Sunday, March 31, 2019

Charles B. Wrightsman's Art Investments

Excerpt from court case:

Charles B. Wrightsman and Jayne Wrightsman v. the United States

United States Court of Claims. - 428 F.2d 1316

July 15, 1970

In 1918, after active service in the United States Navy, Charles Bierer Wrightsman moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where he engaged in the oil business as a lease broker and in several oil ventures. He accumulated sufficient funds by 1930 to purchase, and did purchase at private sale, the shares of the largest stockholder of Standard Oil Company of Kansas. He was then elected to the board of directors and, in 1932, became president of that company. He held such office through January 1951, when liquidation of that company, which had commenced in 1949, was concluded. At this time, Charles owned 93.7 percent of the outstanding stock.
Charles B. Wrightsman grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where his father, Charles John Wrightsman, was an oilman. In 1914, however, C.J. Wrightsman announced he had sold all his property in Tulsa and was moving to New York. He and several independent oilmen from Oklahoma were then in the process of contracting to sell oil to the U.S. Navy for a set price.

By 1916, having concluded his private education at Phillips Exeter, Stanford University in California and Columbia University in New York City, C.B. went with his father to Kansas to look over oil properties his father had just purchased in the El Dorado field.

In 1915 the Wrightsman family had moved from Tulsa to New York, where C.B. had fallen in love with airplanes, although his father had attempted to discourage him by giving him a boat. The Tulsa Daily World wrote in April 1917 that C.J. finally consented to allow his son to enlist in the volunteer aviation corps and train as a pilot.

Lt. Cmdr. A. C. Read
As a Navy Ensign, C.B became executive officer and aide to Lieut. Comdr. Albert Cushing Read (nephew of the late Admiral Albert Smith Barker). Commander Read had started a flight school at Bay Shore, Long Island, New York, one of the millionaires' units described by Marc Wortman in his 2007 book, The Millionaires' Unit: The Aristocratic Flyboys Who Fought the Great War and Invented American Air Power.

By late 1917 Commander Read and Ensign Wrightsman were almost finished working to build a new school south of Miami.
Upon the liquidation, Mr. Wrightsman received a 93.7 percent interest in all of the properties, including one million dollars in cash distributed to him. With the removal of the corporate structure, his financial position changed from stock ownership to direct ownership of oil-producing properties, which he has continued to operate as an individual under appropriate arrangements with the owners of the 6.3 percent interests. Thus, he commenced and has continued to receive directly a large cash flow, which had previously gone into the corporate coffers.

Aside from his investments in Standard Oil of Kansas, Mr. Wrightsman's ownership of stock, as well as that of Mrs. Wrightsman, has been quite limited. In 1959, Wrightsman Investment Company was organized, with Mr. Wrightsman as the sole stockholder, owning minor Oklahoma oil properties contributed by Charles, land on which plaintiffs' Palm Beach, Florida, home is located, and limited assets previously owned by Charles in New Mexico, Mississippi and Nebraska. Plaintiffs acquired 1,583 shares of Wrightsman Petroleum Company in 1960 and 1961, a company which had been organized by Charles' father. At the time of the trial of this case, Mrs. Wrightsman was the beneficial owner of a trust for which a bank, as trustee, had purchased stock.

Mr. Wrightsman believed that oil was one of the best possible investments, if selectively made. His trips to the Persian Gulf countries in the mid-1950's indicated to him, however, that there was a possibility of an oil glut, which caused him to conclude that he should make an effort to hedge his investments in oil with investments of other kinds. He sought advice from qualified employees. The certified public accountant in charge of his accounts recommended purchase of unimproved real estate and stock in corporations not in the oil industry. These recommendations were not followed.

By this time, Mr. Wrightsman had formed the belief that works of art were an excellent hedge against inflation and devaluation of currencies, that they represented portable international currency, since there were no restrictions on export from the United States, and that works of art were appropriate assets for investment of a substantial portion of his surplus cash being generated. These beliefs and investment intent were expressed to numerous friends and associates and the employees of his business office.

Mrs. Wrightsman's assets have been derived from income through Mr. Wrightsman under community property laws and from funds received from Charles in the form of gifts. Jayne Larkin Wrightsman fully shared Charles' beliefs and intent concerning investment in works of art. Their marriage has been one of constant association and travel together, with common interests and goals.

In their art collecting activities, plaintiffs have specialized in the acquisition of 18th century French works of art. Mrs. Wrightsman is not just a nominal party herein because of the filing of joint returns by the parties. She owns about three-fourths of plaintiffs' works of art, either by number or by value. Their activities in the acquisition and holding of such works of art have been conducted jointly.

Plaintiffs' mode of living from 1947 to the present time has been to reside from the latter part of November until late April at their home in Palm Beach, Florida, with occasional trips to New York City or elsewhere. Commencing about the first of May, they live for about 30 days in New York City, staying since 1956 in their Fifth Avenue apartment. From June 1 to the end of September or early October, they are in Europe, where they live exclusively in hotels. (Emphasis added above in italics and bold text.)

I have been unable to find evidence so far that Charles B. Wrightsman lived in Fort Worth. He joined the military during WWI, while a student at Columbia University. His father, Charles John Wrightsman, did move to 935 Hillcrest in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1938, living adjacent to the River Crest Country Club golf course, and the elder Wrightsman and his wife remained in Fort Worth until their deaths in 1950 and 1959. 

The residence at 805 Hillcrest (at the other end of the block from C.J. Wrightsman) had been built in 1927 by attorney Edwin T. Phillips, father of David Atlee Phillips----but was sold shortly after his death in 1928. Mrs. Phillips then moved less than a mile away to the northern tip of the golf course on Rivercrest Drive in Fort Worth. The background of CIA Agent David Atlee Phillips, and his ancestry, has been set out in detail elsewhere in this blog.

This blog has written previously about Charles B. Wrightsman as well.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Within the Netherworld of International Currency Exchange Rates

"The Bank of Russia took another step towards a free float ruble by abolishing the dual currency soft peg, as well as automatic interventions. Before, the bank propped up the ruble when the exchange rate against the euro and dollar exceeded its boundaries....The Central Bank of Russia’s un-pegging of the ruble from the dollar and euro brings to an end two decades of exchange rate controls. The transition to a free exchange rate means monetary policy in Russia moves to interest rates and inflation targeting."
RT website, November 10, 2014

"Experts have given the petrodollar a fatal diagnosis. Falling crude prices have accelerated the petrodollar's demise, dealing a heavy blow to the system that has long facilitated the US dollar's world reserve currency status. Emerging economies are abandoning the US dollar as a means of payment for oil, having shifted to national currencies."
Sputnik International, April 2, 2016
Diminishing Gold Reserves Led to Watergate

Currency valuation set in 1945
At the close of World War II, the various economies of the world had entered into an agreement in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, whereby a system of fixed exchange rates was established, pegging all currencies to the U.S. price of gold, which was fixed at $35 per ounce. Price increases of consumer goods, however, began during the last years of Lyndon Johnson's last term and had continued unabated through Nixon's first and into his second term. The Group of Ten met in Washington, D.C. to sign the Smithsonian Agreement on December 21, 1971, devaluing the Dollar against gold by approximately 8.5 percent-- $38 per ounce--hoping to shore up . Gold speculators, however, continued to drive the price of gold ever higher.

By 1972 inflation reached a rate of 6%, while GDP growth was less than 1%. Gold reserves backing the Dollar had collapsed from 55% down to 22%. The United States did not have enough gold to cover the volume of dollars in worldwide circulation at the rate of $35 per ounce. Because foreign traders refused to buy the dollars printed by the Fed, Nixon ordered a 10% export tax to be paid by buyers of U.S. goods in the hope that European and Asian traders would lower barriers to allow trade with America. They did not. The U.S. had no choice but to devalue the dollar, since it could not pay for its imports with the gold available valued at $35 per ounce.

