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Featured Article for October 2006

Did Clay Shaw Own a 1962 Rambler?

by Walt Brown

Most readers are familiar with the "Rambler" controversy -- witnesses, including controversial Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig, who believed he saw "Oswald" -- or a reasonable enough facsimile to "Oswald" that he was fooled -- whistle, run down to Elm Street, and get in a Rambler station wagon driven by a dark-complected man. Jesse C. Price, an eyewitness on the roof of the under-construction postal annex, told of seeing someone leave the Depository, enter a Rambler parked on Houston Street, and exit the scene of the crime in undue haste.

Contrast that with reports in 1963, from Jackson and Clinton, Louisiana, in which "Lee Oswald" was seen exiting -- not getting into, but out of -- an expensive Cadillac automobile populated by characters who apparently bore strong resemblances to Clay Shaw and David Ferrie.

Given those rules of engagement, imagine my surprise when I came upon a letter written by T.G. Womack, Jr., a Hammond, Louisiana, insurance agent, to Clay L. Shaw, 1313 Dauphine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana. The letter is in reference to Marquette no. 105628, and "Marquette Casualty Company" is the imprint on the bottom of the Womack Insurance Agency letterhead. The date of the letter is March 24, 1964, just at a time when the Warren Commission was done interviewing "the big fish."

"Dear Clay: Your dad was in my office this morning and returned the above policy covering liability on the 1962 Rambler Station Wagon. I agreed to hold up cancellation of this policy until I had word from you that you had arranged for coverage with your New Orleans agent. Just for your records the automobile is described as being a 1962 Rambler Ambassador M#H171787 (4-Dr. Sta. Wagon)."

Clay Shaw, owning a Rambler Station wagon? How? (I began to suspect the "why.")

Clay Shaw was not a young man in 1964, given that he was hardly a teenager when he went into military intelligence more than two decades earlier in World War II. Beyond that, there is no trace of "[his] dad," in any literature I'm aware of.

So what does it mean or suggest? Primarily, it seems to "prove" that Clay Shaw owned a 1962 Rambler Station Wagon, and given his wealth, the elegance of his residence at 1313 Dauphin Street, his very powerful slot in the world-trade community, it's hard to portray him as the Rambler Station Wagon type of guy. His alternate-mode lifestyle would also suggest he might want to be seen in a more upscale vehicle -- probably one very much like the large black luxury vehicle spotted by many witnesses in the Clinton and Jackson episodes in the summer of 1963.

And who is his dad?

The best answer to both of these questions -- and this is only interpretive analysis, and far from provable given the passage of time as well as the passage of the insured -- is that "Clay Shaw" was the dad. He purchased the car in question and then insured it through an out-of-town agency, and allowed his "son," a person possibly known to us, or, equally possible, someone not known to us. But it was his vehicle and it was insured in his name.

When, by March 24, 1964, it had served its purpose, most likely on the 22nd of November the previous year, "Shaw" himself went to the Womack Agency and informed them he was canceling the policy on his "son's" automobile -- especially since he would not have wanted it tied to him on the odd chance that someone would believe Roger Craig, Price, or anyone else who might have come forward and provided reports about a suspicious Rambler at the time -- and place -- of the assassination.

The reader is invited to peruse the entirety of the document, below. Comments are certainly welcome for future issues. I shared the contents of this document with one interested party, and his comment is not printable in a family newspaper; well, the "holy" part of it would have been. What does it all mean -- is the real question....

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