J. Thornton Boswell

J. Thornton Boswell

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Mr. Specter: Have you been present here today during the entire course of Doctor Humes testimony?

Commander Boswell: I have, sir; yes.

Mr. Specter: Do you have anything that you would like to add by way of elaboration or modification to that which Doctor Humes has testified?

Commander Boswell: None, I believe. Doctor Humes has stated essentially what is the culmination of our examination and our subsequent conference, and everything is exactly as we had determined our conclusions.

Mr. Specter: And are you one of the three coauthors of the autopsy report which has been previously identified as a Commission Exhibit?

Commander Boswell: Yes; I am.

Mr. Specter: All the facts set forth therein are correct in accordance with your analysis and evaluation of the situation?

Commander Boswell: Yes.

Mr. Specter: And specifically, as to the points of entry and points of exit which have been testified to by Doctor Humes, do his views express yours as well?

Commander Boswell: They do, yes.

Mr. Specter: Doctor Boswell, would you state for the record what your conclusion was as to the cause of death of President Kennedy?

Commander Boswell: The brain injury was the cause of death.

Mr. Specter: And in the absence of brain injury, what, in your view, would have been the future status of President Kennedy's mortality, if he had only sustained the wound inflicted in 385?

Commander Boswell: I believe it would have been essentially an uneventful recovery. It could have been easily repaired, and I think it would have been of little consequence.

Mr. Specter: Those are my only questions, Mr. Chief Justice.

The Chairman: Does anyone have any questions of the Commander? If not, Commander, thank you very much, indeed. You have been very helpful to us.

Three military pathologists agree they conducted an autopsy of Kennedy's entire body at Bethesda immediately after it was flown back from Dallas. But the doctors offer conflicting recollections about the timing of a subsequent brain exam.

Two doctors, J. Thornton Boswell and James Humes, told the review board that the brain exam occurred two or three days after Kennedy's death. Initially, Humes told the Warren Commission that he, Boswell and a third pathologist, Dr. Pierre Finck, were present when the brain was examined. But when he testified to the review board in 1996, Humes did not list Finck among those present. Boswell maintains Finck was not there.

On the other hand, Finck says the brain exam did not occur until much later. In a memo he wrote to his commanding officer 14 months after Kennedy was assassinated, Finck said Humes did not call him until Nov. 29, 1963 - seven days after Kennedy's death - to say it was time to examine the brain. In the memo, Finck said all three pathologists examined the brain together and that "color and black-and-white photographs are taken by the U.S. Navy photographer."

The conflicting testimony caused Douglas Horne, chief analyst for military records, to conclude in a 32-page memo that two separate brain exams may have been conducted, "contrary to the official record as it has been presented to the American people."

"If true, Dr. Finck's account of a brain exam separate and distinct from the first one would mean that Drs. Humes and Boswell were present at two different brain exams," he writes.

Humes was ill and could not be interviewed. In a telephone interview, Boswell reiterated that the brain was examined at the initial autopsy of the body and only once more at a separate brain exam a few day later.

"I doubt very much that we would have called him (Finck) back over for that," Boswell said.

Boswell added that the only photos of the brain were taken at the autopsy.

This conflicts with testimony the board obtained from Navy photographer John Stringer, who said he took pictures of the brain two or three days after the autopsy. Stringer also testified that official photos of the brain preserved at the archives do not match those he remembers taking. He cites discrepancies in the angles from which they were shot and the type of film used.

In addition, former FBI Agent Francis O'Neill Jr., who watched doctors remove Kennedy's brain the night he died, told the review board that the archives' photos do not resemble what he saw. "I did not recall it (the brain) being that large," O'Neill said.

Throughout the years, doctors who treated Kennedy in Dallas said his head wound was about the size of a large egg at the back of the head, behind his right ear. The Dallas doctors told reporters then that they believed Kennedy was shot from the front -- a belief that conflicted with the Warren Commission's later conclusion of a single shooter firing from behind.

Humes, chief pathologist for the autopsy at Bethesda, agreed there was a wound to the right rear of Kennedy's head, but he told the board that it was a small entry wound, not an egg-sized exit wound. In contrast to observations in Dallas, Humes said there also was massive damage to the top of Kennedy's skull and right side forward of the ear.

I served on the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board for just over three years, from August 1995 through September 1998. During that period of time the Review Board granted permission for the staff to take the depositions of 10 persons involved in the autopsy on President Kennedy: as a result, today any American citizen can go to the “Archives II” facility in College Park, Maryland and obtain copies of the transcripts of the sworn testimony of the 3 autopsy pathologists; both of the official Navy photographers; both Navy x-ray technicians; a Navy photographer’s mate who developed some of the post-mortem photography; and both of the FBI agents who witnessed the autopsy.

The Review Board’s charter was simply to locate and declassify assassination records, and to ensure they were placed in the new “JFK Records Collection” in the National Archives, where they would be freely available to the public. Although Congress did not want the ARRB to reinvestigate the assassination of President Kennedy, or to draw conclusions about the assassination, the staff did hope to make a contribution to future ‘clarification’ of the medical evidence in the assassination by conducting these neutral, non-adversarial, fact-finding depositions. All of our deposition transcripts, as well as our written reports of numerous interviews we conducted with medical witnesses, are now a part of that same collection of records open to the public. Because of the Review Board’s strictly neutral role in this process, all of these materials were placed in the JFK Collection without comment.

I have been studying these records for 10 years now. The reason I am here today is because contained within our deposition transcripts and interview reports is unequivocal evidence that there was a U.S. government cover-up of the medical evidence in the Kennedy assassination, yet most members of the public know nothing about this. Let me sound a cautionary note here: no single statement of any witness stands alone. Before it can be properly evaluated, the recollections of each witness must be compared to all of his own previous testimony, and to that of other witnesses—before the Warren Commission, the House Select Committee on Assassinations, and even with independent researchers—as well as all available documentary evidence.

Having said this, after considerable study of all of these records, I am firmly convinced that there is serious fraud in the medical evidence of the Kennedy assassination in three areas:

(1) The autopsy report in evidence today, Warren Commission Exhibit # 387, is the third version prepared of that report; it is not the sole version, as was claimed for years by those who wrote it and signed it.

(2) The brain photographs in the National Archives that are purported to be photographs of President Kennedy’s brain are not what they are represented to be; they are not pictures of his brain, but rather are photographs of someone else’s brain. Normally, in cases of death due to injury to the brain, the brain is examined one or two weeks following the autopsy on the body, and photographs are taken of the pattern of damage. Following President Kennedy’s autopsy, there were two subsequent brain examinations, not one: the first examination was of the President’s brain, and those photographs were never introduced into the official record; the second examination was of a fraudulent specimen, whose photographs were subsequently introduced into the official record. The pattern of damage displayed in these ‘official’ brain photographs has nothing whatsoever to do with the assassination in Dallas, and in fact was undoubtedly used to shore up the official conclusion that President Kennedy was killed by a shot from above and behind.

(3) There is something seriously wrong with the autopsy photographs of the body of President Kennedy. It definitely is President Kennedy in the photographs, but the images showing the damage to the President’s head do not show the pattern of damage observed by either the medical professionals at Parkland hospital in Dallas, or by numerous witnesses at the military autopsy at Bethesda Naval hospital. These disparities are real and are significant, but the reasons remain unclear. There are only three possible explanations for this, and I will discuss these possibilities today.

The Autopsy Report

The evidence that a draft autopsy report—as well as a first signed version—existed prior to the report in evidence today is both easy to understand, and undeniable.

The First Draft

On November 24, 1963 the chief pathologist at President Kennedy’s autopsy, Dr. James J. Humes, signed a typed statement he had prepared that read as follows:

“I, James J. Humes, certify that I have destroyed by burning certain preliminary draft notes relating to Naval Medical School Autopsy Report A63-272 and have officially transmitted all other papers related to this report to higher authority.” [Author’s emphasis]

On two occasions before the HSCA, in March of 1977 and in September of 1978, Dr. Humes maintained that he had destroyed notes. He repeated this claim in an interview published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in May of 1992. The reasons given in each case were that the notes were destroyed because they had on them the blood of the President, which Dr. Humes deemed unseemly.

The ARRB General Counsel, Jeremy Gunn, had reason to suspect that an early draft of the autopsy report had also been destroyed, based upon an analysis of inconsistencies between Dr. Humes’ previous testimony about when he wrote the draft report, and existing records documenting its transmission to higher authority. After extremely thorough and persistent questioning by the Review Board’s General Counsel in February of 1996, Dr. Humes admitted, under oath, that both notes from the autopsy, and a first draft of the autopsy report (which had been prepared well after the autopsy’s conclusion and had no blood on it), had been destroyed in his fireplace.