Nixon's advisers tried to explain to him why America's trade imbalance existed. One major reason, as discussed here previously, was that American demand for Indochina-derived opium, refined and distributed by French mobsters, resulted in a huge flow of dollars into the European trade zone. The second reason for the inflationary rise was that American oil companies had increasingly turned to foreign countries which offered more lucrative fields for production to supply American consumers, including the  U.S. Navy's undiminished demand for oil. (See source documents cited by this article.)

Removal of gold backing of U.S. $$$
Texas lawyer John Connally, Nixon's Treasury Secretary, LBJ's knowledgeable adviser in oil matters, had made their first formal announcement in mid-August 1971 of America's intent to end the existing system of fixed exchange rates set up in the Bretton Woods Agreement. The responsibility for supporting the Bretton Woods exchange rate values fell upon the United States, which had become incapable of garnering enough gold to cover the volume of dollars in worldwide circulation at the rate of $35 per ounce, even though the government had introduced countless measures in the attempt to do so. On August 15, Nixon told the world that the dollar would no longer be convertibility into gold. More detailed terms were set forth in December at the G-10 meeting in Rome, where Connally declared:
The dollar is our currency, but it's your problem.”

At that G-10 meeting the Smithsonian Agreement was adopted, fated to last only fifteen months. In March 1973, the "G–10 approved an arrangement wherein six members of the European Community [West Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Denmark] tied their currencies together and jointly floated against the U.S. dollar, a decision that effectively signaled the abandonment of the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate system in favor of the current system of floating exchange rates." Britain, Ireland and Italy were also members of the Common Market, but only stood and watched.

In the midst of all the worry over the international exchange rate, Nixon had a few dozen other crises to deal with, the top three being:
  • Getting out of the war in Vietnam;
  • What to do about the Spiro Agnew scandal; and
  • How eliminating the gold standard was affecting the price of oil agreed to in the Tehran Agreement of 1971.
What Senator Ervin's Watergate Committee might dig up was still only mentioned on inside pages of the news in the fall of 1973. Oil producing states were demanding a 70% increase in prices, unsuccessfully, at the time Egypt and Syria coordinated attacks of the territories occupied by Israel (see inset map) on October 6, 1973, following by an oil embargo,which forced the United Nations to step in and adopt Resolution 340, calling for a ceasefire monitored by peacekeepers.

The embargo imposed by OPEC cut supplies of oil while the price per barrel of crude was increased, a situation which continued into March of 1974, when thirteen western nations met in Washington, D.C. to discuss the situation. The Arabs planned to hold an oil summit but repeatedly delayed it. Then President Nixon, having first me with King Faisal in June 1974, sent Salomon Brothers-bond trader William E. Simon, his "energy czar," to Saudi Arabia, trailed by Gerald Parsky, with orders to finalize the terms of the two leaders' verbal agreement.

Gerald Parsky
Nixon had recruited Parsky, a native of West Hartford, Connecticut from his "obscure" New York law firm (Nixon Mudge Rose & Guthrie), which hired Parsky straight out of law school. From the firm he was hired in November, 1971 by the Tax Legislative Council to be the executive assistant to his University of Virginia Law School professor, Edwin Cohen, a tax expert. During this time, Parsky was also "mentored" by Treasury Secretary George Shultz. Cullen Crouch wrote of the UVA alumnus in 2007:
Time magazine called him “Treasury’s Wunderkind,” a “lean, tireless, dapper, and serenely poised” public servant who was “one of the administration’s most powerful bright young men.”
Birth of the Petrodollar

King Faisal signed the agreement Parsky worked out, thus bringing a temporary settlement to the crisis. However, the King insisted that the underlying promises be kept secret, that is "King Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud demanded the country’s Treasury purchases stay 'strictly secret,' according to a diplomatic cable obtained by Bloomberg from the National Archives database." Consequently, how much U.S. debt the Saudis held would be classified top-secret for 41 years. As summarized by the Bloomberg article:
The U.S. would buy oil from Saudi Arabia and provide the kingdom military aid and equipment. In return, the Saudis would plow billions of their petrodollar revenue back into Treasuries and finance America’s spending....By 1977, Saudi Arabia had accumulated about 20 percent of all Treasuries held abroad, according to The Hidden Hand of American Hegemony: Petrodollar Recycling and International Markets by Columbia University’s David Spiro.
 Stated somewhat differently by Andrea Wong in the Independent:
Treasury officials solved the dilemma by letting the Saudis in through the back door. In the first of many special arrangements, the US allowed Saudi Arabia to bypass the normal competitive bidding process for buying Treasuries by creating “add-ons.” Those sales, which were excluded from the official auction totals, hid all traces of Saudi Arabia’s presence in the US government debt market....Instead of disclosing Saudi Arabia’s holdings, the Treasury grouped them with 14 other nations, such as Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Nigeria, under the generic heading “oil exporters” – a practice that continued for 41 years.
The New York Times reported in its February 22, 1974 edition about a speech given to a merchant marine executives' luncheon meeting at the local Propeller Club. The speaker, Michael Mohamed Ameen Jr., a vice president of Saudi Aramco (who, according to Lawrence Wright in his book, The Looming Tower at page 55, had known Mohammed bin Laden [fn-Osama was his 17th child out of 54 born] during the 1950s), told his  listeners:
King Faisal of Saudi Arabia “told us, in August, 1973, there would be another war within six months, and that he would have no alternative but to use oil as a weapon. His warnings went unheeded.”**

A Republican Game of Musical Chairs

Bush campaign 1970
In the interim between the end of President Nixon's first term and his resignation in 1974, George (Poppy) Bush, was a busy man. Having been defeated for election to the U.S. Senate against Democratic candidate Lloyd Bentsen in 1970, Bush was quickly appointed by President Nixon to be Ambassador to the United Nations, which was then overseeing the ending of the Arab-Israeli War. Bush must, therefore, have been annoyed when Nixon summoned him back to Washington in January 1973 to clean up CREEP's fiasco as Watergate plumbers were about to go on trial.

Editorial - January 6, 1973
Bush was  chair of the Republican National Committee as columnists were speculating about how Bernard Barker ended up with money "laundered" through a Mexican bank in his Florida bank account. The column from Smith Hempstone (above right) concluded on a somewhat positive note by opining that the trial would be "quick, tidy, [and] antiseptic," adding that Nixon hoped the trial would be over and rumors squelched before his upcoming January 20 inauguration. But it was not to be.

Bush officially left the U.N. on January 16, but he was already present in Washington earlier. Nevertheless, the scandal continued to increase even after E. Howard Hunt and his Cuban associates pled guilty and the jury in the Gordon Liddy and James McCord trial convicted the last two burglars on January 30. The Senate Judiciary Committee then began its investigation of bugging activities, appointing Senator Sam Ervin to name a Select Committee for that purpose. McCord's sentencing was held up as he considered whether or not to testify in the Senate hearings. As the scandal played out on national television, Bush supposedly encouraged Nixon to tell all so the party could put the grubby "Mickey Mouse" caper to rest. The rest is, as we say, history.

Musical chair shifts began: Spiro Agnew resigned, and was replaced by Gerald Ford. Nixon resigned, and Ford was sworn in, naming Nelson Rockefeller Vice President. On September 26, 1974, after appointment by the new President Gerald Ford, Bush took the oath as replacement for David K. E. Bruce, first Liaison Officer to Beijing. Bruce at that time became U.S. Representative to NATO in Brussels, thus replacing Donald Rumsfeld, who then became President Ford's new chief of staff. Was there a method to that madness?

David Bruce had been called back from China to Washington in February 1974 to consult with Kissinger about energy matters, discussed above, which were approaching a crisis. As former head of the Economic Cooperation Agency (ECA) in France after WWII, Bruce, former Treasury Secretary Mellon's son-in-law, had helped to design counterpart funds for the Marshall Plan's foreign aid program. The underlying concern in both situations was how to prevent inflation while tinkering with international monetary exchange values (See Harry Bayard Price, The Marshall Plan & Its Meaning, pages 99 and 105).

