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Your copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.

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http://www.cafepress.com/content/global/img/spacer.gifThe Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of www.dmairfield.org and the 10th year of effort on the project dedicated to analyze and exhibit the history embodied in the Register of the Davis-Monthan Airfield, Tucson, AZ. This book includes over thirty people, aircraft and events that swirled through Tucson between 1925 and 1936. It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders. Order your copy at the link, or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.  ISBN 978-0-9843074-4-9.

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Chase, Philip M. 2008. WILLIAM GIBBS McADOO: THE LAST PROGRESSIVE (1863-1941). Ph.D. Thesis (History). UCLA. 429 pp.

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ELLEN WILSON McADOO

Birth Announcement, The New York Times, May 22, 1915 (Source: NYT)
Birth Announcement, The New York Times, May 22, 1915 (Source: NYT)

A YOUNG WOMAN OF PRIVILEGE WHO DID IT THE HARD WAY

Ellen Wilson McAdoo was born May 21, 1915. Her birth was announced in The New York Times (NYT), right, a day later. Her entry to the world was big news at the time, because she was the first granddaughter of then president Woodrow Wilson. Her mother was the daughter of president Wilson, whose surname Ellen carried as her middle name. President Wilson was her god father. Her father was the Secretary of the Treasury in Wilson's Cabinet. As the granddaughter of the president, according to the NYT, she was christened at the White House December 19, 1915.

Coincidentally, as described in the NYT of December 18, 1915, the ceremony followed the marriage of the president to his second wife the day before, so the wedding and christening were gala and warm family affairs with many family members in town, and dignitaries in attendance, for both festivities.

Ellen McAdoo led a fairly short and stressful life, mostly through her own choices, and most of which, because she was more or less an important name, was documented over the years in the NYT (see below).

As your Webmaster, who has written hundreds of these biographies for the people of the Davis-Monthan Register, I need to say that Ms. McAdoo drives home the fact that all of them were real people. The pilots and passengers all had trials, tears, elations, doldrums and accomplishments (or lack of them) in their lives. Ellen was no different. I'm no family psychologist (nor do I play one on the Web), but if you have that skill I think you'll be able to figure out a family dynamic here that set Ellen's life direction. Let me KNOW what you think about the forces and factors in her life that led her.

 

Below, courtesy of the San Diego Aerospace Museum Flickr Stream (SDAM), is an undated image of Mr. & Mrs. William McAdoo, Jr., Ellen's parents. They stand before a Curtiss Flying Service aircraft.

Mrs. Eleanor (Wilson) and Mr. William McAdoo, Jr., Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)
Eleanor and William McAdoo, Jr., Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)

Compare this photograph of Mr. McAdoo with the one below.

The New York Times, September 14, 1933 (Source: NYT)
The New York Times, September 14, 1933 (Source: NYT)

 

Passenger McAdoo visited Tucson once, Tuesday, November 24, 1931 at 3:34PM. She was one of two passengers with pilot Harry Ashe in an unidentified aircraft, which was undoubtedly her father's Lockheed Vega, NC309H. The other passenger was Corbin Smith. I could find no information about passenger Smith. Does anyone KNOW anything about him?

McAdoo, Smith and Ashe were westbound from El Paso, TX to Los Angeles, CA. Please direct your browser to the links for Ashe and the airplane to learn about Ellen's father, future Senator (1933-38) William Gibbs McAdoo (1863-1941), and his Lockheed. Harry Ashe, an accomplished aviator, was the Senator's personal pilot.

As an aside, November 24th saw light traffic at the airport with only two landings all day. Ross Hadley was the only other pilot to land, carrying his wife as sole passenger in his Stearman, NR8809. Air traffic in general through Tucson declined during the Great Depression. The McAdoos did not seem to be affected by the economy. Ellen's father was instrumental in the Roosevelt administration in issues of currency, and was a prime mover in the New Deal.

Custom travel around the United States in a luxury, private Lockheed was not the only advantage of being the daughter of a U.S. senator. At left, from The New York Times of September 14, 1933, is described a trip made by passenger McAdoo to Paris, France for schooling as part of her father's fact-finding mission to Russia. Her return from Paris is captured in the photograph just below. Her father must have returned earlier, as he is reported in the photo caption as recovering from, "... a long siege of illness."

Below, courtesy of Tim Kalina, is a news photograph of passenger McAdoo with her father standing in front of NC309H (named the "Blue Streak"), May, 1934. She would be just 19 years old in this photograph. Her much discussed marriage (see below) was over five months away. Note the monogrammed bib on her blouse and her father's firm grip on her left arm. The ring on her left hand would not be a wedding ring at this time. From the news articles below, the probability is low also that it was an engagement ring.

Ellen McAdoo, William Gibbs McAdoo and Lockheed NC309H, May 27, 1934 (Source: Kalina)
Ellen McAdoo, William Gibbs McAdoo and Lockheed NC309H, May 27, 1934 (Source: Kalina)

Below, the caption on the back of the photograph.

Caption, Ellen McAdoo, William Gibbs McAdoo and Lockheed NC309H, May 27, 1934 (Source: Kalina)
Caption, Ellen McAdoo, William Gibbs McAdoo and Lockheed NC309H, May 27, 1934 (Source: Kalina)

As an introduction to what follows, it is worthwhile to say a few words about her father. Born in Georgia, her father was, if not an overt racist, a strong believer in a racial hierarchy. From the thesis by Chase (cited, left sidebar, page 61) we find this.

