- Dear Jeff - I hardly know where to begin. I first wanted
to give people some insight into the intermediary Dr. Condon and my Uncle
Dinny who claimed to have known the real mastermind of the Lindbergh Baby
Kidnapping Case. I briefly discuss both men.
- Interest in this case just never seems to die out. I
think a big part of that phenomenon is because the trial of Bruno Richard
Hauptmann was not a fair trial but a complete circus. English was not Hauptmann's
first language...yet he was not given a translator. He had to stop and
think and translate the question from English to German and his answer
from German to English. This made him seem unsure and hesitant. 'Guilty'
if you will.
- The circus-like atmosphere encouraged outlandishness
on the part of the legal teams, witnesses and even Lindbergh himself who
would sit at the prosecutor's table wearing his holstered pistol. Hauptmann
obviously did not get a fair trial and was convicted on insufficient evidence.
Even with the ladder and wood evidence there was no real proof that he
knew the ladder would be used in a kidnapping or was the lone kidnapper.
- The cast of characters also lends itself to the circus
and the continued interest in the case. Violet Sharpe, Betty Gow, Septimus
Banks the drunken chauffeur and supposedly betrothed of Violet Sharpe,
Ollie Whateley and his wife, the hero aviator himself and the wife, etc,
- Violet Sharpe, who commits suicide, and Isadore Fisch
know each other from attending the spiritualist church accross the street
from Fisch's rooming house in Harlem. Enter even fortune tellers who predicted
the coming of ransom notes.
- This is one case that will continue to provoke interest
and do so until DNA evidence can establish who licked the envelopes containing
- the ransom demands.
- I do hope that the following will help popele understand
a little about my relatives and their involvement in the case.
- I also hope that people will do their own research on
- There are some excellent sites listed below that will
be a good start, as is Dr. lloyd Gardner's outstanding book.
- Dr Condon - Eccentric or Sly Old Codger?
- John Condon Sr. was born in 1821. He immigrated to the
US from Ireland around 1848 during the Irish Potato famine. Dr. Condon
Sr. was the father of Dr. John F. Condon, the intermediary in the Lindbergh
case. Dr. John Francis Condon was born in 1860. Jon Francis Condon was
one of 8 children. John Francis Condon's mother was Ellen Conlon Condon
born in Albany, New York in 1832.
- The Condons instilled in their children a love for this
country, a deep respect for books and learning and a work ethic. Dr. Condon
and most of his siblings became teachers and worked in the NY City Public
schools. One of his siblings became a priest and another became a nun.
Dr. Condon raised his children with the same respect, love and patriotism
of the US, a love and respect for education, and a strong work ethic.
- Dr. Condon had won many awards for his teaching, his
athletic ability - which included coaching and playing baseball - prize
fighting, and football and other sports. He won a Medal of honor for lifesaving
and in 1934 when a fire broke out at a local Bronx movie house, hundreds
of people began to panic running to the exits. Dr. Condon stood up on a
chair and reasoned with the people thus averting a panic. He had everyone
moving orderly to the exits and all escaped unharmed.
- His son, Joseph, was also a hero and was given an award
for saving three young people who were in the water when their canoe overturned.
The girl and boys in the canoe were unable to swim. Young Joe Condon, swam
out to the young people and kept them afloat until more help could arrive.
- There is no question that Dr. Condon was a true American
Patriot. He has also been described as a "sly ole codger." I
suppose that, too, is true.
- For more information re Dr. Condon's two scrapbooks:
- Throughout his life, Dr. Condon was able to manipulate
the press. Unfortunately, my Great Grandma Susan's words came back to haunt
him. Before he sent the letter in which he offered to be an intermediary
for the Lindberghs in a hope of getting the baby back to its parents, Dr.
Condon visited my Great Grandmother. He told her of his idea and she warned
him that it could backfire and he should stay out of it. She chided him
saying "he should let the police handle everything."
- After the baby was found on May 12, 1932 murdered less
than 2 miles from the Lindbergh's home, things did not go so well for Dr.
