Interesting Things

By Ray L. Bellande

Primary tabs

Family News

 

  

Christopher Bruce Bellande

Son of Bruce J. Bellande and Mary Betsy Bryant, formerly of Vestavia Hills, Alabama and now Carmel, Indiana, was awarded the Founder’s Medal for the School of Engineering.  He graduated with a triple major; a bachelor of science in computer science, a bachelor of arts in mathematics and a bachelor of arts in Spanish. Bellande is an Academic Achievement Honor scholar and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society and the Sigma Delta Pi Spanish honor society. Bellande served as president of the Vanderbilt math club for four years and organized the first Vanderbilt high school mathematics competition. He used his skills as a teaching assistant for the math department and volunteered as a language mentor to Hispanic immigrants new to Nashville. Bellande also co-chaired the Student Government Association’s athletics affairs committee and was a tour guide for the Office of Admissions.  Christopher completed the master’s program in computer science at Vanderbilt in December 2008 and became employed as a software engineer with Blackbaud, Inc. on Daniel Island in Burkeley County, S.C.

Roy A. Bellande

Continues erecting his home and workshop at Silva, Wayne County, Missouri.

 

Roy A. Bellande Missouri house

Image by Ray L. Bellande, July 2009

 

MARIA IDA BELLANDE (1874-1948)

Maria Ida Bellande was born February 26, 1874, at North Biloxi.  She was known as Ida.  At the wedding of her cousin, Marie Erma Harvey, to Victor Ougatte of New Orleans on April 20, 1892, in Biloxi, she was described byThe Biloxi Herald reporter as "one of Biloxi's favorite belles, who was also exquisitely robed, as became the first brides-maid of so charming a bride".

Young Ida Bellande appears to have been quite a social person.  In the spring of 1893, she was honored at the home of Captain E. Castanera in Pascagoula with a dance party.  Her mother attended her to this function.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, April 2, 1893)

Ida Bellande married Edward Emile Gassow or Gossow of St. Louis on December 5, 1893, in the Roman Catholic Church of the Nativity BVM at Biloxi.  Father Blanc was their priest.  Mr. Gossow was a well-known druggist from St. Louis, Missouri and the newly weds left after the wedding ceremony by train for St. Louis.  Ida was residing in St. Louis when her mother, Marie Harvey Bellande, died in 1894.  As previously discussed, the Gossows initiated forced heirship litigation against her father, Captain Antoine V. Bellande, and her brothers for her share of her mother's estate.  Ida and Edward Gossow divorced probably after three years of marriage.(HARCO, Ms. MRB 10, p. 145, Lepre, 1991, p. 21, and The Biloxi Herald, December 9, 1893, p. 8)

In October 1898, Ida B. Gossow departed her native Biloxi for New Orleans.  She aspired to be a nurse and planned to enter the Touro Infirmary to achieve this vocation.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, October 4, 1898, p. 8) 

It appears that Ida B. Gassow returned to Biloxi by the summer of 1899, as she was the proprietor of the Bay View Cottage, a hostelry on the beach road at Biloxi.  The Bay View Cottage was a two-story edifice on the northeast corner of Delauney Street, now G.E. Ohr, and Beach Boulevard.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, July 22, 1899, p. 5)

Bay View Hotel

on the Beach ~ Biloxi, Miss.

               MRS. IDA B. GASSOW, Prop.              

Regular or Transient Guests Furnished with First Class

Accommodations at Moderate rates

Open Summer and Winter

(The Biloxi Daily Herald, July 22, 1899, p. 5)

 

At New Orleans, she met native New Orleanian, Clarence A. Galle Sr. (1879-1931), the son of Louis Joseph Galle (b. 1845) and Martha M. Mueller.  Although they are kin, the Galle family of New Orleans and Ocean Springs pronounce their name as “guy-ull”, not the “gal-lay” as that of the Biloxi clan.(Larry Galle, July 26, 2001) 

On October 10, 1901, Ida Bellande Gossow married Clarence Galle Sr. in the Crescent City.  In November 1912, the Galles, who had once lived in Biloxi, were relocating from New Orleans to Montgomery, Alabama, where Dorothy was born in 1913.  In his later life, the Mr. Galle had worked for the Veterans Bureau, and resided at Alexandria, Louisiana.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, October 11, 1901, p. 8 and The Daily Herald, November 25, 1912, p. 8 and May 4, 1931, p. 2)

Ida and Clarence A. Galle were the parents of: Clarence A. Galle II (1904-1944); Lillian Galle (1905-1948+) m. Lyle Smedley (1907-1988), a native of Traverse City, Michigan; Evelyn Galle (1908-1948+); Loretta Galle (1912-1948+) m. Arthur Mauret; and Dorothy Galle (1913-1991) m. Carlo Lucia (1912-1930+).  In 1920, the family was domiciled on St. Roch Street in the Crescent City.(1920 Orleans Parish, Louisiana T 625_621, p. 2B, ED 134)

According to Ivy Lizana Fowler (1921-2000), Ida Bellande Galle would come to Biloxi to visit Ivy's grandmother, Maggie McCabe, at 427 Lameuse Street.  Ivy describes Ida as "about five feet five inches tall, weighed about 180 pounds, and love to eat, especially sweets".  Her father, Louie Lizana, put some grasshoppers in a brown bag and told Ida it was candy.  When she opened the bag the 'hoppers jumped out and shook her up a bit!(Ivy L. Fowler, November 1996)

Ida Bellande Galle’s obituary in The Times Picayune of August 26, 1948, read as follows: At New Orleans, she met native New Orleanian, Clarence A. Galle Sr. (1879-1931), the son of Louis Joseph Galle (b. 1845) and Martha M. Mueller.  Although they are kin, the Galle family of New Orleans and Ocean Springs pronounce their name as “guy-ull”, not the “gal-lay” as that of the Biloxi clan.(Larry Galle, July 26, 2001) 

On October 10, 1901, Ida Bellande Gossow married Clarence Galle Sr. in the Crescent City.  In November 1912, the Galles, who had once lived in Biloxi, were relocating from New Orleans to Montgomery, Alabama, where Dorothy was born in 1913.  In his later life, the Mr. Galle had worked for the Veterans Bureau, and resided at Alexandria, Louisiana.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, October 11, 1901, p. 8 and The Daily Herald, November 25, 1912, p. 8 and May 4, 1931, p. 2)

Ida and Clarence A. Galle were the parents of: Clarence A. Galle II (1904-1944); Lillian Galle (1905-1948+) m. Lyle Smedley (1907-1988), a native of Traverse City, Michigan; Evelyn Galle (1908-1948+); Loretta Galle (1912-1948+) m. Arthur Mauret; and Dorothy Galle (1913-1991) m. Carlo Lucia (1912-1930+).  In 1920, the family was domiciled on St. Roch Street in the Crescent City.(1920 Orleans Parish, Louisiana T 625_621, p. 2B, ED 134)

