Friday, June 28, 2019

Bruce Davis Granted Parole.... Again

Bruce has aged a lot since his last mug shot.

Read the article at Cielo Drive dot com

2020 MansonBlog Tour

The 2020 Tour dates will announced after New Years. It typically takes place in the spring (April/May).

If anyone is interested in attending please email either myself or Deb. There's no charge, but you need to make your own travel, lodging and other arrangements.

The exact itinerary is never announced before the Tour but the links below will give you an idea of what it's like.

Past tour links:

MansonBlog Tour 2019: Iverson Movie Ranch
MansonBlog Tour 2019: Laurel Canyon
MansonBlog Tour 2019: The Whisky A Go Go
MansonBlog Tour 2019: What's with Horn Avenue?
MansonBlog Tour 2019: Dearly Departed Tours

MansonBlog Tour 2018: Paying Respects
MansonBlog Tour 2018: Cielo Drive Killer Walk
MansonBlog Tour 2018: Scott Michaels and his Dearly Departed Tours and Artifact Museum
MansonBlog Tour 2018: The Spiral Staircase Revisited (Again)
MansonBlog Tour 2018: The Back Ranch at Spahn
MansonBlog Tour 2018: Respects to Ron Hughes from Ghouls & Fools
MansonBlog Tour 2018: A Few Reflections on the MansonBlog Tour
MansonBlog Tour 2018: Heartbreak and Change of Heart about the Manson Girls
MansonBlog Tour 2018: What it's like driving with Dreath

Tour 2017: Slipping in the Mix with Steve Grogan
Tour 2017: The James Willet Murder Area
Tour 2017: Mendocino
Tour 2017: NorCal Facts About The Victims
Tour 2017: Haight-Ashbury
Tour 2017: Sacramento

MansonBlog Tour 2016: Jane Doe #59
MansonBlog Tour 2016: The Gun Toss And Steven Weiss' House
MansonBlog Tour 2016: Independence, CA
MansonBlog Tour 2016: Death Valley, The Racetrack Playa and The Michigan Loader Site
MansonBlog Tour 2016: Nude Hippies And The Origin Of An Icon
MansonBlog Tour 2016: The End Of Summit Trail

Manson Tour 2015: Earth Day at Spahn Ranch
Manson Tour 2015: A Discussion With George Stimson: Part I
Manson Tour 2015: A Discussion With George Stimson: Part II
Manson Tour 2015: Olancha - Karl Stubbs' Neighbor and Hannum Ranch
Manson Tour 2015: Goler Wash
Manson Tour 2015: Gary Hinman's Bus -- Not
Manson Tour 2015: Benedict Canyon and the Surrounding Areas: Report on Strange Sounds, Gunshots, Indications of Violence, Related by Persons who were in Hearing Distance of the Polanski Residence on the Night of 8-8-69 and the Morning of 8-9-69

Manson Tour 2014: Stoner's Spahn Ranch Hike
Manson Tour 2014: The Museum of Death and The Sounds of Laurel Canyon
Manson Tour 2014: A Day With Aes-Nihil
Holy Cross

2013 Tour: Robert Hendrickson at The Silent Theatre
2013 Tour: Cielo Drive
2013 Tour: Easton Drive / Rudy Weber
2013 Tour: LaBianca
2013 Tour: El Coyote
2013 Tour: Lotsapoppa
2013 Tour: Westchester/Venice
2013 Tour: Hanging out with Michael on his Back Porch!
2013 Tour: Spahn/Chatsworth

2012 Tour Day 1: Vegas & Pahrump
2012 Tour Day 2: Devil's Hole, Father Crowley Point & Olancha
2012 Tour Day 3: Trona, Ballarat & Barker Ranch
2012 Tour Day 4: El Coyote
2012 Tour Day 5: Lower Topanga, Spahn, Box Canyon

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Reverend William R Cole part 2

Part 1

We will continue with a couple more articles on Bill, Claudia and Madaline.  Reporting the contents of the articles really doesn't capture the essence of the situation so they have been transcribed in full.  These articles are from the Kansas City Star, a "big town" newspaper and are without the quaintness of the weekly Gentry County newspaper.  They are down and dirty!

We learn a lot more about life at the McFall farm, about the tape that Bill took with them and a few other little nuggets. We hear from people who worked and stayed at the farm with the trio and from their landlords who seemed to truly care for Bill and "Linda."  A plus is, the photos that accompanied the articles were good enough post.

