Willis Scanland Young

1896 – 1977

 

 

 

           

Willis S. Young

1915 High School Graduation

Beloit Daily Call newspaper, Beloit, Kansas

 

Willis Young was born March 14, 1896 on a farm on Plum Creek in Mitchell County near Beloit, Kansas.  He was the second of eight children born to William Austin Young (1862-1935) and his wife, Minnie Bell (Scanland) Young (1872-1952).  At a young age, Young learned to play the cornet quite well which he did in his local Methodist Church as a teenager and between acts during his high school senior class play in Beloit.  He sold his cornet when he landed a job of porter in the Conley & Howse barber shop in Beloit in 1914 but then changed jobs to go to work in the print shop of Wallace Wells of Beloit in January of 1915.  His next job was at the Mill Street Garage in Beloit.  He was one of 41 graduating seniors from Beloit High School in May of 1915 and moved to Salina, Kansas later that year where he moved into the Keys home.  He took a job with the Salina Auto Company.  It appears that he started attending the auto races around the time he moved to Salina and, when Young was asked what his occupation was in 1917, he replied “Auto Racer.”

  

Willis began driving race cars at the age of 19.  Following is his incomplete auto racing record:

  

 August 31, 1915 – ½ mile dirt oval – Cloud County Fairgrounds at Concordia, Kansas

           Car:  Hudson owned by Albert Howard “Bert” Treaster of Beloit, Kansas

Total Purse:  $400

Finish:  Young’s name does not appear in the published results of these races.

Feature race winner:  Glenn Breed of Chanute, Kansas who was driving his 1909 Marquise Buick Model 17

 

Young built his own stripped-down race car in June of 1916 only to be involved in a collision with a Buick driven by William Sheridan in Concordia while trying it out.

  

 August 22, 1916 – ½ mile dirt oval – North Central Kansas Fairgrounds at Belleville, Kansas

Car:  His own 16-valve, 4-cylinder Young special #6 which was a hi-bred with parts from many different makes of cars.

Total Purse:  $350

Finish:  3rd in the 1st 10-lap heat race behind Glenn Breed of Chanute, Kansas who was driving his own black & white 1916 Hudson “Super-Six” #1 and Otho Munger of Athol, Kansas who was driving a Buick “Light-Six” Roadster.

  2nd in the 2nd 10-lap heat race behind Glenn Breed of Chanute, Kansas who was driving his own black & white 1916 Hudson “Super-Six” #1.  Otho Munger of Athol, Kansas was in 2nd place in this race until he experienced carburetor trouble which caused him to slow enough that Young was able to pass him.

               2nd in the 3rd 6-lap heat race behind Otho Munger of Athol, Kansas.  Young led this race until the final turn when Munger was able to get around him for the victory.  Since Breed had already won two races, he decided not to run in this 3rd heat race.

3rd in the “Free-for-All” race behind Glenn Breed of Chanute, Kansas who was driving his own black & white 1916 Hudson “Super-Six” #1 and Otho Munger of Athol, Kansas who was driving a Buick “Light-Six” Roadster.  The total purse was divided between the 1st two finishers.

Feature race winner:  Glenn Breed of Chanute, Kansas who was driving his own black & white 1916 Hudson “Super-Six” #1

 

August 29, 1916 – ½ mile dirt oval – Cloud County Fairgrounds at Concordia, Kansas

           Car:  His own 16-valve, 4-cylinder Young special #6 which was a hi-bred with parts from many different makes of cars.

Total Purse:  $300.44

Finish:  4th place in the 4-car, 5-mile “Free-for-All” race behind Glenn Breed of Chanute, Kansas who was driving his own black & white 1916 Hudson “Super-Six” #1; Rex Kent of Concordia who was driving a Studebaker touring car and Clarence F. Jackson of Smith Center, Kansas who was driving a Studebaker “Six” owned by Rex Kent.  Although they usually did not attend the races, Young’s parents were in attendance on this afternoon.

Feature race winner:  Glenn Breed of Salina, Kansas who was driving his own black & white 1916 Hudson “Super-Six” #1. 

 

September 6, 1916 – ½ mile dirt oval – Brown County Fairgrounds at Hiawatha, Kansas

Car:  His own 16-valve, 4-cylinder Young special #6 which was a hi-bred with parts from many different makes of cars.