By the time Nixon's resignation was announced in August 1974, Bush, having just celebrated his 50th birthday, was groomed and ready to fill David Bruce's shoes in China. The more experienced Bruce flew to Brussels to work out the petrodollar exchange ratios with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) western European countries. Bruce, by then 76 years old, returned from Europe in February 1976, only a few weeks following Ford's appointment of George Bush to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Bruce died the following year.

The first crisis of the Nixon administration in August 1971 had foretold these events. Ten years earlier, in fact, US Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF), with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York acting as its agent, had begun participating in the London Gold Pool to maintain the price of gold at $35 an ounce. In 1968 France withdrew from the pool, just as Lyndon Johnson was about to leave office--bombarded as he was by critics against the war in Vietnam.

QJ posted excerpts from The Great Heroin Coup under the heading "Changing the Middle Man," about the real reason Nixon, inaugurated as President in January 1969, began his so-called "war on drugs". There we said:
Since three Cabinet officials were cooperating in this effort, a committee of those officials was created September 7, 1971, called the Cabinet Committee on International Narcotics Control (CCINC). The timing of this occurred almost simultaneously with President Nixon's revelation that he was considering a devaluation of the dollar as well as cutting the connection of the value of gold from the value of the dollar. (See AP article at bottom of this post.) The two issues--international narcotics trade and protecting the American trade balance were, in fact, inextricably intertwined, and the Central Intelligence Agency worked covertly on both issues through the various agencies administered by the executive branch of the U.S. government.
Safari Club's History

The secret deal Parsky had negotiated came into play in what was dubbed the Halloween Massacre, when William Colby was replaced by George (Poppy) Bush as Director of the CIA. Peter Dale Scott explained in his book, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (2007), that Bush's move to DCIA put him in charge of a newly minted covert agenda in which he coordinated CIA activities among Safari Club's member countries--France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Iran. Joseph Trento wrote in Prelude to Terror (2005), p. 314 that: 
"The Safari Club was run by the Saudis. It was a club to serve their purposes through the CIA."
Trento claimed their first face-to-face meeting had been held in Kenya at the exclusive African hotel by that name.

Holden sold to Khashoggi.
Earl Wilson gossiped in his column in September 1977 that actor William Holden, who had owned the Safari Club in Kenya with two partners since 1959, sold his share of the Club to "some Arabs" who just happened along. However, on October 12 the Philadelphia Daily News disclosed the sale had been made to Adnan Khashoggi, who was so unknown in those days his name was often misspelled.

Only days later, however, one of Holden's three partners died in a car bomb explosion. Raymond J. Ryan had been fighting to stay out of jail for more than a decade as a result of accusations against him--comping memberships to the Club to Mafia members, shredding evidence, tax evasion, and refusing to answer FBI questions. Ryan had been long suspected of ties to organized crime. Three months after his murder, the Seventh Circuit decided against him and his wife in his last appeal (568 F.2d 531, 1977). In that case Ryan had refused to answer a question propounded to him about his deposits in Handelskredit Bank in Zurich (page 536), a bank mentioned nine years later by Jack Anderson as being a bank the CIA used to store secret offshore slush funds.

Ryan's attorneys for this trial and previous cases were named partners---Herbert J. Miller, Raymond G. Larroca, and Nathan Lewin--of the firm Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin, Washington, D. C. Orrick, Herrington, Rowley & Sutcliffe, San Francisco, Cal., handled the appeal. One case was cited as 455 F.2d 728 (No. 71-1165); United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. Dec. 13, 1971. As Modified on Denial of Rehearing March 7, 1972.

A previous case was cited 430 F.2d 658 - In the Matter of the Grand Jury Subpoena Duces Tecum of Raymond J. RYAN, Appellant. No. 23343. United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. Decided May 19, 1970. Rehearing Denied July 29, 1970. Further examination reveals these attorneys to be the same ones chosen by Richard Nixon in 168 U.S.App.D.C., cited as 513 F.2d 430. No. 75-1063. Argued Feb. 1, 1975. Decided Feb. 14, 1975. In 1960 both Miller and Larroca constituted the Board of Monitors assigned to Jimmy Hoffa.

A third founding partner of the Kenyan Safari Club was Swiss-born Carl W. Hirschmann, a banker, who had in April 1969 been indicted for contempt for failing to appear at a grand jury investigating Ryan. Hirschmann is first mentioned in American newspapers in 1966.  He was said to be a land developer based in Long Island, NY, who had built a five-store industrial office building ten miles east of Los Angeles--9550 Flair Drive, El Monte CA. The international headquarters of Hirschmann Industrial Corporation, "specializing in precision machinery and equipment," was placed on the top floor of the building at that location. Also located in this building was a branch of the United California Bank, which would later become Security Pacific Corporation.

Years later it would be revealed in British press in 1984 that Hirschmann's grown son, trained in his father's Swiss bank, had a power of attorney from the Sultan of Brunei to act as a go-between with Egyptian mogul, Mohamed al-Fayed and his two brothers, who acquired Harrods from the House of Fraser and thus prevented Tiny Rowland of Lonrho (formerly London and Rhodesian Mining and Land Company) from obtaining the coveted department store, a prize Tiny had hoped would give him a step up to achieving British citizenship. Calling him a "Phony Pharoah," Rowland accused Fayed of using the Sultan's money to gain Harrods.

While Egypt was a member of the Safari Club, working with the CIA, Brunei was aligned with the British. What's more, Mrs. Mohamed al-Fayed was Adnan Khashoggi's sister, and everyone knew that Khashoggi amassed his great wealth from acting as arms broker between wealthy Saudis and weapons dealers.

Trump admired Khashoggi.
Donald Trump was also on the scene in those days, finding much to admire and emulate. Trump once said "Khashoggi understood the art of bringing people together and putting together a deal better than almost anyone – all the bullshitting part, of talk and entertainment." Henry Wilkins in the Gentleman's Journal (March/April 2016) described Trump thus:
Trump, like so many business tycoons of the era, seemed to have inherited some of Khashoggi’s panache for making deals and some of his taste for garish decadence. He also inherited his multi-million dollar super-yacht, Nabila. Trump bought it from the Sultan of Brunei who seized it from Khashoggi when he defaulted on a loan secured by the boat.
William Holden, like his close friend, Ronald Reagan, had an almost charmed life until his own death in 1980. A short biography of him states:
Although never involved in politics himself, he was best man at the marriage of his friend Ronald Reagan to Nancy Davis in 1952. He maintained a home in Switzerland and also spent much of his time working for wildlife conservation as a managing partner in an animal preserve in Africa. His Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki, Kenya, (founded 1959) became a mecca for the international jet set.
In 1974, he began a relationship with actress Stefanie Powers which sparked her interest in animal welfare. After his death, Powers set up the William Holden Wildlife Foundation at Holden’s Mount Kenya Game Ranch.
Holden did live long enough to see his friend elected to the Presidency, but died before Reagan's inauguration in January 1981.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Luter Branch of Atlee Family

Mrs. James H. French's "Texas Genealogy"

Mrs. James H. French, wife of famed San Antonio mayor, wrote a newspaper column called "Texas Genealogy". The genealogist's husband, James H. French, "the best mayor San Antonio ever had," moved to San Antonio in 1851, first working as a merchant before he was elected mayor in 1875, and he served in that position  through 1885. Because of political connections within the national Democratic Party, he was thereafter appointed Postmaster for the city and was also elected city councilman before his death in 1893. His widow (the former Sarah L. Webb), began writing a genealogy column about society-minded Texans for the Sunday San Antonio Light newspaper in July 1906.

