Thursday, December 6, 2012

Jesse Ventura and Judyth Vary Baker on "Mancow"

Jesse Ventura on radio explains why Oswald was killed.
"Fifty years ago, one President murdered should have gotten people outraged,"says Jesse Ventura during his radio interview by Mancow in December 2012. Speaking of the book written by his co-guest on the program, he adds: "This book is incredible!"

The book is "Me and Lee: How I Came to Know, Love and Lose Lee Harvey Oswald, written by Judyth Vary Baker, and it tells the whole story of her 1963 affair with the accused lone assassin of President Kennedy.

Listen to the full interview.

Judyth also gets a chance to talk about the death of Dr. Mary Sherman, who was involved in cancer research in New Orleans where she worked for Dr. Alton Ochsner and sponsored by the Tulane Medical School. The team worked on a bioweapon to kill Fidel Castro by giving him cancer. 

A book called Dr. Mary's Monkey written by Ed Haslam (also a TrineDay publication), is summarized in its subtitle: "How the Unsolved Murder of a Doctor, a Secret Laboratory in New Orleans and Cancer-Causing Monkey Viruses are Linked to Lee Harvey ... Assassination and Emerging Global Epidemics." These two books are must-reads for anyone who disbelieves the Warren Commission and who wants to understand how intelligence groups control aspects of the global medical and pharmaceuticals industries.

Me and Lee relates how Oswald traveled to Mexico prior to Kennedy's murder in an attempt to use the bioweapon Judyth had helped Dr. Sherman develop, assisting David Ferrie, an acknowledged cancer researcher, who was a good friend of Oswald.

Although Judyth herself has endured numerous close calls with death and injury, she consented to do her first-ever book tour in the United States this fall, after events were arranged by TrineDay book publisher, Kris Millegan. So far this year Baker has given press conferences and made the rounds of interviews in Washington state, Oregon, Vancouver, the San Francisco area and in Los Angeles. She was available in 2011 for a similar tour, limited to Toronto and Montreal.

Ventura met her in Chicago after her arrival there on Monday. After interviews in California she flew to Knoxville to watch a packed audience at Maryville College give a standing ovation to "Sniper's Nest," a play written by Lisa Soland, based on Me and Lee.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Jamaicans Involved in Resort Schemes in the 1950's

We are well aware of how spies were used by the British government to ensure America's entry into World War II, as well as to rid the White House administration of leftist Vice President Henry A. Wallace (see J. Conant's The Irregulars for details on that operation). But did the spying operations continue beyond that point and into the 1960's?

We have been told that Sir William Stephenson had sold Hillowton, his residence in Jamaica, in 1951 and relocated to Bermuda. His closest neighbors while he was there would have been the men who developed the resort of Round Hill and later Tryall. We will first determine who those Anglo-Jamaicans were by returning to the 1957 article, which announced the plan to construct the Tryall Club.

The Jamaicans at Tryall

We again post the news clip for ease of reference as more unfamiliar names are brought forth. Simply click on the article to the left to see the full size version. British colonialists comprised the Jamaican delegation of the syndicate of investors. Jamaica had begun as a base for privateers and English capitalists using black slave labor to operate sugar plantations until abolition of the slave trade in 1834. The island, previously a part of the Dominion, became a member of the British Commonwealth in 1962; the old colonial mansions, called Great Houses, remained until the descendants of the families got together and decided to develop possibilities for tourism. 

George Girardet--Mountbatten's Pilot

One leader of the 1957 Tryall syndicate was George Breary Girardet, who, during WWII had been personal pilot to Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander in the Far East--although officially Girardet was a squadron leader with the Royal Air Force Bomber Command. Not only was Girardet's boss, Lord Mountbatten, the uncle of England's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh--whose wife was crowned Queen Elizabeth II in 1953--but he had a few eery contacts to several of the British friends of Clay Shaw, the only man brought to trial for the assassination of President John Kennedy. 

Sir Michael Duff
One of those mutual contacts was Sir Michael Duff, reputedly one of Shaw's lovers. Duff, a bisexual, married the eldest daughter of the 6th Marquess of Anglesey in 1949, and the couple
adopted a son, Charles David Duff (b. 1950), who became a theatre historian. A documentary screened on BBC Two Wales in 2005 ("Faenol: Secrets Behind the Wall") featured Charles Duff discussing his childhood, the bisexuality of his adoptive parents, their marriage of convenience, and the details of his parentage.
(See also self-published booklet by Anthony Frewin, Late Breaking News on Clay Shaw's United Kingdom Contacts (1994) for names of royal-linked contacts from Clay Shaw's address book. )

