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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 02 December 2006 - 05:33 PM

I thought it might be worth starting a thread on David Harold Byrd.

Byrd was born in Detroit, Texas, on April 24, 1900. He studied geology at the University of Texas (1917-19) and during his holidays worked on an oil rig in Santa Anna.

After leaving university he worked for H. E. Humphreys. He joined Old Dominion Oil Company of San Antonio in 1924 but the following year he became a freelance geological consultant. During this time he acquired his nickname by drilling fifty-six dry holes. His luck changed when he discovered oil on 5th May, 1928. The Byrd-Daniels oil-field produced 1,000 barrels a day, which sold for three dollars a barrel.

Byrd formed a business partnership with Jack Frost and in 1931 founded Byrd-Frost Incorporated. The new company operated 492 East Texas wells that produced an average of 4,000 barrels a day. In the 1930s he purchased property, including the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas.

During this period Byrd became very interested in aviation. In 1938 Governor James Allred appointed him to the Texas Civil Aeronautics Commission. In September 1941 he formed the Civil Air Patrol. During the Second World War Byrd commanded an antisubmarine base for the Civil Air Patrol at Beaumont.

Byrd's cousin was Harry F. Byrd, who was described by Alden Hatch (The Byrds of Virginia: An American Dynasty) as "the leader of conservative opinion in the United States." Byrd also had a close relationship with Sam Rayburn, Lyndon Johnson and John Connally. As Byrd pointed out in his autobiography, I'm an Endangered Species: "Another goal was to reach a rapport with the politicians who ran things, especially at the seat of state government in Austin.... Sam Rayburn, Morrie Sheppard, John Connally, and Lyndon Johnson on the national scene were to become men I could go to any time that I wanted action, and so were a succession of Texas governors."

In 1944 Byrd founded Byrd Oil Corporation and B-H Drilling Corporation. In 1952 Byrd established the Three States Natural Gas Company. Byrd later sold Byrd Oil to Mobil and Three States to Delhi-Taylor. Byrd used this money to invest in aircraft production and established Temco. A company that employed Mac Wallace after he was convicted of killing John Kinser.

Barr McClellan points out that Byrd, along with Clint Murchison, H. H. Hunt and Sid Richardson, was part of the "Big Oil" group in Dallas. McClellan argues that "Big Oil would be during the fifties and into the sixties what the OPEC oil cartel was to the United States in the seventies and beyond". One of the main concerns of this group was the preservation of the oil depletion allowance.

In 1961 Byrd joined forces with James Ling and Chance Vought Corporation to form Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV).Byrd expanded into other business areas. For example, he owned a frozen food business in Crystal City. He was a strong opponent of trade unionism and described their activities as a "terrible cancer". In 1963, when the Teamsters' Union began recruiting his employees, he moved his frozen food business to La Pryor.

In November, 1963, Byrd left Texas to go on a two-month safari in Africa. While he was away President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Lee Harvey Oswald, who was accused of being the lone-gunman, worked in Byrd's Texas Book Depository. Soon after his return, President Lyndon Johnson, granted a large defense contract to LTV to build fighter planes. According to Peter Dale Scott, (The Dallas Conspiracy) this was paid for out of the 1965 budget which had not yet been approved by Congress.

Byrd was a member of the Dallas Petroleum Club. It has been argued that it was here that he met George de Mohrenschildt, David Atlee Phillips and George H. W. Bush. Richard Bartholomew suggested in Byrds, Planes, and an Automobile that Byrd knew David Ferrie via the Civil Air Patrol.

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#2 John Simkin

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Posted 02 December 2006 - 06:56 PM

In November, 1963, Byrd left Texas to go on a two-month safari in Africa. While he was away President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Lee Harvey Oswald, who was accused of being the lone-gunman, worked in Byrd's Texas Book Depository. Soon after his return, President Lyndon Johnson, granted a large defense contract to LTV to build fighter planes. According to Peter Dale Scott, (The Dallas Conspiracy) this was paid for out of the 1965 budget which had not yet been approved by Congress.


Here is some background on this deal. In 1962, United States Navy began preliminary work on VAX (Heavier-than-air, Attack, Experimental), a replacement for the A-4 Skyhawk with greater range and payload. To minimize costs, all proposals had to be based on existing designs. Vought, Douglas Aircraft, Grumman, and North American Aviation responded.

In February, 1964, President Johnson gave the contract to LTV to build the A-7 Corsair II. It was much used during the Vietnam War. This means that four companies linked closely to LBJ and Texas made fantastic profits from war.

For example, the war completely transformed Brown & Root’s fortunes. As Robert Bryce has pointed out: “Before Vietnam, Brown & Root was an arm’s length civilian contractor to the U. S. military. During the war in Vietnam, Brown & Root became part of the military. The war also established Brown & Root as one of the biggest and most important construction companies in America.” (1)

In 1965 Brown & Root joined forces with Raymond International, Morrison-Knudsen and J. A. Jones Corporation to form RMK-BRJ. This consortium was awarded government contracts worth nearly $2 billion during the Vietnam War. Brown & Root obtained revenues from this deal of over $380 million ($2.2 billion in 2006 dollars). George Brown was also able to negotiate a cost-plus contract. Whatever it spent doing each project, the government guaranteed that it would pay the company a profit on top of its costs. Brown & Root expanded the harbours at Saigon, Cam Rahn Bay and Da Nang. It also built the Phan Rang Air Force Base. (2)

By 1966 RMK-BRJ had 52,000 employees working in South Vietnam. This included construction and engineering jobs normally done by soldiers from the Army Corps of Engineers. It was the Vietnam War that began the mass privatization of military duties.

Writing in the New York Times, Hanson Baldwin claimed that around 40 percent of the money being spent in Vietnam was being stolen, used in bribes or being wasted. (3) Abraham Ribicoff claimed that federal money was “being squandered because of inefficiency, dishonesty, corruption and foolishness.” The U.S. General Accounting Office agreed with Ribicoff and in 1967 it published a report criticizing RMK-BRJ, saying that the consortium “could not account for the whereabouts of approximately $120 million worth of materials which had been shipped to Vietnam from the United States.” (4)

As Dan Briody explained in The Halliburton Agenda: “The public impression was that Brown & Root was part of a war-profiteering machine that monopolized work in Vietnam, mistreated workers, and wasted millions of taxpayers’ dollars.” (5). Despite this negative image, by 1969 Brown & Root had become the biggest construction company in America. (6)

It was not the only company in Texas to experience rapid growth as a result of the Vietnam War. Bell Helicopter Corporation, based in Fort Worth, also made a great deal of money during the conflict. Johnson had enjoyed a long and profitable relationship with the company. Lawrence Bell had provided money for Johnson’s 1948 election campaign. In fact, Bell supplied Johnson with free use of a 47-B helicopter. As Robert Bryce has pointed out: "With a helicopter, Johnson could land right in the centre of town and give a speech right on the landing spot, eliminating the need for time-wasting car trips and from the airstrip." (7)

At this time, Bell Helicopter Corporation was based in California. However, with encouragement from Johnson, Bell moved the helicopter plant to Fort Worth and joined the Suite 8F Group. (8) In the late 1950s and early 1960s the Bell Helicopter Corporation was in serious financial difficulties. However, during the Vietnam War, the company’s fortunes were transformed.

The UH-1 (Huey) was used extensively by the U.S. military during the war. By 1967 the Fort Worth plant was employing 11,000 workers who were producing 200 helicopters a month. 160 of which were for the American military. (9)

General Dynamics, also based in Texas, and like the Bell Helicopter Corporation, had been close to bankruptcy in 1960. Once again the Vietnam War helped to increase profits. In 1967 some 83 percent of its sales were to the government. (10). When the F-111 proved to be a complete disaster, the company was given the FB-111, the bomber version of the TFX, instead. This contract alone was estimated to be worth $24 billion. (11) In 1968 General Dynamics was awarded with contracts worth $2,200 million. (12)

These figures reveal a serious problem faced by the arms industry. What happens when the Vietnam War came to an end? In 1967 the Electronics Industries Association commissioned a report into the future of US military spending. It concluded that the future looked good as arms control agreements “during the next decade are unlikely”. (13) It would seem that the arms industry no longer feared the negotiated deals favoured by John F. Kennedy.

This was confirmed by Samuel F. Downer, vice-president of the LTV Aerospace Corporation based in Texas. In an interview with Bernard D. Nossiter of the Washington Post, Downer argued that Johnson was committed to increasing military spending: “If you’re the President… you can’t sell Harlem and Watts but you can sell self-preservation…We’re going to increase defence budgets as long as those bastards in Russia are ahead of us. The American people understand this.” (14) The real task, as always, was to convince the American public that the Soviet Union was ahead in the arms race and provided a significant threat to the security of the United States.

Notes

1. Robert Bryce, Cronies: Oil, the Bushes, and the Rise of Texas, 2004 (page 105)

2. Joseph A. Pratt & Christopher J. Castaneda, Builders: Herman and George R. Brown, 1999 (page 243)

3. Hanson Baldwin, New York Times (10th December, 1967)

4. General Accounting Office, Report on United States Construction Activities in the Republic of Vietnam, 1965-1966 (67-11159)

5. Kirkpatrick Sale, Power Shift, 1975 (42-43)

6. Dan Briody, The Halliburton Agenda: The Politics of Oil and Money, 2004 (page 166)

7. Robert Bryce, Cronies: Oil, the Bushes, and the Rise of Texas, 2004 (page 59)

8. Joseph A. Pratt & Christopher J. Castaneda, Builders: Herman and George R. Brown, 1999 (pages 158-59)

9. Robert Bryce, Cronies: Oil, the Bushes, and the Rise of Texas, 2004 (page 107)

10. I. F. Stone, I. F. Weekly, 1st January, 1969

11. I. F. Stone, I. F. Weekly, 5th June, 1969

12. B. Pyadyshev, The Military-Industrial Complex of the USA, 1977 (page 66)

13. Sidney Lens, The Military Industrial Complex, 1970 (page 55)

14. Bernard D. Nossiter, Washington Post (8th December, 1968)

#3 John Simkin

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 08:40 AM

I have put what I have on David Harold Byrd here:

http://www.spartacus...uk/MDbyrdDH.htm

There is very little on Byrd on the web. However, I would highly recommend this article written by forum member, Richard Bartholomew:

http://www.acorn.net...e/rambler3.html

http://www.bartholoviews.com/Bio.htm

It includes the following passage:

Byrd prepared well for the trip: Temco, Inc. was an aircraft company founded by D.H. Byrd and which later merged with his friend James Ling's electronics company (1960), and aircraft manufacturer Chance Vought Corporation (1961) to form Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV). Byrd became a director of LTV and bought, along with Ling, 132,000 shares of LTV in November 1963. Byrd then left the country to go on his two-month safari in central Africa. He returned in January to find his good friend Lyndon Johnson president of the United States, his building famous, and a large defense contract awarded to LTV to build fighter planes - to be paid for out of the 1965 budget which had not yet been approved by Congress.

Mac Wallace, who received a five-year suspended sentence in the shooting death of John Douglas Kiner in Austin on October 22, 1951, went to work for Temco, Inc. of Garland, Texas five months after his trial. He remained in that position until February 1961, four months before Henry Marshall's mysterious death on June 3, 1961, when he transferred to the Anaheim, California offices of LTV.