In December of that year Mrs. French explained how those members of the branch from which Mary Parson Atlee sprang made their way to Texas. She had already written about the Maverick and Maury families into which Dr. Luter married almost a year earlier. Mrs. French may have been surprised that the child of a third-generation Pennsylvanian, Edwin Augustus Atlee, would find her husband in the wilds of Goliad, Texas. But that was where E.A. Atlee's third child, Anna, lived after her marriage to John Solomon McCampbell, a lawyer and later judge in Corpus Christi.

Edwin's  fourth child, Sarah Catherine, in 1856 married Giles Exum Luter, district clerk in Goliad County.

Catherine Atlee Luter had a son born in 1866, Dr. William Edwin Luter, who, in the late 1880s, had given his address simply as "Mexico". His brother, Henry Exum Luter, had a mail contract between Goliad and Cibolo in 1854, but later lived in Corpus Christi until his death in 1941.

Before moving to San Antonio, Dr. W. E. Luter was a pharmacist and assistant manager of John Sealy Hospital in Galveston. The census of 1900 records him at 119 N. Alamo, in San Antonio, which was still used as his office in 1910. Today this is the old Post Office at E. Houston and N. Alamo. By 1902 he was president of the West Texas Medical Association which met in that city.

He married Eleanor Stribling Maury in 1906, and became a member of the staff of the Santa Rosa Infirmary (Incarnate Word). He was also for a time physician and surgeon of the Mission Home and Training School for Girls in San Antonio. After their wedding, the Luters lived at 205 E. Pecan, at Navarro Street, next door to St. Mark's Episcopal Church on the north side of Travis Park Plaza.

St. Anthony Hotel, 1910
The lot on the south side of Travis Park (now 300 E. Travis Street) was in the process of being chosen as the site of the still standing St. Anthony Hotel, which was completed in 1909 by Brazilla Lafayette Naylor and his partner, A. H. Jones, Jr., the youngest child of a famous Texas hero, Augustus Harris Jones, and his third wife. Naylor died in 1910, leaving his estate to his wife and daughter, Zilla, wife of Arthur Hunter Morton, who managed Naylor's properties for many years. Gus Jones was elected San Antonio's mayor in June 1912, only months before he died the following April, attended by Dr. Luter and another physician.

117 E. French Place
Eleanor Maury's parents were Stephen Price and Eleanor Stribling (daughter of Benjamin Stribling) Maury. Her maternal grandmother, Mrs. Elizabeth Alexander Stribling, widow of Thomas Haile Stribling, had been born in 1836, the year Texas declared independence from Mexico. The 1900 census shows Mrs. E. A. Stribling living in a large residence at 117 E. French Place between N. Main and San Pedro in San Antonio, where she employed three live-in servants for herself, her son, Ben Stribling, and his nine-year-old daughter "Elinor." At some point the Luters began to live separately and were divorced. Dr. Luter died in 1930.

In that same block with Eleanor's grandmother lived John L. Luter, a Texas-born man whose parents had arrived from Tennessee before 1861. His wife was Mabel Moody. In 1924 this house was sold to become an Episcopal girls' school called St. Mary's Hall, which in 1968 became the home of San Antonio Academy, a boys' school, previously affiliated with the elite West Texas Military Academy and Texas Military Institute. One alumnus of San Antonio Academy, coincidentally, was Robert Moss Ayres, the architect son of Atlee B. Ayres, who also did work on St. Mary's Hall when it was sold to his alma mater. Atlee B. Ayres' eldest sister was David Atlee Phillips' grandmother, Gussie Ayres Young, both of whom grew up in Houston and San Antonio as children of Nathan Tandy and Mary Parson Atlee Ayres, who had moved to Texas from Highland County, Ohio.

Battle of Flowers Queen
Eleanor Maury Luter's paternal aunt, Ellen Maury, married James Luther Slayden, Congressman from San Antonio during 1897-1919. Ellen Slayden originated the Battle of Flowers, in 1891 "as an April 21 salute to the heroes of the battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto." The parade quickly became a week-long fiesta which culminated with the crowning of a queen, and eventually a king as well. The Battle of Flowers Association was set up to plan the event as part of Fiesta San Antonio, and the city's women in society all worked together to make it a success. It remains as one of San Antonio's biggest traditions.

The Maurys intermarried with the family of Texas hero Samuel Maverick, an 1825 Yale graduate and Virginia-trained attorney, who sought his fortune by moving to San Antonio in 1835. Ellen Maury Slayden kept diaries, which revealed how observant Mrs. Slayden had been during her husband's tenure within the Texas delegation in Washington, D. C. Much of her knowledge of Texas lore no doubt was passed to her sister, Jane L. Maury, who married Samuel Maverick and became the mother of  F. Maury Maverick, another Texas Congressman.

Cong. Maury Maverick's wife, Terrell Louise Dobbs, after his death in 1954, married Walter Prescott Webb, editor of the Slayden diaries. University of Texas professor Webb died in a one-car accident on March 8, 1963, at almost the same time the diaries were published.

Webb's historic property, Friday Mountain Ranch, was sold that same month to Rodney Kidd, long-time Texas University Interscholastic League director, who turned it into a camp for boys, which would later (1983) be sued when a counselor allegedly sexually abused a young male camper.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


The Atlee Family in Texas

David Atlee Phillips' descent from Mary Parson Atlee (click to enlarge)
David Atlee Phillips was born and bred in Texas, but his great-grandmother, Mary Parson Atlee, born in Athens, Tennessee, was a direct descendant of William Augustus Atlee and Esther Sayre, the Pennsylvania-born progenitors of the Atlee clan.

The Children of Edwin Augustus and Sarah Gilbert Atlee

Amelia Varian Atlee - Atlee Marriage to Ayres

Named for Edwin's eldest sister, Elizabeth Amelia, who had married Episcopal minister Alexander Varian, Amelia Varian Atlee, was born in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1829 but lived in Athens, Tennessee, at the time she was married in 1850 to Rev. Alexander Findley Cox.

Their eldest daughter, born in 1852 in Athens, was given the name of a popular poet, Felicia Hemans  Cox. The Coxes' second child, Peery At Lee Cox, was born in Virginia in 1854, and a third child, born a year later in Tennessee, died at six weeks of age. Less than a year after the death of the baby, Rev. Cox was sent to do mission work in Texas, where a fourth child, Mary Eliza Cox, was born at Goliad, Texas in late summer of 1857--twelve years after the Republic of Texas had been annexed to the Union as a state. Felicia Cox grew up to marry in 1868 Youngs O. Coleman, one of the bosses at the Coleman ranches in Rockport, Texas, started by Margaretta Atlee's husband, Thomas M. Coleman and his father, Youngs Levi Coleman, who died in 1881.

Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH
Their younger daughter Mary was married in 1881 to John H. Williamson in Lockhart, Texas, and a son, Alexander Bascom Cox, would be born in Goliad in 1861. When he was 30, he married Martha Rischke, a German-born citizen of Texas. A widow since 1910, Martha and her daughter Amelia Katherine Cox had for many years lived in San Antonio only a mile or two from Bascom Cox's uncle, the architect Atlee B. Ayres. Katherine, single, was a schoolteacher supporting her mother when Atlee's first wife died in 1937. A few years later the cousins married. Martha died in 1952 at their home in San Antonio at 201 Belknap. Katherine's brother, A. Bascom Cox, Jr., became a Brownsville, Texas, attorney. Martha's sister, Anna, had married another cousin, Alex. O. Coleman, son of Youngs O. and Felicia Cox Coleman, and but she had died in 1909.

Amelia V. Atlee Cox was the first of this branch of the Atlee family to arrive in Texas as early as 1855. Rev. Cox, a Virginian and a Methodist, arrived in Athens, Tennessee (home of East Tennessee Wesleyan College), and there he met Amelia, whose younger brother, Edwin Augustus Atlee, Jr. had recently attended Ohio Wesleyan University, not founded until 1844. In Ohio he met an Ohio native, Nathan Tandy Ayres, the man who would marry Mary Parson Atlee, Edwin, Jr. and Amelia's youngest sister. In Goliad the Coxes would meet John S. McCampbell, an attorney, who would marry another relative.

