Showing posts with label National City Bank. Show all posts
Showing posts with label National City Bank. Show all posts

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Fortune Was His Middle Name

Thomas Fortune Ryan

We know that William C. Whitney (paternal grandfather of John Hay "Jock" Whitney) was ready for retirement by 1900, and that Thomas Fortune Ryan, his "pump and dump" associate on Wall Street, was then still on the move, having purchased the Equitable Life Assurance Society in 1905. The New York Times on May 19, 1907 said of Ryan, quoting:
"the closest financial friend that Ryan ever had,... the late William C. Whitney:
 'He is the most adroit, suave, and noiseless man that American finance has ever known.' "

America's richest man, it was speculated, would also soon be ready for retirement. Who would succeed him? Without answering that question, the Times moved on, reciting for posterity Ryan's vast wealth of properties:
120 Broadway, Equitable Bldg.
  • The Equitable Life Assurance Society, with $434,000,000 of assets;
  • the Washington Life Insurance Company, with about $20,000,000 of assets;
  • the National Bank of Commerce, with $35,000,000 capital and surplus and nearly $200,000,000 of deposits;
  • the Morton Trust Company, with $6,500,000 capital and $880,000,000 of deposits;
  • the Mercantile Trust Company, with $8,000,000 capital and surplus and $70,000,000 of deposits;
  • the Equitable Trust Company, with $12,000,000 capital and surplus and $50,000,000 of deposits;
  • the American Tobacco Company, with $300,000,000 capital and bonded indebtedness and annual net earnings of $25,000,000 or more;
  • the Interborough-Metropolitan Street Railroad system, with $225,000,000 capital stock and bonded debt issued and authorized;
  • the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, with $125,000,000 capitalization.
Continuing in this line, the article succinctly summarized how the syndicates with which Ryan had been associated up until 1907 had operated:

How a syndicate really works?

In street railroad affairs it was first, William C. Whitney, then the Whitney-Widener-Elkins syndicate, then more recently August Belmont through the merger of Mr. Ryan's Metropolitan with Mr. Belmont's Interborough. In the Consolidated Gas Company the Standard Oil group of capitalists are more widely interested than any other. In the Southern Railroad Reorganization it was Morgan and Co.; in the Seaboard Airline, Blair & Co. with Morgan "willin'." In the Bank of Commerce the "life insurance interests," as they were known in the old days, were the co-participators, while the American Tobacco Company, as it is called to-day, represents a wide variety of financial affiliation. Only in the purchase of the Equitable did Thomas Ryan go it alone, as Mr. Harriman has had occasion to remark on several notable occasions.
The Vision Thing

In the midst of all his ability to work compatibly with certain of his competitors, Ryan was said to have suffered one memorable defeat, which he eventually turned into an advantage.  Throughout the twenty years or so of activity in building and reorganizing his various businesses, Ryan had the advice primarily of William C. Whitney, Elihu Root, and attorney Paul D. Cravath.

Electric street railways
These men had bet their future wealth on the advancement of a public-sponsored system of electric street railways without having a vision of individually owned petroleum-powered automobiles. Thus their short-sighted vision for the future is now notable only as fanciful history, which disappeared in the great stock market crash of 1929.

Leading up to that crash was a series of run-ins between Ryan, whose Irish Catholic roots in Virginia were at odds with a fellow Virginia capitalist named J.S. Williams. Back in the 1890s, Ryan had been challenged for control of the Seaboard Air Line Railway by this rival, about whom we have already written:
John Skelton Williams
John Skelton Williams of Richmond, who, with J. William Middendorf, organized a new syndicate and offered $200 a share. The Williams party planned a connection with the Baltimore and Ohio. The courts of Baltimore refused Mr. Ryan an injunction to prevent the transfer of the stock of the Williams crowd, and he appeared to have suffered defeat. Thomas F. Ryan never forgot that defeat. He had to wait—wait until the slow panic of 1903 brought the Williams group of financiers into difficulties. Then, through the banking house of Blair & Co. [operated by C. Ledyard Blair], he helped finance the needs of the Seaboard system with the inevitable result. Ryan got the Seaboard....

The question arises naturally, enough, who have been the advisers of Thomas F. Ryan during these twenty years of his participation in the larger financial doings of this town? Two of them, Elihu Root and William C. Whitney, have been already disclosed. Whitney was the close business and personal associate whose stake went in with Mr. Ryan's stake and whose profits came out with those of Mr. Ryan.
When we follow the money, rather than the men themselves, all roads lead to Brown Brothers, the American bank which spread its daughters out like Rothschild's arrows. It's a complicated story, which we'll attempt to clarify over a series of steps.

Start with these links:
  • T.F. Ryan lost control of the Seaboard Airline Railroad in 1893 to John Langbourne Williams' son, John Skelton Williams, who was working to connect it to the railroad controlled by Baltimore's premier banking family, Alexander Brown and his son, George Brown.
  • In 1903 Ryan worked through C. Ledyard Blair, head of a bank at 24 Broad Street in New York to regain control of the Seaboard Airline.
  • During the Panic of 1907, Morgan, with the help of James Stillman of the National City Bank (now Citigroup), and a few other bankers, pooled enough money together to allow Morgan-financed U.S. Steel to purchase the shares of the "too big to fail" Moore and Schley brokerage company in a competitor steel company, with last-minute approval of President Theodore Roosevelt.
  • C. Ledyard Blair, Ryan's banker in 1903, supported Republican William Howard Taft (Yale, Skull and Bones, 1878) for President in 1908 and again in 1912, when Democrat Woodrow Wilson won.
  • Wilson selected T.F. Ryan's nemesis, John Skelton Williams, to be Comptroller of the Currency in the very year, 1913, the new Federal Reserve Act went into effect and the same year J.P. Morgan died. James Stillman had retired from City Bank in 1908, and E.H. Harriman died in 1909. There was a vacuum at the top of the big banks during this time, waiting for someone to fill.

