Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online. . . . . . Continuance Of The Wilbert Coffin Story

At times it is necessary to back up in order to come forward. That is where I am at now with the Wilbert Coffin story. Certain things have taken place that has made it necessary to change direction somewhat. This particular posting would have taken place down the road a bit, however, to avoid an acceleration of erroneous information, now was the time to jump in and clarify a few more things. It is the barrage of this erroneous information over the past half century that has wreaked havoc with this case resulting with the destruction and the destroying of families. I am determined to not let that happen this time.

The first question that I pose is simply this. Who was this Eugene Hunter Lindsey of Pennsylvania? Sure, most of us are aware that he was the senior hunter in the party of three Pennsylvania hunters who were murdered in the remote Quebec woods in 1953, but aside from that fact, do we really know very much about him? It has been touted that robbery was the motive for his death, at least that is the motive that the crown insisted upon, even though no one has ever been charged with his murder. This theory was always weak at best, and assurdly would never have stood up to scrutiny had other pertinent evidence been factored in.

It is important to understand that Richard Lindsey and Fred Claar were never the intended targets in these crimes. There was one intended target, and that target was Eugene Hunter Lindsey. The two younger men were simply in the wrong place at the right time to have their lives snuffed out at the hands of the assissin of Eugene Lindsey.

In order for a murder investigation to have meaning, it is prudent to establish a motive. In this case, once a motive is established for the killing of Eugene Lindsey, the motive for the killing of Richard Lindsey and Fred Claar becomes self explanatory. If this train of thought had prevailed in 1953, a conviction could very easily have evolved for Eugene Lindsey's murder. I can prove that conviction would not have carried the name of Wilbert Coffin. I make that statement based on the fact, that had Eugene Lindsey been properly investigated in 1953, Wilbert Coffin would never have been charged with the murder of Richard Lindsey. To reiterate, I ask the question, do we really know very much about this man called Lindsey?

I can honestly say that I do know quite a bit about him. I had heard many rumours over the past while, however, I place no creedence in rumours. I did what I normally do in this sort of situation, I conducted my own research, independent of the rumour mill. It is important to know more about Eugene Lindsey with reference to this case, than just the fact that he was a bear hunter from Pennsylvania murdered in the wilds of the rural Gaspe' Peninsula.

Eugene Hunter Lindsey was born in Frankstown, Pennsylvania on May 16, 1906, the son of Jonathan and Verna (Hunter) Lindsey. One of five children born to this family, Eugene Lindsey grew up in the area of Pennsylvania where he was born. He attended Altoona High School and graduated in the class of 1923, and would live some of his subsequent years in Altoona. Eugene Lindsey later met and married Mary Sell from nearby Woodbury, Pennsylvania. Three children would be born to them, daughters Eleanor, and Donna, and a son, Richard.

After marriage Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Lindsey would settle in the community of Brookes Mills, near the community of Hollidaysburg in the state of Pennsylvania. Shortly after high school graduation, Eugene would acquire full time employment with Altoona Works, a subsiduary of the railway service, where he would remain until his death.

During the early years Eugene Lindsey was an avid outdoor person, with a keen interest in hunting. He became a member of the Pennsylvania Federation Of Sportsmens Clubs who were a powerful voice in recreational shooting. During these years, Eugene Lindsey and his wife were members of the nearby Leamersville Church Of The Brethren. The church membership afforded Eugene Lindsey the place in local society normally reserved for those with outstanding qualities. In Eugene Lindsey's case, it was the Sunday Eugene Lindsey, versus the rest of the week Eugene Lindsey. A pattern of conflicting characteristics is about to emerge.

In his early years Eugene would practise frugality. He loved money and the associated power that accompanied it. On a small scale Eugene Lindsey discovered ways to turn a quick dollar. The secret though was to turn that quick dollar for a healthy profit.

The company that employed him was one of the largest employers in the state. Each employee would get a pay cheque each week. Many of these employees were single, and as well, there were many employees who did not have bank accounts or cheque cashing privleges. As a result of a gradual buildup of capital in the form of ready cash, Eugene Lindsey was in a position to offer a private money service. He would cash the employee's cheques on pay day for a five percent cashing fee. It was not unusual for Eugene Lindsey to have on his person several thousand dollars on any given pay day. Though the company frowned upon the practise, he soon found a way to work around the restrictions placed on him by head office, and thus, was able to carry on business as usual.

With the love of money and greed slowly taking over his life, Eugene Lindsey decided to expand his business to include the business of loaning money at high rates of interest to fellow workers. Though on the surface Eugene would appear to be that nice church fellow, it was that darker seedier side that bore Eugene Lindsey's true colours. On more than one occasion, a fellow worker may have to be "reminded" to get his repayment schedule back in order. Eugene of course, would never personally do the reminding. A few dollars in a local tavern could usually find someone who was proficient in the art of "persuasion." Afterall, it was important that Eugene maintain that church goer image. Behind the scenes however, a trail of hatred was building, because down deep, who really likes a loan shark?

