Oliver George Simmons
Private First Class, United States Army
George Simmons (July 14, 1878 – April 9, 1948) was a pioneering aviator
with the Wright brothers.
He was born in Philadelphia in 1878 to Eller D. and George O. Simmons, and his sibling was Mary E. Simmons.
He enlisted in the Signal Corps he served in the Philippines from 1899 to 1902. He married Dual Leaman of Rockville, Maryland, on July 12, 1904 and they had two daughters: Olive Simmons; and a second daughter who married Tom Lovell. He attended Catholic University, in Washington, D.C. and then returned to the Signal Corps to start his career in aeronautics.
He reported to the Army Signal Corps on October 14, 1909, as a machinist and was the civilian member of the detachment which serviced the first Army Wright biplane at College Park, Maryland, when Wilbur Wright trained Lieutenants Frank Purdy Lahm and Frederick Erastus Humphreys.
He traveled with Army airplane Number 1 when it was shown at the Chicago Electrical Trades Exposition and from there to Fort Sam Houston where Lieutenant Benjamin D. Foulois piloted the plane.
Over the spring months of 1910 he built a wheeled landing gear for the machine to replace the skid and rail system of the Wrights.
In the spring of 1911 the Signal Corps accepted the loan of a new model Wright from Robert J. Collier, which Lieutenant Foulois used.
On July 4, 1912, Simmons and acting Mayor Garretson of Perth Amboy, New Jersey flew a sack of mail from South Amboy, New Jersey to Perth Amboy, the first air mail in New Jersey State history.
In 1935 a bronze tablet was placed at the South
Amboy post office to commemorate the event. For ten years, 1926 through
1936, he was president and general manager of the National Tool Company
of Cleveland. He died at Bethesda Naval Hospital and was buried at Arlington
National Cemetery on April 13, 1948.