Saturday, May 12, 2012

Colossal Failure to Research Ekdahl

Who Was Edwin Albert Ekdahl, Stepfather of Lee Harvey Oswald?

The only father figure Lee Oswald ever had was the man pictured below, who appeared on the scene in New Orleans in either late 1942 or the first half of 1943, and disappeared from the Oswalds' life in mid-1948. Yet, Ekdahl has been almost totally ignored as a target of research before now.

Ekdahl's Overlooked Fort Worth Connections

The facts of his marriage to Marguerite Oswald were set out in a divorce petition filed by Edwin A. Ekdahl, signed personally by Fred Korth, whose office was at 812 Neil P. Anderson Building, situated at 411 West Seventh Street in Fort Worth.* Exploring that building's location really gives one a sense of who Ekdahl was during the years Lee Oswald lived in the same house with him. The best way to sense that connection is through Jack White's historic photos.

Ekdahl's office, left; Korth's office, right

Ekdahl's office was nearby in the Texas Electric Service Company (TESCO) Building at 408 West Seventh--the same building which had housed FDR's Works Progress Administration during the depression years leading up to World War II. TESCO used the advertising agency, Witherspoon and Associates, where photographer Jack White was a vice president. White, intriguingly, served as a consultant to the HSCA concerning photo analysis and enhancement and has been an unabashed defender of the work of John Armstrong, author of the book Harvey and Lee, inspired by White's prior photographic work on Oswald. According to Dave Perry, White and Armstrong had in fact worked together "scrutinizing" Marguerite's files. White, at least, should have known, if he did not in fact know, that Oswald's stepfather, Edwin Ekdahl, had worked for one of Witherspoon's most important clients, the Texas Electric Service Company, located across the street for Fred Korth's office when Korth represented Ekdahl in his divorce from Marguerite.

The Fort Worth Club was in the building a block away at 306 W. 7th, where oilmen Charlie Roeser and Sid Richardson had offices, next to the Worth Hotel, on whose stationery Marguerite wrote letters. At one time the website for the Fort Worth Club contained the following boast:
“The Fort Worth Club has historically been the place where the city's most prestigious visitors have chosen to hang their hats while in Fort Worth. Chairmen, Presidents and others from the corporate, political, social, and entertainment world have enjoyed the Club's warmth and hospitality. Stars of the stage and screen have always made themselves at home in The Fort Worth Club. The legendary Sid Richardson lived at the Club and one of Texas’ heroes, Will Rogers, made The Fort Worth Club his second home. Amon Carter, publisher of the city's most powerful newspaper, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, maintained a suite at The Fort Worth Club and was Club president for over 35 years. Mr. Carter and his comrades reportedly ran the town from The Fort Worth Club. It was and is the place where key decisions regarding Fort Worth are made. Meetings at the Club brought General Dynamics, now Lockheed, the city's largest employer, and Casa Manana, Fort Worth's greatest entertainment attraction of the era. Other landmark associations consummated at the Club include the General Motors plant in Arlington, the Bell Helicopter Textron plant in the Mid-Cities, and the Swift and Armour packaging houses.” [Quoted from Fort Worth Club website.]
Today's website merely touts:
In 1926, The Fort Worth Club erected a grand, 12-story high-rise at Throckmorton and Seventh streets, featuring apartment suites for prominent members. Club President Amon G. Carter hosted many prestigious guests at the new building in his personal quarters, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Bob Hope, Gene Autrey, war hero J.D. Doolittle, lords and ladies of London, sports figures and more. The new Fort Worth Club became the social epicenter of Fort Worth.
Amon Carter's office at 400 West 7th, in the Fort Worth Star Telegram Building, was just next door to Ekdahl's at No. 408 W. 7th:

Amon Carter partnered with Jesse Jones of Houston

When Edwin Met Margo
Edwin, Marguerite and the '38 Buick

We are told Marguerite met Ekdahl in New Orleans while her boys were all staying at the since-demolished Bethlehem Lutheran Orphanage, east of New Orleans (5413 North Peters Street) prior to her termination from the hosiery shop she managed briefly. Both Marguerite and John Pic recalled that she was then working at Pittsburgh Plate Glass company on Canal Street when the couple met, but it is not clear from their testimony where she was living at the time.

