Top Songs of 1966 – #7

Ballad_of_the_Green_Berets“The Ballad of the Green Berets” by S. Sgt. Barry Sadler was the next song to go all the way to the top of the record charts in 1966. It was the number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 record chart for four weeks (Feb 28 – March 26) and then 5 weeks as the top song on the Cash Box record chart. It also ended up being number the one song on the Billboard Songs of the Year chart. It was written by Robin Moore and Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler while Sadler was recovering from an injury that he got in Vietnam. Sadler debuted the song on television on January 30, 1966 on The Ed Sullivan Show. Robin Moore was also the author of the novel “The Green Berets” which later became a movie starring John Wayne. In that movie there was a choral version of the song.

Barry Sadler first served in the US Air Force for 4 years. Then he enlisted in the US Army and became part of the Green Berets, which are a special operations force of the Army. He was wounded in a knee and it later became infected.

Sadler released another song but it didn’t go very far up the charts and that would be the end of his musical career. After that, he had a series of books starring “Casca” about the Roman soldier who thrust his lance into Jesus’ side during the crucifixion. Because of this, Casca is cursed to remain a soldier. Sadler wrote the first few books in the series and then ghost writers continued the series.

On December 1, 1978 Sadler shot a man in the head after a month long argument over a woman.  Originally sentenced to from 4 to 5 years in prison, on appeal his term was reduced to just 21 days in jail.

Sadler moved to Guatemala City during the mid 1980s where he helped with vaccination programs in rural villages. While there on September 7, 1988, and sitting in a cab, he was shot in the head in a robbery attempt. He was flown back to the US and survived but suffered extensive brain damage. That brain damage ultimately caused his death on November 5, 1989.

Old News – School Fire


Thursday, March 9, 1916


Building and Contents a Total Loss — Origin of Fire Unknown — Loss of Many Thousand Dollars.

pitsford-hsPittsford was visited by a fierce conflagration between 2 and 3 o’clock Saturday morning, which destroyed the fine High school building. The fire was well under way before it was discovered and fully ten minutes elapsed before the alarm was given to the central telephone office as the system did not work. The Masonic ball was being held in the Town hall and someone from there went to the fire hall. The firemen appeared promptly and worked valiantly and faithfully as they have a record for doing at every fire at which they are called. How the fire originated is not known. The building was heated by five hot air furnaces and had electric light equipment

The building contained twelve class rooms and was built of brick with slate roof, and had a high cupola or bell tower. A modern steel staircase was installed last summer. The main building was erected in 1892 at a cost of $12,000. The addition was built about five years ago and cost $10,000. A library of 16,000 volumes and a finely equipped laboratory in the third story were totally destroyed. The furniture in the school was worth several thousand. The only thing saved from the school was the flag from the pole in front of the school building which was rescued by Glen Austin, a pupil.

Principal Albert B. Helmkamp and the board of education were confronted with the problem of finding suitable quarters for the temporary housing of 375 pupils and eleven teachers. It was thought at first that the Exchange Hotel which has been closed ever since the town went dry, would be suitable but it was not taken owing to lack of a proper heating system. If one were installed the cost would be $500 or $600. After further investigation it was decided to use the Town hall, Masonic Temple, the session rooms of the Presbyterian and St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran churches and options on other places have been secured if needed. Four hundred desks were ordered to be distributed as needed. A meeting of the teachers was held Monday morning when Mark Furman of East Rochester, the superintendent of district No. 2, convened with them

Capt. Jack Dallas and his Family; Part 3 of 3

Evan Parker - Independence, MO - Aug. 1908

Evan Parker – Independence, MO – Aug. 1908

Evan J. Parker, the brother of Benjamin (AKA Jack Dallas), was a clerk in grocery store and living in Elmira, NY according to the 1905 NY State census. I suspect that he was the Dan Dallas that was an assistant to Capt. Dallas as mentioned in the June 14th 1908 issue of the Salt Lake Herald. Their father had adopted the name of Daniel Darleigh, so it makes sense that he might have used the stage name Dan (for his father) Dallas (for his brother).

Evan left a scrapbook of clippings that has now made its way to the Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. That scrapbook says that he made his first solo flight in Aug. 1908 at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson, Kansas when another airship pilot quit and he flew the scheduled flight. He was known as Capt. Parker so there wouldn’t be two flyers named Capt. Dallas. From there he went to Independence, MO. Then at the State Fair in Boise, Idaho on Oct. 13th 1908 a rope got caught in the propeller. That pulled the gas bag down and tore a 12 foot hole in the gas bag. Capt. Parker was somehow able to safely land the craft.

Evan Parker in his flyin days.

