Saturday, December 26, 2020

Why We Never Stamp Out Organized Crime

This story begins in 1951 when two sons of Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt--each son born to a different wife and each wife born to a filthy rich father--acquired 35,000 acres in southwest Florida, with the idea of turning it into a cattle ranch. Their youngest brother George did not invest with them, having his own ranch in Hawaii.

Genealogical History in Context

Alfred (son of Cornelius V. Vanderbilt II) had died in 1915 while aboard the S.S. Lusitania, leaving three sons born to two of his wives. 

The eldest of his sons, William H. Vanderbilt (born in 1901, to distinguish him from his grandfather and uncle), was fourteen when Alfred was killed by the German torpedo. A year later, when the United States declared war on Germany, William's mother (Ellen French Vanderbilt) allowed him to join the Navy at age 15, and the Navy gave him the title of Midshipman. One of the friends he made during the war was Paul FitzSimons, Jr., from Washington, D.C., whose father was a career Navy doctor. Paul visited his young friend in Newport, R.I. after the war, met William's mom, and soon married her, although she was nine years his senior. Notwithstanding the age gap, they were compatible and lived together until their deaths in the late 40’s.

Alfred G., Jr. (eleven years younger than his half-brother) had, in the meantime, been growing up in the home of his own mother, Margaret Emerson Vanderbilt, who had married Alfred Sr. in 1911--the same year, incidentally that her own father, Isaac E. Emerson, the Bromo Seltzer king, remarried, after being dumped by Margaret's mother Emily a/k/a Emelie. 

As an interesting sideline, it can be noted that at least four years before Emily formally married C. Hazeltine Basshor of Baltimore in 1912, her name was listed in the Baltimore directory as Emily Basshor at his address, though she was still married to Emerson. The Captain sued her for divorce, naming Basshor as co-respondent, most likely at the urging of Anne McCormack, who was full of schemes.

Isaac & Anne Emerson
In 1910 Emerson used his fizzy antacid fortune to acquire a huge estate in the Green Spring Valley of Maryland hunt country, and before long married Anne, along with her two teenage children--thus setting the stage for an elaborate wedding that was to come in 1913. 

That historic year 1913--when Colonel House, handler for Woodrow Wilson, pushed through the Federal Reserve Act--symbolically linked the new banking system with the old Bank of the United States, whose shareholders primarily lived in that part of Maryland. Thus did the wedding of Emerson's stepdaughter, Ethel McCormack, to Francis Huger McAdoo, son of Secretary of the Treasury William Gibbs McAdoo, represent the merger of both public and private wealth ruling the United States. Ethel's marriage--terminated by divorce only after four children were born--barely survived Wilson's presidency. 

Emerson's elder daughter Margaret and her two sons, Alfred Jr. and younger brother, George Vanderbilt, just on the cusp of power, watched from the wings as Ethel divorced McAdoo to marry a Chicagoan named W. Winchester Keith, son of one of the wealthy Brown sisters, who had actually once inhabited Brookland Wood as children, descendants of Baltimore banker, Alexander Brown. 

In fact, Emerson had acquired the Maryland estate known as Brookland Wood soon after H. Carroll Brown (an uncle of Winchester Keith) lost title to it because of a lawsuit filed against him by the estate of his deceased wife, Margaret Daly Brown. The plaintiffs consisted of her brother--Marcus Daly, Jr., son of the Copper King--and Bankers Trust, as executor and trustee, respectively.

 In an agreement to settle the lawsuit, Capt. Emerson agreed to lease the estate for three years, beginning December 1, 1911, and thereafter to purchase it for $400,000. Other parties to the agreement included another Daly sister--formerly Harriot Daly, who had been a close friend of Gladys Vanderbilt, the youngest sister of Alfred, Sr., at that time Gladys' sister-in-law.

Gladys had married Count Laszlo Szechenyi in 1908 when her family paid a $5 million dowry to Laszlo's destitute but "royal" family. Within three years her new husband had lost $7 million speculating on the Bourse. Gladys threatened divorce, but someone must have put his finances in order. He had been the first minister from Hungary to the United States and later served at the Court of St. James.

Two years after Gladys' wedding, the Daly family arranged for Harriot to become a Countess also, marrying her off to Count Anton Sigray of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. Another sister was married to Judge James W. Gerard, also parties to the estate's lawsuit.

This was the background of these two Florida ranchers who decided to go into ranching in Florida in 1951. Both of their mothers had been at different times, sisters-in-law of Countess Gladys

William's mother (Ellen French) and Alfred had divorced at about the time all these royal shenanigans began to take place, and she remained with him in Rhode Island while her ex-husband (Alfred Vanderbilt, Sr.) moved to London, taking advantage of his sister's new-found position at the Court of St. James. He was living at Gloucester House the day of his wedding to Mrs. Margaret Emerson McKim, even then fighting off litigation.

 After Margaret had divorced Dr. Smith Hollins McKim in Reno, her ex-husband threatened a lawsuit for alienation of affections against Alfred, Margaret's father (Isaac Emerson) and her future stepmother, who was a real piece of work. According to one newspaper dated February 22, 1911:

Papers were signed which released Vanderbilt, Doctor Emerson, his daughter, and Mrs. Frederick McCormick [Anne Preston McCormack, a widow, who married Emerson the following July] from any legal action resultant from Mrs. McKim divorcing her husband.

In consideration of this release Doctor McKim was given a large sum of money to be paid in semiannual installments, as well as a lump sum awarded chiefly for counsel fees. Attorney Herschfield admitted today that an arrangement had been reached by which Doctor McKim ceased all litigation.

The agreement was the result of a series of conferences. Reports have been circulated that Doctor McKim intended to bring suit against Vanderbilt for the alleged alienating of his wife's affections. There also have been rumors that an engagement existed between Mrs. McKim and Vanderbilt.

Mrs. McKim has been occasionally in the society of Vanderbilt. At the last horse show she was a visitor in his box. During the season at Newport, several years ago, Mrs. McKim met Vanderbilt often in the same social events.

Alfred, Jr. would be born to Margaret in London in 1912, but George's birth was in Newport in 1914, only months before the boys' father's body would sink to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Incidentally, Margaret's mother (now Mrs. Emilie Basshor) became a widow in 1914, when her husband of two years was rumored to have committed suicide by shooting himself in the neck. Thereafter Emilie sold her Baltimore real estate and bought a residence/hotel near the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where she lived until her death in 1921. Rather than completely disown Margaret from  her will, Emilie left her youngest daughter "a portion of the silverware."

In 1918, three years after Margaret's husband had settled into his liquid grave, she married Raymond Thomas Baker, who had recently been appointed Director of the United States Mint by President Wilson. He served in that position until 1922, then ran unsuccessfully in 1926 for the U.S. Senate from Nevada, where some years earlier Baker had struck gold in his western mines.

Margaret divorced Baker in 1928 in order to marry Lt. Col. Charles Minot Amory from Boston and Beverly, Massachusetts. Son of Francis Inman Amory, Sr., Col. Amory had, in 1919, received an emergency diplomatic passport to travel to Europe, at the request of then-Senator Henry Cabot Lodge. That was the year Lodge, according to his Senate biography, "began an assault on President Woodrow Wilson's proposal to establish a League of Nations that ultimately culminated in the Senate's rejection of the Treaty of Versailles." Amory was, therefore, sent to Europe to further Lodge's goal of sabotaging Wilson. Lodge believed the League of Nations would get the U.S. involved in "entangling alliances," which the Founding Fathers had warned against.

Margaret was married to Amory, whose family were long-time residents of Palm Beach, Florida, until 1934. That was her last marriage, and despite her children having the Vanderbilt surname, she changed back into Margaret Emerson.

The Two-V Ranch in Charlotte County, Florida

Called the “Two-V Ranch,” the 35,000 acres the brothers bought had an Englewood, Florida, address long before Englewood had been developed. Somewhere on the estate William and his second wife, Anne Gordon Colby, built a house, and they became winter residents for several years before their divorce in 1969. One source states that he built a large gulf front home on Manasota Key, and another that their home was  in Punta Gorda on Englewood Beach. These descriptions could well be of the same house. 

Alfred, Jr. constructed a residence at Cape Haze but rarely visited the area. Alfred showed no interest in cattle ranching, other than in investing money with his older brother from a different mother. But he did raise horses, which he raced at Hialeah, as did other Vanderbilt and Whitney cousins, who all had mansions in Palm Beach, where they socializing with fellow transplanted millionaires more like themselves. 

Alfred Jr. lived for the most part on Long Island, not far from those same cousins--notably, the more well-known polo playing millionaire C. V. (Sonny) Whitney and John Hay (Jock) Whitney. The Whitneys and their associates had for decades made up a big part of the power elite in politics and diplomacy. In an earlier era, that wealth centered around the railroads they controlled in New York and its connecting links.

The Vanderbilt name undoubtedly helped William get a commission as Commander of Naval Intelligence in WWII, W.H. had been assigned as deputy administrator to Col. William J. Donovan in the Office of War Information (OWI), which became the office of the Coordinator of Information (CoI) and later the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). As the war ramped up, he was re-assigned to the staff of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet. After the war William returned to Rhode Island and was elected as its governor for one term before deciding to become a rancher.

W.H. gave rural Florida—CrackerLand, my friend Daniel Hopsicker likes to call it—a real whirl, getting himself named to local bank boards and fund drives—even joining with citizens of Venice, Nokomis and Laurel in Sarasota County to contribute a grant to Englewood public schools in 1953. 

He had been well-acquainted with the rancher whose property bordered Two-V—a man named Arthur C. Frizzell—who sold the remainder of his land in 1954 to Florida West Coast Land Development Co. of Miami Beach. The Two-V had actually been carved out of a previous sale Frizzell had made to this same company.

Meyer Lansky showed up in Florida in the early 1930s and welcomed all members of the "Five Families" to set up shop in the state, the majority living or working out of Miami Beach. Lansky himself chose Hollywood in Broward County for his home, but operated his clubs and gambling casinos in nearby Hallandale in the southern part of Broward County. The northern part of the county was, of course, Fort Lauderdale.


Florida West Coast Land Development Company (FWCLDC) divided up Frizzell's thousands of acres into numerous tracts and transferred title to General Development Company, comprised at that time of Mackle Construction and Louis Chesler from Toronto, Canada, who had links to Meyer Lansky. The Vanderbilts held onto their acreage for fifteen more years, until 1969--the same year William and his second wife, Alfred Jr.’s mother, were divorced, 1969. 