Who would fill this gap after the big names either retired or died? A group of banking scions were chomping at the bit to make their names known.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Marriage--the Ultimate Business Merger

Stillmans remain close to collateral kin.
James J. Stillman did see to it that his children married "well." Daughter Elsie married William Goodsell Rockefeller in 1895; Isabel married his brother, Percy Avery Rockefeller, in 1901; and James Alexander Stillman later in 1901 married Anne Urquhart Potter, an actress.

The Stillman daughters lived in Greenwich, CT with their Rockefeller husbands (both Yale educated and members of Skull and Bones), and they maintained close ties with their Stillman relatives, who worked at the bank which is now known as Citigroup. Charles Stillman, Jr., their bachelor uncle, had graduated from Yale in 1882 and worked in cotton brokerage like the Swensons.

The next generation witnessed the marriage of Elizabeth Goodrich Stillman, the daughter of Elsie's cousin, Chauncey Stillman, to Langbourne Meade Williams, a son of John L. Williams, one of Eric Swenson's investors in his Freeport Sulphur Co., as shown in the following news clipping:

  The John L. Williams & Sons, Banking Family

The Stillman family's shares in Freeport Sulphur were originally acquired in 1912 by James J. Stillman, when the mineral company was founded by a third-generation Texas banker:
Eric P. Swenson, vice- president of National City Bank in New York and a native Texan who retained strong financial ties throughout Texas, showed interest and visited the find in 1911. When Swenson saw the site, he realized that he could also develop a duty-free port nearby. Upon returning to New York, he formed the Vanderlip-Swenson-Tilghman Syndicate. He pooled capital of $700,000 to finance the project and purchased Bryanmound and the surrounding area.
It was said of Eric P. Swenson's Fidelity Bank when it opened in March 1900 in the upper East side of New York City, that:
while it will be a separate institution, it will practically be an up-town branch of the City National Bank....One of the Directors of the new bank said last night: "The institution is designed to accommodate the people up town, and will be more especially a 'householders' bank'. It will probably have close business relations with the National City Bank."

Langbourne Williams, Sr.'s brother, John Skelton Williams, was a Virginian like President Woodrow Wilson, who appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Treasury on March 24, 1913. While awaiting approval of his appointment as Comptroller of the Currency, he was thus placed in charge of the fiscal bureaus of the Treasury Department and would have such control until Warren Harding's inauguration in 1921--the first eight years of the Fed's operation. The Southerner's background was given in an introduction to him by the Washington Post, published May 25, 1913:
 The new Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. John Skelton Williams, has the enviable distinction of tracing his line of descent on the paternal side of his family direct from our first First Lady [Martha Washington], and from his maternal ancestors there flows in his veins the bluest blood of the F.F.V.'s [First Families of Virginia].

Mr. Williams' grandmother, Sianna Dandridge, was the daughter of William Dandridge, of New Kent, whose father, John Bartholomew Dandridge, was the brother of Martha Washington. Sianna Dandridge's mother was Susannah Armistead, the only daughter of Maj. William Armistead, of New Kent, who was a direct descendant of William Armistead, the emigrant, who landed on the shores of Virginia In 1636. 

Nor is Mr. Williams' mother's line any less distinguished. She comes from the Skeltons and the Randolphs—families who have made Virginia's history famous since Colonial days. She is the great-granddaughter of the Edmund Randolph who was the first Secretary of State under President Washington, and who was the first Attorney General of the young republic.
Secretary Williams' parents, John Langbourne and Marie Ward Skelton Williams, were living at their country home, in Powhatan county, Va., when their son, John Skelton, was born, July 6, 1866. His early boyhood days were spent there and at the Virginia capital, and in the private schools of Richmond young Williams received his rudimentary education. Later he attended the University of Virginia [later the alma mater of Mississippi-born Frank Wisner], and in 1886 he took a short term at law at that institution, not with the idea, however, of practicing, but in order to better fit himself for his business career. He entered his father's banking house as an apprentice, and learned the business from the first round of the ladder up. He had remarkable aptitude for business, as was shown when at the age of 18 he began the publication of a pamphlet entitled "A Manual of Investments," a publication commanding such a wide circulation that he continued publishing it for a number of years—in fact, until he became too busy with other things to do so. 

... It was he who first thought out, and then brought to consummation, the short line from New York to Florida—that which is now known as the Seaboard Air Line Railway system. In 1900 he was elected the first president of the system—a most unusual honor to come to a man in his thirty-fourth year. Since then Mr. Willlams has been more and more identified with the business interests of the South. He became a director in numerous trust companies, banks, railroad and other corporations, and is now a recognized leading financier, not only of the South, but in many of the business centers of the country.

