Mary Swiggart
Nels Nelson & Mary Fields Swiggart,
Daughter of William Harris and Mary Ware "Mollie" (Fields) Swiggart
Born: 2 Dec 1882 in Union City, Obion Co, TN
Died: 16 Nov 1962 in Nashville, Davidson Co, TN
Occupation: American Red Cross
Collection of Matt Pilcher - grand nephew of Mary Swiggart.
Courtesy of Becky Burdick McLaughlin, 2-25-05

via email from Becky Burdick McLaughlin, 2-25-05
     Recently, I had the opportunity to correspond with the grandnephew of Miss Mary Fields Swiggart. She was mentioned in your memorial of Nels J. Nelson as being a passenger of his during the delivery of his plane to Charles Schwartz of Humboldt, Tennessee on May 8, 1913.
     In the other letter from Winnie Davis Moore, he mentioned that he had only taken up one lady so far.
     It was reported that about 1911, Mary flew with a barnstorming pilot at Union City. She may have been, and probably was, the first lady in Union City to do so.
     Mary was educated at Belmont College in Nashville. Following her time at college, she joined the Red Cross during World War I, remaining with that organization until retirement. During WWI she was a field director in Europe and was decorated by the French government. She then worked many years in the Washington office of the Red Cross. In 1923, Mary was engaged in Red Cross work at Johnson City, TN. She died in Nashville, unmarried, in 1962 at the age of 79.
Collection of Matt Pilcher - grand nephew of Mary Swiggart.
Courtesy of Becky Burdick McLaughlin, 2-25-05

     Nels J. Nelson, a daring 22-year old man from New Britain, Connecticut, first flew his 33-foot wingspread machine from the Scott Swamp District over Plainville, Conn. on May 1st, 1911. He took his flight test on August 22, 1912, at Cicero flying field in Chicago on a Mills hydroaeroplane, powered with a Kirkham motor, for his F.A.I. Airplane Pilot's Certificate #161. On September 4, 1912, he gave an exhibition flight at Chilton, Wisconsin, in a forty-mile gale and while in the air, the strong winds wrecked his hangar, otherwise his plane would have been totally wrecked. Nels Nelson took Charles K Hamilton, the famous pioneer aviator, for a ride in his flying boat on July 2, 1913.
     They went up to a thousand feet and flew for half an hour over the town of Weathersfield, Conn. He delivered one of his planes, powered by a 1913, 50 horsepower Kirkham motor and a propeller to Charles Schwartz of Humboldt, Tenn., on May 8, 1913 and flew Miss Mary Swiggart as a passenger. On September 10, 1913, Nelson took one of his Curtiss-type planes of his own construction to Cicero Field in Chicago, where he tested it out. The machine was powered by a Roberts, 75 horsepower motor.
From The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP,
December, 1964, Number 71

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