Attleboro, MA. – July 31, 1907

Attleboro, Massachusetts – July 31, 1907

    The last week of July was Old Home Week in the town of Attleboro, Massachusetts, and part of the celebration included balloon ascensions. 

     On July 31, aeronaut William Canfield was scheduled to make a balloon ascension and parachute drop from Capron Park.  When he tried to lift off, the balloon didn’t rise due to a malfunction with the  hand flap to which the parachute was attached.  Its probable that there was also a strong wind blowing for instead of rising, the balloon tilted and was dragged along the ground until it crashed into three small trees.  Canfield was thrown from the balloon, reportedly “with great force”, and knocked unconscious.  He was carried to a nearby home on County Street where he received medical attention.

     Canfield responded to the treatment, and an hour later announced that he still wanted to make the ascension, but this idea was overruled by the committee sponsoring the event.     


     The News-Democrat, (Providence, R.I.), August 1, 1907.

Lynn, MA – July 9, 1905

Lynn, Massachusetts – July 9, 1905


     Early balloon with net On the evening of July 9, 1905, Boston aeronaut William Canfield, and Mrs. Camille Stafford, were in a balloon over Lynn, Massachusetts, when it developed a leak and began to fall.  Realizing that their combined weight was pulling the balloon downward to a certain crash, Canfield decided to jump using a parachute in order to lighten the weight so as to give Mrs. Canfield a better chance at survival.  His decision was not a selfish one, for when he jumped the craft had dropped to 1,000 feet, which was generally considered too low for a parachute jump, and surviving the jump was doubtful.  Therefore, he was willing to sacrifice his own life in order to save his passenger.     

     But luck was with them.  When Canfield jumped, a strong wind caught his parachute, but it sent him crashing into a house.   Although seriously injured, he was alive.

     Mrs. Stafford stayed with the balloon, which landed safely about a mile away. 

     Source: (San Jose, CA.) The Evening News, “Risks Life To Save A Woman”, July 11, 1905 

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