Dr. Cuthbert J. Brown's records reflected that in August and September 1942 Marguerite resided at 227 Atlantic Avenue in Algiers, La. By the time she paid her next visit to this doctor in July 1943, however, an address change to 2136 Broadway was noted on her patient card. A two-story building divided into apartments on the west side of New Orleans near Audubon Street and Tulane University, this house was in a totally different neighborhood from anywhere she had ever lived, and none of the neighbors, owners or tenants questioned 20 years later--either at the Broadway or the Algiers locations--recalled ever having heard of her.

Notwithstanding the FBI's inability to confirm the last two addresses, the Warren Commission felt the evidence (Exhibit 1963 and Exhibit 2213) did support Marguerite's having lived on Broadway during 1942 or 1943. The evidence included Marguerite's W-4 form filled out on July 9, 1943, when she was employed as manager of a hosiery store owned by "Lady Orris Hosiery Co. of New York," operated by Edward Aizer, listing her address as 2136 Broadway. Aizer also told the agent she was then dating a "well-to-do gentleman" with a heart condition, obviously Edwin Ekdahl. However, John Pic was definite in his testimony that she met Ekdahl while she worked at Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, so it seems safe to assume that job preceded her managerial position at the hosiery shop.

Aizer's recollection was that he terminated her employment after only about two months because of her lack of competence with figures. John Pic, who supplied one of the most accurate chronologies of the Oswald/Pic family homes and schools and was clearly not one to be taken in by Marguerite's habit of dissembling,  stated, with regard to his mother's being fired from this job:
"Whenever she changed jobs she always gave me a rationalized answer....I remember once, it may have been the Lerner shop or it may have been this hosiery shop which you are referring to, that she told me that they let her go because she didn't use an underarm deoderant [sic]. That was the reason she gave me, sir. She said she couldn't do nothing about it. She uses it but if it don't work what can she do about it. Other times whenever she changed jobs it was always because the next job was better. "

Following the failure of an attempt at running her own home business, "Oswald's Notion Shop," selling sewing notions and some candy, in the front room of their home for less than a year, Marguerite took what may have been her first job since her marriage to Robert E. Lee Oswald in 1933. Prior to the birth of her first son, John Edward Pic, she had, since before her 17th birthday, a receptionist at the large New Orleans law firm which represented the Standard Fruit Company as one of its clients.

Three children and two husbands later, following the Christmas holidays of 1941-42, Marguerite placed only the two older boys --Lee was still too young at age two for placement--into Bethlehem Lutheran Orphanage a few miles east of this neighborhood, and she then secured work outside the home. John Pic remembered the time as being soon after WWII started. Perhaps Marguerite had heard that nearby Algiers Naval Base was gearing up for war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Marguerite's biographer of sorts, Jean Stafford,  A Mother In History: Marguerite Oswald, The Mother of the Man Who Killed President Kennedy, quoted Lee's mother as saying:
"I used to work in Algiers, Louisiana, during the war and that is across the river from New Orleans. I was a switchboard operator. My duty was six o'clock in the morning until three, or six-thirty, I forget which. So, I rented a room in Algiers, Louisiana, and my sister was taking care of Lee permanently at this particular time. He was about two years old. Every evening I left Algiers and took the ferry and came over and took care of my baby, and would have to leave early enough to get home before dark--after all, I was a woman alone--to be across the river so I could go to work for six-thirty. And the Naval Base personnel used to come with a jeep to pick me up because there was no other way to get to the Naval Base." [p. 60]
We know from information provided by Marguerite's sister, Lillian Claverie Murret, that her home at the time was some five miles northwest of the neighborhood where Marguerite had lived with her husband, Robert E. Lee Oswald, so that made it quite a distance farther and across the river from Algiers. It is unlikely Marguerite traveled to the Murrets every evening to see Lee; most likely she was recalling the short period at Pauline Street when she had live-in caretakers for Lee.