The First Signed Version

A simple study of the receipt trail for the transmission of the autopsy report reveals that the first signed report is missing as well.

On April 26, 1965 the Secret Service transferred the autopsy photographs and x-rays, and certain vital documents and biological materials to the custody of the Kennedy family at the request of Robert F. Kennedy. That receipt lists, among other things:

“Complete autopsy protocol of President Kennedy (orig, & 7 cc’s)—Original signed by Dr. Humes, pathologist.”

Evelyn Lincoln, secretary to the late President Kennedy, signed for receipt of all of the items the same day.

Incredibly, on October 2, 1967 the head of the Secret Service signed a letter transferring the original of CE 387, the autopsy report placed in evidence by the Warren Commission, to the National Archives; the National Archives signed a receipt for CE 387 the next day, October 3, 1967.

Warren Commission Chief Counsel J. Lee Rankin, in a declassified transcript of a January 27, 1964 Executive Session of the Commission, discusses details of the content of “the autopsy report” which are not consistent with the details of the report in evidence today, CE 387, thus confirming that the first signed version contained different conclusions.

The dilemma presented here can best be summarized by the following rhetorical question: How could the U.S. Secret Service transfer the original JFK autopsy protocol to the National Archives (or to anyone else, for that matter) on October 2, 1967 when they had previously given it to the Kennedy family on April 26, 1965? The answer, of course, is that there were two separate reports. The first smooth, or signed version, was given to the Kennedy family at the specific request of Robert Kennedy, and has disappeared. The second signed version is in the National Archives today.


The destruction of both the first draft and the first signed version of the autopsy report are clear evidence of the ongoing malleability of the autopsy report’s specific conclusions during the initial 2 weeks following the conclusion of the post mortem examination. Furthermore, it is clear that when Dr. Humes testified under oath to the Review Board that there was only one autopsy report, and that he only signed one autopsy report, he committed perjury.

[For those interested in obtaining copies of the relevant documents in the receipt trail, or in studying the likely content of the first two versions of the autopsy protocol, I will make copies of the relevant research memo available at the end of the press conference.]

Two Brain Examinations

My most remarkable finding while on the Review Board staff, and a totally unexpected one, was that instead of one supplemental brain examination being conducted following the conclusion of President Kennedy’s autopsy, as was expected, two different examinations were conducted, about a week apart from each other. A thorough timeline analysis of available documents, and of the testimony of autopsy witnesses taken by the ARRB, revealed that the remains of President Kennedy’s badly damaged brain were examined on Monday morning, November 25, 1963 prior to the state funeral, and that shortly thereafter the brain was turned over to RADM Burkley, Military Physician to the President; a second brain examination, of a fraudulent specimen, was conducted sometime between November 29th and December 2nd, 1963—and it is the photographs from this second examination that are in the National Archives today.

Pertinent Facts Regarding the Two Examinations are as follows:

First Brain Exam, Monday, November 25th, 1963

Attendees: Dr. Humes, Dr. Boswell, and Navy civilian photographer John Stringer.

Events: John Stringer testified to the ARRB that he used both Ektachrome E3 color positive transparency film, and B & W Portrait Pan negative film; both were 4 by 5 inch format films exposed using duplex film holders; he only shot superior views of the intact specimen—no inferior views; the pathologists sectioned the brain, as is normal for death by gunshot wound, with transverse or “coronal” incisions—sometimes called “bread loaf” incisions—in order to trace the track of the bullet or bullets; and after each section of tissue was cut from the brain, Stringer photographed that section on a light box to show the damage.

Second Brain Exam, Between November 29th and December 2nd, 1963

Attendees: Dr. Boswell, Dr. Finck, and an unknown Navy photographer.

Events: Per the testimony of all 3 pathologists, the brain was not sectioned, as should have been normal procedure for any gunshot wound to the head—that is, transverse or coronal sections were not made. The brain looked different than it did at the autopsy on November 22nd, and Dr. Finck wrote about this in a report to his military superior on February 1, 1965. The color slides of the brain specimen in the National Archives were exposed on “Ansco” film, not Ektachrome E3 film; and the B & W negatives are also on “Ansco” film, and originated in a film pack (or magazine), not duplex holders. The brain photos in the Archives show both superior and inferior views, contrary to what John Stringer remembers shooting, and there are no photographs of sections among the Archives brain photographs, which is inconsistent with Stringer’s sworn testimony about what he photographed.

Further indications that the brain photographs in the Archives are not President Kennedy’s brain are as follows:

Two ARRB medical witnesses, former FBI agent Frank O’Neill and Gawler’s funeral home mortician Tom Robinson, both recalled vividly that the major area of tissue missing from President Kennedy’s brain was in the rear of the brain. The brain photos in the Archives do not show any tissue missing in the rear of the brain, only in the top.

When former FBI agent Frank O’Neill viewed the Archives brain photographs during his deposition, he said that the photos he was viewing could not be President Kennedy’s brain because when he viewed the removed brain at the autopsy, the damage was so great that more than half of it was gone—missing. He described the brain photos in the Archives as depicting a ‘virtually intact’ brain.

Finally, the weight of the brain recorded in the supplemental autopsy report was 1500 grams, which exceeds the average weight of a normal, undamaged male brain. This is entirely inconsistent with a brain which was over half missing when observed at autopsy.


The conduct of a second brain examination on a fraudulent specimen, and the introduction of photographs of that specimen into the official record, was designed to do two things:

(1) eliminate evidence of a fatal shot from the front, which was evident on the brain removed at autopsy and examined on Monday, November 25th, 1963; and

(2) place into the record photographs of a brain with damage generally consistent with having been shot from above and behind.

Until I discovered that the photographs in the Archives could not be of President Kennedy’s brain, the brain photos had been used by 3 separate investigative bodies—the Clark Panel, the Rockefeller Commission, and the House Select Committee on Assassinations—to support the Warren Commission’s findings that President Kennedy was shot from above and behind, and to discount the expert observations from Parkland hospital in Dallas that President Kennedy had an exit wound in the back of his head.

In my opinion, the brain photographs in the National Archives, along with Dr. Mantik’s Optical Densitometry analysis of the head x-rays, are two irrefutable examples of fraud in this case, and call into question the official conclusions of all prior investigations.

[For those who wish detailed verification of this hypothesis, the 32-page research paper on this subject that I completed in 1998 will be made available at the end of this press conference.]

The Head Wound in the Autopsy Photographs

I would like to conclude with some brief closing remarks about the autopsy photographs at the National Archives.

The images of the President’s head wound are inconsistent with both the Parkland hospital observations, and the Bethesda autopsy observations of almost every witness present in the morgue, as follows:

Parkland Hospital

The blowout, or exit wound in the right rear of the head seen in Dallas is not present in the autopsy images, which show the back of the head to be intact except for a very small puncture interpreted by the HSCA as a wound of entry. Furthermore, the autopsy photographs of the head show extensive damage to the top of the head, and to the right side of the head, which was not seen in Dallas during the 40 minutes that the President was observed in trauma room one at Parkland hospital.

Bethesda Naval Hospital

Most witnesses from the autopsy also recall a very large wound at the back of the head, which, as stated above, is not shown in the autopsy photographs. The additional damage many autopsy witnesses recall at the top of the head, and on the right side, is present in the photographs—but not the damage they remember at the rear. One prominent witness, Dr. Ebersole (the radiologist at the autopsy), testified under oath to the HSCA Forensic Pathology Panel in 1978 that the large head wound in the autopsy photos is more lateral and more superior than he remembered, and said that he recalled the back of the head being missing at the autopsy.

Three Possible Explanations

There are 3 possible explanations for these inconsistencies:

(1) Photographic forgery—i.e., “special effects”—to make the rear of the head look intact when it was not;

(2) Major manipulation of loose, and previously reflected scalp from elsewhere on the head by the pathologists, so as to make it appear that the back of the head was intact when it was not; or

(3) Partial reconstruction of the head by the morticians, at the direction of the pathologists, followed by photography that created the false impression that there was no exit defect in the back of the head.

Many JFK researchers have long suspected photographic forgery, but extreme caution is warranted here because all analyses of the autopsy photographs done to date have used “bootleg” materials, and not the original materials in the Archives. The “bootleg” photographs do represent the actual views of the body in the Archives collection, but they are badly degraded, suffer from contrast buildup, and are photographic prints—whereas any true scientific study of these images for authenticity should use the color positive transparencies and B & W negatives in the Archives as subjects, not multi-generational prints of uncertain provenance.

I personally examined magnified and enhanced images of the Archives autopsy photographs at the Kodak lab in Rochester, New York in November of 1997, and I saw no obvious evidence of photographic forgery; but I am the first person to admit that I am not an expert in photographic special effects techniques circa 1963.