The following year William, who had bought a large property near Williamstown, Massachusetts, remarried the former Mrs. John Ransom (Helen Cummings) Cook, and they began to spend more time in New England, but also retained a residence at Punta Gorda until William’s death in 1981. Afterwards, Helen Vanderbilt lived for several years in an assisted living home (Harbor Inn at 321 W. Venice Avenue) in downtown Venice, Florida, a mile or so east of Venice Beach.

Was there more to that story we don’t know?

(To be continued )





Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Robert Swan Mueller III -- Part I

I began writing this article early in the Donald Trump administration, shortly after Robert S. Mueller III was appointed to write a report about Russians meddling in the 2016 election. Some were saying at the time that Mueller could not be trusted to give us the real truth about what really happened. Already shocked by all the lies Trump had told during his campaign, I held on to hope that all would be revealed when Mueller got to the bottom of what the Russian government had done to make him into our President.

So much has happened in the intervening two years since I began this research. Our country will never be the same. I will label this post as Part I of the story of Robert Swan Mueller III, though I may not hereafter have the will or inclination--or the time--to complete it.


There is a lot of garbage on the internet spouted by the likes of RCM (2016 Bernie supporter) in the insert to the right. I posted an item on Facebook about the CIA background of William Barr, about whom I had read in Terry Reed's book, Compromised, published in 1995, while Bill Clinton was still President. The YouTube video lists all the mentions of Barr in Terry Reed's book.

Instead of making a comment about Barr, Bernie Bro RCM tried to sully the character of Robert Mueller by pretending to know all about his ancestors and those of his late wife, Ann Cabell Standish. I had already done research on them after being asked by a friend about the same erroneous details. But, since I had not saved my previous research, I started again. What follows is the story I learned.

Dr. Gustave A. Mueller
Dr. Gustave Adolph Mueller was the first of Robert Mueller III's Prussian branch of family to be born in America--born ten years after his parents arrived from Bremen on the S.S. Beethoven. Arriving with August C. E. Mueller, then 33, and his wife, the former Fredericka Dorshlag, were their three eldest children. They made their way to Crestline, Ohio, where August worked as a farmer, and more daughters were born before Gustave, the youngest of seven, the only boy, was born in 1863.

Eventually August would move his family 165 miles farther east to North Shore (Allegheny, Pittsburgh) Pennsylvania, in time for the 1870 census. A directory from 1876 shows that August's family lived at 159 Madison Avenue--a site within walking distance of the river, which is now dwarfed by highways, overpasses and bridges--and that he had become a machinist.
Robert Swan Mueller's mother was Grace Swan Miller.

While he was the city physician for what was then Allegheny, Pennsylvania, he married his first wife on April 15, 1891, and she gave birth in 1893 to their only child, Robert Swan Mueller, given the same middle name as his mother--being the maiden name of his grandmother. Gustave took his wife Grace and their baby son to Hamburg on June 11, 1895 in order to pursue further education in the specialty in ear, nose and throat medicine. His wife's unmarried aunt, Janet Swan, went along as a companion and nurse/nanny.

A year and a half after that voyage commenced, Grace executed her last will, dated January 15, 1897, leaving all her property to Gustave. The will was witnessed by Janet Swan and Gustave's sister, Clara Mueller, who was also a teacher in the Allegheny area. Grace died three weeks later, and a published  announcement stated that the funeral procession would begin from the home of Grace's uncle, John Swan, at 64 Union Avenue in Allegheny (North Shore). Grace Swan Miller Mueller, had died February 8, 1897, leaving Robert Swan Mueller I behind for Dr. Mueller to attempt to care for on his own.

On April 25, 1900 Dr. Mueller married Nell Day Anderson, a young nurse nine years his junior, and his son Robert Swan Mueller (then age 7) was entrusted to Nell's care for seven years before she gave birth to Gustave Jr. in 1907. Nell had completed her nursing training in 1896 and, most likely, became a nurse not long afterward in the same medical community in which Dr. Mueller was a associated.

Nell's family had relocated from Steubenville, Ohio to Forbes Street in the Bellefield area of Pittsburgh--at that time one of the centers of focus for Andrew Carnegie's purchase of land for his institute and library, as indicated in a letter to Carnegie from his business partner, Henry Frick. Mueller's first wife's family also owned property only a block or so away from the Phipps Conservatory, near the location Carnegie chose for his library. Today, the Mueller home in 1900 (711 Arch Street), the Anderson property on Forbes, and the Swan property at Federal and Erie Streets have been absorbed within what has been called the "massive Carnegie culture complex." Before 1910 Mueller had sold the Arch Street residence and relocated about 13 miles to the east in Oakmont/Hulton area.

When Dr. Mueller, a robust young man of 49, died from typhoid fever, his eldest son—Robert Swan Mueller—was then nineteen and living with his stepmother, Nell Anderson Mueller, and his half brother, Gustave Mueller, Jr. Their marriage had lasted only twelve years, during which time she reared Dr. Mueller's first son and gave birth to the second. Nell was named Administratrix c.t.a. (cum testamento annexo, meaning "with will annexed") upon his death, an indication that the probated hand-written will did not name her as executor. Although, Dr. Mueller and his second wife had had an active social circle during their marriage, which included some of Pittsburgh's notable industrialists, such as Arthur Vining Davis of ALCOA, upon his death their new residence had to be sold, and his widow Nell went back to work. Like many of the Mellon family, owners of Alcoa, A. V. Davis moved to Florida and tried to get richer quick in its land boom, buying property in Sarasota and surrounding counties from the Palmer family.

By 1912 Robert S. Mueller I was ready for boarding school in Easton, Pa—almost on the eastern border of Pennsylvania. By 1920 Nell had moved with Gustave, Jr. to San Diego where she became a telephone operator at the Army and Naval Academy. Even though Gustave Jr. was at Stanford for a time, he seems to have lived with or near his mother most of his life. He did marry Maxine Cigal of Brooklyn in 1965. They lived in Houston at 151 Sage Rd, Houston, TX and also at 4806 Post Oak before their divorce in 1984. He was present to sign the death certificate for Nell who lived to be 100 years old. Her death occurred in 1973 at a nursing home in the same area of Houston near the Galleria. There did not appear to be any contact between them and Robert Mueller.

Swan family background

The 1876 directory mentioned earlier also listed the name of the Hon. John Swan as a member of the state legislature, living at 64 Union Avenue. John was the eldest son of Robert Swan and his wife, Grizzel (Grisela or Grace) Gibson, a couple who in about 1831 immigrated from Scotland. Robert worked as a stonemason, and many of his sons worked for construction contractors. Grace Swan's brother, Alexander Gibson, lived with the Swan family for decades in rural Ross Township, McCandless or Perrysville areas surrounding what was then Allegheny City, a city destined to disappear overnight in 1907 when it became part of Pittsburgh, Northside.

John Swan was the first Swan child born in American after the Scottish couple's immigration, and he had taken an early interest in politics, becoming a Democrat by as early as 1875. He continued in that party, helping to elect Grover Cleveland in 1884, and was rewarded by being named Postmaster of Allegheny until Cleveland lost to Harrison in 1888.
Robert Swan

The genealogy of the Swan family indicates that Robert Swan and Grisel Gibson, Grace Swan Miller's parents, had four sons--John (1832), Robert, Jr. (1837), Samuel (1848) and James (1849)--all of whom lived in the Allegheny area. Their daughters were Marion (born Scotland 1830), who married William Lyons (and died in 1910 leaving seven children); Jeannette "Jean" (1832), who married William Crider; Janet (1834), who never married; and Grace (1841), who married William B. Miller.

Grace's name appeared in the 1850 and 1860 census but not in the census of 1870. By 1880, her daughter, shown as "Grizzell Miller" (age 12), was living with her widowed grandmother "Grizzell" Swan. Also living at the same residence in Ross township at that time was a 40-year-old Janet Swan and James Swan, then 30. In 1891 the young Grizzell Miller, whose legal name was Grace Swan Miller, married Dr. Gustave Mueller, the city physician, who was four years her senior.

John Swan, Jr.
We know John Swan had married Annie Ramsey, and by 1880 had numerous children, including Robert and John Swan, Jr., who were both engineers in charge of Allegheny's public works. John was one of the first postmasters of the town, and his son, John, Jr. would become Deputy Director of the Department of Public Works.

Many of the John Swan's daughters became public school teachers who lived together in their parents' homes, along with brother, John Jr., who was unmarried as well. After her mother's death, Janet Swan also made her home with her nieces and nephew--either at 64 Union Avenue or at 1105 Allegheny Avenue. They would continue living there even after John died in 1897.

Eleanor Swan (1869-1893), a daughter of Robert, Jr., married David M. Alston, an attorney. John Swan also had a son named Robert, in addition to John Swan, Jr.--a detail adding much confusion to sorting out the various Swan families.

In 1916 the Swan family attempted to settle title to some land that had been owned by their parents. Attorney David Alston and his wife filed an ejectment suit naming Gustave's surviving spouse, Nell, and the two sons of her husband, as well as the Criders, Janet Swan and others. Nell countersued on behalf of Gustave Mueller's sons.

 A New Life in Baltimore

While Robert Swan Mueller was at Presbyterian-supported Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania (1911-12) he met Anna Elizabeth Freeman, whose father, Dr. Edward Jacob Freeman, announced their engagement in 1915. Anna was the Freemans' only child to survive to adulthood.

Only two years later, as the United States geared up for war in June of 1917, Robert, who by then had a wife and small son, registered for the military. Instead of becoming a soldier, however, he was employed by National Metal Molding Co. in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, which normally make electrical parts. Controlled by William C. Robinson, this company  officially merged with National Electric Products in 1928, which became a subsidiary corporation in Phelps Dodge in 1930.

Soon after he registered for the draft, Robert found an opportunity to work in Baltimore as a brass purchasing agent for Union Shipbuilding (according to an October 1920 ad in the American Machinist, which erroneously listed his name as R. M. Mueller). The 1920 census confirmed that he was indeed a brass purchaser for the war-related shipping company, while renting a residence at 3551 Newland Avenue, and he was also a member of the Baltimore branch of the National Association of Purchasing Agents, elected secretary-treasurer of the group early in 1921.

Once the war ended, however, the war shipping board was closed down. By 1923 Robert and his wife had purchased an upscale home at 12 Englewood in Baltimore. At that time he opened his own office on the second floor of the Vickers Building, a red brick building on East Redwood, just north of Baltimore's Inner Harbor. On the east side of Vickers (225 E. Redwood) was the Keyser Building at 207 E. Redwood (now a hotel).