Her room at 227 Atlantic Avenue, apparently shared with another woman, was 1.3 miles from the headquarters building of the naval training station at Algiers--2300 General Meyer Avenue.

Marguerite's employment in 1942-43 time frame.

The best illustration from Marguerite's own mouth of what Pic would describe in 1964 as her habit of giving a "rationalized answer" to her job changes appears just following the portion of the above-quoted statement  from Stafford's book. The continuation of Marguerite's rambling monologue was as follows:
"I was on this side of New Orleans [in Algiers?] and this young lady that also roomed where I was rooming had a car and she was coming to New Orleans and she told me that if I would stay over she would take me home. Well, my two nephews [Murret sons] had had a tonsillitis operation and I went to the hospital and stayed a little while with them and then I met this young lady and she had a date and they decided that we should go into one of the nightclubs in the Vieux Carre and have a little recreation. Well, now I love to dance and go out to dinner and places like that, and so I said I would.

"And before I knew it, it was two o'clock in the morning. What could I do? I'm with them, they have the car, so I have to wait. So when I did get home I called the other young lady who worked the evening shift for the switchboard and told her I wasn't feeling well and would she take the morning and I would take the evening. She said she would. However, it didn't please her too much. So that afternoon I was called to the Colonel's office and he asked me what happened and I told him I wasn't feeling well, and that I had been up until late and had been to the hospital--that part of course was true--so it was perfectly natural that I call the other young lady and ask her to change with me.

"However, I did dance, you see, with a few of the boys, and they happened to be men from the base, but how was I to know that? And he told me that I was not telling the truth and that I had been seen in a nightclub and I was dancing until two o'clock in the morning when I should have been home in bed resting to be there for the six o'clock shift. And he fired me, right then and there." [pp. 60-61]
Assuming Marguerite was telling the truth, as she remembered it, why would a "colonel" be stationed at a naval base? Was it also possible Edwin Ekdahl, having served in the Navy's engineer corps during WWII, could have been assigned in Algiers during the same time? Or perhaps he was working there in some other capacity?

1940's era map of Algiers Naval Station
Stafford made no reference to Edwin Ekdahl at this particular point in the book, but it is somewhat intriguing that he did appear on the scene at this point in time, or perhaps a few months later. John Pic pins their meeting to his own appendectomy, but neither Armstrong nor the Warren Commission apparently ever felt called upon to look into details of his doctor and Pic's mother's address at that time:
Mr. JENNER - Well, I think probably a good new start off point is Mr. Ekdahl. Tell us your recollection of him, what led up, your present recollection of the circumstances which brought him into your lives and when you first were aware of his existence and what your circumstance was at that time, what your mother's was?
Mr. PIC - Okay.
Mr. JENNER - Give times as best you can.
Mr. PIC - If you can date for me when I had my appendix out I can practically date for you Mr. Ekdahl's.
Mr. JENNER - I am afraid I can't. Were you at Bethlehem Orphanage?
Mr. PIC - Yes; I was at Bethlehem so it would be either 1943 or 1944, and I am sure she was at Pittsburgh at that time.
Mr. JENNER - Pittsburgh Plate?
Mr. PIC - Right. And it was right after I had my appendix out that he appeared on the scene. And she visited us more often when she was going with him.
Mr. JENNER - And she brought him with her, did she?
Mr. PIC - Yes; he had the car.
This detail furnished by Pic, therefore, requires that we go back to Marguerite's address and job history and to the schools John Pic attended. Albert Jenner, the Warren Commission staff attorney who questioned him, never quite grasped the fact that Pic attended George Washington Elementary located at 3810 St. Claude Street (not "St. Cloud," as transcribed in the W.C. Report), which is now Douglas High School, situated near Alvar and Bartholomew Streets, just as Pic remembered it.**