Attendance: 8,700

Finish:  In the 2nd 5-mile heat race, Young “was kept back by a driver in a green car who hogged the track.  Young repeatedly tried to pass.  At the southwest side of the track, he tried to pass the other driver on the inside.  He was crowded out.  Then Young tried to pass on the outside.  He got into soft dirt at the edge of the track and his car went through the fence, tearing off three lengths.  Young stuck to his car until after it turned over once.  Then he got away from the car which rolled over again.  Young was badly shaken up but not seriously injured.  He was taken in another racing car to the judges’ stand and then to town.  In the evening, he was walking around the streets none the worse for the accident.  The car was wrecked.  Two wheels were torn off and the front axle was broken.  It was battered and nearly put into the scrap heap.  Only a few minutes before, people were standing next to the fence where the accident occurred.  They moved because of the dust and because the cars had been skidding badly at the turn.  At the time of the accident, no persons were in front of the fence.  Had there been, there would have been serious results.  It was mighty lucky that the accident didn’t take place near Floral Hall where the cars skidded badly in the soft ground every time they went around the turn.” – Front page of the September 7, 1916 issue of the Hiawatha Daily World newspaper.  Young was still paid $20 from the purse even though he did not finish the race.  The 2nd heat race was won by Glenn Breed of Salina, Kansas who was driving his own black & white Hudson “Super-Six” #1.  He was followed in 2nd place by _____ Neidecker which was worth $20 from the purse.

Feature race winner:  Glenn Breed of Salina, Kansas who was driving his own black & white Hudson “Super-Six” #1, collected $50 from the purse.

  

September 7, 1916 – ½ mile dirt oval – Brown County Fairgrounds at Hiawatha, Kansas

Car:  His own 16-valve Young special #6 4-cylinder Ford.

Finish:  Young worked on his damaged car until late in the night but he was forced to drop out of the 2nd 5-mile heat race when the repairs he had made to his damaged car overnight did not hold up.

Feature race winner:  Glenn Breed of Salina, Kansas who was driving his own black & white Hudson “Super-Six” #1

 

September 16, 1916 – ½ mile dirt oval – Lincoln County Fairgrounds at Lincoln, Kansas

Car:  His own 16-valve Young special #6 4-cylinder Ford.

Total Purse:  $300

Finish:  The feature race was made up of the total best two-out-of-three 5-mile races.  The results of each individual race have yet to be located but Young finished 3rd overall behind Glenn Breed of Salina, Kansas in his own Black & white 1916 Hutson “Super-Six” #1 and Harold Roller, also from Salina, in his own Ford special, of the six cars that competed in those three races.

Feature race winner:  Glenn Breed of Salina, Kansas who was driving his own black & white 1916 Hudson “Super-Six” #1

 

October 10, 1916 – ½ mile dirt oval – Marshall County Fairgrounds at Blue Rapids, Kansas

Car:  His own 16-valve Young special #6 4-cylinder Ford which was a hi-bred with parts from many different makes of cars.

Finish:  Won the best three-out-of-five 5-mile heat races.  Although the results of each of the individual races have yet to be located, Young finished 1st overall followed by Mervin Evans of Concordia, Kansas and _____ Scott in Marysville, Kansas.

Motorcycles were also on the racing card on this afternoon and, after the scheduled races were over, someone suggested that the winning motorcycle should run a match race against the winning car which had been Willis Young in his 4-cylinder Young special #6.  The motorcycle rider, Frank Haar of Home, Kansas won the match race by inches over Young.

Feature race winner:  Willis Young of Concordia, Kansas in his 16 valve, 4-cylinder Young special #6.

 

October 14, 1916 – ½ mile dirt oval – Lincoln County Fairgrounds at Lincoln, Kansas

Car:  His own 4-cylinder Young special #6 with a Chalmers engine.

Finish:  Only limited race results have been located to date and Young’s name was not listed among them.

Feature race winner:  Harold Roller, of Salina, Kansas in his own Ford special

 

 August 25, 1917 – ½ mile dirt oval – Ottawa County Fairgrounds at Minneapolis, Kansas

Car:  His own Young special #6, a 16-valve, 4-cylinder Ford

Attendance: 3,500

Finish:  4th fastest 2-lap time trial of 1:15.6 which was slower than the time trials run by Johnny Mais of Salina, Kansas in a Mercer; Harold Roller of Lincoln, Kansas in a Ford special and Rex Kent of Concordia, Kansas in a Studebaker “Six”.