According to Ivy Lizana Fowler (1921-2000), Ida Bellande Galle would come to Biloxi to visit Ivy's grandmother, Maggie McCabe, at 427 Lameuse Street. Ivy describes Ida as "about five feet five inches tall, weighed about 180 pounds, and love to eat, especially sweets".  Her father, Louie Lizana, put some grasshoppers in a brown bag and told Ida it was candy.  When she opened the bag the 'hoppers jumped out and shook her up a bit!(Ivy L. Fowler, November 1996)

Ida Bellande Galle’s obituary in The Times Picayune of August 26, 1948, read as follows:

Galle

At the residence 2351 North Roman St. on Tuesday, August 24, 1948 at 3:45 o'clock a.m., Ida Mary Bellande, wife of Clarence A. Galle Sr., beloved mother of Mrs. Arthur Mauret, Mrs. Lyle Smedley, Mrs. Cario (sic)Lucia and the late Clarence Galle Jr. and Evelyn Galle, sister of August and Joseph Bellande and the late Anthony (Newt) and Peter Bellande.  Also survived by nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  A native of Biloxi, Mississippi, and resident of this city for the past 50 years.  Funeral took place at Lumano-Panno-Fallo Funeral Home Wednesday, August 25. Services at Our Lady of the Stars and the Sea Church, Roch and Prieuir Streets, burial in the St. Roch Cemetery.

 

AUGUSTE FRANK BELLANDE (1876-1953)

Auguste Frank Bellande was born January 3, 1876, on Harvey Hill in North Biloxi.  He was known as Gus, Man, and Judge Bellande.  He is known to have left Biloxi for St. Louis, Missouri in 1895.  It would appear that “Man” went to St. Louis, as his sister, Ida B. Gossow, was a resident there at this time.  He returned to Biloxi for a visit in late July 1897.(The Biloxi Herald, July 31, 1897, p. 8)

In the US Census of 1900, Auguste F. Bellande is listed as a boarder with his brother, Joseph, at 714 Julia Street in New Orleans.  At New Orleans, Auguste worked for the L&N Railroad as a switchman.  It is known that he lost two fingers on one hand as the result of a timber handling accident or other event while with the railroad.  While a resident of New Orleans, he may have worked as a policeman for a brief period of time.

In New Orleans, Auguste F. Bellande married Estella Amelia Hernandez on September 18, 1900.  She was the daughter of Louis Hernandez and Philappina Hernandez (1852-1923).  Philapina had immigrated to the United States in 1852, from the Rhine Province of Germany.(1920 Federal Census-Harrison County, Mississippi)  Estella was the mother of Auguste’s natural children: August F. Bellande, Jr (1902-1952), Louis Bellande (1904-1977), and Harold Bellande (1905-1983).  Estella became ill with the flu or some other malady and had to be kept in a sanitarium.  She died about 1914.

Politician

Auguste Bellande and his young family returned to the Mississippi coast settling in the Gulfport area in 1906.  Here he worked for the Gulf & Ship Island Railroad as engine foreman until about 1916.  Gus Bellande was a politician and is known to have sought the office of Constable in Beat 2, Harrison County, Mississippi as early as 1911 and  again in 1915.  He served as a Justice of the Peace in Beat 2 for a number of years prior to 1923, and through this position acquired the title, Judge Bellande.(The Gulfport Advocate, February 27, 1915, and The Daily Herald, April 22, 1919, p. 2)

1915 Campaign

            Gus Bellande announced his candidacy for Constable of Beat 2 in February 1915.  He was defeated in this race by D.H. King.(The Gulfport Advocate, February 27, 1915 and The Daily Herald, April 22, 1919, p. 2)

1919 Election

            In the spring of 1919, August F. Bellande began his campaign for the office of Justice of the Peace for Harrison County, Mississippi.  He placed second in the Democratic Primary held on August 5, 1919, polling 356 votes to S.P. Moorman’s 412.  Mr. Moorman was the winner in the second primary held on August 26, 1919.(The Daily Herald, April 22, 1919, p. 2 and August 28, 1919, p. 4)

1926 Campaign

            In 1926, Major G.R. Kemp expired in his Beat No. 2 Justice of the Peace office.  Judge Bellande made a run for this position basing his candidacy on his prior four years experience as the local JP.(The Daily Herald, September 1, 1926, p. 1)

1928 Campaign

In January 1928, he ran a political announcement in The Daily Herald, which gave some insight into his character: In announcing his candidacy again for the place, Mr. Bellande stated that he felt that the knowledge and experience of his former term qualified him.  The record he made while holding the justiceship speaks for itself, said Mr. Bellande, and is open for the public inspection.  If he is chosen by the electorate of the district to again sit as their justice of the peace he will endeavor to see no one persecuted, but believed in the prosecution of all who were charged with the violation of the law.  Friend and enemy would be treated alike in his court and he would know no favoritism, he declared. (January 27, 1928)

On December 30, 1914, Auguste F. Bellande married Mary Ellen Christovich Wagatha (1875-1946) of Mississippi City at St. John’s Catholic Church in Gulfport.(HARCO, Ms. MRB 27, p. 224)  She was the daughter of Nicholas Christovich, a Slavic immigrant from Dubrovnik, Croatia.  Her mother was Mary Ann Nicholson (1833-19  ).  Mary Ellen Christovich was the widow of George O. Wagatha (1878-1902), whom she had married in Harrison County, Mississippi on November 22, 1899.  They had a son, George Wagatha (1900-1991).  George resided in Metairie, Louisiana and was in good health and spirits, when I visited him in 1989.  He remained close to his step-son, Dr. Dan Lehon, of New Orleans. 

In the 1927 Coast Cities Directory, Auguste F. Bellande was listed as a realtor residing at 1911 19th Avenue in Gulfport with wife, Mary Ellen.  Residents of this address also were his sons:  August Jr., a salesman for Swift & Co.; Harold, a salesman for his father; and Louis, a sailor.  He later founded the City Paper Company (1935?), and was involved in the grocery and motor oil businesses as well. 

