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Earlene Roberts


John Simkin
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This article by David Welsh appeared in Ramparts Magazine in November, 1966:

Mrs. Roberts, the plump widow who managed the rooming house where Oswald was living under the name O.H. Lee, was one of the key witnesses before the Warren Commission. She testified that "around 1 o'clock, or maybe a little after" on November 22, Oswald rushed into the rooming house, stayed in his room for "not over 3 or 4 minutes" and walked out zipping on a light-weight jacket. The last she saw of him he was waiting at a nearby bus stop. A few minutes later, one mile away, Officer Tippit was shot dead; Oswald was accused of the crime.

Mrs. Roberts also testified that during the brief time Oswald was in his room, a police car with two uniformed cops in it pulled up in front of the rooming house, and that she did not recognize either the car or the policemen. She heard the horn honk, "just kind of 'tit-tit'... twice," and after a moment saw the police car move off down the street. Moments later Oswald left the house.

The police department issued a report saying all patrol cars in the area (except Officer Tippit's) were accounted for. The Warren Commission let it go at that. It did not seek to resolve the question: what were policemen doing honking the horn outside Oswald's rooming house 30 minutes after a Presidential assassination? Their swift departure would indicate they certainly were not coming to apprehend him. It is perhaps too far fetched to imagine that they were giving Oswald some kind of signal, although it seems as plausible as any other explanation of this bizarre incident.

After testifying in Dallas in April of 1964, Mrs. Roberts was subjected to intensive police harassment. They visited her at all hours of the day and night, contacted her employers and identified her as the Oswald rooming house lady. As a result she was dismissed from three housekeeping and nursing jobs in April, May and June of 1964 alone; no telling how many jobs she lost after that. Relatives report that right up until her death a year and a half later, Earlene complained of being "worried to death" by the police.

Mrs. Roberts died January 9, 1966, in Parkland Hospital. Police said she suffered a heart attack in her home. No autopsy was performed.

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Guest Tom Scully

This article by David Welsh appeared in Ramparts Magazine in November, 1966:

Mrs. Roberts, the plump widow who managed the rooming house where Oswald was living under the name O.H. Lee, was one of the key witnesses before the Warren Commission. She testified that "around 1 o'clock, or maybe a little after" on November 22, Oswald rushed into the rooming house, stayed in his room for "not over 3 or 4 minutes" and walked out zipping on a light-weight jacket. The last she saw of him he was waiting at a nearby bus stop. A few minutes later, one mile away, Officer Tippit was shot dead; Oswald was accused of the crime.

Mrs. Roberts also testified that during the brief time Oswald was in his room, a police car with two uniformed cops in it pulled up in front of the rooming house, and that she did not recognize either the car or the policemen. She heard the horn honk, "just kind of 'tit-tit'... twice," and after a moment saw the police car move off down the street. Moments later Oswald left the house.

The police department issued a report saying all patrol cars in the area (except Officer Tippit's) were accounted for. The Warren Commission let it go at that. It did not seek to resolve the question: what were policemen doing honking the horn outside Oswald's rooming house 30 minutes after a Presidential assassination? Their swift departure would indicate they certainly were not coming to apprehend him. It is perhaps too far fetched to imagine that they were giving Oswald some kind of signal, although it seems as plausible as any other explanation of this bizarre incident.

After testifying in Dallas in April of 1964, Mrs. Roberts was subjected to intensive police harassment. They visited her at all hours of the day and night, contacted her employers and identified her as the Oswald rooming house lady. As a result she was dismissed from three housekeeping and nursing jobs in April, May and June of 1964 alone; no telling how many jobs she lost after that. Relatives report that right up until her death a year and a half later, Earlene complained of being "worried to death" by the police.

Mrs. Roberts died January 9, 1966, in Parkland Hospital. Police said she suffered a heart attack in her home. No autopsy was performed.

I am of the opinion that Earlene Roberts correctly identified the number of the patrol car when she was first asked about it. The change in number developed because of this constant harassment she apparently suffered.

The original number she gave was of the car that was driven by Jim Valentine and escorted Gerald Hill and reporter Jim Ewell to the TSBD. The car from that point mysteriously dropped off the radar until late afternoon.

I don't believe anything that surrounded Gerald Hill that afternoon was a coincidence and the fact that Earlene Roberts "mistakenly" plucked out of thin air the number of a car that he was connected to defies belief.

Hill claims he went to Oak Cliff from the TSBD with Captain Westbrook. The problem with this is Westbrook doesn't remember him being in the same car.