  3rd in the 1st 3-mile heat race in the 1st division of heat races behind Johnny Mais of Salina, Kansas in a Mercer and Rex Kent of Concordia, Kansas in a Studebaker “Six”.

  Won the 2rd 3-mile heat race in the 1st division of heat races followed by Rex Kent of Concordia, Kansas in a Studebaker “Six”.

  Won the 3rd 3-mile heat race in the 1st division of heat races followed by Rex Kent of Concordia, Kansas in a Studebaker “Six”.

 2nd in the 3-mile “finals” behind Harold Roller of Abilene, Kansas in a Ford.

Feature race winner:  Harold Roller of Abilene, Kansas in a 16-valve Roof Ford

  

“Willis Young, a motor car race driver from Salina, was severely bruised about the body and several members of a family by the name of Horsch (were) shaken up when a racing motor car, driven by Young, hit the Horsch car a few miles east of Otis yesterday morning.  Young was on his way to Otis where he was to participate in the races yesterday.  He was taken to the Hoisington hospital where he is recovering from his injuries and it was stated this afternoon that he would be out by the last of the week.

 

“A horse and buggy were the cause of the accident.  The Horsch car was being driven east and Young was going west.  Both machines turned out of the road for the buggy and the Horsch car was compelled to go on the wrong side as the buggy was hugging the edge of the road on the north.  The drivers of the two machines evidently did not see each other and they crashed head-on.  Young was thrown from his car, over a wire fence and it was thought for some time that he was in a serious condition.  His car is a total wreck.  The occupants of the Horsch machine were shaken up but no serious damage was done to the machine.

 

“Willis Young is a son of Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Young of Beloit, who has been following the automobile business and racing at Concordia and Salina the past few years.” – Front page of September 6, 1917 issue of The Beloit Daily Call newspaper.*

 

Willis S. Young in his Young special,

16-valve, 4-cylinder Ford #6

Johnson family collection

 

September 14, 1917 – ½ mile dirt oval – Lincoln County Fairgrounds at Lincoln, Kansas

Car:  Maxwell

Attendance: 6,000

Finish:  2nd in the “Free-for-All” race behind Harold Roller of Abilene, Kansas in a 16-valve Roof Ford.

             3rd in the 5-mile motorcycle race behind Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas and C. E. Johnson of Wichita, Kansas.

  3rd in the 10-mile motorcycle race behind Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas and C. E. Johnson of Wichita, Kansas.

Feature race winner:  Harold Roller of Abilene, Kansas in a 16-valve Roof Ford

  

 October 2, 1917 – ½ mile dirt oval – Cloud County Fairgrounds at Concordia, Kansas

           Car:  His own Young special #6 16 valve, 4-cylinder Ford

Total purse:  $825

Finish:  Young dropped out early with a broken wheel and axle.

Feature race winner:  Harold Roller of Abilene, Kansas in a white Ford

  

October 5, 1917 – ½ mile dirt oval – Clay County Fairgrounds at Clay Center, Kansas

Car:  Studebaker stock car

Attendance: 7,500

Finish:  Tied for 3rd in the Stock car feature race with A. S. Gollober who was driving a Hudson.  They finished behind Homer D. Harner of Riley, Kansas in a Buick and Ray C. Lawrence of Clay Center, Kansas in a Buick.

Feature race winner:  Homer D. Harner of Riley, Kansas who was driving a Buick.

 

October 9, 1917 – ½ mile dirt oval – Marshall County Fairgrounds at Blue Rapids, Kansas

Car:  His own Young special #6, a 16-valve, 4-cylinder Ford

Finish:  Young received serious cuts when he crashed through a fence putting him out of the “Free-for-All” race.

Feature race winner:  Rex Kent of Concordia, Kansas in his Studebaker “Six”.

 

October 25, 1917 – ½ mile dirt oval – Elmwood Park at Norton, Kansas

These races were organized and promoted by Rex Kent.

Car:  His own Young special #6, a 16-valve, 4-cylinder Ford

Finish:  These races were postponed until October 26, 1917 due to inclement weather.

 

October 26, 1917 – ½ mile dirt oval – Elmwood Park at Norton, Kansas

These races were organized and promoted by Rex Kent.

Car:  His own Young special #6, a 16-valve, 4-cylinder Ford

Finish:  Young’s name does not appear in the published results of these races.

