international bridge crossing at Niagara Falls. From there it proceeded by rail to Nova Scotia after a brief incident with import duties at the border. Intervention from the Mayor of Baddeck and the Premier of Nova Scotia led Canadian authorities to vastly reduce the import tariff on the aircraft and it was on its way to a rendezvous with history. http://best-breezes.squarespace.com/the-silver-dart-aerodrome-4/

At first McCurdy and Bell, informed by Curtiss, assumed the missing cases were, “stalled somewhere either at the border, or at Montreal.” McCurdy’s Silver Dart cases held hostage at Iona NS, awaiting $425.00 payment for “expressage special car.” J. Price to Agent Iona Montreal, Jan. 25, 1909:— Graham Bell should pay car load rate Suspension Bridge to Iona, account special car used all the way through, boxes being too large for regular car. With back and forth wrangling, the remaining Silver-Dart crates arrived on Feb. 6,  the engine, morning of Feb. 11, 1909.

 

AEA's Aerodrome No. 4 J.A.D McCurdy Silver Dart first appearance at Hammondsport NY. rear view, at Stony Brook Farm, racetrack Nov. 4th 1908.

AEA’s Aerodrome No. 4 J.A.D McCurdy Silver Dart first appearance at Hammondsport NY. rear view, at Stony Brook Farm, racetrack Nov. 4th 1908.

 

The below are from reports, bulletins, telegrams, sent and received as fallows:—

To Mrs. A.G. Bell, Baddeck, N.S. Hammondsport, N.Y., Jan. 2, 1909:—We are preparing to ship the “Silver-Dart” to Baddeck. The crates are made and we will start taking it down to-morrow. We have delayed this a little thinking we might get a chance to give it another trial.

 Letter: Curtiss Hammondsport, N.Y., Jan. 7, 1909 to J.A.D. McCurdy, Baddeck, N.S.:— The machine got held up in Bath by being too big for the express car. It was forwarded on to Niagara Falls by freight, and will go from there by express if it will go in the car, otherwise, freight. We are getting ready to work out the 8 cylinder and will give it a brake test before shipping………. Since reading the last Bulletin, I am sure it would be wise to make a brake test of the engine before shipping it. (Signed) G.H. Curtiss.

 Curtiss Hammondsport, N.Y., Jan. 9, 1909, to A.G. Bell, Baddeck, N.S.:— All the parts of the “Silver-Dart”, together with materials, tools, silk, etc., belonging to the Association, went forward by express Jan. 6th. After reaching Bath it was found necessary to send by freight as far as Niagara Falls on account of the size of the package. If the Canadian Express cars will accommodate it, it will go by express from there, otherwise it will go all the way through by freight. (Signed) G.H. Curtiss.

 Prof. A.G. Bell:— On January 20 I was notified over the telephone by Capt. Dan MacRae of the Blue Hill that the rest of the flying machine boxes or crates had arrived at Iona. This part of the shipment consisting of two pieces had come from Suspension Bridge to Iona in a special express car attached to the regular mail train. For this shipment the Company had an extra charge against us of $425.00 being the regular rate charged for a special express car from Suspension Bridge to Iona. As this seemed to him to be a large amount for expressage, he thought it better to get orders from us (the consignee) before taking shipment out of the hands of the Express Co. and bringing it over to Baddeck as was the usual custom. I told him that there must be some mistake somewhere and to leave shipment in charge of the Company until we could arrange the price satisfactorily……..

 

ACTION OF CITIZENS OF BADDECK RESPECTING THE FREE ENTRY OF THE “SILVER-DART”:

Reported by Wm. F. Bedwin, Supt. of Beinn Bhreagh Laboratory. Baddeck, N.S., Jan. 21, 1909:— The citizens of Baddeck realizing the importance of Dr. Bell’s experimental work to this community felt that it would be a mark of appreciation to use their influence, as a Town, with the Minister of Customs to admit free of duty the flying machine “Silver-Dart” which is being transferred from the Aerial Experiment Association’s Plant at Hammondsport, N.Y., to Dr. Bell’s Estate at Beinn Bhreagh, near Baddeck. The following telegram was therefore sent to the Minister of Customs:—

  • Baddeck, Jan. 16, 1909 To Hon. Mr. Patterson, Minister of Customs, Ottawa,

Canada. Citizens Baddeck very anxious that you allow free entry on experimental flying machine and apparatus for Dr. Graham Bell which arrived last night.