Condon. Yes, his thirst for media attention had backfired. Media types
and curiosity seekers camped out on his doorstep in front of his little
woodframe home at 2974 Decatur Avenue. On one occassion, he appeared at
his door waving two American flags and yelling at the media to leave. He
was yelling patriotic slogans and saying "this is America." At
one point he hollared "Remember the Maine." Some in the family
feared that the stress of his now being a suspect in the case and the constant
media attention was getting to him. At one point that summer he simply
looked like an old man. As time went by the media began to slow down from
harrassing him. In 1934 Bruno Richard Hauptmann was caught passing a Lindbergh
bill when purchasing gas at the Quinlin gas station in Manhattan. Once
again, Dr. Condon was front and center and the apple of the media's eye.
Again, he began to soak up the attention. Wherever he would go he would
tell people, "I am Jafsie."
- During the time before the trial of Bruno Hauptmann,
the authorities put a lot of pressure on Dr. Condon insisting he identify
Bruno Hauptmann as the LONE kidnapper/murderer who he met at the two Bronx
cemeteries. There was also a rumor, according to Uncle Dinny, that Nosovitsky
was presssuring Dr. Condon as well. Again, Dr. Condon was at the center
of the case.
- After Bruno Hauptmann was electrocuted in 1935, Dr. Condon
went on to lecture at several Vaudeville theatres, including one in Asbury
Park, NJ. People wanted to hear about the escapades of 'Jafsie' and Jafsie
was more than happy to oblige them. After this brief fame and lecture schedules,
Jafsie slowly went back to his life on Decatur Ave. as Dr. John F. Condon,
retired. During the war, Col Lindbergh did call on Jafsie one time to come
out to an America First function. Jafsie was more than happy to do so for
his idol. Jafsie died in 1945 and was buried at the family plot in Gate
of Heaven cemetery in Valhalla, NY. His wife, Myra Browne Condon died in
1947 and is at rest with him.
- One thing you can really say for my cousin is that he
truly made his mark in the world. There is no doubt that he was a great
teacher and one of the first educators to realize that students need both
physical and scholastic challenges. I have spoken with educators at the
College of New Rochelle where John Condon taught, never missing a day or
night of work, and the general consensus is "he was a great teacher."
In all of the years he taught, he never missed classes day or night. He
would be Principal at various City schools and yet still teach night classes
at three colleges without taking any time off. He really was amazing.
- Uncle Dinny
- Another relative who had become involved in the case
was my Uncle Dinny. Dennis Doyle was Dr. Condon's second cousin. He is
one of the sons of Dennis Doyle Sr. and Susan Condon Doyle. Uncle Dinny
was born Dennis Doyle, Jr. in 1900. He was a smart boy and a very active
one. However, he did have epilepsy which, in the early 1900s and right
up to the 1950s, was looked upon as a curse or mental illness. People with
epilepsy received much taunting from peers, as well as prejudice on the
part of teachers, authorities, even doctors and medical staff. Uncle Dinny
did, even with the excessive taunting by schoolmates, stay in school until
almost finishing high school. Dinny stayed in school as long as he did
due to the efforts of Dr. Condon's brother, Joseph Condon who helped tutor
Dinny. As Dinny aged, his epilepsy got worse and he advanced into gran
mal seizures. Dinny was able to learn woodshop and used a jigsaw. He was
a jigsawer by trade. However, the frequent seizures made it difficult for
him to hold a steady job. Many employers, disgusted by the sight of Uncle
Dinny on the floor during a seizure, would fire him.
- The Prohibition Era and Uncle Dinny
- An America sick of the free-flow of beer and spirits
pushed for and got prohibition, and one by one saloons and beer gardens
began to close across the nation. Uncle Dinny, a young man whose employment
future looked bleak turned to bootlegging as a source of income. Dinny
married and had my two cousins to support, Dennis Doyle III and Donald
Doyle. The family even had trouble keeping apartments. They lost their
White Plains Road apartment after Uncle Dinny had a seizure on the sidewalk
in front of the building. Dinny, his young wife and two boys, had to move
the very next day.
