Stamford, CT. – May 31, 1922

Stamford, Connecticut – May 31, 1922

Stamford Harbor


     On May 31, 1922, William Purcell of New York City was piloting his airplane along the Connecticut shore line with a passenger who was taking aerial photographs when the engine began running erratically.  Purcell safely brought the plane down near the property of W. W. Skiddy in Stamford, and after making repairs took off again.  As the plane was ascending the engine suddenly lost power, and the aircraft dove into Stamford Harbor and embedded itself in the mud.  Purcell and his passenger escaped uninjured and swam to shore.   

     The type of airplane was not stated. 


     Hartford Courant, (Conn.) “Airplane Falls In Stamford Harbor”, June 1, 1922

Stamford, CT – August 27, 1933

Stamford, Connecticut – August 27, 1933

     On August 27, 1933, Army Air Corps pilot Captain Ernest Emery Harmon, 40, took off from  Washington, D.C. bound for Mitchel Field on Long Island, N.Y.  As he neared the New York City metropolitan area he encountered heavy fog and wound up over the coast of Connecticut instead of Long island, N. Y. 

     At 10:00 p.m. he was seen circling low over the  Turn-of-the-River section of the town of Stamford, Connecticut.  After making a wide circle his plane suddenly dove towards the ground and struck group of trees.  The aircraft glanced off the top of one tall tree and then flew on into another smashing the ship to pieces.  The ship came to rest about 300 feet off the Long Ridge Highway, which today is Route 104. 

     Captain Harmon’s body was found about 1/8 of a mile from, the wreck.  It was speculated that he was either thrown from the plane during the first tree strike, or bailed out of the plane at too low of an altitude for his chute to deploy.  It was noted that the plane’s fuel tank was empty. 

     Captain Harmon was a well known and skilled aviator.  He gained national fame in 1919 when he made the first “Round-the -Rim” flight of the United States, flying counterclockwise along the entire borders of the U.S.  The flight, made in a Glenn Martin Bomber, took 114 hours and 45 minutes, covering a distance of about 10,000 miles. 

     Captain Harmon was raised in Tuxedo, Maryland, where he played football at Eastern High School and later attended Bethany College, in West Virginia.  AT the time of his death he was stationed at Mitchell Field on Long Island.  He was survived by his wife Harriette, and three sons.  He’s buried in Arlington national Cemetery.

     For photos and other information about Captain Harmon, click on the links below to go to the Arlington National Cemetery, and Find A Grave Websites.


     New York Times, “Army Plane Crash Kills Air Veteran”, August 28, 1933

     Arlington National Cemetery Website


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