Kansas City Star
March 12, 1972
Harry Jones, Jr.

Manson ‘Kin’ Flee Missouri

McFall, Mo.- Life us quieter there now, less interesting.  The hippies have fled from McFall.
In their wake they left this little northwest Missouri town with the shudders.

Not because of anything they did here the last year and a half.  They were quite well behaved, in fact.  Didn’t bathe much, but most worked hard at their farming commune.

The shudders spring from the imagination as it contemplates what might have happened- retroactive whim-whams, call them- caused by acquisition of new information here about two weeks ago, right after the commune’s two full-time members hurriedly split for Kansas City 80 miles away in their old yellow pickup truck.

The new information was that three of the hippies, including the two that had been here the full 18 months, were former members of the demonic Charles Manson “family” of California.

The Manson family has not been much in the news lately, but its members are hard to forget- blamed for the mass murder of five persons at the Sharon Tate home one bloody summer night in 1969, of the wealthy La Bianca couple one night later, of Gary Hinman, musician, of “Shorty” Shea, Hollywood stunt man, and of God knows who else; the Satanic cult of zombie-like creatures, some of them, who reveled in wild, drug-fuzzed sex orgies, drank blood and killed on order whenever their egomaniac, racist, wizard-leader, pip-squeak Charlie Manson, said “kill.”

Lord Almighty, the 200 citizens of McFall had reason to exclaim, we might have all been murdered in our beds!

No one was, of course, Sheriff Ben Rainey of Gentry County can’t even think of an unsolved misdemeanor that might be attributed to them now.

One reason for this, apparently, is that the Rev. William (Billy) Cole, Mrs. Linda Cole and “Little Patti,” as they were known here, were a cut above Manson and some of the other family members who have been convicted of various murders.  Or that they have reformed.  Or Both.

Another factor is that they obviously did not wish to attract unnecessary attention.  Cole especially.  Not only are California law enforcement officials eager to find him, so are some of the family members who are still free.

Cole, 37, known as Bill Vance when he was with the weird cult, is believed to have vital information about several of the murders committed by family members, Sgt. Paul Whiteley of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s office, said.

Cole is believed to have in his possession long-sought tape recordings of Manson family members singing folk songs they composed about one or more of their savage killings, according to Sheriff Rainey.

This is the main reason Sergeant Whiteley and Bill Gleason, another Los Angeles officer, came here late last month expecting to take Cole into custody.  Specifically, they wanted him to testify at a murder trial in California, but they wanted to question him about related matters.  Warrants charging check forgery are outstanding against both Cole and Linda, so taking them into custody would have been no problem legally- just tactically.

Sheriff Rainey, who assisted the California lawmen when they were here, said that one of the officers told him he had talked to Manson in jail shortly before leaving for Missouri and that Manson has said: “If you see Vance, tell him I want that tape back.”

But Cole grew suspicious on the night of Feb. 25, that the security he enjoyed here so long might be near the end.  So, he and 22-year-old Linda sped off for Kansas City with a 16-month-old baby named Dawn, believed to be Linda’s, leaving most of their personal belongings behind.

They are known to have visited a hippie pad in the 4000 block of Tracy in Kansas City over the weekend, and according to a young man, who said his name was Joe Buffa, interviewed at the Tracy address, they left by bus for Texas two days later.

Buffa, 21, is one of numerous young men and women, several from Kansas City, who lived for a time at the commune.  Its population changed in number regularly, townspeople report, averaging 8 or 10 at a time in the warm months.  They lived in a 3-room and a 5-room shack (until the smaller one burned last summer) and inside an engineless white school bus when there was an overflow.

Buffa stayed a month.  Some visited for just a weekend, others for longer periods.  They worked the farm raising soybeans, corn, hay, tomatoes, cabbage, watermelon and other crops.  In the winters, when visitors weren’t so frequent, Cole chopped a lot of wood and sold it as far away as Kansas City.  He also hired out to other farmers for odd jobs at times.

Not all the townspeople welcomed them here.  No parades were held to greet them at any rate.  But no one reportedly opposed their presence openly and no untoward incidents between the town folk and commune dwellers could be recalled by those interviewed here last week.