Having built up a considerable cash reserve from his cheque cashing and loan enterprize, Eugene Lindsey constantly sought other ways to turn a dollar. In their various outlets, his place of employment employed over eight thousand workers. Many of these workers needed transportation to and from the work place. Eugene devised a scheme whereby he could supply that transportation, and do it legally. He bought several older buses, and applied to the Pennsylvania Carrier Permission for a license to transport workers. He was granted a permit to service select routes within Blair County. The business was lucrative. He built up his fleet to a high of eighteen. Greed was setting in now at an accelerated rate. It was this greed that would land Eugene Lindsey in hot water with the state.

Not satisfied with the assigned routes from the state government, Eugene decided to expand his territory. He simply muscled in on other routes, and would pick up and deliver passengers in contravention of his permits. As a result, the state took action and he would be fined heavily for his deeds on many occasions, resulting in a show cause action. It was necessary that Mr. Lindsey show cause as to why his license should not be suspended permanently. It was at this point that Eugene Lindsey made the decision to sell his interest in the transportation industry. He sold his interest, not for cash, but on a payment schedule.

A check of state police records suggests that Eugene Lindsey was not an unknown to the organization. In addition to being cited numerous times for license infractions, Mr. Lindsey had among other things, a charge and conviction for hit and run, and as well, a warrant had been issued for his arrest. Eugene Lindsey was not an angel.

It is documented that Eugene Lindsey like to party. He liked good Canadian whiskey, and he liked the ladies as well. Away from his home, it was not unlike Eugene to flash a roll of cash. It gave him that false sense of security and prominence within his peer circle. Eugene was riding high and it felt good.

If Eugene Lindsey was trying to make an impression, he pulled out all the stops. Afterall, in a tavern, some guy sitting over in the corner by himself with a wad of cash, drinking the best whiskey in the house, and smoking the best cigars was bound to be the centre of attention. This was what made him tick. It enabled him to emerge from that quiet, sober, Sunday church boy image and be his true self. It is documented that on one such evening, Eugene would spot someone who owed him money. Eugene was above asking the guy directly, however, a ten dollar bill soon found someone down on their luck who was willing to inflict a severe physical beating on the man while Eugene sat and watched.

In spite of the free spending Eugene Lindsey that he portrayed himself to be, there is no question, Eugene Lindsey was a cheapskate. He looked after, and spoke well of those closest to him, providing they had something to offer in return. Clarence Claar was a good example. They were lifelong friends, hunted together, socialized, and Clarence's son Fred and Eugene's son Richard were best friends. By comparison, Eugene was much wealthier than Clarence. When it came to hunting equipment, Eugene was too cheap to buy his own. It was easier to feast on what Clarence had to offer. He would borrow Clarence's rifles, hunting knives, binoculars, and whatever else was available.

Outside his immediate hometown area of Pennsylvania, Eugene Lindsey was known as a braggart. He displayed little regard for those he had hunted and socialized with over the years. His list of hunting partners was dwindling. He was known to go on a hunting journey with friends and upon arriving at the area for the hunt, Eugene would simply take off by himself. He would overshoot his limit of game, rather than aid one of his hunting partners. Very simply, Eugene Lindsey was motivated by greed.

In the early fifties it became popular for those who could afford it, to travel outside the United States to go on hunting expeditions. A popular spot in those days was the vast frontier of eastern Canada, specifically the Gaspe' peninsula. In those days, Gaspe' was virtually an unspoiled natural wilderness, teeming with fish and game animals. Eugene Lindsey was one of those people who could afford the jaunt, and between 1950 and 1953 he made many trips to the area. While on the subject of trips to Gaspe', and at the same time alluding to the fact that Eugene Lindsey was a cheapskate, one has to consider his mode of travel.

In his final year of 1953, Eugene Lindsey was still driving a 1947 Ford half ton pickup truck that had seen better days. For his final trip, the truck was in a state of disrepair before leaving Pennsylvania. It broke down in New York state when it over heated and the radiator blew. The fuel pump was giving problems, and the tires were bald as Eugene was too cheap to replace them. Consider this for a moment. Either one is incredibly stupid, or one is incredibly cheap to start out on a 3,000 mile round trip from Pennsylvania to the tip of the Gaspe' peninsula with such a vehicle. As if that is not enough, after reaching Gaspe' the plan is to take this truck 70 miles into the bush over trails and little used logging roads, with the bald tires and too cheap to buy a set of chains. Possibly a combination of being cheap and stupid is appropriate here.