I am of the opinion that it is likely that the back of the head appears intact in the autopsy photographs either because the loose scalp was manipulated for photographic purposes, or because the photos in question were taken after a partial reconstruction by the morticians. I was steered toward this opinion by the ARRB testimony of the two FBI agents who witnessed the autopsy. Both men found the images of the intact back-of-the-head troubling, and inconsistent with the posterior head wound they vividly remembered. Frank O’Neill opined under oath that the images of the back-of-the-head appeared “doctored,” by which he meant that the head had been put back together by the doctors. James Sibert testified that the head looked “reconstructed” in these images—he actually used the word “reconstructed” at his deposition.

No final conclusions can yet be drawn about exactly why a large defect in the rear of the head is not shown in the autopsy photographs, when one was seen by so many witnesses. It is sufficient to say that something is terribly wrong here, and that it is an area that requires more study with the original materials. Thank you for your attention.

Law: How were the doctors acting when you were alone with them? What was their manner?

Rydberg: They were quite comfortable. Boswell's always been like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs with its tail on the floor. Boswell's always been jumpy and quiet. Doesn't want to talk about anything. And Captain Humes saw me at Chapel Hill, because I had released another article. I looked up from my desk and here's Captain Humes. He's a civilian at this time, wanting to go to dinner. So, we went to dinner, and I had made sonic mention in another article about doing the drawings verbally, and that he had burned the notes and retyped them because he didn't want blood on the autopsy report.

Law: Did you believe that story?

Rydberg: I know Dr. Humes, and yes, I do. I believe Dr. Humes did retype them and his rationale was because they were messy And if you've been in an autopsy, you know that it is quite messy. But l really think Colonel Finck was definitely was the forensic ballistics expert. He was the only forensics expert who was there at the autopsy, wanted to make sure that that was an exit and an entrance wound (on the head). And not like I drew later...

Law: Give me a little personal profile on Dr. Boswell as you knew him.

Rydberg: Dr. Boswell was a very good pathologist, a very good doctor. But not one who wanted the limelight, or any confrontation.

Law: He wanted to stay out of everything?

Rydberg: Very quiet, yes. I was not as friendly with him, but I knew him. Dr. Humes was very laughing, joking, jovial. I had to go through Humes so I could teach anatomy in the autopsy room in the morgue. I've seen many autopsies. At least three hundred. And he was the head of the department, so, of course he gave me permission to bring my class into the autopsies. All the autopsies. Except that one.

Law: It's been stated before that Dr. Boswell and Dr. Humes were basically pencil pushers.

Rydberg: Well, Dr. Humes was the head of pathology and would be the one who would do the autopsy on Kennedy, because he was the department head. He was basically in the administrative part, but he was a doctor. Boswell was head of the labs, but also assisted Humes. They were the heads of the departments, and then there was the head of medical illustration. They didn't want just the-they wanted the heads-literally (laughs).

Law: Do you feel that these fellows knew very well where those head wounds were?

Rydberg: Yes.

Law: Because, even before the Records Review Board, they seemed confused as to where the wounds on the head were.

Rydberg: So was Dr. Perry at Parkland.

Law: Is it credible in your estimation, knowing these people the way you did, that, even all these years later, they were so uncertain as to where bullets either entered or exited Kennedy's body?

Rydberg: I really believe honestly that if you go to where the Warren Commission started, LBJ started the Warren Commission, Hoover fed the Warren Commission every bit of information, and Dr. Humes and Dr. Perry all the rest of them who might know what really happened-know that the evidence that was saved could not be backed up by anybody. And Dr. Boswell were facing retirement. They didn't want to lose their retirement. They both gained another rank, too.

Law: Do you think they were the type of people who would just go with the flow?

Rydberg: I think it was a chess game and they were checkmated. I think that always sat wrong with Dr. Humes, that he had to knuckle under.

Law: In essence, there was no choice?

Rydberg: No choice.

Law: So take me back to the dinner that you had with Dr. Humes.

Rydberg: We ate at the Carolina Inn. The UNC owned it. The UNC owns all of Chapel Hill, or did at the time. He wanted to make sure that I knew, from his viewpoint, that those autopsy reports were accurate. He burned them because there was too much of a mess on them. Too much blood. He was trying to back up without causing more clouds over him than I had caused in the article.

Law: So, you wrote this article basically giving the story of him burning the notes, and at some point after that, he looked you up?

Rydberg: He just showed up and just came right in the office.

Law: So how was the atmosphere at the dinner?

Rydberg: Oh, it was fine. We laughed and joked, had a drink and had dinner, in fact we had roast beef. He picked up the tab.

Law: Did he seem sincere?

Rydberg: I knew Dr. Humes well, and we laughed and joked a lot. We didn't go out drinking together, we just didn't do that, but on a professional level he was very open, very warm, very real. But playing a game of chess, sometimes, one gets checkmated. The better part of valor is to do what he did.

Law: In a best-selling book on this case, twenty something years ago it was stated that Dr. Humes would try to get information to people through subtle use of the language. You had to read the language carefully to understand what doctor Humes was saying. Would he be that kind of person?

Rydberg: Yes. And he'd know you knew if he was using that kind of language.

Law: So you knew him as a person who would do this?

Rydberg: Yes.

Law: That's interesting because he made that curious statement-when he was asked by the House Select Committee to describe where the bullets entered and exited [the head l, he said: "It is impossible for the bullet to either have entered or exited from other than behind." And that's a strange statement to make hearing that it couldn't have done anything but go in the back of the head or come out the back of the head.

Rydberg: Exactly

Law: So, this would be a Op-off to you in essence, that Dr. Humes was implying something without coming out and saying it?

Rydberg: Yes. He was saving his name and face for the people he knew would know what he was [doing]. If you knew Dr. Humes, you'd know that he could speak that way. And you'd know what he was saying. I talked with him that night at dinner. There was nothing in that cerebral vault or the brain cavity to turn that bullet if it came in from the back and came out the right side. Brain matter has the consistency of scrambled eggs. There's nothing to turn the bullet, Why would it have come out the right side?

Law: Did you discuss this with Humes?

Rydberg: Yes.

Law: What was his reasoning?

Rydberg: That the findings were that the entrance was at the rear and the exit was at the front.

Law: Have you read either of the doctors' testimony before the Records Review Board?

Rydberg: Yes.

Law: Do you find it strange that both had trouble finding the entrance wounds?

Rydberg: No. I don't find that. If you know Colonel Finck - we'll have to plan on his factoring in on this one-usually, an exit wound is tile larger of the two. But when you've got a bullet coming in from the right, and you've seen that on the Zapruder film - where Kennedy flies back, his head flies back-it really fragments. The bullet-it was like a dumdum bullet.

Law: Well, according to history, Lee Harvey Oswald used a 6.5 millimeter.

Rydberg: Lee Harvey Oswald didn't hit him from the front.

Law: According to history, the shot didn't come from the front and it wasn't a fragmenting bullet.

Rydberg: Read my book (Head Of The Dog). I've placed everything where it belongs. First of all, that quote-unquote "pristine" bullet they found from the neck wound that went through Connolly - I'll put it that way-was not a bullet fired at the time. It was part of Oswald's but it was Ruby who put the bullet on the gurney, which was even the wrong gurney.

Law: That would seem to be how it is to me. Give me a little bit of the feeling for the personalities of these doctors.

Rydberg: Humes was an honorable man. Boswell was also honorable, but he was very-if you want the weak link, that would have been Boswell. He would have buckled.

Law: He would have caved in to the pressure, in essence?

Rydberg: He would have. But Humes would not.

Law: As you've read the testimony before the Records Review Board the doctors had trouble pinpointing the entrance wounds in the head.

Rydberg: And that's another way of speaking. They're saying the same thing"It really wasn't there, it was really in the back, but I'm not going to say that, so I'll have to say it this way." And read between the lines.

Law: These were qualified doctors in your opinion.

Rydberg: All the doctors - any doctor that goes through medical school has about a month of forensics.

Law: So, basically, this double-speak is just that. Trying to tell you something without telling it to you?

Rydberg: Exactly And I know exactly what Dr. Humes was doing. I've read that testimony, and I know exactly what he was saying. You get a bunch of confused old men on the Warren Commission, which they all were, plus the other assistants they had Jerry Ford - that would be enough to confuse anybody. And they're going to come out by not saying it.

Law: So, you feel that when Humes was testifying before the Warren Commission he was trying to leave the true record without coming out and hitting them in the face with it.

