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Gordon Smith

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Gordon Smith

Post by Richard Gilbride on Sun 30 Dec 2012, 11:40 am

In "The Girl on the Stairs" (2010) author Barry Ernest describes his three-decade search for Victoria Adams, the Scott-Foresman office girl who ran from the 4th floor down the rear stairwell shortly after the shots were fired. Adams, accompanied by Sandra Styles, maintained that she'd reached the 1st floor "no more than a minute at the most" afterwards (VI p. 392). Contrary to what was described in her Warren Commission testimony, Adams told Ernest that she hadn't encountered Bill Shelley & Billy Lovelady once she'd rushed downstairs. Rather,

"I remember saying to a fairly big black man inside the building right near the loading dock right after I got down the stairs that I thought the President may have been shot. I don't know what his name is. I do know that he worked for the Depository and I think he was a warehouse worker."

Adams acknowledged that she did not know S & L very well, "except to see them around." Ernest next contacted Styles, who indicated that she did know S & L well, and she definitely hadn't seen them once she got downstairs. "A few people were milling around on the 1st floor," Styles explained. "One of them was a black man."

Ernest contacted Marrion Baker, who'd rushed inside the building with Roy Truly. Baker's testimony had credited him with having encountered two white men near the freight elevators. But Baker recalled that the only person in that area was an "older, large black man sitting toward the back stairs, near the elevators there." He'd questioned Truly about him, and was told he was an employee who was "slightly retarded"

Truly was never officially asked, nor did he ever volunteer, anything about who was in the vicinity of the freight elevators. Truly had also characterized another employee, Jack Dougherty, as "mentally retarded[i]", which led the Secret Service- two weeks after the assassination- to cut off their questioning of Dougherty (WCD 87 p. 7). Dougherty, of course, brought the west freight elevator down while Truly & Baker were on their way up the rear stairs.

Who was this older, fairly large black man? I am strongly convinced it was Gordon Smith, whose name appears on the payroll list of warehouse employees (XXIII p. 751).
http://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk/wc/wcvols/wh23/html/WH_Vol23_0392a.htm

The whereabouts of every other employee, at 12:30/31, are reasonably accounted for (see note at the end about Truett Don Felts, Roy Lewis & Carl Jones).

Smith, like everyone else who showed up for work on November 22, was credited with a full day. Yet he was not recorded on Lt. Jack Revill's list of building employees (XXIV p. 259) compiled by mid-afternoon. Smith had to have left the buildingbefore it was sealed by police.

And Truly's informal "roll call", during which he supposedly realized that Oswald was missing, becomes all-the-more suspect. Because it wasn;t just Charles Givens who was also unaccounted for. This large black man- Smith- was also missing, and Truly had just seen him up-close only minutes beforehand.

Truly alluded to this in his testimony, when he stated "I had another one or two out then". But he flat-out committed perjury when he said that Oswald was "the only one that I could be certain right then was missing" (III p. 230).

I would suggest that Gordon Smith was integral to the elevator escape of the snipers. How convenient that two "retarded" employees should man the entry & egress points for the surreptitious descent of the west freight elevator. And the most likely place that Smith & company exited the building was through the West Annex with its carport door, only 50 feet straight ahead- across an area omitted from the official 1st-floor diagram.

There may be a photo of Smith. Have a look at page 2 of Martin Hinrichs' topic Photographs from inside the TSBD, found on page 3 of the Film Evidence Discussion & Debate at
http://www.jfkassassinationforum.com/index.php/topic,7025.12.html

Scroll down about halfway to Photo 4 of the 1st floor, #91-001/194. This is an FBI photo from mid-December 1963. There's a fairly large black man carrying a clipboard in front of an open door towards the rear of the 1st floor. Possibly this is James Jarman, possibly this is Carl Jones, but I see nothing definitive that would enable a positive ID. It might be Gordon Smith.

********************************************************************************

http://www.jfkassassinationgallery.com/displayimage.php?album=5&pos=21

In Willis #8 there are two black men standing together on the TSBD front steps. The man on the left is Roy Lewis; he told the FBI (XXII p. 661) he was "inside the front entrance... by myself" when the motorcade passed. In Altgens 6 and the Weigman film he stands immediately left and a few steps down from Lovelady.

I'm near-certain the man on the right is Carl Jones, who recounted (XXII p. 657) he'd been "sitting on the front steps" when the limousine passed. It makes sense that Lewis & Jones would buddy up, since they'd only started working for the Depository 4 months & 2 1/2 months beforehand.