Girardet was born in China and educated partly in England and partly in the United States. His mother, Marigo Lucia Maximo, was born in Virginia USA in 1887 but grew up in the cotton district of Toxteth Park near Liverpool, England. Girardet's real estate development business in Jamaica in 1950 was sponsored by Lord Ronald Graham, who severed the partnership in 1958. It would later be revealed that Graham had some quite mysterious links to the Tate-LaBianca murders which occurred in 1969:
Click to enlarge.
Lord Ronald Graham, Realtor, P.O, Box 16, Ocho Rios, Jamaica was interviewed regarding the lease of a house and hiring of servants for a period from July 12, 1969, to November 1, 1969. The lease was signed by Ravenel Stanland and Charles Tacot. The terms of the lease was a rent of $3,000 payable by a 25 percent deposit with balance on arrival.  A cook, maid and gardener were to be supplied by Mr. Graham's real estate office.
Sometime following the Tate murder, August 8-9, 1969, the dates of the lease were changed. The departure date was changed from November 1, 1969, to August 23 , 1969. The last person to occupy the residence left August 18, 1969. Investigating officers then traveled to Montego Bay, Jamaica where it was learned that Daniel Stanland had leased a car from Avis-rent-a-car.

John Pringle

John, born in 1925, was the son of Kenneth and Carmen DeLisser Pringle. They operated the 100,000 acres of sugar, banana, citrus and cattle lands throughout the Parishes of St. Ann’s, St. Mary’s and Portland, assembled in the early 19th century by Sir John Pringle, and by 1953 John had inherited the land and set up the Round Hill Hotel. He was given the title Custos of Hanover. 

Click to enlarge.
John's mother was a member of the DeLisser family, which included William DeLisser, whose wife -- the former Ida Browne (daughter of a famed member of Prince Philip's polo team, Charlie Browne) -- owned the Tryall Estates since the end of WWI. 
By August 28, 1959 we learn from the Gleaner that Girardet, Pringle, and the Kerr-Jarrett family of St. James Parish with other landowners east of Montego Bay, in St. James and its adjacent parish on Jamaica's north shore in developing Rose Hall:
Estimated cost of the road, planned for a proposed resort area, is £300,000. This announcement followed an informal meeting between Mr. Coombs and Messrs. George Girardet of Rose Hall Limited, and Claude N. Clarke, surveyor, at the Ministry, last Wednesday....The project for development of the Rose Hall area is being financed by local, English, United States and Canadian investors. The directors of the development project include the Hon. F. M. Kerr-Jarrett, Gustos of St. James, Chairman; and Mr. S. Bronfman, President of Seagrams, Mr. John Loeb, Senior Partner of Loeb and Rhodes, Bankers of New York, Sir Gordon Munro, retired London banker, Mr. John Pringle of Round Hill, Mr. Peter-Jarrett of Montego Bay, Lt. Col. William Noble, and Mr. George B. Girardet of Graham Associates Ltd. Mr. Girardet declared that all the finance required is available immediately, according to the release. The development area will make adequate provision for public bathing, fishing and picnicking facilities. Included in the plans are three seaside parks and three road-side parks.
Seagrams in Jamaica from 1928

In 1928 the Bronfman family, who migrated to Canada in 1889 from a nation that was to become one of the Soviet Republics during the Russian Revolution, bought the stock of Joseph E. Seagram, a Canadian distilling company. They used the molasses produced there for the whisky made in Scotland. When the war came, however, it brought sugar rationing. Seagrams then bought outright certain estates in Trelawny parish in 1944 to produce rum under the name, Captain Morgan Rum. By 1948 plans were announced for a new bottling plant on Spanish Town Road:
Alex Goldberg, chairman of the Board of Directors of Captain Morgan Rum Distillers (Jamaica), Ltd., Mr. Adalbert Herman, Director of Production of the Seagram organisation in Canada; and Mr. A.M. Henderson, Secretary-Treasurer of the Distillers Corporation— Seagrams Ltd., the parent company. Mr. V.C. McCormack, director and Resident Manager of the company in Jamaica, was at the airport to meet the party, who plan to remain here for two to three weeks.
The Bronfman family owned Seagrams, but were not then in control of the board of directors and executive offices. This would change in the 1950's. The Gleaner stated in 1980:
In 1953 Messrs. Seagram Ltd. of Montreal, Canada, a wholly-owned subsidiary of distillers corporation came and bought out all these Long Pond estate holdings from Sherriff and Co. The president of the overall operations was Mr. Samuel Bronfman who had formed a tripartite organization consisting of Canada, U.S.A. and the world. This company is regarded as a world leader in rum production, while also being the largest distillers. It is in this regard that the famous Long Pond rums have long been used as part-blends in these operations to help in achieving the place of the largest supplier of high quality rums in the world. These Trelawny estates are administered by Mr. Charles R. Bronfman as President of the House of Seagrams Ltd. representing his father, based in Canada. They both have shown great interest in the advancement and growth of Jamaica in world economy and especially so with Long Pond in Trelawny.
Long Pond's sugar factory had long been owned by George Stephenson Hewan Taylor of the Glamorgan Great House until his death in 1935. As the Jamaican agent for J. B. Sherriff and Co., Ltd., of Glasgow, Scotland, Taylor participated in a ceremony in 1930 at Falmouth, Trelawny. The amusing headline, indicating the government's greater interest in taking from rather than giving back to the colony, read:
Sir Edward Stubbs Hopes For Improvements in Water and Road Facilities of Island but Careful to Remind Large Gathering That he Commits Government or Himself to Nothing.
J . B. Sherriff was a shareholder in the Indo-China Steam Navigation Company Ltd. established in Shanghai in 1873 as a subsidiary of Hong Kong based Jardine, Matheson and Co., whose directors at the time included William Keswick. A further breakdown of ownership is set out in the following presentation:
In 1921 Messrs. Sheriff and Co., well known Distillers from Scotland, purchased Long Pond. In 1953 Seagrams Limited of Montreal, Canada, a wholly owned subsidiary of Distillers Corporation, purchased the Long Pond Estates. The year 1955 ushered in a new era for the owners of Long Pond who acquired Vale Royal, a neighbouring Estate owned by the late Mr. Arnold E. Muschett.

