It's My Party And I'll Cry If I Want To!

On January 18, 2005 Martin Shackelford posted to alt.conspiracy.jfk a message about a party supposedly held at the home of Clint Murchison Sr. The event was said to have occurred the evening before the John F. Kennedy assassination:

"Reports said the gathering was held at a house he (Murchison) owned, not that he was present at the gathering. Most recently, a Murchison employee confirmed the gathering, confirmed that J. Edgar Hoover was expected, and got the information from another Murchison employee who was working the party. One of the drivers confirmed the party."

I was rather surprised that Mr. Shackelford would make such claims using ambiguous reports while failing to provide the source or sources of his information. Since I have spent years researching this non-event I must challenge Mr. Shackelford's conclusions. In my opinion he first needs to provide:

[1] The name of the author of, and quote verbatim from, the "report" that Clint Murchison owned the house in question.

[2] The name of the person who claims Murchison was not present.

[3] What is the name of the first Murchison employee who verified the existence of the party through hearsay?

[4] What is the name of the second Murchison employee "who was working the party?"

[5] What is the name of the "driver who confirmed the party?"

The only person I know of who claimed she was actually at the party was the late Madeleine Brown. Brown maintained, contrary to Mr. Shackelford's claims, that Clint Murchison Sr. was present, actually hosted the party, and the event took place at his home.

Ms. Brown has been shown to be in error on all counts. At the time, Murchison was at his Glad Oaks Ranch outside Palestine, Texas, about 75 miles southeast of Dallas. The owners of the house where the party supposedly took place were John and Lupe Murchison. Additionally, if Mr. Shackelford is using May Newman's statements as confirmation of J. Edgar Hoover's visit, he should know that Newman was never an employee of Clint Murchison and never worked or resided in what was known as John and Lupe Murchison's "big house." Newman worked as a seamstress for Clint Murchison Sr.'s second wife Virginia Murchison. Virginia Murchison lived at 9785 Audubon in Sunnybrook Estates - miles from the "big house."

If Newman claimed the employee who told her of J. Edgar Hoover's arrival was Buella May Holeman, then there is another problem. Clint Murchison never employed Holeman. She was a cook in the home of John and Lupe Murchison and, as will be shown, they have nothing to do with the alleged party.

As a point of information, all three of Clint Murchison Sr.'s sons (Clinton Williams Murchison, Jr. - John Dabny Murchison - Burk Murchison) were products of his first marriage in 1920 to Ann Morris. Ann (Morris) Murchison died in 1926. Therefore the only relationship Virginia Murchison had with the Murchison children was that of step mother.

As to the "driver" that confirmed the party, Penn Jones Jr. claimed he obtained information about J. Edgar Hoover's appearance through a "black chauffeur." That chauffeur was Warren Tilley and the likely reason Jones refused to name him as the source was because Tilley would deny Jones' claim, remarking through his wife that it was a misrepresentation.

Here is the complete history of the party that never was.

Penn Jones Jr. was the first to reference what he termed an "unreported party" under the heading "The Head Man Was In Dallas" on pages 84 to 86 of his 1976 self published Forgive My Grief III (Revised). At first Jones' information was so sketchy that he thought the party was held in Sikes, Louisiana. Later Jones enigmatically decided the event was held at the home of Clint Murchison Sr. Jones then managed to circumvent the need to provide factual evidence by claiming on page 86 that, "Admittedly our information about (J. Edgar) Hoover's presence was learned second hand, but it is reliable. We will never tell how we got the information." In the end we were left with another of Jones' Kennedy assassination fabrications.

An exaggerated version of the story would surface in later years through allegations made by Madeleine Brown. It would appear Brown used Penn Jones' report in Forgive My Grief III as a basis for some of her pronouncements. However, it would seem she either misread or misunderstood what Jones reported on page 84 of his book. Brown spoke of a lavish party held on the evening of November 21, 1963. She believed Val Imm, the Society Editor of the Dallas Times Herald, attended and reviewed the gala in one of her columns. The reality was Brown was confused and failed to realize that Jones was actually describing a party held almost 6 years later on October 19, 1969 at One Main Place Plaza in Dallas. Brown went so far as to beg Imm to find the story. Imm could never produce the requisite documentation because the event never occurred. Val Imm's oral history of the non-event appears at the end of this article.

The facts are plain - there was no such party and both Penn Jones Jr. and Madeleine Brown were responsible for concocting an account that contradicts historical facts. In November 2004 producer/director Nigel Turner would further confuse the issue by airing his flawed "The Guilty Men" on the History Channel.