The transfer required a background check by the Navy. "The most intriguing part of the Wallace case was how a convicted murderer was able to get a job with defense contractors. Better yet, how was he able to get a security clearance? Clinton Peoples [the Texas Ranger Captain who investigated the Marshall and Kiner murders] reported that when the original security clearance was granted, he asked the Naval intelligence officer handling the case how such a person could get the clearance. 'Politics,' the man replied. When Peoples asked who would have that much power, the simple answer was, `the vice president,' who at the time was Lyndon Johnson. Years later, after the story broke [of Billie Sol Estes' March 20, 1984 testimony that implicated Lyndon Johnson, Malcom Wallace, and Clifton Carter in the death of Henry Marshall], that investigator could not recall the conversation with Peoples but he did say no one forced him to write a favorable report. He also added that he wasn't the one that made the decision to grant the clearance. The whole matter might have been solved with a peek at that original report but unfortunately, when the files were checked, that particular report was suspiciously missing. It has never been seen since."

Wallace was transferred and given clearance in February 1961. "In January 1961, the very month Johnson was sworn in as vice president, and the month Henry Marshall was in Dallas discussing how to combat Estes-like scams, Billie Sol Estes learned through his contacts that the USDA was investigating the allotment scheme and that Henry Marshall might end up testifying. The situation was supposedly discussed by Estes, Johnson, and Carter in the backyard of LBJ's Washington home. Johnson was, according to Estes, alarmed that if Marshall started talking it might result in an investigation that would implicate the vice president. At first it was decided to have Marshall transferred to Washington, but when told Marshall had already refused such a relocation, LBJ, according to Estes, said simply, 'Then we'll have to get rid of him.'"

According to Craig Zirbel, author of The Texas Connection, in May 1962, "...Johnson flew to Dallas aboard a military jet to privately meet with Estes and his lawyers on a plane parked away from the terminal.... This incident would probably have remained secret except that LBJ's plane suffered a mishap in landing at Dallas. When investigative reporters attempted to obtain the tower records for the flight mishap the records were "sealed by government order."

Still more LTV intrigues were revealed by Peter Dale Scott: "A fellow-director of [Jack Alston] Crichton's firm of Dorchester Gas Producing was D.H. Byrd, an oil associate of Sid Richardson and Clint Murchison, and the LTV director who teamed up with James Ling to buy 132,000 shares of LTV in November 1963. While waiting to be sworn in as President in Dallas on November 22, Johnson spoke by telephone with J.W. Bullion, a member of the Dallas law firm (Thompson, Wright, Knight, and Simmons) which had the legal account for Dorchester Gas Producing and was represented on its board. The senior partner of the law firm, Dwight L. Simmons, had until 1960 sat on the board of Chance Vought Aircraft, a predecessor of Ling-Temco-Vought. One week after the assassination, Johnson named Bullion, who has been described as his 'business friend and lawyer,' to be one of the two trustees handling the affairs of the former LBJ Co. while its owner was President."


#4 John Simkin

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 09:38 AM

There is very little on Byrd on the web. However, I would highly recommend this article written by forum member, Richard Bartholomew:

http://www.acorn.net...e/rambler3.html

http://www.bartholoviews.com/Bio.htm

It includes the following passage:


Still more LTV intrigues were revealed by Peter Dale Scott: "A fellow-director of [Jack Alston] Crichton's firm of Dorchester Gas Producing was D.H. Byrd, an oil associate of Sid Richardson and Clint Murchison, and the LTV director who teamed up with James Ling to buy 132,000 shares of LTV in November 1963. While waiting to be sworn in as President in Dallas on November 22, Johnson spoke by telephone with J.W. Bullion, a member of the Dallas law firm (Thompson, Wright, Knight, and Simmons) which had the legal account for Dorchester Gas Producing and was represented on its board. The senior partner of the law firm, Dwight L. Simmons, had until 1960 sat on the board of Chance Vought Aircraft, a predecessor of Ling-Temco-Vought. One week after the assassination, Johnson named Bullion, who has been described as his 'business friend and lawyer,' to be one of the two trustees handling the affairs of the former LBJ Co. while its owner was President."


This article by Paul Kangas, The Realist (1990) is interesting about Jack Crichton, George Bush and the Bay of Pigs:

Nixon told Pepsi, Standard Oil and other corporations who lost property given back to the farmers of Cuba, that if they would help him win, he would authorize an invasion to remove Castro. To further impress contributors to his campaign, then Vice-President Nixon asked the CIA to create Operation 40, a secret plan to invade Cuba, just as soon as he won.

The CIA put Texas millionaire and CIA agent George Bush in charge of recruiting Cuban exiles into the CIA's invasion army. Bush was working with another Texas oilman, Jack Crichton, to help him with the invasion. A fellow Texan, Air Force General Charles Cabel, was asked to coordinate the air cover for the invasion.

Most of the CIA leadership around the invasion of Cuba seems to have been people from Texas. A whole Texan branch of the CIA is based in the oil business. If we trace Bush's background in the Texas oil business we discover his two partners in the oil-barge leasing business: Texan Robert Mosbacher and Texan James Baker. Mosbacher is now Secretary of Commerce and Baker is Secretary of State, the same job Dulles held when JFK was killed. (Source: Common Cause magazine, 3-4/90).


On pages 43/44 of Fabian Escalante's CIA Covert Operations 1959-1962: The Cuba Project (2004), he claims that in 1960 Richard Nixon recruited an "important group of businessmen headed by George Bush (Snr.) and Jack Crichton, both Texas oilmen, to gather the necessary funds for the operation". He is talking about Operation 40, the group that Warren Hinckle and William Turner described in Deadly Secrets, as the “assassins-for-hire” organization.

#5 James Richards

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 01:14 PM

In 1957, a three day conference of CAP executives and national boards was held at the Republic National Bank utilizing their executive dining facilities.

General Walter Agee, General Carl Spaatz and General Nathan Twining were all honored. Twining of course being a most interesting character and a close associate of Byrd.

The image below shows D.H. Byrd on the left, Agee in the middle and Spaatz on the right.

FWIW.

James

#6 Thomas H. Purvis

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 03:34 PM

http://www.tsha.utex...s/BB/fby13.html


Although D. H. Byrd was by no means poor, his wealth was perhaps more along the lines of "pocket change" when compared to that which his wife, Martha Caruth, inherited.

http://www.tsha.utex...es/BB/kbb6.html

http://www.tambcd.ed...car_history.htm

I do believe that this was where Marina Oswald got her teeth fixed.

http://aolsearch.aol.....ion of Texas"

http://www.cftexas.org/history.htm

In 1974, W.W. "Will" Caruth Jr. established the W.W. Caruth Jr. Foundation as a supporting organization at Communities Foundation of Texas, adding a new chapter to the Caruth family's historic legacy. Through the years, Will Caruth shared much of his fortune with others through the foundation and helped CFT improve the Dallas community where his family had lived since 1848. He had preferences for bold giving in the areas of education, public safety, medical and scientific research, and "bootstrapping" social assistance initiatives. CFT has been diligent to honor these. His wife, the late Mabel Peters Caruth, continued his tradition with an inspiring $34 million bequest to build the new CFT headquarters.


Lastly, it was through marriage into the Caruth family to D. H. Byrd achieved his "prestige" in which he could run with and associate with the most notable of society.

The Caruth family were members of an extremely elite society which was the :

http://www.magnacharta.org/Default.htm

The National Society
Magna Charta Dames and Barons



Lastly, among those members of this elite society was included;

John W. Sims

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SPECIALTY BARGES, INC.

Registered Agent (Appointed 9/19/1957): JOHN W. SIMS, 420 HIBERNIA BK BD, NEW ORLEANS, LA 70112

Registered Agent (Appointed 9/19/1957): LOUIS B. CLAVERIE, 420 HIBERNIA BK BD, NEW ORLEANS, LA 70112

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Registered Name: PHELPS, DUNBAR, MARKS, CLAVERIE & SIMS

Applicant: PHELPS DUNBAR, 365 CANAL STREET, STE 2000, NEW ORLEANS, LA 70130-0000

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It would be remiss to not also point out the fact:

MARINE EQUIPMENT INC.

Registered Agent (Appointed 9/05/1952): JOHN W SIMS, NEW ORLEANS, LA 70150

Registered Agent (Appointed 9/05/1952): EDWARD D FINLEY JR, NEW ORLEANS, LA 70150

Registered Agent (Appointed 9/05/1952): W. B. SPENCER, NEW ORLEANS, LA 70150


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Name: JUNIOR MUSICIANS OF AMERICA, INC.

Registered Agent (Appointed 6/12/1937): WALKER B. SPENCER, 1300 HIBERNIA BLDG, NEW ORLEANS, LA 70112

Registered Agent (Appointed 6/12/1937): ESMOND PHELPS, 1300 HIBERNIA BLDG, NEW ORLEANS, LA 70112

Registered Agent (Appointed 6/12/1937): CHAS. E. DUNBAR, JR., 1300 HIBERNIA BLDG, NEW ORLEANS, LA 70112

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hope that you are following this Mr. Shinley

#7 John Simkin

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 03:58 PM

A photograph of David Byrd with another of his victims. The other man in the photograph is General Doolittle.

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#8 John Simkin

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 04:51 PM

Another photograph of Byrd for James Richards to add to his collection.

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#9 William Kelly

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 05:51 PM

While there isn't very much on D. H. Byrd on the internet, it should be easy enough to answer some basic questions, like did he really remove the sniper's window from the 6th floor of TSBD?

It's a question I've asked Gary Mack, who should know, and I await his response.

1) Did the owner of the TSBD D. H. Byrd have the sniper's window removed for display at his home?

It would certainly be in-character for Byrd having the sniper window in his trophy room (he probably also had the swearing in missle as well), which brings up my next question: who accompanied Byrd on his African safari that took him out of the country on Nov. 22, 1963. I'm sure such an expedition made the local papers, and Byrd & Posse posed for many photos next to their trophies.

2) Who accompanied DHB on the Nov. 1963 safari?

For these men, hunting was a right of passage into their world. Some, like LBJ and I believe Ed Wilson in Virginia, owned private game preserves so they could go hunting anytime. When LBJ got JFK down to the ranch and took him hunting, JFK just didn't get it.

Who accompanied Byrd would be telling, much like Chaney's misshap, that never would have become public if he didn't shoot somebody.

DH Byrd came from a very prolific political family that included powerful political relatives in other states (ie Virginia), and a Bryd family tree would be very helpful. It would also be interesting to know if DH Byrd of CAP/TSBD fame is related to Dr. Eldon Bryd (GWU, Medical Engineer, Polaris, Navy Metal Matrix Composite Program, MAZE, MKULTRA - RIP Dec. 30, 2002) or David H. Byrd, President of Dallas Diebold Electronic election machines?

3) Is D.H. Byrd related to the late Dr. Eldon Bryd or David H. Byrd, Pres of Dallas Diebold?

While I have some other outstanding questions, these are the ones that I have been unable to answer that I think others might have ready figured out.

Thanks,

BK

Edited by William Kelly, 09 December 2006 - 05:53 PM.


#10 William O'Neil

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 08:13 PM

While there isn't very much on D. H. Byrd on the internet, it should be easy enough to answer some basic questions, like did he really remove the sniper's window from the 6th floor of TSBD?

It's a question I've asked Gary Mack, who should know, and I await his response.

1) Did the owner of the TSBD D. H. Byrd have the sniper's window removed for display at his home?

