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Friday, December 4, 2015

Last Photos in a Tsunami: John and Jackie Knill

After the devastating tsunami hit Thailand on December 26, 2004, Christian Pilet and his wife, who were Baptist missionaries, volunteered to travel to Thailand and help.  One morning, while Christian and a friend were walking on a beach strewn with rubble, his friend kicked something with his foot.

"He said, 'Look, it's a smashed digital camera,'" relayed Pilet.  "It was obliterated.  It was in very bad condition.  Finding the camera seemed liked a nonevent."

Still, Pilet was curious, and was able to open the camera and retrieve the memory card, which he brought with him back to his hotel.   Much to his surprise, it was undamaged - and the pictures relayed a devastating story.

an earlier photo from the memory card

The photos revealed the vacation of John and Jackie Knill, a couple from Vancouver, Canada who had been visiting the Khao Lak resort in Thailand.  It showed them happily posing on vacation... until the last eight pictures:

 Before a tsunami hits, the water recedes from the beach.  It would certainly be a curious event worth retrieving your camera to document.

Far in the distance, beyond two ships, the tsunami becomes visible.

Swimmers have begun exiting the water, alerted to something in the distance.
All seem to be looking at the wave in the distance.

It is now 8:26am, and some beachgoers seem oblivious to the wave the in background, casually strolling along the shore, unaware of their impending doom.

The wave has now reached the ships, which have turned to try and face it head-on.  Its size becomes apparent compared to the large ships.

What ships?

The wave draws closer, gaining height and power.

The wave dwarfs a beachgoer who runs for his life.  The time is 8:30am.

The following is the last image on the Knills' camera.

Pilet was shocked by the photographs: "It was as if you were hearing somebody speak their last words and then suddenly they are cut off in mid-sentence."

Christopher Pilet immediately began searching for the couple in the photos, and came in touch with the Knills' three sons.  Pilet traveled to Vancouver to deliver the photos in person.

John and Jackie Knill were a retired couple thinking of settling in Thailand.  "Thailand was their favorite place," explained their son, Patrick.  "They found peace there every time.  They came back a better person every time, and they were already great people."  And he did find some comfort in the images, saying that his parents seemed to be speaking to him: "...that we were together, it's OK, and here you get to see what we saw last."

Pilet took some comfort as well.  "...you can look at the image of them happy in their last day and really be glad they were enjoying a tremendous Christmas."

Some have criticized the Knills for not running from the wave (though many beachgoers in the images are seen oblivious to the dangers as well).  "I don't know why they didn't run," said their son, Christopher.  "Either they knew they couldn't [run,] or they didn't know the power of the wave."

Running may not have helped much - the resort is right on the beach and there is no higher ground to flee to, especially not in the few short minutes before the tsunami hit.  This image from Pintrest seems to show the resort after the tsunami:

Instead, the Knills chose to document their last moments, giving us a heart-wrending insight into what tragedy they went through - and also enabling us to recognize a tsunami should we ever be in the same situation.

The remains of the Knills were recovered and returned to their children in Canada.

The Knill brothers worked together to establish a fund to remember their parents and help orphans from the tsunami.  I have been unable to find any current information on the fund, but the address for donations is listed here:

Knill Thailand Fund
Box 314
1489 Marine Drive
West Vancouver, B.C.
V4T 1B8

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Trial of the Century 4: Hauptmann Speaks

ᴄᴜʀʀᴇɴᴛʟʏ ʀᴇsᴇᴀʀᴄʜɪɴɢ: ɪᴛᴇᴍs ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴀʀᴇ ᴄᴜʀʀᴇɴᴛʟʏ ʙᴇɪɴɢ ʀᴇsᴇᴀʀᴄʜᴇᴅ ᴍᴀʏ ʙᴇ ᴜᴘᴅᴀᴛᴇᴅ ᴀs ᴛɪᴍᴇ ɢᴏᴇs ᴏɴ. ᴛʜɪs ɪs ᴛʜᴇ ғᴏᴜʀᴛʜ ᴘᴏsᴛ ɪɴ ᴛʜɪs sᴇʀɪᴇs.

ɴᴏᴛᴇ: ᴛʜɪs ᴛᴇsᴛɪᴍᴏɴʏ ʜᴀs ɴᴏᴛ ʙᴇᴇɴ ᴄʜᴇᴄᴋᴇᴅ ᴀɢᴀɪɴsᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ᴍɪᴄʀᴏғɪʟᴍ.

The Testimony of Bruno Richard Hauptmann

Hauptmann (who went by his middle name, Richard), was born on November 26, 1899, in Saxony, Germany.  He went to public school for 8 years, and following his graduation, attended a trade school for 2-3 years.  He studied carpentry and machinery and began working at the age of 14 in his hometown, Kamentz.

He went to fight in the first World War when he was 17 years old, and served for 1¾ yrs,  He testified that he was slightly wounded, or perhaps gassed.  He came out of the army around Christmastime in 1918.

This was a bad time to be in Germany, of course, and Hauptmann was unable to obtain work.  He was convicted of “an offense” (in this part of the testimony, unnamed; we know this to have been a burglary including the use of a ladder) in springtime of 1919, and was later paroled.

Hauptmann first tried to enter the US in the summer of 1923.  He boarded a steamer, but was discovered on the ship and returned to Germany.  He tried again in November of the same year and was successful.

He found work as a dishwasher in New York City and worked for about a month, then became a mechanic, then a dyer, and then as a machinist; finally, he gained work as a carpenter, earning $8 a day.

Hauptmann met Anna Schoeffler in 1924, they moved several times, and he began earning more.  Bruno and Anna married on October 10, 1925.

Anna and Bruno, dubious source.

Hauptmann testified that he has never been to Hopewell in his life, nor had he ever been to Highfields, and so on, and so on.

Hauptmann testifying. 

On March 1st, 1930:

He woke up around 6am and took his wife to the bakery between half past six and a quarter to seven.  He dropped his wife off, put the car in the garage, and went to the White Plains subway station, and took the subway to the Majestic Hotel, where he was to report for work.

Hauptmann went to the carpentry shop and the foreman told him to go see the superintendent.  The superintendent told Hauptmann that he could not start working, since the job was filled up, though Hauptmann claims he had a note from an agency granting him the job.

Hauptmann left his tools at the Majestic and went to the employment agency, trying to get the ten dollars back that he paid to get the position.  He couldn’t get it back and was told to come back tomorrow when there would be other positions open.

