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Lt. Russell Dwiggins

Source: Crawfordsville Journal 4-5- 1918

Lt. Russell Dwiggins, 23 years old was killed at Ellington Aviation Field, Houston, Tx was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Dwiggins of Waynetown. He enlisted in the aviation service at Indianapolis soon after war was declared and was at Dayton Ohio some time before being transferred to Houston. Besides the parents, Lt. Dwiggins is survived by a wife and baby and 3 brothers, Charles Dwiggins and his sons have meat markets at Waynetown, Covington and Attica. Dwiggins was a grad. of the Crawfordsville High School and was very popular in local circles while being a member of the Dramatic club. He also attended Indiana and Purdue Univ. and was elected a member of the exclusive Harlequin Club as a Freshman an unusual honor. At the time of his enlistment he was engaged in Chautauqua work.

Source: Crawfordsville Journal 4-5-1918

Lt. Russell DWIGGINS Houston, Tex Lt. Russell Dwiggins Lt. Carle E. Ekstrand of Brooklyn, NY and Lt. Russell DWIGGINS of Waynetown In were killed in aviation accidents at Ellington field, here Thurs. Sec Lt Ives was killed in the morning when his machine went into a tailspin and fell. Lt. Otto Ett who was in the same machine was slightly injured. Lt. Ekstrand and Dwiggins were killed in the afternoon. They were flying together when their plane fell.

Source: Crawfordsville Review April 9 , 1918

Waynetown, Ind April 8 - The body of Russell Dwiggins, the young avaiator of this place who was killed at Ellington Field, Houston, TX Friday, April 5 arrived here this afternoon at 4:18 o'clock accompanied by Lt. Neal of Marion. The funeral will occup Wed afternoon from the Baptist Church at 2 o'clock and will be in charge of Rev. Duncan. Burial will be at the Masonic Cemetery. The casket will be opened either at the house or church. Any soldiers and friends of the young man from Crawfordsville who desire to attend the funeral can do so, coming down on the afternoon train and returing at 4:18. If the services continue past the hour of train time automobiles will take visitors back home. Lt. Neal of Marion who returned with the body has been a close personal friend of Russell Dwiggins since their enlistment in the service which was on the same day at Indianapolis. They were assigned to Dayton, Ohio, together; were given leaves of absence and came home and were married at the same time. Together they were transferred to Ellington Field at Houston. The victim of the sad tragedy was appointed 1st Lt. the day he met his death and his papers have been received since the accident. One of the pathetic incidents in connection with his untimely taking was that three letters have been received by his relatives since his death written just a few hours before that were in his usual cheerful views. What caused the accident that resulted in the death of the two occupants of the machine, Mr. Dwiggins and young student flyer named Cooper from NY State will never be known. No one seems to have noticed the machine when it started to fall. Dwiggins was occupying the front seat piloting the car and when first noticed falling was pointed directly down and was evidently doing a tailspin. It struck the earth in that position literally crussing almost every bone in the bodies of the men. The deceased carried a life insurance policy with the government for $10,000. Russell Dwiggins graduated from Crawfordsville HS and later attended Purdue University where he established quite a reputation as a comedian, being a member of the Harlequin Club. Leaving college he became identifed with the Comedy Players, composed of Harold Shuler also deceased and whose home was in Waynetown; Miss Fern DOubleday of Crawfordsville; and Miss Mary Stanley of Lebanon. The company booked with the Redpath Chautauqua opened in Florida then worked north presenting a number of clever playets. Later a company called the Parish Players was organized with similar bookings under the Redpath agency. He was with this organization at the time of his enlistment. Lt. Dwiggins was considered a careful driver and successful aviator and had frequently been complimented by his superiors for his fine judgment. The news of his death was a great shock to his family as it was to all the people at his old home. He was an unusually bright young man and his ability, his pleasing manners and generous nature made him a favorite of all who knew him. No young man in Montgomery County had more or warmer friendships or better prospects in life and his tragic death is mourned in every corner of the county as it is by all who knew of his attractive personality and clean character. A special from Purdue says of his work while a member of the Harlequin club: Lt. Dwiggins was well known in this city and his friends will be shocked to learn of his untimely death. He attended Purdue University in 1915 and took the part of Ki-Ram in "8 Little Wives," presented in that year by the Purdue Harlequin CLub. He will be remember by his son, Remorse which was the feature of the play which was George Ade's The Sultan of Sulu, rewritten for the use of the club. Mr. Ade paid Lt. Dwiggins an unusual compliment by saying that he was the only person who had ever taken the part of the Sultan in the way that he had pictured and intended it and to Mr. Ade's satisfaction. He returned to Lafayette last April and sang his "Remorse" song again in the annual Revue presented by the Harlequin club. Lt. Dwiggins was a member of ALpha Gamma Rho fraternity. He left Purdue at the end of his freshman year and went on the stage with the Paris players under the direction of the Redpath Bureau. He enlisted in Indiaapolis soon after the US entered the war and was sent to Dayton, OH from which city he was sent to Houston after preliminary training at the aviation camp there.

Source: Crawfordsville Weekly Journal 12 April 1918 p1

Waynetown, April -- The largest funeral in many years was held Wednesday over the body of Lt. Russell Dwiggins, who was killed on the aviation field at Houston, Texas last Friday. The McPherson Post GAR and member of the Council of Defense of Crawfordsville were present, as were friends and relatives from many parts of the country. George Ross of Crawfordsville who was a member of the 1916 class of Purdue University was sent as a representative of the Harlequin Club of the university to attend the funeral. The floral tributs were exceedingly numerous and very beautiful. Rev. Duncan had charge of the services which were held at the Baptist Church and he was assisted by AJ Davis of Hillsboro and W.J. Headrich of of Indianapolis. The church being inadequate to take care of the crowd, the assembly of the school was opened and the service was held there The pallbearers were Jesse Inlow, Gordon Pattison and Dr. Harry Sunderland, representing Battery E and Richard Hays and Clarence Small who are home on furloughs; Norwin Baker of Crawfordsville and Virgil Wilkinson and Leo Murphy boyhood friends of the deceased. Music was bornished by a quartet of his former companions in schooool, composed of Hendricks Westfall, Wallace Shuler, Carl Zuck and Tedric Baker, the three latter having been members of a quartet of which Dwiggins was a member. Miss Irma Combs was soloist and Mrs. Duncan and Mrs. Kirshman sang a duet. At noon the business houses closed for the day; and the funeral cortege to the Masonic Cemetery where the burial occurred was headed by the Waynetown band, the business men in a body and all the children of the schools, besides hundreds of friends. -- kbz

File Created: 24 October 2010 - kz

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Data contained within this website may only be used with permission of the submitter, for non-commercial research and educational activities, and for personal genealogical information.

Data contained within this website may only be used with permission of the copyright holder(s), for non-commercial research and educational activities, and for personal genealogical information. © 2014 by Karen Zach, and licensed to the Indiana GenWeb (INGenWeb) Project and the USGenWeb Project. May be used in personal research with a citation.

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