In November of 1977 the Jamaican Government bought Trelawny Estates and renamed it. The National Sugar Company of Long Pond (Ja.) Limited [better known as Long Pond Sugar Co. Ltd]. In 1993 it was divested to a consortium of financial institutions and individuals. The principal shareholders were Pan Jamaica Investment Trust Company (41%), Corporate Merchant Bank Limited (20%) and Island Life Insurance Company Limited (10%).
[Source: "The History of Trelawny" by Dan L. Ogilvie]

It would appear to anyone who knows the role the Bronfman family has played in the distribution of bootleg whisky and the creation of the same routes for distributing illegal drugs that Jamaica had become an integral part of their scheme by the time Tryall was planned. We will pick up with the Americans involved in the Tryall syndicate next time.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Where Texans Conspired with British Spies

Jamaica Resorts--Round Hill and The Tryall Club
Sir Wm. Stephenson ("Intrepid")

In our last entry at this blog, we posted a news article about Paul Raigorodsky's co-investors in the development of the Tryall golf club in 1957, a 2,300 acre resort development 12 miles west of Montego Bay, Jamaica, often incorrectly said to have included within its acreage the former residence of Britain's North American chief of Intelligence, Sir William Stephenson. The top British spy's Hillowton home had instead been, it appears, a few miles to the east of Tryall and Round Hill--in Reading, St. James Parish, all as shown on the map below.

In 1940 the Intrepid BSC head was placed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill in an office in New York -- Room 3603 of Rockefeller Center -- and by war's end his position at BSC (British Security Coordination) had become an umbrella spy society covering MI5, MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), Special Operations Executive (SOE), and the Political Warfare Executive (PWE), in all of North and South America as well as the Caribbean. 

Spying against American Presidents and their officials (as revealed in books by authors Jennet Conant, Thomas E. Mahl and Donald Sturrock) did not end after the war. The propaganda machine had been placed in high gear and continued at a seemingly relaxed pace in the British islands south of the United States, where the British spies partied with Americans, both their witting and unwitting tools. 

Stephenson's death occurred on January 31, 1989, in Bermuda, where Stephenson moved after allegedly selling his Jamaican home, Hillowton in 1951.

Pat "Bubbles" Harmsworth
By 1989 spymaster Ian Fleming had already been dead 25 years, his death occurring only a year after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, ironically a fan of the James Bond novels. Six years before that infamous murder, members of the Dallas community where Kennedy's brains were splattered over Dealy Plaza were making plans to construct the Tryall Club adjacent to Round Hill, in Montego Bay. Popular with British aristocrats and their American counterparts, Round Hill has been called "the first great post-war hotel, a meeting place for New York socialites and European royalty, a private retreat for Hollywood on holiday."

Ten years after plans to build Tryall were announced, the following article widely appeared in the press, quoting Patricia Evelyn Beverly Matthews "Bubbles" Harmsworth, more officially known as the:
vivacious Pat  Harmsworth of London, wife of the heir to the title Viscount Rothermere  [her husband's father was Esmond Cecil Harmsworth]. "After lunch, there's swimming, water skiing, snorkeling, but mostly tanning. "You have to get a tan. People don't know where you've been otherwise." Pat and her husband live in a cliffside home at Round Hill that Pat bought by accident. "I bid on it just for fun, and suddenly, I had a winter cottage."
Spies in Swimsuits

Fleming with first James Bond
Pat's husband, Vere Harold Esmond Harmsworth, was a stepson to Ian Fleming's longtime mistress (later wife), Anne Charteris Harmsworth, who had vacationed in Jamaica with Fleming for years while married to the 2nd Viscount Rothermere. 

Anne's first husband, the 3rd Baron O'Neill died in 1944, and though having had affairs with both Harmsworth and Fleming while married to O'Neill, she chose to marry the wealthy Viscount Rothermere in 1945; they divorced in 1952 after she became pregnant with Fleming's son, Caspar Robert Fleming

Lt.-Col. Raymond Arthur Clanaboy O'Neill, a son from her marriage to Baron O'Neill, would be widely rumored to be the man who would marry Princess Alexandra of Kent, though the Princess would actually choose Angus Ogilvy in 1963.

