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Shurl Stover, April 5, 1945, Fertigs Pennsylvania

The one story that my dad, Shurl Stover, would tell was from when he was just 17.

It happens on April 5, 1945, in Fertigs Pennsylvania, the day his grandmother Louise (Lucy) Dietrich passed away. My dad had stayed home from work to help out with the many things that needed to be done on that saddest of days. Around lunch time he was out front of the farm talking to one of his friends, Clair Schwab, who was on his way back to the little one room school house, when they heard a plane over head. It circled lower and lower, and coming down between the groves of trees it landed in the hayfield below the farm that belonged to Vic and Dow Sharrar.

Jumping into dadís Studebaker, they raced to the hayfield and ran out to the plane. A young boy of about 14 got out of the plane first, followed by the pilot. Welcoming the boys, the pilot told the two he was trying to make it to the Oil City or Meadville airport but was running low on fuel and had to find a place to land. He asked if there might be a telephone near by, and dad fired up the Studebaker and took him and Clair, (the boy stayed with the plane) up to the Stuck farm.

Clair was late for the start of the afternoon session of school so they waited around just long enough to make sure the phone was working. As they waited around the front door they heard Mrs. Stuck, who was observing the pilot remark, "YOU ARE COLONEL LINDBURGH ARENíT YOU", and in a low reply "Yes, but if you donít mind, I would prefer that it be kept as secret as possible.

"OH BOY, THE LONE EAGLE" my dad said, and off they went to the little one room school house. Bursting into the room, they yelled out the news of the grounded plane, and who was its famous pilot. The schoolmistress, Miss Sayers cried, class dismissed, and everyone hurried to the hayfield. The news soon spread and the hayfield filled with onlookers.

Back at the Stuck farm Colonel Lindbergh had got in touch with the airfield in Oil City for the fuel to carry him to the next refueling station. While waiting, he told Mrs. Stuck he was on a secret mission for the government, as a civilian, and on his way to Boston from Detroit

He apologetically refused the offer of lunch from Mrs. Stuck, Saying that he always carried lunch with him, and reaching for his hat that he had tossed on the davenport when he entered, he found it had been sat on by Mrs. Stuckís son. At her apology, he smiled and said, "My hat is accustomed to being sat upon".

The fuel arrived and Colonel Lindbergh, with his son Jon, fired up the dark blue single engine plane, (someone said it was a Stenson), and running down the field, nosed up the plane over top of the onlookers. He circled the hayfield and dipping the wings in a parting and thankful salute, vanished out of sight.

Printed with permission of the Stover Family. © 2005

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