- I remember Uncle Dinny and loved him very much. As a
young girl, I knew nothing of his petty criminal past. I only knew the
kind and gentle man who was my Granduncle and who would visit us frequently.
He was the younger brother of my Grandfather William Joseph Doyle, Sr.
- Dinny had never been rasied to be a bootlegger. His father,
Dennis Doyle, Sr. was a hard-working man who had immigrated to the US from
Ireland. He was a highway inspector for the municipality of the Bronx,
NY. My Great Grandmother, Susan, was a very fervent Catholic who went to
mass daily at St. Raymond's parish church. She, like her first cousin,
Dr. Condon, had a deep respect for God, Country, Learning and Work.
- Dinny never elevated himself in the criminal world, as
I believe, his heart was not in that line of work. He had small tasks to
perform like delivering beer to varous speakeasies. Dinny's involvement
with those who supplied beeer and spirits to speakeasies led to his meeting
a shady character by the name of Jacob Nosovitsky. Dinny knew several proprietors
of businesses around Webster Ave in the Bronx. Dinny tried to go straight
and some of the more 'democratic' proprietors would hire him from time
to time knowing that he had a family to support. One such man was Miller,
a partner in a greeting card factory on Webster Avenue in the bronx. Miller
had a partner in a second business, a cosmetic business, and this partner
was Jacob Nosovitsky.
- Nosovitsky was a Russian Jew who immigrated to the US
with his parents was raised in Detroit. Nosovitsky was called Doc although
it is doubted that he was a real physician. Miller, Dinny's friend, stated
Nosovitsky was a chemist. Jacob Nosovitsk whose alias was John Anderson
and is believed to be the JJ Faulkner who cashed in some of the Lindbergh
ransom money at a bank was also a British double agent. Miller told Dinny
that Nosovitsky had planned a kidnapping of a prominent New Jersey resident.
Dinny did not pay much attention to Nosovitsky or what Miller said about
him as Dinny did not really like Nosovitsky. Later on, Dinny was working
in a store on Webster Ave when Nosovitsky came into the store to meet with
Wallace Stroh. Dinny overheard Wally and "Doc" talking about
a kidnapping. It appeard to Dinny that Nosovitsky was trying to solicit
Wally's help in a kidnapping scam. Wally turned down Nosovitsky and Dinny
heard Nosovitsky say, "well at least think it over." Like Dinny,
Wally Stroh did not turst Nosovitsky.
- In any event, Dinny did not pay much attention to the
conversation he overheard at Wally's store or to the discussion he had
with Miller at the Greeting Card factory i.e. until Dinny heard about the
kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby. He remembered hearing Miller talk about
Doc planning to "kidnap a prominent New Jersey resident."
- Dinny continued to see Nosovitsky after the kidnapping
but never had much discussion with him except for salutations around the
time that Dr. Condon had written the letter to the Bronx Home news. Nosovitsky
came into Bickford's restaurant on the corner of Webster Ave and Fordham
road. Nosovitsky saw Dinny and sat down at his table. He asked Dinny if
he was related to Dr. Condon as Wally Stroh had claimed. Dinny said yes.
Nosovitsky then proceeded to ask Dinny if there had ever been any scandal
in Dr. Condon's life. Dinny did say yes but that there was nothing to the
rumors. Nosovitsky then left.
- Dinny informed authorities about his suspicion of Nosovitsky
after he heard that Hauptmann had been sentenced to death. Dinny felt that
Hauptmann was either innocent or minimally guilty, perhaps only building
the ladder. He came foward in a deposition and spoke of his suspicions
and his witnessing statement of Nosovitsky and that of Miller and Wally
Stroh. The police, NY City, Federal, DoJ, FBI became aware of the statments
but lended little credibility to them. Did Dinny's background and his epilepsy
play a big part in their decision to discount Dinny's, Wally's and Miller's
testimony or did the authorities want the verdict to stand?
- Dinny even told them of a possible reason why Nosovitsky
would kidnap the baby of Anne Morrow Lindbergh and that Col. Nosovitsky
did contract work for the government and was hired by a representative
of Dwight Morrow, Rr.
