Seth Babb Homestead Fund Raiser Launched

DSCF8831After a 14-year painstaking restoration process the 1787 Seth Babb Homestead is ready to open to the Public in Greeneville, Tennessee to be used as a Teaching tool of the life of Pioneers. Built just 2 years after the county was formed and 2 years before the Constitution was ratified, this 2-story home is a rare treasure. The interior is ready, but more funding is needed to purchase and install a new stone skirt around the building and proper entrances to the front and back door that will protect the building and finish it completely.

Seth Babb Homestead

Fundraising Goal:


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How Do You Spell Kismet?

I had to look up the spelling for Kismet, but there was no other word I could think of to explain this picture.

[ˈkizmit, ˈkizˌmet]

  1. destiny; fate.
    “what chance did I stand against kismet?”
    fate · destiny · fortune · providence · the stars · God’s will · what is written in the stars · one’s doom · one’s portion · one’s lot · one’s lot in life · karma · predestination


It is the wedding picture for a new member of the Association. Having visited the Isles of Shoals at a conference every summer for many years she grew to love its austere beauty. Visit after visit she would return with new pieces of memorabilia from the Shoals and slowly filled her house with bric-a-brac from this “Desired Place”.

She loved it so much that she convinced her Fiancée to travel to Star Island for their wedding. They took this picture on the day of their wedding gazing at Appledore Island, which she had never visited. What she couldn’t have known was that her history lay just across the water.

She joined the Babb Family Association in August with no idea of where she came from. She contacted me and just judging from the location I immediately told her that she was a descendant of the one and only Phillip Babb, the legendary Sheriff of the Isles of Shoals.

We compared notes and I was able to detail her as his 7th Great-Granddaughter. The place that she was so drawn to all of her life turned out to be her own. If that isn’t the definition of Kismet, I don’t know is. I won’t even get into that whole Alanis Morrisette Ironic thing, but it just fell like fate intervening and it put a giant smile on my face to be able to connect her to the past she deserved.

Cheers to the new couple in “This Desired Place”.

Charles H. Babb – Aviation Pioneer

Recently, I put out a query for assistance locating a Charles V. Babb who was involved in an article and picture I had come across on eBay. With the help of one of our members I now have the answer and it is a wild trip of who’s who in America.

First off, Charles’ middle initial is H, not V as the article I found had claimed. He also didn’t live for very long in New York and instead came from Oregon. So, finding him was virtually impossible if not for one clue. He was involved in Aviation in the 1930s. This one fact separated him from a multitude of Charles Babbs and kept him from falling into anonymity.

So, let me introduce you to the real Charles Harding Babb:

During the 1930s, Charles Harding Babb was a well-known used aircraft salesman in business at Grand Central Airport, Glendale, CA. Charles became a significant member of the international flying network of the era. He did business as Babb International Aircraft Brokerage in Glendale and later as Charles H. Babb Co. with offices on the east coast, Quebec, Europe & Latin America.

As a major sales/brokerage firm, many of the airplanes that passed through Tucson passed through his hands on their way to their owners, either as new or used aircraft. Later, he supplied aircraft for the Spanish Civil War (Source: San Bernardino County Sun, August 10, 1940).

Howard Hughes purchased and modified a Lockheed twin-engine transport for a round-the-world flight. After the flight, Hughes commissioned Babb in 1940 to broker the airplane to the British for war service. The sale was documented in an article that appeared in the San Bernardino County Sun, August 10, 1940.

At age 19, Babb was registered for the draft on September 12, 1918. We learn that he had blue eyes and brown hair. Note mention of the loss of his right hand “and other defects.” These injuries to his arm, hand and jaw were the result of a hunting accident. Despite his injuries, Babb married Hester Evelyn Drew of Wilder, ID on October 8, 1923. They were married in Canyon, ID. He also learned to fly and became well-known in southern California circles. By 1925, he was Secretary, Southern California Chapter National Aeronautic Association. His duties as secretary were numerous, among them organizing meetings and air races.


The 1930 Census placed him (age 30) at 822 1/4 N. Hayworth Avenue, Los Angeles. He lived with Hester E. (28). They rented their home for $45 per month. Babb’s occupation was coded as “Department Manager” at an “Aviation Company.”

By 1940, Babb and Hester had moved to 3028 Ingledale Terrace, Los Angeles. That neighborhood today on Google Earth is one of modest whitewashed homes with xeric landscaping. They still rented, but their rent had gone down to $35 per month. This Census recorded that both Babb and Hester had enjoyed one year of college. Babb’s occupation was coded as “Broker” for “Aircraft.”