Auguste F. Bellande attempted a political comeback in 1943, when he ran for Justice of the Peace in District No. 2.  In a political announcement, the following was related: While he was Justice of the Peace a number of years ago, he was instrumental in cleaning out the slot machines, closing gambling houses, suppressing prostitution, and getting working girls shorter hours.  At that time, they worked 16 to 18 hours per day; succeeded in getting it reduced to 60 hours per week of 7 days.  He has previously conducted a clean, square administration with a square deal to all parties without regard to who they are, and he has guaranteed that no shake down will be permitted so far as he is able, to prevent, by anybody.(The Daily Herald, July 31, 1943, p. 8)

Obviously, the voters of Harrison County Beat No. 2 were displease with Judge Bellande’s prior term in office, as in the ten-man race for JP in 1943, he ran eighth.  He garnered only 328 votes of the 7873 ballots cast or       %.  Does his rejection by the electorate give credence that it is difficult for an honest man to succeed in politics?(The Daily Herald, August 5, 1943, p. 1)

The life of Auguste Frank Bellande ended instantly as the result of an automobile accident on Highway 90 at Texas Street in Mississippi City on November 18, 1953.  Judge Bellande was east bound on US 90 when his two-door Austin sedan turned north into the path of a 1953 Oldsmobile driven by Paul Skrmetti of Biloxi.  Mrs. Skremetti suffered a fractured knee.(The Daily Herald, November   , 1953, p. 1)

Auguste F. Bellande is interred next to his wife, Mary Ellen Christovich, who passed on September 28, 1946.  They rest peacefully for eternity in the St. James Cemetery at Handsboro, Mississippi.(The Daily Herald, November 18, 1953)

August Frank Bellande Jr. (1902-1952)

August F. Bellande Jr.was born at New Orleans on July 23, 1902.  He may have worked for Wells Fargo and possibly was drafted for World War I.  August was known as Little Gus and later as Gus.  He attended Perkinston Junior College and worked for a time as a meat salesman for Swift & Company.  Gus joined his father at the City Paper Company and eventually bought the company.  They were engaged in wholesaling paper products from about 1935 to 1948, when the business was sold.  Gus owned and operated a tavern for a short time on the corner of Pass Road and Court House Street in Handsboro (now Gulfport).

At Gulfport, on July 14, 1926, Gus Bellande married Ellen Laney (1896-1973) from Birmingham, Alabama.  She was born November 23, 1896, the daughter of Dr. Marcus W. Laney and Mollie Blair.  Ellen Laney received her nursing training at King Daughter's Hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana.  She was employed at the Veterans Hospital in Gulfport when she met and married Gus Bellande.  The Bellande's resided at 1910 19th Avenue in Gulfport near his father.  From this marriage two children: William Laney Bellande (1929-2002?) and Mary Blair Bellande (b. 1932), were born.(HARCO, Ms. Circuit Court MRB 38, p. 284)  

August F. Bellande Jr. and Ellen Laney Bellande divorced at Gulfport, in November 1947.    Ellen moved to Birmingham, Alabama.  She died there on February 21, 1973.(HARCO Ms., Chancery Court Cause No. 25,415)  

Betty Travis Bellande

In 1950, August F. Bellande Jr. married Mrs. Betty Travis Nobles Pare (1920-1973).  Mrs. Pare was the daughter of John E. Travis (1894-1985) and Pearl Baucum (1892-1973) of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.(HARCO, Ms. Circuit Court MRB 83, p. 491) 

After the demise of Gus Bellande, Betty married Louis Weekly in December 1952. (HARCO, Ms. Circuit Court MRB 92, p. 88). 

At the time of her demise in July 1973, Betty Travis was married to Robert C. Suber (1903-1977).  She had two daughters, Frances Nobles Recore Curet Anderson (1937-2002+) and Janie Taylor.  Mrs. Suber’s corporal remains were interred in the Glendale Cemetery at Hattiesburg, Mississippi. (The Daily Herald, July 15, 1973, p. A-2)

William L. Bellande (1929-2002)

    William L. Bellande called, Billye, was born at Gulfport, Mississippi on October 2, 1927.  He graduated from the high school division of Perkinston Junior College and joined the Navy.  Upon leaving the military, he went to Perkinston Junior College where he was a classmate of J.E. Bellande, Junior of Arabi.  Billye graduated from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and later the University of Alabama Dental School in Birmingham (1954).  He and his wife, Effie, reside in Birmingham where he has a successful dental practice.  They have four children: Lynn Bellande (b. 1959), Leigh Ann Bellande (b. 1961), William Bellande Jr. (b. 1964), and Sharon Blair Bellande (b. 1977).

Dr. W.L. Bellande expired at Birmingham, Alabama on August 18, 2002.

Mary Blair Bellande (b. 1932)

            Mary Balir also graduated from the high school division of Perkinston Junior College.  She them matriculated to Bob Jones University at Greenville, South Carolina.  Mary Blair has graduate credits at the University of Alabama, Cal State Fullerton, and Pepperdine University at Malibu where she was awarded the certificate to teach on the secondary level in California.  As a teacher, she has worked with students in the fields of speech, drama, and English.  Her summertime travels abroad have allowed her to teach also in Japan, Venezuela, and Guatemala (1987-88) where she worked in a missionary school.  In 1960, Mary Blair met and married Hank Kleyn in the State of Washington.  A daughter, Rebecca Blair, was born in 1963.  The Kleyns transferred to Southern California with the insurance industry.  Hank Kleyn died of a heart attack in 1977.  Since her early retirement from teaching, Mary Blair enjoys world traveling (Holy Land and Kenya in 1990) and watching her grandson, Breman David Buchan, develop.  Rebecca Blair, her daughter, is married to David Buchan, a native of Scotland, who practices dentistry in San Clemente, California.  Rebecca graduated cum laude from Pepperdine and worked as a media planner and account executive until the birth of Breman on March 27, 1990.  She is now a homemaker and is active in church and social activities in the community.    

Louis Bellande (1904-1977)

            Louis Bellande was born January 23, 1904, in New Orleans.  It is believed he enlisted in the Navy after WW I (circa 1920) when he was only about 16 years old.  He later became a Marine and was sent to China to guard mail ship-ments to that country.  His Marine unit served in Nicaragua in the late 1920s, and it is believed he fought against rebels led by General Sandino.  The present day Sandinista Party of Nicaragua derives its name from this early Central American patriot.

Louis returned to New Orleans and married Florence "Flossie" Bourg (1913-1992) from Bourg, Louisiana at New Orleans on November 5, 1929. They honeymooned at Biloxi staying at the Alvarez Hotel.  Their first child, Thomas Louis, was born in New Orleans in 1931.  At this time, Louis worked as a police officer, owned a restaurant, and drove a taxi.  From 1934-1944, he and Flossie moved often as he was employed in the steel construction business.  Daughter, Stella, was born at Lake Charles, Louisiana in 1935.  The Bellandes also resided in Baton Rouge and Joliet, Illinois before settling in Richland, Washington in 1944.  At Richland, Ralph, a son, was born in 1945.  Louis was employed at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation as a construction superintendent.  After retirement, he moved to Yakima, Washington where he died in January 1977, of a heart attack.  His wife, Florence Bellande, passed at Yakima in May 1992.