  • (Signed) K.J. McKay.

To this the following reply was received:—

  • Ottawa, Jan. 16, 1909. To K.J. McKay, Baddeck, N.S.

Have written Collector Baddeck respecting admission flying machine.

  • (Signed) J.W. McDougall. Commissioner Customs.

I could not get a copy of the letter to the Collector of Customs referred to in the above telegram, but have been informed that it says in substance, that there shall be no duty charged if machine is returned within two years. (Signed) Wm. F. Bedwin.

 

AEA's Aerodrome No. 4 J.A.D McCurdy What it “looks like” with two on board, at Stony Brook Farm, Nov. 4th 1908.

AEA’s Aerodrome No. 4 J.A.D McCurdy What it “looks like” with two on board, at Stony Brook Farm, Nov. 4th 1908.

 

ARRIVAL OF THE “SILVER-DART” Jan. 28, 1909:— Seven cases containing portions of the “Silver-Dart” are now at Beinn Bhreagh Laboratory; and two other cases have arrived at Iona where they are held awaiting the settlement of a charge for $425.00 for the special car in which they came. See report relating to the shipment of the “Silver-Dart in this Bulletin by the Secretary. The engine for the “Silver-Dart” is now on its way from Hammondsport but has not reached here yet. A.G.B.

1909, January 29, Friday:— A meeting of the Association was held at Beinn Bhreagh by order of the Chairman, that Mr. K.J. McKay of Baddeck be asked to act as auditor of the Treasurer’s accounts.

REPORT CONCERNING SHIPMENT OF THE “SILVER-DART”: By J.A.D. McCurdy, Secretary of the A.E.A. Beinn Bhreagh, Jan. 28, 1909:— On Jan. 15, 1909 the following bill was received from A.S. MacDonald, Secretary of the Victoria Steamship Co. Ltd. Baddeck, C.B., Jan. 15, 1909. Mr. J.A.D. McCurdy, Treas. Aerial Association. 4 boxes and crates (in bond) $93.45 The following letter was also enclosed:— Baddeck, C.B., Jan. 15, 1909.

J.A.D. McCurdy, Esq., Beinn Bhreagh. Dear Sir:— You will please find enclosed freight and express charges on cases from the U.S. Kindly send me a cheque for the amount as the Station Master wants the funds. Yours truly. (Signed) A.S. MacDonald, Sec’y, Vic. S.S. Co.

The shipment we received at Baddeck consisted of seven pieces which were immediately taken over to Beinn Bhreagh Laboratory. It seemed as though the crate containing the wings was stalled somewhere either at the border, or at Montreal and so on January 16 the following telegram was sent to Mr. Curtiss:—

McCurdy to Curtiss Baddeck, Jan. 16, 1909:— Mrs. Bell here till February. Bring Mrs. Curtiss sure. Large crate “Silver-Dart” stalled either at border or at Montreal. Locate en route. Don’t forget flywheel. (Signed) J.A.D. McCurdy.

McCurdy to Curtiss, Baddeck, N.S., Jan. 20, 1909:— Large crate arrived Iona to-day. Expressage special car $425.00. Can you locate mistake from that end? If so have Express Co. wire Agent Iona to deliver at regular rate.

  • (Signed) J.A.D. McCurdy.

The following is the reply received:—

Curtiss to McCurdy, Hammondsport, N.Y., Jan. 23, 1909:— Do not accept shipment till charges are corrected. Doing everything possible, entirely their mistake. Intended leaving to-day but will wait till Monday. Will wire you again. Eight cylinder testing satisfactory.

  • (Signed) G.H. Curtiss.

Prof. A.G. Bell:— I had McKay telephone Mr. MacDonald, Express Agent at Iona to forward us bill of charges for the two shipments so that we might have it in black and white. The following bill was received at McKay and MacAskill & Co. envelope, it having been addressed to us by McKay who received it from Dave Dunlap, the mail-man who in turn received it from McDonald at Iona…..On January 26, I went over to town for the purpose of telephoning MacDonald from McKay’s store. I wanted to find out what he had done in the matter and in fact how things stood in reference to the Company. He informed me that he had received a telegram from the Canadian Express Company’s Manager, Montreal, in reference to our consignment of goods, and that he had sent this telegram to me by the afore mentioned, Dave Dunlap. A few minutes after my talk with him I met Mr. Dunlap in J.P. McLeod’s store and he handed me the following telegram:—

  • Price to Agent Iona Montreal, Jan. 25, 1909:— Graham Bell should pay car load rate Suspension Bridge to Iona, account special car used all the way through, boxes being too large for regular car. What charges will he pay on account and take delivery and we will submit question of charges to Railway Commission, Bell to agree to pay what amount they decide as right. Answer quickly. (Signed) J. Price.