Buffa said the only trouble he could remember was caused by a few “town Drunks” who like to stagger over to the 5-room shack and try to lure the young women outside with such entreaties as, “We got beer.”

Cole rented the 5-room shack for $15 a month from Mr. and Mrs. Clair Clevenger, who live nearby.  Clevenger, 57, is a farmer and rural mail carrier.

The Clevengers said they were under the impression that Cole and Linda were man and wife.  But after the two left the Clevengers received a letter from them with Linda signing her name “Linda Baldwin.”  California authorities report that her real name is Clair Smith and the “Linda Baldwin” is an alias and a girl known here and in the Manson family as “Little Patti” have used.

Little Patti is the third ex-Mansonite who lived here, but she disappeared last fall from McFall.  Clevenger said Cole told him she was in some sort of institution in Tennessee, but a letter found in the shack after Cole left indicated otherwise.

The letter was from another person in or close to the family and the writer referred to Little Patti’s disappearance from McFall.  He warned Cole that she could be dangerous to him if she “talked.”  The nature of the danger was not mentioned.

Dawn, the 16-month-old child now presumably traveling with Cole and Linda, was assumed to be theirs by the Clevengers.  They discovered two maternity ward wrist bands from Trinity Lutheran hospital in Kansas City in the shack after the couple’s departure and the bands bore the names “Linda Baldwin” and “Baby Dawn” on them.  But since Little Patti and Linda (Clair) has used that alias, it is not certain which young woman is actually the mother.

When Mrs. Clevenger asked Linda once, her reply was, “She belongs to all of us.”

While the Clevengers remember Cole and Linda with affection, they describe Little Patti as having seemed surly.  Several times, Clevenger said, he noticed her going to the mailbox in such a dazed condition he thought she might be using drugs.  Buffa describes Little Patti as being “spaced out.”
The Clevengers, a friendly pair, appeared actually to miss Cole and Linda last week, despite their surprise at the Manson tie-in.  They had added a fresh dimension to their lives- especially Linda.

“We liked them,” Clevenger said.  “They were nice people.”

Mrs. Clevenger what a cheerful, outgoing young woman Linda was, always smiling or laughing.
“Yep,“ added her husband with affection, not derision, “she was as happy as a pig in a mud puddle and just as dirty.”

They displayed a letter Cole and Linda has sent them after leaving.  It began: “Dear Clare (sic) and Kathy: We suspected this for quite some time.  I’m sorry we cannot make personal amends…”
It ended: “… we appreciate and love you all for everything you have done for us.”

The letter also gave the Clevengers authority to dispose of their belongings as they saw fit and use them to help pay off their debts in town.  They promised to repay them and three merchants what they owed them.

Such a letter is in no way consistent with the picture that has emerged of the typical Manson family member in California.  Cole, Linda and Little Patty all appear sporadically in the pages of “The Family” (Dutton; 1971), by Ed Sanders, a book detailing the activities of the “Mansonoids,” as he called them, from their beginning to the imprisonment of many of them.

Sanders, an ex-Kansas Citian, described Cole (Vance) as a former jail mate of Manson who joined the family in 1969 as an accomplished thief.  He did not link him or either of the young women to any of the murders.

In fact, he wrote that when Manson asked Cole’s girl friend to kill Gary Hinman, the musician, she refused and Cole interceded on her behalf.  The upshot was that Cole and the girl left for Texas and family members mumbled about killing them if they ever returned, Sanders wrote.

They did return, however, and Sanders wrote that a tape recording of the family’s re-creation of the Hinman’s murder was among those Cole took into hiding with him.

(Note: this is on page 249 of the very first edition of Sanders book)

Sanders also wrote that all three of the Mansonites who wound up in McFall were among those inside a house in California when another member, known as “Zero”, died of a gunshot blast in the head.  Little Patti, in fact, was alone in the bedroom with Zero at the time. He related. While the other two were in the next room.  Zero’s death was ruled a suicide, the result of an especially risky game of Russian roulette. With only one of six chambers of the gun empty.

Cole and Little Patti were among numerous family members arrested in Death Valley in October, 1969, at the time of the major roundup of the group, but they were later released for lack of evidence.  The three went to Kansas City for a time, then appeared here in the summer of 1970.

Sheriff Rainey remembers that Cole visited him in nearby Albany when he first arrived to establish himself as a law-abiding citizen.  He said he told Cole he was welcome “If you don’t throw any pot parties or rock festivals- if you do, I’ll run your … out of the county.’”

