Special Reports

Front page news from 1923: Airplane crash and fatality

These two stories ripped from the front page of the Kennewick Courier-Reporter in 1923 speak of tragedy -- an airplane crash and the death of a public figure. The first one will make you smile as you visualize the wild ride and the other will make you glad you have modern health care.

Airplane roosts with the chickens

By the Kennewick Courier-Reporter

Published on September 20, 1923


Pilot Seiverson and Dr. C.F. McCuskey rode to a fall Sunday afternoon, in a big Martin biplane and came out of the mix-up without a scratch. The plane, however, is laid up with two broken wings and a broken propeller.

The two men with Seiverson driving were taking a little spin above the city (Kennewick) when the gas supply gave out. The engine went dead just as the plane came out of a nose dive over Seventh Street. The pilot held the plane on an eastward course and headed for the open spaces along the O-W (railroad) right of way in the east part of town. The machine barely skimmed over a flag pole at Second and Tacoma streets, cleared the business blocks but near the J.J. Reed residence the wings caught on telephone wires. The machine was whirled, changed ends and swirled to the ground, coming to a stop in the J.B. Haydon back yard where it butted over a chicken house. It landed right side up. The plane was owned by Aviator Bennett who accompanied Seiverson here from Spokane. They were en-route to Yakima where the plane was to be used by Nick Mamer at the State Fair.

Seiverson is an overseas flier and has been in the flying game since 1913 and this is his first smashup.

Wife of mayor dies suddenly

Mrs. Desgranges, wife of Kennewick's mayor, died of apoplexy at nine o'clock this morning in St. Mary's hospital in Walla Walla following an illness of a few hours.

Mr. and Mrs. Desgranges were called to Walla Walla last night by a message informing them that their daughter Grace, who is attending Whitman College, was suffering from a severe attack of tonsillitis and an operation would probably be necessary. They left here about 11 o'clock by automobile. When near Touchet Mrs. Desgranges complained of feeling ill and at Lowden about 15 miles out of Walla Walla she collapsed. Mr. Desgranges' efforts to revive her were unavailing and he hastened with her to the hospital. She passed away without regaining consciousness.

She had been in poor health for many years but during recent months had been stronger than usual.

After arriving at the hospital, Mr. Desgranges notified his son McKinley of the serious condition of his mother and he arrived in Walla Walla before she passed away. He returned this afternoon bringing the information that while his sister is seriously ill the tonsillitis attack is yielding to treatment and an immediate operation will probably not be necessary.

Mrs. Desgranges body will be taken to their former home in Rockford, Washington, where funeral services will be held.

Mr. and Mrs. Desgranges have made their home in Kennewick for 17 years during which time Mr. Desgranges has been prominently identified with the development of the city (of Kennewick) and surrounding country. Mrs. Desgranges was a devout Christian and a member of the First Christian Church of this city. She was also a member of the Kennewick Chapter of Eastern Star.

She is survived by her husband, the one son and daughter and two brothers, Charles Hensley, who made his home with the Desgranges and Frank Hensley, of Idaho.

Illness serious

Published on September 27, 1923

Word was received here today that Miss Grace Desgranges who underwent a tonsil operation in Walla Walla is seriously ill. She has suffered several hemorrhages since the operation. Her father, Mayor Desgranges is with her.

Miss Desgranges' illness has been rendered the more serious because of the death of her mother who was stricken with a fatal attack of apoplexy last week while hastening to her daughter's bedside.

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