- During the 1920s, the Mexican communist party had been
gaining strength and Morgan bank was afraid that the communists, should
they take power and control of Mexico (and Mexico had been unstable since
the revolution of 1910) Morgan might lose its interests in Mexican oil
and natural resources. Morgan bank had managed to maintain agreements with
the Mexicans and had received much from the sales of oil and natural resources.
A communist dictatorship in Mexico might put an end to these agreements
with the neighbor to the north.
- A representative hired Nosovitsky to infiltrate the Mexican
communist party and spy on their activities. He received money up front
for expenses but never received the promised $25,000 for his work in Mexico.
When Nosovitsky tried to get his money from Morrow, he was ignored. Nosovitsky
carried a grudge against Morrow and the entire family, according to Dinny.
- In 1937, Uncle Dinny wrote a memoire of what he knew
to be the real information behind the kidnapping of the Lindbergh child.
He pointed the finger at Nosovitsky and, in this paper talked about Nosovitsky
as the mastermind of the kidnapping and that two men from New Jersey actually
took the child.
- The baby had been found about 45 ft. from the road midway
between a rented farmhouse (mt. Rose) and the Lindbergh's new farmhouse.
The area had been searched immediately after the kidnapping but the baby
never found. It was quite odd to find two months later the baby in a shallow
grave, partially dismembered and unidentifiable due to excessive decay.
It took Col. Lindbergh all of 10 seconds to count the babies teeth and
make the ID. The sex of the child could not even be determined as the sex
organs had been missing. The double diaper, secured by two large safety
pins and covered with rubber pants was also missing. Was the baby reburied
with the intention of the Lindbergh's finding it? Was the baby's corpse
hidden until the ransom paid and then brought back to be found? If so,
this would indicate a plan of "revenge." Such an action would
have to be perpertrated by a cruel and inhuman individual. Nosovitsky was
- Why did the authorities refuse to investigate Nosovitsky's
whereabouts before, during and immediately after the kidnapping?
- In any event, Uncle Dinny left his recollections and
theory on paper in 1937 and the memoire can be found in the Lindbergh exhibit
at the New Jersey State Police Museum in Trenton.
- In 1937 Nosovitsky did try to sue Dr. Condon. I cannot
imagine why he would do so. However, the law suit was thrown out of court
and Nosovitsky's whereabouts become unclear after 1937.
- Yes, my Uncle Dinny was not as upstanding as he should
have been. He was a character of circumstance. One thing is for sure, he
would never become part of such a dastardly crime. His friend Wally Stroh
and Miller also stayed clear of Nosovitsky. Nosovitsky did find two men
in New Jersey who would steal the sleeping baby from its warm crib. I do
believe my Uncle Dinny on this issue.
- Hauptmann did state that he, like Dr. Condon, frequently
could be found on City Island. Hauptmann lived within 2 or 3 miles of Dr.
Condon. Both men visited the same restaurants, lumber yard, woodworking
business and other businesses. One would think, IF Hauptmann was cemetery
John and IF Hauptmann had been the man to sit side by side on a bench talking
to Dr. Condon for over one hour and 40 minutes, one would think they would
see one another during the next two years. At some point Dr. Condon would
have been able to shout down Hauptmann and call for police to arrest him
as Cemetery John. The truth is the two men lived their lives in the same
neighborhood and neither recognized the other. What does that tell you
about Hauptmann as Cemetery John?
- Another Player, Isadore Fisch
- According to Wally Stroh, Dinny's friend, Nosovitsky
had worked with Isadore Fisch in the fur business. Could this be the connection
that proves Fisch and Nosovitsky were the perps? Nosovitsky was hired by
the textile mill owners during the 1926 Passaic Textile Strike. Nosovitsky
infiltrated the ranks of the union workers and framed them. He was adept
at framing people as he was a master counterfeiter as well as master forger.
His ability as a forger earned him respect of his British spy collegaues.