Clevenger recalls that Cole was a diligent but that he reminded him of “the fellow who works hard all the time but never seems to get anything done.”  He was particularly amused at the fact that Cole planted his crops in concentric squares instead of rows, making cultivation and harvesting difficult.
The publisher of the Stanberry (Mo.) Headlight visited the commune last summer and talked at length with Linda.  He left impressed with their industry and observed: “They work too hard for hippies.”
Linda apparently lectured the publisher at length on the virtues of organic farming, and with a twinkle in her eye, asked him, “What did you expect to find?   Wild parties and nearly nude women?”

If anyone held pot parties at the commune, neither the sheriff, the Clevengers nor several others interviewed here seemed to know about it.  Marijuana does grow in the area, but Clevenger said he does not think any was grown on the few acres Cole worked.

Cole gained access to the land through its owner, Stephen Hann, 9525 El Monte, Overland Park, who said he had allowed Cole to work the land for part of the crop but that Cole had not done well enough to share the crop with him.

Hann expressed surprise that Cole had been connected with Manson, and he was under the impression that Linda was Cole’s daughter.

Most of their belongings have been removed from the shack by now, either by Clevenger, who is preparing it for a new tenant, or by a group of Kansas Citians who drove here early the morning of Feb. 29 in Cole’s yellow pickup and a car to recover what they said was their property.

That expedition from Kansas City created a few tense moments for the young folks as well as Sheriff Rainey.

Clevenger noticed lights on in the shack about 3 o’clock in the morning.  He telephoned the sheriff, who hustled down from Albany with a deputy.

Not knowing who was inside and seeing Cole’s pickup, the lawmen understandably drew their revolvers before entering the shack.  When they kicked in the door, they discovered five surprised young men and two startled young women preparing belongings to be put in the pickup.

“Put the guns away,” one of the men pleaded earnestly.  “We’re peaceful.  We’re peaceful.”

Indeed, they were.  They explained they bought the pickup from Cole over the weekend.  The belongings they were loading into the truck were their own; they had loaned them to the couple, they said.

Their explanation satisfied Sheriff Rainey and Clevenger, and the youths were allowed to resume loading the truck.

“He’s one of the better sheriff’s we’ve run into,” commented Buffa, one of the seven, back in his pad in Kansas City.

Buffa and two others on that trip said they were disappointed, however, that they had not been able to tow the white school bus back to Kansas City.  They had planned to put an engine in it and use it for travel, they said.  The bus is now in the possession of one of the businessmen in town to whom Cole is indebted.

Buffa and the others said they were surprised to learn that Cole had been connected to Manson.  Asked whether Cole had tape recordings with him, Buffa said yes, he had, that he had shown one to some girls at the commune but had not said what was on the tape.

Why had he joined Cole and the others at the commune last summer, Buffa was asked.

“It was for people who wanted to get back to the land,” he said, “for people who didn’t like the city.”

Some fragmentary evidence of what life was like for Cole and Linda here was still inside the house last week.  No running water, for instance, inside the house.  A well pump was outside the back door, a 3-holer outhouse nearby.  Surplus commodity food was in the pantry.

(A check at the surplus commodity food distribution office in nearby Albany revealed that once a month Cole or Linda or both of them checked in promptly for food for a family of three.  The supervisor they always took all they were entitled to- dry beans, butter, cheese corn meal, egg mix, flour, fruit juice, shortening, macaroni, canned chopped meat, evaporated milk, instant milk, instant potatoes, prunes, rice, corn syrup, rolled oats, peanut butter and assorted vegetables.)

A Monopoly set, well-used, was in evidence.  An old TV set lay on a mattress in the front room.  A sun lamp light bulb was screwed into a ceiling fixture.  A photograph of the 8 young men of “Chicago,” a rock group, hung over a double bed.  Letters and postcards addressed to various persons “c-o Youth-for-Life, McFall, Mo.” Lay on a table.  A notebook lay among them, doodles, figures, and miscellaneous thoughts inside.  One page contained song lyrics:

“There’s a new world coming.  It’s just around the bend.  There’s a new world coming.  This one’s coming to an end.  There’s a new voice calling…,” and that was all.