It would certainly be in-character for Byrd having the sniper window in his trophy room (he probably also had the swearing in missle as well), which brings up my next question: who accompanied Byrd on his African safari that took him out of the country on Nov. 22, 1963. I'm sure such an expedition made the local papers, and Byrd & Posse posed for many photos next to their trophies.

2) Who accompanied DHB on the Nov. 1963 safari?

For these men, hunting was a right of passage into their world. Some, like LBJ and I believe Ed Wilson in Virginia, owned private game preserves so they could go hunting anytime. When LBJ got JFK down to the ranch and took him hunting, JFK just didn't get it.

Who accompanied Byrd would be telling, much like Chaney's misshap, that never would have become public if he didn't shoot somebody.

DH Byrd came from a very prolific political family that included powerful political relatives in other states (ie Virginia), and a Bryd family tree would be very helpful. It would also be interesting to know if DH Byrd of CAP/TSBD fame is related to Dr. Eldon Bryd (GWU, Medical Engineer, Polaris, Navy Metal Matrix Composite Program, MAZE, MKULTRA - RIP Dec. 30, 2002) or David H. Byrd, President of Dallas Diebold Electronic election machines?

3) Is D.H. Byrd related to the late Dr. Eldon Bryd or David H. Byrd, Pres of Dallas Diebold?

While I have some other outstanding questions, these are the ones that I have been unable to answer that I think others might have ready figured out.

Thanks,
BK




Bill , I think it was one of the 'docent' guides at the Sixth Floor, who told us that the original window had indeed been removed, " by a previous owner". Don't know if he was refering to Byrd or not, but I got the impression that it was soon after 11-22. Seems Marrs or Larry Howard told me that as well. Now, I write these things down!

#11 Robert Howard

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 10:32 PM

Stained Glass
by Ann Zimmerman
Article Published Nov 27, 1997
From
http://www.dallasobs...27/feature.html


The man on the phone speaks in conspiratorial tones. His name is Martin Barkley, a 40-something divorced father of two who has devoted so much of his life to a single purpose--proving that Lee Harvey Oswald did not kill John Kennedy from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository on November 22, 1963.

His research qualifications amount to having worked security for several large companies and spent time in Army intelligence. His personal link to the assassination was that his uncle was the longest-serving Dallas police officer when Kennedy was shot--and, of course, he whispered something conspiratorial at Thanksgiving dinner days after the assassination.

Barkley is a true believer, and he talks in elliptical phrases and vague pronouncements. On this day, he says he wants to share his theory that Dallas' powers-that-be are perverting the information presented in the Sixth Floor Museum, Oswald's alleged sniper's perch--and this city's biggest tourist attraction. Barkley argues that those in charge of the museum are toadies for the Warren Commission.

"The way to control an issue is to manage information on both sides so nothing gets out of control," he says, espousing a typically muddy slogan.

He says he will prove this all with a guided tour of the Sixth Floor, where he used to work as a security guard. Barkley was a seasonal hire two years ago and was laid off--ostensibly when tourist traffic slowed down, he explains. But he's convinced that he was, in fact, terminated because he answered visitors' probing conspiracy questions too honestly, too carefully, too knowledgeably. Of course, he can't prove it.

Barkley insists we meet late on a Sunday, when we would arouse the least amount of suspicion.

When he arrives that afternoon, he wears an overcoat over his tall frame and a fedora that doesn't obscure piercing blue eyes. Still, the disguise doesn't work: Two minutes after we step inside the building, security guards surround him and want to know why he's there.

"See what I mean," he whispers, as the guards escort us up in the elevator.
He reels off an enormous list of ways the museum subtly controls the mind of the visitor. He is suspicious of a sign that directs visitors to begin the tour with the panels and videos highlighting Kennedy's early years; Barkley believes the "flow" of the exhibit--which winds through Kennedy's all-too-brief presidency, his fateful visit to Texas, then the assassination--is intentionally misleading and exhausting.

"By the time the visitor gets to the end," Barkley insists, "he's too tired to read about conspiracies."

Barkley's rant is a fairly predictable and obvious one. Indeed, place a museum on the sixth floor of the old School Book Depository, and you're pretty much admitting you think Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. It's not like the county opened a Grassy Knoll Museum.

Yet Barkley is not all hushed whispers and vague hypotheses.
Displayed halfway through the tour in the Sixth Floor Museum is one of the most famous windows in the world--the perch from which Oswald allegedly killed Kennedy with a cheap Italian mail-order rifle. Behind a thick wall of Plexiglass, the window has been exhibited here since 1995, and since then, more than a million visitors have scrutinized it, studied it, even venerated its tragic place in history.

The window, located in the southeast corner of the museum, sits only a few feet from where Oswald killed Kennedy--allegedly, of course. It bears the caption "The Original Window from the Sniper's Perch."

But is it?
Barkley believes the infamous perch that hangs in the museum is a fake...a fraud.

He may be right.
Just a cursory look at the window on display reveals that it differs significantly from pictures taken of the window moments after the assassination.

For instance, the window on display has a thick smudge of paint and putty on a pane of glass at its top half. But there is no such smudge on any pictures of the original sniper's perch. Also, old photos of the window--photos that are on display at the museum--show markings on the green wooden sash along the bottom portion of the window. The window encased in the Plexiglass exhibit has no such markings.

Of course, conspiracy theorists say they never believed it was the real window all along.

So here's one more riddle for the theorists to solve: If this isn't the real window, and it likely isn't, then where is it--and how did this impostor wind up enshrined in this museum? We're through the looking glass, as Kevin Costner's Jim Garrison drawled in JFK, where every answer spawns a dozen more questions.

"There is just no end to this," says Robert Groden, a prominent local conspiracy theorist who served as a photo analyst on the 1978 U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations. "It's just mystery after mystery."

For more than two decades, the window--or what one man believed was the famous sniper's perch window--hung like a trophy, or a deer's head, in the banquet room of one of the wealthiest men in Dallas.

Col. D. Harold Byrd kept it in his University Park home as a souvenir, a tragic keepsake he ordered removed from the building on Elm and Houston streets that he owned and leased to the Texas School Book Depository. Byrd kept it there until his death in 1986, at which time it fell into the hands of his son Caruth--who, the story goes, kept the window out of public view for almost a decade.
Caruth Byrd wanted to keep the window buried, forgotten about. He rejected enormous financial offers from those who collect such morbid artifacts, and refused the requests from those who wanted to place the window in a Dallas museum commemorating the assassination--fearing the museum would be an embarrassment to the city. He preferred to keep hidden this reminder of Dallas' shame...until one day, in 1994, he had a change of heart and turned the window over to the Sixth Floor Museum.

On February 21, 1995--President's Day--more than 100 elected officials, members of the Dallas County Historical Foundation, and assassination eyewitnesses gathered at the Sixth Floor Museum for the window's dramatic unveiling.

"I thought and thought about what to do with it," the garrulous, barrel-chested Byrd told the assembled crowd during the unveiling ceremonies. "I've had offers for a lot of money for it, but I decided the best thing to do was bring it home where it belongs."

The window has remained on display here ever since, an authentic piece of history that offers its own special peek into a tragic day in this city's history.

At least, that's what half a million visitors a year believe.
There are those who doubt Byrd's tale--those who have photographic evidence right in the museum that proves the window on display is not the real sniper's perch, those who have spent months studying the discrepancies.

And there is at least one man who claims to own the window itself.
First, there is Barkley and his band of conspiracy theorists, including James Bagby, another former security guard at the museum. After overhearing some museum visitors question the authenticity of the window last March, Bagby studied the window for himself. He first noticed that the one-inch thick, salmon-colored smudge of paint and putty on the display window isn't apparent on an old picture of the real window.

The smudge, which is on what would have been the outside of the glass, matches the color of the wooden trim on the outside of the window. A note on the exhibit points out that the "paint on the exterior trim is original to the time of the assassination."

After studying pictures of the real window taken the day of the assassination, Bagby also noticed the distinct markings on the wooden sash along the bottom of the window that do not appear on the window on exhibit.

Bagby first brought these discrepancies to the attention of museum archivist Gary Mack eight months ago.

"'What you've discovered is quite important,'" Bagby says Mack told him. "'But I wouldn't be telling anyone about this.'"

Jeff West, executive director of the Sixth Floor, and Mack now admit they have questions about the authenticity of the window--no, make that doubts.

"We have concerns," West says. "It definitely bears scrutiny."
"It's a corner window," Mack adds. "Whether it's the window where shots were fired, we're not sure."

What makes all this speculation significantly more intriguing is that Conover Hunt, the museum consultant who helped put the Sixth Floor Museum together, knew from the beginning that there was someone else out there who claimed to own the real window.

His name is Aubrey Mayhew, a music producer from Nashville who may be the one person who can repair this jagged puzzle--or bust the whole thing into a million pieces.

The tale of the sniper's perch is not only a whodunit, but a whogotit. And with any mystery, perhaps it's easier to begin at the beginning, during those moments just as the echo of gunfire began fading in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963, and Dallas police ran inside the brick building at the corner of Elm and Houston.

They were directed there by witnesses who thought they saw what appeared to be the barrel of a rifle jutting out of a half-opened window on the sixth floor of the building, which housed the Texas School Book Depository, one of two textbook distribution sites for the state.

On the cavernous sixth floor, filled with stacks of book-filled boxes, police said they found three shell casings in front of the open window in the southeastern-most corner of the building. They also claimed to find a rifle, which Oswald was said to have bought through mail order, stashed under boxes diagonally across from the window.

Until the end of the 1960s, the Texas School Book Depository Company remained in the building, which was owned by Col. D. Harold Byrd. Byrd was an oil millionaire and husband of Mattie Caruth, whose family once owned most of the land from downtown Dallas to Park Lane. The Caruth family, after whom Caruth Haven Road is named, donated all the land for Southern Methodist University and leased the land for NorthPark Mall.

Afraid that curiosity seekers would carve off pieces of the sniper's-nest window, Byrd instructed his employee, Buddy McCool, to remove the window six weeks after the assassination, according to interviews with McCool and Byrd filmed in the early 1970s.

Whether McCool removed the right window is the question at the heart of this mystery.

The location of the sixth-floor sniper's perch is among the most infamous points of interest in the whole world. Yet it's conceivable that six weeks after the assassination, Byrd's lackey could have been confused about its exact location. There is no one alive who can verify which window McCool took out that day.

Byrd obviously took it on face value that he had the right one. He decorated the bottom half of the window with newspaper clippings of the assassination and postcard pictures of Kennedy, Dealey Plaza, and the book depository; then he had the whole thing framed.
He hung it in the banquet room of his Vassar Street mansion--later bought by oilman T. Boone Pickens--next to photos and mementos of his long, colorful career, which included co-founding the Civil Air Patrol, drilling numerous wildcat oil wells in East Texas, and funding the Antarctic explorations of his cousin, Admiral Richard E. Byrd, who named an Antarctic mountain range after the Texas colonel.

Byrd held onto the former book depository building until 1970, when he auctioned it off to a Nashville music producer named Aubrey Mayhew. Mayhew was a Kennedy memorabilia collector who planned to turn the structure into a commercial museum commemorating Kennedy's life. Still reeling from the fallout of the assassination that branded Dallas as "The City of Hate" and placed the blame for Kennedy's murder on Dallas' hostile environment, local city fathers recoiled at the idea of a museum that would consecrate the town's darkest hour. They also found Mayhew's intention to profit off the tragedy distasteful.

Mayhew tried several times to get city permits to start building his museum, but he was repeatedly turned down. A group called Dallas Onward, formed to protest turning the building into a national Kennedy landmark, helped thwart Mayhew's efforts.