Ian Fleming's stepson, Ray O'Neill
Anne Fleming's stepdaughter, Esmé Gabrielle Harmsworth, already an adult in 1945, when Ann married the Viscount, had married into the Barings banking family in 1942, making her the Countess of Cromer. In 1961 her husband, G. Rowland Stanley Baring, was Governor of the Bank of England. 

During the same year a photo of Esmé's newest stepmother (Mrs. Mary Ohrstrom, niece of Clint Murchison, Sr.) appeared to support the Murchison sons' takeover of Baltimore's Alleghany Corporation. Based in Baltimore, childhood home of the Duchess of Windsor, Alleghany Corp. was originally financed by Alex. Brown and Sons and invested in by Wallis Simpson's uncle on her behalf. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were introduced by investment adviser Robert R. Young to Clint Murchison and taken to his secluded ranch in Mexico in 1950.  (See also Bryan Burrough, The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes.)

Texan Conspirators against Liberal Presidents?

Click to enlarge.
During the proxy battle, Drew Pearson had written in his column:
The Murchisons [John D. and Clint, Jr.?] owe several millions to Mrs. Robert Young, widow of the late New York Central executive, and, according to SEC records, have borrowed $3,000,000 from Arnold S. Kirkeby, who owns the Kirkeby hotel chain and who once borrowed indirectly from "Longy" Zwillman, the New Jersey gangster, to acquire the Sherry-Netherland in New York. It's a frantic battle between the new Texas oil millionaires and the old Scotch Wall Street millionaire. Whoever wins out on May 1 will control two major railroads and the biggest mutual funds empire in the world. The battle will be worth watching.
When Bubbles' father-in-law married a third time, his new wife was former Texan, Mary Murchison Ohrstrom, one of the three women pictured above. She was a daughter of Kenneth Murchison, whose older brother was Clinton Williams Murchison, Sr. of Dallas, the father of the proxy battlers against Allan P. Kirby for control of Alleghany. 

Clint Sr. and Kenneth were sons of a small-town banker, and grew up in a family with ten children. Kenneth graduated from the University of Texas and went to work for a prominent Wall Street Bank at 60 Wall Street. At age 23, Kenneth applied for a passport, to go to the Philippines and Hong Kong on business.

Daughter Mary married Ian Fleming's wife's stepson.
Kenneth married Helen Claire Delaney, daughter of oil producer Michael Joseph Delaney of Bowling Green, Ohio in 1929, and they set up housekeeping in Highland Park, north of Dallas, where he worked for his brother Clint. Years later they lived at 3525 Turtle Creek Blvd., and Kenneth ran the Insurers Corporation in Dallas. 

Growing up in an assortment of states, Helen Delaney Murchison had moved from Ohio to South Boulder Avenue West in Tulsa, Oklahoma by 1910, and had lived a couple doors away from  oilman, Charles John Wrightsman, whose son, Charles B. Wrightsman, was four years older than Helen. 

We will return later to Charles Bierer Wrightsman and the other "conspirators." In the meantime, do your own research, and feel free to comment below.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

White Russians and British Spies

The following post has been sitting in my draft file for ages now. As I did my research, I kept running into work previously done at Greg Parker's website, Reopen Kennedy Case, but it seems no one else has been fascinated by the potentially earth-shaking connections Max E. Clark of Fort Worth had to the White Russian community in Dallas. As revealed by the Warren Commission, Max Clark was married to Gali Scherbatoff, a Russian who was born in France. He explained in his testimony how their meeting with the Oswalds came about:
Mr. CLARK. My wife was born in France; her father is Russian and her mother is English and Russian. I know her father was born in Russia but I am not certain whether her mother was born in Russia or England because they alternated back and forth so I really don’t know....

Mr. LIEBELER. This first attempt of Oswald’s to contact your wife did he tell
you what motivated him; was it purely a social matter?

Mr. CLARK. Purely social; his wife could not speak English and she would
like to talk to some girl that spoke Russian so we made the offer. We were not
about to go out to his house where he was living. If he wanted to see us he
could come over there. We felt we had done enough. Shortly after that my
wife’s mother was having an operation in France so it had been planned that
she would go over there during this operation, so my wife left in July, I believe,
or first of August. I have forgotten, of 1962 and was gone 7 weeks or something
like that. When she returned to Fort Worth in September or the latter part
of September, the Russian group which she keeps rather close contact with -- there is not such a large number between Dallas and Fort Worth that they communicate quite freely back and forth -- stated that they had met this Marina
Oswald and that she was having an extremely hard time and so several of
them came over from Fort Worth, I mean from Dallas to Fort Worth and asked
my wife to meet them at Oswald’s house.

Bill Simpich has also studied Max Clark and described his role as a security officer in Fort Worth as well as within the community of White Russians in Dallas. Bill Kelly posted Simpich's research at his blog, JFKCountercoup:
The Dallas-Fort Worth community of Soviet and Eastern European emigres -- referred to as "White Russians" -- took Oswald and his family under their wing upon their arrival from the USSR in May 1962....

