Wednesday, November 25, 2020

1929 Thanksgiving Parachute Jump


Mickey ‘Bat’ Efferson, A noted wing walker and parachutist of the period.  He seemed to have been several people; one was the version he gave to the press and the other was what documents would show. He gave his name as Michael Patrick Ryan Efferson and used different versions of the name during his lifetime.  Regardless of his name you can not take away the daring he displayed and the adventures he had. 

He says he has been jumping since 1919 and Efferson, according to his account, had worked with Ivan R. Gates Flying Circus in 1927 as one of the Diavolos.  Ivan Gates would prepare advance posters for each town they would be visiting.  The posters would name the star stunt man and in a period of a year several of them died performing which meant the posters had to be reprinted at a loss of money.  Gates decide who every the stuntman was he would be called El Diavolo (The Devil) and that way he would not have to reprint posters if they died on him.  Gates also was the first to only charge a dollar a ride to the public and some days he (or his flyers) would make $2,000 a day.

above 1927

His account says he was born in Brady, Texas, his marriage licenses says he was born in Syracuse, New York. He said he was in WW1 and always maintained a soldier of fortune attitude.  He selected Wilmington as his home and base of operations in the late 1920s and into the early 1930’s.  From Wilmington he would fly across the country performing shows.

In 1930 he married Mildred Hitch (1909-1990) who was from Greenwood.  They did it in a Bellanca six seater aircraft while flying over Wilmington, Delaware.  Allison Buck was the pilot and the Rev. Ralph Minker officiated. By 1934 she had filed for divorce.  She would later marry Harry T. E. Schechinger.

Efferson would be in Tampa Florida in the 1930s for the Tampa Times newspaper selling ad space. He went by the name Mike Ryan while there. In 1941 he joined the Royal Air Force Ferry Command and was in Gander Newfoundland.  Later in the 1940s he would work for the Tampa Times and run his airplane business of Effeson and Associates, which bough surplus planes and parts.

above 1942

In 1949 he married Esther Gertrude Murray in Washington DC using the name Michael Efferson.  A few weeks later in April he died in a hospital in Washington.  It is unknown where he is buried. 

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