Aircraft flown by many famous aviators (including Howard Hughes, Amelia Earhart, Wiley Post, and Francisco Sarabia were purchased from Babb and he regularly posed for pictures with many of them. He used his inside contacts to build his aircraft brokerage empire based mainly on the acquisition and sale of surplus military airplanes. After WWII ended, Babb built his organization into a major international “holding company,” selling aircraft to airlines and governments worldwide.

Born in Eugene, Oregon January 30, 1899, Babb died of a heart attack November 15, 1952 at the age of 53.
Charles Babb Collection

The Charles Babb Collection was donated by his son, Charles Jr., who was only six years old when his dad died in 1952. There are two photograph albums of airmen and historic events, many family shots and inscribed portraits of famous aviation executives, numerous news clippings and a box of documents supporting the patent for the hinged nose cone for cargo planes.
Pioneer Aviation Broker Kept ’em flying.
By John Patrick Ford, Archive Volunteer

Charlie Babb was well known as the “flying junk man” a moniker he did not like. However, that was his business. Keeping older model aircraft in the sky with his large stock of used planes, replacement parts and overhauling services.
“There’s a buyer for everything,” Babb was quick to tell someone who thought he was crazy to buy up scrap parts from the major aircraft factories. His headquarters at the Grand Central Airport in Glendale allowed Charlie to have close personal links to the heads of Lockheed, Douglas and Northrop where he was often seen picking through discarded aircraft parts and making offers to haul away the junk.

A major part of Babb Co. business spanning the years 1928-1952 was the used aircraft market. Flying magazine ads during those years have lists of about every type of private aircraft made from early World War I Jennys to the popular Lockheed Vega. Charlie’s friendships with Howard Hughes, Donald Douglas and Reuben Fleet put him up front in the aviation market in the 1930s. His used aircraft business boomed as war clouds gathered in Europe and training craft were in demand.

As a pioneer pilot in the post-World War I period, Babb was challenged to overcome a disability from a hunting accident as a youth. The loss of his right arm below the elbow and some facial disfiguration, forced Charlie to make a career decision to overcome lack of physical skills with brain power. He was known as an excellent pilot and marksman. Frequent hunting trips to the Artic area in his favorite PBY aircraft joined him with celebrities like Wiley Post and Will Rogers. Charlie’s mentors in his pioneer aviation days were Eddie Rickenbacker, Richard Byrd and Jimmy Doolittle, the latter friend almost a father figure.

Besides horse-trading in the aircraft business, Babb was an accomplished engineer who designed the cargo plane nose cone that opened for loading. His patented mechanism was used extensively by military aircraft during World War II. Patent infringement issues are still pending for collection of royalties. Another business was called the Big Fan that provided frost control for agriculture. Babb saw the potential when a friend sought his help during a freeze, and they used a reverse prop P-38 engine to blow air over the orchard and saved the crop.

The Charles Babb Collection was donated by his son, Charles Jr., who was only six years old when his dad died in 1952. There are two photograph albums of airmen and historic events, many family shots and inscribed portraits of famous aviation executives, numerous news clippings and a box of documents supporting the patent for the hinged nose cone for cargo planes. The collection is open for view at the library and archive of San Diego Air-Space Museum in Balboa Park.

Dossier 2.1.38, UPLOADED: 02/21/06 REVISED: 03/01/06, 03/09/06, 10/08/06, 03/04/07, 09/30/07, 08/24/11, 09/21/14, 11/19/17



Charles V. Babb of New York

I’ve got a new Ebay mystery on my hands. This press photo from 1937 lists a Charles V. Babb of Brooklyn, NY as an Aircraft Broker. I am not able to make a direct connection to Charles and wanted to share this picture in hopes that someone could help me identify the right Charles Babb. There is a Charles Babb who lived in Brooklyn but I have no corroborating evidence to place this picture with him. He is not in the 1940 Census and in 1930 there are two Charles’ each listed as Machinists.

Let me know if you can help identify him.

Charles V. Babb 1937 PhotoCharles V. Babb 1937 Photo-Reverse

The Ebay listing is here: Charles V. Babb 1937 Photo-Ebay Auction


Slip Inside This Sleeping Bag

The summer heat sizzles in Dallas with temperatures that regularly exceed 100°. As the season drones on the heat drains your energy and feels as though it is baking through to your brain. By August tempers flare and it seems that summer will never end. Back in 1959 there would have not been a Central Air-conditioning system in the apartment rented by Marie Hunter and her husband James Robert Hunter at 1812 St. Louis Street.