Before Ekdahl--Robert E. Lee Oswald Death, July 1939

After the death of her second husband in the late summer of 1939, Marguerite, age 32, inherited the 2109 Alvar Street residence encumbered by a mortgage. Lee was born October 18 that same year, and to save money (according to John Pic), she put the older boys in the Catholic Infant Jesus College home in Algiers, La.--across the river--until the following summer of 1940. At that time, she brought them back to live with her and baby Lee, and they attended school at George Washington Elementary for a year and a half before having to be placed into another orphanage. Being a Lutheran, it is not known what possessed her to consider the Catholic home for the boys, but the fact it was located in the same area as the naval base where she later got a job is intriguing. Vincent Bugliosi sides with Albert Jenner rather than Pic here, in saying Pic returned for a time to his first school, William Frantz, before transferring to George Washington.
Endnote 516 (page 361) from Vincent Bugliosi's Reclaiming History CD tells us: "Mrs. Fred Huff, the owner of the [1242] Congress Street property, said she had rental records for Marguerite dating from November 10, 1940, but she said Marguerite could have moved into Huff ’s house earlier since her records prior to that date had been destroyed (FBI interview of Mrs. Fred C. Huff on December 9, 1963). The FBI said that records of the New Orleans Retail Credit Bureau reflect Marguerite had moved into the Congress Street house on September 28, 1940 (CE 2201, 25 H 80)."
Marguerite had decided it would be more economical to rent out the Alvar Steet house to the doctor who had delivered Lee in October 1939 while renting smaller accommodations, thus moving several time until her purchase on March 9, 1941 of an "upper lower class" house, as Pic characterized it, at 1010 Bartholomew a few blocks away. Not remembering the address of the intervening residences, all Pic would say was that one was "a green house."

The Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. where she worked was then located at 1500 Poydras at LaSalle (now part of the present location of the Superdome or "Sugar Bowl" arena). She sold the Bartholomew Street house on January 16, 1942, but kept the house on Alvar rented to Dr. Mancuso. Marguerite remembers in a monologue, delivered during Rankin's questioning, this period of time before Lee turned three years old:
War had broken out and the Negroes in New Orleans were going into factories and so on and so forth so there is many a job I had to leave in order to stay home and mind Lee until I could get help.  Then my sister helped with Lee. There is one particular instance, I let a couple [the Roaches] have my home, plus $15 a month in order to care for Lee while I worked [at the Algiers Naval Base?], and this couple after about 2 month's time had neglected Lee and so I had to put them out of the house and there again I had to quit a job [or was she fired?] and take care of Lee until I could make arrangements and my sister could help me with it.  So when Lee was 3 years old I was having it very difficult with Lee, because of the different people to take care of Lee, and the different jobs that I had to give up. However, I was never in want of work. It was during the war and I was always able to get work, but I realized if I continued to quit jobs because I couldn't hold the jobs that some day I wouldn't have enough jobs in New Orleans for me to hold one....So, then at age 3 Lee was placed in the home. I waited patiently for age 3 because I wanted naturally for the brothers to be together. It was hard on Lee also because Lee was at a different place and his brothers were at a different place. So at age 3 I placed Lee in a Lutheran home. Of course, you have to be under strict investigation financially and otherwise to do this because this is a church placement, sir.

