A. J. Wyen - 1912
Contributed by Ron Szczesny, 10-2-09


from Wright State University Archives

     Aloys was born August 31, 1889 in Möchengladbach, Germany, the Rhineland area on the border of Holland. His mother, Mary (Jofer) Wyen was from the "Haus of Hofer" in the Rhineland. His father, Martin Wyen, was an officer in the Prussian Army under Hindenberg.
          Aloys had two brothers:
          Frederick - born 1887
          Peter - born 1892
     IN 1897 the family immigrated to America and settled in Mercer & Auglaize County, Northwest Ohio. Because of conditions in Germany and the threat of impending war, they did not want their sons in the Army.
     Their first year in America, the family came down with Typhoid Fever and Martin Wyen died.
     Two years later, with encouragement of her parish priest, Mary Wyen married John Schöenlein, a widower with six chiildren, the youngest nine months. The family resided on a large farm in Mercer County, St. Peter, Ohio. Two years later John Schöenlein died of a ruptured appendix.
     In 1902, at age 13, Aloys went to Dayton, Ohio where he initially worked for Orville and Wilbur Wright in their bicycle shop, and eventually at Huffman Prairie. Here he worked with Orville and Wilbur Wright in flight mechanics in a shed which served as both a work shop and a hangar.
     For the next nine years, as a pioneer in flight mechanics, Aloys helped design and build the first planes, one of which is known as the "Model R" or "Baby Grand," a small racing plane. Aloys designed and built the landing gear. It was taken to Belmont Park, New York where it crashed and was later restored. In the biography of the Wright Brothers entitled "The Bishop's Boys," there is a photograph and descriptive writeup of the plane on Page 432. (The original photo done by Aloys is in this collection.)
     Another significant achievement by Aloys was the first American Glider - (original photos also in this collection.
     It crashed at Ft. Meyers, Va. 1908. In 1970 it was restored and today stands in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. The replica of this plane is in Carillon Park, Dayton, Ohio. It occasionally flies over Dayton.
     From 1911 - 1916 the Wright Bros. sent Aloys to Los Angeles, Calif. to test the first planes; he also continued his involvement in flight mechanics. He tested these planes for five years until he crashed and was hospitalized for many months. A souvenier-memento that served as a remembrance to the day of his death at age 96, was a silver plate that was placed up his nose.
     When released from the hospital in 1916, he returned to Dayton, Ohio at which time he married Mary Hierholzer and started an automobile business.
Aloys Wyen was a resident of Dayton, Ohio for 81 - years. His spouse, Mary (Hierholzer) Wyen was a resident for 83- years.
          They had four daughters:
          Mary Elizabeth Wyen
          Rita Louise (Wyen) Martin
          Alvira Helen (Wyen) Marburger
          Shirley Ann (Wyen) Huffman
     Submitted by Mary Elizabeth Wyen
Tribute:- At Ford Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan, Aloys J. Wyen's name is inscribed as a pioneer in early Aviation History. - (Not Sure - 10-30-95)
     Sister Marie Schoenlein, Provincial of the Dominican Order in Detroit, Mich, stated she saw Aloys J. Wyen's name inscribed in a book at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Mich. as a pioneer in early Aviation History.
     However, this has not been confirmed.

Contributed by Ron Szczesny, 9-9-09
     I recently found your web page My great grandfather was Frederick Wyen, Aloys' older brother.
     I knew Mary Elizabeth Wyen, Aloys' daughter, very well. She used to live in Columbus and would have me over for dinner occasionally when I was a student at OSU and until I helped her move back to Dayton where she died about 5 years ago.
     I think the paper from the Wright State archives is also a little inaccurate, as I just found some info on him at the Ellis Island web site. I attached a part of the ship manifest that shows that Aloys was 4 when he came over on October 10, 1893.
Wyen Manifest

       Also attached is a photo of me in front of Haus Hofer which is mentioned on your web page. I visited the relatives in Monchengladbach in 1989 when this photo was taken. I have lost touch with the relatives in Germany and would like to get reconnected. I emailed the person who's email you posted that was in German and then translated to English, but I have not received a response back yet.  
Wyen's Haus Hofer

       I just went to Dayton over the Labor Day weekend and found out much of this that I didn't know. I attached another photo of my son and I next to the Wright Flyer III which is on display at Carillon Historical Park. Orville restored this plane from parts of the crashed Flyer II and designed the building where the plane is displayed. It was opened in 1950, 2 years after his death.  
Carillon Historical Park

       I knew that Aloys was associated with the Wright Brothers but didn't know how involved he was.
Thanks for your web site.
Ron Szczesny

via email from Renate Esser, 3-25-08
Hallo, Mister Cooper,
mein Name ist Renate Esser geb. Wyen aus Mönchengladbach. Im Internet fand ich Ihre Biographie über Aloys J. Wyen. Wir sind Verwandte aus dem Geburtsort in Deutschland. Mein Vater Aloys Wyen geb. 25.10.1905, verstorben 29.3.1993, sein Vater (mein Großvater)war ein Bruder von Martin Wyen. Seine Mutter (meine Großmutter) war Elisabeth Wyen geb. Hofer, eine Schwester von Mary Wyen geb. Hofer und später Mary Schoenlein. Somit haben zwei Brüder Martin und Aloys Wyen, zwei Schwestern Elisabeth und Mary Hofer geheiratet.
Mary Elisabeth (Tochter von Aloys Joseph ) Wyen hat uns oft hier im Geburtsort ihres Vaters besucht. Außerdem haben wir noch Kontakt mit weiteren Verwandten aus Amerika.
Wir haben uns sehr über Ihren Bericht gefreut und geben Ihnen gerne weitere Auskunft über die Herkunft von Aloys Joseph Wyen
hier aus Deutschland. Meine Internetadresse:
Mit freundlichen Grüßen
Renate Esser
Hehn 365
41069 Mönchengladbach

Machine Translation
Hello, Mister Cooper,
My name is Renate Esser born Wyen from Moenchengladbach. On the Internet I found your biography of J. Aloys Wyen. We are relatives from the birthplace in Germany. My father Aloys Wyen born 25.10.1905, died 29.3.1993,
His father (my grandfather) was a brother of Martin Wyen. His mother (my grandmother) was born Elisabeth Wyen Hofer, A sister, Mary Hofer Wyen born, and later Mary Schoenlein. Thus, two brothers Martin and Aloys Wyen, Two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary Hofer married.
Mary Elizabeth (daughter of Joseph Aloys) Wyen us often here in the birthplace of her father attended. Additionally, we still contact with other relatives from America.
We are very pleased about your report and give you more information on the origin of Aloys Joseph Wyen
Here from Germany. My Internet address:
Yours sincerely,
Renate Esser
Hehn 365
41069 Mönchengladbach

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