Thomas Louis Bellande (1931-1995)

Thomas Louis Bellande was born March 25, 1931.  He went to Central Washington University in Ellensburg to study psychology, but got involved in the office supply business.  He sold the business in 1982, and resided in Seattle with his wife, Elizabeth Ann, where in semi-retirement they managed an apartment complex.  Their children are: David Thomas Bellande (b. 1959), Stephan Paul (b. 1960), Michael William (b. 1961), Catherine Ann (b. 1962), Susan Elizabeth (b. 1964), and Jean Marie (b. 1965).  Thomas L. Bellande died at Morriston, Florida on February 1, 1995.

Estelle Bellande, (b. 1935)

Estelle Bellande, called Stella, resides in Stanwood, Washington with her husband, George Browning.  They were married about 1952, and have three children: Vicky (b. 1953), George (b. 1958), and Lynda (b. 1961).

Ralph Harold Bellande (b. 1945)

Ralph H. Bellande is a real estate developer whose business operates on a national scale.  He specializes in developing senior living centers.  Ralph and his wife, Katherine, reside in Gig Harbor with their children, Amber (b. 1976), Tyler (b. 1978), and Brooke (b. 1980).  Relocated to Prospect, Kentucky in 199?

    Amber Bellande residing at Lexington, Kentucky in 2001.  Teaching PE at the Woodford County Middle School, Versailles, Kentucky.  She is also the coach of the volleyball team.

Harold Louis Bellande (1905-1983)

Harold Louis Bellande was born in New Orleans on December 23, 1905.  In 1920, he was living in Biloxi, Mississippi on Copp Street, with his widowed grandmother, Philippina Hernandez (1852-1923), an 1852 Germany immigrant.  Harold was a delivery boy in a grocery store at the time.  Later he worked for his father, Auguste F. Bellande, as a real estate salesman. 

Harold lived in New Orleans most of his life and was an engineer in the merchant marine service.  He was married to May Breckenridge until her death in April 1962.  Harold Bellande died in Gulfport at 405 Texas Avenue on April 15, 1983.  He is buried in the Southern Memorial Park Cemetery at Biloxi, Mississippi. 

At the time of his death, Harold L. Bellande was married to Phyllis Frances Smith Markopoulos (1915-1985) who died at Gulfport, Mississippi, on December 1, 1985.  She was born at New Orleans on September 28, 1915.  Her parents were Frederick Smith and Frances Ann Hardy.  She had a son, William Markopoulos.  Phyllis is also interred in the Southern Memorial Park Cemetery next to Harold.  Her estate was probated as HARCO Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. P-1162.

Harold L. Bellande had no children with either wife.

 

EDWARD ANTOINE BELLANDE (1897-1976)

Edward Antoine Bellande was born on Jackson Avenue in Ocean Springs, Mississippi on December 19, 1897.  He was the sole child of Captain Antoine Victor Bellande (1829-1918) and Mary Catchot (1860-1931).  Captain Bellande was 68 years of age at the time of Edward's birth.  At the time, he was very active as a bar pilot at Ship Island and Biloxi.  The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, announced his nativity as, “On December 19th, a fine bouncing baby boy arrived at the home of Mr. and Mrs. A. Bellande.”(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, January 7, 1898, p. 3)

Edward was known to all as Eddie.  He was a sickly child, and in a letter dated December 21, 1908, his father wrote, "he (Eddie) is always sick.  He cannot go to school like any other boy".  Eddie suffered from asthma in his youth.  By age forty, Eddie had grown to a height of five-feet six inches and weighed close to one hundred and eight pounds.  He began balding as a young man and was totally bald by middle age.

As a lad, he developed a strong interest in the new field of aviation.  Ruth Bellande Ragusin and Emmett Bellande, Jr. have both commented on the many model airplanes that Eddie built and exhibited in the Bellande home on Jackson Avenue in Ocean Springs. 

In 1915, after completing his high school education at Ocean Springs, Eddie went to Buffalo, New York and spent three months at the Curtiss Exhibition Company where he began the course in aviation.  It was owned by Glenn H. Curtiss (1878-1930), the famous aircraft manufacturer, who built the popular JN-4 or Jenny.  Young Bellande then went to the Atlantic Coast Aeroplane Station at Newport News, Virginia.  He was the youngest member of the graduating class and received his license (No. 639) from the Aero Club of America, which was affiliated with the French Federation Aeronatique Internationale, when he was eighteen years old.(The Jackson County Times, September 21, 1918)

  Eddie Bellande returned to Ocean Springs in late December of 1916.  His picture appeared on the front page ofThe New Orleans Times Picayune of December 2, 1916.

Biloxi visit

In early July 1917, Eddie Bellande took the L&N from Ocean Springs for a day visit at Biloxi.  He was interviewed or went by the office of The Daily Herald, as they related that, Mr. Bellande has been flying for eight months and qualified for a commission at 19 years.  He says that he could be flying for the government service but his age prevents him.  He is anxious to go across to Europe.  Mr. Bellande has an altitude of 2000 feet and has traveled at the rate of 125 miles an hour.  He use a Curtis (sic) military machine during his flights.”(The Daily Herald, July 7, 1917, p. 5)

Flight Instructor

In September 1917, he left Ocean Springs and went to Georgia School of Technology at Atlanta where he was an instructor in motors and planes at the government ground aviation school.   

Later during the First World War, he served in the United States Marine Corps as a naval reserves aviator from August 18, 1918 until February 24, 1919.  His initial assignment was at the Naval Training Center in Charleston, South Carolina.  Later he was a naval flight instructor at the Pensacola Naval Air Station.  It is known that he attended his father's funeral in Ocean Springs in June 1918, and was awaiting orders to report for flying duty in regards World War I.(The Jackson County Times, August 24, 1918 and September 21, 1918)

After the Great War, in May 1920, Eddie Bellande was employed with Curtiss Aircraft at Buffalo, New York in the motor department.  On weekends he flew passengers over Niagara Falls.  Robert E. Morris (1902-1970) of Ocean Springs joined the company in June 1920.(The Jackson County Times, May 29, 1920, p. 5)

In October 1920, Eddie relocated to Cleveland, Ohio where he worked for the Logan Aviation Company.(The Jackson County Times, October 2, 1920, p. 3)

In May 1921, Eddie Bellande as a member of the Aero Club performed aerials stunts at the 1921 opening of the aviation season at Curtiss Field in Buffalo, New York.  He was accompanied in the air by E.M. Ronne and Roland Rohlfs.(The Jackson County Times, May 28, 1921, p. 3)

 

(l-r) unknown, Edward A. Bellande (1897-1978), Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974), unknown)

(photo from E.A. Bellande)

Southern California

In early June 1921, Bellande returned to Ocean Springs from Buffalo to visit with his mother.  He departed Ocean Springs in early July 1921, for Southern California where he expected to be employed by one of the large movie companies as an aviator.