Mueller company's location in BALTIMORE
His associate in the fertilizer business was W. Whiteley Baker, Jr., a young man who had been arrested in 1921 for fraud and writing bad checks, after the death of his father. The senior Baker, a vice president at American Agricultural Chemical Company, had suffered a long illness before his retirement and subsequent death in September 1918. The ancestral Whiteley and Baker families had been partners in an international company based in Baltimore which for many decades imported nitrates for fertilizer--operating under the name of H. J. Baker & Bro., which W. W. Baker, Jr. joined after leaving employment with Mueller.

Robert S. Mueller I
Mueller advertised his new company extensively in 1923, but thereafter it appears advertising was unnecessary. By 1926 the Robert S. Mueller Co.—broker for fertilizers and metals—had moved one door west of the Vickers Building to the Garrett Building, located at 237 E. Redwood, where his office would remain for many years. The construction of this building, erected in 1913, had been a project of Robert Garrett (1875-1961), former Olympic athlete. He and his brother, Ambassador John Work Garrett (1872-1942) were the two surviving sons of T. Harrison Garrett II (1843-1888), a third son, Horatio Whitridge Garrett having died in 1896.

T. Harrison Garrett II was a son of John Work Garrett (born in Baltimore in 1820) and a brother of an earlier Robert Garrett (1847-1896), who had married Mary Sloan Frick. A few years after her husband's death, Mary married his doctor, Henry Barton Jacobs. She had no children with either husband. So many Robert Garretts makes it all quite confusing. The Garretts may have wondered about the middle name of Robert Mueller, since their heritage also had a Swan embedded there--stemming from a branch of the Swan family from Dumfries, Scotland, whereas the Swan family in Mueller's family hailed from Lanarkshire. According to The Genealogical and Memorial Encyclopedia of Maryland, at 628, Anne Elizabeth Swan was the mother of Mary Sloan Frick Garrett Jacobs.

Garrett Building Owners

Robert Garrett constructed the office building in Baltimore in 1913 to house the investment banking firm of Robert Garrett & Sons, decades after the Garretts began their primary business of promoting and operating the Baltimore and Ohio (B&) Railroad. The B&O connection affiliated the Garrett family with other Baltimore families, such as Alexander Brown and his sons, who had intermarried with the Whitridge and Keyser families through Isabel Brown Graham's family line--five generations after Alexander Brown started the firm which would eventually become Deutsche Bank Wealth Management (now part of Raymond James).

The Garretts lived in large acreage sites east of the historical area of Roland Park. The original Garrett Italianate mansion, Evergreen, was much grander than any of the Mueller family's homes. In 1910 Ambassador John W. Garrett (a grandson of the first John Work Garrett) purchased 32 acres of land adjacent to Evergreen, where his widowed mother, Mrs. T. Harrison (Alice Whitridge) Garrett, lived and the nearby "Wyndhurst" residence, where his brother Robert resided. John W. Garrett at the time was in his first decade of service in the diplomatic corps. By the time he retired in 1933, his mother had died, and he moved into Evergreen. The acreage he had purchased was subdivided into multi-acre lots, beginning in about 1922.

Robert's son, Harrison Garrett, operated Robert Garret & Sons from post-WWII until his retirement in 1974, when it was sold to Alex. Brown & Sons, also of Baltimore. Another son, Johnson Garrett, married a daughter of Bayard and Mary Bliss Dodge, whose ancestors controlled Phelps-Dodge Company, and he was a civilian employee of NATO in Paris in 1961. There is no indication the Muellers ever traveled within the high-class social circle of the Garretts, but they did manage to get within sight of them.

Robert S. (Bobby) Mueller, Jr.

In late July 1936 the Baltimore Sun announced that Robert S. Mueller had purchased a home at 6 E. Giddings--a two-and-a-half story colonial with five bathrooms. The new residence, like the previous one at 12 Englewood, was located in  Roland Park, developed from plans of the renowned Olmstead Brothers just west of Evergreen, the stately home of Garrett family, now within the campus of Loyola University. Both homes were within easy reach of the Gilman Country School, which the children attended.

Robert S. ("Bobby") Mueller, Jr., the eldest, graduated from Gilman in 1934 and then headed off to Princeton, a different Presbyterian college than his father had attended, to join the class of 1938. Like his parents, Bobby enjoyed all the amenities of their social set, including golf and sailboat racing, and at Gilman had played lacrosse and football.

During the mid-1930s, Mueller Sr.’s business was doing well enough that they acquired a second home on Gibson Island, a project planned in 1922 by developers Stuart and Thomas Symington, who went bankrupt because of the inauspicious timing of the project. The Muellers were also members of the Baltimore Country Club and participated in numerous regattas with elite members of other clubs located on the Chesapeake Bay.

One such club had members such as Nina and Patsy Raskob, daughters of John J. Raskob, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who worked for and with the du Pont family, and had a strategic role in Franklin Roosevelt’s first term. Raskob's employer, Eugene Eleuthere du Pont, won a racing award in one of the events also. By August 1934 du Pont was united with other members of his elite family from Wilmington, Delaware, in opposition to FDR’s New Deal, and, according to an online history source: "former party chairman John J. Raskob joined corporate leaders such as Alfred P. Sloan of General Motors, the DuPont family, and others to oppose the administration in advance of the year’s congressional elections....Many wealthy critics labeled Roosevelt a 'traitor to his class.'”

The closest friends of young “Bobby Mueller” during those days, however, were sailing enthusiasts in the Gibson Island Yacht club, such as the John Rulon-Miller, Jr. family. A civil engineer, Rulon-Miller, Jr. owned a residence on Charles Avenue next door to Robert Garrett and also owned a second home on Gibson Island before his untimely death in July 1931. A Princeton graduate of the class of 1905, John had grown up northwest of Philadelphia, in or near Haverford, Pennsylvania, and had moved to Baltimore in 1916 after his marriage to Anna "Nancy" Richmond Taylor, daughter of J. Bonsall Taylor, a Philadelphia patent lawyer.

Anna had spent most of her childhood winters abroad with her family, and her sister, Margaretta Bonsall Taylor, who had married in 1907 Dr. Charles Adams Holder, a physician, who had recently divorced. Holder entered the consular service in 1909 and was appointed by Robert Lansing in 1915 to be Woodrow Wilson's trade adviser. Anna's niece Margaretta "Peggy" Bonsall Holder, who had lived with her aunt in Baltimore for a few months in 1929 during her debutante year, was by 1931 competing in the Paris horse show. But then John Rulon Miller died from a hear condition in 1931.

Anna was remarried in July 1933 to the recently divorced Douglas Elphinstone, a construction machinery dealer, who lived on Blythewood Road. They returned from France on September 3, 1933, less than a year after Anna's sister had died in Paris. The following year Anna's new husband also died, but  she wasted no time in remarrying George Blakiston, Jr., seven years her junior, in February 1936. George's father had been president of the Union Trust Co., as well as a former manager of the Hotel Belvedere for several years. They made their home in the rear of 6 Blythewood Road in 1940, but had divorced before he registered for the draft in 1942.

During Anna's three marriages, the Rulon-Miller sons were attending Gilman School, Princeton and sailing during the summer months at Gibson Island. Son Berkeley T. Rulon-Miller, died at the age of 23 in 1937.

Richmond Rulon Miller, their third son, was, in fact, on the lacrosse team with Bobby at Princeton. Another friend in the 1938 class at Princeton was Francis Huger McAdoo, Jr., grandson of Woodrow Wilson’s secretary of treasury, William Gibbs McAdoo, who had himself twice been an unsuccessful Democratic Presidential candidate before becoming a U.S. Senator from California in 1932, but was not reelected in 1938. F.H. McAdoo, Jr.'s mother was Ethel Preston McCormack, an adopted daughter of Bromo-Seltzer inventor Isaac E. Emerson, who bought the estate of Brookland Wood in the Green Spring Valley north of Baltimore. Ethel Emerson and Francis H. McAdoo divorced in Paris in 1923, and in 1929 she was married to Walter Winchester Keith, grandson of George Brown, a previous owner of Brookland Wood, but they divorced in 1936.
Emerson also had a natural daughter--Margaret Emerson--who had been the surviving widow of Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, Sr., one of the wealthy men who died aboard the Lusitania in 1915. With him she had two sons, A. G. Vanderbilt, Jr. and George Washington Vanderbilt, who would grow up in Lenox, Massachusetts from 1918 during her subsequent ten-year marriage to Raymond Thomas Baker, Director of the U.S. Mint. What a tangled web of money and power! And I left half of it out, or else we would all be confused.
Both Bobby Mueller and McAdoo were ushers in Richmond Rulon-Miller’s wedding in 1939. McAdoo married that same year. In an interview with the Princeton Ivy Vine newsletter, he recounted memories of his time at Princeton, including roommates who had known John F. Kennedy--who had dropped out of Princeton due to illness after entering the class of 1939.

The Truesdale Family

It may have been while he was at Princeton that Bobby met his future bride, Alice Truesdale, daughter of the youngest child of William H. Truesdale, a railroad president who had risen quickly in the ranks to succeed the notable Samuel Sloan in 1899.

After five years in the Chicago area, William H. Truesdale was selected to head the New York-based Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad, which Sloan had led for many years. Sloan resigned as president and moved to the new office of Chairman of the Board of Managers, leaving a committee of three (including William Rockefeller and George F. Baker) to name his replacement. 

In 1901 Truesdale gave his eldest daughter Marie in marriage to a man 18 years her senior, Richard M. Bissell from Lake Forest, Illinois. The Truesdales had been members within the same Lake Forest, Illinois, social set since only September of 1894, when they had moved from Minneapolis. Not long after the wedding Marie new husband relocated them to Hartford, Connecticut where he had been named president of The Hartford insurance company. Business and social friends who bestowed gifts on the couple included Honore Palmer, Potter Palmer, Jr., Marshall Field, James Stillman, William Rockefeller, and Samuel Sloan.

Nine years after the Truesdale-Bissell wedding, the 1910 census reflects Marie had three children ranging from six years and birth, though the family had nine live-in servants to attend to every need.
Marie Truesdale Bissell’s first child—William Truesdale Bissell—born in Illinois in December 1902, would, like his father, go to Yale, class of 1925, where he would be tapped for Skull and Bones. His future was cut out for him, to rise to high office in the same insurance company—The Hartford—where his father was president. It was the youngest son, born in 1909, however, who became his father’s namesake. Richard Mervin Bissell, Jr. entered Yale in 1928, after six years at Groton.

