Kearney and the Mail

Kearney and the Mail

'member Horace Kearney who back in 1912
Took a bag of mail to the post office
In a two-winged one prop flyin'
Monstrosity called an areoplane?
Let me tell ya all a story
That is all the very truth
So ya can recall this stupendous feat.

Back in them gold "ole" days
When the circus came to town,
And every little boy and his dad
Stood on Market Street with
Bright eyes and carefree smiles,
Elephants, clowns, and the balloon man
Passed by thrillin' the very pieces
Out of all the spectators;
Oh, but on that bright September
Day in 1912, the elder town folks
Had a special feature with the street circus:
An areoplane was comin' to town,
And was gonna deliver the mail
From Aviation Field to the post office;
Well sir, Horace Kearney was gonna
Drive, ride, or whatever that
Contraption right for McLeansboro; 
So a bunch of folks gathered at
The field west of town to watch
This brave aviator start off;
Now Kearney was a robust fella,
Who made every youngster pop
His buttons just to look at
Horace's straight back, high chin,
And ever so proud confident eyes;
How he managed to hold up his
Head, though, standin' in front of
That ridiculous pile of junk, that
Flyin' machine, nobody knew,
But with an iron hard determination,
He climbed into the seat in front
Of the engine and gave his helper a wink;
Suddenly hands grabbed the prop,
And a hush fell over the crowd.
One turn...sputter...sputter...
Another....sputter...sputter...
Then...sputter...sputter, pop, bang.
That machine seemed to wake up
And shake like Uncle Ben's still;
Everyone was just waitin' for it to explode,
And never fly clean to town.
So as Mr. Champman's mail
Could get right to your door,
But Horace was gonna try it.
As that heap of unhold terror kept runnin',
Kearney gave a big laugh,
And as his helper began to push,
The thing began spittin' down the field;
The take-off was shakey as the wings
Bobbed up and down, but after a spell
It didn't even touch ground,
In fact, it was gainin' altitude;
As the crowd roared and roared,
Kearney looked back and chuckled again;
Lincoln Beachey had taught Kearney all the ropes;
Anyhow, this was nothin' next to 
Some things his old flyin' teacher
Had taught him to do so well;
Well sir, by this time Kearney
Was a way up there in the sky
And the middle of town was just below;
The aviator then looked down and spotted
His target, the post office;
So Horace headed down, down, down
Until he could almost scoop up some
Folks and put them in his pocket;
The crowd downtown laughed, yelled,
And Grandpa Henry spat tobacco juice
On Aunt Beth's little old rat terrier,
But all their eyes were trained
On that spectacle overhead;
Well, when the place was just
Over the post office, 
Kearney dropped the bag of mail;
It kept comin' straight as a 
Shot for a little while;
Then a gust of wind caught it,
And began to carry that sack
Off the already planned out course;
When it finally hit ground,
It was over by the bakery,
But the people didn't mind that,
And cheered and whooped as Horace
Turned that machine around,
Aimin' it back for the field.

Well, sir, there ya are;
A remarkable incident that put
Our country many steps ahead in progress;
Oh, by the way, poor Horace
Was killed in one of these areoplanes,
A few months after this great flight;
We won't forget him though.

by Neil Tracy

From: Goshen Trails, Vol. 5, No. 3 - July 1969
Printed by permission

Copyright 1999.  All rights Reserved


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