Patty Doyle's Family &
The Lindbergh
Kidnapping Case

By Patricia Doyle

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, 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 the case.
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 that cruel.
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 a German.
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 Lindbergh Kidnapping"
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 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 soil.
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 prime accomplices.
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
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Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
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