When daughter Ellen announced her engagement to a Filipino actor, Rafael De Onate, in 1934, McAdoo was irate, and ordered an investigation of the gentleman to verify that his blood was pure Spanish, as the fiancé claimed, and not tainted by the poisonous trace of aborigine (that is, Filipino) heritage. Only months before, McAdoo had commented on a recent crime increase as follows: "We can no longer regard with indifference the debasement of our civilization by the constant infusion of the blood of criminals, defectives, and moral perverts into the arteries of our race. The shocking crimes of this era constitute one of the blackest pages in American history, and they are chiefly due to the degraded element of our population. No maudlin or mawkish consideration should swerve us from an implacable determination to eradicate this evil."

De Onate (AKA Ralph Novarro on the stage) was 38 years old; Ellen was19. I have seen two different capitalizations of her husband's last name, "De Onate" and "de Onate;" the latter most prevalent in the NYT. And on page 355 of the Chase thesis, this.

In the fall of 1934, Senator McAdoo's daughter Ellen, 19, declared that she was going to marry a 38-year old actor, Rafael De Onate. The difference in age was not a factor that unduly worried Ellen's parents, who were 26 years apart themselves. However, Mr. De Onate, supposedly a noble character of pure Spanish heritage, had been born in the Philippines, and was suspected of having an inordinate percentage of Malay (that is, Filipino) blood! De Onate claimed that he was Basque on one side and Castillian on the other, but the alert County Clerk of Riverside, a Mr. Clayton, stated that the marriage (scheduled in his jurisdiction) would not be permitted until it had been proven "that there is no Filipino blood in the bridegroom." Ellen's father reacted to this shocking news by stating that he would disinherit his daughter should she proceed with the nuptials.... However, the stern parent withdrew his objections after Mr. De Onate signed an affidavit attesting to the purity of his bloodlines, and the couple was married on November 8.

Added to parental prohibition was the State of California's law banning interracial marriages in effect at the time, as alluded to in the quotation above. The law is clearly stated in the article below from The New York Times of October 25, 1934.

The New York Times, October 25, 1934 (Source: NYT)
The New York Times, October 25, 1934 (Source: NYT)

 

The New York Times, November 11, 1934 (Source: NYT)
The New York Times, November 11, 1934 (Source: NYT)

 

In due time, Ellen's family relented and acknowledged her right to wed. The article below from the Times of November 8th describes the family's reconciliation.

The New York Times, November 8, 1934 (Source: NYT)
The New York Times, November 8, 1934 (Source: NYT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another article from The New York Times of November 11, 1934, above, described their marriage. After the running gunfight they went through to gain appropriate permissions, their ceremony feels anticlimactic.

Articles of this content and attitude today wouldn't stand a chance of being published in legitimate newspapers. True, some people still believe in, and overtly state, the "racial hierarchy" precept, but present civil rights laws thankfully prevent them from acting on it. The irrationality of California's prohibition of Caucasian with Malay marriage is indeed still a topic to ponder here, eighty-years after the fact.

The article above says their marriage was on November 10th. Some sources state the marriage took place on November 8, 1934. At Ellen's urging, the couple moved to Europe.

Ellen and Raphael quickly gave birth to a son. Richard Floyd McAdoo (nee: Ricardo Lopez de Onate) was born July 27, 1935 in Vienna, Austria. He was well-educated at the University of Southern California and American University, and spent his life as a management consultant. He was thrice married. He died of cancer April 27, 1993.

Again, in due time, the de Onates divorced in April, 1937. Rafael deserted Ellen; she received custody of their son. She was quoted in The New York Times of April 3, 1937, "... that her husband often left her alone at night and that when he returned he 'usually was slightly intoxicated;' and 'used abusive language.'" He claimed her demand to move to Europe denied him the opportunity to appear in films, leaving him unable to support his family. As a single parent, Ellen practiced her singing in public at least once, as in the following article from The New York Times of October 24, 1937.

The New York Times, October 24, 1937 (Source: NYT)
The New York Times, October 24, 1937 (Source: NYT)

 

 

 

In the meantime, Ellen's father adopted her son Richard after the divorce, changed his name and supported him to adulthood, "... to make sure the boy was raised without hunger or want [Chase thesis page 397]." It is not clear if Ellen had a hand in his support or nurturing. Notification of the adoption appeared in The New York Times of October 13, 1939, below.

The New York Times, October 13, 1937 (Source: NYT)
The New York Times, October 13, 1937 (Source: NYT)

 

 


The New York Times
, September 7, 1938
(Source: NYT)
The New York Times, September 7, 1938 (Source: NYT)

 

 

 

 

Romance for Ellen was not deterred. She met and married again to William Alfred Hinshaw, a French horn player with the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra. That second wedding was announced in The New York Times of September 7, 1938, right. They were married September 12th. The New York Times of September 14th carried the story, below.

The New York Times, September 14,1938 (Source: NYT)
The New York Times, September 14,1938 (Source: NYT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hinshaw was 22 years old at the time of their marriage. They drove to Kansas City to live. He and Ellen had a son, William Gibbs Hinshaw, born April 30, 1941.

The Hinshaws, in turn, were soon divorced. The divorce intent was announced in the NYT, Wednesday, September 8, 1943, below.

The New York Times, September 8, 1943 (Source: NYT)
The New York Times, September 8, 1943 (Source: NYT, September 8, 1943 (Source: NYT)

 

 

 

 

 

William Alfred died September 3, 1993 in Tucson, AZ. Their son, William Gibbs, died August 30, 2007. Ellen Wilson McAdoo de Onate Hinshaw died December 22, 1946 at age 31 in Santa Monica, CA. Her death was allegedly due to an overdose of prescription medication. At the time of her death she was working as a telephone operator. She is buried at Inglewood, CA. Curiously, I could find no obituary for her in The New York Times.

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