John Smith Gillett, of Karnes County, who for 36 years was secretary to the West Texas Conference's board of missions of the Methodist Church, wrote Rev. Cox's obituary in the Beeville, Weekly Picayune,  9 Apr 1897:
Rev. A. F. Cox Passes Peacefully Over the River."
According to this piece, Cox lived in that region of Texas around 40 years, "having reached Goliad December 1, 1856, and being a minister and most of the time actively engaged in preaching... He was born in Washington county, Va., December 1, 1823, was at the time of his death 73 years, 4 months and 4 days old. On May 1, 1850, he was married to Miss Amelia V. Atlee, who, with seven children survive him." It adds that Cox was a preacher for over 52 years, as well as having been for seven years "editor and publisher of a weekly paper in the town of Goliad, called the Goliad Messenger, which was finally changed to the Goliad Guard by the father of the present publisher (R. T. Davis). For about twenty-five years Bro. Cox has been a member of the West Texas conference."
 John Light Atlee

Edwin's second child, John Light Atlee, born in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1832, grew up in Athens, Tennessee before moving to Philadelphia to study medicine. Two uncles had studied there before him:
  • John Light Atlee (1799-1885), for whom he was named, who studied medicine and 
  • Washington Lemuel Atlee (1808-1878), who graduated from Jefferson in 1828 and practiced medicine at Lancaster, Pennsylvania until 1845 when he moved back to Philadelphia to teach at Jefferson's successor, Philadelphia Medical College.
After graduating in 1853 from Jefferson College in Philadelphia, where his uncles had studied and taught, he returned to Athens, Tennessee to practice. There he married Sarah Humphreys. He could easily be confused with an uncle and cousin with the same name, who were also physicians, but who practiced in Pennsylvania.

In May 1855, soon after his sister's husband was sent to Texas as a missionary, Dr. Atlee packed up his belongings and announced he too was moving to Goliad, Texas. The Athens newspaper bid him farewell and wished him well in his move to south Texas. Dr. Atlee, however, clearly did not find the wild west to his liking, as he had returned by August of the same year. In 1906 he and his wife celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he died six years later. 

Anna Elizabeth Atlee

E.A. Atlee's children have reunion, 1907
Anna Elizabeth Atlee, born 1834 in Gettysburg, grew up in Athens, Tennessee, but, in 1857, while visiting her elder sister Amelia Cox in Goliad, Texas, met a lawyer named John Solomon McCampbell. They married in Athens but made their home in Texas. In 1876 McCampbell formed a partnership with Anna's younger brother, E. A. Atlee, Jr., for three years before Atlee became a politician. McCampbell  then entered into a second partnership with John S. Givens, which lasted until Givens' death in 1887. Givens' sister, it should be noted, was the widowed mother of  Archer Parr, who grew up in Givens' home after his father's death. Edwin Atlee McCampbell, born in 1856, also practiced with his father in Corpus Christi following Givens' death.

John McCampbell would also serve as a director with Richard King of the King Ranch on the railroad King and Uriah Lott were starting to build by 1876, which was sold in 1881 to a syndicate that chartered it as the Texas Mexican Railway to build westerly to Laredo on the border with Mexico. By 1890 the McCampbells were engaged with Uriah Lott in building a harbor in Corpus Christi, and by the end of the century they were in a law partnership with Robert Weldon Stayton, noted legal scholar.

Sarah Catherine Atlee

Sarah Catherine Atlee was born in Gettysburg, PA in 1836. In 1856 she married Giles Exum Luter, whose parents had moved west from North Carolina to Texas. Luter died in Texas in 1868, and afterward Sarah took her three daughters (Emma, Sarah Margaretta and Clara Augusta Luter--all born in Goliad, Texas) back to her mother's home in Athens, Tennessee. They did, however, return to Texas from time to time, including in 1907 for a family reunion in Corpus Christi, hosted by the McCampbells.

Margaretta Susan Atlee

Born 1839, Margaretta, at the age of 20, married Thomas M. Coleman of Rockport, Texas. She died in 1872, leaving one son, Thomas Atlee Coleman.

Letitia Smith Atlee
Letitia Atlee's husband
Born in 1841, Letitia married Percival Clark Wilson in 1856, a year after he graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University. He joined the university's faculty in 1861, but soon became an officer in the army as the civil war began. After the war, they moved to Athens, Tennessee, where he became a merchant, but he soon became involved in the organizing of the Athens Female College. Letitia's father, Edwin Atlee, helped in the founding of the college. However, the first President of the college bought additional lands with his own personal funds, which he then loaned to the college, on which he held a lien. It was Atlee who bid at the foreclosure sale to acquire the lands for the Methodist school in 1866. The next year the charter was granted, merging the female school into East Tennessee Wesleyan. It became coeducational in 1868.

 Mary Parson Atlee

Mary Parson Atlee was the sixth daughter, born 1843 in Athens, Tennessee. When her two youngest brothers were sent to Ohio Wesleyan College in 1865 for their education, they met a young man named Nathan Tandy Ayres, also a student at Ohio Wesleyan College in Delaware, Ohio, about 30 miles north of Columbus. According to an article that appeared in 1966 in the Hillsboro, Ohio, Press-Gazette, Nathan's father died when he was one week old, and his mother, having already lost two husbands to death, married William Plummer Bernard, a wealthy man of Hillsboro, Ohio, located east of Cincinnati. When the civil war began, Nathan joined the 89th Ohio Voluntary Infantry, which served three years during 1862-65. In December 1863 he was in Chattanooga, sending reports of the regiment's action back to his hometown newspaper in Ohio. He remained in Athens, Tennessee, to attend the Methodist college and in 1867 married Mary P. Atlee, whom he eventually brought back to his home in Ohio.

In 1869-70, Tandy Ayres was recording secretary for the city of Hillsboro, Ohio, when he and an associate bought a glassware and china store. He sold his interest in the store to his partner in late 1873 and went into the dairy business, with 30 cows from whose milk he made his own cheese. In 1876 he made an exploration tour from St. Louis to south Texas on the Iron Mountain Railroad, writing a report, the first of several, for the local newspaper. He remained in Texas from February until late May that year, as he was said to suffer from asthma, which was relieved by the drier climate. This routine continued every winter until September 1879, when he packed the family up and moved to Houston.

During her marriage to Tandy, Mary Ayres gave birth to four children, though the first son died as an infant:
  • William E. Ayres in 1872, and died the same year;
  • Atlee Bernard Ayres in 1873;
  • Anna Mary Ayres in 1878; and
  • Clara Augusta "Gussie" Ayres in 1880.
Edwin Augustus Atlee, Jr.

