Thursday, March 23, 2023

Faulkner-Graham-Warren Crash Marker Approved

By Dr. Kathleen W. Wickham

Journalism Professor at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media

Dean Faulkner
Henry Graham
Lamon (Red) Graham
Claude (Bud) Warren

A state historical marker has been approved by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for the Faulkner-Graham-Warren plane crash site in Pontotoc County.

On Nov. 10, 1935, Dean Swift Faulkner, 28, a stunt pilot and brother of author William Faulkner, crashed during an airshow at Pontotoc. Dean was killed instantly along with his three passengers:cousins Lamon (Red) Graham, 24, Henry Graham, 21, and Claude (Bud) Warren, 21. 

William Faulkner and the Waco II biplane which he gave to his brother Dean in 1934

Faulkner offered rides in the 4-seat Waco II biplane that William had given him. The three young men each paid $1.00 to fly over their family farms. Faulkner took off from the Pontotoc airfield. Witnesses reported seeing a wing separate from the biplane as it flew over the Sand Springs Church twelve miles northwest of Pontotoc.

Photo by Kathleen Wickham

Seconds later, the Waco biplane climbed steeply, went into a stall and plummeted to earth. The nose of the plane was buried six feet deep in a cotton field. The pilot and his passengers were killed instantly. Racing against darkness, men worked with blowtorches and hacksaws to remove the bodies from the wreckage. 

Henry Graham, Lamon “Red” Graham, and Claude “Bud” Warren are buried in the Sand Springs Church Cemetery. Dean Swift Faulkner’s grave at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Oxford has an inscription that reads, “I bare him on Eagle’s Wings and brought him unto me.”

The historical marker application was submitted to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History by Larry Wells of Oxford, MS, widower of Dean Faulkner Wells, daughter of pilot Dean Faulkner, Jo Lane Warren, niece of Henry Graham, and Carolyn Carnes, niece of Bud Warren, both of the Sand Springs community. The committee has posted a GoFundMe drive to fund the project. 

“We’re looking forward to installing the historical marker on Todd  Road near Sand Springs Church in late July,” Wells said.

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