Evan Parker in his flying days.

I wasn’t able to find any newspaper articles on Evan in 1909. He probably was flying out west. The next thing I could of his activities from this web page when in Feb. 1910 he is competing in a race at Tampa, Fl against two other dirigible pilots (Frank Goodale, and Stanley Vaughn). I didn’t see who won the race.

In April 1910 Evan is enumerated in the 1910 census as living with Charles J. Strobel in Toledo, Ohio. Mr. Strobel was the owner of the dirigibles. Evan is listed as an “aeronaut.” I would think that he was probably wasn’t really living there but was on the road and touring at that time. This residence also disagrees with his marriage on May 23rd 1910 at Detroit, MI where it says his residence is Rochester, NY. His bride is Dora Goldstein (maiden name Holdner)

In June 1910 Evan was in Chartiers City, PA where he flew off and on for a week advertising a land sale. Then in late June he was in Manchester, NH. He was to fly from Pine Island Park to City Hall. On June 28th while ascending he crashed into the roller coaster (see picture). The airship was wrecked Evan escaped death by grabbing for the coaster frame.


Manchester, NH – June 28, 1910

In Aug. 1910 Evan is in Massachusetts where his dirigible struck electric wires. He survived by clinging to a telephone pole until help came. Then off to Maryland and September is spent in Pennsylvania and Tennessee where he tore his gas bag again but landed safely. Then during the winter he was went to San Juan, Puerto Rico making two flights daily for a week.

For the early part of 1911 there isn’t anything found but in Sept. he is in Knoxville, TN and then October is in Richmond, VA. Evan Parker retires from flying to Rochester by Jan. 1912. One of the reasons he gives for leaving flying exhibitions is that he has two children (Alton and Ruth). Another daughter, Elizabeth, would come later. He gets a job at Eastman Kodak where he will work for just over 38 years.

Evan’s 1918 draft registration says that he is 5’9″ with blue eyes and gray hair. It also say that he is missing the little finger on right hand. That probably came from one of the accidents while flying a dirigible.

Evan with Early Bird Certificate

Evan with Early Bird Certificate

In Feb. 1955 Evan goes to Washington, DC where he he is given an “Early Bird Certificate.” That is a certificate that was given to aviation pioneers that flew so early that they never got a pilot’s license. He was back to the Smithsonian in 1962 where he was one of 250 Early Birds that were gathered to celebrate the birthday of Wilbur Wright.

Evan. J. Parker died May 28th 1966 at Long Pond Nursing Home in Rochester. He is buried at Garland Cemetery in Clarkson. Also buried there are his wife, Dora (1885 – 1979), Evan’s sister, Eleanor (1882 – 1967) and her husband, Edward Zweigle (1885 – 1967).

So Evan J. Parker never flew his dirigible in Rochester but ended up being the family member that lived in Rochester the longest.

Capt. Jack Dallas and his Family; Part 2 of 3

In part one I told of flying career of Capt. Jack Dallas. I got started in this investigation after scanning the Aug. 1936 issue of the Kodak Magazine for Eastman Kodak employees. On page 12 is a short article on Evan J. Parker and at the end of the article it says that he used to fly a dirigible as “Capt. Dallas.” Then I started looking for newspaper articles to prove or disprove that he was Capt. Jack Dallas. A few newspaper articles from mid 1909 said that Capt. Dallas’ real name was Benjamin Parker. I knew I had to do more research and as a genealogist, I end up checking census record, vital records, city directories, etc. I eventually found out that Benjamin and Evan were brothers.

Their father was Austin Benjamin Parker. He was born Oct. 15, 1859 in Prattsburg, NY. In 1892 he started a vaudeville act that was turned into a rural play, “Old Si Stebbins.” While traveling with that play Mr. Parker used the stage name of Daniel Darleigh. Starting with the 1900 federal census he was listed only by his stage name. After he stopped traveling with the play, he managed a theater in Fulton, NY. In 1928 he returned to Prattsburg where he died Oct. 5th 1933. He is buried in the Prattsburg Rural Cemetery as Austin Parker. He had three wives; the first being the mother of his three children. The second wife was Hazel —– (1870 – 1928). His third wife was Lena Runner (maiden name Van Huesen) (1862 – 1933).

The mother of Austin’s children was Winifred Lewis who was born in 1862 in Wales. After marrying Austin Parker, she had three children:

  1. Benjamin Austin Parker, born May 12, 1879 in Prattsburg, NY
  2. Eleanor W. “Nellie” (Parker) Scales Lochner Zweigle, born 1882 in Elmira, NY.
  3. Evan Jenkins Parker, born Feb. 1, 1885 in Hornell, NY.

