M. Deschamps - Director
of Terminology and Abbreviations
Wisconsin, SENTINEL, 19 October 1881, page
Exhibited for the Safety of Prof. King and His Air Ship.
Confidence of Mrs. King in Her Husband's Skill and Experience.
of the Signal Service Men to Discover the Whereabouts of
King Determined to Make a Long Voyage - The Possibility
Dispatch to The Sentinal)
Oct. 18. - Every hour increases the anxiety for the safety
of Prof. King, the missing aeronaut, who made an ascension
from this city on Thursday last. In public places, the single
topic of discussion is the probable fate of the daring voyager.
Countless theories are advanced, but they are only theories.
Every effort is being made to gather information and look
for the balloonists, but at this writing without success.
The balloon was the same one which went up from Minneapolis
Sept. 13, and landed in a cow pasture. It was one of the
largest and best balloons that ever attempted to float on
the wind, it being 100 feet high, 1_0 feet in circumference,
and about 65 feet in diameter. Its inside capacity was 100,000
cubic feet. Prof. King got $1300 for making the ascension,
signing a contract that the firm under whose auspices the
ascension was made should not be held liable for any personal
injury to the Professor or his companion. The News to-night
publishes a dispatch from Melrose, Wis., saying that the
BALLOON WAS SEEN
after it had passed over that village, and adding: "Some
miles above Melrose a mail-carrier saw it at a high altitude,
floating up the Trempealeau Valley. This valley would carry
Prof. King and his companion up to the extremities of the
country, and unless it sank on the way, it must have been
seen in some of the towns of Alma, Centre, Hixton, Taylor,
Blair, Whitehall, Independence, or Arcadia. I have sent
out messengers to these points, and expect to hear from
them soon. The balloon passed over Melrose, within speaking
distance of a number of persons, whom Prof. King addressed
as he went along, and as the shout went back "We will",
it passed out of sight beyond a pine-capped bluff. Then
it rose and it was seen that King or his companion had dropped
a package of letters and a number of circulars. The letters
were seen until they fell within about 100 feet of the earth,
when they disappeared from view in the dense woods and undergrowth.
All search for them up to this time has been unavailing.
THEORY OF OLD SETTLERS
who are well acquainted with the lay of the land is that
if the balloon passed over the high bluffs to the northwest
of this county it must have traveled into the Mississippi
Valley and then over to Minnesota. If this is the case it
was certainly seen on the way, and I expect some intelligence
which will put me on its track soon."
reporter to-day had an interview with a member of the firm
under whose auspices the balloon was sent up. he said: "We
have no news whatever this morning, but everything that
possibly can be done is being done to find out what has
become of them. You are aware that the balloon was last
seen at Melrose, Wa. It was going then in a direction of
northwest by north. The lower current blew east, and from
east to southeast. When they left Melrose they immediately
ascended to the upper current to a height of 3,000 feet,
and we suppose he has gone to some point in continuation
of the line in which he was then traveling, which would
carry him to Northern Minnesota or Dakota.
if he then ascended to the upper current, might it not have
carried him in a directly opposite direction?
because we know he descended from it, and that was the direction
in which it was then blowing. It is
SORT OF SUPPOSITION
still we think it a fair conclusion to arrive at that, although
the day was cloudy, if he had drifted far from Melrose he
would have been seen in some of the towns or villages over
which he passed, and as he was not seen after 8 o'clock
on Friday, we come to the conclusion that he alighted in
that region at some point within a radius of seventy-five
miles of Melrose. Yesterday scouts were ordered out from
four or five towns in that neighborhood to scour the woods
and see if the missing men cannot be found. In the evening
I went to the Signal Service Office, and got Mr. Mitchell
to telegraph to Washington that public anxiety was becoming
aroused, and to suggest to the Government the propriety
of sending out cavalry from Fort Snelling or some of the
other forts in that district to scour the country. He had
already received a dispatch from them making inquiries on
the subject, which shows their interest in the matter, but
we have not heard anything from them in regard to the suggestion.
The Western Union offices in the Northwest have got instructions
to jump at any news brought in; in fact, they have been
ordered to go out and seek information, and everything that
human power can do is being done to discover their whereabouts.
the utmost confidence in her husband's skill and experience.