Taking Charge of the New Fed

A mere seven months after this introduction Williams was being viciously attacked in the press, and soon thereafter was being investigated by Congress. Claims were made by a Republican who had been involved politically with Theodore Roosevelt, named Milton E. Ailes, that Williams had "resorted to extraordinary methods to obtain information with which to attack the National City Bank of New York" as well as the Riggs National Bank in Washington, D.C.

blue blooded Virginian
George Peabody's partner in Baltimore, Elisha Riggs, had founded the Riggs bank. This blog has previously detailed George Peabody's rise from the elite enclave of China traders in Essex County, Massachusetts, to enter banking in Baltimore. His training complete, he shipped off to England during the days his Danvers relatives were accumulating capital in the so-called China trade, into which various members of the Peabody clan, such as Endicott Peabody, were intermarried. George Peabody's role in London, as a representative for the House of Morgan, was to launder profits of his opium-trading kin through what then served as America's bank of last-resort lending. He created the model for using drug money to build up America's gold reserves.
John Langbourne Williams' financial network

Perhaps Ailes was aware of this connection, from the previous century, between the opium traders in New England and the Baltimore bankers. Perhaps he was urged to destroy the triangular scheme by which anti-Federalist shipping merchants, who were blockade runners and smugglers during the War of 1812, had linked up with Southern bankers--both of which groups had ties to British banks which had similar experience with East India Company profits before the opium wars shut off that faucet for them.

All we know at this point is that Milton Ailes made vicious attacks against the Virginian whose father, banker John Langbourne Williams of Richmond, Va., was in partnership with the J. W. Middendorf banking family, according to information from Baltimore: Its History and Its People (1912). J.W. Middendorf II would, in 1968 help finance George Bush's run for President against Richard Nixon and others; he almost got Bush's name on the ballot as vice president, he revealed in his 2011 book, Potomac Fever.

Ailes also stated that "Williams had maliciously used his high office as a cover to impertinently, arrogantly and insolently pry into matters with which he had no official concern whatever, for the purpose and with the intent to injure the bank and wreak his vengeance on certain of its officers against whom he entertained a personal hatred." Ailes was obviously working on behalf of competing banking networks, likely based in New York, who did not want to allow these Southerners to compete with them. Eventually, a grand jury indicted the Riggs bankers for selling stocks short, but the defense used former Presidents William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt as character witnesses for the defendants. It was all set out in a book by banker, Thomas P. Kane, in The Romance and Tragedy of Banking.

A Faked Memorial
Ten years after the 1916 trial, John Skelton Williams died, but his influence remained. The major investment in sulphur his father's bank had made in 1912 was destined to fall under the control of the former Comptroller's nephew, Langbourne M. Williams, Jr. in 1930, not coincidentally the same year Langbourne married Elizabeth Goodrich Stillman. As the sister of the same Chauncey Devereaux Stillman, introduced in a previous post, Mrs. Williams served as a link between the capital acquired at the turn of the 20th century by an old Connecticut family--with mining assets, including sulphur, in Mexico and Texas, along with assets in petroleum brought in when her Stillman aunt and grandmother married sons of William Rockefeller.

The 1930 marriage would allow financial management of those mining and oil assets to be handed over to one of Virginia's oldest banking families. Yet it seems nobody understood what was actually happening. G. E. Dodd, who had to pay the newspaper to get it to print his version of the farce that took place when Godfrey S. Rockefeller and J. Sterling Rockefeller went to Brownsville, Texas, with the Stillmans and Williamses to create a fake memorial for Charles Stillman did not know exactly what was amiss, only that he smelled a rat. It was with this Brownsville memorial that we began our series about the Stillman family in Texas with the intention of exploring Lisa Pease's research which connects Freeport Sulphur to the John Kennedy assassination.

It is at that point we will pick up eventually. Watch for it.

Friday, June 21, 2013

How the Rockefellers Got Control of Skull and Bones in 1930

Percy at Yale, 1900, marries Stillman 1901
Probably because of his family's intimate contacts in governmental circles, Charles Stillman was in a position as soon as the treaty ending the Mexican War was signed, to purchase the military's boats previously used to navigate the Rio Grande River. But Stillman had set up a town directly across the river from Matamoros, which he named Brownsville (For Fort Brown), and found it more profitable to operate a ferry across the river. He thus attempted to sell his boats to other men who had been engaged in furnishing supplies to the military during the war by steamboat. Two of these were Mifflin Kenedy and Richard King, who also became huge landowners in the former disputed area between the Rio Grande and Nueces Rivers. They were partners until 1865, when Charles Stillman returned to New York City to make way for the establishment of the First National City Bank of New York from profiteering profits derived from two wars.

Click image to enlarge.
The Connecticut Roots of Stillman Family

When we review the Stillman family ancestry, we find that it, intriguingly intersects with that of the families we have previously researched who were intimately involved with the Russell Trust and Skull and Bones in the early days of Connecticut's history. From various genealogical studies, the following information has been collected about the common ancestor, most of which is derived from Life of Mr. George Stileman/Stillman:

Founder of the largest North American Stillman branch, Mr. George Stillman was born in England in 1654 as George Stileman -- the first of three sons of George Stileman (1621- ). A bronze plaque dated 1670 hangs in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Steeple Ashton, Wiltshire County, England to memorialize him.