Then, I became manager of Princess hosiery shop on Canal Street. I opened that shop and I was left by myself and in 6 days' time I hired four girls. There was the first shop this man has had. He now has, I think, 54 stores and he always remembers me as on the road of starting him to success, because this young man didn't have much money at the time. And this is where I met Mr. Ekdahl and there is why I didn't want to marry right away because the children were being taken care of and I was manager of the hosiery shop. [Mr. Aizer revealed she was dating Ekdahl while working at the hosiery job.]
After leaving them in Bethlehem, Margaret had first rented an apartment at 831 Pauline Street in the same general neighborhood as the Alvar and Bartholomew houses, and soon thereafter to 111 Sherwood Forest Drive, four or five miles northwest from that old neighborhood and quite close to her sister's home in New Orleans. Mrs. Murret often helped Marguerite care for young Lee, according to Russell Holmes' file Chronology compiled during the House Select Committee on Assassinations investigation in 1976.

More Armstrong Inaccuracies and Omissions

John Armstrong, in his book, Harvey and Lee (page 18), writes inaccurately that while living on Pauline Street Marguerite "began working for Bert's Shoe Store at 827 Canal Street in New Orleans, her first job of record." He says at page 20,
"After leaving Princess Hosiery Mrs. Oswald's friend, Mrs. Oris Duane, became the store manager and remained in that position for the next 20 years. There is no record of where Marguerite Oswald lived or where she was employed after leaving Princess Hosiery (August 1943 thru April 1944). In fact, the only record of her employment from 1939 (death of her husband) thru 1944 (5 years) was a brief period at Bert's Shoe Store, a brief period at the Naval Base in Algiers, and a few weeks at the two hosiery stores."

The only document substantiating her job at Bert's Shoes appears in Lee Oswald's 201 File in a document created by the Secret Service. The day after JFK's assassination and Lee Oswald's arrest, the Secret Service reviewed Lee's application to work at Reily Coffee Company and, noting the names of some of Lee's Oswald relatives there, began calling them. His father had three brothers, and it was in a call to Mrs. Hazel Oswald that Marguerite's job at Bert's Shoe store was reported.

Hazel was the second wife of one of Robert Lee Oswald's three brothers, William Stout Oswald. She reportedly had received a call from Lee Harvey Oswald in May 1963, inquiring about his father, who had died before he was born; she told him his three uncles were all then deceased as well. Hazel also remembered receiving a call from Marguerite some years prior to 1963--shortly after Marguerite and Lee returned from New York--stating that she was then employed at Bert's Shoes, and Lee was then 14 years old.

Under the year 1942 Armstrong relates this information, which he failed to follow up on completely:
In the summer of 1942 Marguerite rented a room at 227 Atlantic Avenue in
Algiers (across the river from New Orleans), in order to be close to her job at the Naval base, while Lee remained with Lillian Murret. On August 17 Dr. Cuthbert Brown treated Lee Oswald for impetigo, a disease of the skin. Oswald's address was listed as 227 Atlantic Avenue, the same address listed on Dr. Brown's records when he treated Marguerite on September 10, 1942.
In the fall of 1942 Marguerite lost her job at the Naval base and returned to New
Orleans. John and Robert remained at the Orphanage and were invited to their friend's home for Christmas. On December 26th, after Lee had lived at the Murret's home for 7 months, Marguerite placed 3-year-old Lee in the Evangelical Lutheran Bethleham Orphan Asylum with John and Robert. Thirty-five-year-old Marguerite then went to work for Pittsburgh Plate Glass and soon met her future husband, Edwin Ekdahl. Edwin Ekdahl was a 55-year-old engineer, originally from Boston, who was working for Ebasco Services of New York City.(34) Ekdahl had separated from his wife (Rasmine Ekdahl) a year earlier and was working in New Orleans. The couple had one child, Dewey Ekdahl, who lived with his mother in Boston.
We learn that Ebasco, a subsidiary of the Electric Bond & Share Co., was engaged in extremely sensitive matters at that very time from newspapers such as the following:
Nov. 1942
Big Power Plant Of Reds Designed
NEW YORK, Nov. 19 (AP) — Ebasco Services, Inc., a subsidiary of the Electric Bond & Share Co., big utilities system, is designing a $10,000,000 electric generating plan to be erected in Russia as a part of the United States lease- lend [sic] program, it was learned today. It was understood the U.S. treasury  procurement division arranged with Ebasco Services for the blueprints for the big power unit, to be built "eastward" from the present industrial areas. The plant will have 100,000 kilowatts capacity from four turbine generators. Total cost was estimated at $100 a kilowatt.
We have to wonder whether there was a connection between Ebasco Services and Texas Electric Service Co. (Tesco) in Fort Worth. Why was this question ignored by Armstrong? Was it because his friend, Jack White, worked for Tesco's ad agency?