Marie Truesdale’s younger siblings, Calvin and Melville, grew up in nearby Greenwich, Connecticut, from which their father would commute to his office in New York. Calvin (Yale’s class of 1907), was a member of the glee and banjo club, but was also tapped for Skull and Bones with fellow classmate William McCormick Blair. Calvin became a securities broker and investment banker, living out his life in Greenwich.
Melville Truesdale's voyage to Japan, 1915
The youngest child in the family, Melville Douglas Truesdale, graduated in the Yale class of 1915, which included Dean Acheson and four other friends who made a voyage to Japan the summer of 1915, keeping an “anonymous log” of their trip, mentioned in a biography of Acheson. See excerpt to the right from that biography.

It should be noted here that Dean Acheson, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's acting secretary of the treasury, resigned in protest in FDR's first year in office, as described below by Gauti B. Eggertsson.
On the monetary side  Roosevelt  announced  that  the  value  of  the  dollar  was  no  longer  tied  to  the  price  of  gold, effectively giving the administration unlimited power to print money. The overarching goal of these policies was to inflate the price level, and Roosevelt announced that this would be achieved through all possible means, stating: “If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another. Do it, we will.” ...

During Roosevelt’s first year in office, several senior government officials resigned in protest. These included Lewis Douglas. Acting Secretary of the Treasury Dean Acheson was forced to resign due to his opposition to unbalanced budgets and the elimination of the gold standard. These policies violated three almost universally accepted policy dogmas of the time: (a) the gold standard, (b) the principle of balanced budget, and (c) the commitment to small government. Interestingly, the end of the gold standard and the monetary and fiscal expansion were largely unexpected, since all these policies violated the Democratic presidential platform.The data are highly suggestive of a regime change and a large shift in expectations.
In 1943, a decade after this resignation occurred, Dean Acheson's daughter, Mary Eleanor, was given in marriage to William Putnam Bundy, also Skull and Bones, and a member of the same extended family as William McCormick Blair--Calvin Truesdale's Bonesman brother. Bundy's sister Katherine Lawrence Bundy, married Dr. Hugh Dudley Auchincloss, II, Gordon's nephew. Gordon Auchincloss takes us back to Samuel Sloan, the man who had virtually created the railroad to which William Truesdale was promoted in 1899.

Gordon's mother, Maria LaGrange "Maggie" Sloan, was the eldest daughter of Samuel Sloan. Her husband, Edgar Stirling Auchincloss (born in 1847), was one of four brothers who established a mercantile firm known as Auchincloss Brothers in New York: John L., Edgar Stirling, John Winthrop and Hugh Dudley, while their sister Sarah married Sir James Coats, 1st Baronet, of J. and P. Coats Ltd, sewing cotton manufacturers in the United Kingdom, which later became Coats & Clark.

Gordon was one of seven sons of Edgar and Maggie Sloan Auchincloss. Gordon would ultimately be married to a daughter of the notorious Democrat from Texas, Colonel Edward M. House, while yet another relative named Hugh Auchincloss married the mother of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, becoming her stepfather.
There was no official intelligence service in America until the CIA, preceded by its largely unfunded preliminary attempts at information gathering, was created.  But there were what I call "rich people," who were concerned about maintaining their investments abroad. Our elected governments were more or less dependent upon those millionaires to use their own funds to inform "us" about whatever it is those leaders wanted to know.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Just Hanging out Together: The Presidents Bush Part VI

See previous segments of The Presidents Bush at this blog:

Part I                    Part II                            Part III                          Part IV                         Part V

G. H. Walker's Whitney Connection

George Herbert (Bert) Walker reached his maturity in St. Louis Society during the 1890's--the Gilded Age. International trade was on the gold standard; therefore, Europeans who held credits in dollars could demand to exchange them for gold. Foreign investors in American stocks and bonds would receive dividends and interest in dollars, which could then be converted into gold. There was more gold being shipped out than there was coming in, and banks, consequently, were constantly having to locate new sources to replace the gold reserves that backed the paper currency. 
These were the decades that followed the destruction of the second Bank of the United States and before creation of the Federal Reserve, when bank panics occurred without warning on the average of every seven years. Foreign investors felt it would be less than prudent to rely on American currency to retain its value sitting idly in their accounts.

Wealthy professional members of established American families attempted to create the means of counteracting the periodic instability of the economy by establishing a secret society at Yale in 1832.

Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, elected to two non-consecutive terms during the last two decades of that century, made the gold drain his biggest campaign issue--how to keep gold reserves which backed American currency from being shipped across the ocean into the pockets of Europeans who had invested in American paper (stocks and bonds). This gold-drain issue was explained in our sister blog, Where the Gold Is but supplemented below.

August Belmont, Rothschilds Agent

A Prussian banker who had worked for Rothschild Bank in Frankfurt, August (Schoenberg) Belmont, had been sent by his employer to look into its loans in Cuba in 1837. When his ship arrived in the New York port in May, he learned of massive bank failures, including that of Rothschild's former agent in Philadelphia, R & J Phillips, and its current agents--in Baltimore, J.I. Cohen Jr., and in New York, J.L. & S. Josephs. Instead of sailing to Cuba, he opened an office at 78 Wall Street in New York City. This unauthorized action somewhat irritated the London house of Rothschild which had, in 1834, been "awarded the commission to represent United States' banking interests in Europe, hitherto in the hands of Baring Bros."  Presumably, the commission came from President Andrew Jackson's administration.

In July, the Paris branch acknowledged to newspapers that a new bank was being set up in New York for Rothschilds, without announcing its name. Internal letters from the time are quoted by Niall Ferguson in his book, The House of Rothschild: Volume 1: Money's Prophets: 1798-1848, indicating James Rothschild's distrust of Belmont's ability: "He is a stupid young man….Such an ass needs to be kept on a short leash."

August Belmont was allowed to represent Rothschilds in New York under his own name. He became an American citizen in 1844 and for several years represented the commercial interests of the Austrian Hapsburg empire as consul in the New York region. During these years he made the acquaintance of John Slidell, Jr.,  a New York cotton broker with business connections in Natchez and New Orleans. 
Slidell's father had operated a candle and soap factory at 50 Broadway before his death in 1804. In The Old Merchants of New York City, the author, using the pseudonym Walter Barrett, called John Slidell Jr. "the future ex-senator, Rebel Minister, and so forth".

Frank Leslie, writing in 1862, with an equally sardonic twist of wit, described Slidell as the "Louisianan Gothamite," whose Machiavelism was "cunning almost to the verge of wisdom," a trait that led President Andrew Jackson to nominate him as United States Attorney in New Orleans. 
Slidell was elected to Congress from Louisiana in 1842, and from that position received an appointment as envoy to Mexico in an attempt to avoid war over Texas. Following that failure, he linked up with his old pal Senator Mason of New York to become the "Cardinal Richelieu of the present gigantic Secession"--otherwise known as the "Trent Affair".

Sen. John Slidell of Louisiana
By 1849, when Belmont married Caroline Slidell Perry, he had become extremely wealthy--wealthy enough to bestow on his bride and her family what was then a huge dowry (inset above left).

Caroline's uncle, John Slidell, Jr. was yet to become a U.S. Senator from Louisiana. Her mother, the former Jane Slidell, had married a brother of the noted naval officer Oliver Hazard Perry--Matthew Calbraith Perry--both men sons of yet another naval officer who sailed "on the Havanna station." 
The elder Perry enlisted his services for the cause of the revolution, and was rewarded with a commission in the newly named United States Navy, for which his sons fought in the war of 1812. Oliver was destined to die after receiving accolades as the "hero of the battle of Lake Erie".

At the time Belmont began his banking business in New York his future bride was living in New York with her parents, then Captain Matthew Calbraith Perry and his wife (formerly Jane Slidell). Matthew Perry was promoted to command of the Brooklyn Navy Yard from 1841-43, and during this time was in charge of training young naval recruits. It was his decision to name Alexander Slidell, his wife's brother, to command a shakedown cruise for the USS Somers, to test it before its initial official voyage.

Alexander--who had only recently taken the last name Mackenzie to gain an inheritance from a maternal uncle--would be the first to cause a national incident that would bring the Slidell name into question. He ordered the execution for mutiny of John Spencer, 19-year-old son of the United States Secretary of War in the Cabinet of President Tyler.

Employed for two years with the African Squadron to suppress the slave trade under a treaty with Great Britain, Matthew Perry patrolled the coast of west Africa until the annexation of Texas precipitated a war with Mexico, in which he served under Commodore John Rodgers.

Only two years after giving his daughter in marriage to Belmont, then-Commodore Perry was the naval officer selected to open Japan to trade with the west, two decades after two British opium wars opened up China.

The first August Belmont died in 1890, and his son, August II, succeeded him. One part of the Democrats' solution was to create a superior naval fleet, financed by public corporations selling stocks in electric street railways.  William Collins Whitney was the prime mover in this endeavor. 
Cartoonists had a heyday, connecting Belmont, chairman of the National Democratic Committee,  to Rothschild and thence to President Grover Cleveland. Alexander Hamilton's notion of creating a national bank had long since been destroyed by Andrew Jackson's privatization scheme. One of the least anti-Semitic of the cartoons showed Great Britain as an octopus labeled "Rothschilds" grasping the world in its tentacles.

The Perry Genes

Matthew's father, Christopher Raymond Perry (1761– 1818), a naval officer who fought in the revolution, was also the father of Oliver Hazard Perry, and his father was Judge James Freeman Perry.  Nathan Perry, was the son of "Judge" Nathan Perry, who arrived at Black River, Ohio, in 1804 to begin a trade with Indians. One of Christopher's sisters was Mary Perry, the wife of Henry B. Payne of Ohio, while their common parents were Freeman Perry and his wife Mercy Hazard, daughter of Oliver Hazard. Therefore, the descendants of Flora Perry Payne, wife of William Collins Whitney, became tangentially related to the Belmonts through marriage to a Perry.

A horse racing enthusiast, W. C. Whitney had a Long Island estate where he bred horses, not far from the stables of August Belmont, who founded The Jockey Club in New York in 1894 along the lines of the the high society club in England.

Helen Hay Whitney
Whitney and Belmont together financed the construction of a horse-racing park at Saratoga, and Belmont II, as chairman of the Jockey Club, was entrusted with appointments to the New York Racing Commission which he also chaired until his death in 1924.

