By Eddy Kuhl, Selva Negra, Nicaragua
This is an interesting story of a Nicaraguan man who flew one of the first airplanes in history. His mini biography is as follows:
He was born in 1872 in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, his father was a Frenchman connected with the old French aristocracy who had immigrated to Nicaragua by 1850s, and his mom was Isabel Navarro. When he was 8 months old he was taken to France, he claimed that he was educated in St. Cyr Military Academy, later studied medicine at Bonn, Germany, where he graduated. He immigrated to USA in 1892 arriving in NY. There he married 16 years old Margaret Foley in 1893, as per his obituary he worked as a physician for the Wardorf-Astoria Hotel, then up to 1909 may have practiced medicine in Philadelphia.
In 1910 as an amateur pilot he bought some parts and ensemble his own biplane, he flew it in Missouri and crashed on November 8th, 1910, this news was published in New York Times who mentions his name as Dr. John J. De Praslin, of St. Louis.
See the chronology of his life organized by my colleague Kim Swan Guzman
Also Known As: Dr. John J. de Praslin, Dr. J.J. de Praslin
b. January 13, 1872, Matagalpa, Nicaragua (Donald Glascock)
d. October 6, 1942, Albuquerque, New Mexico; buried in Alexandria, LA on 10/10/1942 (Albuquerque Journal)
Father: Choiseul-Praslin (New Mex. Report of the Adjutant General), Theophile de Praslin (death certificate, info provided by Margaret de Praslin)
b. Unk. date
birthplace: France (listed by Jean Justin in the 1920 and 1930 census reports) (Ancestry.com)
Native tongue: French (1920 and 1930 census reports) (Ancestry.com)
Mother: Elizabeth Navarro (Donald Glascock and death certificate)
b. Unk. date,
birthplace: Nicaragua (listed by Jean Justin in the 1920 census report). He listed France as her birthplace in the 1930 census report. (Ancestry.com). Margaret de Praslin listed Nicaragua on the death certificate.
Native tongue: Spanish (listed by Jean Justin in the 1920 census report); French (listed by Jean Justin in the 1930 census report) (Ancestry.com)
Education: St. Cyr Military Academy, France. and Univ. of Bonn, Germany (New Mex. Report of the Adjutant General)
US Citizenship: June, 22, 1917 (Donald Glascock), Social Sec. No. 525-26-5187
Native tongue: He claimed Spanish in 1920 census report; he claimed French in 1930 census report
Marriage: approx. 1893, at the age of 21 (1930 census report) (Ancestry.com)
Spouse: Margaret Cecilia Foley
b. April 3, 1877 (Donald Glascock)
birthplace: Jersey City, New Jersey (1920, 1930 census reports, ship manifest 1912) (Ancestry.com)
d. March 9, 1967, Lafayette, Louisiana (Donald Glascock)
Marriage: approx. 1893,, at the age of 16 (1930 census report)
Father: Unk., born in Ireland (1920, 1930 census reports)
Mother: Unk., born in Ireland (1920, 1930 census reports)
Children of J.J. and Margaret:
1. Elizabeth de Praslin (Note: Edmo listed his wife as “Elizabeth de Praslin” on his WWI draft card)
b. 8/31/1895 (Donald Glascock)
birthplace: New York (1920, 1930 census reports) (Ancestry.com)
d. 12/24/1957, Alexandria, LA (Donald Glascock)
m. 12/12/1913, Edmo Livingston (E.L.) Bruner, b. 12/27/1883, Louisiana, d. 5/1969, Alexandria, LA
Occupation: farmer (1920 census), traveling salesman – farming industry (1930 census)
Children of Elizabeth and Edmo (1920 and 1930 census reports):
1. Justine, b. 11/13/1914, Texas
2. Marguerite Ann, b. 1917, Louisiana
3. Elizabeth (Bettie), b. 1919, Louisiana
4. Edward L., (possibly Edmo) b. 1927, Louisiana
2. Anna de Praslin (Note: Charles listed his wife as “Anna deP Gordon” on his WWII draft card)
b. 9/15/1899 (Donald Glascock)
birthplace: New York (per 1920, 1930 census reports) (Ancestry.com)
d. 1/16/1964, Alexander City, Alabama (Donald Glascock)
1st m.: 2/12/17, Walter Goos Moeling, Jr., b. 2/11/1896, Louisiana, d. 4/13/1968, poss. Chicago or LA
Occup: Unk., Divorced 5/14/1925, Green County, Missouri (Walter remarried in 1933)
Children of Anna and Walter (1920 census report):
