John Loudon McAdam (21 September 1756 – 26 November 1836) was a Scottish engineer and road-builder. He invented a new process, “macadamisation“, for building roads with a smooth hard surface that would be more durable and less muddy than soil-based tracks.
Modern road construction still reflects McAdam’s influence. Of subsequent improvements, the most significant was the introduction of tar (originally coal tar) to bind the road surface’s stones together – “tarmac” (for Tar Macadam) – followed later by the use of hot-laid tarred aggregate or tar-sprayed chippings to create better road metalling. More recently, oil-based asphalt laid on reinforced concrete has become a major road surface, but its use of granite or limestone chippings still recalls McAdam’s innovation.
Fred and Elizabeth “Bessie” were my grandparents and the parents of my father, Ivan “Hap” Murray (he is the little guy in front of his Dad in the picture). Fred was born on a farm in Kansas on 21 Mar 1891. In 1900 his father was tragically killed in a farming accident and then his older brother drowned the following year. In the next decade the remaining family struggled to maintain the farm and his Mother remarried. Then in 1910 young Fred, and most of his family and neighbors, took off for the promise of Homesteading in central Montana.
Bessie was born on 9 Nov 1893 and raised in Iowa. Her family was also attracted by the apparent opportunities awaiting them in Montana, when Homesteading opened up, and around 1910 they also packed up and headed west.
Fred and Bessie met and married shortly after their families moved to Montana. They Homesteaded near the tiny town of Coffee Creek. Many of their family member’s descendants still live in the area. Both of my father’s grandmothers are buried in the small Coffee Creek cemetery. Fred and Bessie had 5 children in Montana and scratched out a living, mostly farming, but also doing odd and seasonal jobs to make ends meet. Finally, around 1930 as the depression closed in, they began to drift west. After stops in western Montana and Washington State they finally settled in Oregon’s Willamette Valley in the early ’30s. My father finished High School there in the small town of Philomath.
But they couldn’t stay still it seems. As the depression wound down and WWII came to dominate American life they headed to California (along with most of their children and families) in search of new adventure. The rest of their lives Fred and Bessie wandered about, not pausing long in any one place and always seeking new horizons. The stayed mostly on the West Coast but lived in Wyoming, Oregon, Northern and Southern California among other places. They were happy in their comings and goings and always stayed close to one or another of their kids. They ended up spending their final years in Oregon, near their daughter Carmen.
Otto Lilienthal (23 May 1848 – 10 August 1896) was a pioneer of human aviation who became known as the German Glider King. He was the first person to make repeated successful gliding flights. He followed an experimental approach first established earlier in the century by Sir George Cayley. Newspapers and magazines in many countries published photographs of Lilienthal gliding, favorably influencing public and scientific opinion about the possibility of flying machines becoming practical reality after ages of idle fantasy and unscientific tinkering.