100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

Archive for the month “October, 2011”

First Airplane Hit By Gunfire

Since commencing it war against the Ottoman empire in Libya, Italy has been using airplanes in its war effort.


In August 1910 aviator Glenn Curtiss flew 27 year-old US Army marksman 2nd Lt. Jacob E Fickel from a racetrack at Sheepshead Bay, New York and while holding onto a wing strut with one arm, Lt. Fickel fired a .30 caliber Springfield infantry rifle with his other arm at a target 100 feet below. This is the first time a gun is fired from an airplane.

On October 26, 1911 Captain Ricardo Moizo flying a Nieuport became the first pilot to have his plane hit by a gun with three bullet holes in the wing while flying in combat over an encampment of 6,000 men. This is the first time an airplane has received gunfire during war.

Captain Ricardo Moizo

First Wartime Use of an Airplane in Northern Africa

The Mexican Revolution saw the first use of the airplane connected to battle when in February 1911 the Mexican government engaged Rene Simon, a member of an aerial circus touring the south-western United States, to reconnoitre rebel positions near Juarez. In March of 1911, Robert J Collier loaned his plane out to the Army which assigned it to Lieutenant Benjamin Foulois. Foulois and civilian Wright Company pilot Phil Parmalee used this aircraft to fly along the Rio Grande border of Mexico and the United States in the first scouting duties by the U.S. Army using an airplane. Foulois and Parmalee later crashed the airplane into the Rio Grande but escaped from drowning.

In Italy’s pursuit for colonies in Northern Africa, they have brought every technological advantage to the fore. At the start of their Libyan campaign in 1911, Italy mobilized the Italian Aviation Battalion and aircraft under the command of Captain Carlo Piazza, a well-known racing pilot. They sent by steamship to Tripoli : Two Blériot XIs, three Nieuport monoplanes, two Farman biplanes, and two Etrich Taube monoplanes.

On October 23, 1911, Captain Carlo Piazza made the first reconnaissance flight in the history of war near Benghazi in a Blériot XI.

Captain Piazza’s Blériot XI during the Campaign of Libya, 1911.
Photograph courtesy Le origini dell’Aeronautica Militare Italiana.

The Showman Family Massacre

On October 15, 1911 Mrs. O W Snook of Ellesworth, Kansas failed to get an answer to her repeated calls to the Showman family over the telephone. She went over to their house, a distance of about two blocks, and finding the door open, walked in and was horrified at the sight of Mr. and Mrs. Showman and their little baby, their son 2 and older daughter 4, all with their heads terribly crushed and mangled beyond recognition. Mrs. Snook rushed terror stricken from the house and telephoned to a brother of the murdered man, John Showman, who in turn notified the sheriff. Bloodhounds were taken to the scene of the crime and took the scent from a cloth upon which the murderer had wiped his hands. The dogs took a trail and followed it to where the Union Pacific and Frisco tracks intersect. It is thought that the murderer may have walked to the crossing and there boarded either a Frisco or Union Pacific train.

A strong suspect is Charles Marzyck, a brother-in-law of Mrs. Showman. Marzyck was sent to the penitentiary from Ellsworth in January, 1906, for having stolen some wheat. Marzyck was released from the penitentiary in April, 1910. At the time there was some trouble between Marzyck and his wife, a sister to Mrs. Showman. She obtained a divorce while Marzyck was serving his sentence, and then married James Vopat. Marshal Merritt, who was a witness against Marzyck in the trial of 1906 states that some one tried to enter his home Sunday evening. He was sitting in his home reading a paper when he heard some one try the back door. He thought nothing of it, but as the noise continued, he arose and went to the door, but could see nothing. The next morning and investigation showed that a screen had been removed from one of the windows on the Merritt home.

Marzyck has yet to be apprehended and there is no real evidence against him. Many wonder if this case will ever be solved.

Article from the Ellesworth Reporter October 26, 1911 : http://www.millersparanormalresearch.com/Pages/Ellsworth_Reporter_10-26-1911.htm

The murdered Showman children – Lester, Fenton and Fern

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