He then spent the day going around to various employment agencies and to Radio City trying to get a construction job, and then went home around 5pm.  He picked up Anna around 7pm, walked “the owner’s” police dog (I suppose the owner of their apartment?) and ate dinner at a restaurant.  They left the restaurant after 9pm, Hauptmann drove them home and went straight to bed.

On March 2nd, Hauptmann got up at 6am again and took his wife to her job at the bakery.  He then put the car in the garage and went to the Sixth Ave. subway stop, where he says he purchased a paper and read about the Lindbergh case for the first time.

Hauptmann continues to deny writing the ransom letters, meeting in the cemetery, and so on.  He continued searching for a job from the 1st to the 15th of March while working at a lumber yard near his home.  He gets a new job at the Majestic Apartment on the 15th or 16th of March, though he leaves this job on the 1st, claiming he wasn’t paid what he was promised.  (This is, of course, when the kidnapper received his ransom.)

Finally, the ladder recovered at Lindbergh’s home is brought out.  When asked if he built the ladder, Hauptmann first replies, “I am a carpenter.”  Laughter filled the courtroom.  Hauptmann was not taught English at school, and his testimony occasionally reflects his difficulty with the language.

  The question is asked again, and Hauptmann replies, “Certainly not.”

He is asked to come down from the witness stand and look at the ladder, and upon doing so, says “Looks like a music instrument.”

“Does it look like a well-made ladder?”

“To me it looks like a ladder at all, I don’t know how a man can step up.”   Your guess is as good as mine as to what Hauptmann means there; he apparently did not feel it was well-made.

Hauptmann denies transporting the ladder in his car.


I have been busy the past few weekends and have been unable to make it to the library to further check the microfilm.  I have located copies of the trial transcripts and FBI files online and will be ordering those, which should hopefully make this research go faster.


Next up: The Notes

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Trial of the Century 3: March 1, 1932

ᴛʜᴇ ᴛʜɪʀᴅ ᴘᴏsᴛ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ʟɪɴᴅʙᴇʀɢʜ ᴛʀɪᴀʟ sᴇʀɪᴇs.

ᴄᴜʀʀᴇɴᴛʟʏ ʀᴇsᴇᴀʀᴄʜɪɴɢ: ɪᴛᴇᴍs ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴀʀᴇ ᴄᴜʀʀᴇɴᴛʟʏ ʙᴇɪɴɢ ʀᴇsᴇᴀʀᴄʜᴇᴅ ᴍᴀʏ ʙᴇ ᴜᴘᴅᴀᴛᴇᴅ ᴀs ᴛɪᴍᴇ ɢᴏᴇs ᴏɴ.

Where were you on the evening of
March 1st, 1932?

On March 1, 1932, the Lindbergh household contained: 

Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh Sr.
Mrs. Anne Morrow Lindbergh, his wife
Charles A. Lindbergh Jr., their son
Mr. Oliver Whately, manservant
Mrs. Elsie Whately, housekeeper/cook
Miss Betty Gow, nursemaid

Testimony of Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Anne Lindbergh arriving at court.
  Leslie Jones Photography.

Anne spent the day at home in Hunterdon with the baby. She had taken a walk in the afternoon, after which, upon returning, she threw a pebble up to the baby’s window, and Betty Gow held the baby up to wave hello to his mother.

At approximately 6:15pm, Anne was in the baby’s room while he had his dinner at a maple table towards the center of the room. She stayed in the nursery until the baby was put to bed. He was given medicine and rubbed with Vick’s Vapo-rub for a slight cold he’d had the past few days, dressed, and put in bed at around 7:30pm.

The baby was wearing a homemade shirt Miss Gow had made for him out of a flannel petticoat, on top of that a larger sleeveless shirt, and on top of that a wool “sleeping suit.” The baby may have had on a "thumb guard," used at the time to prevent infants from sucking their thumb. Anne could not remember specifically if he was wearing it that night.

Col. Lindbergh was not home yet, at 7:30pm, when Anne left the nursery. She sat at a desk in the living room; what she was doing at the desk is not mentioned. She was there until approximately 8:25pm, when she heard Charles honk the horn of his car. He came inside and they had dinner, finishing at around 9pm, then sat in the living room by the fire shortly. The couple went upstairs to their bedroom and talked for around 15 or 20 minutes. Charles drew a bath and bathed and then went down to the library while Anne got ready for bed.

Anne rang for Mrs. Wheatley and asked her to bring a “hot lemonade” - she’d caught the cold from the baby, and this drink was just hot water with some lemons in it. After Mrs. Wheatley left to fix Anne’s drink, Miss Gow ran into Anne’s room asking if Anne had the baby. Anne sent her downstairs to speak to Charles and went into the baby’s room shortly after 10pm. She found the room empty, and went back to her bedroom, where she met Charles and Miss Gow. Charles got a rifle from the closet and they returned to the baby’s room and searched it. Anne then retreated to her bedroom with Mrs. Wheatley and got dressed and returned to search the house.

Anne was not subjected to a cross-examination.

Testimony of Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr.

Lindbergh on the witness stand in the Flemington Courthouse.
On March 1st, Charles had spent the day in New York, and arrived home at around 8:25pm. After parking, he joined his wife in the dining room, had dinner, and finished dinner at around 9pm. They left to the living room, where they sat on a sofa and talked for 10-15min.

Q.: Well, some time during that night did you hear some sort of a noise or a crash? 
A.: Yes, I did. 
Q.: About what time was it and where were you? 
A.: Sitting on the softa in the livign room during the ten or fiteen minutes after we had come into the livign room from the dining room.  At that time I haered a sound which seemd to me, at the time, the impression that entered my mind at the time vaguely was that it was like the top of -- well, say, an orange box, the top slats of an orange box falling off a chair, which I assumed to be in the kitchen. 
Q.: That is, sort of like the falling of a crate, a wooden crate? 
A.: The slats of a crate. 
Q.: At any rate, what you felt was happening was that some pieces of wood, like the slats of a crate, had fallen in the kitchen? 
A.: That is correct.  I did not pay very much attention to it at the time, but enough to remark to my wife the words, "What is that?"  
Q.: Except for that, it went unnoticed? 
A.: Yes. 
Q.: About what time was that? 
A.: That would be about 9:10 or 9:15. 
Q.: Was it the sort of a noise that would come with the falling of a ladder? 
A.: Yes, it was, if the ladder was outside. 