1. Walter III, b. 12/25/1917, LA; d. 2/16/1978, Atlanta, GA; WWII vet.
2. John Justin, b. 8/18/1919, LA, d. 9/8/1944, Tinian, Marianna during
WWII, Tech Sgt., Marines. Buried veteran’s cemetery, Hawaii.
2nd m.: 6/2/1925 (per 1930 census report, married 1928-29), Charles Caldwell Gordon, b. 3/12/1893, PA, d. unk., Occup: Assist. District Attorney, Philadelphia. Charles’ father was Judge James Gay Gordon of Phil., PA. His mother was Kate Lecompte Woolford.
Natural son of Jean Justin de Praslin:
3. Donald W. Glascock, b. 4/21/1933, New Mexico, wife: Peggy, pooch: Bravo; children and grandchildren
? Physician (ship manifest 1912),
? capitalist – investing in mines, etc. (1920 Louisiana census report),
? president of coal company (1930 New Mexico census report).
? Early aviator in 1910 (NY Times article dated Nov. 9, 1910)
? Republican delegate and fund raiser for New Mexico
? Aide-de-Camp, Colonel on the staff of New Mexico Governor R.C. Dillion, 1928
? Major, New Mexico National Guard, Cavalry (including horse unit, physicians corps)
? President of Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce
? Treasure, New Mexico Miners and Prospectors Assoc. 1941
? Member of Elks Club (Albuquerque)
? Director of the Rio Grande Institute, New Mexico; advocate for children’s causes.
? Mining: Invested in coal, gold, silver, sulphur, lumber, oil.
(Albuquerque Journal, articles ranging from 1929-1942)
Chronology of Jean Justin DePraslin‘s (DeP) Life:
? 1872: De Praslin claimed that he was born in the home of the French Minister in Matagalpa during the Franco-Prussian War and that his material grandfather (father’s father) was Napoleon III’s representative in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Honduras; when he was 8 months old, his father returned to France. (Note: the French Minister has never resided in Matagalpa, only in Managua – per Eddy Kuhl.)
? 1873-1892: De Praslin claimed he was educated at the St. Cyr Military Academy in France, and graduated from the University of Bonn in Germany with a medical degree.
? 1892: DeP immigrated to USA in 1892, first arriving in New York. He claimed to have traveled from Europe with a group of young French nobility, including Bonifacio de Castellane who married the wealthy socialite, Anna Gould, of New York in 1894.
? 1893-1899: DeP married Margaret Foley in 1893. He was 21 and she was 16. He may have worked as the house physician for the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York (per his obituary). Both of their daughters were born in New York (possibly Suffolk County, New York – a part of Long Island).
? 1900-1909: No info on DeP during this time period. He may have practiced medicine in Philadelphia (per his obituary).
? 1910: DeP, a pioneer in aviation, was the first amateur aviator to fly in a St. Louis-made Airplane on November 8, 1910 (he crashed). The NY Times article of the event stated that he was Dr. John J. De Praslin, of St. Louis.
? 1910-1912: DeP and Margaret traveled from Colon, Panama to New Orleans in June 1912, aboard the S.S. Abangarez. He listed his occupation as physician. They reported on the manifest that they had been residing in Lake Charles, LA for two years. They were joining their daughter, Miss de Praslin in Lake Charles.