Dozens of empty Prince Albert tobacco cans were piled together in the kitchen, a cigarette roller nearby.  Sheriff Rainey said he had sniffed the cans for marijuana but they only smelled of tobacco.
A certificate granting Cole, Linda Baldwin and “Patricia Baldwin” a charter for a “Youth-for-Life church” was found torn in eight pieces.  It was signed by “Rev. Dr. Herman Keck, Jr., President of the Calvary Grace Christian Church of Faith, P.O. Box 1674, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.” It was dated Feb. 28, 1970.

Cole and his small transient following apparently did not classify as “Jesus freaks.”  Linda summed up the Youth-for-Life religion for the Stanberry Headlight last year as: “Total acceptance of all churches and beliefs with no prejudice at all.”

Books found in the house did not dispute this impression.  They ranged in subject matter from revolution to religion, but the bulk of them were conventional, not even controversial.

Outside the shack were two sheds, one for a goat and sheep Cole sold before leaving, the other for three chickens that were still inside.  They also kept rabbits.  In the field near the burned out 3-room shack in which they had once lived lay a scarecrow wearing a blue sweatshirt that bore the peace symbol and the word “Love” beneath it.  The sweat shirt had been placed on the scarecrow upside down.

The murder trial at which the state had wanted Cole to testify was a 4-month affair.  The jury deliberated most of last week, and was finally recessed for the weekend without reaching a verdict.  Bruce Davis, a Manson family stalwart, is charged as one of the killers of Hinman and Shea, the stunt man.

Sergeant Whiteley said the state did not learn of Cole’s whereabouts here until very late in the trial, but he would not say how this was learned.  When officers did find out, they had to inform the court- and therefore the defense as well- where Cole was hiding before they could go get him, he said.

Sheriff Rainey said a defense attorney for Davis rushed here immediately, arriving even ahead of the Los Angeles County lawmen.  It is uncertain whether this lawyer alerted Cole or whether one of Sheriff Rainey’s own deputies accidently had aroused Cole’s suspicions the day before when he visited Cole’s shack to double check his appearance to compare it with what California authorities had supplied on the man they were seeking.

Whatever the case, Cole escaped.  “It’s too bad,” Sergeant Whiteley said.  “He could have been a very valuable witness.”  Sheriff Rainey added his regrets.  One television network, he said, had offered a large sum of money for the tape recording.

“I guess I could have put them in jail as soon as they called from Los Angeles,” he said.  “We got a pretty nice jail here.  Feed good.”

Kansas City Star
March 16, 1972
By Harry Jones, Jr.

Commune Falls Fallow

Well, Molly and Ned, you see, had been hitch-hiking all over the country last summer, you know?  Florida, New York, the Dakotas, all over, and they hit Kansas City and run into this friend they’d known in California, a guy they called “Boris”, not because that was his real name but because he was sort of a hairy-chested revolutionary, you know?  And Boris tells them about this farm up in Northwest Missouri.

So Molly, who is 23 and a very talented painter, and Ned, who is 20 and is very big for motorcycles and Molly and other things, decide that since they have nothing much else to do, why not join Boris and whomever else is up there and live in a farmhouse and till the soil and get back to nature and things like that, you know?

They thumb their way 80 miles up to this little town called McFall, Mo., and are walking along a dirt road looking for Boris when they run into this girl named Linda, in her early 20s, who is walking towards them on the same road and they ask her, you know, “Where’s Boris?” and “Where’s this neat farm?” and things like that.

That is how it started for Ned and Molly (although Ned and Molly are not their real names- they ask that their other names be used here).  Earlier this week, a friend called them and told them he had just read in the newspaper that the three persons who more or less ran that farming commune they had lived on for almost two months were (gasp) former members of the blood-letting Charles Manson “family” of California, and what did they think of that?

“That’s really weird,” said Molly yesterday, seated by her easel in an old farmhouse near here dabbling away at a canvas as she talked about life in a commune.  “I mean. It really blew my mind.  Why, I remember when farmers would stand around looking at us, I’d say things like, “Who do they think we are, the Manson family?”

Well, what was life like in the commune, anyway?  Idyllic?  Enrichment of the soul and soil? That sort of scene?

Not quite.

When they first arrived, the 8 or 10 others already there were living in filth.  Said both Molly and Ned, in separate interviews: “We told them, ‘just because you raise pigs doesn’t mean you have to live like them.’”