She went east last night on the 9:40 train for Fort Wayne,
Ind., the constant anxiety and being alone, the hotel expenses
and the constant annoyance to which she was subjected from
parties seeking interviews, and the yelling of the newsboys
being the circumstances that led to her determination in
this respect. She feels that the Professor is all right.
The only thing she fears is that he has lighted far away
from any habitation, and may be in lack of provisions. He
had only 24 hours' supplies with him. What he took were
two roast chickens, six ham sandwiches, four slices of bread
and butter, one piece of pie, two small slices of cake,
two sticks of celery, three bunches grapes, three pears,
two oranges, three apples, one gallon of water and some
pickles. Prof. King has told me that large clouds act with
a sort of suction on a balloon, and if the balloon has got
caught in a large cloud it might be carried along with it,
and it may he has
ON TO A BIG CLOUD
this kind and been carried off, where, we do not know, but
I think the most unfavorable feature of the case is the
small quantity of provisions he had with him. He had no
arms or ammunition, only a large clasp knife which he carried
for cutting the ropes. He told me that this was the strongest
balloon that he ever built. There were three thicknesses
of rubber on top and two everywhere else. The rubber was
put face to face with the back outward. All the seams were
stitched three times over, and the strength was pretty thoroughly
demonstrated by the tossing about it got in the wind in
the baseball park before he started. He began to fill it
on Monday evening, and did not ascend till Thursday evening,
and during all the interval a high wind raged here and tested
its strength thoroughly. Some cords of the netting did break,
but they were thoroughly repaired, and everything was in
perfect order when they went up. When he started he was
bent on making
took unusual care to have everything in thorough order.
The valve was in good working order. I tried it myself and
told Mr. Hashogan, of the Signal Service, who accompanied
him, to see it as well. We know, too, that Professor King
would not go the Lake Superior region with a balloon that
was not strong or in which the gas was wasted, and I think
it may be settled that they lighted on the plains of Dakota
or in the lumber regions of Wisconsin. The Signal Service
office at Washington had perfect confidence in his prudence,
skill and experience. When he was here he received a letter
from the chief of the Department, General Hazen, thoroughly
approving of his prudence at Minneapolis, and asking him
to submit a proposition to the Department with a view of
his being permanently engaged in the services to make ascensions.
He replied by informing them of the expenses of an ascension
and by leaving it to them to say what his remuneration should
be. He has a national reputation for prudence, and his past
success, extending over a period of thirty years, indicates
that the confidence reposed in him is well founded.
is the longest voyage that Prof. King has ever made?"
what is the greatest length of time he has been unheard
from in the past?"
cannot say positively, but I am under the impression that
he was a week once."
you not becoming alarmed yourself as to his safety?"
I am, as is natural, a little uneasy, and it would be a
great relief to me to hear of his safety, but still I just
feel that he will
UP ALL RIGHT."
think it is just like this: When he went up he was determined
to make as long a trip as possible, and finding himself
on the direct road to Minneapolis, where he fared so hardly
on account of his inability to make an ascension there,
said to himself, 'Well, this is good. I'll show these fellows
what all their ridicule amounted to,' and I think his aim
was to descend on the farther side of that place, and that
he is now in the woods in that region. Or he may be perfectly
safe but unable to communicate with us, on account of interruptions
in the telegraph. From a great many points there the wires
are reported down. At all events, I think we shall have
some account of him before long. Now, I think you have pumped
me completely dry, but if you can think of anything during
the day that we have omitted, just run over here, and I'll
be happy to tell you."
here received a dispatch from Gen. Hazen, chief of the Department
at Washington, notifying him that the Department was using
every means in their power to find out what had become of
the balloon and its occupants. He sstated to a reporter
that he had received no intelligence whatever from which
the lost aeronauts are supposed to be, and could not throw
any light on the mystery enveloping them, but he added that
the reports showed that the telegraph wires are in very
much better condition than at any time since the ascent
was made, and that they are now reported down only at one
or two points.
is understood that the gas in the balloon would not hold
out at the longest more than thirty hours, and there is
hardly any doubt that the aeronauts landed somewhere or
met with disaster before Friday night.
opinion is pretty general to-night that the balloon has
met disaster. The Signal Service has arranged to have cavalry
from Fort Snelling make a circuit of that region in search
Wisconsin, SENTINEL, 20 October 1881, page
(Special Dispatch to The Sentinel.)