Bell to Price, Baddeck, N.S., Jan. 26, 1909:— Have seen your telegram Jan. 25 to Agent Iona, and will say that while we are prepared to pay regular rate on consignment of goods we will not pay for special car which was unauthorized and we will not refer matter to Railway Commission.

  • (Signed) Alexander Graham Bell Chairman Aerial Experiment Association.

The following letter was also forwarded to Mr. MacDonald at Iona:—

McCurdy to MacDonald, Beinn Bhreagh, Jan. 26, 1909:— I am in receipt of your telegram from Price, Montreal, and after consultation with Mr. Bell and other members of the Aerial Experiment Association, will say that we will pay the regular rate on consignment of goods (flying machine material) from Hammondsport, N.Y. to Iona, N.S., and will not under any condition pay charge of special car which was unauthorized. We will not submit the matter before Railway Commission as suggested in the telegram. I hope that the whole business will be settled satisfactorily to all parties in as short a time as possible.

  • (Signed) J.A.D. McCurdy Sec. Aerial Exp. Assoc.

Latter in the day the following telegram was received:—

 Curtiss to McCurdy, Hammondsport, N.Y., Jan. 25, 1909:— Large box and all billed together from Suspension Bridge direct to destination as merchandise. Regular rate Charges added your end. Investigate there at once before Agents report. Mrs. Curtiss and I leaving to-day.

  • (Signed) G.H. Curtiss.

 

AEA’s Drome No. 4, McCurdy’s Silver-Dart at the racetrack near Hammondsport, N.Y., Dec., 14, 1908.

AEA’s Drome No. 4, McCurdy’s Silver-Dart at the racetrack near Hammondsport, N.Y., Dec., 14, 1908.

 

MacDonald to Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, Baddeck, N.S. Iona, N.S., Jan. 15, 1909. Sir:— I have this day received per express to your address 4 box — * 5 crates which remain entirely at the risk of the owner and will be delivered on payment of the following charges:—

  • Charges advanced $6.77
  • Express freight 80.14
  • Cash paid customs duty
  • Warehouse
  • Broker’s Commission for entry
  • Collection
  • Total $86.91

* 2 crates to follow. Could not get into car at Suspension Bridge. Too large for ordinary car.

  • (Signed) M.A.J. MacDonald Agt. Forwarded to Baddeck per S.S. Blue Hill.

All this correspondence concerning the shipment of the “Silver-Dart” from Hammondsport, N.Y., to Iona, N.S., I respectfully submit.

  • (Signed) J.A.D. McCurdy,
  • Sec. of Aerial Exp. Association.

 

McCURDY’S REPORT (CONTINUED), Beinn Bhreagh, Jan. 28, 1909:— Since submitting the above report it was decided this afternoon at the regular daily Conference of the Association held at Headquarters, to make out a cheque, payable to the Canadian Express Co. for the amount of regular express charges for the 4 boxes and 5 crates as per their bill recorded in the above report under the date of Jan. 15, for $86.91. This cheque was made out and forwarded to Mr. A.J. MacDonald, Express Agent at Iona, with the following letter. The request was made that he sign the receipt enclosed and return to us. The form of the receipt also follows:—

Jan. 28, 1909. Mr. A.J. MacDonald, Agt. Canadian Exp. Co. Iona, N.S. Dear Mr. MacDonald:— I am enclosing cheque for eighty-six dollars and ninety-one cents, being amount due the Canadian Express Co., for expressage on consignment of flying machine material, as per your bill of charges of Jan. 15, 1909. Please sign enclosed receipt and return same to me here,

  • (Signed) J.A. Douglas McCurdy, Treas Aerial Exp. Association

REPORT CONCERNING SHIPMENT OF THE “SILVER-DART: By the Secretary of the A.E.A., Beinn Bhreagh, Feb. 5, 1909:— We have not yet received any acknowledgment of receipt of the cheque for $86.91 sent to the Express Agent at Iona as full payment of the expressage on the “Silver-Dart” as by his bill of Jan. 15, although we know that he did receive it, from Mr. Curtiss who happened to be there at the time, and from Mr. Dave Dunlap the mail-carrier. In order to find out whether the Company has accepted the cheque the following telegram has been sent to Bell & Company, Bankers, Washington, D.C., upon which bank the cheque was drawn.