By 1973, Mayhew defaulted on his loan, and Byrd repurchased the building after the bank foreclosed on it. He immediately put it back up for sale, this time asking $1.2 million for it. At the time, he said, he hoped whoever purchased the site "would use the building in a way that would not be a slam on Dallas...that would not blame Dallas for having the right environment for causing Kennedy's death," according to a filmed interview with Byrd.

The city passed an ordinance preventing the building from being torn down. Several city leaders, including real-estate developer Ray Nasher, were conducting their own campaign to create a private, nonprofit museum and monument to Kennedy on the site.

In 1977, Dallas citizens voted to use bond money to purchase the building from Byrd. The first five floors were refurbished for Dallas County administrative offices.

But little did anyone know that before Aubrey Mayhew vacated the premises, he hired two carpenters to remove two windows from the southeast corner of the sixth floor and replace them with windows from the north side of the building. He says he sneaked off with the sniper's-perch window--"the ultimate piece of Kennedy memorabilia"--while no one noticed.

Or so he claims.

If there is anyone to blame for this predicament, perhaps you should look no further than Conover Hunt.

A museum consultant from Marshall, Hunt first got involved with converting the sixth floor into a museum in the early 1980s. Hunt immediately noticed the sniper's-perch window was missing.

The entire casement that contained the two windows on the southeast corner had been replaced with windows from the north side of the building. She wasn't sure she would ever get her hands on the real ones.

Then, in 1987, two men contacted her, both claiming to have possession of the sniper's perch window. Caruth Byrd called Hunt and told her he had inherited the window from his father, who had died the previous year. Caruth said he stashed it behind some drawers in his house on a sprawling ranch in Van, just east of Canton. Hunt says she asked Byrd to send her proof that he had it, but he wasn't forthcoming.

Still, Hunt says she was inclined to believe Caruth, because she knew several people, including Joe Dealey Sr., late publisher of The Dallas Morning News, who had seen the window hanging in Colonel Byrd's house.

Caruth Byrd eventually allowed Hunt to see the window, which he moved to a vault in Inwood Village. But he refused to donate it or loan it to the museum. The Sixth Floor Museum was still two years away from opening, and Byrd, echoing concerns his father had uttered years earlier, was afraid the museum would be tacky and an embarrassment to the city.

Not long after Byrd met with Hunt, Aubrey Mayhew sent Hunt a letter. He, too, said he had the window--both windows, in fact--from the sniper's perch, and he wanted $250,000 for them. Hunt says she asked Mayhew to send her a picture and measurements of the windows.

"He never did," says the whiskey-voiced Hunt. "I was naturally cautious. If someone wants to sell it, the least they can do is send a picture and the exact measurements."

Hunt explains that she never flew to Nashville to see Mayhew's windows because she couldn't justify the expense without first having some proof that Mayhew actually had the windows.

In 1994, Caruth Byrd suddenly changed his mind about burying the past and let the museum know he was willing to loan out the window. Hunt retrieved it from Byrd's ranch and analyzed it. She says the paint color matched the other windows along the southern wall, and the shape led her to believe it was one of the two corner windows that were missing.

"And the provenance--the history of ownership--was excellent," she says. She admits she did not compare Byrd's window with pictures of the original.

Although the window on display touts it as "The Original Window from the Sniper's Perch," leading visitors to believe it was the window through which Oswald allegedly shot Kennedy, Hunt also admits that she was never certain of that. "There were two windows missing, so there was a 50-50 shot that this was the one through which the gunman fired."

Now that questions are being raised about the window's authenticity, Hunt defends herself by claiming that both windows are historically significant--even though there's a good chance the museum isn't advertising the truth.
"Until you have both windows together and have them professionally examined, you won't have an answer," she insists. "The fact that people are studying the window, examining the evidence, is healthy. These things happen all the time in my business."

It's now early November 1997, just weeks before the 34th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination, and Caruth Byrd has no idea the Sixth Floor Museum has any concerns about the window he loaned them.

A Confederate flag and a flag of John Wayne fly over his 150-acre ranch in Van, the Caruth Byrd Wildlife Compound. A large man with white hair and bulging blue eyes, Byrd divides his time between his private wild kingdom, where more than 3,000 exotic and endangered animals roam, and his Hollywood home next to Gene Autry, where Byrd produces movies and TV specials.

"Watch out for the kangaroo shit," he warns as we approach the front porch of his house, which resembles a huge dude-ranch lodge. He and the kangaroo, he explains, shared a morning doughnut on the porch.

A self-professed mortician, veterinarian, gourmet cook, and "the best organ player in the world," Byrd is a hard man to characterize, at once grandiose and earthy. He describes himself as a man "who was born with a silver spoon up my ass," but who despises the phony airs of the Dallas rich. His main residence on his compound, where he lives alone, is covered with hundreds of pictures of him with such Hollywood notables as Burt Reynolds and Lee Majors.

Among the photos lining the walls is a picture of him donating the window to the Sixth Floor Museum. Byrd launches into the story about how his father ordered an employee to remove it, and he rolls a videotaped interview with the worker that confirms his story.

Byrd says he decided to loan the window to the Sixth Floor after he got a call from The Smithsonian Institute, asking him to donate it to the Washington museum. "I decided if it went anywhere, it should stay in Dallas," Byrd says of his decision.

He has no doubts that his window is the real sniper's perch, and he is shocked to learn that the people running the Sixth Floor now have questions about its authenticity.

The name Aubrey Mayhew makes Byrd bristle. "He's a nut who tried to buy the building from my dad," Byrd says. "If he says he has the window, then where in the hell is it? He can't produce one."

Mayhew is the equivalent of the sniper's-perch second gunman, the man who may or may not hold the answer to the mystery of the missing window. But if he does possess the proof, making him produce it may be impossible.

Mayhew is a bitter fellow who believes a cabal of powerful Dallasites conspired to take away from him the building that houses the Sixth Floor Museum. Mayhew claims he lost everything in pursuit of creating a Kennedy museum here--his livelihood, his wife and two children--and he blames Dallas for those losses.

So it's not surprising that when finally reached in Nashville, Mayhew almost explodes when asked about the authenticity of the window on display in Dallas.

"Of course it's not the real window!" he bellowed over the phone. "I've been telling you people this for 30 years. I'm really a low-profile, non-publicity guy. All I can tell you is that Mr. Caruth Byrd is an idiot, and his father is an idiot and a thief."

Mayhew went on to insist that he still has the real window in storage in Detroit. When asked why he never showed it to the people at the Sixth Floor when they asked, he shot back: "I don't have anything to prove."

A 70-year-old music publisher who once worked with jazz great Charlie Parker and produced and co-wrote songs with outlaw country singer Johnny Paycheck ("Take This Job and Shove It"), Mayhew said over the phone that he was planning to come to Dallas the following week to see some of the songwriters with whom he still works. It was just a coincidence, he said, that it would be the day before the 34th anniversary of Kennedy's death, and he promised to call when he got to town.

He phoned a few days later and agreed to meet, but warned he might not have much to say. Three hours into a meal of coffee and apple pie at the Grand Hotel, he was still talking.

A short man in a windbreaker, Mayhew says he is "neither rich nor crazy." He explains that he was a coin and metal collector in the early 1960s when he became fascinated with all the metal objects that were created with Kennedy's likeness after his death. He produced a book on the subject, then went on to collect all manner of Kennedy memorabilia. It's a hobby he likens to a disease.

He was in search of more memorabilia when he came to Dallas in 1970 and attended an auction of 20 parcels of D. Harold Byrd's real estate, including the building leased to the Texas School Book Depository. He wasn't even a registered bidder, he says, but wound up offering $650,000 for the property. He claims he beat out two other bidders, including an entrepreneur who was going to raze the building and sell it off at a dollar a brick.

"It was just a piece of real estate everyone wanted to forget," Mayhew says.
Mayhew explains he wasn't sure what he was going to do with the building--or how he was going to pay for it. At the time, he says, he was making $100,000 yearly working for a music company. He eventually seized on the idea of turning the building into a "first-rate museum."
Shortly after he bought the building, the Texas School Book Depository moved out. But not before one of their employees gave him an affidavit, he says, confirming that D. Harold Byrd had instructed a workman to remove a window from the Sixth Floor. But "he went to the wrong side of the building," Mayhew claims, "and took it from the southwestern corner."

Afraid that a vacant building was more susceptible to vandals, Mayhew says he hired two carpenters to remove the two windows and the surrounding casement that comprised the sniper's nest and replace them with identical windows from the building's north side. Mayhew says he stored the original windows in Dallas for 20 years.

Mayhew insists that several wealthy Dallasites, whom he refuses to name, initially backed his plans for a museum. He quit his job to work on it full-time, spending weeks on end in Dallas and living in the building, where he began housing assassination artifacts. He claims to have spent more than $10,000 on architectural renderings of the proposed museum.

But the city hated his idea. The Dallas Times Herald, he says, ran a full-page cartoon lampooning his idea with a caricature of a museum showing a neon arrow pointing up to the sixth floor sniper's perch. Esquire magazine chided his plans in its annual Dubious Achievement Award issue, asking who was going to get the JFK chicken franchise.

Mayhew says that while the local campaign against him raged, he was also fending off an attempt by the state's Commission to Commemorate JFK to get the Texas Legislature to seize the building from him. Meanwhile, Mayhew recalls that city planners repeatedly rebuffed his attempts to get building permits, once claiming that the building's wooden interior was not fit for refurbishing.

His backers eventually pulled out, and he was hard-pressed to find new ones. He was falling behind on his $6,000-a-month payments, but he claims that the president of Republic National Bank was going to give him an extension. He says he vowed to fight foreclosure on the grounds that the building was his homestead.

"I had no income, a building producing no revenue that was costing me $6,000 a month, and all I ever received was constant blows from the city and state," Mayhew says. "The pressure was mounting."

In the summer of 1972, a small fire broke out in the building. The police charged one of Mayhew's employees, Winfred Anderson, with arson. Anderson pleaded guilty and received probation; he also implicated Mayhew as the person who was behind the fire--which Mayhew vehemently denies. The police, Mayhew insists, let him know that they would arrest him if he set foot in Dallas County again.

Not only does Mayhew profess his innocence, he claims he was framed in a convoluted plot to keep him away from Dallas so he would lose the building. Two weeks after the fire was set, the bank foreclosed on the building, which D. Harold Byrd promptly re-purchased. The city, Mayhew says, confiscated Mayhew's memorabilia left inside the building.

Mayhew says he went back to Nashville a broken man. His wife left him and took his two children to live in New York. He still nursed his idea of building a museum: A year or two later, he hooked up with Gerald Jay Steinberg, a Washington, D.C.-area dentist who claimed to have the largest Kennedy collection in the world. Together they opened an antique store in Georgetown, while they set about cataloging their combined collection for future display. On weekends, Mayhew says, he commuted by bus to New York to try and patch up his marriage--to no avail.

Mayhew's relationship with the dentist soured after just five months. Both men accuse each other of stealing a chunk of their respective collections. Steinberg says that Mayhew claimed to have the sixth-floor window back then, but Steinberg says he never saw it.

Mayhew went back to Nashville to begin rebuilding his music career. He also says he opened a small but classy JFK museum that was eventually burglarized. In 1987, "in a moment of weakness," Mayhew says, he wrote to Conover Hunt, who was organizing the Sixth Floor Museum.

