Family of Charles Frederick Page Fights to Recognize His Aviation Legacy

When you think of aviation, the first name that comes to mind is the Wright Brothers.

But around the same time, a Pineville, Louisiana man patented his plan for the first airplane.


In his hands, Joe Page holds the proof his grandfather, Charles Frederick Page, created first patent of the airplane.

Joe Page says, “He was well ahead of time even thinking that and trying to get people together to do farming, he did a variety of things.”


Charles Frederick Page got the patent for his airship in 1906 before the Wright Brothers.

“After spending what was probably his life’s savings to put this work and model together, and then pay to ship it off to St. Louis World Fair and it never arrived, and so I’m imagining that was a huge disappointment to him.”


Charles Page planned to enter his airship into the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis.

Joe Page says, “He had to care for his family. He just never saw an opportunity to gather that amount of money again and deny his family of a decent living, so he never pursued it again.”


His granddaughter Kattie Williams believes his airship could have won the competition.

“I think it was actually number one, probably found by someone who didn’t want it to get there and was destroyed or it was stolen.”


Here lies Charles Frederick Page, a black man who was never recognized for his contribution to aviation, but instead of giving up, he became a farmer and a family man.

Joe Page says, “He made bricks, he made coal, which was fuel at that time, commonly used for and it was number of things that he tried to do to better serve the community.


Kattie Williams says she enjoyed hearing stories about Charles Page growing up.

“I loved him even though I didn’t know him. I loved him as my grandfather.”


The Page family is grateful to Michael Wynne for bringing their grandfather’s story to the public.

Historian Michael Wynne says, “Not only is a historical marker needed, at one time, the England Authority was considering a mural at the airport. I think that mural should be done. I think in every venue that we can, we should remember and teach our children about Charles Frederick Page.


As they walk towards their grandfather’s grave, Kattie Williams hopes the City of Pineville recognizes who her grandfather was.

“When I say our children, African American children could look forward to that somebody at that stage, in time, had the tenacity to do something like that, they certainly can do it now.”


Charles Frederick Page built this cemetery because of his love for people. His family asks the City of Pineville to recognize his accomplishments and honor his legacy.

The Page family also asks for the City of Pineville to build a historical marker to recognize Charles Page’s accomplishments.