The couple then went upstairs to the bedroom, where they continued their conversation. He took a bath, then left down to the library where he read for a bit.

The writing-desk where Lindbergh sat in the library was apparently underneath the window of the nursery, but Charles did not see anything (as far as the darkness would permit, during the time he was in the library).

Around 10pm, Miss Gow came to Lindbergh and asked “rather excitedly” if he had the baby. He did not, and ran up to the nursery to check:
as I entered the room, of course I at first and immediately looked at the crib. The bed clothing in the crib was in such condition that I felt it was impossible for the baby to have gotten out himself. I knew that neither my wife nor Miss Gow had taken him because Miss Gow had asked me if I had him and my wife was upstairs. The clothing was standing – the bed clothing was standing stiffly enough so that the opening where the baby had been was still there, the clothing had not collapsed.

At first glance Lindbergh did not notice the note; his attention was on the crib, and it was not until he returned to the room about 5 minutes later did he see it, "unopened" on the window sill. The window was closed; "The note was in an envelope on top of the grating which forms the window sill and through which heat comes from the radiator."

Lindbergh then got his Springfield rifle and told his manservant Mr. Wheatley to call the sheriff. As soon as he determined that the call had got through (he feared the lines may be cut), he called the NJ State Police and a friend and attorney, Colonel Beckenridge. He then went outside to look around.

At this point police arrived, and with their flashlights, soon discovered the ladder underneath the nursery window. They found the footprints and marks of the ladder underneath the nursery window. The note was not opened or touched until police arrived with proper equipment (i.e. to take fingerprints).

At this point it was nearing daybreak (I presume) and mention is made of several hundred of the press showing up, and there was considerable confusion due to all the press walking around.

Testimony of Bessie Mowat Gow

Betty (listed in court documents as "Bessie") pushes baby Charles in a stroller.
Screencap from movie footage, Corbis

Bessie usually stayed at Englewood while the Lindberghs went to Hopewell on the weekends. She was called at 11am on March 1st to help Mrs. Lindbergh, and arrived at Highfields at around 1pm.

Her testimony is lively and full of character, so I'll allow her to speak to you in her own words:

Betty Gow enters the Flemington Courthouse before testifying.

About quarter of six, I should say, the baby came running into the kitchen, ran around the table several times and spoke to Elsie. I took his hand then, took him upstairs for supper. I left him in his room for, oh, one minute, not as long as it took me to get his cereal from the kitchen. Came upstairs again; gave him his supper. He hadn't quite finished when Mrs. Lindbergh came into the nursery and she stayed with me while we got the baby ready for bed. We undressed him and just as he was about ready for bed I decided to give him some physic. In taking this he spilt some over his nightclothes.

...I undressed him again and decided that I would have time to make him a proper little flannel shirt to put on next his skin. I didn't have enough sewing materials there, so I asked Mrs. Lindbergh while I went out of the room to get some from Mrs. Whately, who I thought would have some. Went down to the kitchen where she gave me scissors, and said she would look for thread and bring it to me. I went back up to the nursery. Mrs. Lindbergh played with the baby while I cut this little shirt out. Mrs. Whately came into the room with the thread and I stitched it up very hurriedly and put it on the baby after having rubbed him with Vicks.

In addition to this, the baby wore diapers and some sort of rubber pants on top, a sleeping suit, and a thumb guard on each hand.

After the baby was finally ready for bed, Betty Gow testified,
I put him in his bed, Mrs. Lindbergh and I went around the windows, closed the shutters, we closed all the shutters tight except the one at the window, the southeast window; this one we couldn't quite close, it had evidently warped, so we closed it as best we could and left it that way.
The shutter was drawn against the window but unlocked.

Miss Gow left the room once at a half-past seven, but returned, and apparently at this time she pinned up the baby's bedclothes. This was the proper way to put the baby to bed at the time, as it would keep him warm and keep him from kicking off his blankets in the night. Miss Gow finally left the baby's room at 8pm exactly - she recalls looking at her watch.

She proceeded to the West Wing and had dinner with the Wheatleys. At around half past eight they heard Mr. Lindbergh’s car come in, and she spoke with him briefly as he made his way through the kitchen about how his son was doing. She stayed in the dining room for about a half hour and was with Mrs. Whately the entire time, and Mr. Whately came and went some.

She finally left the downstairs at around 9pm, during this time the dog had been with Miss Gow in the sitting room. Miss Gow and Mrs. Whately went upstairs to look at a new dress together. Miss Gow glanced at her watch and realized it was nearly 10pm and went to check on the baby:

I didn't put any light up but let the door of the room open so that the light from the hall would come in. I crossed to the French window and closed it, plugged in the electric heater and stood for about one minute waiting for the room to lose its chill. I then crossed to the cot and bent over with my hands on the rail and discovered I couldn't hear the baby breathe. I bent down, felt all over him and discovered he wasn't there. I thought that Mrs. Lindbergh may have him. I went out of the baby's room into the hallway and into Mrs. Lindbergh's room. I met her or saw her coming out of the bathroom and asked her if she had the baby. She looked surprised and said no, she didn't. I said, "Well, where is the Colonel, he may have him."

I said, "Where is he?"

She said, "Downstairs in the library."

I turned quickly and ran downstairs to the library where I saw the Colonel sitting at his desk reading. I said, "Colonel, do you have the baby?"

He said, "No. Isn't he in his crib?"

I said, "No."

He ran past me upstairs and into the baby's room. I followed him and from there entered Mrs. Lindbergh's room. He didn't say anything. He ran into his closet, came out again with a rifle and all three of us went into the baby's room. He said, "Anne, they have stolen our baby."
Mr. Lindbergh sent Betty Gow downstairs to fetch Mr. Whately, who went up to the Colonel, then the two went downstairs to phone for help while the three women proceeded to search the house high and low for the baby. Betty recalled seeing Lindbergh run outside with his rifle.

After the officers arrived, Anne, Miss Gow and Mrs. Whately sat in the sitting room in silence, until Mrs. Lindbergh’s friends arrived. This was Mrs. Breckenridge, as well as some other of Mrs. Lindbergh's friends from New York; they arrived in about an hour.

Miss Gow was summoned back into the nursery "to secure a knife" (this isn't fully explained, but it sounds like to open the envelope with), where she noticed a smudge of “a brownish muddy color” on the child’s bedclothes. Apart from the envelope on the windowsill, she did not notice anything else amiss in the child's room.