Arrival in Texas from New Orleans

The FBI documented, by consulting Ivy Kern, formerly of 237 Atlantic, who stated positively she knew nobody named Marguerite Oswald, and that Mrs. Oswald had never lived at 227 Atlantic in 1941 or 1942. The Koeppel/Meyer family who did live at that address, confirmed that fact.

Schultz home in Dallas with sandbox in back
Lee left the Lutheran home in January and the two older boys were removed by Marguerite in June 1944  to in Dallas at 4801 Victor--an "upper middle class" neighborhood, as John Pic recalled--with sturdy brick homes sheltered by large shade trees. Lee led a happy existence there, often playing in a neighbor's back yard sandbox, according to an FBI interview of Roydon Schultz of 4726 Victor, who had a son a few years older than Lee [Commission Exhibit 1874].

According to Pic's memory in his Warren Commission testimony, when the older boys first moved to Dallas, Ekdahl was living somewhere in Fort Worth until the marriage on May 7, 1945, when he joined the family in Dallas at the House on Victor (part of Lot 7, in Block "A" of Ozone Addition to the City of Dallas). But his presence there could have only lasted for six weeks, since John Armstrong's records stored at the Poage Library include a copy of a deed (see page 19 of document), whereby Marguerite, joined by her new husband, conveyed the Victor residence to Ross Angelo on June 30, 1945.

Thereafter, the Ekdahls' address of Grandbury Road, Route 45, Benbrook, Texas, also reflected in Armstrong's records, was never researched for his book. Neither is the fact that Marguerite often wrote letters on stationery of the Worth Hotel, such as one addressed to  on April 13, 1946 (page 10) to the head of the Chamberlain-Hunt Academy where the older boys boarded. The address on one such envelope was Route 5 in Benbrook (page 40), which is mentioned in testimony of Otis Carlton, who says he actually purchased 100 San Saba from Mrs. Oswald. Contradicting that "evidence," is Mrs. W.H. Bell's statement (page 44) that she lived at 100 San Saba, and that the Oswalds lived in 1948 at 101 San Saba. Tax records seem to confirm that Carlton actually bought a portion of the Bell property, changing the addresses to 100 and 102, with 101 being across the street from both. If the San Saba Avenue property was at Route 5, then where was Route 45?

Old Granbury Road, Benbrook, Texas

When Christmas vacation came in December 1945, the boys rode the bus from Mississippi to Shreveport, La., near the Louisiana-Texas border. Pic remembered that Ekdahl was an hour or two late picking them up there, but they eventually arrived in Benbrook, at a new residence to which the family had moved since the boys had departed almost four months earlier. Pic describes this house as being
"about 15 miles below Fort Worth in Benbrook, it was way out. It wasn't the same Benbrook house. It was further. This was a brick house....It was rather isolated on one of the main highways. In fact, I just drove that way recently, and I couldn't find the place. When I went up to Fort Worth in 1962 I was looking for the house and I couldn't find it."
When the FBI interviewed A. R. Cartwright, he told them about an Oswald residence in Benbrook next door to the site for where the Water Department office had been located by 1964. He was apparently referring to the 101 San Saba Avenue house, since records indicate the address of the old City Hall to have been at the adjacent address of 101 Del Rio Avenue.