In 1677 George Stileman married Jane Pickering -- the daughter of Sir Gilbert Pickering, Baronet of Nova Scotia 1st, a strict Puritan and Oliver Cromwell's Lord Chamberlain to the Protector (a combination of supreme court judge and attorney general). As was the custom of the time, George Stileman took Jane Pickering's last name, rather than the reverse, so that Jane Pickering could retain her societal status and inheritance. Thus George Stileman became George Stileman Pickering.

Jane Pickering gave birth to their first son, George Stileman Pickering, Jr., in August 1679. Through Lady Elizabeth Montagu Pickering, the wife of Sir Gilbert Pickering, a royal lineage has been thoroughly documented by John R. Sprague III. All direct descendants of Mr. George Stillman may rightfully claim this lineage as theirs for whatever purposes such claim may serve.

In those times, there was a tremendous amount of turmoil everywhere, with the monarchy in constant struggle to wrest control from the Parliament, and with religious groups fighting openly to gain control as well. Sir Gilbert Pickering died in 1668 leaving his eldest son Sir John Pickering in charge of the Pickering family. The throne of the King of England was once again claimed by the Roman Catholics through the Stuart family when Charles II died and his brother James II became King of Great Britain in 1685.
Duke of Monmouth executed
George Stileman Pickering and Jane Pickering were apprehended and charged with treason during the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion of 1685, a generation after the death of Oliver Cromwell, but were able through wealth and influence to leave England and immediately set sail for the American Colonies from London late that same year with all that they could carry with them.

George Stileman Pickering Jr., Samuel Stileman Pickering, and a daughter, Jane Stileman Pickering, were left behind to be sent for when their new home in the New England colonies had been established. Tragedy struck during the trip when Jane Pickering died at sea of complications resulting from premature childbirth. George Stileman Pickering settled in Hadley, Massachusetts, dropped the Pickering name, and resumed the use of his surname of Stileman.

George was joined later by his eldest son George Stileman Pickering, Jr. George Stileman Pickering, Jr. -- unhappy with following his father's new trade- - returned to England, and completed studies and qualifiications to practice as a medical doctor. In 1689 George Stileman changed to the surname spelling of Stillman. Doctor George Stileman Pickering, Jr. returned to the colonies permanently around 1700 and also dropped his last name of Pickering and assumed the surname spelling of Stillman, the same as his father.

A man of education, George Stillman's mercantile business grew to make him wealthy in Hadley, and he served as a Selectman, a member of the Board of Governors. He married Rebecca Smith, daughter of Lt. Philip Smith in 1686. George Stillman moved everything to Wethersfield, Connecticut, where Lt. Smith and his father had removed, abandoning the property which was then being besieged by the Narragansett tribes. It was Nathaniel Foote, Philip's wife's father, who was credited with founding this new community four miles south of Hartford.

In 1699 George and Rebecca Smith Stillman had a daughter named Anna who would marry Deacon Hezakiah May; their daughter, Elizabeth May, wife of Daniel Newcomb, had a daughter, Lydia, who married Timothy Bush; thus began the Stillman relationship to the George Bush Family lineage.

George Stillman carried on a large trade business with the West Indies and England until his death in 1728. During his life he set one son, John Stillman, up in business, provided son Benjamin Stillman with a Yale education (Class of 1725), and made various bequests to his other children--Nathaniel Stillman, several daughters, and his son, Dr. George Stillman Jr.
Deacon Benjamin Stillman practiced law in Middleton, Connecticut, the same town where his sister Lydia Stillman lived with her husband, Rev. Daniel Russell.
But it was Nathaniel Stillman (1719 – 1811) whose branch leads to Charles Stillman. We will return to him subsequently.

Lt. Philip Smith
Before a year passed after his arrival, George Stillman had married a young woman in Hadley, Massachusetts, Rebecca Smith, whose father, Lieutenant Philip Smith, was "murder'd with an hideous witchcraft," in 1684, according to Cotton Mather's writings. Smith's own father-in-law, Nathaniel Foote, in 1634 had led many of Hadley's citizens out of the Bay Colony to a new town he set up in Connecticut called Wethersfield. Lieutenant Samuel Smith (the "fellmonger") went with the Foote group, but then returned to Hadley with his son Philip about 25 years later and served in the colonial legislature.

Philip Smith went back to Wethersfield with Rev. William Russell, Jr. in 1659 and married Foote's youngest daughter, Rebecca, then about 24. He took her with him to Hadley where he helped to run the Hopkins School, . Twenty-five years later he died at the age of 50--allegedly murdered by Mary Reeve Webster, Wife of William Webster, who lived near Hadley. Prior to Smith's death, Webster had already been accused of witchcraft and sent to Boston for trial, in which it was alleged:
...that she, not having the fear of God before her eyes, and being instigated by the devil, hath entered into covenant and had familiarity with him in the shape of a warraneage, (fisher or wild black cat of the woods) and had his imps sucking her, and teats or marks found on her, as in and by several testimonies may appear, contrary to the peace of our sovereign lord, the king, his crown and dignity, the laws of God and of this jurisdiction

Hideous Witchcraft
Once Smith was dead, the good citizens of Hadley, strung up Mary Webster, hanging her, though she survived the night. She was then buried in a pile of snow but again survived that ordeal.