Max Clark, an attorney and former industrial security supervisor at General Dynamics, was a mentor for de Mohrenschildt and this community. Clark was part of a network of security personnel that put the squeeze on the Kennedy Administration that year to get General Dynamics' TFX project in Fort Worth approved over their Boeing competitors At the time, this deal to churn out the F-111 fighters was one of the largest military contracts in history.

The White Russian community harbored an underground anti-Soviet movement known as the NTS. The Dallas White Russian community was tightly aligned with an anti-Soviet movement known by its Russian initials of "NTS" (National Alliance of Russian Solidarists).

Documents show Max and Gali had married at some point before 1947, when as a couple, they returned from France aboard the S.S. De Grasse.

Click to enlarge.
Gali Scherbatoff's family's address was listed on the opposite page to the one above, shown as follows:

Click to enlarge.

The address shown for Max and Gali Clark at that time in 1947 was 608 Eighth Avenue in Fort Worth, Texas--a four-unit apartment house quite close to the historic Thistle Hill mansion built for Electra Waggoner Wharton. This apartment was only two streets over from the Sixth Avenue office building--where Max Clark's father's oil business had been housed for many years. The building was named for the late Dan Waggoner and his widow and built by rancher/oilman, W. T. Waggoner. By 1947 most of the Waggoners were either dead or had moved from Fort Worth, but their name still commanded a great deal of power among the old-timers in the city, like Sid W. Richardson, who resided in a hotel called the Fort Worth Club and had his offices on the 24th floor of the Fort Worth National Bank Building at 714 Main.

Adelaide Scherbatow in 1918
The Warren Commission testimony of  Paul Raigorodsky disclosed that Gali Scherbatoff Clark (Max Clark's wife) was a cousin of Kyril Scherbatow, who lived in New York and Jamaica. Thus, it seems the Clarks had invested with Raigorodsky in the Tryall Resort he had helped to build in Jamaica beginning in 1957.

Intriguingly, the British novelist Ian Fleming also had a residence in Jamaica, as did the head of British Security Coordination (BSC), William Stephenson. Only in recent years has it been disclosed the extent to which BSC was using its agents to spy on the internal politics and policy of its American allies. The first research came to this blogger's knowledge from a fascinating book called The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington, written by Jennet Conant.  A second, even more comprehensive report of the propaganda techniques used by the BSC appeared in Thomas E. Mahl's book, Desperate Deception: British Covert Operations in the United States, 1939-44.

Considering also the fact that several other Texans had vacation homes in Jamaica where they could have been in contact with British spies--intent during WWII and its aftermath with directing the course of American policy in a direction favorable to that of the United Kingdom--it leads us to consider an alternative to the common belief that it was the CIA behind the assassination of JFK. At the Tryall website we read:
By the 1950s, a group of entrepreneurs--including John Connally, later governor of Texas, and Lloyd Bentsen, who would become a U.S. Senator--had purchased the land. In 1957, they founded the Tryall Club as a private villa resort.
John Connally was the Texas governor at the time President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, an act which benefited Connally's mentor, Lyndon Johnson, as well as those businessmen who supported him. Many assassination researchers have wondered about the meaning of his exclamation on November 22, 1963:
My God, they are going to kill us all!
We will come back to John Connally later, after exploring more about the other investors who helped the White Russian Paul Raigorodsky create his resort somewhere between Ian Fleming's "Goldeneye" and Sir William Stephenson's "Hillowton". H. Montgomery Hyde described Hillowton in his book, Room 3603:
Stephenson had gone to live in Jamaica, where he had bought a property at Hillowton, overlooking Montego Bay - "the finest house in the island," he called it. (Incidentally, it was his wife's choice). His example was followed by several of his friends, including Lord Beaverbrook, Sir William Wiseman, Noel Coward and Ian Fleming, all of whom acquired estates on Jamaica's beautiful north shore at this time. For a year or so he showed little interest in the outside world and was content to enjoy life on this island in the sun. Only gradually did he recover his interest in commerce and industry.
With some of his war-time associates, such as financiers Sir Rex Benson and Sir Charles Hambro in London, General Donovan in Washington,and a number of Canadian and American industrialists like Edward Stettinius, former chairman of the U.S. Steel Corporation, he formed the British-American-Canadian Corporation, which developed into the World Commerce Corporation, originally designed to fill the void left by the break-up of the big German cartels which Stephenson himself had done much to destroy. Thus he and his colleagues on the board raised an initial $1,000,000 to help 'bridge over the breakdown in foreign exchange and provide the tools, machinery and "know how" to develop untapped resources in different parts of the world.
The Hillowton tract was apparently owned in 1939 by Mrs. John King Reckford, who lived in New York City. Reckford published a notice in the Kingston Gleaner to have her 22 acre property registered after it was surveyed. Reckford was the former Virginia Aileen Thelfall of Crafton, Pennsylvania, who married Naval Lieutenant Reckford, scion of the American Lead Pencil Co., in 1936 in the church in Elberon, N.J. named for eminent banker Moses Taylor. After John's death in 1941, the property was sold to Sir William Stephenson, head of British Intelligence in the United States. Room 3603 states that Hillowton was owned by the BSC chief no later than 1943, when he invited Noel Coward to visit there.