 He flew as a test pilot for Lockheed in 1926, piloting the first Lockheed Vega.  He checked out Wiley Post in the famed "Winnie Mae", and co-piloted Charles Lindberg on the first TWA transcontinental run in 1929.  His career in aviation nearly equaled the history of the industry as it is known today.  He was a Navy pilot (World War I), barnstormer, skywriter, crop duster, movie stunt artist, and an airline pilot.  While working in the fledgling Hollywood movie industry, he flew for movie moguls, Jack L. Warner and Darryl F. Zanuck.  Old family photographs show Eddie with Al Jolson and Rin Tin Tin, the movie dog.

 

(l-r) Rin Tin Tin and Edward A. Bellande (1897-1978) on movie set-Los Angeles, circa 1925.

(photo from E.A. Bellande)

Rin Tin Tin

Rin Tin Tin (often billed as Rin-Tin-Tin in the 1920s and 1930s) was the name given to several German Shepherds of film and television.  The first of the line (c. September 51918 – August 101932) was a shell-shocked pup found by American serviceman Lee Duncan in a bombed-out dog kennel in LorraineFrance less than two months before the end of World War I. Named for a puppet called Rintintin that French children gave to the American soldiers for good luck, at war's end Duncan took the dog back to his home in Los AngelesCalifornia.  Nicknamed "Rinty" by his owner, the dog was taught tricks and could leap more than 13 feet. He was seen performing at a dog show by film producer Darryl F. Zanuck, who paid Lee Duncan to film him. Duncan became convinced that Rin Tin Tin could become the next Strongheart. The dog's big break came when he stepped in for a recalcitrant wolf in The Man From Hell's River (1922). Rin Tin Tin would be cast as a wolf or wolf-hybrid many times in his career, despite looking little to nothing like one. His first starring role, 1923's Where the North Begins, was a huge success often credited with saving Warner Brothers from bankruptcy. It was followed by Shadows of the North (1923),Clash of the Wolves (1925), A Dog of the Regiment (1927), Tiger Rose (1929), and The Lightning Warrior (1931). The dog also had his own radio show in 1930 called The Wonder Dog, on which he did his own sound effects.  True to his French birthright, to the sounds of classical music being played, the dog dined each day on a choice cut of tenderloin steak specially prepared by a private chef.  Following Rin Tin Tin's death in 1932 in Los AngelesCalifornia, (in the arms of actress Jean Harlow, according to Hollywood legend) his owner arranged to have the dog returned to his country of birth for burial in the Cimetière des Chiens, the renowned pet cemetery in the Parisian suburb of Asnières-sur-Seine.

Mothers visit

As early as May 1930, Mrs. Bellande was living with Eddie in Los Angeles.  She came home in May 1930 to visit with Mrs. A.J. Catchot.(The Daily Herald, May 31, 1930, p. 5)

Mary Catchot Bellande (1860-1931) expired at California on May 26, 1931.  Her remains were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery at Ocean Springs, Mississippi.(The Daily Herald, May 28, 1931, p. 2)      

Air Mail Medal of Honor

Among his many honors as a pilot is the Congressional Air Mail Medal of Honor presented to him by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1935.  It was awarded to Eddie Bellande for an act of heroism following his only crash at Bakersfield, California.  He safely landed a Transcontinental and Western Air trimotor aircraft, which was in flames and helped all of his passengers to reach safety before the plane was totally destroyed by the fire.(see The Los Angeles Times, ?)

As one of the pioneers of the aerospace industry, Eddie Bellande was one of the original organizers and board members of the Northrop Aircraft Company.  He served as vice-president and director of the Houston Company and H.W. Houston Company.  Eddie helped organize Maddux Air Lines, which later evolved into TWA.

At the time of his retirement from TWA in January 1943, he was the Number 2 pilot in seniority.  Eddie had logged more than 23,000 flying hours and flew 3,100,000 miles without injury to passengers or mail cargo.  He joined the Garrett Corporation in 1943, as an assistant to the President, was elected to the Board in 1948, and named Chairman of the Board in July 1963.  His first challenge as leader of Garrett was to fight a takeover attempt by Curtiss-Wright, which was seeking to buy 47% of Garrett's stock.  During his tenure at Garrett, the pressurization of production aircraft developed (the B-29 Superfortress), and after World War II, the corporation turned its talents to high-flying civilian transports and spacecraft.  In December 1965, he retired, but served as a consultant with Garrett.

Edward Bellande belonged to approximately 30 civic and fraternal organizations including humanistic groups as well as aerospace-oriented ones.  In the field of aviation, they include:  International Club of Washington; Sky Club, New York; Wings Club, New York; Aviation Hall of Fame, Dayton; National Defense Transportation Association; OX5 Club; Quiet Birdmen; Early Birds of Aviation, and honorary fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.  He served as general chairman of the Hope Chest Campaign in 1964, was a member of the President's Council of Loyola University in Los Angeles, and was on the board of the Bates Foundation in support of Harvey Mudd College.

Mary Bellande went to Los Angeles in January 1925, and considered living there with Eddie.           

Pacific fleet photos 1924

In September 1924, Eddie flew from Roger’s Airport at Los Angeles in strong headwinds and heavy fog to Crissy Field in San Francisco.  His plane had been chartered by Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr., proprietor of The Illustrated Daily Herald to fly Gus Thornrose, his staff photographer, to photograph the U.S. Navy’s Pacific fleet as it was arriving in San Francisco.(The Jackson County Times, September 20, 1924, p. 1)  

Aviation record

In 1925, Eddie Bellande flew more than 50,000 miles in 797 hours, which was considered a record for its time.  Most of his flight were to bring breaking news events to California newspapers readers.  Bellande flew images of the Santa Barbara temblor to Los Angeles and San Francisco soon after the natural disaster.  He took aerial photographs of the large Tia Juana, Mexico conflagration from his aircraft early in the morning as the fire raced through the resort border community.(The Daily Herald, January 20, 1926, p. 1)           

Mae West and the 1935 Kansas City article

In 1935, a newspaper article appeared in a Kansas City journal titled “A Mistake When He Moved Next Door To Mae West”.  Because of its human interest and biographical nature as pertaining to Eddie Bellande, I will submit it as copied from The Jackson County Times of March 2, 1935.  Virginia T. Lee reprinted it in her column, appropriately named “The Column”.  “It’s the little personal touch that counts!” commented the man as he accepted a loan from a friend.  So, if such things count for anything, permit the application of a personal touch or two of the chunky form of Eddie Bellande, who has been flying airplanes since 1915; part of whose airline flying now is carried on a Kansas City, and who, in his more than 10,000 hours of aviating, ha made one great mistake.  Bellande’s mistake was when he moved into a Hollywood apartment house and found he was living next to Mae West!  This is why it was a mistake. 

