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Beverly Oliver was born in 1946. She worked as a dancer at the Colony Club. It was next to the Carousel Club (owned by Jack Ruby).
Oliver claims she was standing on the south side of Elm Street when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. She was therefore one of the closest witnesses to the shot that killed Kennedy. She filmed the motorcade with a Super-8 Yashica movie camera but claimed that it was taken away by a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent on 25th November and she never saw it again. Oliver later identified Regis Kennedy as the FBI agent who took the film from her. However, Kennedy was in New Orleans at that time interviewing Jack Martin.
Oliver left Dallas soon after the assassination and went into hiding (Oliver claimed she feared she would be murdered if she remained in the city).
In 1970 Oliver married the mobster George McGann. Soon afterwards he was murdered by fellow gangsters. Later Oliver gave an interview to Gary Mack. She claimed that in 1963 she was a regular visitor to the Carousel Club and that Jack Ruby introduced her to Lee Harvey Oswald. Oliver also claimed to have seen David Ferrie and Jack Lawrence in the club.
One of the enigmatic figures in Dealey Plaza in the moments when John Kennedy was murdered was "The Babushka Lady," so named because she wore a scarf much like a Russian grandmother would wear.
She appears to be filming the motorcade, perhaps with an amateur movie camera, but she did not identify herself to law enforcement on the day of the assassination. And in the days and weeks following the assassination, no person turned up claiming to be her, and no film shot from her position was discovered.
In 1970 a woman named Beverly Oliver came forward, and in interviews with researcher J. Gary Shaw, claimed to have been the Babushka Lady. She was a dancer and singer (although apparently not a stripper) at the Colony Club, a strip joint that competed with Jack Ruby's Carousel Club. She claims to have spent considerable time in the Carousel Club, and to have known Jack Ruby well. Over the years, her story has been elaborated to include many elements which, if true, imply a conspiracy to murder Kennedy.
One of the most frequently asked questions regarding witnesses to the Kennedy assassination concerns a mysterious young woman who became known as The Babushka Lady. She can be seen clearly on the Zapruder film and also on various other movie films and still photographs taken in Dealey Plaza on 22nd November 1963. She was one of the few witnesses who was not immediately identified - thus the rather odd nickname which she acquired due to the 'babushka' or triangular headscarf which she was wearing that day.
The question which The Babushka Lady provokes has become much more than just: "Who is she?" It has become much more positive: "Are The Babushka Lady and Beverly Oliver one and the same person?" Undoubtedly, the most important aspect of The Babushka Lady is the fact that she appears to be filming the motorcade. Her position on the south side of Elm Street close to eyewitnesses Charles Brehm, Jean Hill, Mary Moorman, etc. means that her film would almost certainly be a mirror image of the Z-Film. Perhaps more important than the presidential limousine itself would be what could be seen behind it. The background to The Babushka Lady's film would inevitably include the Texas School Book Depository (perhaps including the so-called sniper's nest window) and the grassy knoll.
The question of The Babushka Lady's identity remained a total mystery following the death of the President. Nobody came forward to claim that they were the mysterious eyewitness and furthermore, nobody could suggest who the lady may have been. There it remained, and perhaps would have continued to remain, were it not for a chance meeting between renowned assassination researcher J Gary Shaw and a young lady called Beverly McGann shortly after a church service at the First Baptist Church of Joshua (a small Texas town 20 miles south of Fort Worth) in November 1970.
The aftermath of this meeting is widely known and has been well-documented in many books. Beverly McGann (nee Oliver) related to Gary Shaw how she had filmed the motorcade and the assassination from a point on the south side of Elm Street. As anybody who knows Gary would be aware, he did not just accept this stranger's story without question. No - being aware that she had not had an opportunity to see the Zapruder film (and The Babushka Lady), he took her to Dealey Plaza and asked her to indicate exactly where she had been standing on the fateful day. To Gary's amazement, she did not hesitate but went straight to the point where The Babushka Lady can be seen on the Z-Film.
The controversy over Beverly Oliver's claim to be The Babushka Lady has raged unabated from that day to this - and remains one of the most vehemently debated aspects of the Kennedy assassination mystery. Whilst there are parts of Beverly's account which I find difficult to understand, I firmly believe that Beverly Oliver and The Babushka Lady are one and the same person. Like many researchers of my acquaintance, on both sides of the Atlantic, I have frequently become involved in heated discussions (arguments?) concerning this question. I am delighted to report that no matter how involved some of these discussions have become, I have not yet ended up exchanging blows with anybody.
I have something of an advantage over many researchers, particularly those outside the United States, in that I have had the pleasure and privilege to meet Beverly Oliver and her husband Charles Massegee on several occasions. I like to think that we trust and respect one another and I am proud to call Beverly Oliver my friend. Perhaps it may be thought that this tends to colour my opinion that Beverly was The Babushka Lady. I would refute that and stress that by speaking with Beverly regularly over the past couple of years I have come to know someone who is, in my opinion, one of the most open and honest people I have ever encountered.
I was a 17-year-old girl that was at Dealey Plaza that day taking pictures of the President when he was assassinated. I never wanted to become a public figure over this. I never intended to. Until my name was accidentally leaked to the press in 1972, I was not a public figure. It has caused me great grief. It has caused me a lot of concern in my life.
I have been called a liar as recently as today. I have been called a hoax. I am neither a liar nor am I a hoax. I am who I say I am. I was down there that day standing between 20 and 30 feet from the President when he was shot. I was taking a movie film which on the 25th of November was confiscated by a man who identified himself as an FBI agent.
I have never until recently started trying to inquire about my film because I am extremely patriotic, did not see that there was any reason to because I had assumed all these years that it was locked up until the year 2029 as evidence, and I am still not sure that there is anything sinister about it, and that is why I am here. I would just like an explanation as to what happened to my film and where it is, and that is the only reason that I am here.
Beverly Oliver - History
Oliver Tractors trace their routes back to Hart-Parr and Oliver.
Charles Walter Hart and Charles H. Parr met at the University of Wisconsin, and while working on their Special Honours Thesis, presented in 1896, created their first engine.
After graduation, the Hart-Parr Company was organized on June 12, 1901 at Charles City, Iowa, and Hart-Parr Number 1 was completed in 1902. The "traction engine" was not an immediate success, but in 1906 W.H. Williams, Sales Manager, coined the term "tractor", and from then on Hart-Parr was known as the "Founders of the Tractor Industry".