Unfortunately Eugene Lindsey did not come across well with many of the folks of the Gaspe' communities. Many would find him overbearing, demanding, and egotistical. Eugene would arrive back home in Pennsylvania from a trip to the Gaspe' and laugh and make comments about his hosts while in Canada. This behaviour is documented in statements made by his peers at home. While in Gaspe' Eugene Lindsey was known countless times to flash a pocket full of money. Perhaps this was done to display superiority, or perhaps to make a statement saying, I have it, and you don't. Whatever the reason, Eugene Lindsey was not a favourite in Gaspe'.

Back home, Eugene Lindsey could often be seen drinking his favourite brand of Canadian liquor. He would brag about this fact, as if to say, this is from my own private supply. What he wasn't saying was the fact that in the Gaspe' area, he was friends with a certain fellow by the name of Mr. Farley, a fellow American who made his home near Gaspe' town.

Mr. Farley was carrying on an illegal liquor importing business. Mr. Farley had a depot on the beach, closed off from the highway by a high fence. The property was complete with docking facilities for boats bringing in contraband liquor and tobacco products from the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, located off the south coast of Newfoundland. This venture interested Eugene Lindsey in a big way. Firstly, it was a lucrative business, and secondly, it would serve to satisfy the personal lust for good cigars and good booze. The most important part of all to Eugene was the fact that on each trip to the Gaspe' he would be able to smuggle a small quantity back to Pnnsylvania with him and turn a tidy profit on it, and at the same time, combine it with a hunting trip. Truly, the best of both worlds.

Eugene Lindsey would make the trip to Gaspe' many times during those times. Sometimes by himself, and sometimes with others, but always under the guise of a hunting trip. Eugene Lindsey made friends and he made enemies. This fact would go with the territory, when you consider a loanshark trying to break into a high scale bootlegging operation such as this. The combination of loanshark, international bootlegger, and down to earth American hunter just didn't cut it. One can speculate that a quietier more serene type person may have been able to wear all these hats. Not so in this case. We are talking about Eugene Lindsey. Eugene Lindsey had to boast, and he had to appear to be the king pin. Again, when at home in his native Pennsylvania, documentation shows that Eugene had to brag.

Eugene openly bragged about his time spent in Gaspe'. Eugene liked to play poker. Documentation shows that Eugene welched on gambling debts incurred in Gaspe'. According to Eugene's wife Mary, her husband withdrew some six hundred and fifty dollars from their bank account prior to making his final journey. Presumably, that money would have gone toward paying off gambling debts in Gaspe'.

It is documented that Eugene Lindsey bragged about physically beating up a guide in the Gaspe' district. Eugene Lindsey would also brag about having an affair with the wife of a man who was employed as a guide in the Gaspe' area. It has been later learned that Eugene Lindsey made advances to a lady who worked for Mr. Farley in his liquor importing business. It has been reported that the lady's husband, a Mr. Jean Cabot was not impressed.

Eugene was later heard to laugh about his second to the last trip that he made to the area. According to Eugene, someone in Gaspe' had warned him that if he ever set foot in Gaspe again, it would be to his peril. . . . . .

Lew Stoddard
Posted November 28, 2006


Bruce T said...

Mr. Stoddard,

Very impressed with this posting on Eugene Lindsey. Yes, I agree with you, it is necessary to know about this man. Afterall he was the reason that all three were killed.

You did an excellent job on your research and presentation. You have good writing skills.

Bruce T
Haliburton, Ontario

Barry M said...

I have been following your writings on this case for sometime now.

Things will quiet down again now that all the hoopla and excitement has died down over the recent newspaper reports.

Throughout it all, what have they told us that was previously unknown? If what they wrote is all it takes to satisfy the public out there, hey, I got a bridge that I would like to sell you!

And now you Sir, from this posting today, I see you are back to the good old grass roots approach. That is what will solve this case. Not those fancy city slicker types who have no real grasp on the big world.

Give it Hell, and full speed all the way now Sir, and don't let those idiots grind you down.

Barry M
Nanaimo, B C

franco said...

I read all the same crap in the Gazette, Soleil, Presse. what they all do get together make a story and shove it at us.

like yours much more better as alwys interresting and make sence.

Franco Cambria

Maureen Landry said...

Hey everyone out there, May we now have some peace and quiet so that this story does not get interrupted anymore. Some of you are ridiculous, and are a pain in the you know what!

Maureen Landry

Karen Grieve said...

Great story on Mr. lindsey. I learned much from this posting. I knew really nothing about him, simply because no one ever wrote about him in depth that I know of. You do the overall story well Lew.