Another mention of the media circus is made, and then, about a month after the kidnapping, Miss Gow recovered the child’s thumb guard.
I believe it was May 12th – Oh, no, it was not – about one month after the baby was stolen. 
Q.: That would be somewhere in the neighborhood of April the first? 
A.: It would be. 
Q.: And would you tell us about it, please, how you happened to find it? 
A.: It would be in the afternoon after lunch, Mrs. Whately and I were in the habit of taking walks down the driveway. 
Q. On the premises? 
A. On the premises. We walked down to the gate where the police were stationed, talked to them for a little while and on the way back I should say about one hundred yards from the gate we both noticed this object on the road. I recognized it immediately and picked it up. 
Q.: Who picked it up? 
A.: I did; went right up to the house, found Colonel Lindbergh, and gave it to him, and told him how I had found it. 
Q. Was it then in the same condition as it is today in this courtroom? 
A.: Exactly the same condition. 
Q.: Still knotted? 
A. Still knotted.

Betty Gow leaves court after a grueling cross-examination.  
The breathless caption to this photo claims she collapsed after it was taken.

Testimony of Elsie Whateley

Elsie's testimony sort of ties it all together, so I will let her speak to us in our own words as well. 

Elsie Whateley and Betty Gow in court.
Dubious source; images of Mrs. Whateley are difficult to come by.

Well, in the afternoon, if you want to know, I went up into the nursery about four o'clock and we played with the baby and Mrs. Lindbergh came up and we all played with the baby.  ABout 4:30 I went downstairs and got some tea.  Mrs. Lindbergh came down and then Betty came down and brought the baby.  The baby went in to Mrs. Lindbergh and stayed with her while we had our tea in the sitting room.  Then the baby came in the kitchen and said, "Hello Elsie," and I talked to him and played with him and Betty came in and took him upstairs and that is the last I saw of him. 
Q.: What did the baby call you?  
A.: Elsie. 
Q.: That is your name? 
A.: Yes. 
Q.: Now, was the child a playful child?   
A.: Yes, lovely. 
Q.: Normal?  
A.: Yes. 
Q.: Ordinarily healthy except for slight cold? 
A.: Yes. 
Mr. Reilly: Oh, I object to this.  That has already been testified to by the father and the mother; it is only a repetition.  
The Court: You make no question about the health of the child? 
Mr. Reilly: It is leading and it is merely suggestive and sympathetic.  
Mr. Wilents: If counsel makes no question about it I shall be delighted to refrain from asking about it.

But Charles Jr. did have a slight cold.

Well, when Bety came down as near as I can tell you it was about a quarter of eight and the Colonel hadn't come; so my husband said that he woudl have his supper first and get it over befopre the Colonel came.  So he went in and he had supper while I was preparign theirs... Then I came out and Betty and I decided to have our supper.  While we were eating the Colonel came and I got up to attend to them and the Colonel- 
Q.: About what time was that, Mrs. Whateley? 
A.: Twenty minutes past eight.  The Colonel came in and he went through to Mrs. Lindbergh.  ABout five minutes afterwards they came down and they came into the kitchen and they stood talking to my husband and myself a few minutes. 
Q.: The Colonel and Mrs. Lindbergh? 
A.: Yes. 
Q.: Came in to the kitchen to talk to your husband? 
A.: Just to speak to us just for a little while.  Then they went in and had dinner.  We served the dinner, and Betty was still in our sitting room, she was reading; and then we cleared things up, about nine o'clock Betty and I went upstairs; I wanted to show her something. 
Q.: What was it you wanted to show her? 
A.: Well, I had bought a costume and I wanted her to see it. 
Q.: A dress, you mean? 
A.: Yes. [This was for a masquerade of some kind.] 
Q.: And you went up to your room then? 
A.: Yes.  And Mr. Whateley went into our sitting room; he said he would read and then he went in there and he sat reading.  We stayed in my room, and we had been there a long time, and Betty looked at her watch and she said, "It's ten o'clock, I must go to the baby." 
....Q.: So... you were with Miss Gow pretty nearly every minute from about a quarter to eight, when she came down from the nursery? 
A.: I was. 
Q.: Until about ten o'clock when she said she was going back to the baby's room? 
A.: Yes, sir. 
Q.: Except for very short intervals, your husband was in your presence?  
A.: Yes, he was.   

During the time between the recovery of the corpse and the trial, 
Miss Gow (L) and Mrs. Whateley (R) returned to Scotland and England, respectively.
We see them here returning to the US to testify,
heavily guarded, on the SS Aquitania.Historic Images, Ebay.  
....Q.: Now, about ten o'clock when Miss Gow left you, did you leave the room too? 
A.: Yes, I went along to Mrs. Lindbergh's room. 
Q.: What happened there? 
A.: Well, I spoke to her.  Do you want me to tell you what happened? 
Q.: Yes, please. 
A; Well, she had a slight cold and she asked me if I would get her some lemon water and take it up to her.  So I came out of the bedroom and, as I came out, I met Betty and she asked me if Mrs. Lindbergh was in there and I said yes. 
And she said, "I wonder if she wants to see the baby.   I am just going in."   
And I said, "Well," I said, "if she wants to, she is going through the other way, because she has gone through that door."  
So I went downstairs and Betty went back into the baby's nursery.  And I went downstairs and I told Mr. Whateley what I was going to do.  And he got up and he put the kettle on, and I got a lemon out... and just as I was cutting the lemon through, Betty came down... and asked Mr. Whateley if he would go up to Colonel Lindbergh, he wanted him, as the baby had gone. 
Q.: What is that?  I don't understand you.  [Remember, the courtroom was very loud.] 
A.: Betty came down and she asked Mr. Whateley if he would go up to the Colonel, as thet baby had gone and he wanted him.  So he went upstairs and I asked Betty what she meant, and she said, "Why, Elsie, the baby is gone."   
And I left her and went up and saw Colonel Lindbergh and my husband standing at the top of the stairs, and I said to the Colonel, "Where is Mrs. Lindbergh?"  
And he said, "In there," he pointed ot the baby's nursery.  And I went in and she was standing by the crib, and I stood by her.  
Q.: When Betty Gow said to you the baby was gone, in what tone of voice or manner of voice was it that she indicated it to you? 
A.: Well, she was terribly upset, of course. 
The Court: What was that? I didn't understand. 
Q.: Terribly what? 
A.: I say she was terribly upset. 
Q.: Then of course - By the way, you came down finally, I suppose, all of you.  What did the women of the household do thereafter? 
A.: Well, Mrs. Lindbergh and I went into her room and I asked her to get dressed and I helped her to dress, and then Mrs. Lindbergh and I started to search the house and the Colonel and my husband went outside and searched around there.  Then finally we came down and went into the living room and sat there... we didn't do anything, we simply sat.... 
Q.: Did you talk? 
A.: Not much. 
Q.: Quite silent? 
A.: Yes. 
Q.: Tell us something about it, you see you were there, you will have to help us.  
A.: Well, she didn't say anything in the living room.  As I was going around with her, she said, "Oh, God."  
The Whateleys and Miss Gow retired at around 4am, but Mrs. Lindbergh stayed up all night.
Q.: ...by the way, some mention or reference was made to a dog in the house.  Was there a dog in the house that night? 
A.: Yes, there was. 
Q.: What sort of a dog was it? 
A.: A terrier, an English terrier. 
Q.: An English terrier.  Was he a barking dog or a quiet dog? 
A.: Well, I always thought he was sharp, if he heard a noise, he would bark, as a rule, but the wind was so bad that night you couldn't hear anything. 
Mr. Reilly: I move to strike that out.  It is calling for her conclusion. 
The Court: The answer seems not to be responsive. Mr. Wilents may reframe his question. 
Q (Mr. Wilents).: Did the dog bark that night between the hours of 7:30 and 10 o'clock? 