She and Austin were probably divorced. She appears in the 1902 Rochester city directory as the widow of a John C. Parker. About 1907 she married James Coughlin who was 10 years her junior. He had been a clerk in a saloon and later a bartender. Winifred died Sept. 21, 1911 at her home and is buried in Riverside Cemetery.

Back on my investigation of the two brothers, I started with Benjamin Parker, I found that in the 1900 census he was an inmate at Elmira Reformatory. I am sure it is him as he was born in the month of May and it says his mother was born in Wales. I have no guess as to why he was there. Maybe he would adopt a stage name so as not to have people know that he had been in prison.

Then, I found an article in the Marion (Ohio) Daily Mirror dated April 8, 1908 that said that Capt. Jack Dallas was married to Miss Hazel Dilger, a vaudeville actress. I found two records of his marriage; first on April 4, 1908 in Sandusky, Ohio as John Dallas and then again on Sept. 23, 1908 in Rochester as Benjamin Parker.

In the first part of this story, I noted that Capt. Dallas was mentioned in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle of Oct. 10th 1908 as seeking financial backing. It also says that he was living at 1530 Lake Ave. in Rochester. He isn’t listed in any Rochester city directory under either name. His mother and sister were living in Greece at that time. Checking the street directories for that address, I find it was owned by Frederick Miller and his family lived upstairs. The first floor had a grocery store. That Lake Ave. address was on the corner of Ridge Rd. West, Ridgeway and Lake Ave. where the Rite-Aid Drug Store is now. I think that he used the address as a mail drop instead of giving his mother’s address. I think that he only stayed with his mother for a short time. An article in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle dated June 20, 1909 says that Capt. Dallas is Benjamin Parker and is “a native born and bred Rochesterian.” I would say that the only reason for the statement was to build up his forthcoming appearance. He was not born in Rochester nor did he ever have a permanent residence here

In the 1910 census, and as listed as Jack Dallas, he and his wife are living in Sandusky, Ohio. His occupation is listed as “aeronaut.” He and Hazel split up and Hazel married someone else in 1914. Jack was married on March 25th 1914 to Anna Lena (usually just Lena) Marksch in Henry Co., Ohio. At that time his occupation was listed as a chauffeur. That conflicts with what I found in newspaper records that showed him as still flying into Sept. 1910.

dallas-jack-2aHis registration for the draft in 1918 describes Jack as tall, stout, blue eyes and dark hair. He was a repair man for S. J. Spaulding at that time and living in Toledo, Ohio.

Jack and Lena would have four children; Irene, Ralph, Pearl and Benjamin. Jack would die on June 15th 1940 in Toledo. He is buried in Toledo Memorial Park. Buried next to him is his wife, Lena, who died March 14, 1971.

So Benjamin Parker started using the stage name of Capt. Jack Dallas and the only time I could find him referred to by his birth name after 1909 was when came to visit his sister in Rush, NY in 1936.

What about his brother Evan J. Parker? He claimed to be Capt. Dallas in 1936. I tell about Evan in the next part.

Capt. Jack Dallas and his Family; Part 1 of 3

dallas-jack-1This is the story of an early airship pilot and his family as it relates to Rochester. Capt. Jack Dallas didn’t fly in airplane, he flew a dirigible that was constructed by Charles J. Strobel from Toledo, Ohio.

The dirigible was described as a cigar-shaped bag of Japanese silk about sixty feet long and eighteen feet in diameter and holding 7,000 cubic feet of hydrogen. Beneath the bag is a V-shaped framework of spruce which is forty-five feet long. The propeller is at the front end of the framework. To make the airship rise Capt. Dallas would walk to the back of the framework. Then he would move to the front to make the craft ascend. Flying any kind of aircraft in the early days was dangerous. Many men and women were injured or killed. Capt. Dallas also was injured through the years.

The gas bag was filled with hydrogen which was made at the location of a show by placing iron filings into a vat and added sulfuric acid. That was dangerous  plus hydrogen can explode easily.

In later years Capt. Dallas said that he flew as early as 1903 or 1904. I checked newspaper websites to find articles on him. The earliest mention that I can find of Capt. Dallas is Aug. 3, 1907 when it is mentioned in Billboard that he is making improvements to the rudder of his airship. In mid Aug. 1907 Capt. Dallas was making two flights a day at a fair in Iowa.