Two years later after her father's death, Rebecca Smith became George Stillman's second wife. After their children were born in Hadley, Massachusetts, the Stillmans migrated to Wethersfield in Connecticut. There their daughter, Lydia Stillman, married into the Russell family--becoming the wife of Rev. Daniel Russell, son of Nodiah Russell of New Haven and Mary Hamlin Russell from Middletown, Connecticut.

See Russell genealogy
Yale Founder Nodiah Russell 

Daniel Russell's father had been one of the twelve founders of Yale as well as one of the trustees of the college, and his brother, William Russell (Yale 1709), who was pastor of the church in Middletown, CT was married to Mary Pierpont, from whose Huguenot family the notable banker, J. Pierpont Morgan, was also descended. 

Mary Pierpont's sister was the wife of famed preacher Jonathan Edwards, who was an integral part of the "great awakening":
Edwards argued that Lockean “sense impressions” of most importance were those which saw and felt God, since they affected human growth. Confronting his congregation, he pitted two images – images of “Sinners in the hands of an angry God” against those of “the divine and supernatural light”. The result of such sermons during the 1730s brought society in the Connecticut Valley to remarkable conversion and interior reflection. This revivalist sentiment spread throughout New England in different degrees throughout the decade, with another resurgence or zeal occurring in 1742-1743.
Thus it was that the Stillman family was so closely tied to the man who would become known as the co-founded of Skull and Bones at Yale:
Rev. William Russell married Mary, oldest daughter of Rev. James Pierpont (Harvard, 1681), also one of the ten founders of Yale College, and one of the original trustees of Yale College thirteen years (1701 to 1714), and during a period of thirty years until his death (1685-1714), pastor of the First Congregational Church in New Haven. Another daughter, Sarah Pierpont, married Rev. Jonathan Edwards, D.D. (Yale, 1720), the distinguished theologian and president of Princeton College, and ancestor of three presidents of Yale (Timothy Dwight, president 1795-1817; Theodore D. Woolsey, president 1846-1871; Timothy Dwight, president 1886-1899), and whose granddaughter married Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton-gin. These Pierponts were descended from Sir Hugh de Pierrepont, of Picardy, in France, A. D. 980, whose grandson. Sir Robert de Pierrepont, went from France to England as commander in the army of William the Conqueror in 1066, and was ennobled for distinguished conduct at the battle of Hastings (1066), and from him descended the dukes and earls of Kingston. (Genealogical Abstract of the Family of Pierrepont, Yale College Library; also Hollister's History of Connecticut, "Vol. I, 458-459, 510.) [Author: Norris Galpin Osborn Title: Men of mark in Connecticut; ideals of American life told in biographies and autobiographies of eminent living Americans (Volume 8)]
William and Mary Pierpont Russell had two sons:
  • one, named for his father Nodiah and also a clergyman, would become the grandfather of William Huntington Russell, founder of Skull and Bones at Yale.
  • Samuel, was father of Captain John Russell and grandfather of a second Samuel Russell, the founder of Russell & Company, in 1824 in Boston.  
We learn from Families of Ancient Wethersfield, Connecticut, Volume II, compiled by Henry R. Stiles and published by Grafton Press in 1904, about the Stillmans who went to Texas and Mexico during the Mexican and civil wars, and that leads us back into previously reported facts about Citigroup's Roots in Texas, as well as to the Skull and Bones cult that was founded in Connecticut in 1832. The Stiles book (inset right) was published shortly after James J. Stillman began marrying his children off into the William Rockefeller family, and thus melding the Standard Oil fortunes into Yale's endowment institutions. 

Yale had already managed to gobble up a large portion of the wealth of another of Standard Oil's original investors, Oliver Payne (Yale ), when the William Collins Whitney family split in two--one son William Payne Whitney casting his fortune with Yale and his Standard Oil heir uncle; the other, Harry Payne Whitney, siding with their father. Harry married into the Vanderbilt family, went to Harvard, and cast his fortune on the side of the Morgan banking conglomerate for which his father had long helped with its pump-and-dump schemes. William Payne Whitney dropped his first name, married the daughter of Secretary of State John Hay, and became the father of John Hay "Jock" Whitney, the man who eventually took over the Freeport Sulphur company created by earlier progenitors of the company founded by the Swensons of Texas.

The two or three decades after the Stillmans merged with the Rockefellers was the most crucial period in American history. It witnessed the shift of control of America's wealth from the Morgan elites to the Rockefeller upstarts, with Stillman betting his children's lives on the side of oil. William F. Engdahl has expressed the evidence garnered by previous researchers like Anthony Sutton and Eustace Mullins, when he writes in Gods of Money: Wall Street and the Death of the American Century:
In 1930 as most banks were struggling to survive, Rockefeller's Chase National Bank was thriving... Chase Bank's most significant acquisition during the first months of the financial crisis in 1930 was the Equitable Trust Company of New York, the largest stockholder of which was John D. Rockefeller Jr. This made the Chase Bank the largest bank in America and indeed the world.
As a result of their dominant position following the decline of the House of Morgan during the depression, the Rockefeller group, in addition to controlling Chase Bank and First City Bank of New York, controlled the largest US oil companies.
... The Rockefeller group also consolidated a commanding control over the major chemical and defense-related industries.