"I told her I had the window and wanted $250,000 for it," Mayhew says. "I just wanted to recoup just some of the money I felt this city owed me."

He is asked why, then, he didn't send Hunt the pictures and dimensions she requested.

Mayhew claims it wasn't that simple. He says Hunt didn't respond to his letter for some time, and that when she first contacted him, she really didn't seem interested. He felt she was just blowing him off.

And maybe she had good reason. After all, he never offered one bit of proof that he has the windows. If there's any reason at all not to dismiss Mayhew, it's the simple fact that the window on display on the Sixth Floor is not the real deal. Maybe, just maybe, Mayhew's telling the truth.

"We know there are two windows, and you've proven that one's not it," he says. "So you take it from there."

For the last decade, Mayhew has had no contact with the Sixth Floor Museum. Then, several months ago, he says he received a letter from the museum's archivist, Gary Mack, a former Dallas television station announcer and JFK researcher--and one of those who isn't sure anymore that the window on display is so authentic. Mayhew says Mack told him he was interested in his collection.

"He said things had changed, and he understood the difficulties I had in the past," Mayhew says. "He said he wanted to come to Nashville and see my collection and that maybe we could join forces." Mayhew says he eventually responded to Mack's letter, writing that perhaps they would meet if the museum had indeed changed. Mayhew says he wants the museum to acknowledge that he once owned the building: A plaque on the outside of the building only mentions Byrd. He also wants the museum's historical information to mention him and acknowledge that he saved the building from being destroyed. Mayhew believes that had the other bidders gotten the building instead of him, they would have torn it down.

At the bottom of the letter, Mayhew added: "P.S. In case we do join forces, I get the chicken franchise"--a reference to the Esquire Dubious Achievement Award 25 years earlier. Mack never responded to Mayhew's letter.

Marian Ann Montgomery's title at the Sixth Floor Museum is--no kidding--director of interpretation. All that means is that she's the museum's chief curator, but it's still a creepy job description to put on one's resume. Maybe the conspiracy theorists are right; maybe we're not paranoid enough.

As visitors stream into the Sixth Floor Museum, looking at the window they assume is real, Montgomery must now consider that someone has interpreted this relic all wrong.

"Well, obviously there's some difference between the window and pictures of it," Montgomery says. "We're in the process, as museums always are, of checking to see if we need to change the caption."

This included Montgomery phoning Caruth Byrd a few days ago and asking him some pointed questions about the window that once hung in his father's house. Montgomery asked Byrd if he had any explanation for why there were no marks on the bottom of the window.

"Hell, maybe my father had it cleaned up," Byrd says he told her.
During our conversation, I mentioned to him that another concern was that smudge of paint and putty that appears on his window, but is not on the window photographed after the assassination.

"Maybe my dad broke the glass and it was repaired," he offers this time.
Byrd is clearly agitated by this line of inquiry. "Hell, if they don't want it at the museum, I'll take it back," he barks. "I'll sell it to someone. I'll sell it to Michael Jackson."

Montgomery also contacted Mayhew by phone. Montgomery says that Mayhew had "some relations with the museum that were less than friendly before. We have to rebuild that relationship before we can get close to him."

She told him she was coming to Nashville and wanted to see his collection and his window. He told her she couldn't come.

"They just want to use me," Mayhew says. "They don't have anything I want."
But this man from Tennessee might well have something the Sixth Floor folks want--them, and the millions who only think they've seen, and seen through, a little bit of history.
Mayhew says he eventually responded to Mack's letter, writing that perhaps they would meet if the museum had indeed changed. Mayhew says he wants the museum to acknowledge that he once owned the building: A plaque on the outside of the building only mentions Byrd. He also wants the museum's historical information to mention him and acknowledge that he saved the building from being destroyed. Mayhew believes that had the other bidders gotten the building instead of him, they would have torn it down.

At the bottom of the letter, Mayhew added: "P.S. In case we do join forces, I get the chicken franchise"--a reference to the Esquire Dubious Achievement Award 25 years earlier. Mack never responded to Mayhew's letter.

Marian Ann Montgomery's title at the Sixth Floor Museum is--no kidding--director of interpretation. All that means is that she's the museum's chief curator, but it's still a creepy job description to put on one's resume. Maybe the conspiracy theorists are right; maybe we're not paranoid enough.

As visitors stream into the Sixth Floor Museum, looking at the window they assume is real, Montgomery must now consider that someone has interpreted this relic all wrong.

"Well, obviously there's some difference between the window and pictures of it," Montgomery says. "We're in the process, as museums always are, of checking to see if we need to change the caption."

This included Montgomery phoning Caruth Byrd a few days ago and asking him some pointed questions about the window that once hung in his father's house. Montgomery asked Byrd if he had any explanation for why there were no marks on the bottom of the window.

"Hell, maybe my father had it cleaned up," Byrd says he told her.
During our conversation, I mentioned to him that another concern was that smudge of paint and putty that appears on his window, but is not on the window photographed after the assassination.

"Maybe my dad broke the glass and it was repaired," he offers this time.
Byrd is clearly agitated by this line of inquiry. "Hell, if they don't want it at the museum, I'll take it back," he barks. "I'll sell it to someone. I'll sell it to Michael Jackson."

Montgomery also contacted Mayhew by phone. Montgomery says that Mayhew had "some relations with the museum that were less than friendly before. We have to rebuild that relationship before we can get close to him."

She told him she was coming to Nashville and wanted to see his collection and his window. He told her she couldn't come.

"They just want to use me," Mayhew says. "They don't have anything I want."
But this man from Tennessee might well have something the Sixth Floor folks want--them, and the millions who only think they've seen, and seen through, a little bit of history.


I posted the entire article because these thing's have away of disappearing once it upset's a few people.

Edited by Robert Howard, 09 December 2006 - 10:54 PM.


#12 Glen Sample

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 07:21 AM

Stained Glass
by Ann Zimmerman
Article Published Nov 27, 1997
From
http://www.dallasobs...27/feature.html


The man on the phone speaks in conspiratorial tones. His name is Martin Barkley, a 40-something divorced father of two who has devoted so much of his life to a single purpose--proving that Lee Harvey Oswald did not kill John Kennedy from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository on November 22, 1963.

His research qualifications amount to having worked security for several large companies and spent time in Army intelligence. His personal link to the assassination was that his uncle was the longest-serving Dallas police officer when Kennedy was shot--and, of course, he whispered something conspiratorial at Thanksgiving dinner days after the assassination.

Barkley is a true believer, and he talks in elliptical phrases and vague pronouncements. On this day, he says he wants to share his theory that Dallas' powers-that-be are perverting the information presented in the Sixth Floor Museum, Oswald's alleged sniper's perch--and this city's biggest tourist attraction. Barkley argues that those in charge of the museum are toadies for the Warren Commission.

"The way to control an issue is to manage information on both sides so nothing gets out of control," he says, espousing a typically muddy slogan.

He says he will prove this all with a guided tour of the Sixth Floor, where he used to work as a security guard. Barkley was a seasonal hire two years ago and was laid off--ostensibly when tourist traffic slowed down, he explains. But he's convinced that he was, in fact, terminated because he answered visitors' probing conspiracy questions too honestly, too carefully, too knowledgeably. Of course, he can't prove it.

Barkley insists we meet late on a Sunday, when we would arouse the least amount of suspicion.

When he arrives that afternoon, he wears an overcoat over his tall frame and a fedora that doesn't obscure piercing blue eyes. Still, the disguise doesn't work: Two minutes after we step inside the building, security guards surround him and want to know why he's there.

"See what I mean," he whispers, as the guards escort us up in the elevator.
He reels off an enormous list of ways the museum subtly controls the mind of the visitor. He is suspicious of a sign that directs visitors to begin the tour with the panels and videos highlighting Kennedy's early years; Barkley believes the "flow" of the exhibit--which winds through Kennedy's all-too-brief presidency, his fateful visit to Texas, then the assassination--is intentionally misleading and exhausting.

"By the time the visitor gets to the end," Barkley insists, "he's too tired to read about conspiracies."

Barkley's rant is a fairly predictable and obvious one. Indeed, place a museum on the sixth floor of the old School Book Depository, and you're pretty much admitting you think Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. It's not like the county opened a Grassy Knoll Museum.

Yet Barkley is not all hushed whispers and vague hypotheses.
Displayed halfway through the tour in the Sixth Floor Museum is one of the most famous windows in the world--the perch from which Oswald allegedly killed Kennedy with a cheap Italian mail-order rifle. Behind a thick wall of Plexiglass, the window has been exhibited here since 1995, and since then, more than a million visitors have scrutinized it, studied it, even venerated its tragic place in history.

The window, located in the southeast corner of the museum, sits only a few feet from where Oswald killed Kennedy--allegedly, of course. It bears the caption "The Original Window from the Sniper's Perch."

But is it?
Barkley believes the infamous perch that hangs in the museum is a fake...a fraud.

He may be right.
Just a cursory look at the window on display reveals that it differs significantly from pictures taken of the window moments after the assassination.

For instance, the window on display has a thick smudge of paint and putty on a pane of glass at its top half. But there is no such smudge on any pictures of the original sniper's perch. Also, old photos of the window--photos that are on display at the museum--show markings on the green wooden sash along the bottom portion of the window. The window encased in the Plexiglass exhibit has no such markings.

Of course, conspiracy theorists say they never believed it was the real window all along.

So here's one more riddle for the theorists to solve: If this isn't the real window, and it likely isn't, then where is it--and how did this impostor wind up enshrined in this museum? We're through the looking glass, as Kevin Costner's Jim Garrison drawled in JFK, where every answer spawns a dozen more questions.

"There is just no end to this," says Robert Groden, a prominent local conspiracy theorist who served as a photo analyst on the 1978 U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations. "It's just mystery after mystery."

For more than two decades, the window--or what one man believed was the famous sniper's perch window--hung like a trophy, or a deer's head, in the banquet room of one of the wealthiest men in Dallas.

Col. D. Harold Byrd kept it in his University Park home as a souvenir, a tragic keepsake he ordered removed from the building on Elm and Houston streets that he owned and leased to the Texas School Book Depository. Byrd kept it there until his death in 1986, at which time it fell into the hands of his son Caruth--who, the story goes, kept the window out of public view for almost a decade.
Caruth Byrd wanted to keep the window buried, forgotten about. He rejected enormous financial offers from those who collect such morbid artifacts, and refused the requests from those who wanted to place the window in a Dallas museum commemorating the assassination--fearing the museum would be an embarrassment to the city. He preferred to keep hidden this reminder of Dallas' shame...until one day, in 1994, he had a change of heart and turned the window over to the Sixth Floor Museum.

On February 21, 1995--President's Day--more than 100 elected officials, members of the Dallas County Historical Foundation, and assassination eyewitnesses gathered at the Sixth Floor Museum for the window's dramatic unveiling.

"I thought and thought about what to do with it," the garrulous, barrel-chested Byrd told the assembled crowd during the unveiling ceremonies. "I've had offers for a lot of money for it, but I decided the best thing to do was bring it home where it belongs."

The window has remained on display here ever since, an authentic piece of history that offers its own special peek into a tragic day in this city's history.

At least, that's what half a million visitors a year believe.
There are those who doubt Byrd's tale--those who have photographic evidence right in the museum that proves the window on display is not the real sniper's perch, those who have spent months studying the discrepancies.

