I need a photo of him. If you can help, please contact me.


Tuesday, May 23, 1911
Transcribed by Nancy Mess, 6-4-04
Aviator Wrecks Machine
Harrisburg, PA, May 22. Joseph Van Meter, aviator, who has been trying out the flying machine perfected by M.B. Cumbler of this city, came to grief yesterday at Summerdale. He had made a number of short flights with success and in attempting to land dropped into a clump of bushes. A big stump wrecked the machine and threw the aviator into a bramble bush, but he escaped harm.

Melvin B. Cumbler
via email from Tony Martini, 11-2-05
     Aviator Joseph Van Meter was killed flying an airplane "perfected" by M. B. Cumbler. Cumbler was Melvin B. Cumbler, born November, 1873 PA, died after 1931.. In 1900 he lived in PA with his wife Lona kids...and was Superintendent of the Susquehanna Sand Co. He sold land in Trenton, NJ 1907-1909, and in 1910 lived in PA with his wife, no kids, no job. In 1930, he and wife Lona M. lived in Steelton, PA where he "operated a sand bank". In 1931, he was sued for $50,000 by a woman who said he had promised to marry her, but he was already married.
     I am searching for some aviation info....
Tony Martini

Melvin B. Cumbler
The story continues
via email from Stephen Hoffman, 9-14-09
     I saw your query about Melvin Cumbler. He was married to my Aunt Myrtie (Lona Myrtle Smith Cumbler) who was born about 1874 and died in 1952. The story in our family was that Melvin was a crook and philanderer and that when he went completely broke in the late 1940's, Myrtie divorced him after 50+ years of marriage. Myrtie moved in with her nephew Gerald Peffert and, because she was completely penniless, sold vanilla extract door to door, always with white gloves on, because that's what ladies did in her day.
Stephen Hoffman

I have no information as to the dates of his birth or death
Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator, or M. B. Cumbler,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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