Reyburn Watres
Reyburn Watres
From a photograph of people gathered on Joel Hurt's porch,
Fulton County, Georgia
Digital Library of Georgia

via email from Arthur Watres, 9-13-06
Son of Reyburn Watres
Dear Ralph,
     I'm pleased when people show an interest in father's activities, and would be happy to discuss them at length to anyone who shows up here.
      He had a little machine shop and built his own motor for the 'plane, which he called the "grasscutter". He carved the propeller out of wood. In 1910, no one had taken a 'plane off from water, and he put pontoons on his, hoping to take off from Lake Scranton, a reservoir near our family home. His pontoon design did not provide for the lift, and he didn't have enough power, so, failing in that, he put wheels on it, and brought it out to the Wallenpaupack area where he tuned it up and took off from a field now deep below the waters of Lake Wallenpaupack (which was completed in l926).
     Grandfather was an industrialist who organized the companies that launched the Wallenpaupack project. Need I say, he was underwriting father's crazy scheme, and when a sudden cold snap froze the plane's engine, Grandfather, forseeing no future for aviation, withdrew his economic support, and father set about other endeavors.
      I have some good photos and a newspaper article from October, 1910 which I can send you by mail, for I do not use the computer well enough to engineer putting it on a computer.
Best wishes,
Arthur Watres

Reyburn's Aeroplane
One of the first planes to fly in Pennsylvania,
designed and built by Reyburn Watres.
from A history of Lacawac
The Aeronautic Society of New York - 1908-1909
     So far this narration has been largely limited to events connected with Morris Park. It is more difficult to record what members are doing privately. But a vast amount of work has been done and is still in hand.
     Among those members of the Aeronautic Society, who have built machines elsewhere than at Morris Park are Miss E. L. Todd, the only lady member;
F. E. Boland; A. J. Stadtler, S. M. Gardenhire, Reyburn Watres, G. W. Lewis, A. W. Leonard, J. C. B. Storrs and Romer Stevens; R. D. Herzog of Harvard;
F. Van Anden of Islip, L. I.; M. B. Sellars, Fireclay, Ky.; D. D. Wells of Jacksonville, Fla.; and Dr. B. J. Pressey, of Newport News, Va.
from Bulletin No. 1, Aeronautic Society, 1908-1909

Reyburn Canoeing
Reyburn Watres canoes on the Wallenpaupack River.
from A history of Lacawac

Selections from
A history of Lacawac
     "In 1909, another remarkable man entered the picture: Col. Louis A. Watres, a major figure in Scranton for 50 years, was obliged to go to work after completing fourth grade in school. He continued educating himself, however, for the rest of his life. He clerked for Judge John Handley, read law at home and at an early age became an influential member of the bar with a flourishing law practice.
     His business career began with the organizing of the network of trolley lines providing public transportation in the Lackawanna valley. At the same time, he was pursuing a successful political career as County Solicitor, State Senator, Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania and a two-time Republican nominee for Governor.
     Col. Watres had two grandchildren. Though they had only visited Lacawac for an occasional picnic or weekend over the years, the beauty and appeal of the place were such that his grandson, Arthur and Arthur's mother, Mrs. Reyburn Watres, wanted to call it home after the death of Reyburn Watres in 1946. In 1948, they moved to Lacawac"

Editor's Note:This website offers a few of the only references to Reyburn's life and career which I have found on the net. I highly recommend that you visit the page and review the complete, fascinating article. You can access it by clicking on the title above..(I hope)

     If you search for "Reyburn Watres", using the Google search engine, (12-10-05), you will find a very valuable link which I have cited above. The others are of moderate interest, except for the Digital Library of Georgia which offers the unusual photograph of Reyburn with a group on Joel Hurt's porch.

Reyburn Watres died in 1946.

If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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