Amelia Earhart is known worldwide as the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. That Trepassey played a part of this historical moment is a part of our own past.
“One afternoon in April 1928, a phone call came for Earhart at work. “I’m too busy to answer just now,” she said. After hearing that it was important, Earhart relented, though she thought it was a prank. It wasn’t until the caller supplied excellent references that she realized the man was serious. “How would you like to be the first woman to fly the Atlantic?” he asked, to which Earhart promptly replied, “Yes!” After an interview in New York with the project coordinators, including book publisher and publicist George P. Putnam, she was asked to join pilot Wilmer “Bill” Stultz and co-pilot/mechanic Louis E. “Slim” Gordon. The team left Trepassey Harbor, Newfoundland, in a Fokker F7 named Friendship (on June 17, 1928), and arrived at Burry Port, Wales approximately 21 hours later. Their landmark flight made headlines worldwide because three pilots had died within the year trying to be that first women to fly across the Atlantic. When the crew returned to the United States, they were greeted with a ticker-tape parade in New York and a reception held by President Calvin Coolidge at the White House.” Excerpt from Amelia Earhart’s Website
Stories abound around the town of the 2 plus weeks that Earhart stayed in Trepassey preparing for her journey. One could only imagine the amount of excitement in the air at that time. The women were in awe of her attire; pants on a lady was not all that common at that time. The men were equally in awe of the missus that could fly a plane.
“As the big monoplane taxied slowly toward the small cluster of houses on the eastern shore that was the town of Trepassey, dorie’s full of men whirling ropes (Amelia called them maritime cowboys), each evidently hoping to guide them in, surrounded the Friendship, …
The town magistrate, Fred Gill, and his two sons, waiting near the monoplane in a dory, secured the honor of giving Amelia and Bill Stultz a ride to the dock. Slim Gordon came later, after tending to the plane.
The children of Trepassey, who had been watching and waiting at the windows of the convent school facing the harbour, ran down to the shore en masse. Amelia “had a vision of many white pinafores and aprons on the dock,” and was under the impression that school had let out early so that the children could greet them. In fact the children had simply fled without permission for which they were made to stay late. She went up and visited with the children later at the convent school; the nuns were scandalized by the sight of a woman in pants.
One of the Telegrams that was sent to Amelia Earhart in Trepassey from a friend George, knowing that Amelia had not packed a change of clothing wired:
“SUGGEST YOU GO INTO RETIREMENT TEMPORARILY WITH NUNS AND HAVE THEM WASH SHIRT ETC –STOP”
It was arranged that the three fliers would spend the night at a small frame two story house, which still stands today. It had an attached general store belonging to Richard (Richie Dick) and Fanny Devereaux …. Mrs Devereaux too at first sight of Amelia in her “breeks” and boots was “quite overcome, and felt her to be sure I was present in the flesh.”
Amongst the Devereaux children was a young girl who was to grow up to be Sister Theophane Curtis of the Presentation Congregation, Excerpt from Archival Moments
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