Oliver Chilled Plow Company
James Oliver was born in Scotland on August 28, 1823, and in 1834, at age eleven, he immigrated to Garden Castle, New York with his family. The family moved west to Indiana, but his schooling ended in 1837 with the death of his father. He went to work for the owner of a pole-boat, but not liking the rowdy life of a river man, he quit to learn the iron molding trade.
James married in 1844 and worked at molding, coopering, and farming. In 1855, while in South Bend, Indiana on business, Oliver met a man who wanted to sell a quarter interest in his foundry for the inventory value ($88.96). Oliver happened to have $100 in his pocket at the time, and thus he became an owner in the cast iron plow business.
As a farmer, James knew that none of the cast iron plows he had used were satisfactory. James made the chilled plow a practical success it's very hard outer skin was able to scour in heavy soils.
On July 22, 1868 the South Bend Iron Works was incorporated to manufacture the Oliver Chilled Plow, and in 1870 the famous Oliver logo was designed.
James Oliver died in 1908 at the age of eighty-five, and Joseph D. Oliver became head of the company. Joseph had tremendous organization and marketing skills, and the company continued to thrive and expand, and it was Joseph who led the company into the amalgamation with Hart-Parr and others in 1929, to form the Oliver Farm Equipment Company.
By 1929 the Hart-Parr Tractor Company, the American Seeding Machine Company, and the Nichols and Shepard Company were producing machinery that was becoming obsolete, and they lacked the capital and expertise to continue further progress. So, on April 1, 1929, these three companies merged with the Oliver Chilled Plow Company to form the Oliver Farm Equipment Corporation. This full line manufacturer shortened its name a few years later to Oliver Corporation.
The Oliver Corporation continued to innovate, with diesel engines and, in the 1948 to 1954 period, a new series of Fleetline models.
On November 1, 1960 White Motor Corporation of Cleveland, Ohio, a truck manufacturer, acquired Oliver Corporation as a wholly-owned subsidiary. White also acquired Cockshutt Farm Equipment of Canada in February, 1962, and it was made a subsidiary of Oliver Corporation.
(In 1928 Cockshutt Canada had marketed tractors made by Hart-Parr, and from 1934 through the late 1940's had marketed tractors made by Oliver, only changing the paint colour red, and changing the name tags to Cockshutt).
In 1969 White Motor Corporation formed White Farm Equipment Company, and gradually began transitioning to the White name. The Oliver 2255, also known as the White 2255, was the last purely "Oliver" tractor. With the introduction of the White 4-150 Field Boss in 1974, the White name was used exclusively the Oliver name was no more. In 1985 the White Farm Equipment Company was placed in involuntary bankruptcy. Today the patents are the property of Agco-Allis.
Did Jack Ruby Know Lee Harvey Oswald?
J ack Ruby (born Jacob Rubenstein) was a vulgar, violent, lowlife. But a proud one. He had risen from the Mob-dominated slums of Chicago—where, growing up, he'd run errands for Al Capone. Now, in 1963, Ruby ran his own striptease club in Dallas—seedy to some, but to Jack "a f----ing classy joint."
The Carousel was a run-down walkup on Commerce Street where Jack (or "Sparky," as the easily ignitable owner was known) oversaw a master of ceremonies, four strippers and a five-piece bump-and-grind band. On Commerce, flashing neon signs and scores of eight-by-ten glossy stock photos of near-nude gals beckoned horny guys to ascend the stairs and enjoy "Dallas's only nonstop burlesque."
Soon after Ruby murdered JFK assassination suspect Lee Harvey Oswald, Carousel emcee Bill Demar (Bill Crowe in real life) publicly identified Oswald as a recent patron. The magician-ventriloquist said he distinctly recalled Oswald because, as an audience member, Oswald had actually taken part in Demar's "memory act."
"I have 20 customers call out various objects in rapid order," Demar told the Associated Press. "Then I tell them at random what they called out. I am positive Oswald was one of the men that called out an object about nine days ago." 1
Carousel patron Harvey Wade supported the entertainer's story, according to Facts on File.
Comedian Wally Weston—who preceded Demar as an emcee earlier in November 1963—claimed Oswald was at the Carousel "at least twice" before the assassination. Weston made the revelation in exclusive July 19, 1976 interview with the New York Daily News.
The same article reported that "Dallas lawyer Carroll Jarnigan told FBI agents he saw Oswald and Ruby together in the Carousel on the night of October 4, 1963, and overheard them discussing plans for Oswald to assassinate Texas Governor John Connally, who was wounded in the fusillade that killed Kennedy."
These people weren't the only Carousel employees or customers to have linked President Kennedy's reputed assassin with Jack Ruby.
At 20, "Little Lynn" (in private life, Karen Carlin) was Jack's youngest stripper. With long locks of artificially colored gray hair, Lynn had the body of swimsuit contestant—but, on stage, wore little other than a big smile, pink heels and a matching G-string. 2
On November 24, 1963, Little Lynn told U.S. Secret Service agent Roger Warner that she, in his words, "was under the impression that Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby, and other individuals unknown to her, were involved in a plot to assassinate President Kennedy and that she would be killed if she gave any information to authorities." Lynn reportedly died of a gunshot wound in Houston in 1964, according to the Encyclopedia of the JFK Assassination. 3
By some accounts, even before her boss murdered Oswald, Jack's featured stripper, 27-year-old "Jada" (real name, Janet Conforto) told reporters that Ruby and Oswald were acquainted. Described by Ruby biographer Seth Kantor as "supercharged with animalism," the orange-haired Jada had been recruited by Ruby from a club in New Orleans. According to the Encyclopedia of the JFK Assassination, that joint was partly owned by the underworld's biggest bigwig in Louisiana and Texas, prime JFK assassination suspect Carlos Marcello. 4
In Dallas, even offstage, Jada acted the part of a star … and of a wild exhibitionist. Usually wearing only a mink coat and high-heeled shoes, she spun around town in a new gold Cadillac convertible with "JADA" embossed on the door. After one notable visit to Mexico, the brazen stripper returned with 200 pounds of marijuana in the Caddy's trunk, according to Dallas sports reporter Gary Cartwright. 5 She got through customs by diverting the attention of border agents. Jada pretended to fall out of her car, and then fell out of her coat—purposely exposing herself to border officers.
Beverly Oliver sang at the Colony Club, a parking lot away from the Carousel. Years later, Oliver said that about two weeks before the assassination, when visiting the Carousel, she spotted Jada at a table with Ruby and another man. "Ruby introduced me: 'Beverly, this is my friend, Lee.'" That man, she later realized, was President Kennedy's accused murderer.
