[Between 2009 and 2011, I maintained a TypePad blog, “More Fiends,” intended to update my book Baseball Fiends and Flying Machines. Those posts can still be found in the archive.org Wayback Machine, but I stopped updating that site in 2011. Because this WordPress site promotes and updates all my books, I’d like to republish some of those earlier posts.]
In many of the autobiographical sections of his books, Alfred W. Lawson reprints news stories that cite him as the first “aerial commuter”, after making a trip from Keyport, NJ to Manhattan. Those reprints seem to suggest that Lawson himself was at the controls of the Thomas Flying Boat that made the journey. However, the New York Tribune‘s account makes it clear that another man, Walter Johnson, was piloting the craft.
This Walter Johnson was likely Walter Ellsworth Johnson. See https://earlyaviators.com/ejohnwal.htm