Edwin Augustus Atlee, Jr., born 1846, was a student at Ohio Wesleyan College in 1866, when he met Nathan Tandy Ayres. In 1872 Edwin taught Latin and literature East Tennessee, before he relocated to Texas and became state senator from 1885-1901 for a district including Duval, Webb, Nueces, Cameron, Hidalgo and other counties bordering Mexico. This is the same district which would later be controlled by Archer "Archie" Parr, who began his career working for the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Co.,  owned by Thomas Coleman, Edwin Jr.'s brother-in-law. Around 1907 Archie, assisted by his uncle, John Givens, law partner of another of Edwin's  brothers-in-law, began a political career Duval County. By 1915 he was noted for election fraud, political corrupution and manipulation of the court system, protecting Democratic politicians. His son George Parr succeeded Archie and became known as the Duke of Duval. The Parr political machine was mentioned in a piece I wrote in 2000, relating to its role in stealing an election for Lyndon Johnson.
Bernhardt Gilbert Atlee

Named for his maternal grandfather, Bernhardt, the youngest of the siblings, was born in 1848 and attended preparatory school in 1866 at Ohio Wesleyan, along with his slightly older brother, and later studied dentistry there.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Incarnations of Pauline...Vandervoort Steese Dresser Rogers Hoving

"It matters not one iota what political party is in power or what President holds the reins of office. We are not politicians or public thinkers; we are the rich; we own America; we got it, God knows how, but we intend to keep it if we can by throwing all the tremendous weight of our support, our influence, our money, our political connections, our purchased Senators, our hungry Congressmen, our public-speaking demagogues into the scale against any legislature, any political platform, any presidential campaign that threatens the integrity of our estate." Frederick Townsend Martin, The Passing of the Idle Rich (1911), p. 149.[1]

How Poppy Bush Became Controlled by Exxon: Follow the Dresser Money 

by Linda Minor

Dresser ad began running in 1888
Solomon Robert Dresser had a creative, inventive mind, and he was a hard worker, to boot. When he encountered a problem in his business, he set out create a solution. As a result, he became the owner of numerous patents he either designed himself, or paid others to design, for pipe coupling devices which prevented natural gas from leaking from the joined sections of pipelines.

The Dresser company really took off in 1878, when Solomon located his family in Bradford, Pennsylvania, in the state's northwest corner. While he worked, his wife (formerly Vesta Simpson) had given birth to children, only two of whom lived to adulthood--Ione (1870) and Robert Alexis (1877) Dresser. Vesta died of tuberculosis in 1883, but Solomon remarried two years later, and the new wife (Caroline Kirsch) gave him two more sons--Carl Kirsch and S. Richard Dresser.

In 1906, after Solomon had served two terms in Congress, it was reported that he had decided to build a large factory in Bradford, Pennsylvania to mass-produce his most common coupling devices. Having worked too hard, it was said, he became ill around 1907 and died after four years of illness. Robert Dresser married Olive Brady in 1900 and later worked for the Boy Scouts of America organization in Bradford, having little interest in his father's passion.

Solomon Dresser's mansion in Bradford sat atop a rise--at 149 Jackson Avenue--and was not far from his Boylston Avenue office, where the Medical Plaza in Bradford sits today. The factory was situated across town. Caroline, Carl and Richard had lived in the gigantic residence, but by 1911, when Solomon died, Carl Dresser was away at Princeton while Richard was in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, at the Hill School. Carl graduated from Princeton in 1912 and was followed there by Richard two years later.

When Caroline died in November 1916, she was stopping in New York City, with plans of visiting Richard in Trenton to take in Princeton's football game against Yale. Five months earlier, Carl had taken his mother and Richard, by then a junior at Princeton, to Atlantic City, New Jersey. He was accompanied by his new lady friend, Pauline Steese, divorced since March of that year.

The mansion would remain a relic of Bradford history for many years thereafter. Richard would bring his family there to live, and after his death his widow, who died in 1956, bequeathed it to the Presbyterian church, which made it into a home for the aged. Ione Dresser's husband, Fred A. Miller, worked for the Dresser company all his life, even after the company was sold to W.A. Harriman & Co.

Carl Dresser's Wife, Pauline: Her Many Husbands

Pauline Steese Dresser, 1920
Pauline's father was Charles Ransom Vandervoort of Jamestown, New York, who left his family home at Tonawanda, New York, in 1882 to work in Jamestown, New York, at a large textile mill called Broadhead Worsted Mills. In 1907 Pauline's brother, Sherman B. Vandervoort, went into business for himself manufacturing cement blocks, which he later expanded into coal delivery, taking his father into the company. Sherman's wife was the daughter of a Bradford, Pennsylvania, physician and maintained contacts by joining a Bradford social club through which they knew the Dresser family. Carl, like Sherman, was an avid sportsman.

Pauline's first marriage in 1908 was to Charles J. Steese, Jr., assistant cashier at First National Bank of Massillon, Ohio, where his father was the bank president. Pauline had divorced him in the spring of 1916, a few months before she accompanied Caroline and Carl Dresser to Atlantic City the following June.[2]

Pauline's marriage to Carl Dresser was announced in the "summer resort" section of the Pittsburgh Press on August 13, 1916. Although Carl was secretary of the S.R. Dresser Manufacturing Co., his main focus was finding new supplies of oil and gas, through his own company, Dresser Gas Company, which had drilled for natural gas in 1896, built a pipeline to distribute its gas to customers in northeastern Ohio. He first met Pauline, while she was playing society wife to her banker husband of Massillon, Ohio.

By the time Carl and Pauline married in 1916, however, he was president of the Malta & McConnellsville Gas Co. in Malta, Ohio, having succeeded to the company after his father's death in 1911 and his own graduation from Princeton. Steese's parental rights were terminated, apparently with his consent, and both of Pauline's sons, Charles and Bradley Steese, were adopted by Carl. The family moved into the mansion with Carl's mother until Caroline's death that November.

Thede Barnsdall
T. N. "Thede" Barnsdall, who had worked in Bradford before following the oil discoveries in Oklahoma, proposed Carl for membership in the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers. His father had started Thede as an oilman in Bradford, Carl Dresser's hometown, and he eventually acquired over a million acres of oil lands in the Osage Indian reservation in Oklahoma upon his death in 1917. Those acres were found to actually end up in control of Standard Oil of New Jersey, which had given Barnsdall a loan of several million dollars, according to an investigation made by the U. S. Senate in 1917. Newspapers had been reporting that fact since 1908.

By 1918 Carl Dresser was talking of moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he hoped to expand his oil and gas business. He acquired a residence in Tulsa, where Pauline is said to have set up a "salon" to entertain other wives of wealthy oilmen in that location.

At the Tulsa County Club in June 1922 Carl and Pauline Dresser hosted a tea dance in honor of the wedding of Charles B. Wrightsman to his bride, Irene Dill Stafford of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Irene was born into a Catholic working class family, the daughter of Thomas A. Stafford who in 1925 managed a clothing store and lived in a rented residence. Irene's mother died before 1940, her father had remarried, and at age 70 was still selling retail clothing and still living in rented accommodations at 96 S. Main Street.

Casino St. John's baths
It was sometimes claimed that Irene Wrightsman had been a debutante who had wintered in Miami Beach, Florida, but the truth was much different. She had first gone to Florida because her sister Kathryn, who married Thomas McHale in 1918, was there with her husband. Thomas enlisted in the Navy aviation division when the United States entered WWI. Kathryn, a dance teacher in Pennsylvania, worked as a "dancing hostess" at the Casino St. John in Miami Beach while her husband was stationed at the Miami Naval Air Station.
Collins' Pool Older than Beach" - 166th in a series on early Miami by HOWARD KLEINBERG
More than a year before the City of Miami Beach was incorporated in 1915, pioneer developer John Collins and his son-in-law, Thomas J. Pancoast, created a tourist attraction at what is now Collins Avenue between 22nd and 23rd streets. It was given no particular name, people just called it the pavilion, but it became better known through the years as the Miami Beach Casino and Roman Pools. In its lifetime, the casino and pools had a considerable number of owners and names. Among them were the Collins Casino, Miami Beach Casino, Casino St. John's, Roman Pools, Everglades Cabana Club and its last name, the Riviera Cabana Club. Collins opened his swimming pool on Jan. 11, 1914, at a time when Miami Beach had not yet settled upon the name “Miami Beach.”
Social life based on wealth
J.N. Lummus, who owned the property on the southern portion of the beach, called the land Ocean Beach. Carl Fisher called his properties Alton Beach, and Collins used Miami Beach as a name. Fisher bought the facility from Collins in 1917 and, according to “Billion Dollar Sandbar," Polly Redford's 1970 biography of Miami Beach, added "$350,000 worth of improvements to the bathing pavilion that the Collins family had built of driftwood three years earlier. With a second pool and a Dutch windmill to pump in seawater, a restaurant, ballroom, and shopping arcade topped with rococo towers, the old Collins pavilion was transformed into the "Roman pools."
From that point on, the place took on a more social air. It was fashionable to be seen at the Roman Pools and Casino. Leading swimmers appeared there regularly, and visitors dined in an elaborate setting or danced the night away in the main ballroom. By 1925, the casino and pools had moved into the hands of N.B.T. Roney, who was about to build a magnificent hotel on the northern side of the pools-- calling it the Roney Plaza.
At about the same time Irene Stafford met Wrightsman, possibly at the large swimming pool on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, developers began turning the pool into the town of Palm Beach, and wealthy New Yorkers who had introduced polo to C.B. began building polo fields about 20 miles to the north of the new resort, which were to become the town of Gulf Stream:
Starting in 1922, Bessemer Properties, a real estate venture controlled by the family of Henry Phipps, Jr. (co-founder with Andrew Carnegie of the company that became U.S. Steel) began to accumulate parcels of land on both sides of the intracoastal canal for future development. Friends and business associates of the Phipps family in Palm Beach saw the roughly 500 virgin acres of property as an ideal location for a golf course and polo fields, surrounded by seasonal residences.
Charles J. Wrightsman of Oklahoma

