Ben T. Epps

from the " Epps 1924 Monoplane Replica Project" website
Courtesy of David Hill, 3-30-04

Ben T. Epps
circa 1925-1935
     My Dad, Roy Saye, is on the left with Ben? next to him. I'm not positive that it is Ben, but my sisters say that it is him. Since I was born in 1941, I can't say for certain.
     My sisters, who were born in '21, '23 and '25, were small when they went to Ben's airport with Dad to put the planes away. He would let them sit in the cockpit while he pushed them inside. I would think that the planes were all Ben's since Dad had to put them away every evening. My sister says that the planes were small two seaters. I will see what else they remember about Ben.
Photo & caption courtesy of Ed Saye
Roy Saye's son, 3-30-04

     If you search for "Ben Epps" using the "Image" function on the Google search engine, (3-29-04), you will find some 23 images, some of them related to this pioneer aviator. One of them, which is detailed immediately below, offers a wealth of information on him.
David Hill's Aviation Page
     This page is just one of many on the "Welcome to the Hill Family home page" website. David offers a story of his life experiences, illustrated with eleven photographs of planes which have played a part in his life. If you go to the sixth one down and click on the link, or if you click on the title just following, you will access a page entitled "Epps 1924 Monoplane Replica Project." On this page, he has assembled the most comprehensive source of information on Ben which I have been able to find. You will find a resumť of his career, illustrated with seven very special photographs, many of them which link to pages with even more detailed information and supporting photographs. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

     Using the Google search engine on "Ben Epps" +aviation -airport, (3-29-04), you will find 39 links. Two of them deal with Ben's career in aviation in some detail.
History of Epps Aviation
     You will find a brief history of Ben Epps, with a photograph of his first airplane in 1907, on this page which was originally on the website of Epps Aviation. The link has become obsolete, (11-18-05), but I have recovered it from the archive of the You can access the page by clicking on the title above.
     If time permits, I recommend that you visit the homepage of Epps Aviation which was established by Pat Epps, one of Ben's six sons, and continues to thrive to this day. You can access it by clicking on the name, just above.

Epps, pioneer of Georgia aviation, was an Athenian
By Don Nelson
     This article on the "Online Athens" website, is a bit more comprehensive than the previous one. It is well worth your attention. You can access it by clicking on the title above.

Ben T. Epps

Ben T.
Feb. 20, 1888
Oct. 16, 1937
Omie Williams
Feb. 17, 1894
June 18, 1965
Photo Courtesy of Ed Saye.
       Ben is buried in Oconee Hill Cemetery in Athens, GA, and I was there taking pictures of a lot of our family buried there when I noticed the marker and decided to get it because of the connection with my Dad.
     I knew that he was the "father of aviation" in Georgia since my father worked for him at his automotive garage as a mechanic and Dad would go to the airport in the evening and push the planes back into the hanger.
Personal communication from Ed Saye, 3-30-04


Contributed by William Lucas Jones, 3-16-12
The day that Ben Epps died, my father, Fred Lucas Jones, took our family out to the Airport. I was five and a half years old. I clearly remember a biplane lying on its belly. The wheels were on top of the top wing.

I recall that a friend of my half brother was in the second seat and was taking flying lessons from Ben. I don't remember his name now but his major injury was, one of his feet was almost amputated. It was sewn back on but was of little use afterwards. This is all information told to me by my brother.

My Grandfather, William Lucas Jones, owned a lot of land between the airport and Lexington Road. At some time prior to Benís accident, he donated, or sold 47 acres to expand the airport.

If I can be of any help in recalling anything more, please donít hesitate to write.

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this Early Bird or his planes,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper
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