In October 1907 there was to be a race in Sept. at St. Louis, MO. In trials on the 23rd Capt. Dallas’ aircraft was at 700 feet when his motor stopped. He let out gas to descend and in the process hit telephone wires. Capt. Dallas was unhurt. The next day was the actual race. One airship was unable to fly so there were only three dirigibles in the race. First prize was won by Lincoln Beachey who was also flying an airship by Strobel. Capt. Dallas won second prize of $750 by clocking in at 6 minutes and 10 seconds over 1½ miles. that is about 15 miles per hour.

In both a newspaper from Jacksonville, Fl and a reference from Aug. 1908, say that Capt. Dallas made flights at Jacksonville, Florida all winter; 1907-8.

A very brief mention in an article dated April 8, 1908 mentions that Capt. Dallas had been given a prize by the President of Mexico. He is appearing in June 1908 at Saltair, a resort near the Great Salt lake in mid June. During one flight after a thunder storm he tried to land a half a dozen times when finally he struck the lake. That broke his propeller but he was able to shift his weight to the rear and bring his airship into the air again. Wind blew the craft toward the shore. Then when the airship was about 20 feet over a sand bar, he bailed out and was found knocked conscience by his crew, including someone said to be his brother, Dan Dallas. That is the only reference to a person by that name. Capt. Dallas would recover. His airship, after he had bailed out, would rise and fly away and be found six miles away. The article in the Salt Lake Herald of June 14th said that he may fly again that afternoon using another airship. He was to head to another appearance in Calgary, Alberta the next week.

In July 1908 Capt. Dallas at Fargo, North Dakota “had the misfortune to break the frame of his airship as the result of drifting against the cupola of one of the fair barns when his motor refused to work.”

On Aug. 14th Capt. Dallas was making daily flights at Wonderland Amusement Park in Milwaukee when something went wrong with his carburetor. He was blown toward Lake Michigan. He let gas out of the bag, fired three warning shots and dropped a long rope to his assistants. He landed in a City park. More gas was brought to him from Wonderland and he was able to fly back.

Capt. Dallas flew 21 times at the Michigan State Fair between Sept. 3 and 10, apparently without an incident. He was off to the Washington State Fair in Spokane in the first part of Oct. where he challenged the Governor to take a ride. I doubt very much that the Governor took the ride especially as the extra weight would have made it more difficult to get the airship into the air. There were three flights a day scheduled in Spokane.

The Oct. 15, 1908 issue of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle says that Capt. Jack Dallas is in Rochester and asking for financial interests to build and fly an airship in or near Rochester. I’ll discuss this article further in then next part of this series.

Capt. Dallas was to return to Rochester on July 3rd 1909 to appear at the “Midsummer Festival” that was held at Crittenden Park. Then on the 5th he appeared over East Main Street and headed west over downtown and on to West Main. After a 45 minute trip he landed just a few hundred yards from his starting point. The festival was supposed to go to July 11th but closed earlier. Instead the airship was moved to Ontario Beach Park. An afternoon flight on the 11th was canceled because of rain. During a flight at 7 p.m. and with a crowd estimated at 15,000 the rudder struck electric wires. Capt. Dallas was able to safely bring the craft to the ground. The “colorized” postcard (below) is from one of the ascents at Ontario Beach Park. His last day there (July 25th) was one of his worse. The steering gear got hung up on a pole and the gas bag was torn to ribbons. For a while Capt. Dallas was hanging 100 feet above the ground but was rescued and suffered no harm.

Capt. Dallas in front of Hotel Ontario - 1909

Capt. Dallas in front of Hotel Ontario – 1909

From Rochester the airship went to a park near Jamestown, NY where the first day he had three unsuccessful trips. He reason for failure was given as a bigger gas bag was needed to fly because the park was at an altitude of 3,000 feet. As far as I can tell, Capt. Dallas didn’t make it up in the air during this visit.

Capt. Dallas returned to Ontario Beach Park and was to fly on Aug. 15th but was unable to fly because of severe rain storms. He did get up other times but on Aug. 21st he broke a crankshaft and was unable to get into the air.

dallas-jack-4Then there was a big gap in articles. I suspect that Capt. Dallas was out west. The next article that I could find has him preforming at Rock City Park in Beaver, PA on July 22nd 1910. From there he went Jamestown, NY where he appeared at the fair from July 28 – Aug. 6. This time he was to make good on flying over the city that he was unable to do the preceding year.

On Sept. 8th he flew from the fair grounds to downtown Watertown, NY where offices and businesses were closed to watch him as he made a leisurely trip over the city.

That is the last I could find on Capt. Dallas but that is not to say that he didn’t continue flying. I suspect that he did fly for at least another year but didn’t crash so as not to make the newspapers.

I didn’t mention anything about his family. That will be in the next part. But let me tell you that Capt Jack Dallas was a stage name and investigating who he was and his family turns up some interesting facts.