Feature race winner:  Rex Kent of Concordia, Kansas in a Studebaker “Six”

 

October 27, 1917 – ½ mile dirt oval – Smith Center Fairgrounds at Smith Center, Kansas

These races were organized and promoted by Rex Kent.

Attendance:  1,000

Car:  His own Young special #6, a 16-valve, 4-cylinder Ford

Finish:  1st in the 2-lap time trials covering the distance in 1:11.0.  Rex Kent of Concordia, Kansas in a Studebaker “Six” had the 2nd test time of 1:11.5.

  Won the 5-mile “Free-for-All” race in 6:10.0 with Rex Kent of Concordia, Kansas in a Studebaker “Six” finishing in 2nd place.

                Feature race winner:  Willis Young of Concordia, Kansas in his 16-valve, 4-cylinder Young special #6.

 

October 30, 1917 – 1 mile dirt oval – Oakdale Park at Salina, Kansas – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

These races were organized and promoted by Ralph Hankinson.

Car:  His own Young special #6, a 16-valve, 4-cylinder Ford

Finish:  Tied with “Farmer” Paul Henderson in a “Ducheno #9” for the 3rd fastest lap in time trials with a lap of 1:11.0 which was only slower than the laps run by Glenn Breed of Salina, Kansas of 1:07.0 driving his own black & white 1916 Hudson “Super-Six” #1 and Ray Burr Lampkin of Kansas City, Missouri of 1:09.0 in his Sun Ray Duesenberg #8.

Feature race winner:  Ray Burr Lampkin of Kansas City, Missouri in his Sun Ray Duesenberg #8

 

October 31, 1917 – 1 mile dirt oval – Oakdale Park at Salina, Kansas – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

These races were organized and promoted by Ralph Hankinson.

Car:  His own Young special #6, a 16-valve, 4-cylinder Ford #6

Finish:   2nd fastest lap in time trials of 1:10.6.  That was only slower than the lap time turned in by Glenn Breed of Salina, Kansas driving his own black & white 1916 Hudson “Super-Six” #1.

               Won -mile “Free-For-All” race in 3:37.2. over “Farmer” Paul Henderson in a “Ducheno #9” who placed 2nd.

Feature race winner:  Willis Young of Concordia, Kansas in his 16-valve, 4-cylinder Young special #6.

 

November 7, 1917 – ½ mile dirt oval – West Side Racetrack at Wichita, Kansas – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

These races were organized and promoted by Ralph Hankinson

Car:  Wildcat that was owned by Ralph Hankinson of Russell, Kansas.

Finish:  3rd fastest lap in time trials of 35.1 seconds which was only slower than the laps of 33.4 run by Glenn Breed of Salina, Kansas driving his own black & white 1916 Hudson “Super-Six” #1 and 34.6 run by Floyd Bowen of Des Moines, Iowa in a Mercer #11.

             2nd a 2-car, 2-lap Exhibition race finishing behind Florence Edwards of Bloomington, Illinois who was driving “Baby Mine” #14.

              2nd in the 4-car, 10-lap “Free-for-All” race behind Floyd Bowen of Des Moines, Iowa in a Mercer #11.

Feature race winner:  Floyd Bowen of Des Moines, Iowa in a Mercer #11

 

November 8, 1917 – ½ mile dirt oval – West Side Racetrack at Wichita, Kansas – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

These races were organized and promoted by Ralph Hankinson.

Car:  Wildcat that was owned by Ralph Hankinson of Russell, Kansas.

Finish:  2nd fastest lap in time trials of 34.6 seconds which was only slower than the lap of 33.8 run by Glenn Breed of Salina, Kansas driving his own black & white 1916 Hudson “Super-Six” #1.

  Won a 2-car, 4-lap match race in 2:31.9.  Bill Endicott of Kansas City, Missouri placed in 2nd place in his own Sweeney special #1[Note:  Young’s new 4-lap track record was tied by Frank W. Cody of Chicago, Illinois on October 7, 1918 before it was broken by Fred Horey of St. Paul, Minnesota on October 2, 1919.  Horey’s 4-lap track record of 2:21.0 was never broken and this racetrack no longer exists.]