Here are quotes specific to the party from Madeleine Brown's own book:

"On Thursday night, November 21, 1963, the last evening prior to Camelot's demise, I attended a social at Clint Murchison's home. It was my understanding that the event was scheduled as a tribute honoring his life long friend, J. Edgar Hoover, whom Murchison had met decades earlier through President William Howard Taft, and Hoover's companion and assistant, Clyde Tolson."

Madeleine Duncan Brown, Texas in the Morning (Baltimore, The Conservatory Press, 1997), p. 166.

"The impressive guest list included John McCloy, Richard Nixon, George Brown, R.L. Thornton, H.L. Hunt, and a host of others from the 8F group." Ibid.

To dispel any doubts about the nature of this event, Madeleine claimed it was a party taking place at the home of Clint Murchison Sr. Murchison, whom Brown claims hosted the affair, developed the party as "a tribute honoring his life long friend, J. Edgar Hoover."

Madeleine Brown locked herself into the Clint Murchison Sr.'s scenario when she referenced Murchison's introduction decades before to J. Edgar Hoover through President William Howard Taft. J. Edgar Hoover became Director of the FBI on May 10, 1924. Taft, who was President from 1909 to 1913, died March 8, 1930. Clint Murchison Jr. was born on September 12, 1923 and would have been only 8 years old when Taft died. The reason I mention this is to show that those who would claim Clint Jr. hosted the party, such as Barr McClellan, are wrong, since Murchison Jr. could not be a lifelong friend of J. Edgar Hoover.

There is more. Clint Murchison Sr. (April 11, 1895 - June 20, 1969) would have been physically unable to host any party. In 1958 he suffered a stroke and gave his Dallas home, bounded by what is now the Dallas North Tollway, Preston Road, and Keller Springs Road to his son John. By 1959, four years prior to the assassination, Clint Sr. had moved to his Glad Oaks Ranch between Athens and Palestine, Texas. I have verified this through Clint Murchison Sr.'s housekeeper, Eula May Tilley, who resides in Jacksonville, Texas.

I was contacted in mid-August 2002 by Greg Jaynes as he learned I was working on the Madeleine Brown story. Greg informed me he had the telephone number of Clint Murchison Sr.'s personal chauffer, Warren Tilley. On August 21, 2002 I called the Tilley residence. Unfortunately, I could not talk with Mr. Tilley as he was disabled and unable to speak due to throat cancer. Instead, I was able to talk with his wife, Eula. Mrs. Tilley informed me both she and her husband had worked for Clint Murchison Sr., for many years, up to the time of his death in 1969.

I asked Mrs. Tilley if she remembered anything about Mr. Murchison giving a party at the time of the Kennedy assassination. Her response was as follows:

"Both Warren and I worked for Mr. Murchison for a long time. He had seven houses, you know. He had one in Acapulco and we would go there to take care of him. I know he wasn't at any party when Kennedy was shot. He did not have a home in the Dallas area. He was at his Glad Oaks Ranch between Athens and Palestine (Texas). I'm not sure how long before the assassination we were at the ranch but it was more than a few days. I remember because I was serving lunch to Mr. Murchison and his neighbor Woffard Cain. One of them said Kennedy had been shot."

Mrs. Tilley went on to explain that several years before Mr. Murchison had the stroke he was "very sick." Murchison would not have been able to host such a "party"even if he wanted to.

Mrs. Tilley's comments are verified and amplified by a September 20, 2002 article written by Dallas Morning News columnist, Alan Peppard. Peppard's research for his column, "Family's history in estate," indicates:

"After Clint Sr.'s 1958 stroke, he traded houses with his son John, and the estate became a showcase for the eye-popping contemporary art the younger Murchison collected with his wife, Lupe."

This clearly shows John and Lupe Murchison owned and occupied the house for five years prior to 1963 when both Jones and Brown claim, without documentation, that the house was owned by Clint Murchison Sr.

Copyright © 2005 by David B. Perry All rights reserved

Val Imm oral history with Bob Porter, Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, September 20, 1995

Imm: "I remember a person (Brown) asking me about that particular thing (the party of 11/21/63). I said, to the best of my recollection now, that I could have written something if there was something like that. But upon trying to really recall it, I can't. I certainly don't have a clipping of a column like that and apparently in the archives that you possess there's nothing about it either. I truly cannot say that I recall anything about that."

Porter: "Nobody knows anything about J. Edgar Hoover being there."

Imm: "No, but wouldn't that have been fascinating. I wish I had seen him."

Porter: "It would have been a good story."

Imm: "And I'm sure I wouldn't have forgotten. Yeah, it would have been."

Porter: "It would be a story if you had been involved in, you wouldn't have forgotten."

Imm: "No, you wouldn't. Things like that you wouldn't.