Charles B.'s father, C. J. Wrightsman, had been born in Ohio but got into the oil business in Pawnee, Oklahoma, before his son was born there in 1895. C.J. was a lawyer, leasing lands of members of the Osage Indian Reservation tribe. At first his family lived in the tiny community south of a bend of the Arkansas River, on the west side of the Indian lands, but by 1910 had moved to Tulsa. Somewhat more prosperous, C.J. add two live-in yardmen to a household that also included a Swedish house maid. Tulsa was fifty miles away, now on the southeast side of the Osage Reservation, north of another bend of the Arkansas River. Today the United Way building sits where their home on Boulder once stood. There were no tall buildings in 1910, such as the Boulder Towers which Skelly oil built in 1959 across from where their house sat.

In 1915 C.J. set up Wrightsman Oil company, a Delaware corporation, which he located at the top floor of the then-new Kennedy Building, 321 S. Boston Avenue in Tulsa. Wrightsman sold most of his oil leases to Harry F. Sinclair:
Early in his career, Sinclair attracted the attention of wealthy speculators like Chicago meatpacker J.M. Cudahy, Pittsburgh capitalist Theodore Barnsdall and James F. O’Neill, president of Prairie Oil Company, a subsidiary of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil of Kansas. Unlike his backers, Sinclair came from humble beginnings.
Exeter Academy and the Dekes

C.J.'s only son, Charles B. Wrightsman, was away at school during this time--first at Phillips Exeter prep (class of 1914) then pre-law at Stanford University in California, where he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon (ΔKE) during 1915. From there he went on to Columbia University in New York, where he became interested in becoming a pilot in 1917, as America began revving up to enter WWI.

As a resident member of the Aero Club of America, at Madison Avenue at 41st Street in Manhattan, C.B. served on the Central Committee which funded the Liberty Loan. He was also an ensign in the Naval Militia of New York, and thus came into contact with men from the East Coast and Ivy League schools involved in the Aerial Coast Patrol. F. Trubee Davison, Henry P. Davison and Robert A. Lovett were three of the twelve who constituted the "First Yale Unit." After training all summer at Peacock Point and Port Washington on Long Island, they returned to New Haven in the fall and organized the Yale Aero Club.

As cold weather approached, Lewis Rodman Wanamaker, son of John Wanamaker and brother of the late Thomas B. Wanamaker, allowed them to use the property at West Palm Beach, where he was building a new flying boat, and airplanes were also supplied by Henry Woodhouse through the Aero Club of America. As more airplanes were donated, the size of the group increased. William A. Rockefeller and Samuel Sloan Walker were among the 18 new recruits in early 1917, and the pilots of Unit #1 were sworn into the Naval Reserve Flying Corps on March 24, 1917.

The unit which trained C. B. Wrightsman, Columbia's Aerial Coast Patrol #4, was engaged in a balloon training camp with St. Louis millionaire Albert Bond Lambert--the St. Louis Lambert family profiled in Part IV of our series here on George Bush 41's grandfather Bert Walker. There were other ACP units as well, including one in Dayton, Ohio, of which Harold E. Talbott, Jr., whose father was president of the Dayton-Wright company, was part.

After his Naval Aviation service during the war, C.B. went abroad to Roumania and Russia, to "make investigations of petroleum markets and production" for his father's company. We must assume he also reported back to the appropriate government officials at the time. President Woodrow Wilson had been re-elected in 1916, and his head of the War Council of the Red Cross, banker Henry P. Davison, was father of two of the young men who instigated the group of college men with which C.B. trained. F. Trubee Davison in 1951 would be named director of personnel for the newly established Central Intelligence Agency, leaving us to wonder if he had not been involved in the agency from its first days.

C.B. Wrightsman, poloist
Intriguingly, Wrightsman claimed that he first saw polo played in 1921 at the Westchester Cup. That event took place at Meadow Brook, the polo fields closest to Bert Walker's Long Island residence, and all the players lived nearby. More than a decade after watching his first polo match, Wrightsman was still an avid polo enthusiast, frequenting clubs such as Gulf Stream in Florida, developed by, among others, the Phipps brothers and Stewart Ighlehart, close neighbors of George Herbert (Bert) Walker in Old Westbury, Long Island.

Gulf Stream polo fields
The Wrightsmans in 1935 gave their address as Wheatley Hills in Old Westbury, the same address used, not only by the Walker family, but also by Cornelius Vanderbilt "Sonny" Whitney, frequent polo teammate of Tommy Hitchcock, Jr. In 1939 Wrightsman would still be playing with his team known as the Texas Rangers, against Hitchcock's team. Sonny Whitney was not only an heir to his mother's Vanderbilt fortune, he was also a pilot who ran an airline company, and he was heir to a fortune from his father, Harry Payne Whitney, from whom Bert Walker and Averell Harriman acquired the first horses with which they set up a partnership known as Log Cabin Stud based in Wheatley Hills, Old Westbury.

Palm Beach polo
The Phipps land in Florida was purchased by Henry Phipps in 1912, when he paid $90,000 for one-thousand feet of vacant oceanfront land located on Palm Beach’s North End, but the family eventually amassed 25 miles of ocean-front property, and they "financed the Miami International Airport, the Venetian Causeway and the University of Miami, as well as developed the Miami Shores and Bay Point subdivisions. Their portfolio included the two miles of oceanfront that became the Town of Gulf Stream." In 1923 they built the Gulf Stream Golf Club. Before that, however, they had constructed the polo grounds next to the Everglades Club.

Polo near Meadow Brook
Within this circle of millionaire sportsman, George Herbert Walker had insinuated himself. We do not know the exact location of the residence he acquired in the early 1920 at Wheatley Hills, Old Westbury, but we do know it was surrounded by polo fields and golf courses, not to mention fellow horse breeders.

The sale to W.A. Harriman & Co.