              2nd in the 5-car, 10-lap “Kansas Sweepstakes Free-for-All” race behind Bill Endicott of Indianapolis, Indiana in his own Sweeney special #1

Feature race winner:  Bill Endicott of Indianapolis, Indiana in his own Sweeney special #1

 

November 17, 1917 – 1 mile dirt oval – Arizona State Fairgrounds at Phoenix, Arizona – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

Finish:  Young was leading the 50-mile final race when his car crashed through a fence and overturned over a 40-foot embankment.  He suffered a dislocated shoulder in the accident.

Feature race winner:  Glenn Breed of Salina, Kansas who was driving his own black & white 1916 Hudson “Super-Six” #1

 

Young moved to Kansas City, Missouri late in the fall of 1917.

 

 

 

June 5, 1918 – ½ mile dirt oval – Smith Center Fairgrounds at Smith Center, Kansas

These races were organized and promoted by Rex Kent.

Car:  His own Young special #6, a 16-valve, 4-cylinder Ford

Finish:  Young’s name does not appear in the limited race results that have been located to date.

Feature race winner:  Rex Kent of Concordia, Kansas in his own shortened Ford chassis equipped with a Studebaker “Six” engine.

 

 

 

June 6, 1918 – ½ mile dirt oval – Smith Center Fairgrounds at Smith Center, Kansas

These races were organized and promoted by Rex Kent.

Car:  His own Young special #6, a 16-valve, 4-cylinder Ford

Finish:  Young’s name does not appear in the limited race results that have been located to date.

Feature race winner:  Rex Kent of Concordia, Kansas in his own shortened Ford chassis equipped with a Studebaker “Six” engine.

 

July 4, 1918 – 2 mile dirt oval – Dodge City Speedway northeast of Dodge City, Kansas

These races were organized and promoted by Johnny Mais.

Car:  His own Young special #6, a 16-valve, 4-cylinder Ford

Total purse:  $1,500

Finish:  Young’s name does not appear in the published results of these races.

Feature race winner:  Glenn Breed of Salina, Kansas who was driving his own black & white 1916 Hudson “Super-Six” #1

 

July 20, 1918 – ½ mile dirt oval – North Central Kansas Fairgrounds at Belleville, Kansas

These races were organized and promoted by Rex Kent.

Car:  His own Young special #6, a 16-valve, 4-cylinder Ford

Finish:  The following story ran on the front page of the next issue of the local newspaper: “The automobile racing program put on by Rex Kent of Concordia, drew a big crowd, but the races were not up to the standard of races Mr. Kent has been giving the people at points west of Belleville.  For some reason, some of the races did not fill and Mr. Kent did the best he could, under the circumstances, to fill some of the races and give the people an exhibition for their money.  Several of the racing cars went out of commission in the first race which handicapped contests that followed.”

              Rex Kent of Salina, Kansas finished 3rd in the feature race behind 2nd place Lafe Cole of Cedar, Kansas in a 16-valve Ford special but those are the only results of these races to be located to date.

Feature race winner:  Names of the race winners in these races have yet to be located.

 

July 25, 1918 – ½ mile dirt oval – Central Kansas Fairgrounds at Abilene, Kansas

Car:  His own Young special #6, a 16-valve, 4-cylinder Ford

Finish:  Young’s name does not appear in the published results of these races.

Feature race winner:  Harold Roller of Abilene, Kansas in his 16-valve Roof Ford.

 

August 4, 1918 – ½ mile dirt oval – Benson Racetrack at Omaha, Nebraska – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

These races were organized and promoted by Mogy Bernstein.

Car:  His own Young special #6, a 16-valve, 4-cylinder Ford

Finish:  Results of these races have yet to be located.

 

September 4, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Woodland Park at Lawrence, Kansas

These races were organized and promoted by McMakin & Moberly.

Car:  His own Young special #6, a 16-valve, 4-cylinder Ford

Total Purse:  $500

Finish:  Results of these races have yet to be located.

 

September 5, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Woodland Park at Lawrence, Kansas

These races were organized and promoted by McMakin & Moberly.

Car:  His own Young special #6, a 16-valve, 4-cylinder Ford

Total Purse:  $500

Finish:  Ted Young of Omaha, Nebraska led the 1st 29 laps of the 30-lap feature race before his Buick Bearcat suffered a blown tire.  A steering arm broke on Willis Young’s Ford and it crashed through a fence without doing any serious damage, but that let Frank Howard assume the lead in his Chevrolet and held until the finish of the race.