Truett Don Felts had been fired from his warehouse job on November 15. He was only 20 and went to live with his parents at 4308 Western St. in Dallas. He eventually moved to the southern suburb of Lancaster and died in 2008 at age 65. He's not listed on the Sixth Floor Museum's interviews and I'm unaware of any further information about him.

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Re: Gordon Smith

Post by Richard Gilbride on Sun 30 Dec 2012, 11:44 am

I forgot to mention that Gordon Smith is not included among the workers at the old Houston St. warehouse (WCD 87 p. 4). He's not listed in any Secret Service, FBI or DPD interviews- and not mentioned by any other employees. He simply got erased from the investigation- apparently protected by Truly.

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Re: Gordon Smith

Post by greg parker on Sun 30 Dec 2012, 3:33 pm

Richard Gilbride wrote:I forgot to mention that Gordon Smith is not included among the workers at the old Houston St. warehouse (WCD 87 p. 4). He's not listed in any Secret Service, FBI or DPD interviews- and not mentioned by any other employees. He simply got erased from the investigation- apparently protected by Truly.

It's hard not agree that there are a few red flags here.

Not that I think this overturns any suspicion, but I would say that he did work at the Houston St warehouse.

I base this on the TSBD paperwork you pointed to. Note that the only names without a tick are:

Shelley
Aiken
Shields
Wester
Smith
Felts

Of those, Shelley is probably not ticked cos he's a Supervisor (or whatever other reason there may have been), while Felts had been laid off. Of the others, Aiken, Shields and Wester all worked at the other warehouse. That's probably a strong indicator that Smith did too.

It doesn't explain why no mention of him anywhere and that point alone makes him of great interest. I'd like to have a description on him and also exactly what his movements were that day... finding any of that does look like a forlorn hope - though I thought the same about ever getting a photo of Eddie Piper, too sunny



Last edited by greg parker on Fri 04 Jan 2013, 12:43 pm; edited 1 time in total

_________________
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Re: Gordon Smith

Post by Richard Gilbride on Mon 31 Dec 2012, 3:20 am

You may be correct, Greg, that the absence of checkmarks on XXIII p. 751 is indicative of employees who worked at the Houston St. warehouse- in that case the absence of Gordon Smith in the Secret Service tally at WCD 87 p. 4 could ostensibly be attributed to Truly's oversight, since he provided the SS with the Houston St. names.

An alternative explanation for the checkmarks is that they reflect people who were accounted for during the "roll call" and next couple of hours. These payroll records were kept at Hadden Aiken's office (XXIII p. 692) and I would imagine arrived at the Depository sometime later that afternoon, whence the names were ticked off. Givens was checked off- and we've learned from Shields' HSCA interview (pp. 17-18) that Givens normally worked at the Houston St. warehouse- apparently because he was accounted for by, say, 2:30.

The burning question is who was an "older, fairly large black man" AND at the freight elevators at 12:30/31? Only through eliminating everyone else on the payroll roster do I arrive at Gordon Smith.

The description emphasizes weight moreso than height. Piper & West are tall enough (about 5-10) but pretty skinny guys (140 & 155 lbs). Franklin Wester is 22 and white. Frankie Kaiser, 24, was at the Baylor Dental Clinic (I've always assumed he was white, but am not 100% sure). Carl Jones was 33, but assuming that's him beside Roy Lewis in Willis #8, couldn't be characterized as older or fairly large.

All that's left is Gordon Smith. And if I had to choose, would guess that he normally worked at the Depository, based on Adams' casual recognition of him.

Not that that matters nor helps fine-tune any search for data about him. I did look at Mary Ferrell about a year ago on a couple occasions but without luck- and would be amazed if he turned up there.

Possibly he'd turn up in a 60's Dallas phone directory. Or, someone with near-infinite patience may find him via birth/genealogy records. After all, there are only so many Smiths.

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Re: Gordon Smith

Post by Richard Gilbride on Mon 31 Dec 2012, 5:26 am

Your tick-mark explanation is correct, Greg. In WCD 5 p. 375, an 11/23/63 report filed by SA James S. Weir, it says,

"On November 27, 1963, GORDON WAYNE SMITH, warehouse employee, Texas School Book Depository, advised he did not know LEE HARVEY OSWALD had never to his recollection seen him before and states he is employed at the warehouse at 1917 Houston Street and could offer no information as to any activities which took place in the vicinity of the Texas School Book Depository, 411 Elm Street, on November 22, 1963."

Puzzled as to why a November 27 interview would be tacked on to a November 23 report, but good find out a middle name.