Nosovitsky was also a linguist and fluent in foreign languages. He certainly
could scribe ransom notes making it seem as though they were written by
- I have heard about the kidnapping since I was a child
and it was a topic during family gatherings for many years.
- Unfortunately, knowing the who or the why of the kidnapping
does not change the facts. A sweet and innocent child died a horrible death
and a man who may be innocent or only minimally culpible went to his death
because a circus was allowed to occur in place of a fair trial.
- For those who are interested in further reading, please
do check out Lloyd Gardner's book, "The Case that Never Dies: The
- Also there is a lot of information to be found at:
- Although I do not agree witih the theory that Col Lindbergh
perpertrated the crime either as a prank that went wrong or due to eugenics,
I found a lot of data about the trial, etc.
- One can view Dr. Condon's scrapbook as well as his testimony
on this site. The directory has all of the various players and hours of
reading. Most of the documents on this site are found at the New Jersey
State Police Museum, the Lindbergh Kidnapping collection. NJSP museum Mark
Falzini has done an excellent job in preserving and organizing the data.
- I do hope that some of my insight into Dr. Condon and
Uncle Dinny open new perspectives on the case.
- Dr. Condon was indeed eccentric. Check out
- http://www.lindberghkidnappinghoax.com/jafsie.html for more data. I am sure you will find the Oursler Report of
interest dated June 18, 1936.
- I have also been posting on the forum under the sobriquet
of "A Condon"
- Thank you
- Patricia Doyle
- Nosovitsky's background as British Double Agent (the
following is from a website)
- In July, a pamphlet appeared in New York and spread throughout
the country that claimed to reveal an 'Amazing British Secret Document'.
Dated 10 June 1919, it purported to be a letter from Wiseman addressed
to Prime Minister Lloyd George summarizing the success British agents had
achieved in influencing American opinion. The ultimate aim of this, supposedly,
was to transform the nation's leadership and population into obedient subjects
of His Majesty.
- The pamphlet, printed and disseminated by pro-Irish organizations,
almost certainly was a forgery. However, it accurately fingered Wiseman,
Thwaites and Nathan as British intelligence officers, something that made
their continued functioning in anything like secrecy all but impossible.
- SIS presence in New York did not come to an end, but
just who took over its direction remains a matter of some confusion. A
United States ONI memo dated February 1929 and attached to the above 'Secret
Document' names a Captain Strath-Gordon as the man who relieved Thwaites
in March 1919. Alexander Edward Ronald Strath-Gordon certainly existed,
though not as such in 1919. Then he was known simply as Ronald Strath,
an Edinburgh-born Canadian medical officer. MI5 records show that Captain
R. Strath joined the British Mission in New York in March of that year
on that agency's behalf, not SIS. However, Strath left MI5's employ in
August, the same time as Nathan's departure, so it seems likely it was
then he first entered Cumming's employ.
- Oddly, American reports on the British intelligence apparatus
c.1920-21, accurate in most respects, make absolutely no mention of a Strath
or Strath-Gordon. Rather, the man identified as taking over the agent network
from Nathan and Thwaites was a Captain (or Lieutenant) James. The same
documents disagree on James' initial, A.W. vs. C.M., but do concur that
he used the alias Charles Fox. A roster of the New York Passport Control
Office drawn up about July 1920 does show an A.W. James attached but leaves
his function vague.
- The question is whether Strath and James/Fox were the
same man or two. The most probable answer is the former, which indicates
an extraordinary effort to obscure the officer's true identity. Some of
this increased secretiveness stemmed from the fact that in January 1920
the US State Department, in response to mounting complaints, requested
London that all British intelligence gathering cease and desist on American
- An FBI memorandum from early 1921 acknowledged that despite
outward acceptance of this demand, 'the British continue their espionage
in this country', particularly out of the New York Consulate. The same
is noted in an MID memo dated November 1920. The latter report named 'Mr.
James' as the one secretly maintaining an intelligence bureau under the
cover of the Passport Control Office at 44 Whitehall. James, the report
continued, took special interest in the Sinn Fein Question and received
reports and agents at his home in Elmhurst, Long Island. 'I understand',
the writer added, 'a great many secret meetings are held there'. James
appeared to be spending a lot of money but was 'getting nothing therefor'.