Oct. 19. - It is now the sixth day since Professor King
made his ascension from the baseball park in this city in
his balloon, the A. J. Nutting, and the fifth since the
air ship was last seen journeying in its element towards
the vast forests of Wisconsin, and the wide-stretching,
sparsely-peopled plains of the great Northwest, and still
no intelligence has been received from the venturous voyagers,
and the mystery attaching to their whereabouts or their
fate is still as great as ever. It is true that a rumor
was circulated yesterday that the balloon had been seen
floating over Fargo, D. T., on Monday, but the report was
too adsurd to be believed by even the most credulous, and
this morning, it is positively denied by an Associated Press
dispatch from that place. It is feared that the balloonists
may have landed in some spot far from any habitation, and
that they may suffer from hunger before help can reach them.
Wisconsin, SENTINEL, 21 October 1881, page
fair weather, southerly winds, lower barometer, stationary
or higher temperature.
comparatively greater sacrifice of life appears to have
attended efforts to navigate the air than has marked the
development of many of the applied sciences which have been
brought into practical operationduring the past century.
The mythologies of ancient times seem in many instances
to have led, through a long series of experiments, to the
final perfection of useful arts and inventions, and it is
not difficult to trace the tentative efforts at aerial navigation
which have so frequently engaged the attention of the world
to the legends of Daedalus and his son Icarus.
facts in the case are, however, too palpably at war with
the fable. It is alleged that to escape the wrath of Minos,
the King of Greece, whom Daedalus had offended, he constructed
artificial wings for himself and his son Icarus and by their
aid escaped from prison and fled to Crete. Icarus is said
to have so enjoyed the novel sensation of speeding swiftly
through the air on wings that unmindful of his father's
advice he rose too high and the heat of the sun melted the
wax of his wings and he fell into the sea. Although the
scientific observation which have been made by means of
balloon ascensions and otherwise have established the fact
that the temperature is lowered as the distance upward from
the earth is increased, still one portion of the legend
unhappily appears to maintain a degree of vraisemblance.
It has been almost the invariable fate of the daring scientists
of late years who seek to navigate the skies that sooner
or later their buoyant and artificial support is found to
be inadequate and, like Icarus, they fall where they are
driven by the uncontrollable element in which they move.
It is capable of approximate proof that aerial navigation
can never be achieved by the ordinary balloon. The machine
rises through the air simply in obedience to the law of
atmospheric displacement as a vessel finds its water line,
governed by an exacty similar law. When the balloon ascends
to a certain height it reaches a line of equilibrium and
glides along like the vessel. In the case of a balloon charged
with olefiant or hydrogen gas the equilibrium cannot be
maintained. The pressure around the balloon diminishes as
the balloon rises, and the gas continues to expand so that
a balloon only two-thirds full at the surface of the earth
will be nearly bursting at the height of two miles. The
gas being lighter than the air is always seeking to escape,
and at the end of thirty hours a fully-charged ordinary
balloon would not rise from the earth at all in in all probability.
Within that time at all events through the process og gaseous
degeneration or diffusion, it will quickly descend to the
earth if in the skies, and over ocean or land the inherent
dangers of such a method of aerial navigation will be at
than a week has now elapsed since the ascension of Prof.
King, the well-known aeronaut, from Chicago. His balloon
was last seen near Melrose in this State, moving in the
direction of the Trempealeau Valley. No tidings have been
heard of the aerial travelers since the date of their ascension,
and public anxiety is manifested as to their probable fate.
At the instance of Gen. Hazen, of the United States Signal
Service, Mr. Hashagen, one of the officers of that department,
accompanied Prof. King for the purpose of taking scientific
observations for the use of the Service. As it is clear
that the buoyant properties of the gas with which the balloon
was inflated must have to a great extent disappeared after
the first forty-eight hours, the absence of any communication
from the lost aeronauts after an interval of six days from
the moment when they must necessarily have descended in
any case points to the dread apprehension that they have
perished like Donaldson and the newspaper reporter, Grimwood,
who started off only a few years ago on just such another
Wisconsin, SENTINEL, 21 October 1881, page
Air-ship Reported in the Dakota Wilderness.
that the Intrepid Voyagers Have Been Lost.
Latest Advices Concerning Their Whereabouts.
Dispatch to The Sentinal)
Oct. 20. - Fears are now expressed that Prof. King and J.
George Hashagen, of the United States Signal Service, have
lost their lives. This is the seventh day since the ascension,
and nothing has been heard from either of the voyagers.