Rydberg: Exactly. Because he couldn't jeopardize his retirement, he couldn't jeopardize knowing full well that Hoover was the one feeding the Warren Commission, and Johnson was watching. They only got the information that Hoover wanted them to have. And they also knew, by the time the Select Committee started, that hall of all the evidence was missing, including the brain. Humes would say: "Let me review the evidence." And they would have stated, "We no longer know where it is." In other words, you're on a floating boat on thin ice. So they had to go in just about like I did. Verbally reconstruct it.

Law: When you were having the dinner, did he say anything about the autopsy?

Rydberg: We touched lightly on the autopsy, and it was just a typical Y autopsy. An incision from the shoulder down to the sternum, straight down to the pubic area. A lot of minutiae, so to speak. They did a full autopsy on Kennedy, not a partial-it says in some of the books I've read that it was a partial. Jacqueline only wanted a partial. But it was a full autopsy, or they never would have found out about his adrenal glands, which had nothing to do with the assassination. But the more rhetoric they could throw into the report the less likely you are to single out the important parts. Now, I've seen that "death face" on Kennedy in the morgue in Litton's book, which is another funny thing how he got all that information and I was never allowed to see it. But Humes was an honorable man and he was not going to go down quiet. He was going to leave messages for other people to see what he wanted to say but couldn't.

Joe Thornton

Joseph Eric Thornton (born July 2, 1979) is a Canadian professional ice hockey centre for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL). He previously played for the Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was selected first overall by the Boston Bruins in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft and went on to play seven seasons with the club, three as its captain. During the 2005–06 season, he was traded to the Sharks. Splitting the campaign between the two teams, he received the Art Ross and Hart Memorial Trophies as the league's leading point-scorer and most valuable player, respectively. [1] Thornton would go on to another 14 seasons with the Sharks, including 4 seasons as team captain and a run to the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals, before joining the Maple Leafs in 2020.

Thornton's on-ice vision, strength on the puck, deft passing ability and power forward style of play have led to him becoming one of the league's premier top line centres. [2] He is widely regarded as one of the best passers of all-time, and is one of only 13 players in history with 1,000 NHL assists. [3] His nickname "Jumbo Joe" is a nod to his large stature and to Jumbo the elephant who once performed in St. Thomas, Ontario, where Thornton was raised. [4] [5]

JFK Autopsy, photos and Drawing of Presidnt John F Kennedy: The Warren Commission viewed only the Drawing of President Kennedys wounds at autopsy not the photos. ( Only Earl Warren Viewed the photos of the JFK AUTOPSY. )

JFK Autopsy Photos Pictures photographs images .

John F Kennedy jfke Autopsy Photos bullet wounds
The Exit wound, That Looked like an Entrance wound at Parkland.

JOHN F KENNEDY JFK, AUTOPSY PHOTOS. In these Autopsy photos : T he left view of the head appears near normal, from the right there is severe damage to the top of the head and a severe cut or laceration near the top of the right forehead.
jfk autopsy photos photographs john f kennedy assassination.

jfk autopsy photos, Another head wound Not Seen in Dallas.

The head wound the Dallas Doctors MISSED. kennedy autopsy, FACT OR FAKED.


Boswell 10 x 17 cm MISSING, TOP OF THE HEAD.
Here a vary Large wound in the top of the head is visible. The image is the drawing by Dr. Boswell depicting the magnitude of this wound.


Dr. Humes Has confirmed that this is the location of the large head wound : ( But is uncertain about the size. )
Q. Okay. At the time that you first saw the body of President Kennedy, saw the skull, would it be fair to say, based upon your prior testimony, that there was a skull fragment or fragments missing that would have been in the approximate measurements of 10 centimeters by 13 centimeters or 10 by 17, approximately?
A. Yes. That's right.
< END.>

< Garrison Trial > Dr. Finck.
Q: Now, Doctor, as a result of having performed an autopsy, to what firm opinions did you arrive?
A: At the time we signed the autopsy report -- (* note - After Oswald was Assassinated. *)
Q: That is correct.
A: -- I had the firm opinion that there was a wound of entry in the back of the neck , a wound of exit in the front of the neck, which had been included in a tracheotomy incision, a wound of entry in the back of the head and a wound of exit on the right side of the head. The head wound was the fatal wound, we had the cause of death.
Q: As of this date, Doctor, have you gotten any information which has caused you to change those firm opinions?
A: No.
< END.>


< Garrison Trial > Colonel Finck:
Q: Had any work been done on President Kennedy's body in regard to the performing of the autopsy by the time you got there?
A: As I recall, the brain had been removed. Dr. Humes told me that to remove the brain he did not have to carry out the procedure you carry out when there is no wound in the skull. The wound was of such an extent, over five inches in diameter , that it was not of a great difficulty for him to remove this brain , and this is the best of my recollection. ( *More on the Brain, B ottom OF PAGE 2 * )
END. >

HSCA Drawing or Entrance and Exit head wound path direction bullet John F Kennedy assassination conspiracy jfk autopsy photos photographs images fake medical evidence proof after death front .

None of the JFK autopsy photos would be seen by the public until after the HSCA work was completed in 1979.




( As you will see , the Dallas Doctors Testimony was Completely Ignored and Twisted by the Warren Commission.) ( PAGE 3 )


However the Parkland Hospital Dallas Doctors would Described a Large wound in the Back of the head (Entrance and Exit head wound direction path.)

Parkland Hospital, Doctors Drawing MORE ON JFK AUTOPSY PAGE (3) Head Shot Wound.

JFK AUTOPSY photos head Dallas Doctors, jfk assassination conspiracy theories autopsy photos.

jfk kennedy assassination conspiracy theories autopsy

< Warren Commission. > ( Parkland Hospital )
Dr. William Kemp Clark , neurologist who most closely observed the head wound, described a large, gaping wound in the right rear part of the head.

Dr. Robert Nelson McClelland , general surgery: Parkland Hospital jfk kennedy DALLAS DOCTORS
I was in such a position that I could very closely examine the head wound, and I noted that
the right posterior portion of the skull had been extremely blasted .
you could actually look down into the skull cavity itself and see that probably a third or so, at least, of the brain tissue, posterior cerebral tissue and some of the c erebellar tissue had been blasted out.
< END.>

And here's something else Amazing , For those who believe the DOCTORS were mistaken About this head wound,
There should be No Question From McClellend's Drawing About WHAT, THEY, SAW ( PAGE 3 ) , As they worked on the President for Twenty Five Minutes, AND STRIPED HIM NAKED.



Dr. William Kemp Clark , neurological Surgeon ( Parkland Hospital ):
Dr. Clark. " I then examined the wound in the back of the President's head. This was a large, gaping wound in the right posterior par t , with cerebral and cerebellar tissue being damaged and exposed. "

(*Not even their Single Bullet Theory is as Preposterous as This!) JOHN F KENNEDY JFK GUNSHOT WOUNDS AUTOPSY PHOTOS REPORT RESULTS FACT OR FAKED?.

J FK Assassination autopsy photos fake head shot wound kennedy evidence proof conspiracy after medical evidence photographs after death front report results.

Discovered by The Grand Subversion, Verified by Others, The Dallas EyeWitnesses Now have Photographic Evidence of their Own.

Note - Head wound and bullte hole placement , W.C. (John F Kennedy Entrance and Exit head wound path direction.) Bethesda JFK AUTOPSY report results DRAWING head shot wound bullet conspiracy.


More on the problems with the head wounds And how this head shot Really Occurred!

( Closest Eyewitness ) NOT CALLED TO TESTFIY , Before The Warren Commission?

"I was looking directly at him when he was hit in the side of the head."

Their Entrenc wound in the back of the head



ALSO FROM Assassination JFK Autopsy PAGE (2)
Clint Hill secret service , WHO PUSHED Mr. Kennedy back in the car.
Mr. SPECTER. What did you observe as to President Kennedy's condition on arrival at the hospital?
Mr. HILL. The right rear portion of his head was missing . It was lying in the rear seat of the car


( *And the American People wouldn't SEE For Twelve Years .)

THE HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASSASSINATION'S (HSCA) 1979 Warren Commission and FBIs investigation into the possibility of a conspiracy
"was seriously flawed."

[Parkland Hospital] -- [ Bethesda Autopsy ] -- [Dallas I Witnesses ] -- [Dallas II Oswald ]

<W arren Commission Report:>
Totally absorbed in the immediate task of trying to preserve the President's life, the attending doctors never turned the president over for an examination of his back

.. The autopsy disclosed the large head wound observed at Parkland and the wound in the front of the neck which had been enlarged by the Parkland doctors when they performed the tracheotomy.
< End. >


JFK AUTOPSY PAGE 2 [ NEXT ] More on P resident John F Kennedy JFK AUTOPSY photos pictures and x-rays report results.