And there is at least one man who claims to own the window itself.
First, there is Barkley and his band of conspiracy theorists, including James Bagby, another former security guard at the museum. After overhearing some museum visitors question the authenticity of the window last March, Bagby studied the window for himself. He first noticed that the one-inch thick, salmon-colored smudge of paint and putty on the display window isn't apparent on an old picture of the real window.

The smudge, which is on what would have been the outside of the glass, matches the color of the wooden trim on the outside of the window. A note on the exhibit points out that the "paint on the exterior trim is original to the time of the assassination."

After studying pictures of the real window taken the day of the assassination, Bagby also noticed the distinct markings on the wooden sash along the bottom of the window that do not appear on the window on exhibit.

Bagby first brought these discrepancies to the attention of museum archivist Gary Mack eight months ago.

"'What you've discovered is quite important,'" Bagby says Mack told him. "'But I wouldn't be telling anyone about this.'"

Jeff West, executive director of the Sixth Floor, and Mack now admit they have questions about the authenticity of the window--no, make that doubts.

"We have concerns," West says. "It definitely bears scrutiny."
"It's a corner window," Mack adds. "Whether it's the window where shots were fired, we're not sure."

What makes all this speculation significantly more intriguing is that Conover Hunt, the museum consultant who helped put the Sixth Floor Museum together, knew from the beginning that there was someone else out there who claimed to own the real window.

His name is Aubrey Mayhew, a music producer from Nashville who may be the one person who can repair this jagged puzzle--or bust the whole thing into a million pieces.

The tale of the sniper's perch is not only a whodunit, but a whogotit. And with any mystery, perhaps it's easier to begin at the beginning, during those moments just as the echo of gunfire began fading in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963, and Dallas police ran inside the brick building at the corner of Elm and Houston.

They were directed there by witnesses who thought they saw what appeared to be the barrel of a rifle jutting out of a half-opened window on the sixth floor of the building, which housed the Texas School Book Depository, one of two textbook distribution sites for the state.

On the cavernous sixth floor, filled with stacks of book-filled boxes, police said they found three shell casings in front of the open window in the southeastern-most corner of the building. They also claimed to find a rifle, which Oswald was said to have bought through mail order, stashed under boxes diagonally across from the window.

Until the end of the 1960s, the Texas School Book Depository Company remained in the building, which was owned by Col. D. Harold Byrd. Byrd was an oil millionaire and husband of Mattie Caruth, whose family once owned most of the land from downtown Dallas to Park Lane. The Caruth family, after whom Caruth Haven Road is named, donated all the land for Southern Methodist University and leased the land for NorthPark Mall.

Afraid that curiosity seekers would carve off pieces of the sniper's-nest window, Byrd instructed his employee, Buddy McCool, to remove the window six weeks after the assassination, according to interviews with McCool and Byrd filmed in the early 1970s.

Whether McCool removed the right window is the question at the heart of this mystery.

The location of the sixth-floor sniper's perch is among the most infamous points of interest in the whole world. Yet it's conceivable that six weeks after the assassination, Byrd's lackey could have been confused about its exact location. There is no one alive who can verify which window McCool took out that day.

Byrd obviously took it on face value that he had the right one. He decorated the bottom half of the window with newspaper clippings of the assassination and postcard pictures of Kennedy, Dealey Plaza, and the book depository; then he had the whole thing framed.
He hung it in the banquet room of his Vassar Street mansion--later bought by oilman T. Boone Pickens--next to photos and mementos of his long, colorful career, which included co-founding the Civil Air Patrol, drilling numerous wildcat oil wells in East Texas, and funding the Antarctic explorations of his cousin, Admiral Richard E. Byrd, who named an Antarctic mountain range after the Texas colonel.

Byrd held onto the former book depository building until 1970, when he auctioned it off to a Nashville music producer named Aubrey Mayhew. Mayhew was a Kennedy memorabilia collector who planned to turn the structure into a commercial museum commemorating Kennedy's life. Still reeling from the fallout of the assassination that branded Dallas as "The City of Hate" and placed the blame for Kennedy's murder on Dallas' hostile environment, local city fathers recoiled at the idea of a museum that would consecrate the town's darkest hour. They also found Mayhew's intention to profit off the tragedy distasteful.

Mayhew tried several times to get city permits to start building his museum, but he was repeatedly turned down. A group called Dallas Onward, formed to protest turning the building into a national Kennedy landmark, helped thwart Mayhew's efforts.

By 1973, Mayhew defaulted on his loan, and Byrd repurchased the building after the bank foreclosed on it. He immediately put it back up for sale, this time asking $1.2 million for it. At the time, he said, he hoped whoever purchased the site "would use the building in a way that would not be a slam on Dallas...that would not blame Dallas for having the right environment for causing Kennedy's death," according to a filmed interview with Byrd.

The city passed an ordinance preventing the building from being torn down. Several city leaders, including real-estate developer Ray Nasher, were conducting their own campaign to create a private, nonprofit museum and monument to Kennedy on the site.

In 1977, Dallas citizens voted to use bond money to purchase the building from Byrd. The first five floors were refurbished for Dallas County administrative offices.

But little did anyone know that before Aubrey Mayhew vacated the premises, he hired two carpenters to remove two windows from the southeast corner of the sixth floor and replace them with windows from the north side of the building. He says he sneaked off with the sniper's-perch window--"the ultimate piece of Kennedy memorabilia"--while no one noticed.

Or so he claims.

If there is anyone to blame for this predicament, perhaps you should look no further than Conover Hunt.

A museum consultant from Marshall, Hunt first got involved with converting the sixth floor into a museum in the early 1980s. Hunt immediately noticed the sniper's-perch window was missing.

The entire casement that contained the two windows on the southeast corner had been replaced with windows from the north side of the building. She wasn't sure she would ever get her hands on the real ones.

Then, in 1987, two men contacted her, both claiming to have possession of the sniper's perch window. Caruth Byrd called Hunt and told her he had inherited the window from his father, who had died the previous year. Caruth said he stashed it behind some drawers in his house on a sprawling ranch in Van, just east of Canton. Hunt says she asked Byrd to send her proof that he had it, but he wasn't forthcoming.

Still, Hunt says she was inclined to believe Caruth, because she knew several people, including Joe Dealey Sr., late publisher of The Dallas Morning News, who had seen the window hanging in Colonel Byrd's house.

Caruth Byrd eventually allowed Hunt to see the window, which he moved to a vault in Inwood Village. But he refused to donate it or loan it to the museum. The Sixth Floor Museum was still two years away from opening, and Byrd, echoing concerns his father had uttered years earlier, was afraid the museum would be tacky and an embarrassment to the city.

Not long after Byrd met with Hunt, Aubrey Mayhew sent Hunt a letter. He, too, said he had the window--both windows, in fact--from the sniper's perch, and he wanted $250,000 for them. Hunt says she asked Mayhew to send her a picture and measurements of the windows.

"He never did," says the whiskey-voiced Hunt. "I was naturally cautious. If someone wants to sell it, the least they can do is send a picture and the exact measurements."

Hunt explains that she never flew to Nashville to see Mayhew's windows because she couldn't justify the expense without first having some proof that Mayhew actually had the windows.

In 1994, Caruth Byrd suddenly changed his mind about burying the past and let the museum know he was willing to loan out the window. Hunt retrieved it from Byrd's ranch and analyzed it. She says the paint color matched the other windows along the southern wall, and the shape led her to believe it was one of the two corner windows that were missing.

"And the provenance--the history of ownership--was excellent," she says. She admits she did not compare Byrd's window with pictures of the original.

Although the window on display touts it as "The Original Window from the Sniper's Perch," leading visitors to believe it was the window through which Oswald allegedly shot Kennedy, Hunt also admits that she was never certain of that. "There were two windows missing, so there was a 50-50 shot that this was the one through which the gunman fired."

Now that questions are being raised about the window's authenticity, Hunt defends herself by claiming that both windows are historically significant--even though there's a good chance the museum isn't advertising the truth.
"Until you have both windows together and have them professionally examined, you won't have an answer," she insists. "The fact that people are studying the window, examining the evidence, is healthy. These things happen all the time in my business."

It's now early November 1997, just weeks before the 34th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination, and Caruth Byrd has no idea the Sixth Floor Museum has any concerns about the window he loaned them.

A Confederate flag and a flag of John Wayne fly over his 150-acre ranch in Van, the Caruth Byrd Wildlife Compound. A large man with white hair and bulging blue eyes, Byrd divides his time between his private wild kingdom, where more than 3,000 exotic and endangered animals roam, and his Hollywood home next to Gene Autry, where Byrd produces movies and TV specials.

"Watch out for the kangaroo shit," he warns as we approach the front porch of his house, which resembles a huge dude-ranch lodge. He and the kangaroo, he explains, shared a morning doughnut on the porch.

A self-professed mortician, veterinarian, gourmet cook, and "the best organ player in the world," Byrd is a hard man to characterize, at once grandiose and earthy. He describes himself as a man "who was born with a silver spoon up my ass," but who despises the phony airs of the Dallas rich. His main residence on his compound, where he lives alone, is covered with hundreds of pictures of him with such Hollywood notables as Burt Reynolds and Lee Majors.

Among the photos lining the walls is a picture of him donating the window to the Sixth Floor Museum. Byrd launches into the story about how his father ordered an employee to remove it, and he rolls a videotaped interview with the worker that confirms his story.

Byrd says he decided to loan the window to the Sixth Floor after he got a call from The Smithsonian Institute, asking him to donate it to the Washington museum. "I decided if it went anywhere, it should stay in Dallas," Byrd says of his decision.

He has no doubts that his window is the real sniper's perch, and he is shocked to learn that the people running the Sixth Floor now have questions about its authenticity.

The name Aubrey Mayhew makes Byrd bristle. "He's a nut who tried to buy the building from my dad," Byrd says. "If he says he has the window, then where in the hell is it? He can't produce one."

Mayhew is the equivalent of the sniper's-perch second gunman, the man who may or may not hold the answer to the mystery of the missing window. But if he does possess the proof, making him produce it may be impossible.

Mayhew is a bitter fellow who believes a cabal of powerful Dallasites conspired to take away from him the building that houses the Sixth Floor Museum. Mayhew claims he lost everything in pursuit of creating a Kennedy museum here--his livelihood, his wife and two children--and he blames Dallas for those losses.

So it's not surprising that when finally reached in Nashville, Mayhew almost explodes when asked about the authenticity of the window on display in Dallas.

"Of course it's not the real window!" he bellowed over the phone. "I've been telling you people this for 30 years. I'm really a low-profile, non-publicity guy. All I can tell you is that Mr. Caruth Byrd is an idiot, and his father is an idiot and a thief."

Mayhew went on to insist that he still has the real window in storage in Detroit. When asked why he never showed it to the people at the Sixth Floor when they asked, he shot back: "I don't have anything to prove."

A 70-year-old music publisher who once worked with jazz great Charlie Parker and produced and co-wrote songs with outlaw country singer Johnny Paycheck ("Take This Job and Shove It"), Mayhew said over the phone that he was planning to come to Dallas the following week to see some of the songwriters with whom he still works. It was just a coincidence, he said, that it would be the day before the 34th anniversary of Kennedy's death, and he promised to call when he got to town.

He phoned a few days later and agreed to meet, but warned he might not have much to say. Three hours into a meal of coffee and apple pie at the Grand Hotel, he was still talking.

A short man in a windbreaker, Mayhew says he is "neither rich nor crazy." He explains that he was a coin and metal collector in the early 1960s when he became fascinated with all the metal objects that were created with Kennedy's likeness after his death. He produced a book on the subject, then went on to collect all manner of Kennedy memorabilia. It's a hobby he likens to a disease.

