Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Marguerite's Finances

Proponents of the John Armstrong “Harvey & Lee” theory find the finances of Marguerite Oswald suspicious. They believe that since she was not always employed during the years 1940-1952 that this is an indication that she had other sources of income, namely from the CIA. They believe this payment was for her work in the “Oswald Project” which involved two boys and two mothers and lasted from the forties through about 1958.

The following quote from Harvey & Lee is indicative of this suspicion:

There is no record of any employment for her during the next 6 months [1952], yet she was able to make her house payment, pay utility bills, buy food, gas, and afford a trip to New York in September.

As is always the case, there is another explanation. Marguerite ran a con of sorts on everyone she met during her life. She was constantly reminding anyone who would listen that she was a poor widow and down to her last penny. She placed her children in an orphanage to save money and to have someone to watch them while she worked. Her older boys John and Robert worked and she expected them to give her at least part of their earnings. She also wrote to John after he joined the service asking for money which he provided. As Robert later pointed out, “money was her God.”

In addition to the above tactics, Marguerite worked in low-paying jobs when she had to, and had other sources of income, which enabled her to provide a modest living for her family. Marguerite was something of a real estate investor and made good money for the time as Armstrong admits on page 27 of his book. Armstrong also provides the obvious explanation for her profits.

Marguerite made a profit on all real estate transactions except this one [San Saba], which is unusual because of a nationwide property boom following WWII.

The following table shows Marguerite’s real estate profits and is based on Armstrong’s own research.


Purchase Price

Sale Price


1010 Bartholomew, New Orleans




2109 Alvar St., New Orleans




4801 Victor, Dallas




101 San Saba, Benbrook, TX




101 San Saba, Rental Income

$3000 (rent)

$500 (expenses)


7408 Ewing, Fort Worth




4833 Birchman, Fort Worth






But real estate transactions did not account for all of Marguerite’s additional income. The following table illustrates other sources.

Child Support Edward Pic 1940-49


Robert Oswald Sr. Life Insurance


Edwin Ekdahl Divorce Settlement




That gives us a grand total of $17,410 of additional income. At that time, Marguerite was making around $2000 a year when she worked. This is based on a job she had at Burt’s Shoes making $40 a week per Armstrong. Therefore, the additional income provided the equivalent of about 8 years of regular income working at the rate of pay she typically received.

Remember, that the period we are discussing is from about 1940 to 1952 which is 12 years. That only leaves 4 years that she had to account for and she worked enough to cover that. Part of that time, she was married to Edwin Ekdahl who paid all the bills. Of course, she had expenses such as mortgage payments, maintaining her properties, lawyers’ fees and so on. But the idea that it was impossible for her to get by without some unknown source of income such as CIA money is nonsense.


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