One hundred years ago, the NC-4 seaplane was forced to land in choppy waters about 80 miles east of Cape Cod because of two faulty engines.
The plane’s commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Albert Cushing Read, knew of a safe place: Naval Air Station Chatham, commissioned in 1918 to protect coastal shipping during World War I. Read, 32, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, was familiar with Chatham because his family had lived there in the 1890s.
Since William Nickerson bought Chatham from the Monomoyicks in the 17th century, the women of this town have contributed greatly to the town’s well-being and character—usually without much credit. Anne Busby Nickerson, William’s wife, was one of the original pioneers and a mother of nine, yet many historians cite only William as the town’s founder and “progenitor” of the family.