Feature race winner:  Frank Howard who was driving a Chevrolet.

 

September 6, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Girard Fairgrounds at Girard, Kansas

Car:  His own black Young special #6, a 16-valve, 4-cylinder Ford

Total Purse:  $3,000

Finish:  5th fastest 2-lap time trial of the 7 cars that competed in time trials at 1:26.0.  That was slower than the times turned in by Roy Mudget of Joplin, Missouri driving a Hudson; Willy Hopper driving a Maxwell; Frank Howard driving a Chevrolet and John Rooks of Ft. Worth, Texas who was driving his Rooks special.

              Won a 3-mile match race in 4:28.0 and collected $250 from the purse.  John Rooks of Ft. Worth, Texas placed in 2nd place in his Rooks special.

               4th in the 4-car, 9-lap Australian Pursuit race behind Frank Howard in a Chevrolet; Ted Young of Omaha, Nebraska in a Buick Bearcat and John Rooks of Ft. Worth, Texas in his Rooks special.

   4th in the 5-mile, 4-car “Free-for-All” race behind Roy Mudget of Joplin, Missouri in a Hudson; Frank Howard in a Chevrolet and Ted Young of Omaha, Nebraska in a Buick Bearcat.  Willis young won another $200 for that finish to bring his total winnings for the day to $450.

Feature race winner:  Roy Mudget of Joplin, Missouri who was driving a Hudson.

 

September 17, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Lamar Fairgrounds at Lamar, Missouri

Car:  His own Young special #6, a 16-valve, 4-cylinder Ford

Finish:  Results of these races have yet to be located.

 

Willis Young was “Dangerously injured” in a car accident 2½ miles south of Milo, Missouri on the evening of September 18, 1919 while on his way to Nevada, Missouri to participate in another auto race.  His left leg was broken and he suffered “other injuries”.  With the heavy damage sustained by the Young special #6 Ford, Young decided to purchase a Hudson race car owned by Ralph Mulford.

 

September 29, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Oswego Fairgrounds at Oswego, Kansas

These races were organized and promoted by Ralph Parkinson of Russell, Kansas.

Car:  His own Hudson

Finish:  Results of these races have yet to be located.

 

October 11, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Burlington Fairgrounds at Burlington, Kansas

Car:  His own Hudson

Finish:  Results of these races have yet to be located.

 

October 24, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Katy Park in Chanute, Kansas

Car:  His own Hudson

Finish:  Nine cars entered these races but the weather turned so cold that five of those nine entered (including Willis Young) sent telegrams saying they were going to cancel their scheduled appearance due to the inclement weather.  The four drivers that did show up decided to race anyway and managed to put on a complete program for the fans.

Feature race winner:  Perry McWhorter of Bartlesville, Oklahoma who was driving a Peugeot.

 

Leonard Truck Lines while owned by the Young brothers

Johnson family collection

 

September 4, 1920 – ½ mile dirt oval – Corning Fairgrounds at Corning, Iowa

These races were organized and promoted by Floyd M. Bowen of Kansas City, Missouri.

Car:  His own Hudson

Finish:  Results of these races have yet to be located.

 

July 18, 1937 – Unnamed temporary racetrack – Shreveport Municipal Airport at Shreveport, Louisiana

These races were organized and promoted by Ted Young, Eddie Hefley and Cotton Jeter.

Finish:  Won a match race with his brother, Ted Young, but he only managed to pass him after the latter’s carburetor “momentarily cut out.”

Feature race winner:  Ray Walsh of Texarkana, Texas

 

Left to right: Willis, Sally and Berniece Young

with their Beechcraft airplane c1939.

Johnson family collection

Willis Young was married in 1925 at Cassville, Missouri to Berniece Ida Doyel (1904-1978) of Exeter, Missouri and they had one daughter, Sally Ann (Young) Johnson, born c1934.

