Albert Whitted, son of Thomas Austin and Julia Jeanettie Whitted of St. Petersburg, died in an airplane crash August 19, 1923 near Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. He was thirty years old and was survived by his widow, Frances Louise Brent Whitted and two daughters, Catherine Eugenia, age two, and Frances Louise "Fanty" Whitted, age ten months.

The above newspaper clipping appeared Monday, August 19, 1974, in the St. Petersburg Independent, p.8A. The first part of the article appears to be an actual article in the paper at the time of Albert Whitted's death.

Headlines from another article on the crash that claimed the life of James Albert Whitted. Name of newspaper and date not included, although it was a Pensacola newspaper and the date would have been August 20, 1923.

The article continues:

     Five persons, four men and a woman, were killed instantly yesterday morning at 10:35 o'clock when a commercial seaplane piloted by J. Albert Whitted, former naval aviator, crashed into Santa Rosa sound, one mile west of Camp Walton and about 40 miles from Pensacola. The five bodies were brought to Pensacola late yesterday afternoon by boat.

    The dead:

        J. ALBERT WHITTED, 30, aviation instructor at the Pensacola Naval Air Station during the war, whose home was in St. Petersburg and Pensacola.
        FRAZIER PATTERSON, 18, son of G.V. Patterson, 663 North 20th avenue, prominent Pensacola lumber man.
        MRS. HUBERT H. HARPER, about 25, wife of Hubert H. Harper, cartoonist for the Birmingham Age-Herald.
        HUGH D. BROWN, of Sylacauga, Ala.
        SHELBY D. CASTLEMAN, Alabama sales manager for a Louisville, Ky., hardware concern, also of Sylacauga.

     Flying at an altitude of about 200 feet, the propeller of the plane tore apart, cutting the control wires and partly cutting off the rear portion of the fusilage. The machine dropped into the sound, 20 feet from the island, in 12 feet of water.

     All occupants were killed instantly. A part of the... more than 300 yards, onto the mainland.

     Besides residents along the shore opposite where the plane fell, a number of persons along the waterfront in front of the Harbeson hotel, where Whitted and his four passengers had taken off ten minutes before, heard the mtor [sic] when it stopped suddenly and heard the resounding crash of the heavy machine when it struck.

Dived to Free Bodies

     W.E. King, of St. Petersburg, mechanic for Whitted, but who did not go up in the plane, was among the first to reach the wrecked ship. He had heard the motor stop and the crash that immediately followed, quickly stepped aboard a fast boat and hurried down the sound. Only the body of Mrs. Harper, he said, was afloat when he reached the scene. With assistance from another man, King dived down beneath the debris and disentangled the bodies of the four persons.

     The bodies of Mrs. Harper and Frazier Patterson were comparatively free from mutilations, but the three others were badly crushed and broken.

     Shortly after 11 o'clock the bodies were at the Harbeson hotel. He.E. Wickersham, DeFuniak undertaker was at Camp Walton, and temporarily prepared the bodies to be brought to Pensacola aboard one of Capt. W. B. Harbeson's motor boats, which left Camp Walton at 1:15 and arrived here at 5:30 p.m.

Conflicting Reports; Relatives distressed

     First news of the fatal accident reaching Pensacola was received by relatives of Whitted at 11:30 o'clock. Shortly afterward the telephone office at Crestview closed. Relatives of numerous Pensacolans spending the week-end at the resort, hearing incomplete reports of the fatalities, for there were wild reports of other deaths, became distressed. Definite information was not known in Pensacola until late in the afternoon when airplanes and speedboats returned from Camp Walton.

     At various times after the accident it was reported here that Richard Cowley, son of R.V. Cowley, 119 W. Strong, who accompanied Frazier Patterson to Camp Walton Saturday by boat, Brent Watson, son of J.C. Watson, 421 North Palafox, and Doyle Driver, 1109 North Ninth Avenue, were among those killed.

Plane and Boats Dispatch

     Fast motor boats from Pensacola and the naval air station were quickly dispatched up the sound as soon as reports of the crash reached here. A seaplane from the station also went to Camp Walton but neither the plane nor the parties from the city could render any assistance. The boat bringing the bodies reached Pensacola only after battling with a strong current and head-on wind almost reaching gale force. Several hundred people, many of them friends of the victims, crowded along the wharves when the boat came in. Ambulances from all of the morticians were at the docks to aid in quickly transporting the bodies.

Send bodies to Alabama

     The body of Mrs. Harper was placed aboard the late train last night for Nashville, Tenn., where she lived before going to Birmingham. Arrangements were in charge of Northup and Wood, who also have charge of arrangements for the others.

     The bodies of Castleman and Brown will be sent to Sylacauga, Ala., their home, today at noon. Mrs. Brown, who was with her husband on an outing at Camp Walton, reached Pensacola last night. She was accompanied by J.D. Bardelaban and wife of Birmingham, who, with Mrs. Harper, Castleman and others, formed a party at the resort.

     Arrangements for the funeral of young Patterson and Whitted had not been completed last night, although relatives said that the former navy flier, well-known here and admired for his ability as an aviator, would probably be buried Tuesday.

     J. Albert Whitted, son of Mr. and Mrs. T.A. Whitted, was born at St. Petersburg, Fla., February 14, 1893. He enlisted in the navy as a seaman and worked his way up in the aviation branch, carrying a lieutenancy when discharged. He utilized the knowledge of aviation he gained after being discharged and entered the commercial flying field both at Pensacola and St. Petersburg.

     He designed and built three planes himself, and the one in which he was killed - the Falcon - was one of these. Only last week he had launched one he had recently completed for A.B. Learned, wealthy lumberman of Natchez, Miss., who is now in the city. He cambe to Pensacola to see the machine tested for the first time.

     Mr. Whitted married Miss Frances Brent, youngest daughter of the late F.C. Brent on November 14, 1918. They have two little girls, Gune [Jean], age three and Frances, age one. Besides his widow and children and parents, he is survived by two brothers, Clarence of St. Petersburg, who is expected to arrive here tonight, and George, of Hammond, Ind., and numerous other relatives here and elsewhere.

[the article continues for three more paragraphs with the information on Frazier Patterson.]

28 December 2003
revised 28 Jan 2009
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