Telegram, McCurdy to Bell & Co., Baddeck, Feb. 4, 1909:— Please wire me when cheque Number seventy-two payable MacDonald, Agent Canadian Express Co. is received.

  • (Signed) J.A.D. McCurdy.

Mr. David Dunlap has handed to us a copy of a telegram from J. Bryce to the Express Agent at Iona, dated Jan. 27, which reads as follows:—

Telegram, Bryce to Agent Can. Exp. Co. Iona, Montreal Jan. 27, 1909:— Graham Bell wires he is prepared to pay regular rate but will not pay for special car. Right charges from Suspension Bridge to Iona, even if all of shipment handled in regular cars would be double rate, or one hundred and sixty dollars and twenty-eight cents. Deliver on payment of this amount. Advise if delivery accepted and rush empty car back.

  • (Signed) J. Bryce.

After conference with Mr. Bell I have to-day sent the following telegram to the Express Agent at Iona:—

Telegram, McCurdy to MacDonald, Baddeck, Feb. 5, 1909:— Please wire acknowledgment of receipt of cheque mailed you Jan. 28, and state whether we can have delivery at once.

  • (Signed) J.A.D. McCurdy.

This brings the matter up to date.

  • (Signed) J.A.D. McCurdy, Sec. A.E.A.

 

A. G. Bell's Visits Silver Dart at Stony Book Farm racetrack, near Hammondsport, N.Y., Dec. 20, 1908.

A. G. Bell’s Visits Silver Dart at Stony Book Farm racetrack, near Hammondsport, N.Y., Dec. 20, 1908.

 

FURTHER REPORT CONCERNING SHIPMENT OF THE “SILVER-DART”: By the Secretary, Beinn Bhreagh, Feb. 6, 1909:— I have just received the following telegram from the Express Agent at Iona regarding the shipment of the “Silver-Dart”:—

Telegram, MacDonald to McCurdy. Iona, N.S., Feb. 6, 1909:— Received cheque and forwarded same to Company together with receipt which you enclosed. Will be pleased to deliver balance of shipment on payment of Eighty dollars and fourteen cents.

  • (Signed) M.A.J. MacDonald

In reply I have sent the following note to the Agent at Iona:—

McCurdy to MacDonald, Beinn Bhreagh, Feb. 6, 1909:— Just received your wire in reply to our telegraphic enquiry stating that you had received our cheque for $86.91 and would deliver flying machine shipment on payment of an additional charge of $80.14. As the Canadian Express Co., by their voluntary action in reducing the charge from over $500.00 to the amount now demanded, namely $167.05, have implied that they wish to act fairly in the matter, we will pay the additional charge of $80.14 under protest. If you will be kind enough to let me have the name of the proper man in the Express Co. to confer with, we will take the matter up directly with the Head Office of the Company and hope that they will see fit to settle the matter of charge equitably. We take this stand because if we do not have immediate delivery of the goods they will be absolutely valueless to us in a very short time. In accordance with the above statement I therefore enclose cheque for the amount of eighty 14/100 dollars ($80.14) for which I request receipt. Please deliver the two crates into the charge of Mr. David Dunlop or his agent for immediate transportation to Baddeck. We thank you for the trouble you have personally taken in the matter of adjustment.

  • (Signed) J.A. Douglas McCurdy. Sec. Treas. A.E.A.

Mr. David Dunlop and some of the Laboratory Staff go to Iona this afternoon for the machine and we hope that the “Silver-Dart” with the exception of the engine will arrive at the Laboratory this evening. Mr. Curtiss has telegraphic advise that the engine was shipped from Hammondsport, Feb. 4, so we expect to receive it on Monday Feb. 8.

  • (Signed) J.A.D. McCurdy, Sec. A.E.A.

 

SILVER-DART, Feb. 11, 1909:— The remaining crates of the Silver-Dart arrived here Feb. 6, and the Hammondsport engine arrived this morning. A.G.B.

 

 

Spañard.

 

.

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