JFK Assassination John f Kennedy autopsy photos who killed conspiracy theories shot from footage fake wounds injury.

second shooter grassy knoll JFK Kennedy assassination CONSPIRACY COVER UP autopsy photos fake Dallas Doctors police shooting

[ NEXT ] PAGE 2 More president John F kennedy JFK AUTOPSY PHOTOS and x-rays

JFK Assassination:[ HOME ] the GRAND SUBVERSION.



Moorman photo. Black Dog Image. Knoll Overview. Gordon Arnold Factor.

[ NEXT ] PAGE 2 More president John F kennedy JFK AUTOPSY PHOTOS and x-rays

jfk autopsy photos photographs John F Kennedy Assassination autopsy pictures fake death head shot in wound headshot wound conspiracy evidence proof, path medical Entrance and Exit direction front.

JFK Kennedy Autopsy Photos photographs throat wounds shot in the head.


JFK Assassination:[ HOME ] the GRAND SUBVERSION, president john f kennedy autopsy medical evidence report results.




graphic photos autopsy jfk assassination john f kennedy report conspiracy theories who killed.

JFK Assassination:[ HOME ] the GRAND SUBVERSION, autopsy medical evidence report results.

J. Thornton Boswell - History


The CHAIRMAN. Commander Boswell, will you raise your right hand and be sworn, please?

Do you solemnly swear the testimony you give before this Commission will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Commander BOSWELL. I do, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Be seated, please.

Mr. SPECTER. Will you state your full name for the record, please?

Commander BOSWELL. J. Thornton Boswell, Commander, Medical Corps , U.S. Navy.

Mr. SPECTER. What is your profession?

Commander BOSWELL. Physician.

Mr. SPECTER. And where did you obtain your medical degree, please?

Commander BOSWELL. At the College of Medicine , Ohio State University .

Mr. SPECTER. And what experience have you had in your professional line subsequent to obtaining that degree?

Commander BOSWELL. I interned in the Navy and took my pathology training at St. Albans Naval Hospital in New York . I was certified by the American Board of Pathology in both clinical and pathological anatomy in 1957 and 1958.

Mr. SPECTER. And what is your duty assignment at the present time?

Commander BOSWELL. I am the Chief of Pathology at the National Naval Medical School .

Mr. SPECTER. Did you have occasion to participate in the autopsy of the late President Kennedy?

Commander BOSWELL. I did.

Mr. SPECTER. And did you assist Doctor Humes at that time?

Commander BOSWELL. Yes, sir.

Mr. SPECTER. Have you been present here today during the entire course of Doctor Humes testimony?

Commander BOSWELL. I have, sir yes.

Mr. SPECTER. Do you have anything that you would like to add by way of elaboration or modification to that which Doctor Humes has testified?

Commander BOSWELL. None, I believe. Doctor Humes has stated essentially what is the culmination of our examination and our subsequent conference, and everything is exactly as we had determined our conclusions.

Mr. SPECTER. And are you one of the three coauthors of the autopsy report which has been previously identified as a Commission Exhibit?

Commander BOSWELL. Yes I am.

Mr. SPECTER. All the facts set forth therein are correct in accordance with your analysis and evaluation of the situation?

Commander BOSWELL. Yes.

Mr. SPECTER. And specifically, as to the points of entry and points of exit which have been testified to by Doctor Humes, do his views express yours as well?

Commander BOSWELL. They do, yes.

Mr. SPECTER. Doctor Boswell, would you state for the record what your conclusion was as to the cause of death of President Kennedy?

Commander BOSWELL. The brain injury was the cause of death.

Mr. SPECTER. And in the absence of brain injury, what, in your view, would have been the future status of President Kennedy's mortality, if he had only sustained the wound inflicted in 385?

Commander BOSWELL. I believe it would have been essentially an uneventful recovery. It could have been easily repaired, and I think it would have been of little consequence.

Mr. SPECTER. Those are my only questions, Mr. Chief Justice.

The CHAIRMAN. Does anyone have any questions of the Commander? If not, Commander, thank you very much, indeed. You have been very helpful to us.

Key Information

Thornton Gardens, known originally as the Katherine Sinclair Emery Estate, has at its center a distinguished, high-style Tudor Revival residence surrounded by approximately nine acres of land.

Katherine Sinclair Emery commissioned prominent local architect Myron Hunt to design this “smaller” house for her in 1920 following the death of her husband Frank Whitney Emery. Emery was heir to a tobacco fortune and considered one of the wealthiest men in Southern California.

Hunt, in partnership with architect Elmer Grey, had designed the Emerys’ previous San Marino residence, as well as the nearby Henry Huntington estate (now The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens).

The two-story, 11,700-square-foot house is clad in stucco with decorative half-timbering. It features multi-paned leaded-glass windows, several elaborate brick chimneys, and foliated ornamental accents.

The open entry hall anchored by the grand staircase reflects traditional English halls. Other interior features include oak paneled walls, richly carved wood and stonework, and decorative plasterwork.

Hunt was well known for designing buildings and sites to complement each other.

The architect often worked with Florence Yoch and Lucile Council, leading landscape architects of the period. Yoch and Council, along with landscape architect Katherine Bashford, designed the landscape associated with the main house.

The landscape includes expansive lawns, a prominent motor court, a rear terrace, and a reflecting pool and rose garden on axis on either side of the house.

In the 1940s, Colonel J. G. Boswell and his wife, Ruth Chandler Williamson (daughter of Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler), owned the property. Over time, parts of the property were subdivided and sold, but Ruth Chandler Williamson resided at the house until her death in 1987.

Since then, the current owner has restored the house and reacquired much of the land that was part of the original estate.

The Conservancy holds an easement that protects the exterior façade and interior features of the main house as well as the associated historic landscape, five principal outbuildings, and the master plan for the site.

In January 2018, the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced the acquisition of Thornton Gardens. The current owners will maintain the estate as their private residence during their lifetimes. In the future, the site is slated for co-stewardship by the National Trust and The Huntington, with potential use as a residence for The Huntington's president and visiting scholars.

This is a private residence. Please respect the homeowners’ privacy and do not disturb the occupants or property.


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Secret Californian company with billions in water rights?

Wildfires are raging near Los Angeles, which has brought California's perpetual drought back into the news – again.

America's third-largest state has long struggled with its lack of sufficient water resources. California has the largest population of any state, but no reliable rain season. Its current population of 39m is projected to grow to 50m by 2049, and due to the benign climate, there is also a large agricultural sector to be taken care of. All of this does not make for a good combination.

Though it could be good news for some, because anyone with rights to water resources in California is potentially sitting on the proverbial gold mine.

That's why I enjoyed reading up on a family-controlled but publicly traded company that holds private property rights to 1% of the entire water that is produced in California each year. These legally confirmed rights date back to the 1920s when a well-connected wheeler-dealer farming entrepreneur struck a deal with the government. Today's management of the company steadfastly refuses to share detailed information with the public, which has made its stock a regular plaything of speculators.

Welcome to the world of the J.G. Boswell Company (

Rumours about this company's precious water rights keep popping up in the media.

Knowledge of history is vital to assess this investment

Lieutenant Colonel James Griffin Boswell I managed to amass what remains one of the largest private properties in the world.

At a time when parts of California were still sparsely populated frontier country, Boswell engaged in all sorts of schemes and manoeuvres aimed at getting control of land. This was an era not too long after California had been taken over from Mexico. The outgoing Mexicans had given land rights for a staggering 9m acres to just 516 people – a nice farewell gift mostly driven by bribes. Once in place, the US-American administration had to work double-hard to check which of these land rights were legitimate. The decades-long process led to a few Land Barons emerging with more land than almost anyone had ever owned in history.

One of the eventual winners of this lengthy process was the Boswell farming empire, which eventually encompassed a staggering 150,000 acres (60,700 hectares or 607 square kilometres). That's ten times the size of Manhattan.

Boswell had imagination and perseverance. Whereas other parts of California were the proverbial land of milk and honey, he chose to focus on the Lake Tulare region in San Joaquin Valley. This part of the state was seen as cursed land consisting of mosquito-infested swamps and salt grass desert. An 1851 travelogue had called the area a "death field".

However, it also sat atop a giant watershed and had no less than 16 rivers that carried the snowmelt from the nearby mountains. The valley's flatness and length, combined with its scorching-hot summers, made it ideal for growing cotton, nuts, peaches, tomatoes and onions. Provided, of course, you had access to water.

An almond tree plantation in San Joaquin Valley.

Nothing will grow here if it's not artificially watered.

Snowmelt from the nearby mountains is crucial for agriculture in this part of California.

The Colonel's efforts to not just secure but then also defend his water rights are legend. His political lobbying included the ousting of one Congressman who stood in his way, and he successfully lobbied the country's Secretary of the Interior to dismantle an 86-year old law that endangered his water rights.