He was in search of more memorabilia when he came to Dallas in 1970 and attended an auction of 20 parcels of D. Harold Byrd's real estate, including the building leased to the Texas School Book Depository. He wasn't even a registered bidder, he says, but wound up offering $650,000 for the property. He claims he beat out two other bidders, including an entrepreneur who was going to raze the building and sell it off at a dollar a brick.

"It was just a piece of real estate everyone wanted to forget," Mayhew says.
Mayhew explains he wasn't sure what he was going to do with the building--or how he was going to pay for it. At the time, he says, he was making $100,000 yearly working for a music company. He eventually seized on the idea of turning the building into a "first-rate museum."
Shortly after he bought the building, the Texas School Book Depository moved out. But not before one of their employees gave him an affidavit, he says, confirming that D. Harold Byrd had instructed a workman to remove a window from the Sixth Floor. But "he went to the wrong side of the building," Mayhew claims, "and took it from the southwestern corner."

Afraid that a vacant building was more susceptible to vandals, Mayhew says he hired two carpenters to remove the two windows and the surrounding casement that comprised the sniper's nest and replace them with identical windows from the building's north side. Mayhew says he stored the original windows in Dallas for 20 years.

Mayhew insists that several wealthy Dallasites, whom he refuses to name, initially backed his plans for a museum. He quit his job to work on it full-time, spending weeks on end in Dallas and living in the building, where he began housing assassination artifacts. He claims to have spent more than $10,000 on architectural renderings of the proposed museum.

But the city hated his idea. The Dallas Times Herald, he says, ran a full-page cartoon lampooning his idea with a caricature of a museum showing a neon arrow pointing up to the sixth floor sniper's perch. Esquire magazine chided his plans in its annual Dubious Achievement Award issue, asking who was going to get the JFK chicken franchise.

Mayhew says that while the local campaign against him raged, he was also fending off an attempt by the state's Commission to Commemorate JFK to get the Texas Legislature to seize the building from him. Meanwhile, Mayhew recalls that city planners repeatedly rebuffed his attempts to get building permits, once claiming that the building's wooden interior was not fit for refurbishing.

His backers eventually pulled out, and he was hard-pressed to find new ones. He was falling behind on his $6,000-a-month payments, but he claims that the president of Republic National Bank was going to give him an extension. He says he vowed to fight foreclosure on the grounds that the building was his homestead.

"I had no income, a building producing no revenue that was costing me $6,000 a month, and all I ever received was constant blows from the city and state," Mayhew says. "The pressure was mounting."

In the summer of 1972, a small fire broke out in the building. The police charged one of Mayhew's employees, Winfred Anderson, with arson. Anderson pleaded guilty and received probation; he also implicated Mayhew as the person who was behind the fire--which Mayhew vehemently denies. The police, Mayhew insists, let him know that they would arrest him if he set foot in Dallas County again.

Not only does Mayhew profess his innocence, he claims he was framed in a convoluted plot to keep him away from Dallas so he would lose the building. Two weeks after the fire was set, the bank foreclosed on the building, which D. Harold Byrd promptly re-purchased. The city, Mayhew says, confiscated Mayhew's memorabilia left inside the building.

Mayhew says he went back to Nashville a broken man. His wife left him and took his two children to live in New York. He still nursed his idea of building a museum: A year or two later, he hooked up with Gerald Jay Steinberg, a Washington, D.C.-area dentist who claimed to have the largest Kennedy collection in the world. Together they opened an antique store in Georgetown, while they set about cataloging their combined collection for future display. On weekends, Mayhew says, he commuted by bus to New York to try and patch up his marriage--to no avail.

Mayhew's relationship with the dentist soured after just five months. Both men accuse each other of stealing a chunk of their respective collections. Steinberg says that Mayhew claimed to have the sixth-floor window back then, but Steinberg says he never saw it.

Mayhew went back to Nashville to begin rebuilding his music career. He also says he opened a small but classy JFK museum that was eventually burglarized. In 1987, "in a moment of weakness," Mayhew says, he wrote to Conover Hunt, who was organizing the Sixth Floor Museum.

"I told her I had the window and wanted $250,000 for it," Mayhew says. "I just wanted to recoup just some of the money I felt this city owed me."

He is asked why, then, he didn't send Hunt the pictures and dimensions she requested.

Mayhew claims it wasn't that simple. He says Hunt didn't respond to his letter for some time, and that when she first contacted him, she really didn't seem interested. He felt she was just blowing him off.

And maybe she had good reason. After all, he never offered one bit of proof that he has the windows. If there's any reason at all not to dismiss Mayhew, it's the simple fact that the window on display on the Sixth Floor is not the real deal. Maybe, just maybe, Mayhew's telling the truth.

"We know there are two windows, and you've proven that one's not it," he says. "So you take it from there."

For the last decade, Mayhew has had no contact with the Sixth Floor Museum. Then, several months ago, he says he received a letter from the museum's archivist, Gary Mack, a former Dallas television station announcer and JFK researcher--and one of those who isn't sure anymore that the window on display is so authentic. Mayhew says Mack told him he was interested in his collection.

"He said things had changed, and he understood the difficulties I had in the past," Mayhew says. "He said he wanted to come to Nashville and see my collection and that maybe we could join forces." Mayhew says he eventually responded to Mack's letter, writing that perhaps they would meet if the museum had indeed changed. Mayhew says he wants the museum to acknowledge that he once owned the building: A plaque on the outside of the building only mentions Byrd. He also wants the museum's historical information to mention him and acknowledge that he saved the building from being destroyed. Mayhew believes that had the other bidders gotten the building instead of him, they would have torn it down.

At the bottom of the letter, Mayhew added: "P.S. In case we do join forces, I get the chicken franchise"--a reference to the Esquire Dubious Achievement Award 25 years earlier. Mack never responded to Mayhew's letter.

Marian Ann Montgomery's title at the Sixth Floor Museum is--no kidding--director of interpretation. All that means is that she's the museum's chief curator, but it's still a creepy job description to put on one's resume. Maybe the conspiracy theorists are right; maybe we're not paranoid enough.

As visitors stream into the Sixth Floor Museum, looking at the window they assume is real, Montgomery must now consider that someone has interpreted this relic all wrong.

"Well, obviously there's some difference between the window and pictures of it," Montgomery says. "We're in the process, as museums always are, of checking to see if we need to change the caption."

This included Montgomery phoning Caruth Byrd a few days ago and asking him some pointed questions about the window that once hung in his father's house. Montgomery asked Byrd if he had any explanation for why there were no marks on the bottom of the window.

"Hell, maybe my father had it cleaned up," Byrd says he told her.
During our conversation, I mentioned to him that another concern was that smudge of paint and putty that appears on his window, but is not on the window photographed after the assassination.

"Maybe my dad broke the glass and it was repaired," he offers this time.
Byrd is clearly agitated by this line of inquiry. "Hell, if they don't want it at the museum, I'll take it back," he barks. "I'll sell it to someone. I'll sell it to Michael Jackson."

Montgomery also contacted Mayhew by phone. Montgomery says that Mayhew had "some relations with the museum that were less than friendly before. We have to rebuild that relationship before we can get close to him."

She told him she was coming to Nashville and wanted to see his collection and his window. He told her she couldn't come.

"They just want to use me," Mayhew says. "They don't have anything I want."
But this man from Tennessee might well have something the Sixth Floor folks want--them, and the millions who only think they've seen, and seen through, a little bit of history.
Mayhew says he eventually responded to Mack's letter, writing that perhaps they would meet if the museum had indeed changed. Mayhew says he wants the museum to acknowledge that he once owned the building: A plaque on the outside of the building only mentions Byrd. He also wants the museum's historical information to mention him and acknowledge that he saved the building from being destroyed. Mayhew believes that had the other bidders gotten the building instead of him, they would have torn it down.

At the bottom of the letter, Mayhew added: "P.S. In case we do join forces, I get the chicken franchise"--a reference to the Esquire Dubious Achievement Award 25 years earlier. Mack never responded to Mayhew's letter.

Marian Ann Montgomery's title at the Sixth Floor Museum is--no kidding--director of interpretation. All that means is that she's the museum's chief curator, but it's still a creepy job description to put on one's resume. Maybe the conspiracy theorists are right; maybe we're not paranoid enough.

As visitors stream into the Sixth Floor Museum, looking at the window they assume is real, Montgomery must now consider that someone has interpreted this relic all wrong.

"Well, obviously there's some difference between the window and pictures of it," Montgomery says. "We're in the process, as museums always are, of checking to see if we need to change the caption."

This included Montgomery phoning Caruth Byrd a few days ago and asking him some pointed questions about the window that once hung in his father's house. Montgomery asked Byrd if he had any explanation for why there were no marks on the bottom of the window.

"Hell, maybe my father had it cleaned up," Byrd says he told her.
During our conversation, I mentioned to him that another concern was that smudge of paint and putty that appears on his window, but is not on the window photographed after the assassination.

"Maybe my dad broke the glass and it was repaired," he offers this time.
Byrd is clearly agitated by this line of inquiry. "Hell, if they don't want it at the museum, I'll take it back," he barks. "I'll sell it to someone. I'll sell it to Michael Jackson."

Montgomery also contacted Mayhew by phone. Montgomery says that Mayhew had "some relations with the museum that were less than friendly before. We have to rebuild that relationship before we can get close to him."

She told him she was coming to Nashville and wanted to see his collection and his window. He told her she couldn't come.

"They just want to use me," Mayhew says. "They don't have anything I want."
But this man from Tennessee might well have something the Sixth Floor folks want--them, and the millions who only think they've seen, and seen through, a little bit of history.


I posted the entire article because these thing's have away of disappearing once it upset's a few people.


Aubry Mayhew claims to have the actual window, but He wasn't the owner in '63 when Byrd removed the "snipers nest" window and took it to his home. I have heard from individuals who visited Byrd's home in the past and saw the window, proudly displayed in his "trophy" room.

Glen Sample
http://www.jfkphenom...com/window.html

#13 Greg Parker

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 01:21 PM

While there isn't very much on D. H. Byrd on the internet, it should be easy enough to answer some basic questions, like did he really remove the sniper's window from the 6th floor of TSBD?

It's a question I've asked Gary Mack, who should know, and I await his response.

1) Did the owner of the TSBD D. H. Byrd have the sniper's window removed for display at his home?

It would certainly be in-character for Byrd having the sniper window in his trophy room (he probably also had the swearing in missle as well), which brings up my next question: who accompanied Byrd on his African safari that took him out of the country on Nov. 22, 1963. I'm sure such an expedition made the local papers, and Byrd & Posse posed for many photos next to their trophies.

2) Who accompanied DHB on the Nov. 1963 safari?

For these men, hunting was a right of passage into their world. Some, like LBJ and I believe Ed Wilson in Virginia, owned private game preserves so they could go hunting anytime. When LBJ got JFK down to the ranch and took him hunting, JFK just didn't get it.

Who accompanied Byrd would be telling, much like Chaney's misshap, that never would have become public if he didn't shoot somebody.

DH Byrd came from a very prolific political family that included powerful political relatives in other states (ie Virginia), and a Bryd family tree would be very helpful. It would also be interesting to know if DH Byrd of CAP/TSBD fame is related to Dr. Eldon Bryd (GWU, Medical Engineer, Polaris, Navy Metal Matrix Composite Program, MAZE, MKULTRA - RIP Dec. 30, 2002) or David H. Byrd, President of Dallas Diebold Electronic election machines?