A.: No, he did not. 
Q.: What was the condition of the weather? 
A.: It was very, very windy. 
Q.: Was it so windy that you could hear the wind? 
A.: Yes, you could. 
Q.: Do you know in what room the dog was during those hours between half past seven and ten o'clock? 
A.: Yes, he was in our sitting room in his basket. 
Q.: When you are talking about your sitting room, you are still referring to the dining room adjoining the kitchen? 
A.: I am, yes. 
Q.: And downstairs? 
A.: Yes, sir. 
Q.: That is, the nursery being upstairs? 
A.: Yes. 
...Q.: I think Colonel Lindbergh told us, Madam, that your husband died in May, 1933? 
A.: Yes. 
Q.: What was the cause of his death, if you know? 
A.: It was peritonitis.

Betty Gow, left, and Oliver Whateley, the Lindbergh's butler.

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Game of Hide-and-Seek: the mysterious death of John Fiocco, Jr.

A Bad Hangover

On March 25, 2006, John Fiocco attended an off-campus party with his friends and returned to crash in a girl's dorm room with two other TCNJ students. He was last seen at around 3am. When the students awoke in the morning, Fiocco's shoes remained, but Fiocco was not in the room. His roommate reported him missing at 3pm the next day, though he was told an investigation could not begin until Fiocco had been missing for 24 hours.

Investigators traced back the drunken antics of Fiocco and searched the dorm, Wolfe Hall. Rumors ran wild.
On March 28, Fiocco’s blood - a lot of blood - a “voluminous” amount of blood - was found in and around a dumpster, and investigation focused on a trash chute that led down to the compactor. Investigators even ran a camera down the chute, but refused to comment on what they did or did not find. The idea, of course, was what Fiocco either voluntarily or involuntarily was stuffed down the chute. People strongly questioned whether a human body would fit down the chute; one student described the door as "spring-loaded" and leading into a "two-foot-by-two-foot space."  
After a few months, word was spread that investigators were searching for anyone who had information on a late-night game of hide-and-seek.
I distinctly remember reading an interview with the garbageman who ran the compactor before emptying the dumpster into his truck. A red substance oozed from the dumpster as they ran the compactor. He joked with his coworker that it looked like blood, but the two thought nothing of it. It turns out it was actually Fiocco's blood. I can't find a record of this quote, which I remember reading in a local paper, but it brought out an important question that we'll touch up on later: was Fiocco still alive when he entered the dumpster? Did the garbageman kill him when he activated the trash compactor?
The investigation then turned to searching the landfill where TCNJ’s garbage was brought to. After some time, Fiocco’s body was found there, badly decomposed.

A Mysterious Death

“It was probably drugs,” one of my friends told me. “TCNJ is close to Trenton; it’s essentially Trenton, but nobody wants to talk about that because it’s such a nice school. It was a drug deal gone wrong. People get into that stuff, you know.” John was a well-known, well-liked kid. A typical freshman, gregarious and friendly. It wasn’t known that he had been involved in anything shady, but you never know. A kid like that could easily get mixed up with coke or something, and a dealer from Trenton visits the dorm, there's some unpaid debts, and there you go.
Was it the drunken game of hide-and-seek? Did he climb into the garbage chute to hide, and wind up falling into the dumpster?  It turns out that no blood was found in the garbage chute.  Did Fiocco willing climb into the dumpster?  And why?  
Was it the compactor that killed him, then? There was a motion-activated sensor in the compactor that would periodically crush the garbage when it got too full.  It could have been triggered by the entry of Fiocco’s body, instantly crushing him.
Or - perhaps more reasonably, but something no one wanted to consider - was he not alive when he climbed in the dumpster? And was the killer someone from TCNJ?