But Beverly kept mum on her Ruby-Oswald sighting at first, she said, because she feared for her life. Oliver did not want to end up like Jada, who she implied had died a mysterious death. 6
In 2007, sports reporter Gary Cartwright confirmed key elements of the accounts of both Jada and Beverly: "After the assassination, Jada told us Ruby once introduced her to Lee Oswald at the Carousel. While they were having drinks, Beverly Oliver, a singer from the Colony Club next door, stopped by and was also introduced … Jada is dead now, but I phoned Beverly not long ago and asked if she remembered. "Sure do," she said. Ruby introduced him as 'my friend Lee from the CIA.'" 7
Jada, however, did not die mysteriously. She was killed, at 44, in a 1980 highway accident in New Mexico when a school bus ran over her motorcycle, according to researcher Mark Colgan. Jada is buried under the name "JADA" in a cemetery in New Orleans. 8
And how about Beverly Oliver's tale? Highly suspicious say many assassination experts. Renowned researcher John McAdams concludes, "No account of (Jada) saying she saw Ruby and Oswald together appeared in any newspapers, nor anywhere else. And (Jada) explicitly told the FBI that she had never seen them together." 9
Curator Gary Mack of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas also thinks Beverly Oliver's claim is dubious. As for a Ruby-Oswald connection, Mack told this writer in an email dated Jan. 10, 2009, “…there's no hard evidence they were acquainted and it's hard to imagine either man linked to the other. Oswald didn't drink, he was never out at clubs, he wasn't cheating on his wife, and Oswald certainly offered nothing of significance for Ruby to advance either himself or his club." 10
Mack is correct: There is no hard evidence—like a photograph or a letter—linking these two disturbed loners history has forever joined at the hips.
In the end, however, it doesn't really matter whether Ruby knew Oswald.
What if there were a plot to murder President Kennedy that included two men who did not know each other? Ruby and Oswald could well have been part of this conspiracy and Ruby could have been activated to kill Oswald after Oswald's arrest. This could be what Oswald was indicating when he insisted, "I'm a patsy." And it could have been what Ruby was referring to when he declared, "I have been used for a purpose."
There is a high stack of circumstantial evidence that both Ruby and Oswald were connected to New Orleans Mafia boss Carlos Marcello. And many JFK assassination experts believe Marcello played some role in the President's murder.
In a new book, Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination, Lamar Waldron argues that the New Orleans godfather actually engineered the JFK slaying. He cites startling newly released 1985 FBI prison files in which Marcello admitted, "Yeah, I had the son of a bitch killed. I'm glad I did. I'm sorry I couldn't have done it myself!"
In the FBI files—based on bugs secretly placed in Marcello's cell—the mobster confessed that he used an associate, Jack Ruby, to kill Oswald. Marcello also admitted that he had set up Ruby "in the bar business in Dallas."
Marcello, according to the New York Post, said he'd brought Oswald into the JFK assassination plot via David Ferrie, a Marcello operative who had known Oswald in New Orleans. 11
The godfather had a major beef against the Kennedy brothers because Bobby Kennedy—organized crime's biggest enemy in the government—once had him forcibly deported to Guatemala.
The disclosure about Marcello in the newly released FBI files supports the conclusions of the most qualified expert on the JFK assassination—G. Robert Blakey, who was chief counsel and staff director to the mid-1970's House Select Committee on Assassinations. In The Plot to Kill the President in 1981, Blakey found that Marcello and two other godfathers—Santos Trafficante of Florida and Chicago Outfit boss Sam "Mooney" Giancana—were complicit in planning Kennedy's slaying in Dallas.
Oswald had Mob ties in New Orleans through his uncle, Charles "Dutz" Murret, who was a bookie for Sam Saia, a gambling kingpin and Marcello sidekick. In 1963, when Oswald was living in New Orleans, he worked for Saia as a runner at Felix Oyster House—one of Saia's French Quarter bookmaking parlors—according to Blakey. In a Nov. 7, 1993 Washington Post article, Blakey also pointed out that John H. Davis interviewed Joseph Hauser, a witness in a federal criminal investigation of Marcello, for his Marcello biography, Mafia Kingfish. Hauser reconstructed for Davis a statement Marcello made to him:
Oswald? I used to know his [expletive] family. His uncle he work for me. The kid work for me to. He worked for Sam outta his place downtown . The feds came . askin' about him, but my people didn't tell 'em nothing.' Like we never heard of the guy.
As for Jack Ruby's ties to the boss of America's oldest crime family, back in the '70s Blakey's panel established links between the nightclub owner "and several individuals affiliated with the underworld activities of Carlos Marcello. Ruby was a personal acquaintance of Joseph Civello, the Marcello associate who allegedly headed organized crime activities in Dallas … (and) a New Orleans nightclub figure, Harold Tannenbaum, with whom Ruby was considering going into partnership in the fall of 1963."
Shortly after the assassination, Jack Ruby's headliner, Jada—rightly, it turns out—threw cold water on Ruby's initial excuse for killing Oswald. Ruby claimed he was a super-patriot who loved President Kennedy, and that his action was politically motivated. Not so fast, said the orange-haired stripper during an interview with ABC’s Paul Good on YouTube: "I believe he disliked Bobby Kennedy … I didn't think he loved (President) Kennedy that much" to kill Oswald. 12
A pre-assassination indication that Ruby might be part of a conspiracy to kill the President came at around noon on November 21, 1963.
A number of Dallas police officers were meeting in the office of Assistant District Attorney Ben Ellis when Ruby entered and passed out business cards advertising Jada's gig at the Carousel. According to Lt. W. F. Dyson, Ruby introduced himself to Ellis and added: "You probably don't know me now, but you will." 13
Before Ruby pulled the trigger on his 38-caliber Colt Cobra in the basement of the Dallas Police Department, did he get cold feet or have second thoughts? Or did he want to get caught before he actually carried out his mission?
Billy Grammer, a Dallas Police dispatcher, says he received a telephone threat against Oswald's life the night before Oswald's murder. He said the tipster did not identify himself, but did greet the officer by name. The caller advised police to change their plans for Oswald's transfer to another jail the next day. The voice on the other end was urgent—asserting, "We are going to kill him!"