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Re: Gordon Smith

Post by greg parker on Mon 31 Dec 2012, 4:20 pm

Richard, good find. I didn't have any luck, and I didn't really relish looking through every page with a "Smith".

Seems Smith was MIA until Nov 27 - and then again in March '64 when the FBI was tasked with interviewing every employee with a set series of questions - see CE 1381. Aiken, Shields, Wester are all there - Smith isn't. Maybe he was just no longer working there by then - but that's hardly an excuse for not interviewing him.

I also find it a little bit odd that no one but no one ever seemed to mention his name - not in DPD statements, not in FBI interviews, not in WC testimony - nowhere. Exactly how many employees of the TSBD could you say that about? If you can find someone else it applies to, I'll withdraw the "odd" charge.



Last edited by greg parker on Fri 04 Jan 2013, 12:44 pm; edited 1 time in total

_________________
Mixing Pop and Politics he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
While looking down the corridor
Out to where the van is waiting
I'm looking for the Great Leap Forward

            Billy Bragg
-----------------------------
 Australians don't mind criminals: It's successful bullshit artists we despise. 
             Lachie Hulme            
-----------------------------
The Cold War ran on bullshit.
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Re: Gordon Smith

Post by Richard Gilbride on Mon 31 Dec 2012, 11:42 pm

The puzzle here is that if the "older, fairly large black man" is NOT Gordon Smith, then some other Depository employee was not being truthful about their whereabouts. I only come up with Eddie Shields, 41, and Charles Givens, 38, as viable alternatives. Victoria Adams was 5'3" and I'm not sure about Marrion Baker but put him in the 5-8/5-9 range; so I'm less confident that someone such as Troy West, 56, 5'-9 1/2" would strike them as "large".
I went through the entirety of a "Gordon Smith" search at Mary Ferrell and am satisfied there's nothing further than that brief FBI tack-on to an 11/23 report. (Another "Gordon Smith" turns up in an ELectronic SURveillance of a Detroit mobster in HSCA FBI files- am sure this is a different fellow).
More to follow in a few days, as I have a lead to pursue once the holidays quiet down.

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Re: Gordon Smith

Post by Larry Rivera on Tue 08 Jan 2013, 6:22 am

Amazing what they did with Vicky Adams. She was no doubt selected for testimony alteration because of her background. Single, young, orphan, had grown up in foster care, etc. Why was a "Mrs Robert Reid" (never found out her real name) timed with a stop watch by Belin, (presumably to establish her "encounter" with LHO on the second floor with no witnesses) but the really important witnesses Adams and Styles were not? Styles was not even called to testify. It is truly amazing that Barry persevered and was able to put Vicky "on the record" with the truth.

Not all of TSBD employees were accounted for. What do we know about one John Hawkins? Go ahead, run a search, I don't think you will find anything.


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Re: Gordon Smith

Post by greg parker on Tue 08 Jan 2013, 10:54 am

Larry Rivera wrote:Amazing what they did with Vicky Adams. She was no doubt selected for testimony alteration because of her background. Single, young, orphan, had grown up in foster care, etc. Why was a "Mrs Robert Reid" (never found out her real name) timed with a stop watch by Belin, (presumably to establish her "encounter" with LHO on the second floor with no witnesses) but the really important witnesses Adams and Styles were not? Styles was not even called to testify. It is truly amazing that Barry persevered and was able to put Vicky "on the record" with the truth.

Not all of TSBD employees were accounted for. What do we know about one John Hawkins? Go ahead, run a search, I don't think you will find anything.


Hello Larry,

Hawkins worked for the Allyn-Bacon Company on the 3rd floor. His wife Peggy and son, John Jr, were outside the building along with several female employers of Allyn-Bacon (Williams, Dickerson and Hendrix). Mrs Hawkins' name appears on Revill's list of employees because she was with the group from Allyn-Bacon. She believed the shots came from the rail yards.

John Hawkins was an agent for the company. This, to me, implies a lot of travelling around. I assume his name is absent from most records for that reason - he simply wasn't there on the day. He is singularly unimportant in the scheme of things.

_________________
Mixing Pop and Politics he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
While looking down the corridor
Out to where the van is waiting
I'm looking for the Great Leap Forward

            Billy Bragg
-----------------------------
 Australians don't mind criminals: It's successful bullshit artists we despise. 
             Lachie Hulme            
-----------------------------
The Cold War ran on bullshit.
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Re: Gordon Smith

Post by Richard Gilbride on Fri 11 Jan 2013, 10:48 am

Tentative information that Gordon Wesley Smith was 24 or 25 years old in 1963. Will hopefully chat with him in a few weeks. Don't even know if he's black or white.