See one of the books by Anthony C. Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution, which summed up each group's investments prior to the 1929 crash.
Before World War I, the financial and business structure of the United States was dominated by two conglomerates: Standard Oil, or the Rockefeller enterprise, and the Morgan complex of industries — finance and transportation companies. Rockefeller and Morgan trust alliances dominated not only Wall Street but, through interlocking directorships, almost the entire economic fabric of the United States.
Rockefeller interests monopolized the petroleum and allied industries, and controlled the copper trust, the smelters trust, and the gigantic tobacco trust, in addition to having influence in some Morgan properties such as the U.S. Steel Corporation as well as in hundreds of smaller industrial trusts, public service operations, railroads, and banking institutions. National City Bank was the largest of the banks influenced by Standard Oil-Rockefeller, but financial control extended to the United States Trust Company and Hanover National Bank as well as to major life insurance companies — Equitable Life and Mutual of New York. 
The great Morgan enterprises were in steel, shipping, and the electrical industry; they included General Electric, the rubber trust, and railroads. Like Rockefeller, Morgan controlled financial corporations — the National Bank of Commerce and the Chase National Bank, New York Life Insurance, and the Guaranty Trust Company. The names J.P. Morgan and Guaranty Trust Company occur repeatedly throughout this book. In the early part of the twentieth century the Guaranty Trust Company was dominated by the Harriman interests. When the elder Harriman (Edward Henry) died in 1909, Morgan and associates bought into Guaranty Trust as well as into Mutual Life and New York Life. In 1919 Morgan also bought control of Equitable Life,and the Guaranty Trust Company absorbed an additional six lesser trust companies. Therefore, at the end of World War I the Guaranty Trust and Bankers Trust were, respectively, the first and second largest trust companies in the United States, both dominated by Morgan interests. [emphasis added]

One last reminder before closing this post:
If you want to know who is in control, always follow the money!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

For Whom Does "the CIA" Really Work?

With this post we continue to explore connections mentioned by JFK assassination researcher Lisa Pease, author of "David Atlee Phillips, Clay Shaw and Freeport Sulphur," who focused on the sulphur company during times it was headed by John Hay "Jock" Whitney. Originally published in Probe, Pease's article discusses Freeport Sulphur's international nature as well as its close ties to happenings in Cuba during the time JFK was President. 

Valuable in the insight Pease's article gives us into the role of the Central Intelligence Agency's use of Freeport Sulphur, nevertheless it does not ask who really owns and operates the CIA itself. Perhaps looking back deeper into the company and its formative years will help in answering that question.

Who Was Jock Whitney?

Jock's father was William Payne Whitney, commonly known simply as Payne. As a youngster, Payne Whitney was caught in a feud between his father and his mother's brother, Oliver Payne, following her death in 1893. Promised a share of Oliver's wealth, he turned against his own father, who had married Edith Randolph, a woman scorned by the Payne family, whom he had been seeing before his wife died. According to the New York Social Diary website:
Jock and Betsy Cushing Whitney
In 1902 [William Collins] Whitney’s son, Payne Whitney, who’d sided with Oliver Payne, married Helen Hay from Cleveland, Ohio. Miss Hay was the daughter of John Hay who had been private secretary to President Lincoln and later Ambassador to the Court of St. James under President McKinley. Mr. Whitney who, like his father, went to Yale, was 26. For a wedding gift, Col. Payne gave the couple a Stanford White house at 972 Fifth Avenue.... After the Second World War, he started an investment fund, run by a friend he’d met in the War, to invest in new ideas of the men coming back from the War. He called it Adventure Capital and later dropped the “ad” to coin the now established term: venture capital. He was known for his ventures in Hollywood (“Gone With the Wind”), his industrious ventures, as well as being the last publisher of The New York Herald-Tribune.... Like his grandfather, he was also the Ambassador to the Court of St. James (under Eisenhower). Married twice, first to a beauty who loved horses more, and finally to Betsey Cushing Roosevelt, daughter of the famous brain surgeon Harvey Cushing, first wife of FDR’s son’s James, to whom he [Jock] remained married to the end of his life.... The Payne fortune, inherited by Payne Whitney, and then his children, grew far larger than the fortune left by William C. Whitney to his children. That was partly due to the fact that Harry Payne Whitney and Gertrude Vanderbilt produced more offspring who produced more offspring. Jock Whitney produced no off-spring, and his investments after the War catapulted him (and partially his sister [Joan Whitney Payson]) into the realm of what are now billions.
972 Fifth Avenue mansion
Payne Whitney had inherited his uncle's huge mansion in New York, and the 1920 census shows Jock and Joan living there with their parents--only four people at 972 Fifth Avenue--being cared for by fifteen servants, none of whom were American-born. Payne's business address, 14 Wall Street, was the Bankers Trust Company, set up by the White and Case law firm in 1903, and was controlled by J.P. Morgan affiliates in the days prior to the creation of the Federal Reserve banking system. Before 1930 Morgan bankers controlled United States government policy on currency. According to economist Murray Rothbard, the first governor of the New York Federal Reserve Bank was:
Benjamin Strong, who had spent virtually his entire business and personal life in the circle of top associates of J.P. Morgan. A secretary of several trust companies (banks doing trust business) in New York City, Strong became neighbor and close friend of three top Morgan partners, Henry P. Davison, Dwight Morrow, and Thomas W. Lamont. Davison, in particular, became his mentor, and brought him into Morgan's Bankers Trust company, where he soon succeeded Lamont as vice-president, and then finally became president. When Strong was offered the post of Governor of the New York Fed, it was Davison who persuaded him to take the job....The main collaboration throughout the 1920s, much of it kept secret from the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, was between Strong and the man who soon became Governor of the Bank of England, Montagu Collet Norman. Norman and Strong were not only fast friends, but had important investment-banking ties, Norman's uncle having been a partner of the great English banking firm of Baring Brothers, and his grandfather a partner in the international banking house of Brown Shipley and Co., the London branch of the Wall Street banking firm of Brown Brothers. Before coming to the Bank of England, Norman himself had worked at the Wall Street office of Brown Brothers, and then returned to London to become a partner of Brown Shipley.