A Manic John Doe

In 2008, Fiocco’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the school:
The court documents cited “gross negligence” on behalf of the College. Examples include 16 daily hours of open access to Wolfe Hall; failure to ensure the doors to Wolfe Hall and its compactor room were locked; open access to the compactor room; and allowing individuals to enter Wolfe Hall without signing in at the front desk when sign-in was required.
In 2011, Fiocco’s parents dropped a bombshell: they alleged a TCNJ graduate had murdered their son:
Attorneys for Susan and John Fiocco Sr. made the bombshell revelation as they argued against TCNJ’s motion to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the school by the couple. The attorneys said the graduate, who was never charged and was identified in court only as John Doe, sneaked into Wolfe Hall dormitory through lax security measures and killed Fiocco, 19, of Mantua, who had gone to sleep drunk. The attorneys accused TCNJ of gross negligence and asked a judge to send the case to trial.
They specifically stated that for an hour and a half that night, the doors to the dorm had been propped open.
While there are no direct links to the crime being a homicide at all, and no direct links linking John Doe to the crime, there seems to be a bit of circumstantial evidence:
While there was not enough evidence to charge John Doe with Fiocco’s death, there is plenty to link him to the crime, the lawsuit argues.
He had a history of mental illness, was on campus the night Fiocco disappeared and has no alibi for the late night hours in which Fiocco disappeared, according to the complaint.
Weeks before Fiocco’s disappearance, John Doe had been committed to a mental health facility where he was diagnosed with manic depressive and bipolar disorders, the suit says.
On the weekend Fiocco disappeared John Doe was not taking his medication and was acting “manic and bizarre” according to family members, it alleges.
Two days after Fiocco disappeared John Doe was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital for a second time, according to the suit.
John Doe allegedly confessed to at least two people, one of whom contacted police, O’Hearn said.
During an interview with attorneys for the Fiocco family, John Doe’s mother allegedly said her son routinely left the house at all hours of the night and was regularly on the TCNJ campus, according to O’Hearn.
The woman said that when she heard about Fiocco’s disappearance and learned that blood was found in the garbage bin she wondered where her son had been that night.
Police did say that John Doe was one of the hundreds interviewed by police, but would not comment any further on the nature of that interview.
Of course, being mentally ill and needing psychiatric care doesn't make one a murderer, nor does it make one any more likely to be murderous than anyone else. The fact that the mother was suspicious lends some credence to this idea, but again, being "manic and bizarre" and leaving the house late at night doesn't mean you're guilty of homicide.
Did John Doe even know Fiocco? How did he get in the dorm room without waking anyone else up? Why is there no evidence of a struggle or a fight? If Fiocco was killed before he was placed in the dumpster, where is the blood?
In 2012, the Fioccos and TCNJ reached a settlement with a payout of $425,000. As a result, the case would not be going to trial, and Fiocco’s death remains a mystery. No criminal charges were ever brought against John Doe.

Other sources

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Morbid Mailbag: your stories about Lindbergh and Hauptmann

Since starting my research into the Lindbergh trial, I've gotten some fascinating messages.  This is very much a hometown story for me, and that's true for many people from Flemington!

Here are a couple tales for you...

A reply on my first Reddit thread:

Friday, October 16, 2015

I also grew up in NJ and went to college nearby where this occurred. I have always been infatuated with this case. My freshmen year of college, in my speech class, I presented my speech on this case.

After class, an acquaintance of mine approached me and said I should come see somersetting in her room. She showed me a photograph of a man and a letter from the state of NJ. Her great-grandfather was the truck driver that found the baby. She also shared with me that her great-grandfather knew that the baby that was found was NOT the Lindbergh baby. The story she told me is that the police kept repeating to him, "This is the Lindbergh baby, do you understand that?" But that the baby was actually a child from the nearby orphanage that they used as a decoy to make it seem as though the baby had been killed. He overheard that the baby was sent away to another family.

Heart's thoughts:

 Sadly, Lindbergh opted for cremation, so tales like these can never be put to rest. The body was badly decomposed and partly eaten by animals, though, so I doubt the truck driver or assistant would have been able to make an identification.  You can find images of the corpse online (I will refrain from posting one here at the moment).  The face was slightly recognizable, and the corpse was identified based on the undershirt hand-sewn by Bessie Gow and an overlapping toe.

Message from my "Submit a case" page:

October 26, 2015

So I saw your post on the Lindbergh Trial on Reddit. I haven't ever felt comfortable sharing this, so here goes, I guess. I've been doing genealogy for the past few years. I was compiling stories and such, and my grandmother asks me if I know about the Lindbergh baby. I'm like, of course I do.

She says, "Do you know Bruno was innocent?"

Of course I was interested in what she had to say.

My grandfather's mother's father worked with Bruno. He worked with Bruno as a carpenter and a house painter. My great-great-grandfather and Bruno put the ladder together from the slats or flooring in Bruno's attic in order to paint Highfields, since the Lindberghs hadn't been there for some time and they requested the house to have a fresh coat of paint.

By my grandmother's story, Bruno couldn't have kidnapped the baby due to the fact he had an alibi. He was with my great-great-grandfather's parents; I don't know if it was one or both. But he had an alibi and couldn't have done it. My great-great-grandfather was kind of confused why the police didn't contact him, as it was known that they were working on the house. And I have never have seen his name mentioned, ever. 

Heart's response:

That is fascinating.  I've yet to go through Bruno's testimony, but I'll be sure to check that out.  At the time of the kidnapping (this is based on part of the testimony that are available on Murderpedia) Hauptmann had been looking for work, and was supposed to work at a hotel that day but was told he wasn't needed.  So he claims he was going around New York looking for work all day.  His alibi for the time of the kidnapping was having dinner with his wife at a restaurant, so I need to see if there were any witnesses to attest to that (or if there weren't, why weren't any questioned? and so on).

Hauptmann did claim that he never made a ladder, didn't make that ladder, and didn't even sketch a ladder (there was a sketch found in his notebooks).  So I'm kind of skeptical, because if he had a legitimate reason for making that ladder, why not own up to it?  I can see him denying it if he didn't have a lawyer, but being that he did the lawyer must have pressed him like "if you can explain your way out of this, it'll save your life."

So I'm skeptical, but eager to compare this to his testimony!

Anonymous' response:

That is interesting. Their last name is [redacted]. They were from Mercer County, New Jersey. My grandmother says they weren't questioned at all which I don't quite understand.  [Great-great-grandfather] was a carpenter as well as a painter. It might have not been Bruno's, so why did he have it if it was made by [great-great-grandfather]? And deny working on the house. Did he copy it?

They could have pressed him like that and he got defensive and decided to lie, because either way he was going to look guilty like if he told the "truth."  For example,"Well you were working with someone who made the ladder --  how do we know you didn't use it to break in?"

I honestly feel like my grandfather's grandparents knew a lot more then they let on. They were adamant about the eugenics theory [i.e., that Lindbergh had his son killed because he had some sort of a disability]. Well, why? What did they know? They didn't live far from where the Lindberghs' home was. I was told they have a lot secrets or skeletons in the closet considering this it makes them all the more cryptic/ominous.

I don't like that they didn't cross-examine Mrs.Lindbergh.  That leaves so much open. It'd be nice to be able to bring everyone involved back from the dead for one afternoon and just ask, you know, since the dead can't go to prison. Haha!

Do you have a personal tale to tell about the Lindbergh case?  