A 10,000-Hour MAN

His own individuality, which once was adequate, not to say copious, now has been lost. Because today he is referred to, not as one of air transport’s few 10,000-hour men, but invariably and simply as “the guy who lives next door to Mae West.”  No matter how long and honorable his flying record, and it is plenty of each, it all is submerged beneath the sea of whatever it is that causes him to be referred to thus: “Oh, yes! Eddie Bellande; I’ve heard of him!  He’s the guy who lives next door to Mae West!”  Only a few days ago at the Kansas City Airport, a stranger stopped the veteran airline pilot as he was leaving the restaurant.  “Excuse me!” the stranger apologized.  “Will you let me have your autograph?”  “What for?”  “Well, I understand you’re the pilot who lives next door--.”  “Aw, nerts!” was Bellande’s interrupting comment as he walked away.  Now if you ask him about that incident he probably would deny it.  He’s that retiring.  Many persons are like that, regardless of whom they live next door to.  For instance, there was the fellow who lived next door to poverty.  He never admitted he had so much as a dime!

This story was corroborated by Marion Illing Moran (1901-1993) of Ocean Springs who remembered Eddie Bellande as a young man in Ocean Springs.  They were good friends at school, and she visited him in Los Angeles circa 1937.  She told me that at that time Eddie lived on the second floor of an apartment house a few doors down from Mae West, the great movie star.(Marion Illing Moran, October 1991)

Marriage

On March 31, 1937, Eddie married Margerie Edith 'Molly' Lamont (1911-2000) at Santa Barbara, California.(The Daily Herald, March 30, 1937, p. 3 and Petition for Naturalization US District Court-Los Angeles, Ca. No. 62125)

Eddie and Molly Bellande resided at 361 Fordyce Road in the affluent Los Angeles suburb of Bel Air.  He could boast of having Joan Fontaine, the actress, as his neighbor.  Eddie was a bachelor for more than half of his life.  Bellande was a senior pilot flying for Transcontinental-Western at the time.

"Molly Lamont, the movie actress, took her first airplane ride with newlywed hubby, Eddie Bellande, senior Transcontinental-Western airline pilot.  Eddie was making his regular flight and Molly took the ride rather than be parted from him soon after their wedding.  Photo shows Eddie making his bride comfortable."(The Times Picayune, April 3, 1937)

1939

Flights and Flyers - (documentary; Blackhawk Films, 30m) Three newsreel shorts about Jimmy Walker, Corrigan, Costa & Bellande, Earhart, Hughes, the Mollisons, Post & Gatty, Rickenbacker, et al.

1940-testimony of Eugene Gerow, TWA pilot

As a 1940 graduate of TWA’s first officer school, Eugene Gerow (1907-2000) flew right seat with Eddie in DC-3 aircraft and claimed to be Bellande’s last copilot at TWA. The following excerpt from Gerow’s memoir, The Umpteenth Voyage: A San Joaquin Valley Farm Boy’s Struggle to Become an Air Line Pilot, provides an interesting personal look at Eddie Bellande the man, and insight into what it was like flying with him. As the story opens, circa 1941, Gene is a young co-pilot relaxing in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel in Albuquerque, NM, a TWA crew-change stop:

      “…After Dick (Colburn, TWA instructor at Kansas City) left I sat alone in the lobby and pondered my dilemma: I certainly wanted to check out as captain but I certainly didn’t want to face that exacting involvement with as little actual flying time as I had accumulated at the controls of the DC-3 under the random flight crew paring principle which the company now followed. Just then I observed a senior Burbank captain approaching.  “The captain was quite solemn as he stopped in front of me and looked me right in the eye. I began to wonder if I had done something to offend him but he started talking, rather jokingly I thought, about what a poor crop of copilots they were sending out for replacements these days. He went on to say that he thought I might do and asked, ‘Do you want to fly regularly with me?’ I was so astounded I stammered ‘Y…y…yes—uh, Sir!’  “Abruptly he started to turn away, saying, ‘okay, then: tell Corron I said you are to be paired with me from now on.’

     “The captain who told me to have myself scheduled with him was Eddie Bellande. He was one of the ‘Old Ones,’ to borrow a phrase from the Navajo, but old as applied here meant in experience, not chronological age: he was also one of the great ones.  “I remembered him even then. Years before, we used to fly across to Rosamond Dry Lake and watch him and other famous pilots of that era testing new airplane designs. We saw him fly the first Lockheed twin there. His name was a household word in flying communities up our way. I had already learned what his reputation was among copilots on TWA: he had left a trail of well-trained copilots with whom he had been paired—Buddy Hagins, Grant Nichols and others before me were forever grateful for what he had done for them and they had said so.  “Burbank Dispatch followed Eddie Bellande’s directive to have me fly with him, but it wasn’t all ‘peaches and cream’: Eddie apparently had something on his mind to which I will refer later, and during this early period of our flying together he just sat there in the left seat, trip after trip, and flew the airplane both ways. It wasn’t much different from the random scheduling I had been experiencing previously.

     “I was becoming quite discouraged and decided one day as we were shuttled over to the TWA hangar at Lockheed Air Terminal to taxi our airplane to the airline passenger ramp that I was determined to say something about it if he sat in the left seat again without offering me some ‘stick’ time. He did sit down in the left seat but suddenly jumped up laughing and told me to sit there. After I had taxied the DC-3 across the field he asked me why I hadn’t protested my non-pilotage status and I explained to him just how close we had come to my ‘telling him off’ about it.

“Eddie laughed uproariously at my ill-concealed discomfort but what he then told me rang true: naturally he wanted me to fly ‘his’ airplane ‘his’ way and thought the easiest way to put this across was to fly a few trips by way of demonstration rather than talking about it—this gave him more time to think (and as I said previously, more about that later).

“What a switch: for many weeks I flew the airplane from the left seat day and night, fair weather or foul. After it became apparent that my handling of the DC-3 had improved Eddie handed me the log-sheet clip-board one day and said, ‘Here: you can do it all now.’

     “I had never experienced so much flying joy in my whole life, but then as weeks passed and my glow began to subside, I noticed that Eddie was awfully quiet, just sitting there and staring out of the right front cockpit window for hours on end, saying little or nothing during this time interval. I began to really worry now, because I had come to think a great deal of him and I would have been horror-stricken to find that I had offended him somehow.  “One day, I abruptly asked Eddie what was wrong. He came out of it with a smile and said: ‘Can you keep a secret? If you can, I’ll tell you something that is very important to my future, but I don’t want anyone on the airline to know about it right now.’ I promised and then he asked, ‘You know who Jack Northrop is?’ I nodded and he went on to say that Jack had been in some financial straits in his airplane design business and thought he might have to give it up. Eddie added: ‘Jack is probably my best friend and I told myself that I couldn’t just let him go down the drain.’

     “Eddie related how he went to night clubs where many big time people hung out and by staying cold sober himself but buying expensive drinks for these people and talking to them as they waxed affluent under the mellowing influence of a good drink, he had accumulated a promising list of potential backers for Jack Northrop’s brilliant undertakings. The only problem for him was that these people wanted him to take over and run the company he had organized. ‘It may be too good to pass up’ said Eddie.