? 1913-1919: Both daughters married in Louisiana, Elizabeth in 1913, Anna in 1917. During this time period, DeP left his practice as a physician to enter the sulphur and oil businesses in Louisiana and East Texas, where he made a sizable fortune. On November 27, 1917, in Delaware, with a capital of $3,000,000, J.J de Praslin, Margaret C. de Praslin, of Lake Charles, LA, and J.B. Bailey, of Dover, Delaware (or Wilmington, Delaware), incorporated the United Sulphur & Development Company. (Source: Standard Corporation Service report, 1917). In 1918, during a fishing trip to New Mexico, DeP became interested in mining the natural resources (timber, sulphur and minerals), and he organized the U.S. Sulphur and Development Company and Hagan Coal Mine and Power Company. Note: Anna’s father-in-law, Walter Moeling, Sr., was the manager of a light and power company. One of Walter’s associates was W.H. Stark, the banker and oil baron from Orange, Texas. W.H. Stark was a major investor in the Hagan Coal Mines.
? 1920: DeP and Margaret were renting a home at 165 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans. He listed his occupation as “capitalist” investing in “mines, etc.” (1920 census report).
? 1921-1928: DeP and Margaret moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where DeP presided over the Hagan development.
? 1928: DeP was a colonel on the staff of New Mexico Governor Dillion as aide-de-camp. He was involved in politics, supporting the Republican party.
? 1929: DeP became a major in the New Mexico National Guard. He was credited for building, and partially financing, the horse stables for the 111th Cavalry. He developed, and recruited physicians for, the first National Guard Medical Corps.
? 1930: DeP and Margaret lived at 117 South 7th Street, Albuquerque, New Mexico. He listed his occupation as president of a coal company. (1930 census report)
? 1932: The coal mine was sold to a Texas firm. Four million dollars lost in the venture (his own and investors’ monies).
? 1932-1942: Until his death, DeP remained active in politics, involved in mining ventures, keenly concerned with youth issues and philanthropy .
? 1942: DeP was killed in an automobile accident on October 6, 1942 in Bernalillo County, New Mexico. His body was sent to Alexandria, Louisiana, for burial on October 10th. Alexandria was the hometown of his daughter, Elizabeth. After his death, his wife, Margaret, lived with her daughter, Elizabeth, and Edmo at 1821 Swarthmore, Alexandria (Pineville), Louisiana. (1940 Directory) (Ancestry.com)
ITEMS OF CURIOSITY:
? On all census reports found, both Elizabeth and Anna reported their mother as being born in New York, not New Jersey. However, Margaret listed New Jersey as her birthplace on all documents found.
? On all census reports found, both Elizabeth and Anna listed their father’s birthplace as France and his native tongue as French.
? in the 1920 census report, DeP listed his mother as born in Nicaragua and her native tongue as Spanish.
? In the 1930 census of Edmo and Elizabeth, they list their son, Edward (or Edmo) born in 1927. However, DeP’s obit does not account for this grandson.
? The mystery of Margaret Caldwell may be solved. Anna, formally addressed as Mrs. Charles Caldwell Gordon, may have lead researchers to assume that Caldwell was her mother’s maiden name.
Sources: Donald Glascock, Ancestry.com, New York Times on-line archives
Note. The 1902 glider was actually the first fully controlled heavier-than-air craft, and some historians believe it was the main invention – essentially the invention of the airplane – and more important than the 1903 biplane. So it was on March 23, 1903 – nine months before the famous first airplane flight of December 1903 – that Orville and Wilbur Wright filed a patent application for a “Flying Machine.” The patent was awarded May 22, 1906. That’s when the aviation world started to copy the Wright’s designs, and from that point remarkable progress was made in the development of powered flight.
El planeador de1902 fue el primer aparato mas pesado que el aire, algunos historiadores creen que este ha sido uno de los mejores inventos del hombre, esencialmente fue la invención del aeroplano, y fue mas importante que el biplano de 1903 de los hermanos Wright.
El primer biplano fue inventado en Marzo de 1903, nueve meses antes que el famoso vuelo del biplano del Diciembre de 1903 de los hermanos Wright, del cual Orville y Wilbur Wright solicitaron una patente para una “maquina voladora”
La patente les fue concedida a los Wright el 22 de Mayo de 1906. Desde entonces es que otros empezaron a copiar los diseños de Wright y de ese momento se empezaron a hacer progresos en los vuelos auto-impulsados