Lee, if the newspaper photo at this link of Earlene Roberts and her sister was widely published, I am sure it contributed more to her public notoriety than any effort the DPD managed on their own. It should have dawned on both sisters that it was not a good idea to talk to the press or to be available for a news photographer. Not meant to be a defense of the DPD, but the president had been shot and killed, and a cop, and the sisters were reported to have recently rented to the guy the TV, radio, and newspapers reported was responsible for the shootings. To this day, we find no photos at that time, of Linnie, Wesley, Bledsoe, or Milton Jones, yet Roberts and Johnson were photographed within hours. Jones seems to be the only one I mentioned who had an advantage. The other three, I think, knew better. Have you ever seen a photo of the third sister, Ms. Bogle, or of Nancy Perrin Rich?

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This article by David Welsh appeared in Ramparts Magazine in November, 1966:

Mrs. Roberts, the plump widow who managed the rooming house where Oswald was living under the name O.H. Lee, was one of the key witnesses before the Warren Commission. She testified that "around 1 o'clock, or maybe a little after" on November 22, Oswald rushed into the rooming house, stayed in his room for "not over 3 or 4 minutes" and walked out zipping on a light-weight jacket. The last she saw of him he was waiting at a nearby bus stop. A few minutes later, one mile away, Officer Tippit was shot dead; Oswald was accused of the crime.

Mrs. Roberts also testified that during the brief time Oswald was in his room, a police car with two uniformed cops in it pulled up in front of the rooming house, and that she did not recognize either the car or the policemen. She heard the horn honk, "just kind of 'tit-tit'... twice," and after a moment saw the police car move off down the street. Moments later Oswald left the house.

The police department issued a report saying all patrol cars in the area (except Officer Tippit's) were accounted for. The Warren Commission let it go at that. It did not seek to resolve the question: what were policemen doing honking the horn outside Oswald's rooming house 30 minutes after a Presidential assassination? Their swift departure would indicate they certainly were not coming to apprehend him. It is perhaps too far fetched to imagine that they were giving Oswald some kind of signal, although it seems as plausible as any other explanation of this bizarre incident.

After testifying in Dallas in April of 1964, Mrs. Roberts was subjected to intensive police harassment. They visited her at all hours of the day and night, contacted her employers and identified her as the Oswald rooming house lady. As a result she was dismissed from three housekeeping and nursing jobs in April, May and June of 1964 alone; no telling how many jobs she lost after that. Relatives report that right up until her death a year and a half later, Earlene complained of being "worried to death" by the police.

Mrs. Roberts died January 9, 1966, in Parkland Hospital. Police said she suffered a heart attack in her home. No autopsy was performed.

I am of the opinion that Earlene Roberts correctly identified the number of the patrol car when she was first asked about it. The change in number developed because of this constant harassment she apparently suffered.

The original number she gave was of the car that was driven by Jim Valentine and escorted Gerald Hill and reporter Jim Ewell to the TSBD. The car from that point mysteriously dropped off the radar until late afternoon.

I don't believe anything that surrounded Gerald Hill that afternoon was a coincidence and the fact that Earlene Roberts "mistakenly" plucked out of thin air the number of a car that he was connected to defies belief.

Hill claims he went to Oak Cliff from the TSBD with Captain Westbrook. The problem with this is Westbrook doesn't remember him being in the same car.

Lee, if the newspaper photo at this link of Earlene Roberts and her sister was widely published, I am sure it contributed more to her public notoriety than any effort the DPD managed on their own. It should have dawned on both sisters that it was not a good idea to talk to the press or to be available for a news photographer. Not meant to be a defense of the DPD, but the president had been shot and killed, and a cop, and the sisters were reported to have recently rented to the guy the TV, radio, and newspapers reported was responsible for the shootings. To this day, we find no photos at that time, of Linnie, Wesley, Bledsoe, or Milton Jones, yet Roberts and Johnson were photographed within hours. Jones seems to be the only one I mentioned who had an advantage. The other three, I think, knew better. Have you ever seen a photo of the third sister, Ms. Bogle, or of Nancy Perrin Rich?

Tom, neither woman looks particularly happy with their picture being taken and it seems a trivial point that Earlene could not have anticipated the police harrassment she would receive, not because she gave Oswald a room (did they harass the TSBD managers for giving Oswald a job?)but because what she reported linked the police to Oswald in an unflattering way. Respectuflly, Daniel

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest Tom Scully

Robert,

The reason the 1920 U.S. Census record of the Joseph M. Bogle family of Smith County, TX was not to be found was because the scan of the page performed sometime after the 1920 census was publicly released in the 1990's per the law, was translated as "Bagle" instead of as Bogle. I've posted a link to the .pdf file below this quote box. It is legible at 400 percent enlargement in the Adobe .pdf reader.

....Robert Howard's post.: http://educationforu...ndpost&p=173699

I've located the 1910 and 1930 US Census records to support the contention that the photos above are the grave markers of the parents of Evalene and Bertha Bogle.