As a result of these various efforts, Boswell and his heirs got to own one of the most extensive farming operations of the United States. To this day, the family company ranks among the country's top 100 overall landowners. The farming operation is one of the country's top 10 in terms of output.

You can participate in the family's ventures by buying stock in the J.G. Boswell Company. The shares of the company are traded on an OTC segment of the US stock exchange. However, only 990,000 shares are outstanding in total, and the family controls most of them. Shares do change hands occasionally, but the average trading volume is just a few dozen shares per day. On some days, no trade takes place at all.

Still, with a market capitalisation above USD 600m, this is anything but a small company.

What's more, the potential value of its assets could amount to several times the current stock price. One of the reasons why Boswell shares have a cult following are the complex but potentially extremely valuable water rights. Some say that in California's new era of ever-worsening water shortage, these are potentially worth billions of dollars.

Water rights are a little-known feature of the Californian property market

As Wikipedia puts it, California has "the world's largest, most productive, and most controversial water system". It's also the most complex, as you can easily see on this page that tries to summarise the entire system.

Who would have known what an "acre-feet" refers to? It's a metric used for measuring water rights. One acre-foot is equivalent to 325,853 US gallons or 1,233 cubic metres.

Of California's existing water production system of 40m acre-feet per year, 400,000 acre-feet (or 1%) belong to the J.G. Boswell Company. The family controls enough water to supply 800,000 households throughout the entire year.

To the degree I could ascertain, the company currently uses virtually its entire annual water allowance to operate its farm. However, in theory, at least, the company could also sell the water. In a state where water is a precious commodity, might this be a more worthwhile commercial use than to try and make money planting tomatoes? If so, what would it mean for shareholders?

Up to now, it's hard to say because the company refuses to make much information public.

Even though it is a publicly listed company for all intents and purposes, J.G. Boswell doesn't even have a website. If you want a copy of its annual report, you'll have to prove that you are a shareholder through a copy of your brokerage account statement. More amazingly still, you cannot get back copies for years when you weren't yet a shareholder. Last but not least, the company makes it clear that it does not want anyone to publicly share the annual report. Doing so will get you blocked from receiving any future copies.

Though all of this is an improvement compared to the time when journalists had to make ten phone calls to get one call back from a company official – who then only ever muttered two words: "No comment."

What's the chronic secret-mongering about, and could this actually be a sign that the share is all the more worthwhile to analyse?

One century of successfully accumulating assets

Since its founding in 1921, the J.G. Boswell Company has accumulated assets worth over two billion dollars even if you leave aside the question of the water rights.

Among its possessions are:

  • Not just the 150,000 acres of farmland in San Joaquin Valley, but also 59,000 acres of cattle grazing land in the Sierra Nevada.
  • Processing plants and other equipment worth several hundred million dollars (parts of which can be seen on the Boswell Tomatoes website).
  • A 46% stake in a cottonseed company called Phytogen, whose other major shareholder is Dow Dupont.
  • 96,000 acres of agricultural land in Australia with an accompanying cotton production.

For most of these assets, it's not all that difficult to establish an estimated market value. There is an active market for buying and selling farmland, which allows to value farmland based on the average prices paid per acre in comparable regions of the US.

If you add it all up, the company is sitting on assets that are worth probably north of USD 2bn. The rough split is 60% US-American agricultural operation, 30% Australian agricultural operation, and 10% cottonseed company stake. Its liabilities amount to only about USD 130m, though it would have to pay capital gains taxes if it ever sold some of its assets since they are carried at a lower book value. If the company were liquidated, shareholders would likely receive around USD 1,800 per share purely based on the existing assets, not counting any value for the water rights. That's nearly three times the current share price of USD 650.

By the standards of most value investors, J.G. Boswell shares count as an undervalued stock.

Though the real sex factor could lie in the water rights. Provided, of course, they are worth anywhere near as much as some speculators and pundits make them out to be.

One of the media outlets that once provided fuel for Boswell speculation was Britain's MoneyWeek magazine. A November 2007 article speculated that Boswell's water rights could be worth USD 4bn to USD 20bn – yep, you read that correctly! By the time the article came out, the share had already appreciated from USD 300 to USD 800. Following the MoneyWeek article, it shot up further and reached a new record of USD 1,100. This was the first time the Boswell stock experienced a public hype.

At the end of the following year, it was back down at USD 400. Not only had the estimate probably been wildly inflated, but the market also realised that J.G. Boswell stock was – at least back then – a typical value trap.

Boswell shares experience regular run-ups.

It's beyond doubt that the company owns assets that are worth way more than its current market capitalisation. The problem is, the Boswell family isn't interested in seeing the stock price rise or have anyone else participate in their accumulated fortune.

Though once again, the question of whether this could ever change has recently led to renewed speculation. Boswell shares have seen lively trading in recent months, and the share price has been on the up.

An Australian land sale has brought the stock back into focus

In July 2019, the company announced that it was inviting bids for parts of its farming operations in Australia. Estimating the likely sales proceeds of a farm in drought-stricken Australia was a tricky affair, but it didn't take much to come up with estimates in the triple-digit millions. Compared to its current market capitalisation, a very significant cash windfall could come the company's way. Had the Boswell family decided to liquidate some of their assets after all?

The small community of Boswell shareholders immediately latched back onto the question of water rights. What would these be worth if ever sold separately, and were shareholders now potentially going to see such a sale?

Water rights in California reportedly have a value of USD 20,000 to USD 30,000 per acre-foot when sold, up from about USD 10,000 at the turn of the century. Based on these figures, the water rights would now indeed be worth USD 8bn to USD 12bn.

However, a closer examination of the circumstances concludes that such estimates are overstating the value of the Boswell water rights. For a start, J.G. Boswell's water rights aren't anywhere near large urban areas which makes them less useful. Also, the company simply needs most of its water for its farming operation. After all, if this wasn't the case, it should have long started to sell some of its annual water allowances. Take away the water, and its land in San Joaquin Valley turns to dust (literally) and several hundred million dollars of equipment need to be mothballed, sold or scrapped. You win the water rights value, but you lose the land's value and much of the equipment. You can't have one without giving up the other, at least so far.

I like an ambitious scenario, but sometimes one simply has to be realistic about what's achievable.

Though there could still be mileage to the Boswell speculation, and here is why.

Will changing family dynamics provide the value catalyst?

A long-standing statistic shows that most family fortunes start to dissipate within three generations.

The equivalent German saying goes something like this (loosely translated by yours truly):

"The first generation builds it up.
The second generation keeps it together.
The third generation knocks it over with its arse."

Nothing is known publicly about the family dynamics of the Boswell heirs. Following the death of James Griffin Boswell II in 2009, the family operation is now owned by that cursed third generation. Even the most unified, coherently-managed families eventually end up with individual members drifting off in different directions.

It's not at all unreasonable to speculate that one day, some of the Boswell family members will want to see the family fortune managed in a different way. In which case, there could be a whole number of different options for the family to pursue:

  • Spin-off some or all of the agricultural land into a publicly listed Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), which then rents out the land. The rental income would make for an interesting income stream and provide reliable dividends.
  • Sell those assets that are not vital for the historic farm operation, and distribute the proceeds as a special dividend. E.g., does the J.G. Boswell Company really need to own a minority stake in a cottonseed company?
  • Sell the entire company and call it quits. Get a few private bankers to manage the proceeds for the various family members and live happily ever after.

Plus, there are all sorts of other challenges and opportunities.

Who is not to say that California will eventually utilise new forms of energy to produce cheap, abundant desalinated water? Israel has become an interesting case study for such a strategy. The country used to be devoid of water, but is now a net water exporter in the region, thanks to innovations in desalination technology and an abundant local gas supply. Maybe Boswell should sell the water rights before changing technologies make its value plummet?

Could "farmtech" help make the existing farming operation less water-intense, and free up some of the existing water supply to be sold off every year? Even if J.G. Boswell sold just 10% of its water every year, the company could reap significant extra income.

Would the Boswell family ever try to buy up as many shares as it can, before launching a bid to take the company private? After all, they really don't seem to like the idea of being a publicly listed company.

These are pertinent questions, which even the late James Griffin Boswell II asked himself. An 11 April 2000 article by the Wall Street Journal summarised the reasoning of the second-generation heir:

"Mr. Boswell says it's clear that, at times, a farmer could make more money selling a water option than growing a crop. 'I want an alternative to cotton at 50 cents a pound when it costs 80 cents a pound to grow it,' he says."

Much as there are no indications of far-reaching change at the J.G. Boswell Company right now, someday, something could indeed change dramatically. Since the Wall Street Journal article appeared, the balance between the profitability of the agricultural operation and the potential value of the water rights has shifted further to the favour of the latter. At what time does it all get too tempting for the third generation and their fourth-generation offspring to liquidate the empire? I have no answer, but also no doubt that some market participants will continue to wonder about this question. The Boswell speculation isn't going to go away.