“It was a fascinating story as Eddie had detailed it to me and subsequent events proved that every word he had spoken was true. It was some time before Eddie finally made up his mind to make the change, he loved to fly so very much. But in the meantime, his last TWA copilot was having a ball flying the DC-3 from the left seat.

“Eddie Bellande was quite busy during his last days on TWA trying to make sure before he announced his voluntary retirement that his contemplated move wasn’t going to be a bad one. As I had previously stated, he had schooled me thoroughly on his idea of how a flight should be conducted and then turned the whole thing over to me. One of my non-standard copilot duties became a trip into the terminal building at intermediate stops to pick up the new weather. The captain was supposed to sign for the weather sheet, and I had learned how to render what I thought was a fair imitation of Eddie’s signature.

     “Quite often people who were involved financially in an airline and airplane industry dealings would ride along on the jump-seat with us and at stopping-points along the route Eddie would stay on board to discuss important items with these individuals. My most vivid memory of this phase was of leaving Eddie and LaMott Cohu in the cockpit after a night landing at Winslow, where I went in to get the weather. Cohu was destined to be a president of TWA and was quite interested in all facets of the airline operation.

     “When I came back up to the cockpit I advised Eddie that we had been re-cleared with a second alternate for ABQ, handing him the new release form. Cohu asked, ‘Doesn’t a new release have to be signed for by the captain?’  “Eddie laughed and said, ‘It’s been signed by the captain alright.’

     “The financial wizard took the release from him and looked at the signature, remarking, ‘By Gosh! It looks more like Eddie’s signature than if he had signed it himself!’  “Years later when TWA Captain Bill Harrison and I signed in at the Garrett Corporation executive suite at Los Angeles International Airport to visit Eddie, we had to write down the name of the person we wanted to see, and I wrote the name of the Chairman of the Board, E.A. Bellande. The secretary gasped when she looked at the hand-written name and said: ‘You must have known him quite well: it looks exactly like his signature and very few people seem to have known that his middle initial is A—they always write down Eddie.’”    

Note: Eugene Gerow (1907-2000) retired in 1972 as a senior TWA captain with 32 years service and 27,000 hours flying time. If he ever flew into Davis-Monthan during his long aviation career, he failed to sign the register. However, early in his professional career, he flew copilot with at least one other D-M signer, Walter L. “Si” Seiler, Chief Pilot of Wilmington-Catalina Airline, Ltd. Gene was a younger brother of Russell T. Gerow, whose photograph and document collection may be accessed here. Another anecdote from this book can be found at pilot Al Gilhousen.

1942-retirement from TWA

Capt. Edward A. Bellande, veteran TWA pilot who is well known in Albuquerque and is credited by the airline with having flown 3,100,000 miles without injury to passengers or mail cargo, retired Tuesday in Los Angeles, the Associated • Press reported.  For more years than TWA employees here could recall, Captain Bellande, who was taught: to fly by Glenn Curtis in 1915, has been piloting passengers and mail over the western division. As Albuquerque is a crew-change point.  Capt. Bellande frequently stopped overnight here.  In command of a "stratoliner" since TWA put the big four-motored Boeings into service, the veteran pilot's last flight through here was several weeks ago. He then left on a vacation, at the end of which he retired. Captain Bellande will become vice-president of a  company manufacturing p h o t o g r a p h i c equipment for the U. S. Army Air-Corps.  The Associated Press said he served as a Navy instructor at Pensacola, Fla., during the First World War.(The Albuquerque Journal,  January 28, 1942, p. 10)

Biloxi visit

During Mardi Gras of 1950, Eddie and Molly came to Biloxi from Los Angeles and visited with Esther Catchot Chamblee who resided at 438 Delauney Street.  He was with Air Research Aviation at the time.  They flew to Biloxi.(The Daily Herald, February 20, 1950, p. 8)

Molly Lamont

     Margerie Edith 'Molly' Lamont (1911-2000) was born at Boksburg, Natal, South Africa, on May 22, 1911.  In 1930, she was a dance teacher in Natal and won the Outspan Film Candidate Competition.  The prize was a holiday in England and a screen test with the Elstree Studios.  It launched her into an international movie career in which she made more than fifty films.(The Sunday Times, June 21, 1998)  They and the character that she played follow: “The Wife’s Family” (1931)"-Sally; “What a Night!”-Nora Livingstone (1931); “Uneasy Virtue” (1931)-Ada;“Shadows”(1931)- Jill Dexter; “The House Opposite” (1931)- Doris; “Strictly Business” (1932)-Maureen; “The Strangler”-Frances Marsden-(1932); “Old Soldiers Never Die” (1932)-Ada; “Lucky Girl” (1932)-Lady Moira-(1932); “Lord Camber’s Ladies” (1932)-Actress; “The Last Coupon” (1932)-Betty Carter; “Josser on the River”(1932)-Julia Kaye; “His Wife’s Mother” (1932)-Cynthia; “Brothr Alfred” (1932)-Stella; “Paris Plane” (1933);“Letting in the Sunshine” (1933)- Lady Anne; “Leave It to Me” (1933)-Eve Halliday; “Norah O'Neale" (1934)-Nurse Otway, “White Ensign” (1934)-Consul’s Daughter; “The Third Clue” (1934)-Helen Arnold; “No Escape”(1934)-Helen Arnold; Murder at Monte Carlo” (1934)-Margaret Becker; “Another Face aka Two Faces” (1935)-Mary McCall; “Rolling Home” (1935)-Ann; Oh, What a Night” (1935)-Pat; "Jalna" (1935)-Pheasant, “Handle With Care” (1935)-Patricia; “Alibi Inn” (1935)-Mary Talbot; "Muss 'Em Up" (1936)-Nancy Harding; "Mary of Scotland" (1936)-Mary Livingstone; "The Jungle Princess" (1936)-Ava; “A Woman Rebels” (1936)-Young Girl;"Doctor's Diary" (1937)-Mrs. Fielding; “Fury and the Woman” (1937)-June McCrae; "The Awful Truth" (1937)-Barbara Vance; “Somewhere I’ll Find You” (1942)-Nurse Winifred; "The Moon and Sixpence" (1942)-Mrs. Amy Strickland; “A Gentle Gangster” (1943)-Ann Hallit; “Thumbs Up” (1943)-Welfare Supervisor; “Follow the Boys aka Three Cheers for the Boys” (1944)- Miss Hartford, secretary; “White Cliffs of Dover” (1944)-Helen; "Mr. Skeffington" (1944)-Miss Morris, a secretary; “The Suspect” (1944)-Edith Simmons; "Minstrel Man" (1944)-Caroline (mother), "Devil Bat’s Daughter” (1946)-Ellen; , "So Goes My Love" (1946)-Cousin Garnet, "The Dark Corner" (1946)-Lucy Wilding; “Scared to Death” (1947)-Laura Van Ee; "Christmas Eve aka Sinners Holiday"(1947)-Harriett, "Ivy" (1947)-Bella Crail;  "South Sea Sinner aka East of Java" (1949)-Kay Williams; and "The First Legion" (1951)-Mrs. Gilmartin.  Many of these films can be seen on television and VHS tape.