It is now said that the balloon was seen at Detroit, Minn.,
last Sunday night traveling to the northwest. This statement
is corroborated by the fact that Detroit is exactly in the
direction which Prof. King was taking, and in the direction
which the wind would necessarily have carried him on Friday,
Saturday and Sunday. If traveling at a slow rate of speed,
and as the wind would necessarily have taken him on Friday,
Saturday and Sunday, it would have taken sixty hours to
reach Detroit after leaving Melrose. The wind continued
to blow north and north of west on Sunday night through
all the section about Detroit and Fargo, and the probabilities
are now very strong that Prof. King has gone into Manitoba.
The statement is made by Mrs. King that he had provisions
for ten days, and that he proposed making a long journey.
It is probable from this account that he is still alive,
and will yet be heard from at Winnipeg or Pembina. Advices
received from LaCrosse, Wis., are to the effect that the
balloon was seen on the farm of A. D. Tracey, in the southern
part of Eau Claire County on Friday. It passed within fifty
feet of the ground. Prof. King asked the usual question
of those on the farm. The balloon then sailed northwestwardly.
This makes it not improbable that the balloon landed in
the dense wilderness known as the Eau Galle woods, where
the famous search for the Williams brothers occurred. If
it landed there it is not surprising that nothing has been
heard from it. The men had provisions with them sufficient
to last ten or twelve days, but were poorly clothed for
a long stay in the woods. This afternoon A. J. Nutting &
Co., of this city, sent the following telegraphic dispatch:
Stout & Co., Menominee, Wis.: Will you send today
four horseback scouts toward Whitehall, Lincoln County,
searching for our lost balloonists, at our expense, three
days if necessary? Have them telegraph us at every opportunity.
Atwood, of the firm, received a visit from a Mr. John McCarthy,
doing business at 27 Wesson street, who was an assistant
of Prof. King at the time of the ascension, and for several
days before, during the inflation. Mr. McCarthy is positive
that in addition to the food takenby Prof. King, Mr. Hashagen
took along quite a bountiful supply. He said Mr. Hashagen's
supplies were contained in in something which he calls a
sort of "wooden valise", 15x10x6 inches in size.
He says that when the rope broke Mr. Hashagen was sitting
upon concentric ring to keep from being injured by the ballast
and other things which were being thrown around with great
violence in the basket below. Among the articles that were
shaken up was Mr. Hashagen's "valise", which was
thrown about so violently that some of the victuals were
thrown out of it. Mr. McCarthy is positive that there was
food in the "valise", and he believes that it
was full of provisions. He says that this was an entirely
different thing from the Professor's peach-basket of lunch.
He says that just before the ascension an old friend of
the Professor came up and conversed with him, and among
other things asked him if he had an ample supply of food
in the basket. J. George Hashagen, who made the ascension
with the Professor, was born in Wilmington, N. C., and studied
there under the direction of Rev. T. M. Ambler. On finishing
his education he obtained an appointment in the Postal Service
as a railway mail clerk and continued at that for some years
when he went to Washington to fill an appointment in the
Signal Service Department. That was about three or four
years ago, and since then he has been stationed at New York,
and at several other stations on the Atlantic coast. He
came to the office here last March, and had remained there
since, with the exception of six weeks in August and September,
which he spent at St. Paul and Washington. His father and
mother are dead, but he has one brother living in Wilmington,
who is engaged as a railway mail clerk, and he has a stepmother.
Hashagen was about 24 years of age, was very small, not
five feet six inches high, and did not weigh more than 125
pounds. He was well educated, very intelligent and ambitious.
Oct. 20. - The Inter-Ocean reports that a lady who has arrived
here from Valley city, Dak., saw King's balloon Monday afternoon
as she was awaiting at the station the arrival of the train.
The balloon was observed by several parties and was the
topic of interesting comment.
correspondent at Menomonea, Wis., telegraphs that the balloon
was seen at that point by a little girl Friday evening.
It was then going toward the Northwest.
Oct. 20. - At 4 P. M. Monday evening, Mrs. Storett, of Cinncinati,
who just arrived from Dakota, saw the King balloon at Valley
City some distance west of Fargo, going southwest. The significant
feature of this statement is that it corresponds with the
observations of three other persons in that section who
saw the balloon some hours earlier than she, and that the
wind was blowing from northeast at the time. None of the
observers report seeing the men in the balloon.
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