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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Coats in Harnett County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Alton Stewart

1897-1929

 
 
Alton Stewart Marker image. Click for full size.
By Robert Cole, June 8, 2010
1. Alton Stewart Marker
Inscription. Aviation pioneer. His aerial shows helped popularize flying in N.C. Died in crash, Dec. 25, 1929. Grave 3 blks. W.
 
Erected 2005 by North Carolina Office of Archives and History. (Marker Number H-113.)
 
Location. 35° 24.297′ N, 78° 40.342′ W. Marker is in Coats, North Carolina, in Harnett County. Marker is at the intersection of South McKinley Street (State Highway 55) and West Hamer Street, on the right when traveling south on South McKinley Street. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 186 South McKinley Street, Coats NC 27521, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Campbell University (approx. 3.8 miles away); Campbell House (approx. 4.5 miles away); Paul Eliot Green (approx. 4.5 miles away); Smiley's Falls (approx. 6.5 miles away); G. B. Cashwell (approx. 7.6 miles away); Cornelius Harnett (approx. 7.8 miles away); Harnett County Veterans Memorial (approx. 7.8 miles away); Alexander Lillington (approx. 8.1 miles away).
 
Also see . . .
1. Waymarking: Alton Stewart (H-113) Coats, NC. (Submitted on June 8, 2010, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.)
2. What's New at the Coats Museum - Aviation History
Alton Stewart Marker image. Click for full size.
By Robert Cole, June 8, 2010
2. Alton Stewart Marker
Northward view of marker along South McKinley Street.
. (Submitted on June 8, 2010, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.)
3. News Release: Pioneers of Aviation tells the stories of Tar Heel inventors, daredevils, etc. (Submitted on June 8, 2010, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.)
 
Additional comments.
1. Alton Stewart
Alton Stewart developed his interest in flying at Camp Bragg’s Pope Field, during World War I. About two years after the war he began flying regularly and, from 1924 to 1929, worked with Curtiss-Wright Flying Service in Raleigh. He often gave public exhibitions and became one of the best-known pilots in the state. Press accounts of the period give Stewart considerable credit for popularizing aviation in the state.

Ben Dixon McNeill of the Raleigh News and Observer documented his exploits. McNeill wrote the story of Stewart’s death in a crash in Dunn on Christmas Day of 1929. The newspaper paid tribute to Stewart with an editorial page drawing captioned “He died in man’s conquest of the air.” In his story McNeill wrote that Stewart was “the first North Carolina pilot to be licensed by the Department of Commerce.”

The best evidence indicates that there was no national or state agency certifying pilots in aviation’s earliest days. When such authorization did begin, there was no single, central
Alton Stewart Marker image. Click for full size.
By Robert Cole, June 8, 2010
3. Alton Stewart Marker
Southward view of marker along South McKinley Street in Coats.
authority for many years. The 1950-51 North Carolina Almanac called Stewart the “god-father of Tar Heel aviation.”

Family members have upheld the memory of Stewart. In 1968 they erected a tombstone in Coats bearing information about his 1926 license, certified by the “Federal Aeronautique International” and signed by Orville Wright. That document and other memorabilia since have been donated to the North Carolina Museum of History.

References:
(1) Dunn Daily Record, July 30, 1968
(2) Raleigh News and Observer, December 26, 1929; June 17, 1968; and March 10, 2004
(3) Thomas C. Parramore, First to Fly: North Carolina and the Beginnings of Aviation (2002)
    — Submitted June 12, 2010, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

 
Categories. 20th CenturyAir & Space
 
Alton Stewart Gravesite Headstone image. Click for full size.
By Robert Cole, June 8, 2010
4. Alton Stewart Gravesite Headstone
Headstone located at coordinates 35.405496N 78.676481W within fenced area in cemetery closest to West Jackson Street.
Alton Stewart Gravesite Headstone image. Click for full size.
By Robert Cole, June 8, 2010
5. Alton Stewart Gravesite Headstone
"1st. licensed aviator in North Carolina. 221st licensed aviator in U.S. License signed by Orville Wright."
Alton Stewart Gravesite Headstone image. Click for full size.
By Robert Cole, June 8, 2010
6. Alton Stewart Gravesite Headstone
"Broken Wings, 1929. Alton Stewart. He died in man's conquest of the air. Alton Stewart, May 29, 1897, Dec 25, 1929."
Alton Stewart Gravesite Headstone image. Click for full size.
By Robert Cole, June 8, 2010
7. Alton Stewart Gravesite Headstone
Fédération Aéronautique Internationale
United States of America
LICENSE ISSUED TO
Mr. ALTON STEWART
Place of Birth DUNN, N.C.
Date of Birth MAY 29, 1897
Orville Wright
Contest Committee Chairman
----
Year of 1926
F.A.I. Certificate No. 6387
Origin of Certificate N.A.A.
Type of Air Craft – Aviator
Signature of licensee
Alton Stewart
License No. 221
Valid until December 31st of the
year of issuance
Alton Stewart Photo image. Click for full size.
By Robert Cole, June 8, 2010
8. Alton Stewart Photo
On gravesite headstone, in cemetery three blocks west.
Aviation mural painted for the 2005 Centennial Celebration image. Click for full size.
By Robert Cole, June 8, 2010
9. Aviation mural painted for the 2005 Centennial Celebration
Commemorative painting of Alton Stewart's achievements to aviation history and to the local community on a building in downtown Coats along South McKinley Street.
Max Hayes Beasley's Memorial Mural image. Click for full size.
By Robert Cole
10. Max Hayes Beasley's Memorial Mural
Building in Coats where Mr. Beasley painted his memorial to Alton Stewart.
Plaque on Mural image. Click for full size.
By Robert Cole
11. Plaque on Mural
Mural by Mr. Beasley depicts Al Stewart, Coats native, landing Jenny at Coats Airport 1924. Presented in honor of Mr. Beasley, who gave his time and talent as an artist to promote the town he loved.
Born Here * Lived Here * Died Here
Mr. Garrett Love assisted Mr. Beasley on this mural.
Al Stewarts Family
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This page has been viewed 913 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.   10, 11. submitted on , by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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