They probably moved to Texas just before the 1920 census was taken, because I cannot find a record. In 1910, Earlene, 5 years old, spelled "Earline" and 4 years old Georgia were listed, along with a baby brother named "Davie".

Name: J M Bogle

Age in 1910: 35

Estimated Birth Year: abt 1875

Birthplace: Tennessee

Relation to Head of House: Head

Father's Birth Place: Tennessee

Mother's Birth Place: Tennessee

Spouse's Name: Maggie

Home in 1910: Civil District 14, Cannon, Tennessee

Marital Status: Married

Race: White

Household Members: Name Age

J M Bogle 35

Maggie Bogle 30

Earline Bogle 5

Georgia Bogle 4

Davie Bogle 1 4/12

http://moviereview.net/JosephMBagle1920CensusSmithTX.pdf

Earline is living at home in the 1920 census record, and since the date the page was recorded was 28 January, 1920, Bertha does not appear because she was born 12 days later.

I've found here that Bertha was Bertha Cornelia, which raises the odds that she was the Bertha C Vaughn who died in 2001, according to SSDI results, Opal was Ethel Opal, and Ela was Minnie Ela (Sheppard). Her spouse John Bonner Sheppard was 1910 - 1992, and Ela died in June, 1999, less than two months after her son, John Bonner Sheppard, Jr., born 17 March, 1932.

My interest in finding the census record was heightened when I came across this.:

Toy Roberts (1917 - 2008) - Find A Grave Memorial

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=58587441

Sep 13, 2010 – SSDI Toy Roberts 6 Dec 1917 9 Sep 2008 Baxter, Putnam, Tennessee ... 2008); a sister, Alene (Penny) Riley; and a brother, Olan Roberts.

Now, that Roberts family is located just 40 miles from where the Bogles were said to be in Tennessee according to the 1910 Census info you posted.

And there is also this.:

(It resembles "1940" but I think it reads 1910. )

6249539710_38ef98e0cb_b.jpg

She was listed in January 1920 as 15 years of age and living at home. A bit old to be in the ninth grade.

http://www.jfk-assassination.de/warren/wch/vol6/page435.php

...Mrs. Roberts.

I was born in Nashville, Tenn., and my mother and father moved to Tyler, Tex., and I was raised there and married a Dallas man.

Mr. Ball.

Did you go to school in Tyler?

Mrs. Roberts.

Oh, yes.

Mr. Ball.

How far through school did you go?

Mrs. Roberts.

To my sorrows, I got married in the ninth grade.

Mr. Ball.

You did--you got married in the ninth grade?

Mrs. Roberts.

Yes, sir.

Mr. Ball.

Did you get married in Dallas or in Tyler?

Mrs. Roberts.

In Tyler.

Mr. Ball.

Did you have some children?

Mrs. Roberts.

No; to my sorrows--I couldn't.

Mr. Ball.

What did you do in Tyler then--until you came to Dallas?

Mrs. Roberts.

I was a PBX operator at the Hotel Blackstone. That's where I met my husband.

Mr. Ball.

How long have you lived here?

Mrs. Roberts.

Since 1938.

Mr. Ball.

What kind of work have you done?

Mrs. ROBERTS. Well, until he passed away---I didn't work for I didn't have to. He made me a good living, but since that time I have been---well, just, I guess you would call it practical nursing or housekeeping and now I am with an elderly couple---he has cancer---the same kind that Sam Rayburn had and he's taken with leukemia.

Mr. Ball.

That's at the address you have just given us?

Mrs. Roberts.

Oh, yes.

Mr. Ball.

Now, you know Mrs. Johnson, don't you?

Mrs. Roberts.

Yes; I knew her very muchly so.

Mr. Ball.

How long did you work for her?

Mrs. ROBERTS. Well, this last time I was there around 13 months--that was the third time I had went back.

Mr. Ball.

When did you start working for her?

Mrs. Roberts.

I started working for her in 1949 the first time.

Mr. Ball.

You did?

Mrs. Roberts.

Yes, sir.

Mr. Ball.

And you worked for her three times altogether?

Mrs. ROBERTS. Yes; I got sick the first time---I'm a diabetic and wasn't able to do the work and one day she called me again and wanted to know if I would do it .and I went back and stayed again and I went in a coma and had to leave, and the reason why I left this time, she cut me down so low and the work was too heavy--I wasn't able to do the work.

Mr. Ball.

You mean she cut you down on your money?

Mrs. ROBERTS. Oh, yes; and I can't pay my doctor bill and buy my medicine at that price.

Mr. Ball.

You mean, she didn't pay you enough--that's the reason you quit?

Mrs. ROBERTS. That's the reason why I quit--the work was too heavy and I wasn't able to do it and not enough pay.

Mr. BALL. And you were working there in October and November of last fall--- 1963?

Mrs. ROBERTS. Yes; to my sorrows....

Edited by Tom Scully
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