Only after Jack Ruby murdered Oswald did Grammer realize he had been talking to a local striptease club operator he knew well. "It had to be Ruby," he later disclosed. Grammer says that phone call convinced him the Oswald slaying was "not spontaneous," but rather a "planned event." 14
While Ruby's stunning crime was witnessed by baffled millions on live TV, Reuters's Ralph Harris was one of the first reporters in the basement to grab a phone and dictate a bulletin to his wire service's editors: "The fatal shot, fired by Jack Ruby into Oswald's abdomen at point-blank range, in the presence of armed police and reporters, had such a stunning impact that the scene froze into a moment of paralyzed amazement, then pandemonium as Oswald dropped to the concrete floor." 15
Shortly before his death from cancer in 1967, Ruby secretly slipped a note to Dallas Deputy Sheriff Al Maddox. In a July, 1996 TV interview, Maddox revealed that, in that note, Ruby confessed there "was a conspiracy" to murder JFK, and that Ruby's motive in killing the alleged presidential assassin was not patriotism, but rather to "silence Oswald." 16
As soon as he saw the slaying of Oswald on TV, Attorney General Robert Kennedy drew that very same conclusion. Ruby, he felt, had Mob written all over him—so he immediately dispatched his top Justice Department investigator, Walt Sheridan to Dallas to look into Ruby's background. Within only hours, Sheridan "turned up evidence that Ruby had been paid off in Chicago" by a close associate of Mobbed-up Teamsters Union president Jimmy Hoffa, a mortal enemy of the Kennedy brothers. Sheridan said Ruby "picked up a bundle of money from Allen M. Dorfman," a chief Hoffa henchman.
When the attorney general examined Jack Ruby's many pre-assassination phone calls to key Mafia figures, the organized crime expert declared, "The list was almost a duplicate of the people I called before the (Senate) Rackets Committee,” he told David Talbot, author of Brothers. 17
Perhaps partly out of fear for his own life, Bobby Kennedy kept his investigation into his beloved brother's murder to himself. And he refused to cooperate with the Warren Commission's probe. In his book Brothers, David Talbot says Bobby intended to reopen the investigation if he became president. Talbot speculates that, in Los Angeles, in 1968, White House hopeful Robert Kennedy may have been gunned down by the same conspirators who killed his brother Jack in Dallas.
1 Los Angeles Times, November 26, 1963.
2 New York Times, November 30,1963
3 Encyclopedia of the JFK Assassination, 122.
5 Texas Monthly, November, 1975
6 "The Men Who Killed Kennedy," The History Channel.
7 Coverthistory.blog.spot.com, September 19, 2007.
10 E-mail correspondence, Mack with author, 1-10-09
11 New York Post, January 10, 2009, as well as various book reviews.
JFK ’s Use of Unreliable Witnesses
Some of the strongest criticisms of the film pointed to its use of three supposedly unreliable witnesses:
Julia Ann Mercer
Julia Ann Mercer (pp.117f played by Jo Anderson) describes seeing a man who matched Jack Ruby’s description helping to deliver a rifle to the grassy knoll shortly before the assassination. This is contrary to Mercer’s original statements, in which she is unable to identify the man. Mercer herself claimed in a later interview that those statements did not reflect her actual evidence, and that the man was indeed Ruby.
For details of Julia Ann Mercer’s evidence and credibility, see Was Jack Ruby Involved in the JFK Assassination?.
A character named Beverly (pp.119ff played by Lolita Davidovich) describes being introduced to Lee Harvey Oswald (played by Gary Oldman) by Jack Ruby (played by Brian Doyle–Murray) in a Dallas night club. Although several other people have claimed that Ruby and Oswald had known each other (see Jim Marrs, Crossfire: the Plot that Killed Kennedy , Simon and Schuster, 1989, pp.402), there is no corroboration for the episode in the film, which is based on a remarkably implausible account by a woman named Beverly Oliver, who claimed that the incident occurred in Ruby’s Carousel Club, and that Ruby described Oswald to her as a member of the CIA. Even if the incident in the night club occurred, and even if Oswald was a member of the CIA, and even if Ruby had known this fact, it is hardly likely that he would have mentioned it to a seventeen–year–old singer in a night club.
Beverly Oliver also claimed to have been the unidentified woman in a headscarf who is visible in several photographs, apparently filming President Kennedy as he was shot in the head a short distance away. Unfortunately, the camera that Beverly Oliver claimed to have used did not become available until more than three years after the assassination. For more about her claims and her dubious credibility, see http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/oliver.htm.
Jean Hill (pp.122ff played by Ellen McElduff) was even closer than the woman in the headscarf to JFK at the moment of the fatal shot. In the film, she claims that she heard between four and six shots, and saw a man running away from the fence on the grassy knoll, which reflects her Warren Commission testimony ( Warren Commission Hearings , vol.6, p.218). In her statement on the day of the assassination, she mentioned “the first two shots … and three or four more shots” and that she “saw a man running toward the monument” rather than away from the fence ( Warren Commission Hearings , vol.24, p.212 [Commission Exhibit 2003, p.31]).
Jean Hill’s story of the running man is supported by another witness, J.C. Price ( ibid. , p.222 [Commission Exhibit 2003, p.52]). Arnold Rowland reported the same story second–hand ( Warren Commission Hearings , vol.2, p.181). Paul Landis, a Secret Service agent in the car behind President Kennedy, described what Jean Hill had probably seen: a man running up the steps to the top of the grassy knoll ( Warren Commission Hearings , vol.18, p.755). Of the three men who had been standing on the steps during the assassination, only one, Emmett Hudson, was identified. Photographs show that the unknown man who ran up the steps was merely a spectator. In the film, Jean Hill identifies the man as Jack Ruby, for which there is no credible corroboration.
The film also dramatises her allegation that she was threatened both by unidentified agents immediately after the assassination and by the attorney who interviewed her on behalf of the Warren Commission. She was not the only witness who claimed that official investigators were unsympathetic to evidence that contradicted the lone–nut hypothesis. Perhaps Jean Hill’s account was utilised to represent such experiences. The specific incidents she described do provide entertaining cinema, but they have no independent corroboration.
JFK ’s use of Jean Hill’s evidence illustrates one of the ways in which the film undermined its own credibility. Media commentators pointed to this episode as a specific example of the film’s lack of concern for historical accuracy. An audience without specialist knowledge of the assassination might be tempted to wonder how much else was untrustworthy.
In 1968 Mr. Wales and Mr. Tsaousis found a young art school graduate named Peter Tysver who showed an aptitude for art restoration and took him on as an apprentice.
When Tsaousis died in 1986, Mr. Wales decided to retire and Mr. Tysver took over the business. In a way similar to his own introduction to the field of art restoration, a young artist, named Gregory Bishop, applied to the company for an apprenticeship. Mr. Bishop was hired in 1990 and was meticulously trained by Mr. Tysver in all aspects of painting conservation and restoration of the course of several years.