3) Is D.H. Byrd related to the late Dr. Eldon Bryd or David H. Byrd, Pres of Dallas Diebold?

While I have some other outstanding questions, these are the ones that I have been unable to answer that I think others might have ready figured out.

Thanks,

BK


Bill, Eldon Byrd was probably related to the Admiral Richard Byrd branch of the family. Eldon Downs is now an equine & boarding facility near the south fork of the Shanandoah River. I think it may have once been part of the Byrd plantation. Adm Byrd was certainly from that area of Virginia.

Eldon was associated with an interesting crowd: Ira Einhorn, Andrija Puharich and Arthur Young among them. His Naval career ended either because of child porn charges (he claimed he was framed by Postal Inspectors, but admitted sex with a minor) or because of security clearance issues - depending on who you believe.

His history includes:

experiments with Uri Geller

Naval Surface Weapons, Office of Non-Lethal Weapons

behaviour control experiments on animals

has written papers on the telemetry of brain waves

dolphin research

#14 William Weston

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 08:44 PM

I thought it might be worth starting a thread on David Harold Byrd.


During this period Byrd became very interested in aviation. In 1938 Governor James Allred appointed him to the Texas Civil Aeronautics Commission. In September 1941 he formed the Civil Air Patrol. During the Second World War Byrd commanded an antisubmarine base for the Civil Air Patrol at Beaumont.


Tony Atzenhoffer was in the Civil Air Patrol in 1955 at the Moisant Airport. He knew David Ferrie and Lee Harvey Oswald. He told me that DH Byrd was in charge of the Lousiana and Texas regions of the Civil Air Patrol. He came to Moissant Airport on special occasions such as orientation meetings for new recruits. Thus Byrd knew Ferrie and was part of that New Orleans Civil Air Patrol milieu.

#15 Robert Howard

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 07:04 PM

I thought it might be worth starting a thread on David Harold Byrd.


During this period Byrd became very interested in aviation. In 1938 Governor James Allred appointed him to the Texas Civil Aeronautics Commission. In September 1941 he formed the Civil Air Patrol. During the Second World War Byrd commanded an antisubmarine base for the Civil Air Patrol at Beaumont.


Tony Atzenhoffer was in the Civil Air Patrol in 1955 at the Moisant Airport. He knew David Ferrie and Lee Harvey Oswald. He told me that DH Byrd was in charge of the Lousiana and Texas regions of the Civil Air Patrol. He came to Moissant Airport on special occasions such as orientation meetings for new recruits. Thus Byrd knew Ferrie and was part of that New Orleans Civil Air Patrol milieu.

Forum members might find the following post assassination news stories interesting, as they pertain to D.H. Byrd's safari.

From the Dallas Morning News January 9, 1964 Sec 3 Page 1

YOUNG HUNTRESS
Storybook Adventures Real
By Ann Donaldson
Society Editor of the News

Hollywood could not have picked the script: A German baron who attends safaris on a concession larger than the country of Belgium; his beautiful wife, a native African with the background of a famous old Portuguese family.
But Baron and Baroness W.V. Alvensleben of Lourenco Marques, Mozambique, are for real, and are in Dallas as guests of Col. D. Harold Byrd. Col. Byrd returned to Dallas three weeks ago from a hunt on the huge concession 1,000 kilometers north of the seaport
city of Lourenco Marques. THE CONCESSION, rented from the Portuguese government, can be reached by "bumpy roads that are agony to travel," or "charter plane---- there are two airstrips," says the olive-skinned baroness.
Clients are mostly American and have included Dr. Vander Davidson of Dallas and two Wichita Falls couples, Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Vincent and Mr. and Mrs. Steve Gose.
The baroness' father arrived in Mozambique in 1914 to practice law. He was married by proxy, and his wife came to Mozambique later. "My mother's parents had a fit says the former de Sousa Costa. Going to Africa was like going to the end of the world in those days."
Educated in Lourenco Marques and in Portugal, the baroness speaks perfect English she learned at a Portuguese convent and from tutors at her grandparents estate. She married Baron Alvensleben, former manager of a gold mine in Rhodesia, 18 years ago, often accompanies him on safaris.
THE FIRST ANIMAL she shot was the "sweet, harmless impala." and she has gotten to the stage where "I shoot, but feel sorry to kill. To satisfy a caprice of mine I'd, still like to shoot an elephant."
To hunt, the baroness wears khaki clothes, "so the animals won't see." Khaki hats, comfortable boots and sweaters for mornings and evenings during the cool months of June, July and August. Even though it's a sport, it's hard work, explains the tall, slender, brunette. "We rise at 4:00 A.M., because my husband likes it that way. It is a beauty to see the sun rise and the animals come out from under the trees. The fauna is the wealth of our nation"
Baron Alvensleben has also reached the stage where he prefers looking to shooting. The only animal they have mounted is the buffalo. You cant just put those heads anywhere. Anyway, when you are in contact with the animals you don't care about mounting them." The concession is closed during the hot rainy months, from Dec. 1 to April, and the Alvensleben's have been in the United States since the close of the season. Baroness Alvensleben, who speaks six languages (German, French, English, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese), has traveled all over the world but claims that "here in the United States is the largest quantity of beautiful girl's and women."
The baroness and baron accompanied Col and Mrs. Byrd to the ball Mr and Mrs N. J. DeSanders gave Saturday night for his debutante daughters Sue and Janet DeSanders.
"Above all, I am a woman," says the chic baroness. And I enjoyed seeing the elegant decorations, and the beautiful gowns.
From Dallas they will go to Wichita Falls. They were also in Las Vegas for the presentation of the Weatherby Trophy, to the best hunter of the year, presented December 7. "We are enchanted with our American friends and the kind hospitality they have shown us." says the baroness. "We have been to so many parties, that I have gained several pounds and lost much sleep."
When the baron and baroness return to Mozambique at the end of January, she will rest and "restore my energies."




From the January 19, 1964 Dallas Morning News


Baron Takes Look at Texas Hunters
By Kenneth Fores
Outdoor Editor of the News

He was tall enough to have been a basketball player, he had a scar on the left side of his face that ran from
his mouth to his ear and about which he volunteered nothing but he furnished a view of American hunters from the other side of the fence. From the white hunters side of the fence, that is, the men who take the American's hunting, who live with them for weeks, who often face death with then when they go up against mighty beasts.
He was Baron Werner Von Alvensleben, and although he used the broad A of the English, and last was lost and grass was gross, that von indicated Prussian descent and that long wicked scar could have come from a saber in a schoolboy fight. "Did that scar come from a African spear?" he was asked by this columnist. "No," he answered and began talking about American hunters, and the man was qualified for such, for Baron Von Alvensleben ("Just call me Werner," he said when Col. Harold D. Byrd introduced
him) arranged Byrd's recent African safari as director of Safarilandia had arranged many more and had watched many an American hunter. From a distant little or big corner, depending on how you look at it, of the world he came from Portuguese East Africa also curiously named Mozambique and from a beautiful and very modern city named Lourenco Marques Lo RAN soo Mer KASH in case your Portuguese aint grade A. Mozambique isn't a little corner of the world, being longer than Texas, 1,300 miles though only 400 miles wide, and in it there is an area, the Save Hunting Concession,leased to Mozambique Safari-
landia, Lda., of 34,000 square miles, or as big as Switzerland, said red-faced sandy-haired Baron Just-Call-Me-Werner. To spot Mozambique, it is that eastern coast of Africa just opposite Mozambique, which is
longer than Texas, too. In that Save Hunting Concession, where less than 10 per cent of the game is shot annually, being considerably under the natural increase and must be given the natives, Col Byrd and Dr. V.A. Davidson of Dallas shot 26 different species in a couple of weeks. Dr. Davidson got a 62-inch kudo, near the world record, and Byrd a 60-incher which is quite high,plus a 43-inch buffalo and a 41-inch sable which is in the record class.
Most of Mozambique Hunters Texan
But down to the interesting comments on how the tall Mozambique baron, who married a Portuguese lady of the first family, sees the men from this country who come wagging cannons. Firstly the Baron seemed quite qualified to speak of the Texas variety of American's, for he said "80 per cent of our hunters are Texans. Fifteen percent come from California and five per cent from the rest of the world." Then the baron added a slant. "One of my hunters George Gedek, speaks with a Texan drawl. He doesent knoaw anything else. He's only hunted with Texans you see." The he got onto the Texans. "Americans who come to our place are all sportsmen. All save one mon. There must be one bad egg everywhere, it seems but the great majority of Americans are good sportsmen. Then they are different from the hunters of other nations. They are much tougher. Most are used to rugged conditions. They have hunted Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, British Columbia, Alaska, where you have got to be able to take it. Such people find Africa comparatively easy." Then the man from Mozambique, where a three week safari costs $3,500 and a for week safari costs $ 4,100 in addition to transportation there, got onto guns. "American's believe in high powered rifles. Your American rifle, the Weatherby and the Winchester, are fine rifles. Europeans cawnt do as well, they dont have the rifles, or they dont have time, or the opportunity to practice. So Americans are much better shots. Your Herb Klein is a grond example."
And what do these American hunters want to shoot? "Texan's want a lion and leopard first," replied the Baron then a kudu, lostly the elephant. There is a tremendous argument as to the most dangerous onimal in Africa, No not the buff," he said to Byrd. "You can see him, the wounded lion or leopard is on you like lightning. The wounded leopard is the more dangerous of the two. Invariably it will attack. But I count the elephont as the most dangerous. An elephant is able to reason. My greatest friend and co-hunter Horst Rohe was killed by an elephant in 1952. Quite a few of my friends have been killed by them. Mechanized man is the only enemy the elephont has.
"Wally Johnson, Harold's white hunter, who has killed over 1,000 elephants, shot one six times last year, and it escaped into the bush. He was back there six months ago. That elephant attacked him. The wound scars proved it." It was but natural to ask a man who has lived in Mozambique for 17 years, or since the end of World War II, what his closest call has been.
"My narrowest escape," he replied was at Elm and St. Paul yesterday in front of the Athletic Club. This town is much more dangerous than the bush. Onimals dont do you any harm unless you or someone has wounded them. You cawnt say thot for Dallas drivers. Then he got back to American hunters
"American women are great sports and good shots. Mrs. Marty Gose of Wichita Falls killed everything with one shot. Mrs Jack O' Connor, wife of the Outdoor Life gun editor mostly, did the same. I have seen American women outshoot their husbands. "But there is one thing we do note. The only things Americans are afraid of are bugs. But by God they disinfect themselves with the amount of whiskey they drink. No mosquito would have a chance with them. They swerve off from them."




So, George deMohrenschildt wasn't the only Baron who shows up in the JFK saga. Whether there is any other interesting material from this 'peripheral to the assassination' aspect remains to be seen. A word of warning.....beware of assuming anything about the Baron, especially his political affiliations. In World War 2, the Baron apparently was imprisoned by the Nazi's, from what I understand....
But....... I do not have the book....But it is readily available.
See




http://www.booktrail...ica/baronin.asp
It is said in one of Capstick's safari related books, that Albensleben recieved the lengthy scar "fencing in Heidelberg,"


I wonder if the Alvensleben's were familiar with the Baron von Tscheppe-Weidenbach family, in the old country?

Edited by Robert Howard, 25 December 2006 - 07:08 PM.





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