The Role of Brown Brothers Harriman

Montagu Norman had been called "the currency dictator of Europe" by the Wall Street Journal in 1927. Thus, when the U.S. government witnessed the decline of the Brown Brothers investment bank in 1926, it felt the need to shore it up with an infusion of capital and turned to the two Yale educated sons of robber baron E.H. Harriman to do so. Averell and Roland (Bunny) Harrison were the Skull and Bones friends and eventual partners of Prescott Sheldon Bush, the father and grandfather of two future presidents.

It is no coincidence that America's earliest attempts at setting up intelligence agencies called upon the talents of the sons of Wall Street bankers. Idealistic principles often fall by the wayside when big money is involved, and it is the wealthy elitists who think they have the most to lose in the games played in international market manipulations. The poor have only their lives, and are often treated as cannon fodder by such elitists on every front.

In the years between the two "great" wars the Brown Brothers partner, Montagu Norman, was actively concerned with handling Germany's reparations payments, working with the first head of the Bank for International Settlements, Gates McGarrah, whose grandson, Richard McGarrah Helms, would later head the Central Intelligence Agency. 

Within six months after the above photos appeared in the news, Norman had found the perfect rich kids to entice with the power of helping to run the world. Their father's death in September 1909, when the boys were mere teenagers, had been the top headline in newspapers throughout America. Their mentor became the man most trusted by their father to run his business, Robert Scott Lovett, who would see that the boys were educated at Yale alongside his own son, Robert Abercrombie Lovett. All would rise to power in the government as the second great war approached, with help from their brothers in Skull and Bones.

Prescott Bush, center, with Brown Brothers Harriman partners--Bunny Harriman, Knight Woolley, and R.A. Lovett

By following the money, you often learn how the world really operates, who works for whom, so to speak.

Oliver Stone relates in his book, The Untold History of the United States:
Prominent among the American capitalists with ties to Nazi counterparts was Prescott Bush, the father of one president and grandfather of another. Researchers have been trying for years to determine the precise nature of Bush's ties to Fritz Thyssen, the wealthy German industrialist who played a crucial role in bankrolling Hitler, as revealed in his 1941 memoirs I Paid Hitler. Thyssen ultimately repudiated the Nazi dictator and was himself imprisoned.
While incarcerated, Thyssen's vast wealth was protected overseas, much of it by the investment firm of Brown Brothers Harriman, through the holding company Union Banking Corporation. The account was managed by senior partner Prescott Bush. 

About ten years younger than the Harriman boys, Jock Whitney and his sister sat atop a huge pile of money which they would make available to those in power engaged in manipulation of international currency. Although Jock went to Yale, he was tapped for Scroll and Key, rather than the Bones secret society, and was a mere two years behind Scroll and Key member James Stillman Rockefeller (son of Elsie Stillman and William G. Rockefeller), whose Uncle Percy, married in 1901 to Elsie's sister Isabel Stillman, was a member of the Skull and Bones class of 1900. Only a year after his Yale graduation, James Stillman Rockefeller had united fortunes with the Carnegies by marrying the niece of the steel magnate whose fortune had been liquidated by the Morgan bank. Five years later, Chase Manhattan bank would acquire the Equitable Trust, another Morgan affiliate--thus shifting control of the New York Fed in 1930 from Morgan to Rockefeller-owned banks at the same time Freeport Sulphur's control shifted under the leadership of Langbourne Williams, Jr., a Stillman son-in-law, as will be detailed in the next installment.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

War Is Big Business

Deep Politics of Freeport Sulphur

In the Vol. 3, No. 3, March-April, 1996 edition of Probe, noted JFK assassination researcher Lisa Pease wrote in her article entitled "David Atlee Phillips, Clay Shaw and Freeport Sulphur":
Freeport Sulphur was born in Texas in 1912. The company later moved the headquarters office to New York. Originally, the principal business was mining sulphur. By 1962, Freeport Sulphur was the nation's oldest and largest producer of sulphur. In 1962, the fertilizer industry used 40% of the sulphur produced in the world. Other business segments that use sulphur in the production process are chemical, papermaking, pigment, pharmaceutical, mining, oil-refining and fiber manufacturing industries. For most of this period, Freeport was headed by John Hay Whitney.

Jock makes the Time cover
In 1927, Payne Whitney, one of America's richest multimillionaires, died, leaving his only son and future Freeport president an estate valued at over $179 million. At the young age of 22, John Hay Whitney became one of the country's richest men. Nonetheless, "Jock," as the press later called him, took a job at Lee Higginson and Co. on a salary of $65 a month. There, he made a fateful friendship with another onetime Lee Higginson employee named Langbourne Williams. Langbourne's father had originally founded Freeport Texas, then lost control of the business. Langbourne enlisted Jock's boss at Lee Higginson--J. T. Claiborne--to help in a proxy fight for control of Freeport. Claiborne urged the young Jock to join their efforts. Jock did--to the tune of a half a million dollars. By 1930, the Claiborne-Williams-Whitney team had won control of Freeport.