Or any case, for that matter?  Let's chat!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Better Days: an inspiring tale of hope and love from the jungles of Colombia

Poor Colombia - the country just can't seem to catch a break.  I'm sure you've heard harrowing tales of drug lords and the FARC, revolutionary rebels who hide deep in the jungles and terrorize the countrysides.  I don't want to get too much into the politics of the situation, because that's not the point - it's not a good situation for anyone involved, and surely empathy is deserved all around.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, had been around since 1960, and had a nasty habit of taking hostages in order to finance their rebellion:

By the time that the FARC and the Colombian government announced a ceasefire at the end of last year, their civil war had become one of the longest-running and bloodiest in the world. The FARC, Latin America’s oldest surviving left-wing insurgency, has been labeled a terrorist group by the US State Department and has a long history of kidnapping to help finance its operations. In the past decade, 6,880 people have been snatched in Colombia and held for ransom — some for as long as 18 years. Five hundred of the hostages are either involved with the military or politics. While the FARC prefer to kidnap Americans for money, prominent Colombian prisoners can be valuable political leverage. 
Hostages’ accounts of their time in captivity are harrowing: Sgt. Jose Libardo Forero was one of Colombia’s "forgotten" hostages, held by the FARC for nearly 13 years. After his release, Forero spoke of relieving his mental anguish by bonding with jungle animals and one pet pig he called Josefo, whom he got hooked on coffee. Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, held for six years, recalled being chained to a tree by her neck.

Our tale takes place in 2010, and our hero is Colonel Espejo, the communications expert of the Colombian army.  The Colonel had a problem: he needed to send a messages for the hostages of the FARC.  Commando missions were taking place throughout the region, pushing hard to rescue hostages who had been held for close to a decade and were losing hope, fearing they had been forgotten.  Since the FARC would shoot hostages dead at the first sign of a military invasion, Colonel Espejo needed to tell the hostages to prepare to escape.

But how do you communicate to captives deep in the tropical jungle?  The Colonel called 42-year-old advertising executive Juan Carlos Ortiz, who had worked with the military before creating a unique campaign against Colombia's cocaine problem.

But how do you send a message to a hostage?  Whatever the hostages saw, heard, or touched, their captors would see, hear, and put their hands on, as well.  How could Ortiz send a message that would remain invisible to the captors, yet be understood by the hostages?  It would have to be in some kind of code...

In 2010, it was known that many of the captives were military members.   "What about Morse code?" suggested Colonel Espejo.  Morse was taught to many military members as part of basic training, yet FARC members, civilians from the Colombia countryside, would not have this knowledge.

The military knew that hostages often had access to the radio:

...it relieves the tedium of long hikes through the Colombian jungle and keeps their minds from escape. 
Communicating with hostages via radio is a years-old practice in Colombia. The show "Voices of Kidnapping" on Bogota’s Caracol Radio is dedicated to victims’ families who send messages to their loved ones via special call-ins. Creator Herbin Hoyos Medina came up with the idea in 1994, after he was kidnapped for 17 days. He now broadcasts the show from Madrid, giving families 30-second slots to send messages.
After tossing about the idea of hiding the code in a commercial, the team of advertising executives and military members decided upon a pop song.

Teaming up with composers and advertisers from Colombian radio station Radio Bemba, military police coded a 20-word-long message and tucked it after the chorus of a song they composed.  The message was repeated 3 times during the song to ensure that it would be heard and understood.  Recorded by musical artists Natalia Guiterrez Y Angelo, it actually sounded like a Top 40 pop hit with a musical synth interlude.

The short message conveyed words of hope, reassuring hostages that if they chose to run away, they would not die alone in the jungle: the military was nearby, waiting to rescue them:

Listen to the powerful song below:

Now try to read the lyrics without getting teary-eyed:

"Better Days"

In the middle of the night
Thinking about what I love the most
I feel the need to sing
What my heart has to give
I talk about those I love
About how much I miss them
I talk about pride and strength
Which beat inside my heart

A new dawn singing this message
From my heart
Although I'm tied up and alone
I feel as if I'm by your side
Listen to this message, brother

19 people rescued. You’re next. Don’t lose hope

I want to keep on fighting
For my friends, my family, my children
We will soon see each other again
I'm sure better days are coming

[CHORUS x 2]

Is someone cutting onions in here?

The military controlled many radio stations near the jungle where the FARC hostages were held, and they managed to get the song significant airtime:
The song was played on over 130 small stations and heard by 3 million people. Though most Colombians in major cities would not even recognize the song, it became popular in the rural areas controlled by the FARC. By December 2010, "Better Days" was echoing across the jungle. And the plan worked. "We know of hostages who heard the message and were able to escape and provide information that led to the release of more hostages," says Colonel Espejo. 
....One former hostage was able to confirm the song’s effectiveness, according to Col. Espejo. He told Ortiz of a clandestine operation that resulted in the release of Private Joshua Alvarez. In his military psychological evaluation, Col. Espejo says that the soldier spoke of hearing "the code hidden in the song," and revealed how the message was passed from soldier to soldier. The song was even enjoyed by the FARC, who were oblivious to its secret message. Back home in his village in western Nariño, Alvarez was greeted with a hero’s welcome, including fireworks and banners. 
"It makes me very happy to think of the hostages listening to our song," Ortiz says.

Sergeant Pablo Emilio Moncayo, held captive by FARC for 12 years,
is released in March 2010 (source, source)

Colombia agreed to declassify the code operation in 2011, to allow Ortiz to earn a well-deserved rewards for his efforts.

As of 2014, FARC and the government of Colombia have been involved in peace talks, and have agreed to work together against the Colombian drug trade.

Original article by Jeff Marsh of The Verge, link

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Trial of the Century 2: Charles and Anne

ᴛʜᴇ sᴇᴄᴏɴᴅ ᴘᴏsᴛ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ʟɪɴᴅʙᴇʀɢʜ ᴛʀɪᴀʟ sᴇʀɪᴇs.

ᴄᴜʀʀᴇɴᴛʟʏ ʀᴇsᴇᴀʀᴄʜɪɴɢ: ɪᴛᴇᴍs ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴀʀᴇ ᴄᴜʀʀᴇɴᴛʟʏ ʙᴇɪɴɢ ʀᴇsᴇᴀʀᴄʜᴇᴅ ᴍᴀʏ ʙᴇ ᴜᴘᴅᴀᴛᴇᴅ ᴀs ᴛɪᴍᴇ ɢᴏᴇs ᴏɴ. ᴛʜɪs ɪs ᴛʜᴇ sᴇᴄᴏɴᴅ ᴘᴏsᴛ ᴏɴ ᴛʜɪs ᴄᴀsᴇ.

