Wiseman Timeline

1875 – Nov 10, Fred Wiseman was born on a ranch in the Valley of the Moon between Glen Ellen and Santa Rosa to parents who migrated to Sonoma County from Missouri by wagon train in the 1850’s..

1898 – Fred became a bicycle shop manager and also was a champion cyclist and race car driver.

1906 – When the bike shop was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, Fred moved to San Francisco to work for the Leavitt & Son auto dealership and began racing Stoddard-Dayton race cars.

1908 – Fred and partner Ben Noonan won prize money as drivers of Stoddard-Dayton race cars.

1910 – In early 1910 at the Laughlan ranch in Windsor, Fred and his mechanic partner Jean W. Peters, D.C. Prentiss, and Julian Pierre completed his hand-built wood and fabric bi-plane without the aid of blueprints, using features of the Wright, Farman and Curtiss aircraft.

1910 – May 30, Fred flew his first public flight in Santa Rosa, he claimed the 70 mph flight made his flying machine “the fastest in the world”.

1911 – Wiseman warmed up for the air mail flight with an air race in San Francisco in early 1911

1911 – Feb. 17 and 18, Fred Wiseman made the first airmail flight, a distance of 15 miles from Petaluma to Santa Rosa, Ca.

1911 – Feb. 22, Wiseman’s flight over Cloverdale’s Citrus Fair took place. He was able to attain altitudes of up to 100 ft as he made two full passes over the record crowd.  On the third attempt he had prop problems and had a “force landing” into that lumber pile; he was bruised but undaunted.  He repaired his plane, placed it on the rails, and gave an exhibition flight in San Jose that weekend.  – Joaquin Espinosa, Cloverdale Historical Society

1911 – July 11,  Aviator Wiseman in sensational flight, beaten by auto. Another splendid testimonial of the popularity of the aerial demonstrations of Aviator Fred Wiseman was given at El Pizmo beach. Aviator Wiseman treated all to another fine exhibition of flying, making several successful flights in his biplane. On one flight he circled the entire length of the beach to the mouth of the Arroyo Grande creek. In coming back from this trip he raced with I.A. Tomasini, the well known automobile man, who beat the aeroplane, making the speed of a mile a minute in his Buick car. The race was in plain sight of the watching thousands on the beach, and was a thriller which was keenly enjoyed by all. Read more at the San Luis Obispo Tribune

1912 – Fred continued to make exhibition flights in California and Washington state for almost one more year. He sold the aircraft to Weldon Cooke in early 1912.  He retired from flying altogether and returned to auto repair work.  After becoming an automotive engineer he worked for Standard Oil until his retirement in 1933.

1928 – Fred’s father died

1933 – Fred retires from Standard Oil.

1947 – May 15, Fred’s air mail flight was recognized by the Smithsonian Institution as America’s First Air Mail Flight.  Smithsonian curator  Dr.Paul Garber stated that Fred’s flight was “the first airplane-carried mail flight officially sanctioned by a U.S. postmaster and made available to the public”.  A year later his plane was permanently exhibited at the National Air Museum in Washington, D.C. Interestingly, he ranks as first in the world by one day. On February 18, 1911, Henri Pequet flew the mail five miles from Allahabad to Naini, United Provinces of India.

1947 – Fred’s mother died in Santa Rosa at the age of 100.

1961 – Fred Wiseman died on October 4, 1961, just one month short of his 86th birthday.

Published on October 17, 2010 at 8:52 pm  Comments (3)  


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