Molly left Southampton, England for America and arrived at NYC on March 12, 1935 aboard Olympic.  She arrived at Los Angeles on March 17, 1935.

Eddie and Molly had no children.

The Bellande's enjoyed many visits to Ocean Springs and the Mississippi Gulf Coast to visit Eddie's mother who lived until 1931.  She sold her residence on Jackson Avenue to Frederick C. Gay in December 1924, and moved in with her relatives at Biloxi.  Mrs. Bellande expected to relocate to Los Angeles to reside with Eddie Bellande.  Mary Catchot Bellande expired in California on May 22, 1931.  Her corporal remains were interred in the Catchot family area of the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou at Ocean Springs.(The Jackson County Times, December 11, 1924, p. 5 and May 28, 1931, p. 2)

Eddie Bellande died in the Century City Hospital on November 17, 1976, at the age of 78 years.  He had a remarkable life and contributed greatly in the development of American aviation and aerospace technology.  It is notable that the lives of Edward and Captain Antoine Bellande, his father, spanned 147 years of time of which much was filled with adventure and discovery.

Molly Lamont expired at Los Angeles on July 7, 2001.        

 

More Eddie Bellande from General Aviation News, December 4, 2009.

Edward Bellande: Pioneering pilot

Posted by Dennis Parks · November 24, 2009

Bellande in 1916

“Air speed record to Los Angeles broken” was a headline in the Oakland (California) Tribune on Jan. 28, 1932. The story reported that a new coastal speed record for tri-motored planes was made on the Oakland-Los Angeles airway when a Transcontinental and Western airplane made the 360-mile hop in 1 hour and 52 minutes.

The craft, a Ford Tri-Motor, piloted by Eddie Bellande and Erwin Lewis, left the Bay Airdrome in Alameda at 10 a.m. and arrived at the Grand Central Air Terminal in Glendale at 11:52 am. Nine passengers were carried on the record-setting flight.

That was just one of the many highlights of Edward A. (Eddie) Bellande’s career in aviation, which spanned nearly 60 years. His career was as diversified and active as the industry itself during those years.

He participated, with other contemporary pilots like Charles Lindbergh, in some of the benchmark flights and activities of this dynamic era. He flew as a test pilot for Lockheed, piloting the first Lockheed Vega. He checked out Wiley Post in the famed “Winnie Mae” and co-piloted Charles Lindbergh on the first TWA transcontinental run in 1929. In addition, he either organized or directed some of the aviation industry’s largest business organizations.

Bellande was born Dec 19, 1897, in Ocean Springs, Miss. In 1915, after completing high school, he went to Buffalo, N.Y., where he spent three months taking flying lessons at the Curtiss Company. He was the youngest member of the graduating class when he received his license (No. 639) from the Aero Club of America.

He then went to the Atlantic Coast Aeroplane Station at Newport News, Va. During World War I, he was at the Georgia School of Technology at Atlanta where he was an instructor in motors and planes at the government ground aviation school. He also served in the United States Marine Corps as a naval reserves aviator from Aug. 18, 1918, until Feb. 24, 1919, ending his service as a flight instructor at the Pensacola Naval Air Station.

Early in 1921, he left for Southern California to work for one of the large movie companies as an aviator. While working in Hollywood, he flew for movie studios headed by Jack L. Warner and Darryl F. Zanuck. Besides being a movie stunt pilot, he kept busy as a flight instructor and barnstormer.

Shortly after arriving in Los Angeles he flew for DeMille’s Mercury Aviation Co. at its Wilshire Boulevard Airport. From 1922 to 1927 he was a freelance pilot flying for motion pictures, skywriting, crop dusting and barnstorming.

 

Bellande in the cockpit of an Avion with

its designer Jack Northrop on the left.

 

During 1927-1929 he was in great demand as test pilot by airplane manufacturers. He made the test flights on most of the Lockheed airplanes, including the first “Vega” and the “Golden Eagle.” He also did all test flights on Northrop’s first flying wing. Later Bellande would join Northrop as a sales pilot and corporate director.

During this same time, he joined Maddux Airlines flying Ford Tri-Motors. He continued flying for the fledgling airline through the mergers of Maddux and Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT) and the later Transcontinental and Western Air merger (which would eventually become Trans World Airlines or TWA).

By mid-year 1929 TAT commenced a 48-hour combination rail and air service across the United States between New York and Los Angeles. The first west-to-east flight was made July 8, 1929, aboard the Ford Tri-Motor, “City of Los Angeles,” piloted by Lindbergh and Bellande. The first east-bound leg was from Glendale, Calif., to Clovis, N. M. The next day Bellande and Lindbergh picked up passengers for the last leg of the transcontinental trip to Los Angeles. Among the passengers on this trip was Amelia Earhart, who had been hired by TAT to help market the service.

Preparing for the first east-bound TAT Air-Rail
coast-to-coast service is pilot Charles Lindbergh
(second from right) and co-pilot Eddie Bellande
(on Lindbergh’s right)

 

The advent of this service so captured the public imagination that six weeks before the service commenced, TAT reported receiving more than 1,000 applications for tickets for the first trip.

One of the most remarkable events in Bellande’s career was the result of an in-flight fire. On Feb. 10, 1933, on a night flight in a TWA Ford Tri-Motor from San Francisco to Los Angeles via Fresno and Bakersfield, the airplane caught fire about 10 miles out from Bakersfield. Apparently the floor heater, which operated from an exhaust stack on the nose engine, caught fire. Bellande managed to make it to the airport, land and safely evacuate the passengers. The fuselage of the plane was completely burned through. A close call, used by some to tout the benefits of “all-metal” construction.

Because of his heroic actions during the emergency, Bellande was one of seven mail pilots who earned the Air Mail Flyers Medal of Honor from President Roosevelt.

Bellande flew for TWA another 10 years. At the time of his retirement in January 1943, he was the Number 2 pilot in seniority. He had logged more than 23,000 hours and flew an impressive 3.1 million miles without injury to passengers or mail cargo.

He joined the Garrett Corp. in 1943 as an assistant to the president. He was elected to the board of directors in 1948, and named chairman of the board in July 1963.

The early days of aviation in California were rich in flying excitement against a background of aircraft and airline development. Edward Bellande was an integral part of many of these developments.

Dennis Parks is Curator Emeritus of Seattle’s Museum of Flight. He can be reached at dennis@generalaviationnews.com.