- Additional information gathered by MID and the FBI confirmed
that James, acting as Charles Fox, received reports from operatives via
a post office box in Manhattan's City Hall Station, raising the possibility
that he was operating parallel networks under different names. The above
reports provide a good deal of information on James/Fox's agents and suspected
agents and offer some idea as to his range of contacts and interests. James'
right hand man was the above Raymond Finch who maintained his own base
of operations at the Prince George Hotel. Working out of the same place,
presumably in tandem with Finch, was William Lynch, an Irish-American previously
convicted for 'criminal anarchy' by US authorities.
- Reporting to both Finch and James was Peggy Mellon, who
told an FBI confidential source that she was 'interested only in the Irish
and Hindu movements'. It was through Mellon, American investigators believed,
that Nathan and James had recruited or corrupted a much bigger informant,
radical Irish nationalist James Larkin. An equally likely possibility is
that Section V deliberately fanned doubts about Larkin to sow dissension
in Sinn Fein ranks. Another Irish-American operative was C.L. Converse,
a New York teamster who had first worked for Nathan but who also informed
on British activities to the Americans. Converse, for instance, told the
FBI that James 'was receiving the bulk of his information from the Department
of Justice office' in New York and named agents Davis and Scully as the
- An agent of a different sort was the Reverend R.D. Jonas,
a white man, earlier employed by Thwaites, who was 'active in various negro
subversive work throughout the country'. Jonas was especially close to
Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association with the result
that American investigators even suspected the Jamaican-born Garvey of
being a British asset. Similar suspicions attached themselves to various
Communists or other pro-Soviet radicals.
- The most notable of these was Louis Fraina, leader of
the US Communist Labor Party and a delegate to Comintern conferences in
Western Europe and Russia. Fraina was very close to British operative Nosovitsky,
who had taken it upon himself to defend Fraina against charges of being
an informer for the FBI. The FBI denied that Fraina ever had worked for
them, but quoted a confidential informant in the State Department who had
been told by no less than Basil Thomson that Fraina 'had been in the employ
of the British Secret Service', though he was no longer.
- As mentioned earlier, the Americans also suspected that
Fraina's rival, Soviet Bureau chief Ludwig Martens was also tied into the
British net along with his No.2 man, Finnish Communist Santeri Nuorteva.
Strath later claimed that he remained connected to British intelligence
operations in New York until the mid-1930s. What is certain is that in
late 1919 Maurice Jeffes and Henry Penmorlan Maine arrived in New York
as, respectively, Passport Control and Assistant Control officer. In September
1921, a new era began when Jeffes assumed the formal position of SIS head-of-station
in Manhattan with Maine his No.2 and subsequent successor.
- So what, in the end, did Wiseman and his successors achieve?
They certainly frustrated and compromised German efforts in America, though
the Germans were, perhaps, their own worst enemies in that regard. Sir
William & Co. also dealt serious blows to the organization and credibility
of Indian nationalists in the US, although their anti-Irish efforts, for
various reasons, seem to have been less successful. Of course, any such
successes were only tactical victories in wars ultimately lost elsewhere.
- The most important and lasting achievement of the 'Wiseman
Era' was the establishment of a permanent British intelligence presence
in the US under the direction of SIS. This and the links forged with American
agencies and officials would be of immense value when a new war erupted
in 1939. Sir William Stephenson and his British Security Coordination (BSC)
would have faced a much more difficult situation were it not for the bridges
built and the lessons learned during 1915-21. Indeed, Wiseman himself briefly
returned to active service in 1939 to help organize BSC and advise Stephenson.
Anglo-American intelligence cooperation today owes a large debt to Wiseman,
Thwaites, Nathan and the many others who helped forge it in the throes
and aftermath of the Great War.
- From Intelligence and National Security, Vol.19, No.3,
(Autumn 2004): pp.511-537
- Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
- Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
- Univ of West Indies
- Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message
- Also my new website:
- Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
- Go with God and in Good Health