This Airship Business

William M. Evans
"The proposed aeroplane exhibition which has been mentioned in the past two issues of this paper is an assured fact. . . . Capt. Wm. Evans, one of the aviators, visited Larned in person last Friday and closed a contract with the directors of the Pawnee County Agricultural Association."
- Larned (KS) Tiller and Toiler, 21 October 1910.

Well-known aviators like Thomas S. Baldwin, Glenn Curtiss, and Lincoln Beachey had managers like Charles L. Young to make arrangements, negotiate contracts, and scout out locations. As newcomers to the business, Kansas City birdmen William M. Evans and J. A. McCallum were their own managers.

The business of hiring aviators was new and perhaps a bit stressful for those who were on the hiring end, as well, as can be seen in the October 21, 1910 Larned Tiller and Toiler:

The proposition of Charley Scott of the firm of Scott and Coppock of Kansas City to try and induce a couple of aviators to come to Larned to put on an aeroplane exhibition, which was mentioned in this paper last week, was taken up by the Pawnee county fair association the latter part of last week, after a general response had been received from the people of the community in favor of such an exhibition, and the editor of this paper was instructed to go to Kansas City last Sunday to look into the matter and see what kind of an arrangement could be made.

An effort was made to put on a flight Sunday to show what the aviators and their machines could do, but one of the aeroplanes was not yet repaired from an accident a few days before, and the work of putting the other one, a new one, together not being completed, the Larned visitor failed to see the machines in action.

A proposition was sent to the Association, which was accepted at a meeting of the directors held Monday morning, for a four-days exhibition, Wednesday to Saturday of next week but later a telegram was received from the aviators saying that they could not get their aeroplanes in shape for the exhibition before the same days of the following week, November 2nd to 5th.

This caused a hitch in the arrangements because Mr. Scott, who was to look after matters at the Kansas City end, was compelled to be absent the first week in November on business. He suggested that the Association committee take the matter up directly with the aviators, but this did not appeal to the committee, as this air ship business is something decidedly new to everyone, and no one cared to take the time or assume the responsibility of going to Kansas City to make the necessary contracts, etc.

The matter is still pending, and it is hoped that arrangements can be made with either Charley or Will Scott or with Mr. Coppock, Charley's partner, to look after the details of the matter at Kansas City, or to have one of the aviators come here in person to arrange matters, but an answer has not been received to the committee's last letter, and until some such arrangement can be made it can not be stated definitely whether an exhibition will be given here or not, or the date when it will take place, if at all; although if given at all it will probably be from Wednesday to Saturday, Nov. 2nd to 5th.

Larned Tiller & Toiler, 21 October 1910.

According to the 1911 City Directory for Kansas City, former Larned resident Charles L. Scott and his partner, Henry H. Coppock, ran Scott & Coppock from room 311 in the Commerce Building in Kansas City. Scott & Coppock dealt in carburetors, so it does seem likely that that the Fair Association board might want to entrust negotiations of all things mechanical to Mr. Scott.

As the paper would later report, Evans himself went to Larned to take care of the contracts and look over the terrain. The first aeroplane exhibition west of Topeka and east of Denver was about to take place.