Temperature on Aug 2, 1959

This was the backdrop for the events of August 2nd, 1959 when Marie was murdered in her residence by a man she had been drinking with throughout the hot afternoon. It was a Sunday and she was unemployed, so had nowhere to be. The Sunday School room which overlooked the back side of her property had already emptied and the temperature quickly climbed to sweltering 97° by late afternoon. This is far from the hottest day of the year, but after three months of temperatures over 90° it might as well have crossed into the triple digits. Hot and irritated they had gotten into a drunken fight and he stabbed her in the abdomen with a curved foot-long butcher knife, which cut her Celiac Artery in half and she bled to death as massive amounts of blood poured into her abdomen. The Celiac Artery provides oxygenated blood to the Liver and Spleen. She was already dead by the time the police officer V. C. Campbell arrived on the scene, but she was officially pronounced Dead on Arrival at Parkland Hospital at 6:15. By this point, he had already been booked for her murder. She was subsequently buried in the Dallas City Cemetery which serves as her final resting place.

The Dallas Morning News listed her name as Marine Heranda Hunter and says that the assailant readily confessed to the murder and even waited around as the police were flagged down by neighbors. He was taken into custody and charged with Murder. There is no mention in the newspaper article of where the husband was during this altercation or who the man she had been drinking with all afternoon. The Death Certificate is mostly empty, but James did serve as the witness. Sadly, he didn’t seem to know much about her when completing the death certificate.

11-5-12 Marie Hunter

Perplexed by this story and wanting answers to these questions I turned to the Police Report. After exchanging several messages, I received a 6-page document which gave far more detail about the altercation. The story lays out as follows:

Deloris Blanton a young girl of only 16 was the first to see the commotion. She lived next door to the Hunters at 1816 St. Louis with her father, H. L. Blanton. She saw them on the back porch as Marie held a small knife to the man’s neck and pull down on it. She ran to her father and exclaimed, “Father, that woman just cut that man’s throat!”

Aug 3 1959 - ArticleH. L. Blanton then flagged down officer Vernon C. Campbell, Jr #1229, who was passing by on his motorcycle, and told him that he saw four other men go upstairs to that Apt. but that he had not seen any of them leave. R. L. had also called the police and at this time squad car #52 arrived, which was being worked by officers R. J. Cook #1352 and J. B. Chapman #1221.

Entering the apartment, they found Marie lying on bed with a red half-slip and a blouse. Marie was partially covered by a sheet and the suspect was sitting on another bed in the same room. The weapon was lying on the kitchen table, next to a scarf covered in blood. The suspect tells the officers that he wiped handle of knife off with it. There was a bath towel lying on chest of drawers with that he tried to stop bleeding with.

The officers arrested him for Murder and called an ambulance to transport Marie to Parkland Hospital where she was pronounced Dead on Arrival. The suspect was finally identified as James Robert Hunter and mentions that he is her Common Law Husband. How that detail escaped the person writing the news article is unknown. What happened next is also unclear. James never appears in the newspaper again and does not seem to have a death certificate. The police report lists several alias names for Marie, but none of them provided sufficient evidence to know where she came from or when she was born.

62 Sanborn Map 1921 - Edit

Without additional information, the story of their lives ends here. But the area in which they lived has its own story that continues to present day. With Dallas’ rapid growth this neighborhood, like many others, has transformed into something almost completely new. Marie lived next door to a Church and Sunday School, The Jewish Community Center was around the corner as was City Park. At some point City Park was cut down in size from its original shape which went almost to Marie’s back Door. It forms what today is known officially as Dallas Heritage Village, but most residents will recall it as Old City Park.

City Park

Ambassador Apartment Hotel DallasThe resizing allowed for the creation of the I-30 “Canyon” through the south side of Downtown Dallas, but cutoff the neighborhoods from each other with places like the Ervington Hotel & Apartments built in 1926 (1202 S. Ervay) being lost forever and The Ambassador Hotel & Apartments (1312 S. Ervay) which still stands near the now booming South Side area founded on the bones of the old Sears Building on Lamar St.

120611042426-dallas-south-side-on-lamar-horizontal-galleryToday the I-30 Canyon is on the move again and it once again being redeveloped to meet the ever-expanding city population. It has often been referred to by locals as the Spaghetti Bowl and this plan aims to finally straighten those noodles out. St. Louis is visible on this map just above the crossover for Ervay Street.

0267_032014 The Canyon White Paper

This renaissance is adjacent to Old city Park which has been turned from a sleepy corner of forgotten Dallas, back into a beautiful addition to our cities history.

1812 St. Louis was spared from becoming part off the Freeway’s service road, only to be demolished to make way for warehouses attached to the Modern-Day Farmer’s Market. It’s address isn’t well known but provides a vital link to the residents of the city.