OTHER RESOURCES

There is no biographical file for pilot Harned in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.

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Thanks to Guest Editor Bob Woodling for help researching this page.

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OWEN GILBERT HARNED

Owen Harned was born in September 14, 1898 at Helena, Oklahoma Territory. The 1900 U.S. Census, his first, lists him living with his parents and one older brother. Harned's father was a farmer, born in Kentucky. He lived in proximity to two other Harned families, with individual heads of household; all farmers; all born in Kentucky. Oklahoma became a state in Nivember, 1907, so what we have in 1900 is probably an extended family of Harned farmers, originally from Kentucky, who most likely moved west to take advantage of the first Oklahoma Land Rush of of April, 1889. Harned's grandparents would have been the right age to participate in the Rush, and his parents would have been able farm hands once property was claimed.

By the 1910 Census, Harned had gained two sisters and a brother, all 5 siblings still living with their parents. His father Delphos G. Harned, age 38, was now employed in "Real Estate." None of his other family members were employed.

On September 12, 1918, Harned, at age 19, was registered for the draft for WWI. His draft card corroborated his birth date as September 14, 1898. He was residing in Guthrie, OK and worked as a photographer for Malgamot Brothers. He was described as medium height, slender build, brown eyes and light hair. I have no record of his military obligations.

Owen Harned, Ca. 1930 (Source: findagrave)

 

In 1920, the Census data showed another son born to the Harneds, as well as habitation by a niece- and nephew-in-law in their home . Owen was 21 and working as an "Electrician" for a "Supply Company." Delphos G. was now employed as a "Commercial Traveler" for "Engines & Threshers." Nine people occupied the home at 1520 West Washington Avenue, Guthrie, OK. On Google Earth, none of the homes near this address today look like 1920s-vintage structures. Harned was educated through the 8th grade.

The 1930 Census places him, at age 31, living in Forest Hills, Queens, NY with his wife, Margaret (27; 1903-1985) and daughter, Janice (5; b. 1924). They rented their home for $125 per month. His occupation was listed as "Sales Manager" with and "Aviation Company." Margaret was not employed. Undated photograph, left, from FindaGrave at the link. FindaGrave had this to say about Harned, "Owen was an early day aviator. The Oklahoma State Historical Society has an audiotape interview of Owen [CLL 667.1.A-B Subject - Aviation, 1 hr 26 min]. In later years he was a U.S. postal worker. Harned street in the north part of Stillwater, Payne, Oklahoma is named for him."

Harned flew for the Travel Air company in Wichita, KS (see below). He visited Parks Airport on Wednesday, July 24, 1929 at 5:50PM. He remained overnight and departed the next morning at 9:00. He was solo in the Travel Air NC605H, a B-4000 model, S/N 1172. He had arrived from Albany, NY, and identified his destination as back to Albany.

From ancestry.com, we know he flew a Travel Air airplane from the Leaside Airfield, Toronto, Ontario, Canada to the Abany (NY) Municipal Airport on September 5, 1929. The U.S. Immigrations form for that flight is below. Note that Walter Beech was identified as the co-pilot. Harned is described as 5'10" and 140 pounds at 30 years old. They flew the airplane identified as NC656H, model S-6000-B, S/N 6B-2009 (not a Register airplane). Leaside was closed in 1931. The site is currently industrial.

U.S. Immigration Form, September 5, 1929 (Source: ancestry.com)
U.S. Immigration Form, September 5, 1929 (Source: ancestry.com

Notice the column titled "Length of Service at Sea." Since this was not a sea voyage, Harned entered "13 years" as what was probably the length of time he had been a pilot. That means he learned to fly about 1917 or 18, which would suggest he learned to fly while in the Army. I have no record of his military service, however.

About nine months later, Harned made another border crossing from St. Hubert, Quebec, Canada to Albany, NY. the flight was recorded on the Immigration form dated June 3,1930, below. He flew NC340W, which was a Keystone K-84 Commuter, S/N 321. He carried co-pilot Stuart Reed and mechanic Augustus Fairchild. They appeared to be employed by Curtiss-Wright in Wichita, KS. The Albany, NY city directory for 1929-30 recorded Margaret and him living in Albany.

U.S. Immigration Form, June 3, 1930 (Source: ancestry.com)

 

Evening Independent, Massillon, OH, June 4, 1930 (Source: Woodling)

 

An interesting juxtaposition in news coverage and government documentation is found in the news article, right, from the June 4, 1930 issue of the Massillon, OH Evening Independent. It seems that Harned and his crew, after they stopped in Albany, NY to clear U.S. immigrations, departed Albany and continued south along the Hudson River. Somewhere near Poughkeepsie, a small town on the east bank of the Hudson, they struck the water and turned their airplane upside down. The article lists their names, details of their escape and extent of their injuries.

Surprisingly, given the serious injuries suffered on the evening of June 3rd, Harned was a participant in the Sixth National Air Tour from September 11-27, 1930. His involvment was documented in chapter six of this REFERENCE.

The 1940 Census recorded Harned as divorced and living in Pawnee Township, OK with his parents, now aged 68 and 67. At age 41, Harned was a "Clerk" in a "Retail Grocery Store." His father had taken up farming again. Harned brought his children with him. Janice was now age 15 and son Owen G., Jr. (1931-1995) was 8. He apparently was not associated with the aviation industry.

I do not know when he divorced Margaret (sometime between 1930 and 1940), nor do I know the exact date he married a second time to Ruth Russ Mitchell (1897-1990). Harned died December 22, 1983 at Oklahoma City, OK. His and Ruth's gravemarker is below, located in the El Reno Cemetery, El Reno, OK. Margaret passed away July 24, 1985. The name engraved on her headstone is Margaret Best Harned, suggesting she did not remarry. She is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Santa Monica, CA.

Harned Family Head Stone, Ca. 1990 (Source: findagrave)
Harned Family Head Stone, Ca. 1990 (Source: findagrave)

Harned also landed once and signed the Davis-Monthan Register in Tucson, AZ on Monday, October 1, 1928 at 4:20PM. He carried two passengers, George Law and Charles LaPatte. Harned wrote in the Register that he was based at Wichita, KS and had arrived at Tucson from Los Angeles. He didn't enter a destination. They flew in the Travel Air Harned identified as NX4765. This aircraft was the prototype Model 6000, pictured in Juptner Vol. 1, p. 246. Harned flew with Transport pilot certificate T226.

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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 01/04/16 REVISED: 01/21/16