When you’re a kid, you love to hate your hometown.  As I’ve grown up, I realized how much I missed being at home.  

I live in a part of New Jersey where suburban touches on rural.  Yes, I’m a two-minute drive from a strip mall, but I’m also a two-minute drive from gorgeous fields of corn and grain, or a dairy farm, or thick, deciduous woods.

Yes, this is really New Jersey. Photo © Heart 2015.

It's a small town, so it's easy to diss us. Yet Flemington clings to its label as "historic." That's not unusual for small towns, of course - but unlike most, Flemington actually has legitimacy to this claim.

You see, there was a time when Flemington was the full to the brim with press and tabloid reporters, clamboring over each other for the grasp at the biggest story in the nation. Police were sent out in droves to herd screaming crowds turning out to see the biggest celebrity in the world in court. They sat on each other's shoulders to peek in the courtroom windows and camped outside the courthouse for hours on end. Their chants were so loud that the judge had to stop the proceedings and call a recess for police to calm the tides of spectators, since the witness testimony couldn't be heard by the jury. The inns were bursting with visitors, the streets were clogged, and the town was in pandemonium. There was a time when Flemington held the Trial of the Century.

The year was 1932...

And America was sinking deep into an economic depression following the stock market crash of 1929.  Employment was hard to come by in the States, and even more so in Europe, which was recovering from the end of World War One.  Germany was having a particularly rough time, with unemployment rates nearing 30%. 

Yet it was still an exciting time.  The Model T Ford had been around for only 24 years, and the Wright Brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk had taken place just 29 years ago.  The new technology of motorized travel captured the imagination of the young son of a Congressman, Charles A. Lindbergh.

Lucky Lindy

Lindbergh briefly pursued an engineering degree at University of Wisconsin, but dropped out in his sophomore year and enrolled in flight school instead, flying for the first time ever on April 9, 1922.

 Lindbergh, left, circa 1922

After gaining some civilian flight experience and making his way across the country barnstorming, wing-walking, and parachuting, Lindbergh was ordered to report for a year of military flight training with the US Army Air Service in 1924.  Not currently needing pilots, however, he returned to civilian flight after this year was over.  Lindbergh remained a reserve pilot and joined the Missouri National Guard, where he was shortly promoted to 1st Lieutenant.

Lindbergh became a Contract Air Mail pilot in 1925, and in 1927, rocketed to worldwide fame when he received the Orteig Prize.  First offered in 1919, the Prize was to be rewarded to the first allied aviator (or aviators) who flew nonstop from New York City to Paris.  At this point in time, Lindbergh was a relatively unknown pilot, and six well-known aviators had already lost their lives in pursuit of the Orteig Prize.  

On Friday, May 20, 1932, Lindbergh took off in his plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, New York, surrounded by a crowd of spectators...

...and, after 33.5 hours of flying, Lindbergh arrived safely at Le Bouget in Paris, France...

...surrounded by a cheering crowd of 150,000 spectators, who dragged him out of the plane and carried him around on their shoulders for a half hour before his team "rescued" him.

I can't make this stuff up.

Following this, "Lucky Lindy" was, as I said, a world-wide celebrity and aviation hero.  He arrived home in America and was thrown a ticker-tape parade through the streets of New York.  Back when a ticker-tape parade was, seriously, a ticker-tape parade:

Guys?  Somebody has to clean that up.


The point is, Lindbergh was now A Big Deal.  The Biggest Deal.  This was the 1930s, and there wasn't much to be happy about, and Lindbergh was not just a national hero - he was the biggest celebrity in the world.

Lindbergh receiving the Orteig Prize.

Anne Morrow

portrait of Anne from the cover of McCall's, March 1937

Quiet, reserved Anne Morrow was the daughter of an intelligent, ambitious couple: Dwight Morrow, a partner in J.P. Morgan who then became the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, and the poet and teacher Elizabeth Cutter, who became acting president of Smith College.  The couple fostered these values in their four children, and Anne soon became a blossoming writer herself.  Anne attended Smith College herself, eventually graduating in 1928.  

In December of 1927, Lindbergh accepted an offer from Dwight Morrow to accompany him on a trip to Mexico.  Lindbergh, of course, flew himself, and was greeted by a screaming crowd of 150,000 people in Mexico City.

There, Lindbergh met his future wife, and was drawn to her quiet and contemplative nature.  He wrote in his autobiography, 

I had always taken for granted that someday I would marry and have a family of my own, but I had not thought much about it. In fact, I had never been enough interested in any girl to ask her to go on a date.
Anne wrote of her relationship with Lindbergh,
The man I was to marry believed in me and what I could do, and consequently I found I could do more than I realized.
Charles taught Anne to fly, and she became the first woman to receive a glider pilot's license in 1930. She would become his companion and co-pilot on his trips around the world.


Anne and Charles preparing to leave Roosevelt Field, 1929.  NYT

The two wed in a surprise ceremony at the Morrow residence in Englewood.


The Lindberghs spent much time trying to avoid the spotlight of their celebrity.  After their surprise wedding, they managed to keep the location of their honeymoon secret, despite the best efforts of paparazzi to find them.  They wanted to make their home secluded as well.
...with the birth of their first son a year later, [the Lindberghs] began their search for a place away from the glare of public attention and the confines of the Morrow estate in Englewood, New Jersey to raise a family. The site later known as "Highfields" was to be the Lindbergh first permanent home. In Autobiography of Values, Lindbergh noted that he and his wife found the site of their future home on the Sourland Mountain near Hopewell after an extensive aerial and ground search for a secluded spot within commuting distance by air and car of New York. According to Lindbergh, the rural site had many things to recommend it: cheap land, stone for building, seclusion, sweeping views, and abandoned fields "long enough to make an airplane landing strip...I would be able to taxi right into a small hangar that I planned to have constructed next to our garage."  National Register of Historic Places (PDF). 
Highfields from the air.  Source, kevkon on ProBoards


Biography of Charles - Wikipedia.  Images - various; due to the age, I'm ruling these too difficult to cite properly, they're all over the place.

Biography of Anne --   The second picture is from Pintrest.  Anne's Wikipedia, and PBS

Up Next:  March 1, 1932