Freeport, Texas, was actually a town--not a business. It became a deep-water port when a Swedish Texan named Swenson, coincidentally the widowed brother-in-law of fertilizer magnates from Maryland named Tilghman, decided to use the expiring Herman Frasch patent to develop a sulphur resource. Located within a salt dome located on a part of the historic Austin's Colony granted to Stephen F. Austin, the land was owned by the heirs of Austin's sister, Mrs. James F. Perry, whose Peach Point Plantation in Brazoria County--variously called Bryanmound (Bryan Mound) or Bryan Heights Salt Dome -- was first suspected to contain sulphur by stock speculator Bernard Baruch a few years prior to its actual development in 1912.

When Baruch was unable to obtain financing from J.P. Morgan for sulphur production at the Bryan/Perry property, he instead moved to adjacent Wharton County's Boling salt dome, which he (along with the Morgan bank and W. Boyce Thompson) purchased in 1914 from  the Gulf Sulphur Company. In 1918 the name changed to Texas Gulf Sulphur. Austin's original land grant included land all the way to Bastrop, but it is not known whether the mineral estate of Boling Dome was still by that time owned by the Perrys and Bryans.

Freeport Sulphur, early days

Sulphur, however, was in great demand during World War I, and Bernard Baruch of the War Industries Board in Woodrow Wilson's administration was sniffing it out. It should not be overlooked that Woodrow Wilson was a wholly owned subsidiary throughout his administration by the little man from Texas named "Colonel" Edward M. House, originally from Houston. 

House's father, Thomas W. House, had run the blockade during the war years and had been in Matamoros and Monterey with Charles Stillman, William Marsh Rice and other merchants from Texas. They knew how to profit from trading in war materiel. 

The New Regime at National City Bank

By 1915 sulphur output would double:

By this time, Erice Swenson was 65 years old, no doubt ready to retire. But, as an officer in the National City Bank in new York, and as head of Freeport Sulphur in the middle of the great war, that was not about to happen. James Jewett Stillman, who died in 1918, was for four years replaced by his son, James Alexander Stillman. 

An 1896 Harvard graduate, young James in 1901 married Anne Urquhart, the daughter of actress Cora Urquhart and James Brown Potter. As founder of high society's Tuxedo Set, Potter was the son of banker Howard Potter, who married Mary Louisa Brown, whose father, James Brown, was the senior partner of  Brown Brothers & Co, an investment bank founded by sons of Alexander Brown of Baltimore.

When Mrs. Stillman followed her mother onto the stage as "Fifi" Stillman in 1921, a long battle played out in news headlines across the nation, and when James' embarrassing personal life hit the front pages of all the newspapers, it was the elderly Eric Swenson who rose to the chairmanship of the National City Bank.

Swenson must have known where lots of bodies were buried over the years, even having been one of the chief witnesses in the case prosecuted by the grandfather of James A. Baker III against the alleged murderer of William M. Rice, whose death opened up the huge endowment for Rice University.

By now most of the men who participated in setting up the sulphur facility at the new city of Freeport, Texas and the port that allowed for its distribution, were beginning to recede from the active management. These investors were named as the original underwriters of the stock at page 105 of a book by Gerald Kutney, Sulfur: History, Technology, Applications & Industry, as well as in a magazine article in The Chemical Engineer.

Original underwriters of $700,000 worth of stock in the company included the following:
  • Frank A. Vanderlip, James Stillman, Samuel McRoberts--all officers of National City Bank, along with Eric P. Swenson, whose family bank, S. M. Swenson & Sons, also subscribed, as did Maud Tilghman Swenson's brothers, Frederick B. & Sidell Tilghman. Maud died in 1892, only three years after her marriage to Eric Swenson.
  • John Langbourne Williams & Sons and Franklin Quimby Brown of Redmond bank (also involved in Knickerbocker Trust), who also subscribed as underwriters, were members of a fertilizer syndicate called Interstate Chemical Corporation with the Tilghmans. Their syndicate of investors in railroad securities often included C. Sidney Shepard (Yale, 1878) of New Haven, CT.
  • Smaller investors: Edwin Hawley (tycoon in Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad), Williams & Peters (coal merchants), E. K. Knapp, E. M. Carter, Benjamin Andrews (a mining engineer who held several patents in connection with Union Sulphur Co.), James M. Edwards, Orne Wilson, W. B. Chisolm (part of a fertilizer syndicate), W. O. Wetherbee (a bank clerk who testified with Swenson in the Rice murder trial), John N. Steel, John Hays Hammond (associate of William Boyce Thompson), A. Chester Beatty, A. C. Swenson, F. A. Fearing, George C. Reiter, and S. M. Betts.
Many of those named above were also directors of the Interstate Chemical Corporation.
It was because of the initial investment by the J.L. Williams & Sons banking enterprise that Langbourne Meade Williams, Jr. ascended to a management position in 1930. His father (L.M. Sr.), died in 1931, and the Freeport Sulphur stock the family held gave him an opportunity to make a financial play, but it was another connection which gave him the power to do it. That came from the Rockefellers.

To be continued in a future post.