Mr. Bishop and Mr. Tysver eventually became business partners and the business has prospered and grown over the years. After 50 years with Oliver Brothers, Mr. Tysver decided to retire. He is still with the company on part-time basis.
After Mr. Tysver’s retirement in 2017, Greg Bishop assumed the role of the firm’s chief executive officer.
After more than a century and a half of being in continues operation, the company’s goals, mission and culture have not changed. In a manner similar to the studios of the Old Masters, the continuity of Oliver Brothers has been maintained for over one hundred and seventy years from its inception to the present day.
OLIVER BROTHERS COLLECTION EXHIBIT
We have preserved and have on display many old tools, pigments, brushes, jars and countless other items used by the Oliver Brothers restorers over the years. While we are not using the original vacuum press from 1920’s, the engine is still operational. We would be happy to give a demonstration / tour to all who would like to learn more.
We have digitized and published all magazine and newspaper articles about the company we found so far. If anyone has any additional information please let us know.
A BEAUTIFUL TRADITION
Oliver Brothers, the oldest art restoration firm in the country, has been making paintings beautiful again since 1850.
Over that time, the firm has taken in paintings by Rembrandt, Degas and Cezanne — as well as Andy Warhol, Andrew Wyeth and Winslow Homer — then returned them to their owners looking good as new.
Recently, the firm moved from Boston to Beverly.
“There are two main aspects to restoration: the structural aspect of the painting and the appearance of the painting,” said Peter Tysver, chief restorer at Oliver Brothers. “Both of these are usually compromised by age.”
Paintings dim with the years because their surfaces get dirty, or the coat of varnish that protects the paint deteriorates.
Peter Tysver, co-owner of Oliver Brothers Art Restoration in Beverly, removes the canvas from the stretchers of an early 19th-century screen
Greg Bishop, co-owner of Oliver Brothers Art Restoration in Beverly, and his wife, Mira, speak about the business.
Peter Brefini works on a painting by an unknown artist. The piece on the left is by Alvin Fisher
“The older varnishes were made with organic resins, which turn yellow over a period of time,” Tysver said. “So those are removed to get back to the original color.”
Structural damage occurs when canvas decays, or as the layers of a painting expand and contract with changes in the atmosphere. Those layers include sizing, a kind of glue that strengthens cloth and a coating of gesso, the white ground on which an artist paints.
“In the beginning, when the painting is new, the paint layer is flexible and there isn’t a problem,” Tysver said. “But when the paint layer gets older, it becomes brittle, and when the movement happens underneath the paint, it makes cracks.”
Many of these problems are fixed using a press that was invented by George Taylor Oliver, grandson of James Oliver, the Scottish immigrant who originally founded the firm in New York.
The pressure that smooths paint buckling around cracks, and also fixes a reinforcing liner to the back of the canvas, is created by suction.
“When it goes into the press, it gets sandwiched between these pieces of silicon-coated white craft paper,” said Greg Bishop, who co-owns Oliver Brothers with Tysver. “The vacuum sucks the air out, therefore forcing the adhesive”.
A version of this machine is now standard equipment at all art restoration firms, although that hasn’t benefited Oliver Brothers, because George Taylor never enforced his 1931 patent, Bishop said.
The firm’s original press was in operation until six years ago, when it was replaced with a new model, but they have kept the engine and plan to display it in their new lobby.
Moving to Beverly has doubled the company’s space, which in turn has allowed them to expand their business for customers who don’t need restoration work but would like a frame.
The quarters on Elliott Street feature display racks with frame styles from most major periods in art history, from the Italian Renaissance to the Hudson River School.
There are also frames made of unique materials, such as Peruvian leather, barn wood from Texas or pieces of buildings in New Orleans that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
“It goes through a chemical process to kill any mold,” said Mira Bishop, Greg’s wife, who handles non-restoration custom framing for Oliver Brothers.
There has been sufficient demand for non-restoration framing that the firm now maintains two websites, www.oliverbrothersonline.com and www.oliverbrothersframes.com.
A frame that Bishop created from acrylic is also on display, and she applies her training as a designer to help clients “to see the artwork at its best.”
“I would very frequently go to a client’s home to match the colors, or say, ‘Could you email me photos of the room, so we could look at the whole picture,’” she said.
Moving to Beverly has made life easier for the co-owners, both of whom live on the North Shore, but also for their customers, who no longer have to look for parking in the Back Bay.
Another added benefit is the mixture of light available in the Beverly office, which offsets a perceptual problem called metamerism, in which complex colors look different in various types of light. Gray, for instance, may be a dull color, but it can be made with several mixtures — red and green, blue and orange — each of which looks different depending on the source of illumination.
In the new office, Tysver does retouching in an alcove where he gets light from both a large window and incandescent bulbs in the ceiling.
“The skill of the person that’s doing the retouching is to match the color paint,” Tysver said. “This balance of light here helps us get a middle range.”
Though people can now get degrees in restoration, the firm still trains workers in an apprentice system, which is how Tysver got his start, learning from previous owners Carroll Wales and Constantine Tsaousis.
Wales and Tsaousis, in turn, took over the firm from Fred Oliver, the last member of the founding family to work in the business, who taught them all the techniques the firm had developed over its history.
At any one time, Oliver Brothers has between 50 and 70 restoration jobs under contract, Bishop said, mostly from private clients rather than institutions.
Museums protect paintings by controlling temperature and humidity in their galleries and have in-house staff to address any damage that does occur.
While Oliver Brothers has worked on paintings by many great artists, the firm is just as likely to repair canvases whose only value is sentimental.
“It’s not just people thinking about investments, stocking paintings away for the future,” Bishop said. “In fact, a real important part is the sentiment behind it. People bring things in that they treasure personally.”
Oliver History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Scottish history reveals Oliver was first used as a surname by the Strathclyde-Briton people. It was a name for someone who lived in Roxburgh. While most of the name likely derive from the Old French Oivier, it is supposed that some of the Scottish instances of this name derive from the Old Norse name Oleifr.
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Early Origins of the Oliver family
The surname Oliver was first found in Roxburghshire, where the first on record in this shire was Walter Olifer who was a Justiciar (Judge) of the district, who witnessed a gift of William the Lion to the serf Gillemachoi de Conglud with his children and all his descendants to the bishop of Glasgow c. 1180. Olyver, son of Kyluert, was one of the followers of the earl of March at end of twelfth century. 