Would have to go with Troy West as the black man by the elevators. His Afro made him seem larger. Am reviewing pp. 22-25 of Piper of Potemkin Village essay for further clues. Also look at Martin Hinrich's "Photos inside the TSBD" in film debate section at jfkassassinationforum.

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Re: Gordon Smith

Post by Richard Gilbride on Sat 12 Jan 2013, 10:30 am

Troy West is making more and more sense to me as the older, fairly large black man encountered by T & B and A & S near the elevators. If you had only Styles' information that a few people were milling around, one of them was a black man-- it would follow naturally that the black man was Mr. Coffee Maker & Mr. Wrapping Table Troy West. Adams' "fairly large" description is attributable to her being 5'3", and Baker's "older, large" perhaps an effect of memory.

Anyways, West told the Secret Service in early December that he was at his wrapping table when he heard shots fired. And Baker said in 2004 that the older, large black was sitting near the back stairs near the elevators there; which says the same thing as that Troy West was sitting at his coffee station when Truly & Baker reached the freight elevators.

Adams saw him near the loading dock; and this slightly conflicts with West's March FBI statement that he began walking toward the front when people rushed into the warehouse.

This behavior- of walking beside the freight elevators to look out the loading dock- doesn't speak favorably for West's innocence (nor Truly's, since he never volunteered that West was encountered by the elevators) and seems to put West up a notch in the plot-- from strategically-placed non-witness to certified elevator-watcher.

Was West so "spellbound" when watching that first few post-assassination minutes unfold in the warehouse? It seems like he would have missed Dougherty carrying out Lady Godiva...

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Re: Gordon Smith

Post by greg parker on Sat 12 Jan 2013, 11:57 am

Richard Gilbride wrote:Tentative information that Gordon Wesley Smith was 24 or 25 years old in 1963. Will hopefully chat with him in a few weeks. Don't even know if he's black or white.

Would have to go with Troy West as the black man by the elevators. His Afro made him seem larger. Am reviewing pp. 22-25 of Piper of Potemkin Village essay for further clues. Also look at Martin Hinrich's "Photos inside the TSBD" in film debate section at jfkassassinationforum.

Richard,

Well done on finding Mr Smith.


_________________
Mixing Pop and Politics he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
While looking down the corridor
Out to where the van is waiting
I'm looking for the Great Leap Forward

            Billy Bragg
-----------------------------
 Australians don't mind criminals: It's successful bullshit artists we despise. 
             Lachie Hulme            
-----------------------------
The Cold War ran on bullshit.
              Me

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Re: Gordon Smith

Post by greg parker on Sat 12 Jan 2013, 12:21 pm

Richard Gilbride wrote:Troy West is making more and more sense to me as the older, fairly large black man encountered by T & B and A & S near the elevators. If you had only Styles' information that a few people were milling around, one of them was a black man-- it would follow naturally that the black man was Mr. Coffee Maker & Mr. Wrapping Table Troy West. Adams' "fairly large" description is attributable to her being 5'3", and Baker's "older, large" perhaps an effect of memory.

Anyways, West told the Secret Service in early December that he was at his wrapping table when he heard shots fired. And Baker said in 2004 that the older, large black was sitting near the back stairs near the elevators there; which says the same thing as that Troy West was sitting at his coffee station when Truly & Baker reached the freight elevators.

Adams saw him near the loading dock; and this slightly conflicts with West's March FBI statement that he began walking toward the front when people rushed into the warehouse.

This behavior- of walking beside the freight elevators to look out the loading dock- doesn't speak favorably for West's innocence (nor Truly's, since he never volunteered that West was encountered by the elevators) and seems to put West up a notch in the plot-- from strategically-placed non-witness to certified elevator-watcher.

Was West so "spellbound" when watching that first few post-assassination minutes unfold in the warehouse? It seems like he would have missed Dougherty carrying out Lady Godiva...

I'd have to agree that West seems the only viable candidate for the person seen.



Last edited by greg parker on Fri 25 Jan 2013, 12:16 pm; edited 1 time in total

_________________
Mixing Pop and Politics he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
While looking down the corridor
Out to where the van is waiting
I'm looking for the Great Leap Forward

            Billy Bragg
-----------------------------
 Australians don't mind criminals: It's successful bullshit artists we despise. 
             Lachie Hulme            
-----------------------------
The Cold War ran on bullshit.
              Me

greg parker
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