After 1924 Belmont Park, founded as a memorial to his father, was managed by the Westchester Racing Association headed by W. C. Whitney's grandsons--either John Hay Whitney or Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, sons respectively of W. Payne Whitney and Harry Payne Whitney, alternated in oversight of Westchester.

In 1925 Bert Walker was appointed to the state racing commission by Democratic Governor Al Smith. Walker had recently formed a partnership in Log Cabin Stud with Averell Harriman by acquiring the late August Belmont's stable. The Belmont mansion on Long Island's Old Westbury Road appears on the same page of the 1930 census as Walker's, which was listed at Wheatley Hills Road. It was also in the same vicinity as Harry Payne Whitney's mansion and stable. It was no accident that St. Louis banker and railroad receiver George Herbert (call me Bert) Walker landed at that precise location at the same time he joined with other investors in the Morgan-connected Guaranty Trust.

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney
By 1898 Belmont and Whitney (both Democrats who had bankrolled Grover Cleveland) had succeeded in building up the American naval fleet, which had become strong enough to contest the Spanish in Cuba and the Philippines. American capitalists had reason to believe there were sufficient gold reserves stored in the Philippines that could be used to back U.S. currency for the future. John Hay, Secretary of State under President McKinley, supervised the treaty to end the Spanish-American War, and he formulated the Open Door policy.

Hay's daughter Helen, in 1902, was literally given in marriage to one of W.C. Whitney’s sons, William Payne Whitney (Skull and Bones 1898), whose elder brother, Harry Payne Whitney (Skull and Bones 1894), married Gertrude Vanderbilt, a somewhat less comely daughter of America's wealthiest Democrat of that day, Cornelius Vanderbilt II. The two Whitney brothers owned large estates on Long Island near each other, where they and their spouses and children were primarily interested in racing horses and playing polo at nearby Meadowbrook in Old Westbury.


Several years ago the author of Quixotic Joust posted at a sister blog, Where the Gold Is, a piece about a Texas banking family (Swenson) who had been involved in financing cattle enterprises in the Texas panhandle with investors from Scotland who also were involved in cattle deals in South Texas with the King Ranch family, the Klebergs. The Swensons became wealthy enough to move to New York and acquire an interest in the National City Bank, now known as Citigroup. James Stillman, son of Texas rancher Charles Stillman of South Texas and Connecticut, also owned a large block of stock in that same bank. 

Swenson also was instrumental in founding Freeport Sulphur, which, as many JFK assassination researchers will recognize, had mysterious ties to the plots against Castro and Kennedy in the 1960's. This sulphur company also had strong financial ties to the John Hay "Jock" Whitney, grandson of W. C. Whitney, as Lisa Pease long ago pointed out.

In the next segment, we will explain how Prescott Bush's father-in-law rose from his roots among the super-rich capitalists of Saint Louis, Missouri to settle among the super-wealthy Democrats in Long Island, New York. The wealth he managed for these Missouri millionaires was in danger of being lost when Bert stepped forward to represent them, rescuing their investments by combining the railroad they had built into what would long be known as the Gulf Coast Line, linking Texas rail lines to New Orleans and St. Louis.

The Brownsville Syndicate of St. Louis

The fourth of five sons of  St. Louis dry goods wholesaler D. D. Walker, Bert was something of a playboy in his youth, playing polo and golf with illustrious members of  St. Louis' wealthy, exclusive community.[1] After he married a member of the prominent Wear family and opened his investment firm, his prosperity continued to rise as more and more family members and friends sought his brokerage company's expertise.

In 1909 Lulu's brother, James Hutchinson (Jim) Wear, Jr. Yale's football quarterback from the class of 1901, married Ellen Douglas Filley, whose father, John Dwight Filley, was eldest son of Oliver Dwight Filley., one of St. Louis' early pioneers. Oliver Dwight Filley had made his way in 1829 from Hartford County, Connecticut, where their father, a tinsmith, had trained his sons to make decorative tinware. Giles Franklin Filley followed his older brother to St. Louis in 1834.

The first marriage that linked Bert Walker to the Filley family had occurred in 1900, when his brother, David Davis Walker, Jr., married Louise Garneau Filley, who had been a close friend of Bert's wife, the former Lulu Wear, a hostess in at Louise's debutante ball in 1897, which Bert and his brother Sid attended. Louise's father was the sixth son of Giles Filley, giving the two Filley girls a common great-grandfather back in Connecticut.

Oliver, who had been elected mayor of St. Louis in 1858 and became a powerful force in the city, died in 1881, survived by his widow Chloe Filley and three sons and three daughters. The eldest child was John Dwight Filley (born 1835), who lived at 40 Westmoreland Place as early as 1902. Vice-president of the St. Louis Union Trust Company beginning in 1891, he was president by 1909, at the same time Bert's second eldest brother (J. Sidney Walker) was assistant treasurer.[2] Also on the St. Louis Union Trust board of directors that year sat Benjamin F. Yoakum, chairman of the Frisco Railroad, the man responsible for putting together what became known as the "Brownsville Syndicate."

Yoakum signed on to the plan to build a railroad from Houston to Brownsville in 1902--a project initially inspired by the King Ranch (King and Kleberg) family who gave 75,000 aces of their land for the railroad--to be constructed by Uriah Lott:
In 1902 Lott approached Benjamin F. Yoakum, the president of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad, known affectionately as the Frisco Railway. For years in the past Yoakum had been Lott’s right hand man. They recalled that 15 years earlier [1887] Lott had broached the subject of extending the railroad from Alice to Brownsville, but this latter city never came up with any financing. Lott now rationalized that in addition to the cattle to be hauled there was good land to be opened to agriculture. Yoakum picked up the ball, formed a syndicate.

It wasn’t only land dedicated by South Texans (mainly ranchers) that allowed the formation and success of this railroad company but big bucks from seventy-two subscribers in all finally swung the deal, and St. Louis financiers headed the list. It was the St. Louis Union Trust Company which in 1903 came forward with $400,000. Its individual officers signed up for almost a similar amount. Construction of the 141.75 miles from Robstown to Brownsville was going to cost $12,250 per mile; the branch line which would parallel the river for an additional 55.73 miles would cost $11,500 per mile. Benjamin F. Yoakum of the Frisco Line and Sam W. Fordyce an Arkansas railroad developer, were among others who signed a contract making the St. Louis Trust manager of the enterprise and agreed to give it a 1 ½ % commission. Construction began in Robstown in August 1903 and Brownsville was reached July 4, 1904. The through line to Houston wouldn’t open until December 31, 1907.

Originally chartered, on June 6, 1903, to run from Sinton to Brownsville with a westerly branch to the Starr County line, the charter was later amended to extend the line to Houston among other cities. The initial capital of the company was $1,000,000 and its principal place of business, Kingsville. Members of the first board of directors were Robert J. Kleberg, Dr. Arthur E. Spohn, Robert Driscoll, Jr., Uriah Lott, Richard King, John G. Kenedy, James B. Wells, Francisco Yturria, and Thomas Carson. Lott was named first president of the railway.

Lon C. Hill, Harlingen’s founder who had dedicated railroad right-of-way land surrounding and through the townsite which he one day planned to lay out, was later to recognize the contributions made by the railroad backers.
W.K. Bixby
Yoakum had been general manager of the St. Louis-based Frisco since 1896, and named chairman in 1904. He was well-known among all businessmen in St. Louis, judging from his ability to promote an idea described by Walter Barlow Stevens' book, St. Louis: The Fourth City (1911). In 1908 Yoakum believed the sluggish economy was healthy, but because people were wary of investing, prosperity could be fostered simply by convincing them to spend.

Col. A. T. Perkins
The idea was implemented in St. Louis by incorporating the National Prosperity Association with Edward Campbell Simmons as chairman and William K. Bixby vice chairman of the board of directors. Bixby had been an integral part of the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, while at the same time serving as a trustee of Washington University. Others with that dual role were David R. Francis, Adolphus Busch and A. L. Shapleigh.

Brownsville Syndicate controlled by St. Louis wealthy
Simmons had in 1874 founded  Simmons Hardware, and later sent to Yale his three sons--Wallace Delafield Simmons (Skull and Bones, 1890), Edward Helfenstein Simmons (1892), and George Welch Simmons (Wolf's Head 1900). Simmons' wife's brothers and nephews, the Helfensteins, were also Yale grads. 

  Albert Thompson Perkins had been superintendent of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy in St. Louis--the old Forbes-owned railroad--before being hired by the Frisco system in 1906. He was hired as an adviser for the St. Louis Bridge and Terminals Commission formed in 1905 to investigate bridge and railroad terminal traffic congestion in St. Louis, along with Hugh McKittrick and R. W. Shapleigh. He was commissioned in 1916 by the Businessmen's Training Camp in Plattsburgh, N.Y., before fighting in France during WWI.
G. H. Walker & Co.

Perkins was the railroad expert for the St. Louis Union Trust Co., whose chairman was Thomas H. West. In 1911 the management selected G. H. Walker & Co. of St. Louis as underwriter of the securities issued on behalf of the various short lines the Frisco was building and purchasing to complete and extend its routes. 
Unfortunately for these businessmen, however, the railroads were headed for receivership in 1913, a legal process which would last three years--ended in part by America's entry into WWI and its need for transportation services. During the receivership years, the name of G. H. Walker was often seen in connection with the parent and subsidiary companies of the Frisco.

As America drew closer to entry in WWI, the Democratic President Woodrow Wilson and his attorney general, Thomas W. Gregory, partly as a result of the big Black Tom explosion in 1916, decided to expand the federal security force to include a volunteer army, as it were. Sixteen of the most influential corporations in St. Louis, undoubtedly many of the same ones involved as investors in the railroad owned by the St. Louis Union Trust, for whom G. H. Walker acted as receiver for several years, contributed funds to operate a local district office of the American Protective League. They again appointed him as their representative, naming him district chief of the St. Louis division, where he served until the APL was abandoned in February 1919.[4]

In Part IV of this series on the Walker clan, we wrote that during the same time he was dealing with World War I sabotage and slackers, Bert Walker was also in a war with his own father over how Bert's parents' estate was to be given away. He and his brother David Jr. sought to have D.D. Sr. declared incompetent and in need of a guardian for his estate in January 1918, a lawsuit still pending at the time of their father's death, at about the same time WWI ended. Almost as soon as the APL was abolished, Bert's niece, an orphan who had been under her grandparents' care most of her life, went to the Far East to work for New York attorney Alfred L. Marilley, general counsel for the boxing board as well as for the International Sporting Club (ISC).