But what about the other Benbrook house Pic spoke of, and why did Albert Jenner skip over it so blithely during his questioning of Pic? To Jenner's query of whether that house could have been on Grandbury Road, Box 567. Pic's response was: "This was a brick house, with quite a bit of ground. I think way back they told us that one of the Roosevelt sons had a house out there, that is how I remember." There was, amazingly, no followup question:

Who Built the Benbrook Dam?

The intervening event which prevented John Pic from finding the house he remembered occurred in 1952 when Mrs. Amon G. Carter flipped a switch that closed the floodgates of the newly completed Benbrook Dam which had been under construction during John Pic's summer visit in 1945. The completion of the dam would result in the inundation of most of the Dutch Branch Ranch where Elliott and Ruth Googins Roosevelt lived between 1935 and 1944. Mos likely the first Benbrook residence where the Oswalds lived with Edwin Ekdahl was inundated along with it. Why did Jack White and his "protege," John Armstrong not look into this address? Why was there no investigation into Oswald's first grade class at Benbrook Common School?

Would an investigation of that address have demanded a more thorough look into the life of Edwin Ekdahl and his employer? Would it have revealed the background of President Roosevelt's daughter-in-law, her father, and his own elite associates in Fort Worth?

Elliott Roosevelt clearly enjoyed his connection to the man in the White House and played political games to get what he wanted, including electricity for their Dutch Branch ranch house in Benbrook in 1937:
Bringing electricity to outer regions of Benbrook, Texas
[Source of above excerpt: These Amazing Roosevelts: A Book About Franklin D. Roosevelt And His Adventurous Family,originally published by its author, the Methodist evangelist and FDR insider, Rev. William Le Roy Stidger, while FDR was still president.]
One of the "utilities" frightened by Elliott's power play, no pun intended, was Edwin Ekdahl's own employer at the time, Texas Electric Service Co. The address where young Lee Oswald lived that year, and tossed around by Jenner, was the same road described in the history of Benbrook at its website, which relates that:
Roosevelt's Dutch Branch Ranch covered approximately 1,300 acres in the Benbrook area with the ranch house located off of Old Granbury Road (West Cleburne Road) on the east of what is now Benbrook Lake. The ranch was purchased in 1935 by Elliott's wife, Ruth Goggins Roosevelt, and served as Elliot's home while he was president of the Texas State (radio) Network. President Franklin Roosevelt visited his son at the ranch on four occasions from 1936 to 1944. The Roosevelts sold the ranch in 1944 and Fort Worth oilman Sid W. Richardson later purchased it in 1946. Much of the ranch was condemned by the U.S. Government for construction of Benbrook Lake in 1947.
An October 1942 visit of FDR to the ranch is depicted in the following video:


The above scenes occurred three years prior to the Ekdahls' move to Benbrook. News reports in 1942 had been full of  talk of bomb-making plants for the war, as well as talk about the President's visit to Benbrook:
Maj. Gen. Richard Donovan, commanding officer of the Eighth Service Command of the service of supply, with headquarters at Fort Sam Houston San Antonio, Texas, rode through the [Consolidated Vultee Aircraft] plant with the President. So did Mrs. Roosevelt, Elliott's wife, Ruth, and two of her three children. Ruth Chandler, 8, and Elliott, Jr., 6. The chief executive, who had come up by train from San Antonio, where he inspected air corps and infantry bases Sunday, arrived at nearby Benbrook, Texas, at 9:30 (Central War Time) Monday morning. A few minutes later he drove up to Elliott's Dutch Branch ranch. Members of the family greeted him at the Hilltop ranch house. Mrs. Roosevelt had flown in Sunday night on her way to the West Coast, which the President had left three days before. Perching his youngest grandchild, 8-months-old David, on his lap, the President gathered Elliott, Jr., and Ruth Chandler around him and posed for family pictures on the front lawn. Then, with Ruth, the three grandchildren, and Mrs. Roosevelt he made a trip around the ranch in a red convertible coupe. He went down to the stables to have a look at the horses, and rode down the roads and across the fields. [Source: Paris, TX News, Oct. 1, 1942]