Carl Dresser's marriage to Pauline became a casualty of divorce in 1927, the year after he sold his father's company to W. A. Harriman & Co., whose president was G. H. "Bert" Walker. Pauline appealed the Oklahoma decree regarding alimony, alleging fraud by Carl in his monetary evaluation of his Dresser Manufacturing Co. stock. The court's opinion ruled against her, stating the facts as follows:
They were married in 1916, he being 25 years old, the son of wealthy parents, and worth over $1,000,000, among his assets being some Dresser Manufacturing Company stock upon which this litigation principally turns. That was a close corporation, and the stock was held in the family. She was 26 years of age, but in both marital and financial experience was much older than he, having been married and divorced, then facing the world with one child six years, and one three years, of age, with a total financial worth, according to her own testimony, of about $15,000, principally the proceeds, over attorney's fees, of $23,000 alimony. He owned a gas company and a torpedo company, but later sold them. About two years after marriage they moved to Tulsa, Okla., and he was reported in 1919 and 1920 as worth $2,000,000, largely speculative, paper value of oil leases, although he did have considerable production. In 1919 and 1920 and subsequently he spent about $750,000 in drilling many dry wildcat wells, but much of that was paid from production, of which he once had considerable, and much was met from the proceeds of the sale of leases around the drilling sites. That did not put him on the verge of bankruptcy and in the terribly embarrassing condition existing at the time of the divorce. That condition was due to expenditures for living expenses, which ran about $100,000 a year, and which she refused to appreciably reduce. His stock in the Dresser Manufacturing Company in 1925 and 1926 paid about $60,000 in dividends each year, and in 1927 about $70,000.
The opinion seemed to conclude that the divorce had stemmed from Pauline's desire for a living standard exceeding their means, which caused Carl's inability to pay debts. Part of the difficulty, the court concluded, was that the manufacturing company was not a public corporation and had no market for its shares. It was for that reason, we have been told by Darwin Payne, in his book Initiatives in Energy, that Carl sought out the W.A. Harriman & Co. investment bank. Additional facts are given in the same opinion:
The Harriman deal came about because Mr. Atkins [bookkeeper for S. R. Dresser Manufacturing Co., called as a witness by Pauline] knew Mr. [Alexander O.] Cushny of that concern and sold him the idea of getting control. Carl Dresser was in debt and had to have money, and at first W. A. Harriman & Co. loaned him $225,000, out of which Mr. Atkins got a commission of $15,000. Later he borrowed $15,000. And in closing up the deal they paid $17,000 on his debts, paid $30,000 to his [Carl's] second wife [Gloria Jack], whom he married December 13, 1927, about eight months after the divorce, and issued the balance, $555,000 of paper price to her in class A stock, 12,000 shares at $46.25 each. Also, in the original agreement they agreed to loan him up to $400 a share on up to 500 more shares, evidently to permit him to try to get the stock from his brother [Richard], in which he was unsuccessful. Also, they took an option on the 1,000 shares at $650 a share, but nothing indicates that they would have exercised it if the deal had not gone through. Nobody got $850, that price to Carl Dresser being largely a paper price, and the others got only a paper price of $700 share, plus about $38 tax, which would be a paper price of $738,000 for 1,000 shares, which was the number owned by Carl Dresser, if the owner paid the tax from his own money. If we were to adopt either price as a basis to work from, the price to the others would be the better basis, for they did not have to sell, and none of that was for aiding in putting over the deal. The other stockholders took new stock for about all of the price, and it seems that had they not done so, the deal would not have been made, for W. A. Harriman & Co. put as little money in as it had to, and busied itself in getting it out with despatch.
The above details of this opinion were not made public until April 1933, two years after Carl's death from "liver trouble," and five years after his remarriage in 1927 to Gloria Jack of Kane, Pennsylvania. We know, however, from Darwin Payne's book that what followed next was putting Neil Mallon in place as Dresser's president. In 1931, instead of selling or dividing the Dresser company, the stock was shifted to the new Brown Brothers Harriman company, of which Prescott Bush became a partner. Bert Walker remained at the old offices (39 Broadway) while Prescott moved to the new digs--Brown Brothers offices at 59 Wall Street.

Four months after losing her appeal against division of the Dresser assets, Pauline made headlines once again: "Pauline Dresser To Wed Col. Rogers". The friendships she had made in Tulsa in 1922 paying dividends by 1933.

Port of Missing Men, Southampton
Pauline was honored by an engagement dinner given by her stepdaughter-to-be, Millicent, daughter of Col. Henry Huddleston Rogers. Millicent was then married to an Argentine millionaire named Arturo Peralta Ramos. It is not rightly known exactly how Pauline snared her wealthy third husband. Their wedding took place at Col. Rogers' "summer home" on Long Island. Fortunately for her, Pauline did manage to stay married to her multi-millionaire husband, becoming a widow after only a two-year marriage.

The mansion Pauline inherited in Southampton, Long Island, New York, had also been the scene of Millicent's 1927 wedding to the Argentinian polo player. Intriguingly, Millicent divorced him in December 1935 after a six-week stay in Reno, obtaining her divorce on the same day that "Sidney" Wrightsman obtained a divorce from Irene Wrightsman--the same person Pauline had honored with a tea on the eve of her wedding in Tulsa in 1922. Possibly one of those amazing coincidences?

No mention of the Charles B. Wrightsman divorce has been found, although we know he did marry Jayne Larkin in 1944. His obituary failed to mention his first marriage, which had occurred at the time the Dressers had known them in Tulsa in 1922 and produced two daughters, Irene Margaret and Charlene. The daughters were living with their divorced mother in a modest apartment building in Santa Monica in 1940, a mile from the Pacific Coast highway. Five years earlier they had all lived at the Warwick Hotel in Houston, and C.B. had his office for Standard Oil of Kansas at #1540 Mellie Esperson Building.

In May 1937, Walter Hoving, after leaving Chicago and obtaining new employment as president of Lord & Taylor in New York, married Pauline at her New York City apartment on 57th Street, and they immediately sailed to Bermuda, along with her son (Bradley Steese Dresser) and his new wife--a sort of double honeymoon. 

Pauline received one-third of the income from Rogers' estate for the remainder of her life, including the use of the Port of Missing Men property pictured above:
a lavish estate in Southampton on Long Island, ... set on 1400 acres of prime land, including an 800-acre shooting preserve called The Cow Neck and a 400-acre lake, called Scallop Pond. As designed by the renowned architect John Russell Pope, the Rodgers’ manor house resembled not one, but several modest Colonial cottages, all strung together, to form an abode of palatial proportions with opulent appointments, not so different from Marie Antoinette’s retreat at Versailles. It included perhaps the most lavish Greco-Roman indoor swimming pool ever conceived in this country, which has since been destroyed.
Pauline would later be described by stepson, Thomas Hoving, in his 1994 book--Making the Mummies Dance: Inside The Metropolitan Museum Of Art--as a woman for whom he "developed an instant hatred" (page 85). Tom's parents were divorced when he was five, in August 1936, only seven months before Pauline married his father, and he recalled spending summers with two governesses at Pauline's Long Island estate as his stepmother tried to teach him how to live "in society."

During cooler months when he lived as a boy in Manhattan, Tom would go to the Hovings' apartment on the top floor of River House, 435 East 52nd Street on the East River. Sonny Whitney had a residence one building down at the corner of First Avenue, and Bert Walker's Manhattan residence was a few doors away at One Sutton Place South. Tom would even hint in his book about a possible romance between his stepmother Pauline and Charlie Wrightsman.

The Exxon story, too, is also hinted at here, but further research articles will hopefully bring it into clearer focus.


[1] Frederick Townsend Martin wrote the book from which the quote is taken about three years before his death. When his brother's obituary appeared in the Washington Post (1913), Frederick was said to be "a Bowery settlement worker." The real "idle" wealth of Frederick's brother came in the form of his wife's inheritance of hundreds of millions from her parents, with which she became noted for exceptionally elaborate balls at the Waldorf-Astoria.

[2] In Atlantic City, Pauline apparently encountered her ex-husband with an actress using the name Mae Francis, (a niece of "Wild Bill" Donovan, a famous baseball player of the day, not the spy). Steese, in his roadster, was insanely racing against aviator E. Kenneth Jaquith, flying above him. Steese married the actress early in 1917. The next time he was heard from, however, he was married to a woman named Blanche, with whom in 1925 he had built a house at Lake Salubria near Bath, New York, and moved there from Ohio. When Steese's mother died in 1929, Blanche was named Executrix. Soon after that, he received another inheritance from Anna Steese Baldwin, his late father's sister. He had no problem inheriting from family, but he suffered no qualms it seems in disinheriting his own two sons, giving them up to be raised by Pauline's second husband.