The Move from St. Louis to New York

by Julian Street
Authors of Westmoreland and Portland Places lead us to believe that the creme de la creme of St. Louis business wealth in the 1890s lived on two adjacent streets, which were secluded and gated from the rest of the city. These families were the friends and neighbors of George Herbert (Bert) Walker, for whom George Bush was named. Walker would soon realize, however, that the exclusivity of St. Louis was nothing compared to the society of Long Island.
Bert Walker's daughters, Dorothy and Nancy, had been St. Louis debutantes in 1919, and both had acted in a local film their aunt, Mrs. Max Kotany, who had married a man from Hungary, helped sponsor the film to benefit the YWCA. Shortly after the film was shown, Bert moved the family to New York, and a year later, Dorothy was married at the Walker's summer home in Maine to Prescott Bush.

Howard F. Whitney, secretary of the American Golf Association (USGA) helped Bert obtain passports for himself and daughter Nancy Walker prior to their departure for Europe that spring. Bert, elected president of the USGA in January 1920, would be succeeded in that office a year later by Whitney, who graciously helped Bert entertain his daughters while they were in New York. The young ladies attended at least one debutante ball given for a friend of Whitney's daughter Carol, then returned home to prepare for a European tour with the family.

Howard F. Whitney's grandfather (Henry Norris Whitney) had been a partner in the Kissam, Whitney & Co. investment firm with Benjamin Kissam, whose sister, Maria Louise, married the son of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, becoming mother of Gertrude Vanderbilt, the wife of Harry Payne Whitney. Thus, Howard Whitney was more closely related to society through the Kissam lineage than through the Whitneys. 
In fact, this New York branch of Whitneys had no American connection to the family of William Collins Whitney (who stemmed from John Whitney, who arrived in Watertown, Massacusetts). Rather, the first ancestor of H. N. Whitney was Henry Whitney (born 1615) who arrived in Norwalk, Connecticut before 1652.

Notwithstanding the lack of kinship with brothers Harry Payne Whitney and W. Payne Whitney, Howard was familiar with them from charity events and committees, such as the Piping Rock Horse Show. At the time of his election as president of the USGA, Bert had not yet relocated from St. Louis, but he did play golf at The Links in Manhasset, near the Harry Payne Whitney estate of Greentree. Eventually he acquired a residence on Long Island near the Wheatley Hills Golf Club, which was also quite close to the Meadow Brook polo fields.

Bert Walker and his much younger boss, Averell Harriman, purchased their first horses for Log Cabin Stud, a partnership they formed in 1922, not far from the mansions of multi-millionaire Harry Payne Whitney and the late August Belmont II. Harriman was chairman of W.A. Harriman & Co., while Walker was president of the investment bank from 1920 until 1931. Prescott Bush worked for the bank before 1931, but then moved with Averell and Roland Harriman to Brown Brothers Harriman, after a merger with the older bank, whose partners were beginning to die off.

Payne Whitney's Long Island mansion, which consisted of 600 acres, shows up in the New York census of 1915 listing the Whitney family with 16 resident servants. After daughter Joan married Charles Shipman Payson, she built her own mansion within the acreage, having an address of Shelter Rock Road, Manhasset.

In 1925 the Walker family reported their home as an apartment at 453 Madison Avenue at East 50th Street, directly across the street from St. Patrick's Cathedral. By then the future "Uncle" Herbie (G. H. Walker III) was attending Yale. The 1940 census shows Herbie's family living in Greenwich on Dingletown Road, but at the time his wife died decades later, their address was 64 Hawthorne, much closer to the Bush network of families.

Dottie Walker, Bert and Loulie's daughter, married Prescott Bush in 1921, and Herbie married Mary Dillon Carter, a St. Louis girl, in the fall after completing Yale (class of 1927, Skull and Bones). He then returned to St. Louis for a time to run the investment bank founded by his father in that city, while Bert remained in New York until his death in 1953. When Herbie's younger brother, James Wear Walker, married Sarah O'Keefe in 1948, a news item stated the elder Walkers lived at 1 Sutton Place, South, and that James and his bride were to live in Old Westbury on Long Island, most likely the Wheatley Hills stud farm Bert had acquired when he and Averell Harriman had dissolved their Log Cabin Stud partnership many years earlier.

Averell Harriman's affinity for Bert Walker may have been passed to him by his own father, who admired Bert's ability to take pools of money begging to be managed and to use those funds in productive technology. Bert took western wealth from St. Louis back to the East and helped the Harriman sons meld those fortunes with even older fortunes long managed by investment bankers from other parts of the country--bankers he would meet playing golf and polo at country clubs on Long Island for the most part.

Wealth of Saint Louis

The capital syndicate in St. Louis -- comprised largely of the St. Louis Trust Company -- was initially incorporated in 1889 by
  • Edward C. Simmons, 
  • John A. Scudder (owner of steamboat and packet companies on Mississippi River), and 
  • Samuel M. Kennard (an organizer of the Mercantile Club). Daniel Catlin (director of State Savings Association and of St. Louis Club) and 
  • John T. Davis (an owner of Samuel C. Davis dry goods at Washington and Fifth), were not present at the first organizing meeting but had an interest in creating the trust company. 
  • Thomas H. West was made president with 
  • John Tilden Davis serving as first vice president. The trust company's first office was a small room in the Equitable building at Sixth and Locust streets with a capital of $500,000. During the merger in 1902 with the Union Trust Co., it acquired the latter's building at 705 Olive, in which 
  • A. L. Shapleigh had been an early director. After the merger, the St. Louis Union Trust Co. moved to new offices St. Louis Trust had built in 1900 at Fourth and Locust.
Jeannette Filley, married Isaac Morton, and lived two doors away from the Walker family when the 1900 census was made. Between their two homes lived Marion Lionberger Davis and her husband John D. Davis, an attorney and son of Horatio N. Davis, affiliated with the Mississippi Valley Trust Co. As we see in the inset above, Jeannette Morton and her late husband's estate were also members of the Brownsville Syndicate.
Maria Filley married John Tilden Davis, who would die at the young age of 50 in 1894. This marriage helped Davis expand his family's own wealth ("added vastly to his patrimony") into the St. Louis Trust Co. (later St. Louis Union Trust). Maria Filley Davis' son became the famous tennis enthusiast Dwight Filley Davis whose name is most well known for donating the funds to establish the Davis Cup, which G.H. Walker helped him set up. John T. Davis' father, Samuel C. Davis and uncle, John Tilden, had been founding partners in a wholesale dry goods company as early as 1837; Samuel Davis bought out his brother-in-law in 1852 and named the company for himself. He later made his son, John Tilden Davis, a partner with him. John T. Davis built a mansion at 17 Westmoreland Place in 1893. Dwight F. Davis was thus a first cousin to Louise Filley Walker, wife of Bert's brother, David D. Walker, Jr.
Alice Filley married Robert Moore and lived at 61 Vandeventer, a few doors away from her sister, Jeannette Filley Morton, near the Walker family home in which Bert grew up. A civil engineer for various short line railroads affiliated with E. H. Harriman's Illinois Central, Moore helped reorganize the St. Louis & Southwestern Railway Company ("Cotton Belt"), and was elected a director in its first year of operation, 1892, joining that board with Jay Gould's son Edwin, who, with Samuel Fordyce, ran the company until Fordyce resigned in 1898. This is the railroad which would become affiliated with the Frisco (St. Louis & San Francisco), as mentioned in an earlier post at this blog, where it is stated:
...[I]n 1911 the Gould-owned Missouri Pacific made a high-dollar deal with B.F. Yoakum, of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway (Frisco) Company. Yoakum had purchased a huge estate in Farmingdale, Long Island, New York two years earlier and used his profit to improve his farms. In 1913 the Frisco was placed in receivership by its major creditor, the St. Louis Union Trust, which selected an investment banker from St. Louis as receiver. George Herbert (Bert) Walker, whose bank had invested $60,000 in the syndicate which bought from Gould, had grown up in St. Louis among the other members of the syndicate whose secret hope was to sell out to the Frisco in short order. A U.S. Senate investigation revealed the insider trade in 1913. By 1920 Walker, too, had moved to Long Island--to Old Westbury--about twelve miles west of Yoakum's rustic farm, into the heart of horse breeders and bankers who had more money than St. Louisans could dream of. Doug Wead's biography of Bert's grandson, The Raising of a President, indicated the move may have begun as early as 1919.
  • Oliver Brown Filley, whose first wife died in childbirth in 1866, later married Mary Churchill McKinley, whose middle name was derived from her aunt, wife of Alexander Pope Churchill, from the family for whom Churchill Downs in Kentucky was named. 
Oliver's death in 1887 was soon followed by the death of Mary's mother (Mary Moss Wilcox McKinley) in 1893. A few months after her mother's death, Mary Filley (address 2923 Washington Avenue in St. Louis), packed up her four children, her unmarried sister and an entourage of servants, and moved to London. In August 1903, her son Oliver sailed from Liverpool on the same ship with Rev. Endicott Peabody's large family, bound for Boston, where he entered Harvard. A 1905 directory shows that both mother and son lived at 76 Mt. Vernon St. in Boston. She returned to London to live with her eldest daughter in 1914 but had to return to the States in November 1915 for emergency reasons. Her new 1916 passport application said she had a home in St. Louis, as well as a residence in Beverly, Massachusetts (where the E. M. House family also spent summers).
    • Mary Elizabeth Filley (born 1880) married in 1908 Welsh surgeon, Duncan Campbell Lloyd Fitzwilliams from Cardiganshire and had two children by 1911 (census); she died in 1919. Her husband received his medical training in Edinburgh at about the same time George Herbert Walker was said to be studying pre-med in Edinburgh, around 1893-94, before entering law school in St. Louis in 1895. Duncan also had a younger brother, Gerald Hall Lloyd Fitzwilliams,. During WWI the Fitzwilliams brothers were involved with Muriel Paget's Anglo-Russian Hospital in Petrograd. Gerald was also recruited by British Intelligence in 1915.
      Members of The Room, 1929
    • Oliver Dwight Filley (born in 1883 in Boston) attended prep school at Rugby, England, and graduated from Harvard in 1906. After rising to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Army's Aviation Section, Signal Corps in WWI, in 1917 he married Mary Percy Pyne, daughter of Percy Rivington Pyne and Maud Howland Pyne--thus combining one segment of St. Louis's wealth with that of the National City Bank (today part of Citigroup). Mary Pyne grew up in a mansion  at 680 Park Avenue, and her mother Maud,  daughter of Gardiner Greene Howland, a founder of Pacific Mail Steamship, was half-sister to Rebecca Howland, first wife of James Roosevelt, and mother of James (Rosy) Roosevelt, Jr. After Rebecca's death, her husband married Sara Delano. James and Sara's only child was Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rosy's half-brother, and cousin of Mary Pyne (Mrs. Oliver) Filley. After Oliver's death, Mary Filley married widower, C. Suydam Cutting, one of her late husband's associates in an espionage ring known as "The Room," which helped FDR with secret intelligence matters in the days before the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1932 Cutting had married Helen McMahon Brady, widow of James Cox Brady, who died in 1927, and Helen died in 1961. Cutting died in 1972.
    • Anne McKinley Filley (born 1886) married John Stanley Ames, a son of Boston's wealthiest resident,  Frederick Lothrop Ames.