A public company that comes with an interesting biography

I learned a lot about the J.G. Boswell Company during a 23h train ride from Seattle to San Francisco. After long keeping a copy of "Boswell – The King of California" on my bookshelf, I finally found the right occasion to read through the 550-page tome. Occasionally glancing at the vast expanses of Washington State, Oregon, and California, I made my time aboard the "Coastal Starlight" panorama train even more enjoyable by reading the part authorised, part un-authorised biography of the company's founder.

The late James Griffin Boswell I did eventually open up (somewhat) to a journalist, leading to this 2003 book.

Secrecy was indeed built into the company's DNA right from the start. As J.G. Boswell himself put it: "For as long as the whale doesn't surface, it doesn't get harpooned."

Reading about the family's management of the company and seeing how it has kept it virtually debt-free, I couldn't help but think that these are people you could safely stash money with. If you wanted to own tangible assets in California and have someone else take care of them, you could probably do worse than buying a few J.G. Boswell stock and tucking them away in the far-end of your stock portfolio.

Will you ever get to see the much-higher value of the underlying assets realised? There is no way of knowing.

Is such a scenario possible? It sure is, and its likelihood probably increases with each year that passes simply because of the almost inevitable family dynamics. Once it happens, the share price is probably going to multiply overnight, and you won't even get a chance to buy in at a fraction of the underlying assets' value. The company does have a lot of options available to itself, given that it already has access to capital markets.

What's the worst-case scenario for such an investment? It's for you to buy into Boswell stock just when one of the regular hypes is taking place. In 2007, 2011 and 2014, respectively, rampant speculation drove up the share price. It then lost much of its value during the subsequent cooling-off period. You'd want to buy only at times when absolutely no one is giving the company any attention.

The stock has also seen extended periods of nothing happening at all, such as the 2015 to 2019 sideways movement.

Boswell shares could remain a value trap for decades to come, or they could turn into a stellar performer overnight. I wonder if even the Boswell heirs know for sure what their future intentions are? Though to follow the family's course from the perspective of being a co-owner is probably a lot of fun in itself – and you'll even get that secret annual report!

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2 Farm Giants End Decades of Rivalry With Land Deal

The Boswells and the Salyers, two of the richest and most powerful farming families in America, have ended decades of rivalry and rancor over their San Joaquin Valley empires with a huge land deal in which one colossus will swallow the other.

Fred Salyer, 72, has agreed to sell his cotton and grain empire--about 25,000 acres of fertile San Joaquin Valley soil--to J. G. Boswell for tens of millions of dollars, according to business associates and employees.

The two men themselves are not talking about the deal that would end one of the most protracted and colorful family feuds in California history. Salyer, a stickler for privacy, waved off a reporter in front of his modest ranch house here: “I’ve got no comment.”

He confirmed the sale, effective March 1, in a terse letter to city and county officials that gave no hint of its symbolic importance. The Boswells and the Salyers have been fighting over land and water and control of this part of the state since their forebears--"the Colonel” and “the Cockeye"--first squared off in the early 1920s.

In this two-company cotton town along California 43, where almost everyone’s bread is buttered by Boswell or Salyer but rarely by both, it was always thought that too much venom and pride stood between the two clans for any deal to be struck. But over the last decade, as his fortunes waned, Salyer grew more open to overtures.

Last week, on the heels of another disappointing crop for Salyer, James G. Boswell II, the largest cotton grower in the world, traveled to Corcoran from his headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles to sit down face-to-face with Salyer.

Salyer initially wanted to sell only part of his empire, sources said, but soon everything was on the table. Boswell sealed the deal with a check that, by some accounts, exceeded $26 million.

“It’s the end of a long chapter,” Corcoran Mayor Jon Rachford said.

The deal is the talk in diners, hardware stores and barbershops in this town of about 10,000, but only in private.

“We’ve got the state prison now, but this is still a town divided down the middle by Boswell and Salyer,” said one reticent old-timer wearing a seed company hat and munching on a hamburger at Tolbert’s cafe.

He said he had done more than $2 million worth of work on cotton gins belonging to both giants in recent years. “I’d be kind of foolish to say anything,” he smiled tightly. “I don’t want to be tarred and feathered and run out of town.”

At the Brunswick barbershop, where photos of deceased patriarch Clarence (Cockeye) Salyer and his two famous dove-hunting partners, Clark Gable and John Wayne, stare down at customers, barber Jim Cook said he hadn’t seen Fred Salyer in almost two weeks.

“He usually comes in once or twice a week for a trim but since all this came out maybe he feels uncomfortable coming downtown,” Cook said. “Anyhow, he doesn’t tell me a thing. He’s a very private man.”

Salyer work crews in their green hats and mud-caked white Chevy pickups seemed to be everywhere, warning strangers not to set foot on the boss’s far-ranging lands. “I wouldn’t be snooping around here if I was you,” snapped one young, grim-faced foreman.

A bad mood had gripped the entire company, he said, ever since Salyer broke the word to employees last week that he was selling “lock, stock and barrel” to rival Boswell--the men in blue. Salyer could not guarantee that his 136 full-time and 220 seasonal workers would find jobs with Boswell.

“He drove field to field in his gray Fleetwood,” the foreman said. “It was a sad day.”

The fear is that Boswell, known as a picky boss, will become even pickier now that workers have lost their one card--the ability to walk a hundred yards across the Santa Fe railroad tracks and sign up with the competition.

Rachford, a real estate man who spent 18 years on Boswell’s payroll as a self-described gofer, said there was little reason to be grim. “The land is still here, the crops are still going to be grown and harvested and ginned. And it’s going to require people to do it.”

Even by San Joaquin Valley standards, Corcoran is a strange place. Few small towns in the country boast so many millions with so little flaunting of wealth. Perhaps that shyness has something to do with the federally subsidized water that for decades has flowed the cotton giants’ way, and the paper games that both land barons have played to get around the law that limits acreage of farmers who get that water.

The town itself has nothing but pride, proclaiming to visitors in bold letters: “Welcome to the Farming Capital of California.” It is no idle boast.

Boswell is not only the largest cotton grower in the world but also the largest grower of wheat and seed alfalfa in America. In California alone, the crop value on 129,000 acres of Boswell land was estimated at more than $100 million in 1993. Salyer was 14th on the list of the state’s largest farms, with an estimated crop value of $40 million on 33,000 acres.

Bales of the finest cotton stand row upon row as far as the eye can see, waiting to be turned into Jockey underwear, Fieldcrest towels and L.L. Bean shirts.

Such abundance is a testament to the vision and guile of two pioneers of California agriculture: Col. James G. Boswell, a military and cotton man driven out of Georgia by the boll weevil, and a Virginia hillbilly named Salyer, who skinned mules and carried the cruel moniker Cockeye on account of a fake eye that wandered so far to the left that the glass iris was barely visible.

Vision was needed because this land, in wet years, was at the bottom of the largest body of fresh water west of the Mississippi--Tulare Lake. In dry years, when the four rivers ran low, the land could sustain any and all row crops.

Guile was needed because the trick was to control the water, which Boswell and Salyer accomplished with a vast and ingenious maze of levees and irrigation ditches, aided by massive pumps and government-built dams.

Old man Salyer, whose legendary drinking, brawling and carousing is still recalled fondly here, became so enamored of buying land that he frequently ran short of cash and papered the town with bad checks.

Col. Boswell wasn’t quite so picturesque, dividing time between Los Angeles and Corcoran and marrying Ruth Chandler, the daughter of land baron and Los Angeles Times Publisher Harry Chandler.

The two pioneers were friendly as long as they were ganging up on smaller guys, according to locals. But the fight over water and politics often required one to subvert the other.

One year Col. Boswell needed Salyer land to divert floodwaters. Salyer said no. When the harvest was in and Cockeye needed water, he made the mistake of calling on Boswell. When Boswell said no, Cockeye took the water anyway with a few sticks of dynamite in a well-placed levee.

Half a century later, both patriarchs dead, the battle raged on. Now it was the colonel’s nephew and namesake, J.G. Boswell II, facing off against Cockeye’s two sons, Fred and Everette.

The Salyers didn’t think it was fair that the local water district was controlled by Boswell simply because Boswell owned more land. So they took their fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1973, in a landmark decision, the court ruled 6 to 3 that water districts did not have to adhere to the one man, one vote principle that was the bedrock of democracy.

In recent years, with the death of Everette Salyer, relations between J.G. Boswell II and Fred Salyer have become more amicable. On a number of political issues, including the notion of a Peripheral Canal around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the two men have joined forces to get their way. Both are old military pilots, according to mutual friends, and respect each other.

