Hello, Atascosa County! I received a lot of positive feedback from last week’s article about Johnny Horton. I run into a lot of Rock ‘n’ Roll history and this may be a special topic I will highlight in the future. I prefer to write about Atascosa County history, but occasionally I will step out of the box, so to speak. This week, it’ll be about Pleasanton’s visit of someone who went on to commit a sinister act and become enemy No. 1 overnight.
On Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas as he rode in a convertible vehicle during a parade. The motives behind the murder of a president and a police officer by Lee Harvey Oswald remain unknown. However, conspiracy theories have run rampant until the present day. The accused assassin, Oswald, was murdered the next day by a Dallas club owner Jack Rubenstein (Ruby). Therefore, whatever else Oswald had to say went with him to the grave.
A phenomenon that occurs after a shocking event is the public panic. Public panic causes people to believe that the involved parties or actors are somehow tied into the innocent realm of our lives. In the case of Lee Harvey Oswald, the sighting of his whereabouts prior to Nov. 22, 1963, have created a path to follow for the FBI in the days leading up to President Kennedy and Officer J.D. Tippit’s murders.
According to FBI interviews, Oswald traveled through several small towns seeking employment. Documented proof exists that places Oswald in Alice, Freer, Pleasanton, Corpus Christi and San Antonio in early October 1963.
KBOP Owner Dr. Ben Parker recalled that in early October, a man fitting the description of Oswald entered the radio station seeking employment. Dr. Parker described the man as being 5’7” or 5’8”, in his mid-20s, sandy hair and a dirty appearance. Dr. Parker did not look to see if the man was accompanied by anyone else but he advised the young man that he did not currently have a job for him. Mrs. Mona Parker (Ben’s wife) recalled receiving a call from the man before he stopped by the station.
Oswald’s second Pleasanton sighting was at a gas station where the attendant provided the same description and also added that the woman in the car spoke a foreign language. Let’s remember that Oswald’s wife was from the Soviet Union.
The sightings in Texas listed above, all matched in separate interviews and all descriptions detail Oswald as having sandy blonde hair and a dirty appearance. His job search is also a consistent occurrence throughout the South Texas Oswald sightings.
Can you imagine how different history would have been had Oswald found employment in one of these small towns?
Thank you for reading, until next time.
MARTIN GONZALES is the Atascosa County Historical Commission Chairman. If you have history to share, you may contact him at 830-480-2741.