Saturday, June 22, 2013

Who Was Marguerite Oswald?

Marguerite Oswald, Christmas, 1947

(Update from an earlier article.)

As I stated in my four-part series, Lee Oswald Was A Weird Dude, I have some issues with Lee Oswald doppelganger theory.  You start out with the general strangeness of the concept followed by other mysteries that can never be fully resolved.  Such as, what happens to the other Oswald after the assassination?  Is he killed by the conspirators?  Does he get his face rearranged and sent on other covert missions?  Is he set up in a witness protection program?  If he is being impersonated it starts out as a teenager, at the age of 14 (various sources, mainly multiple educational records and witness interaction).  That would mean there needs two mothers being impersonated as well.  And they have to resemble each other.  So now you have in play two moms and two sons.  As Hunter S. Thomson once said, “When the going gets weird the weird turn pro.”  No doubt this is the case here.  If Oswald-as-double is wacky, give them each a mother and off we go into the outer fringe sustainability.  

The Records and the Witnesses 
The witness testimony forms two different, though consistent portraits of Marguerite Oswald.  One group has her a tall, attractive woman with a pleasing personality.  The other group describes her as short, overweight, poorly dressed, with a throughly unpleasant personality.  Many people having known Marguerite just a few years before the assassination were surprised with her looks after her picture was splashed through the press.  When one witness who knew the short, heavy Marguerite is shown a picture of the tall, thin, attractive one they often can’t recognize the Marguerite they knew.  Just note of the pictures above (online only).  The Marguerite from 1945 is tall, slim and trim.  The Marguerite from 1963 is short and heavy-set.

Marguerite Oswald lived a nickel to dime existence for most of her life.  Of her three marriages, two ended in divorce and one by death (Lee and Robert’s dad).  Most of her jobs were in retail sales or home nursing.  She apparently did a lot of “off the books” employment.  She never stayed at an employer for very long.  Despite a life teetering near poverty she never had a problem buying a house and bought and sold many.  The questioning of finances is one issue but the things she does with the houses are another.  In her brief time living with Lee in New York she worked menial jobs while at the same time owning a house in Ft. Worth, Texas.  She apparently did not consider renting it out and using those funds to finance living in New York.  She eventually sold it to a neighbor after inquiring if the house was for sale.  In 1950 when she wrote her son from her first marriage, John Pic, telling him she was two months behind in rent when she had bought a house in 1948.  Why rent another place when she owned a house?  Or for that matter, have the income to do such a thing?

Also of interest is Marguerite Oswald’s employment at the Dolly Shoe Company in the spring of 1955.  She was known for being unfriendly, a constant complainer, and never smiled.  This was the short, heavy woman the world would meet after the assassination.  She talked her boss into hiring Lee as well.  Being the cashier, eventually her boss required her to be bonded.  He handed her the forms to fill out, which she never did.  Nor would she give a straight answer as to why not.  Eventually she was fired.  Of course, filling out the forms would leave a paper trail.  It would also require Marguerite to give background information and references on herself, revealing things she might not want known.  Would a bond application create a conflict with another Marguerite/Margaret?

In 1960, two women that were good friends with Marguerite Oswald, Mrs. Logan Magruder and Mrs. Oris Duane both reporting meeting her in New Orleans.  (This was the tall, attractive version.) Both women spoke to her at the time.  Mrs. Magruder saw and chatted with her while working in Kreiger’s Department store and Mrs. Duane saw and spoke to her in Goldring’s Department store selling dresses.  A conflict arrises here as the Warren Commission states that Marguerite was supposed to have moved out of New Orleans in June of 1956 to Ft. Worth, Texas never to return.  In September of 1960 she moved to Boyd Texas, north of Ft. Worth and opened a small variety shop on Main street and opened a bank account at the Continental State Bank. Yet, here are two women who had been friends with Marguerite since the 1940’s who say they saw and spoke to her where she should not have been.  Apparently the FBI never investigated this lead in Louisiana.

Peculiarities Abound
Marguerite Oswald, in every interview either with government authorities to newspaper reporters often gave conflicting testimony about her life and related events. When interviewed by a New York probation officer in relation to Lee being truant, she gave conflicting accounts of her life.  She got at least five things wrong, from the number years she had been married (a total of 13 years from three marriages but she said 9) to getting Lee’s birth date wrong.  What mother does not know her own child’s birthday?  At the age of 44 it seemed as if she did not know her own life story on many different levels.  Perhaps that is because this “Marguerite” was an impostor with too much to remember?