An aside to this story is intriguing as well. The seller of the Jamaican estate, Mrs. Reckford in 1945 married Fernand Jean Prosper Delzaert, a Belgian economist stationed in Washington, D.C., whom she divorced in 1949 (see news clip).

In February 1948, The Gleaner published a photo of Roald Dahl with his first name typically misspelled:

MR. ROULD [sic] DAHL, writer, and friend of Sir William Stephenson, who arrived here yesterday afternoon by British South American Airways plane from London to spend a four week vacation.

Mr. Dahl told the Gleaner yesterday that his first book "Flying Fast," was recently published, and the second, "The Satier," will be published in the United States next month. He will leave Kingston some time today for Hillowton Reading, where he will be a guest at Sir William Stephenson's winter home in St. James.

In July that year another notice mentioning Dahl and Hillowton appeared in the Gleaner:


ALL WRITERS MAY FORWARD their SCRIPTS to MISS LENA LEVY, STENOTYPIST. who has her office OPPOSITE the MONTEGO BAY POST OFFICE. PHONE 654. Some months ago Miss Levy got through 85.000 words for those well-known writers, the Max Murrays, and 40,000 words for that brilliant young writer, Ronald [sic] Dahl, who spent a few weeks with Sir William and Lady Stephenson at Hillowton.
Donald Sturrock wrote in his book, Storyteller, a biography of Roald Dahl:
Dahl himself escaped for a month to Jamaica in early 1948, flying via Senegal and Brazil, and staying for two weeks with Hemingway at Sir William Stephenson’s house in Hillowton outside Montego Bay—a “dream place” where he went swimming every day on Max Beaverbrook’s private beach. He then travelled east along the north coast of the island to spend a few days with Charles Marsh near Ocho Rios. But he ended up staying as the house guest of Pamela Berry, the Marchioness of Huntly, and making his Jamaican “headquarters” with her.
It has been said that Stephenson sold Hillowton in 1951. If so, there appears to be a gap to research between that date and six years later--May 6, 1957--when the following headline appeared at the top fold of the Kingston Gleaner in Jamaica:

Tryall sold to multi-million dollar group.
Jamaican named Chairman.

We will pick up at this point, hopefully, in our next entry.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Knights and Their Secret Orders

Conditional Allegiance to Power?

In another blog article, I borrowed a quote from famed economic historian Robert L. Heilbroner who was quoted by James Presley in his book, A Saga of Wealth as follows:
Vassal swearing allegiance to lord
“Throughout most of history,” wrote Robert L. Heilbroner, “wealth and power have gone hand in hand.” The alliance, an obvious one, has grown with but occasional public outcries. Working together, possessors of wealth and power may achieve a stability of their own. Over most of history, wealth has been a vassal to power, for as Heilbroner explained, “it was easier for the ruler to become a rich man than the rich man a ruler.” [Presley, page 303]
Elliott Roosevelt was ushered into the radio business initially by Fort Worth men associated in business with  the father of his second wife, Ruth Googins. They enticed him to move to  Texas -- undoubtedly promising him the moon in the hope of attracting his father's power for their own interests. Newly elected Franklin Roosevelt had a power to which these businessmen gravitated, but that expanding federal power could also make them shudder. Americans, since the days of the Federalist blockade against England, have fought tooth and nail against the Constitutional principle of majority rule, which effectively damns the business interests of the defeated minority. They swear their fealty and allegiance to the man in power only when he gives them what they want. Full stop.

In 1930 Texas had quite a number of men, like Elliott's radio investors Sid Richardson and Charles Roeser, who had recently become rich in the oil fields of Corsicana and East Texas. Over the preceding decades these wealthy men had witnessed what they viewed as the usurpation of state law by the federal government. The federal government had obtained the power to tax their incomes in 1913 and to prohibit the sale of liquor within the state in 1920. Both laws could now be enforced through the expanding powers of the Bureau of Investigation, linked to the Treasury Department's Bureau of Prohibition, as opposed to Texas' own police force, the Texas Rangers.

With this feeling of a need to reach out and grab control of federal authority--much as Colonel Edward M. House of Texas had done when he went in search of a candidate for the Presidency in 1912--the newly wealthy oilmen in Texas thought that, by buying Elliott a place within Fort Worth society, they would thus gain the power of the executive office for themselves. Like the du Pont family of Delaware who would attempt to buy Franklin Roosevelt, Jr. in 1937, the Texans soon discovered things did not quite go as planned under the new President.