There are also several connections we find between the Filleys listed above and the Walker family, which also link them to the Bushes. One example of these long-term ties is Nicholas Brady. Nick Brady became head of Dillon Read & Co., and was later appointed secretary of the treasury during the last four months of President Reagan's second term, continuing under George Bush. Twenty years earlier, however, Nick's father, James Cox Brady, Jr. had been chairman (1962-68) of the New York Racing Association, sitting on the state racing board with John Hay (Jock) Whitney, Robert J. Kleberg, Jr., Ogden Phipps, Joseph Walker, Jr., and others--the same position Nick claimed as early as 1977. James Cox Brady, Sr. was Nicholas F. Brady's paternal grandfather.

Though Joseph Walker was not a member of the G.H. Walker family, he was married to a niece of Averell Harriman, Bert Walker's partner at W.A. Harriman & Co. from 1920-1931. 
Phipps had been long-time chairman of the Jockey Club, while Bert Walker was "a member of the Jockey Club, and for approximately a decade-- until 1934--he was a member of the New York State Racing Commission."

Trump puts name on Lamington House.
In 1936 Helen Brady Cutting announced the marriage of her stepdaughter, Victoria Brady, to John Knox Cowperthwaite, whose family had been the first to introduce installment selling four generations earlier. His father, Morgan Cowperthwaite, built a replica of the East Wing of the White House on his farm known as Lamington House, which is now the club house for the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey. In 1981 John DeLorian bought the estate but lost it in bankruptcy in 2000 to Donald Trump.

Trump put his name on it, and it is one of the many golf courses the current President owns, on the long list of choices of where he has played golf almost every weekend since his election in 2016.

Dorothy Walker, close friend of Helen Gratz
Robert Filley's elder brother, F. Herbert Filley (Louis Filley Walker's uncle), married Mary Colt and moved during the 1920s to Greenwich, Connecticut (living for years about three miles away from Prescott Bush). This brother worked for the American Manufacturing Company, whose history linked its St. Louis founder, Benjamin Gratz, with William Rockefeller's son, Godfrey Stillman Rockefeller, through Godfrey's marriage to Helen "Didi" Gratz, one of Dorothy Walker's closest friends in St. Louis.

In fact, as shown in the clipping to the left, Dottie had originally been announced as a bridesmaid at Helen's wedding, but had to withdraw, most likely because she was pregnant by then with Poppy Bush. Their closeness is further confirmed in the book by Peter and Rochelle Schweizer, The Bushes: Portrait of a Dynasty (at page 58), which implies that it was to be near her friend Didi Gratz Rockefeller that the Bushes moved to Greenwich. At page 33 of the book the authors state that Bert Walker set up the W.A. Harriman bank in December 1919, and that the family moved to New York a few months later with Bert as its president. He undoubtedly took many of his wealthy St. Louis clients.

The Harrimans

E.H. "Ned" Harriman's early career in railroading can best be seen by perusing the description of him that appeared in McClure's Magazine a year after his death in 1909. The authors' verbal image of a young Ned of 1875 could just as easily be used to paint a portrait of Bert Walker in 1900 --member of the most "sociable" clubs, "athletic and sporting," "drove a good trotting horse," "quick and clever boxer," and the "leading spirit among the younger aristocrats" whose "family or friends were interested in the secure investment of Illinois Central" stock.

Young Bert's interest, however, was not in the Illinois Central in 1900, but in the rail lines owned by his wealthy neighbors on Westmoreland and Portland Place. Ned Harriman, before April 1900 had taken notice of this investment syndicate, which controlled traffic crossing the Mississippi River between St. Louis and East St. Louis because he was vying for control of the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad, which he wanted for his Alton line. Transversing the Mississippi River, the Alton felt hampered by rates set by the St. Louis Terminal Association.

The Eastern Illinois's southern terminus at the Thebes railroad bridge connected to the St. Louis Southwestern, or "Cotton Belt" Railroad. Placed in receivership earlier, it was purchased in 1891 by Louis Fitzgerald, purchasing agent for an investment syndicate which incorporated the purchasing  company. To discover the name of Fitzgerald's principal, we only need to look to the 1905 New York Legislature's investigation of the life insurance business. Jacob Schiff revealed in his testimony that he had held shares in Equitable Life as a nominee for Henry B. Hyde, and testified that Louis Fitzgerald was at that time the president of the Mercantile Trust Company, a "large factor in financial matters of the Equitable Society." Fitzgerald was in fact "the most active man in the matters pertaining to negotiations of purchases by the Equitable Society for some years," and he chaired the Equitable's executive committee until 1902.

Fitzgerald was also in 1895 chairman of the reorganization committee for the Union Pacific Railroad (controlled at that time by E.H. Harriman). Fitzgerald, like Schiff himself, handled numerous syndicated interests (listed by the investigation) similar to what have become known as limited partnerships. Another of those "interests" handled by Fitzgerald was that of George Gould. George Gould also had a gated mansion, but it was in New Jersey with seventeen servants living onsite.

When we follow the business rivalry involving railroads at that particular place and time, we learn a great deal about how our national history developed--how the big money worked to gain control of St. Louis rail traffic, but also how various financiers behind the curtain played a chess game to take control of the developing central banking system in the U.S. through what was to become known a generation later as Brown Brothers, Harriman.

That was the financial medium Bert Walker used to merge St. Louis, Chicago and New York wealth to shift control of the central banking system from Morgan to the Rockefellers. One author who has recognized the historical importance of these networks in explaining the rise of the Bush family is Richard Ben Cramer, who wrote in What It Takes:

To purchase additional lines and maintain the facilities Gould had had to go into debt, and the indebtedness resulted in a demand in June 1908 by his creditors for receivers to protect their interest in the Gould system. At that time it was learned that John D. Rockefeller's shares in various Gould lines had been transferred to his "charitable" corporation called the General Education Board. The receiverships began in 1908, followed by Ned Harriman's death a year later.

As early as 1907 many of these railroad men sat together as directors on the board of the Mercantile Trust Company at 120 Broadway. As of 1907 the percentage of stock the Mercantile Trust in St. Louis owned in National City Bank and in Bankers Trust was significant, but by that time D.D. Walker had left the board, succeeded in his seat by Dan C. Nugent, husband of Bert Walker's granddaughter, a daughter of William Hargadine Walker, Bert's older brother.

In 1912, this building, known as the Equitable Building, would be burned in January 1912, destroying records of all the Harriman railroads, including the Southern Pacific Railroad, as well as records of August Belmont and Company and Mercantile Trust which had become a subsidiary of the Bankers' Trust Company. The cash and securities in the fire-proof vaults was rescued and consisted of a quarter of a billion dollars in value.

E. H. Harriman died at the age of 61, leaving his railroad empire, which he was still in the process of creating, in the hands of Robert Scott Lovett, who was acting as mentor for Harriman's two sons not yet of university age. The McClure's article, published a year or so after Ned's death, showed the division of capital invested in railroads by group as of 1906. Nowhere do we see there the name B. F. Yoakum or the Frisco, per se:


Yoakum's name was not mentioned because he did not own controlling stock in the railroads he built, but was merely a contractor hired by a syndicate of silent owners, who then saw railroads as THE technology. G. H. Walker, newly married in 1899, looking to open an investment bank at the same time, began his new career very much attuned to financing railroad securities on behalf of business investors in St. Louis, particularly the St. Louis-based Frisco Railroad, whose general manager from 1897 until 1913 had been Benjamin F. Yoakum.

click to enlarge
According to Brian Solomon (author of North American Railroad Family Trees), George Gould and his siblings inherited Jay Gould's railroad holdings upon his death in 1892. George and Edwin Gould worked for years to develop them before eventually bringing in others to assist. Solomon's book contains a helpful graphic to illustrate.

Benjamin Yoakum worked with Uriah Lott, beginning in 1896, with financing coming from the St. Louis Union Trust, to construct and manage the St. Louis & San Francisco (Frisco), which became:
the foundation for a group of roads connecting Chicago, St. Louis, and the Gulf of Mexico. In 1903 he [Yoakum] took control of the Chicago & Eastern Illinois while developing a close affiliation with Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific (Rock Island Lines), the large network controlled by the Reid-Moore syndicate. Later Yoakum founded the Gulf Coast Lines.
In 1905, as mentioned in a previous post at this blog, the Frisco bought the St. Louis & Gulf Railroad, a system of short lines built in southeastern Missouri and Arkansas, consolidated by Louis Houck. One of the largest bloc of shares was owned by ancestors of Texan, D. H. Byrd, who, decades later, owned the office building from which it would be falsely claimed that the alleged assassin of  President John Kennedy had fired the fatal shots. A CIA agent often implicated in setting up Lee Harvey Oswald as the patsy in the assassination was David Atlee Phillips, whose grandfather, Charles Young, had built a railroad to which the Byrds' railroad linked up.

The New Orleans, Texas & Mexico Railroad began as the Colorado, Southern, New Orleans & Pacific, with the name changed in 1910 after other lines owned by the Frisco were added to it, and was operated as a division of the Frisco until placed into receivership in 1913. In 1915, however, we find Walker was working hard to combine that syndicate with more money from the East, but he was not named as receiver until 1916, when the system was sold to a new corporation set up that year--the New Orleans, Texas & Mexico Railway, doing business as the Gulf Coast Lines, and would be fully absorbed into the Missouri Pacific system in 1956, three years after Bert's death. 