The Roosevelts, we are told, had already sold their ranch a year before the Ekdahls arrived, though it was in exactly the same area, "about 15 miles outside Fort Worth,"according to a 1985 article in which the Roosevelt children remembered living there. With WWII heating up, however, Elliott had felt called to quit the job of managing his wife's radio station and the ranch she had purchased with an inheritance from her long-deceased father, Joseph B. Googins, to return to the Army Air Corps. The title to the ranch was transferred from Ruth Googins Roosevelt in 1944, and then acquired in 1946 by Sid Richardson, the owner at the time the federal government condemned it for Benbrook Lake. History demands that someone in Tarrant County with access to deed records find out who that intervening owner was.

Construction of the dam did not begin until 1947--two years after John Pic and Robert Oswald were there for Christmas vacation, and the lake itself would not appear until the rains came following Mrs. Amon Carter's closing of the floodgates in 1952. No wonder Pic could not find the place in 1962! The entire area had completely changed.

 *The petition was date-stamped on March 23, 1948, and the judgment was dated June 24, 1948. Marguerite had an attorney who, in spite of her claims of infidelity and adultery on the part of her husband, failed to file a petition on her behalf but a mere general denial. Without a counterclaim, the court would have been unable to award the divorce to her, even after a jury trial in which her sons allegedly testified. Or perhaps the missing allegations were part of the conditions of the settlement awarding her $1,500 as her share of the community property accumulated during three years of marriage. The failure to mention any real estate divided by the court, however, does indicate that the Benbrook home where the family lived in 1945 was merely rented. At any rate, the attorneys she hired were McLean & McLean with offices on the 9th Floor of the Burk Burnett Building, and John E. McLean filed only a general denial with one special denial to Ekdahl's charges, and a request for attorney's fees. Another interesting note is that his brother and partner was W.P. "Wild Bill" McLean, Jr., who acted as a special prosecutor of J. Frank Norris, alleged murderer of D.E. Chipps.

**In 1997 the Orleans Parish School Board voted unanimously to change the name of a newer George Washington Elementary school, at 1116 Pauline (constructed directly across the street from the school Pic attended by that name), to Dr. Charles Richard Drew Elementary to comply with a policy prohibiting school names honoring ''former slave owners or others who did not respect equal opportunity for all."


James Norwood said...


Nice work! But it is not clear what is your position on the "two Oswalds," including as well the two Marguerites? You have definitely discovered some good, new details to augment Armstrong's research. But what is your main point about Eckdahl? Was he tied to intelligence?

Linda Minor said...

Thank you, James. I do not find the research by John Armstrong to have been made in an objective manner. It's my belief that it was a one-time project commissioned by the advertising agency in which Fort Worth photographer, the late Jack White, was a partner; perhaps on behalf of a client of White's agency. They were involved in public relations work for various Fort Worth businesses, including the company Ekdahl worked for when he lived there.

Greg said...

Linda, are you aware this?

Anonymous said...

You are correct about the need to research Ekdahl. Something doesn't add up. The FBI investigations have him passing in 1953 at 65. The SSDI have him living until 1965 (someone using his ss#?). Another Edwin A Ekdahl lived from 1915-1980. Then there's the gravestone on youtube showing 1897-1961. I have a wild theory but won't expound. Research Connally, Korth, Fay, Algiers along with radar sites and electronics and your getting closer.

Linda Minor said...

Greg, thanks for posting the youtube video. I just now saw your comment. No, I was not previously aware of it, and don't understand what it means.

Unknown said...

The "natural stone house" that Ekdahl rented was not inundated by Lake Benbrook, but was just south-southwest of current-day Benbrook Stables on US 377 (then also known as Granbury Road). I'm trying to narrow it down to the exact spot.

Judyth Baker said...

As always, excellent work. Thank you for clearing up some problems I had with Armstrong's files to which this matter was related.

Judyth Baker