Karen Grieve
Victoria, B C

Glenda said...

Back on track with the story. I am glad to see this. You will solve it Sir.

Whoitehorse, Yukon

Sylvie Racette said...

Lew I like your approach to the story, down to earth, simple, well written, documented, and articulate. All part of the recipe for success at solving this.

Sylvie Racette
Perth Andover, New Brunswick

Christa Mulheron said...

I never would have dreamed that this "gentleman" Eugene Lindsey would have such a checkered past. Just proves, we never know, do we. I think that posting today answers a big question, and you indicated that you moved the posting forward. In other words you have known this for some time. I think you have some surprises coming up on this. You have worked hard and long. You deserve to be the one to solve it.

Christa Mulheron

Doug T said...

Never dreamed that the victims in this crime were anything but honest down to earth types. This puts a whole new face on the crime. Victim's profiles are so important. Why did someone not do this years ago? No wonder they hung the wrong man!

Doug T
Halifax, Nova Scotia

David W said...

If this thing had been handled correctly 53 years ago there would have been no trouble solving this. This is a total embarassment. It makes me rotate with anger. Wilbert Coffin died for this mess? Why?

Lew Stoddard, turn up the heat if you can on this.

David W
Toronto, Ontario

Gord said...

Just finished reading your post over my morning toast and coffee. This posting paints a new picture of the acters in this case. Unfortunate that those two young men had to die, and words cannot express my revulsion to the fact that Wilbert Coffin had to hang for this.

Just to let you know, I found your site through the Wikipedia encyclopedia. I am impressed Sir.

Amherst, N S

Gavin said...

It is not difficult to see a motive emerging here. I am anxious to see the next posting. This should shut a lot of people up, stop some others in their tracks, and say Full Speed Ahead Lew. In other words, to those of you out there who have been mouthing off on here, Move over and get the hell out of the way.

CFB Comox

Marcia McFayden said...

There is always another side to everything and I think you are getting to that very nicely. I am glad to see that. Wish you had been around back in the early fifties. I am sure that we would not be on this site today discussing this topic because with some common sense back then it would have ended before it started.


Carolyn Doherty said...

You write this story well. My congratulations to you Sir. I hope you are successful. I will say one thing, we know a lot more about it since you started this. We used to debate this case in school.

Carolyn Doherty

A Neice from Gaspes' Homeland said...

Wow, Nice to be back on track. Well you sure did your homework. One can see how Mr. Coffin's so called Defense Lawyer was asleep & the Wheel. Obviously, Lindsey made alot of enemies in his daily life as well as his social life when travelling.

By the way the reports write, this man was very well disliked and more probably hated by many. And since he was such a bragger, anyone who had business dealings with him, most likely had a motive. And anyone who heard his braggings would know exactly where to find him as well.

I am sure if a list of possible motives were written up back when this was being investigated, Wilbert Coffin's name would have been at the bottom of the list for theft, If it had been on the list at all.

One thing disturbs me Mr. Stoddard,
The fact that the younger victims were killed because they were in the wrong place. My problem with that theory is that Lindsey was not killed in the same area as the younger victims. There were no signs of stuggle surrounding the youths. Both were surprised most likely of the attack. If they were killed because they saw who the murderer was or were running from murderer there would have been more signs of struggle. Am I missing something here? I am thinking that they were not the target, however, perhaps their murder was complete vengence. How more personal of a murder and how much more hate could one have for their victim. Someone with a very strong motive. Which if realized would have taken Mr. Wilbert Coffin completely out of the picture right from the start once a background check on Lindsey along with the evidence that was evident.

Mr. Stoddard, You really allow us to picture this and reflect upon this case deeply.


Lani Baker Mitchell said...

You wonder about the murder of the two boys and how it was possible...check back to Lew's posting of Oct.29 He says, " You will note that I used the plural designation, as I am confidant that I can now present my SUSPECTS to you." There is an incredible amount of research being done each and every day and it's paying off! Astounding results from all the work will be presented by Lew. Again I say " Stay tuned!"

A Neice from Gaspes' Homeland said...

To Lani:

No I did not wonder about how the it was possible, I have read all the writings more than once. I was making a comment about whether the younger victims being not the target, I believe they were not the the intended goal, however, someone how I believe they were killed out of vengence more than they were witnesses to the targetted victim murder. This is only my own theory, and that is all it is, a theory, I was more or less voicing it to see if anyone or if Lew had any comments to this idea.

Believe me I am staying tuned. I am in 100% support of this goal.


Garnet M said...

I do not see the necessity of having to put down Mr. Lindsey who was nothing more than an innocent victim in this story.

You are stooping too low on this one.

Garnet M
Lachine, Quebec