Despite the fact that the lion's hare of the family do originate in Scotland and into the English borders, there are significant early English records. "Its principal homes are as follows: in the north, in Northumberland and Durham, whence it extends into the Scottish border counties in the west, in Herefordshire in the east, in Lincolnshire in the south - west (including the contracted form of Olver), in Cornwall and in the south - east, in Kent and Sussex. " 
And we would be remiss if we did not mention the earliest entry of the family in the Domesday Book of 1086 as a personal name. Later, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list the name as both a personal name and a surname: Oliver Crane in Huntingdonshire, 1273 and Peter filius Oliver in Oxfordshire. 
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Early History of the Oliver family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Oliver research. Another 103 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1250, 1266, 1330, 1436, 1541, 1542, 1546, 1557 and are included under the topic Early Oliver History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
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Oliver Spelling Variations
It is only in the last few hundred years that rules have developed and the process of spelling according to sound has been abandoned. Scottish names from before that time tend to appear under many different spelling variations. Oliver has been spelled Oliver, Olivier, Ollivier, Olliver and others.
Early Notables of the Oliver family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family at this time was John Oliuer, prepositus of Berwick, who witnessed a gift of land to the Hospital of Soltre, c. 1250-1266 William Holifarth or Holyfarth held land in Perth, c. 1330 Thomas Olyver de Swyne who witnessed a declaration dated.
Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Oliver Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Oliver family to Ireland
Some of the Oliver family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 90 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Oliver migration +
Some of the first settlers of this family name were:
Oliver Settlers in United States in the 16th Century
Oliver Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- Adam Oliver, who landed in Virginia in 1637 
- Nicholas Oliver, who settled in Virginia in 1638
- Edward Oliver, who arrived in Virginia in 1638 
- Geoffrey Oliver, who landed in Maryland in 1646 
- Mary Oliver, who settled in Virginia in 1651
- . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Oliver Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
- Brattle Oliver, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1712 
- Isaac Oliver, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 
Oliver Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- Benjamin Oliver, aged 29, who landed in New York in 1812 
- Esteban Oliver, who arrived in Puerto Rico in 1816 
- James Oliver, who landed in South Carolina in 1821 
- Elizabeth Oliver, who landed in New York in 1832 
- Diego Oliver, who arrived in Spanish Main in 1834 
- . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Oliver migration to Canada +
Some of the first settlers of this family name were:
Oliver Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
Oliver Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
- Richard Oliver, who settled in Nova Scotia in 1774
- Mr. Aaron Oliver U.E. who settled in Richmond [Greater Napanee], Ontario c. 1786 he served in the Indian Department 
- Mr. Frederick Oliver U.E. who settled in Richmond [Greater Napanee], Ontario c. 1786 he served in the Indian Department, married with 6 children 
- Thomas Oliver was a fisherman in Devil's Cove, Newfoundland in 1796 
Oliver Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
- John Oliver, aged 40, a farmer, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Baltic Merchant" in 1815
- Mary Oliver, aged 36, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Baltic Merchant" in 1815
- Rhoda Oliver, aged 17, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Baltic Merchant" in 1815
- William Oliver, aged 15, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Baltic Merchant" in 1815
- Stephen Oliver, aged 12, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Baltic Merchant" in 1815
- . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Oliver migration to Australia +
Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:
Oliver Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
- Mr. John Oliver, English tool maker who was convicted in Kent, England for life , transported aboard the "Commodore Hayes" in April 1823, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) 
- Mr. John Oliver, British convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the "Asia" on 19th November 1827, settling in New South Wales, Australia
- Mr. Philip Oliver, British convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Bussorah Merchant" on 1st October 1829, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) 
- Mr. Robert Oliver, (b. 1781), aged 51, Cornish carpenter who was convicted in Cornwall, England for 14 years for larceny, transported aboard the "Circassian" on 4th November 1832, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1839 
- Mr. Robert Oliver, Cornish settler convicted in Cornwall, UK on 24th March 1832, sentenced for 14 years, transported aboard the ship "Circassian" on 4th October 1832 to Van Diemen's Land, Tasmania, Australia
Oliver Settlers in Australia in the 20th Century
- Mr. Samuel Oliver, (b. 1889), aged 21, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Perthshire" arriving in Queensland, Australia on 26th December 1910 
Oliver migration to New Zealand +
Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:
Oliver Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- James Oliver, aged 13, a servant, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Lady Nugent" in 1841
- James Oliver, aged 38, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
- Margaret B. Oliver, aged 38, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
- George B. Oliver, aged 13, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
- Agnes B. Oliver, aged 11, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
Contemporary Notables of the name Oliver (post 1700) +
- William Hosking "W.H." Oliver (1925-2015), New Zealand historian and poet, awarded the Prime Minister's Awards for Literary Achievement, Non-Fiction in 2008
- James Trevor "Jamie" Oliver MBE (b. 1975), English television chef, restaurateur, and media personality, perhaps best known for his global campaign for better food education
- Ralph Addison Oliver (b. 1886), American Republican politician, District Judge in Iowa, 1931-32 Justice of Iowa State Supreme Court, 1938-62 Chief Justice of Iowa State Supreme Court, 1939, 1947 
- Mr. Richard Scott Oliver O.B.E., British recipient of the Officer of the Order of the British Empire on 29th December 2018 for services to the British community and British business in the United Arab Emirates 
- Michael Oliver (1945-2019), British academic, author, and disability rights activist
- Walter Reginald Brook Oliver (1883-1957), Australian-born, New Zealand naturalist, ornithologist, malacologist and museum curator
- Frank Louis Oliver (1922-2018), American politician, Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (1973-2010)
- Paul Hereford Oliver MBE (1927-2017), British architectural historian and writer
- Susan Oliver (1937-1990), born Charlotte Gercke, an American Primetime Emmy Award nominated actress, known for her work on Peyton Place (1964), BUtterfield 8 (1960) and The Disorderly Orderly (1964)
- Murray Clifford Oliver (1937-2014), Canadian NHL ice hockey centre, coach, and scout
- . (Another 141 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Historic Events for the Oliver family +
Air New Zealand Flight 901
- Mr. Mervyn John Oliver (1914-1979), New Zealander passenger, from Palmerston North, North Island, New Zealand aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus he died in the crash 
HMAS Sydney II
- Mr. Alan Henry Oliver (1923-1941), Australian Ordinary Seaman from Lindisfarne, Tasmania, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking 
HMS Prince of Wales
- Mr. Alfred Henry Oliver, British Leading Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking 
- Mr. H. Oliver (d. 1912), aged 32, English Greaser from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking 
- Mr. Raymond Brown Oliver, American Seaman First Class from California, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking 
Related Stories +
The Oliver Motto +
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Ad foedera cresco
Motto Translation: I gain by treaty
Book sheds light on North Slope history through family stories
When Beverly Patkotak Grinage sat down to write a book about her family, she went wherever the story took her. She pored through library books and old reports, sought out help from archivists and experts from Washington to the North Slope and put together all the stories her mother had told her that she'd meticulously collected on scraps of paper over time.