Marguerite’s Warren Commission testimony is likewise filled with contradictions and misstatements that are for the most part, ignored by her questioners.  To read the transcript of her testimony is to see a woman with an annoying character, a babbler, constantly rambling off-point, always in need of being herded back in the right direction.  Once again, she made numerous comments there were false.  At one point she mislead the Commission when she was asked if any FBI agents had spoken to her before the assassination.  She said no.  This was not true.  She was visited in regards to her son’s defection to the USSR once in 1960, and twice in 1961.  An odd thing to lie about as it is so easily proven.  But it didn’t end there.  She for some reason couldn’t remember her married sister surname.  At another instance, she mentioned property the family owned in a city in Texas there never existed.  This could have been the misstatements of an impostor not knowing or remembering pertinent facts.  Otherwise, it’s unknown why she would leave such a false trail or be so mentally befuddled.

By the time she got around to telling the Commission she thought her son Lee was spy, the Commissioners had written her off as a kook.  At this point she had discredited herself in their eyes with her meandering testimony and oddball theories.  As one of the Commission member’s said–we can see how the son turned out with a mother like this.

What Happens Afterward?
One of my main conflicts with the Oswald doppelgänger theory as I stated earlier in their piece, is what happens to the other Oswald after the assassination. Even John Armstrong who wrote the definitive book on the Oswald being a doppelgänger in, Harvey and Lee, doesn’t deal with these troubling issues.  Armstrong has nothing to say in regards to what happens to the other “Marguerite” afterward either, other than she disappears from the scene.  She was reportedly spoken to by long-term friends who spotted her working in department stores in New Orleans.  But by 1956, under the official history she has left never to return.  If this is a CIA run operation it seems inconceivable that they would hire such a batty woman as Marguerite Oswald to be an operative.  On the other hand, her IRS returns are sealed from 1956-1962.  Marked “referred...postponed in full...” for reasons only the government knows we are not allowed to see these records.  Why? Opening those files to public access might explain a lot–or else create more mysteries.  Is this a cover for an operation?   Ironic that while this is concealed from the public, we are allowed to see Jack Ruby’s mother’s dental records.

It is also of note that a John and Minnie Smith have their returns from this same period also sealed and marked, “referred...postponed in full.”  Getting access to this couple’s tax returns might blow open a few lids.  Were John and Minnie Smith aliases for the other Marguerite and Lee? In fact, I find this to be one of the most peculiar and obscure mysteries of the Kennedy assassination and not well investigated.  I only read about it in Armstrong’s Harvey and Lee and no place else in the thirty-odd books I have on the assassination. (And while on the subject of tax returns, Lee Oswald’s returns from the years 1957, 1960, and 1961 have never been released, along with his certificate of birth.)

Margret Emma Keating (1892-1972)
There Is a Second Margret–The First Wife
Robert Oswald’s first wife was Margret Keating (1892-1972).  They were married 13 years and divorced in 1933.  Keating never remarried and lived in the same house she shared earlier with Robert Oswald for many years.  One peculiar thing was the 1956 telephone directory in New Orleans lists her as Margret Oswald, at the correct street address.  This is a name she had not used in 23 years, since the court awarded her maiden name back to her in the 1933 divorce.  Notice the year as well–1956.  The same year Marguerite’s tax returns are withheld.  It could have been a typo but certainly an odd occurrence.

I’ll leave this one out there for the reader to ponder...

If it was some sort of intelligence operation it was done on the fly, make it up as you go along.  For example if I let one Lee Oswald go to the barbershop, I would have him go on the weekends, not during a week day when his employment records indicate he was filling out orders in the school book depository building at the same time.  The same exact thing occurs with his mother, working in department stores in New Orleans when she is supposed to be living and working in Texas.  There is a large witness trail here, far too large to be a fluke, if if this is a fringe topic.

There are still millions of files that are sealed on this case.  Of course, many files have been destroyed but every so often a little known memo surfaces.  So at some future date we may learn more, a lot more of what really went on here.  Whatever the future brings, the doppelgänger issue may be the biggest secret of the Kennedy assassination and why the cover up is so systemic in our government.

Sources:  Armstrong, John, Harvey and Lee;  Marrs, Jim, Crossfire; Douglass, James, JFK and the Unspeakable

Warren Commission Transcripts: and