FDR was happy to accept his minions' pledge of fealty but, as the rich Texans soon learned, he rarely protected their interests if it was inconsistent with his concept of the overall good for America. Two of these wealthy "vassals," as we have seen, Sid Richardson and Charles Roeser, saw their investment in Elliott's radio network tank. At the same time, their primary interest--oil--was also in dire straits. Where was the protection they expected?

Hot Oil in East Texas

FDR was elected in 1932 by a plethora of groups disenchanted with Republican Herbert Hoover's nonaction in overcoming the effects of the stock market crash in 1929 and the depression that seemed to be unending. The Democrats' pledge to repeal the Volstead Act brought several otherwise divergent groups of voters into the Party, including Franklin Jr.'s in-laws, the du Ponts of the famous chemical conglomerate.

Over-drilling in East Texas
A wealthy group of Texas Democrats consisted of oil men made wealthy in the East Texas Oil Fields, who saw their profits being drained by fly-by-night opportunists tapping wells into the massive pools of oil underneath their own oil wells. They believed they had the right to regulate production through the Texas Railroad Commission, originated in the days when Colonel Edward M. House was building his own railroad and electing governors in Texas to appoint men to the Commission judicially recognized as the agency in charge of regulating oil and gas.

The Texas Oil and Gas Conservation Act of 1919 prohibited production of crude oil “in such manner and under such conditions as to constitute waste” and the Texas Railroad Commission was charged with doing “all things necessary for the conservation of oil” and with establishment of “such rules and regulations as will be necessary to conserve the oil and gas resources in the state.”

Believing the 1919 Act gave Texas complete power to regulate oil well production within Texas, the commissioners attempted to quell the flow from cheap "teakettle" refineries set up by independent oilmen who came to the Texas boom field from all parts of the nation, threatening to drain the pools underneath the wells of the "big oil" interests like Humble Oil. In the summer of 1931, more than a year before FDR's election, a federal appeals court had struck down the power of the Railroad Commission to do more than to "conserve" oil, disallowing a quota system, and thus upholding the rule of capture announced many years earlier in Pennsylvania.

Big Oil vs. Independents

Sterling Mansion portico
The governor of Texas at this time, Ross Sterling, was one of the founders of Humble Oil (now Exxon), who had resigned from the Humble board in 1925 when his sale of stock to Standard Oil of New Jersey made him a wealthy man and gave Jersey Standard half of Humble's stock. Sterling had seen his fortune diminish with the 1929 stock crash, which came on the heels of his sinking a hefty $1.4 million of his new-found wealth into the construction of a 21,000-square- foot mansion in La Porte, Texas.

Governor Sterling
As the Depression deepened without help in sight from President Herbert Hoover, Sterling took action on the state level, calling a special session of the Texas Legislature in August 1931 to address the oil crisis. Federal courts were being requested to grant injunctions in favor of small independent oil men who had contracted to sell more oil than the Railroad Commission permitted them to drill under new proration orders, issued in the hope of stopping the price of oil from plummeting further.

Since June, "the price of oil throughout the Mid-Continent Field had fallen from one dollar and seven cents for high gravity oil, similar to that produced in East Texas, to an average of twenty-two cents a barrel." [Master's thesis of Lucile Silvey Beard, citing L. G. Bignell, “East Texas Must Not Pass 160,000 Barrels of Oil,” Oil and Gas Journal, August 20, 1931, p. 23.]

While appealing one such injunction to the U.S. Supreme Court, Sterling then declared a state of war in East Texas and put the Texas National Guard's Brig. Gen. Jacob F. Wolters in charge of enforcing the new Texas law. Wolters, a graduate of the Fort Worth college that later became Texas Christian University (TCU), was not only a partner in a Houston law firm which acted as general counsel for the Texas Company (later Texaco), but, since 1918, as a general in the Texas National Guard had been the "troubleshooter for many Texas governors. They called on him to establish martial law in areas where even the Texas Rangers could not reassert civil law and order." [1]

In December 1932, a month after FDR was elected but not yet inaugurated, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal district court's contempt order against Governor Sterling "on the ground that a governor can declare martial law only in case of actual insurrection or menacing threats of insurrection."

In Sterling v. Constantin, 287 U.S. 378 (1932), Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, who wrote the stinging opinion, addressed the governor's "attempt to regulate by executive order the lawful use of complainants' properties in the production of oil" by interjecting himself in the place of civil judicial process, delegating the authority to the

Humble Oil
Not only did Governor Sterling lose this case, so did former-governor Dan Moody, who had preceded Sterling as governor. Moody, given the credit for ending the reign of the Ku Klux Klan prominent once again during Prohibition, by fighting against the localized corruption of Pa and Ma Ferguson, had made it possible for the federal government to increase its power in areas formerly left to state control.

According to Nicholas G. Malavis in Bless the Pure and Humble: Texas Lawyers and Oil Regulation, 1919-1936, Moody--who had returned to private practice when succeeded by Sterling (elected apparently in an effort to protect Standard Oil's stock value)--was hired as attorney for a plethora of independent East Texas oil operators (filling 13 Pullman train cars) when Dan represented their interest before proration hearings at the Railroad Commission in March 1931. The orders came and went but, without any inherent enforcement mechanism, Governor Sterling was impotent without the national guard.