The Byrd family, as we have seen, were invested in the San Antonio, Uvalde & Gulf (S.A.U.&G.) Railroad whose main connecting railroads were lines called the Katy (M-K-T), the Gulf Coast and I&GN--SAU&G acquired by Gould-built Missouri Pacific in 1920.[2]

The Gould Railroads (shown in the graphic above) were essential to the economy of St. Louis. After Jay Gould died in 1892, his son George J. Gould took the helm of the western railroads, while seeking connections with Chicago and the East through the Rock Island system. His competitor, E.H. Harriman, had expanded the Illinois Central controlled by him since 1883, until, by 1898, it reached St. Louis. Harriman merged the Rock Island into the Union Pacific, giving him control of distribution in the northeast quadrant of America with connections to the Pacific coast. Harriman, however, wanted much more.

In 1901 Harriman acquired enough stock to control the Southern Pacific, which was then completing its process of building a southern route from California to New Orleans. While the Gould  and Rock Island networks were putting the finishing touch on their route from St. Louis to the Rio Grande Valley and Mexico, Harriman had managed to snatch certain lines that would work to encircle St. Louis, on three sides at least. Right in the middle of all this capital sat our friend Bert Walker.

By 1911 South Texas was getting its first taste of what business could be like if its citizens had the same access to railroads as their competitors farther to the north and east. As the news article to the left indicates, the Frisco Railroad had completed its lines across Texas from St. Louis, and its officials were leading a marketing tour into Brownsville,Texas near the border with Mexico. St. Louis was a  hub to numerous railroads extending out in all directions.

The tour to the Rio Grande Valley was the brainchild of two Frisco officials--William Clyde Nixon (see biography) and George Herbert Walker--who were being feted at the Houston Club by that city's most powerful men of wealth. Nixon had previously been general manager of the Galveston-based Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe railroad, where he would have become acquainted with Houston's elite before he moved to St. Louis in 1906.

George H. Walker was the fourth of five sons of David Davis Walker, founder of a large dry goods store in St. Louis. He was an elusive man to research, and previous segments this blog devoted an intensive search into his family and background, following various branches of the family tree leading up to his life. That research continues. We mention him at this point, however, outside the family study, because of his connection to the railroad which was so focused on developing southern Texas traffic into Mexico. To read the Walker Genealogy, begin with Part I which leads chronologically up to the 41st and 43rd American Presidents named Bush, who were Bert's direct descendants.

Two years prior to this foray from St. Louis to Texas, we find many or the same men named in the clip above listed in 1909 as officers or directors of the St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico Railway Co. and all were based either in within the vicinity of Kingsville, Texas (the King Ranch), St. Louis, or in New York at 115 Broadway, an address shared, incidentally, in 1910 with the Illinois Central Railroad had its offices a year after the death of E.H. Harriman. The Rock Island Railroad also had an office in the same building.

King Ranch family members would in the next generation find themselves linked with B. F. Yoakum's family--as Henrietta Rosa Kleberg married John Adrian Larkin, brother of Bessie
Yoakum's husband, Francis Rahm Larkin. Incidentally, their mutual friend, Frederick G. Bourne, mentioned in the wedding clip link, was an heir to Singer Sewing Machine, a company intricately involved in plots against FDR in 1934.

1909 officers for St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico Railway Co.


The International Bridge, NAFTA forerunner

The Handbook of Texas informs us that:

Editorial about International Bridge
Control of the railroad was exercised by the St. Louis Trust Company until May 26, 1910, when the line was sold to the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad Company [Frisco] for the account of the New Orleans, Texas and Mexico Railroad Company.
Thus the editorial which appeared on the front page of the Brownsville Herald in 1909 was dead right in assessing where the International Bridge then in the works was to be built, and by whom. According to the historical marker placed at the bridge:
John Nance Garner (1868-1967), later Vice President of the United States, introduced a bill into Congress in 1908 providing for the construction of a bridge spanning the river and connecting the two railways.

The Brownsville-Matamoros Bridge Company, owned equally by the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway and the Mexican National Railway was incorporated in 1909 to handle bridge operations. In 1909 St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway magnate Benjamin F. Yoakum (1859-1929) met with representatives of the Mexican National Railway. An agreement was reached, and Yoakum hired the foundation company of New York to build the concrete foundation, and the Wisconsin Bridge Company of Milwaukee to erect the steel spans. Work on the structure began in April 1909. The entire structure, a swing bridge of riveted construction was completed in summer of 1910.
One reason the editorial writer spoke with so much conviction is that the Mexican National Railway had been completed with $10 million in gold bonds issued in 1882, secured by a $5 million subsidy from the Mexican government. The underwriter for these bonds was Matheson & Co.,the same company which had acquired the old opium trading Russell & Co.

To pay for its purchase and new bridge construction, the Frisco Railroad in 1911 set up a tour to travel from St. Louis to Houston, and from there down to South Texas to see where the bridge would cross into Mexico. This tour allowed potential investors and securities traders from American capital centers, as well as bankers from Europe, to inspect the Frisco's facilities all along the route. Benjamin F. Yoakum, a former Texan, was chairman of the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway which was building the bridge in partnership with the Mexican railroad, which had been built by government-subsidized bonds, whose principal was due to be paid in 1912.

The St. Louis Business Network

The St. Louis Union Trust was appointed manager of the Brownsville Syndicate, presumably by a vote taken by its individual and corporate investors. Since officers of the St. Louis Union Trust also constituted members of the syndicate, the enterprise is indeed an example of the type of insider trading deals for which St. Louis is notable. The result of the Interstate Commerce Commission's investigation into the St. Louis & San Francisco (Frisco) Railroad receivership in November 1913, was a headline declaring "Millions in Profits by Inside Interests."

Bert Walker's firm, G.H. Walker & Co., had invested $60 million in the Brownsville Syndicate, but it most likely would have been much more if he had been able to get his hands on his father's money sooner.
George Herbert Walker and the APL

G. H. Walker district Chief, St. Louis APL
In April 1917 sixteen St. Louis companies incorporated a division of the American Protective League (APL), which appointed G. H. "Bert" Walker as Chief, who was in charge of about 3,000 operatives. {See newspaper clip of Emerson Clough's book, The Web, from 1918}

Walker as liaison between the businessmen/spies and the FIB (FBI) special agent in charge for St. Louis, Edward James Brennan. [3] The Federal Investigation Bureau was located in the Customs House at 815 Olive Street. The G.H. Walker & Co. investment bank was housed at 307 N. 7th Street, just a block east and in the same block between Olive and Locust Streets. Although Edward Brennan had been born in St. Louis to John Brennan, an Irish born railroad engineer who patented an electric switching device, he did not run in the same circles as the Walker family.

The APL was given sanction for its unpaid volunteers to work under direction of the Justice Department and the Bureau of Investigation, forerunner of the FBI, then headed by A. Bruce Bielaski; A. Mitchell Palmer was at that time Custodian of Alien Property. They also worked as civilians in the Military Intelligence Division of the War Department under Col. Ralph H. Van Deman with its members often being assigned under cover of charitable organizations. One of the biggest uses for the civilian force was to detect "slackers" who failed to report for military service, as well as deserters and AWOL soldiers.

As we see in the Walker genealogy Part IV, G. H. Walker even recruited his own niece, heir to her grandmother's interest in the Kennebunkport property, to work for the general counsel for the Boxing Board of Control, Alfred Marilley, who helped Major A. J. Drexel Biddle, set up the first regulated boxing event in 1919 between Jess Willard and Jack Dempsey, the latter of whom would be accused of being a slacker himself.


[1] According to an article by John Gleason, "From The Golf Journal Archives - A Great Amateur: George Herbert Walker," Oct 22, 2010 at USGA Museum website, originally appeared in July 1997 issue of Golf Journal, with a focus on Walker's role in financing professional golf:
Born into a wealthy St. Louis family, George Herbert Walker’s father owned the largest wholesale drygoods manufacturing firm in the Midwest. George was sent to Stonyhurst, an outstanding English prep school located north of Blackburn on the Lancashire coast. There he excelled in boxing, rugby and soccer. He attended the University of Edinburgh, where he studied pre-med for one year, but he abandoned that pursuit and eventually returned to St. Louis. He founded the banking and investment firm of G.H. Walker & Co., and became a member at St. Louis Country Club, where he played off a 5 handicap and captained the club’s championship polo team. Playing on that squad was Dwight Filley Davis, a ranking American tennis star who in 1900 became the donor of the Davis Cup for men’s international tennis competition." [A shortened version by Dave Shedloski in 2013 appeared at USGA as of October 8, 2017.]

[2] Sid may have been instrumental in having G.H. Walker & Co. chosen to issue $2 million in securities to construct the terminal building in Houston.

 Morgan group (Atlantic Coast Line; Southern Railway; Erie; Lehigh Valley)
Hill-Morgan (Great Northern; Northern Pacific; CBQ) (from part 2)
Harriman Group (Union Pacific; Southern Pacific; Illinois Central)
Pennsylvania Railroad (Pennsy system; C&O; Norfolk & Western)
New York Central (NYC; Lake Shore & Michigan; Southern; Michigan Central; CCC & St. Louis; NY, Chicago & St. Louis; Pittsburgh & Lake Erie)
Harriman-Pennsy-NYC joint (B&O; Reading)
Joint & Misc (ATSF, including Harriman and Morgan; Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, includes Harriman and Rockefeller; Chi & Northwestern, includes Vanderbilt; Delaware & Hudson; Del., Lackawanna & Western; NY, New Haven & Hartford, with Morgan, Rockefeller and Pennsy; Hocking Valley)
Gould (Missouri Pacific; Denver & Rio Grande; Wabash (p.16, p. 338); Texas & Pacific; St. Louis & Southwestern; Western Maryland; Wheeling & Lake Erie)
Rock Island (Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific; St. Louis & San Francisco; Chicago & Eastern Illinois; Evansville & Terre Haute)

[3] We revealed ties between D. Harold Byrd and Bert Walker, through Byrd's Missouri uncles and cousins, who had an office in St. Louis two blocks east from G.H. Walker & Co. in 1912.In addition the Byrds made an investment in the St. Louis & Gulf line intended to link to Gould's Missouri Pacific-Iron Mountain system, which Jay's son George ran until 1911 when a dispute with his siblings forced him out of direct management, as shown in the New York Times in 1911. Placed in receivership in 1915, the railroad saw three Gould sons kicked from the board, as well as investment advisers, Sam F. Pryor and James Speyer.

 [4] Emerson Hough, The Web (1919).