 

Young had been taking flying lessons as a student pilot at the Fairfax Municipal Airport in Kansas City, Missouri in the summer of 1929 and made his first solo flight during the last week of August that year.  Although he did not have his pilots’ license yet, he took a Waco biplane, without permission, and flew it from the Fairfax Airport east to the nearby Commercial Airport on the morning of September 3, 1929.  There, he took two acquaintances on a short flight around the Commercial Airport.  When they landed, two highway engineers, employed by Missouri State Highway Engineering Department, were standing near where the airplane rolled to a stop.  The engineers walked over and were looking the airplane over when one of them was recognized as being an acquaintance by one of the men that Young had just taken for a flight.  After introductions, Young showed the airplane to the two engineers and then offered to take them for a short flight.  The engineers accepted the offer and a short seven minutes later, Young was bringing the airplane back in for landing.  Lined up on the runway at an altitude of just 200 feet, but with the airspeed too slow, the airplane stalled, went into a spin and nosedived into the ground.  One of the engineers was pronounced dead at the scene when help first arrived and the other engineer passed away two hours after being taken to a hospital.  Young, himself, received several minor injuries.  Being a novice flyer, he told investigators that he did not understand why the airplane had stalled.

  

Willis and Berniece Young were living at California, Missouri in 1930 where Willis was working as a contractor on public roads and he eventually did earn his pilot’s license.

 

The Youngs moved to Shreveport, Louisiana in 1932 and he became a partner with his brother, Theodore Roosevelt “Ted” Young (1901-1941) as a commercial pilot in their flying service at the Bossier City, Louisiana airport where Ted was the airport manager.  Willis also became a co-owner and president of Leonard Truck Lines, Incorporated of Shreveport with his brothers, Ted and George Ashley Young (1895-1971) until the truck line was liquidated in 1946.  He also served on the board of directors of the Mississippi Association of Motor Carriers.

 

Back row, left to right:  Willis Young; his

son-in-law, Dr. Glen A. Johnson & Glen’s father, Harry F. Johnson.   Front row, left to right:

Willis Young’s three grandsons: twins

 Bruce & Barry Johnson plus their younger brother, Brian Johnson, taken in the early 1970s

Johnson family collection

 

Willis purchased his first Beechcraft Model B17B with a 285-h.p. Jacobs engine in 1937 and earned his instrument flying rating in 1938 to become the first resident of Shreveport to receive that rating.

 

Ted Young was fatally injured on January 11, 1941 when he crashed an airplane while making an unscheduled appearance in an airshow at that airport to promote a flight school that he and Willis were operating as part of their flying service.  Willis was the first to arrive at the crash site.

 

When World War II broke out, Young was considered to be too old to serve in the Army Air Corps, but he was permitted, as a long-time member of the Civil Air Patrol, to relocate to Parksley, Virginia with his personal Beechcraft Model B17B Staggerwing and he flew missions from the Civil Air Patrol Coastal Unit #4 to look for German submarines.

 

Among the many jobs Young held were building high electric lines for the Rural Electrification Association (REA), and a position in “construction and exaction near Quivira Lakes, Missouri.”

 

He earned the Air Medal for Meritorious Achievement from the United States Air Force in 1947 for his Civil Air Patrol service in 1942 at Parksley, Virginia.

 

He was the owner of a nearly new, $20,000, five-passenger Beechcraft airplane that was one of eight airplanes destroyed in a hanger fire on March 5, 1946 at the Stovall airport at Shreveport, Louisiana.  His brother, George, also lost a number of tools in that fire.

 

Willis Young stopped piloting his own airplane in the early 1950s.  He passed away on November 16, 1977 at Shreveport, Louisiana and is buried in Forest Park East Cemetery in Shreveport.  Berniece Young passed away nearly a year later and is buried beside him.

 

 

 

 

Autograph signed in 1917

Autograph signed in 1942

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* The Hoisington Dispatch reported a substantially different story on the front page of their September 6, 1917 issue about Willis Young’s highway crash on his way to the races at Otis, Kansas on September 3, 1917:

 

Willis Young, a young Salina man who was on his way to the auto races at Otis, Monday morning, met with quite a serious accident one mile west and ¼ mile north of Otis when his stripped racing Ford collided with a Ford car driven by J. F. Brack.  Young was traveling at high speed and turned out to pass a buggy just as Mr. Brack turned out.  The force of the impact drove Young against the steering wheel so hard he was rendered unconscious and was hurried to the Hoisington hospital for medical attention.  Mr. Brack, who was alone in his car, escaped injury but both cars were badly damaged.

 

“An examination of Young showed that he was severely bruised and sustained a number of minor injuries but he left the hospital last night and returned to Salina.  His worst injuries were the loss of some teeth and a three-inch scalp wound.  The cause of the accident was too much speed on the part of Young.”

               

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you:

Barry Johnson, Brian Johnson and Bruce Johnson