In December, after years of bad investments and bank repossessions, Salyer was forced to sell 3,900 acres to Boswell in a $10-million deal, according to local officials. Last week’s big sale, the details of which are closely guarded, was apparently a continuation of those negotiations.

Townsfolk now speculate over what Salyer might keep. Certainly not the two cotton gins or the towering grain silos belching foul gas. They cannot imagine, though, that he would sell his mint-condition aircraft or the 1.3-mile runway that snakes along the highway, which took no shortage of political chits to get built.

One old-timer shook his head: “Old Cockeye is just about turned over in his grave.”

Château Boswell Winery

Château Boswell Winery is one of northern Napa Valley’s stunning estates the winery was founded by Los Angeles born Richard Thornton Boswell (RT for short, died in 2014), a dentist and lover of outdoor adventure who practiced in Laguna Beach. In the 1970s, he began investing in real estate and in 1979 purchased 10 acres of land – what would become the home of Château Boswell Winery (built in 1982). Their first commercial release was in 1979, merely several hundred cases. Their production has grown significantly since then yet still remains fairly small focusing on limited production hand-crafted wines (usually several thousand cases per year spread over a number of small lot wines).

André Tchelistcheff was their founding winemaker he was instrumental in the layout and clonal choices for the original plantings of their estate vineyard. Arguably André was one of Napa’s most influential and well-respected winemakers. Born in Moscow his family fled the Russian Revolution of 1917 to Kiev. Later André joined the White Army and fought in the Russian Civil War on the Crimean Peninsula. At one point his unit came under machine gun fire – André was left for dead and his father even held a funeral for him.

Eventually his family moved to France where he met Georges de Latour who was looking for a new winemaker for Beaulieu Vineyard. André agreed to come to the Napa Valley and arrived in 1938. He stayed with Beaulieu Vineyard for some 35 years before ‘retiring’ in 1973. However, his career didn’t end then – he continued to significantly contribute to the local wine industry as a winemaker and soils expert and one of his numerous clients was Château Boswell Winery.

The estate vineyard, while very small features a diversity of terroir including volcanic ash, volcanic based red soil as well as rocky obsidian – all good soils for growing Cabernet Sauvignon. Nearby Glass Mountain is literally full of the black shiny obsidian rock that was so commonly used by Native Americans for hunting part of their vineyard is strewn with these sharp pieces of volcanic black stones (only about a foot deep). Only 3.2 acres are planted to vine (approximately 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc). The overall property is 10 acres with the majority of the land still forested, growing on rugged hillsides. The winery is nestled against the wooded hills in a secluded peaceful location within the valley – when one stands near their cave entrance and looks west – all one sees are the wooded hills.

RT was interested in developing the site as a real estate investment (with the intent to eventually sell the property) – but his wife Susan offered to help grow the brand and take their winery operations to the next level. She has certainly done so in the ensuing years. She oversaw the construction of a 14,000 square foot cave tunneled into the hillside. The floor leading to the cave features an obsidian inlay using stones from the property. The wine cave is functional yet at the same time aesthetically gorgeous. Much of the cave is tunneled through volcanic rock and a number of sections are left exposed to this bare rock. The property features plenty of water and some 25+ springs can be seen seeping through parts of the cave (a beneficial feature for helping moderate humidity).

One cave tunnel connects with their existing winery all the crush and fermentation takes place indoors. Older vintages of their Cabernet Sauvignon are stored in the small cave grottoes. During the tunneling, two large boulders fell down from one of the ceilings leaving a most unusual concave formation.

The formal and elegant tasting room is located on the upper level of the cave – however guests will sometimes taste within one of the lower cave grottoes. Visits to Château Boswell Winery are for serious wine enthusiasts and are not meant to be rushed. Their philosophy is to get to know their customers and a tasting is private and highly personable.

In the past couple of years the Boswell family refocused their winemaking efforts their winery used to be home to several custom crush clients, today the production facility is mainly used for their own wines. Past winemakers have included Luc Morlet and Russell Bevan – today their winemaker is well-regarded Philippe Melka (whose own winery is located a bit south of here).

Their focus is on premium hand crafted Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. There are numerous Chardonnay and Pinot Noir producers in the valley but very few who specialize in the high end tier of these varietals. Château Boswell is one of these wineries.

Here is an example of their unwavering focus to using only the highest quality fruit. One vintage of Chardonnay had a production of 41 barrels. After their final sampling and blending they elected to use merely 8 of these barrels for their final released wine. This is a common thread that plays throughout their winemaking and is not just limited to the white wines. Some of their source vineyards not owned by Château Boswell Winery have been planted specifically upon their request. And these vineyards are very carefully selected. All their white wines are barrel fermented with non indigenous yeast used for the primary fermentation. Each of their Chardonnay wines are sourced from premium vineyards in Sonoma County including the well-known Russian River region as well as other Sonoma coastal areas. And their Pinot Noir comes from much further to the south – the Santa Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County.

Our favorite Chardonnay is the 2005 Château Boswell Winery Dutton Ranch Braughton Vineyard (Wente Clone). Dutton Ranch produces premium Chardonnay for a variety of boutique producers. This vintage does not disappoint as it is extremely well focused on the fruit with intense flavors, vibrant acidity and overall is well-balanced. Mineral notes and nuances of lemon on the nose lead to a palate with notes of stone fruit, citrus and hints of vanilla. The 2006, also from the Dutton Ranch but from the Martens Vineyard (Dijon clone) has a cloudy presence in the bottle due to no filtering or fining. This is a Burgundian style Chardonnay. The nose is decidedly mineral in nature – think dry crushed rocks. Nuances of lemon oil are found on the palate and the finish is clean and features a richness of flavor. This is an ideal food wine.

We tried the 2007 Jacquelynn Cuvee Blanc, a 50/50 blend of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc. This wine was carefully made and only underwent partial malolactic fermentation. It is stirred 1x per week on the lees over about 6 months while in barrel. The vineyards for both of these varietals are carefully managed with extremely low yields based on their 1 cluster per shoot requirement. The results are concentrated fruit and a nice textured mouth feel. The bouquet is fairly refined with nuances of melon and pineapple with a palate layered in other fruit flavors.

The 2006 Jacquelynn 100% Beckstoffer To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon is partially fermented in open top wood puncheons. This wine like their other reds is only made from free run juice (not the pressed juice after maceration occurs). This is a rich layered wine with black fruit aromas including blackberry and cherry with just a touch of vanilla. It is big on the palate with notes of blackberries carried over from the bouquet as well as nuances of black chocolate.

Château Boswell also makes several delicious Cabernet Sauvignons – one of which is sourced from premium vineyards in Oakville and the other is their only estate wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon typically blended in proportion with the Cabernet Franc growing on the property. The 2004 Château Boswell “Beckstoffer Vineyard IV has a bit of Cabernet Franc blended with the Cabernet Sauvignon and produces a beautiful terroir driven wine with a dustiness and earthy quality to the nose – the smell of dust after a rain. This is a very rounded opulent wine with plenty of fruit showing mid palate through to the finish. Time the finish on this one – you won’t be disappointed!

You can find their wines merely at 3 or 4 local restaurants and at the winery. The best way to gain access to their wines on a consistent basis is to join their mailing list.

Château Boswell Winery has a relatively long history in the Napa Valley – they are producing elegant and inspired wines. This is a winery to definitely keep a close eye on.

Note: in 2020, tragically Chateau Boswell burned in the Glass Fire – one of the very early winery casualties. Hopefully they will rebuild and we will visit once the new winery is built.

Brigadier General John J. Pershing, to family friend Anne Boswell, October 5, 1915


Courtesy of Andrew Carroll

John Pershing expressed his grief with this black-edged mourning stationery. In late August 1915, while Pershing was stationed away from his family, a house fire claimed the lives of his wife Frances and his three daughters. His young son Warren survived, but Pershing’s loss was profound. He stayed busy at Fort Bliss, Texas, contending with instability along the border caused by the ongoing revolution in Mexico.

I have been trying to write you a word for some time but find it quite impossible to do so. I shall never be relieved of the poignancy of grief at the terrible loss of Darling Frankie and the babies. It is too overwhelming! I really do not understand how I have lived through it all thus far. I cannot think they are gone. It is too cruel to believe. Frankie was so much to those whom she loved, and you were her best friend.

Ann Dear, if there is anything I can do for you ever, at any time, please for Frank’s sake let me know. And, I want to hear from you just as she would want to hear from you. [page break] My sister and Warren are here with me. Warren is in school. I think his is such a sad case – to lose such a mother and such sisters.

I am trying to work and keep from thinking but oh! The desolation of life: the emptiness of it all after such fullness as I have had. There can be no consolation.


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