Her journey of exploration, study and memory culminated in her new book, "Starvation to Salvation: Paul Patkotak, Apostle of the North." The Sounder spoke with Grinage about her family, history and what it means to remember. This is a portion of that interview.
Q: Can you tell me about when you started writing this book and how the idea came to you?
A: "Oh, it's been something I've been interested in doing for a long time and then my mother passed away (and) a lot of these stories came from her. She would repeat the stories over and over. . It's almost three years since she passed, so I started working on it two years ago, about four or five hours every day, about six days a week.
First, I put what I had together, and then the stories, and also my grandpa's diary — his journal, — tapes, and so forth, and put that all together. I did an inventory after I was done, found the missing puzzle pieces and then started conducting a lot of research.
I went to the National Archives in Seattle. I worked with an archivist out of (the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections and Archives) at the Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. (From the) North Slope Borough Inupiat History, Language, Culture, I requested some of their traditional land use inventories. With Seattle Pacific University, I worked with their archivist there. Then, I interviewed family members and put my questions together.
I initially started out wanting to write about my great-grandparents and a family history from that angle, but what I found was there was very little there in terms of (what was) written and people's memories. I kind of shifted my attention to what was being presented to me and that was about my grandpa. So, I spent a year writing and researching and then the next year, 2019 in January, I started the editing process, the proofing process, the layout, restoring the old photos that we had, and then just verifying everything several times, as much as I could, like family stories, doing the family tree."
Q: A lot of people don't ever get the chance to go so deep into their family history. What was that like for you to be in your family's stories and their history and this research for a year?
A: "Oh my gosh. I grew so much. I became stronger just realizing what a struggle and what devastation they experienced and how strong I am and we are to be here today. I mean, I just couldn't believe it. For example, I thought a lot of the suffering and starvation and disease was contained pretty much in my immediate family.
I didn't realize how widespread the devastation for the Inupiaq people really was until I began my research. For example . just during the time period of my grandpa, (thousands) perished during that time, following the arrival of the commercial whaling ships. And then with my grandma, who was Inuvialuit from northern Canada, her people suffered even more greatly. (Where) she comes from, there were about 2,500 people in the early 1800s, that went down to about (200) people by 1905 from the epidemics that began around 1890. I didn't realize all that had happened, even though you hear bits and pieces from our family stories.
And then I was surprised at how quickly some of the specifics or details about our history have been lost or forgotten. Like the village where my grandfather was born or came from, Utuqqaq, was one of the major villages on the North Slope prior to 1900 and now we can't even pinpoint exactly where that village is located. I've worked with North Slope Borough GIS, IHLC, and we don't know where it is exactly.
And with so much of the Elders passing during his time, around his birth and teen years and childhood, they were just trying to survive in all that devastation. When 70% of your people die, a lot of that history goes too."
Q: When you think about him and the time he lived in, how do you think about that differently?
A: "It shows me just how much hope and the will to survive is so critical and how much the way the Inupiaq culture worked so hard to have family ties through namesakes and trading partners, even spousal exchange, adoptions. Those were really important mechanisms for our family to expand their family base so if something terrible happened in one area, they had other areas and family members they can go to. And that's kind of how he survived."
Q: Looking back, did you have any idea you'd eventually write a book?
A: "I had wanted to do this. I had wanted to do this. Way back in the 1980s, Uncle Steve who helped raise me, my grandfather's son, my mom's brother — there's a biography written about my grandpa already by a non-family member. When she came up to Barrow to interview him, he had said, 'No, I'm not speaking to you because my niece Beverly is going to write that book'. And then my cousin, who's like my sister, my uncle's daughter, she also would send me — wherever I was — documents, like the 1978 Elders' Conference. She sent me a book back in the early 1990s and then she sent it to me again about three years ago just in case I forgot to write our family history."
Q: How does it feel to be on the other side of the project, now that you've written the book?
A: "I still can't believe it actually happened. It was not easy. It really wasn't. There were days when I would become really discouraged, but I would take a couple days off and do something else to distract myself and then I'd get right back into it. I just felt something gave me a really strong sense of urgency to get as much written as possible."
Q: It can be hard to trace histories, especially in families that have been broken apart or who have gone through boarding school and experiences like that. What advice would you give to someone who wants to find their own family history and isn't sure how to do it?
A: "Well, I would start by talking with family members, elderly family members, and talking to them, doing some initial research, buying some books or borrowing some books from the library or reports about the timeframe, the area, the village, the camps, and seeing what you can find from there. You know, the census reports, although they were really difficult to follow sometimes and find family members — because we don't have our written history — we didn't have a written language — but those really helped, too. Just sifting through all that is a good start.
And then, just start pulling as much as you can from wherever you can and then just start finding what you're missing and where it leads you. And it's OK to shift directions. I sure did. This was going to be about my great-grandparents and their story and their children and their great-grandchildren, and so forth. But, like I said, I had to shift gears and go where the information was presenting itself and where it was leading me."
Q: Coming from a tradition of oral storytelling and passing these stories on from family member to family member, why do you think it's important to be writing these stories down now?
A: "In our schools, a lot of it is about reading and writing and social media, the internet. We need to have those. We have libraries. We need to really document that history before it's lost forever. And we need to keep re-telling our stories.
You know, I would tell my mom in my mind, oh my gosh, she's told me that like 500 times, and then I got to the point where I just started writing them down each time she told me, on a shopping receipt or on the back of an old envelope. Wherever I was, we'd stop somewhere, and I'd just start writing and putting them in a folder.
When I finished it and started reading the book, oh my gosh, I could feel her re-telling that story. I felt such a connection to her — not only her but my other family members whom I've never met before because they passed away long before, but I felt such a sense of closeness to them and to my mom. I could hear the way she would tell that and re-tell a certain story, like how she would put emotion in this part and that part and oh my goodness, it was wonderful. It's wonderful."
Q: Is there anything you'd like someone reading your book to keep in mind or think about?
A: "How strong of a people we come from. How rich our history really is. When you're doing research, especially historical books and documents from the 1930s, 1940s and even before, there's a lot written about the Arctic and Inupiaq people. But in those books, as well-meaning as the writers were or the researcher, the anthropologist, as well-meaning as those writers were, we were still the subject to them. And there are areas where we're called uncivilized, where we were blamed for contracting certain diseases and dying. You have to sift through that. And that's why it's even more important that we write it, about ourselves from our perspective, without those being less equal approaches.