Rise of the "Federal Authority"

What is important for these purposes, however, is how this battle in the oil fields affected what was later to occur in Texas politics during the 1960's. Having been slapped down for using state action to regulate what they thought should have been within the state's power, certain influential Texans sought to buy their way into federal power. And if that wouldn't work, ... well, it would work. Texans knew how to handle such matters. They had being doing it since 1836.

Pre-1931 photo of Gov. Moody showing Oveta Culp as parliamentarian; she was later wife of Gov. Hobby

Remember San Jacinto!

These events occurred a relatively short time before Texas started to plan for the Centennial to commemorate its 100 years of independence from Mexico, declared on March 2, 1836, but not officially won until winning the battle at San Jacinto on April 21 that year. Ironically, Texans were only able to build a suitable monument to their glory days of independence by tapping into funds obtained from the federal government. And it just so happened they had powerful men in place who did the tapping for them--Vice President John Nance Garner and RFC chairman Jesse H. Jones.  The total monies for the memorial was set out in a special article in the San Antonio Light May 9, 1937:
The government, appropriated $3,000,000 for Centennial markers and buildings and other government agencies contributed enormous amounts of money toward various Centennial projects. The expenditure for San Jacinto is approximately this:
Vice President Garner's Centennial commission..................$ 385,000
WPA for landscaping...............................................................325,000
WPA Funds for terracing........................................................ 500,000
Extra fund approved by president........................................... 200,000
Total federal funds.............................................................. $1,320,000
State appropriation .............................................................$   250,000
Houstonians and Texas officials were embarrassed when Jesse Jones who, as chairman of RFC was instrumental in obtaining the WPA and PWA grants and originally inspired the San Jacinto monument, came to Houston to level the cornerstone which was to have borne his name. Additional embarrassment is in store for those who accompany President Roosevelt on his scheduled visit to San Jacinto at the end of his gulf fishing trip.
The reason the original fund set up in Texas was not used was that the constitutional amendment authorizing a centennial celebration and instructing the legislature to make adequate financial provision for resulted in competition among Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio to host the central exposition. Although it possessed the least historical background, the commission chose Dallas because it offered the largest cash commitment ($7,791,000), the existing State Fair of Texas facility with provisions for expansion, and unified urban leadership headed by bankers Robert L. Thornton, Fred F. Florence, and Nathan Adams. The Texas legislature and the United States Congress each appropriated $3,000,000 for the special 1936 centennial; however, it was determined these funds could not be used in this monument.

It was thus up to Houstonian Jesse Jones to ensure that those "Sons of the Republic of Texas" who fought at San Jacinto were properly memorialized. An editorial in the Kerrville Daily Times humorously recounted events surrounding San Jacinto Day celebrations of 1937:

It has been suggested that an enemy of Jesse Jones is responsible for the protest of the patriotic organization. This may or may not be true, but the whole fuss looks like a tempest in a teapot to us. Far too many squabbles have developed during the Texas Centennial period over the location bill u provision which would have of Centennial memorials, etc. Such foolishness should stop....Jesse Jones foremost citizen of Houston, and a National leader, was largely responsible for the Federal appropriation for the monument. We see no good reason why his name and the names of the President and Vice President might not have been cut into an inconspicuous cornerstone. The whole fuss is being humorously referred to as the "Second Battle of San Jacinto." A similar uproar about the Alamo which occurred several years ago, was designated as the "Second Battle of the Alamo," and just now a third battle seems to be possible over the location of the Alamo Museum.
Jesse H. Jones and Sam Houston's only surviving son, Andrew Jackson Houston - 1936
In a show of gratitude that the long-dreamt-of monument was finally a reality, the Sons of the Republic of Texas (Gen. Jacob F. Wolters had been a president of the fraternity before 1934) made Jesse an honorary member. He could not be a regular member, because of its bylaws:

The society of Sons of the Republic of Texas is composed of white male persons of good moral character who are more than 16 years old and who are descended from an ancestor who was a loyal resident citizen of Texas prior to its annexation to the United States of America in February of 1846.
Base of San Jacinto Monument
Then they took him into their small secret order, the Knights of San Jacinto, created by Texian President Sam Houston in 1843, and revived by the Sons of the Republic of Texas at the culmination of Centennial celebrations on San Jacinto Day 1939. San Jacinto Museum of History Association headed by George A. Hill, Jr., the man "primarily responsible for creating the San Jacinto Museum."

The secret order's major role in later history will be explored in other posts at this blog.


[1] Wolters, a partner in an eminent Houston firm--Lane, Wolters and Storey--with Judge James L. Storey and Jonathan Lane. When Storey died in 1925, his obituary stated he had recently withdrawn from the firm -- making it Wolters, Blanchard, Woodul and Wolters -- which then included former lieutenant governor Walter F. Woodul, with offices on the  eighth floor of Jesse Jones' Houston Chronicle Building.