And the other is that I would listen to interviews of our Elders, like Sadie Neakok's interviews because she talks about her first school teacher that she had in Barrow. She was one of the first Inupiaq schoolteachers up there, Flossie Connery, so I wanted to listen to Sadie's tape-recorded interview with University of Alaska Fairbanks Project Jukebox and others like Ben Nungasak. He was my uncle. They interviewed him on the Meade River area and hunting patterns and so forth.
What really struck me was they'd be interviewed, they'd answer their questions, but there were treasure gems that they'd hint at or include in their answer but unless you're Inupiaq, you don't catch how significant what they just said or alluded to is. You know what I mean? You could have followed up and really gone somewhere exploring what they just introduced. And those are lost unless you know what's really significant and really what makes us tick as Inupiaq people. Unless you're Inupiaq and lived it, you really don't know what makes us tick and I tried to put myself in the shoes of someone who knows nothing about us and tried to really introduce who we are, as well, and where we came from and what's important to us."
Q: Is there anything else you'd like to mention that I didn't ask you about?
A: "The book also talks about — it's really the history of the United States, the history of Alaska, World War II and how the Inupiaq, despite not being part of a state — it was just a territory then — volunteered so willingly to defend the United States. Also, some things I discussed in the book from my grandpa's life story and what I found in doing the research is how the Inupiaq people handled resources and resource management in the past and how and why the Inupiat may have converted so quickly and thoroughly to Christianity, leaving their age-old religion. And those are some of the things I talk about in the book, too, in my grandfather's story."
You can find out more about Grinage's book and purchase copies on her website, starvationtosalvation.com.
Shady Grove Oliver can be reached at [email protected]
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Hart-Parr - The Hart-Parr Company was originally formed as the Hart-Parr Engine Works in Madison, Wisconsin by Charles Hart and Charles Parr. In 1900, the decision was made to relocate in Charles City, Iowa. Over the winter of 1901-1902, they produced their first gas traction engine. Hart and Parr were credited for being the first successful mass production gas traction engine company. They are also credited with introducing the word "Tractor" to the English language. By 1907, the Hart-Parr Company was well established in the tractor manufacturing business and had six major branch houses, as well as an evergrowing factory in Charles City. World War I was not a profitable time for Hart-Parr, since they lost a lot of money retooling for the manufacture of munitions. Existing problems caused Charles Hart to leave the company in 1917. Charles Parr remained with the company until his death in 1941. The Hart-Parr Company merged with the Oliver Chilled Plow Works in 1929 to form the Oliver Farm Equipment Company.
Oliver Chilled Plow Works - In 1855, James Oliver of Mishiwaka, Indiana bought 1/4 interest in a small foundry outside of South Bend. In 1857, he received his first patent for his chilled plow. This chilled plow had a very hard outer skin and was able to scour in heavy, sticky soils with greater wearability. Word of its success spread world-wide, resulting in an enormous amount of plows being manufactured and sold. Oliver soon became known as the "Plowmaker for the World." In the 1920's, Oliver began experimenting with a tractor of their own. The result was the "Oliver Chilled Plow Tractor." Only one example of this tractor is known to exist today. Shortly after their tractor venture, Oliver merged with Hart-Parr, who already was set up in the tractor business. A new line of tractors was produced using ideas from the Chilled Plow tractor and Hart-Parr's past experience.
Oliver Farm Equipment Company - This Company was formed in 1929 after the merger of Hart-Parr Tractor Works, Nichols & Shepard, Oliver Chilled Plow Works, and the American Seeding Company. Corporate offices were set up in Chicago, Illinois while the plants remained at their existing locations. The company could now supply the farmer with a tractor, tillage tools, planting tools, and harvesting machines. The Oliver Farm Equipment Company became the Oliver Corporation in 1944.
Cletrac - Cleveland, Ohio continued to produce a full line of crawlers with world-wide exports. Their horsepower range varied from 9 Hp up to their hefty 100 Hp model. In 1944, Cletrac was acquired by the Oliver Corporation. Crawler production continued until 1962 when White Motor Corporation purchased Oliver. At that time the crawler production was relocated to Charles City, Iowa. It remained there until production was discontinued in 1965. Between 1916 and 1944, there were approximately 75 different crawler models.
White Motor Corporation - In 1960, White Motors acquired the Oliver Corporation as a wholly-owned subsidiary. In 1962, they acquired Cockshutt of Canada, and in 1963 ,they also acquired Minneapolis-Moline. In 1969, White Motor Corporation combined its Oliver and Minneapolis-Moline subsidiaries to become the White Farm Equipment Company with headquarters at Oak Brook, Illinois. White Motor Corp. acted as the parent company of the White Farm Equipment Company and continued to exist until the farm equipment division was sold to TIC in 1980, and the truck division was sold to Volvo in 1981. The last Oliver green tractor to roll off the assembly line bearing the Oliver name was in 1976 with the 2255 designation.
Oliver Kelley organizes the Grange
Former Minnesota farmer Oliver Hudson Kelley founds the Grange, which became a powerful political force among western farmers.
Though he grew up in Boston, Kelley decided in his early twenties that he wanted to become a farmer. In 1849, he booked passage on a steamboat for St. Paul, Minnesota. Though the Minnesota area was dominated more by the Indian trade than farming, Kelley shrewdly saw that the future of the region lay in agriculture, and he proved to be a skilled and progressive farmer. Kelley gained local fame for boldly experimenting with new crops, installing an elaborate irrigation system, and buying one of the first mechanical reapers in the state. His attempts at scientific farming and a series of columns he wrote for national newspapers brought him national recognition—in 1864, he won a prestigious clerking position under the federal commissioner of agriculture in Washington, D.C.
While on a tour of southern farms in 1866, Kelley was struck by the warm reception he received from his fellow Masons in the South, despite the otherwise pervasive dislike of northerners left over from the Civil War. Determined to develop a national organization to unify farmers, he returned to Washington and gathered a group of like-minded friends. In 1867, these men became the founders of the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry, better known as the Grange.
Although the Grange, like the Masons, began primarily as a social organization designed to provide educational and recreational opportunities for farmers, it evolved into a major political force. Farmers who gathered at local Grange Halls often voiced similar complaints about the high rates charged by warehouses and railroads to handle their grain, and they began to organize for state and federal controls over these pivotal economic issues. The Grange smartly recognized the importance of including women, who often proved to be the organization’s most dedicated members.