The group was living in two old farm houses and a motorless school bus.  Present were the three ex-Mansonites, who called themselves the Rev. William Cole, 37, Linda and Patti, both in their 20’s; young men who went by such names as “Bo,” and “Little John”; other young women with names like Nancy; and two infants, one apparently belonging to Linda, the other Nancy.

It did not take the hitch-hikers long to decide to move into the woods and build their own shack, for the sake of privacy, cleanliness and a desire to disengage themselves from the internal bickering and arguing over such matters as who was going to put in a good day’s work and who was going to be able to avoid work as much as possible, they said.

Then came the dysentery.  Seems as though someone was so unfamiliar with rural life that he or she did not realize that after you have drawn water from the well and used it for bathing, you are not supposed to dump the dirty water back into the well.

And as though suffering from dysentery were not bad enough, Ned said, the outhouse was so filthy that most in the group preferred trotting off to the woods when necessary.

Then someone thought he had caught a venereal disease.  As Molly explained it, “Everybody got worried.  I knew everybody’d been playing around with everybody else except Baxter and me.”  (Baxter,” is Ned- Molly continually referred to him in that way, while Ned, interviewed in the back room of a motorcycle shop in which he works as a repairman, kept referring to “me and Molly” in a manner that revealed both respect and adoration.)

Then came the heat- 100-degree weather, day after day, as they remember it- so that instead of working so much in the fields, “we’d drink beer and play the guitar and go swimming.”

Bill Cole, the leader of the commune, was a likable soul, both said.  He seemed to be the only one who knew anything about farming.  He hardly qualified as “Agriculturalist of the Year, however.  The only really outstanding crop on the 200 acres they naively thought they could work were huge tomatoes, Ned said.

“They were really fine tomatoes, “he added, rounding his hands to demonstrate their cantelopian size.  “And we had a whole acre of them.  But we didn’t have a truck and we couldn’t get them into the city to sell.  Linda sold a few around town, but most of them just lay out there, it was terrible.”
Cole, on the other hand, was patient, dealt fairly with the farmers in the area, and worked hard, they said.  When Boris nearly burned out the tractor engine (the tractor had been given to them), Cole did not bawl him out but patiently explained how tractors need oil, Ned recalled.  And Molly remembered how philosophically comforting Cole had been when she had been telling him one day about being terrified of lightning and thunder.

“He’d say it’s okay to be afraid,” she said, “that that was the first step to being aware.”

Molly also remembered how Cole would become angry when Boris started talking about revolution.  He’d tell Boris, “Shut up, I don’t want to hear none of that out here,” she said, and now wonders whether maybe that was because Cole had his fill of such talk when he was with Manson in 1969.
Finally, a friend of Ned and Molly visited the commune one Sunday, saw what it was really like and gave them and old truck, gratis, so that they could leave.  When they stopped by later, in the fall, everyone else had left too, except Cole, Linda and Patti.

Now those three have left, California lawmen on Cole’s tail, wanting him on a check forgery charge and as important, witness against Manson and others accused of murder from that “family.”
Boris is now attending a university.  Some of the others live in a hippie pad where they talk of traveling.  Molly will have an art show in Denver soon.  Ned is busy repairing motorcycles.
In the field nearest the shacks in which they lived lie hundreds upon hundreds of yellow-orange tomato skins, long since dried and wrinkled by the summer sun and winter cold.

Thanks to Gorodish for finding Sanders 2002 version of this story which he put in a comment in part 1.  I tend to believe this contemporaneous version of what happened over Sanders 30 year old recollection.  It's clear that Sanders knew about the Missouri connection of Vance, Smith and Cottage he just might gotten the facts a bit skewed.

It is possible that Sanders was the informant to Vance's whereabouts.  I searched for and  found corroboration that Sanders was in Missouri prior to Whiteley and Gleason going to Missouri with a warrant. The timing is perfect.

Sanders and Ken Kesey participated in "Perspectives on American Culture" Robert F Kennedy Memorial Symposium at the University of Missouri, Kansas City in mid February 1972.

I'm not convinced that there was nothing on the tapes but music. Vance could have destroyed the incriminating tape, if one existed, and only kept the ones that were solely music.  Regardless, it's an interesting story.

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Reverend William R Cole part 1

Between July 1971 and April 1972, a Missouri newspaper wrote four articles about a new organic farming venture that had moved into the area.  The farm was operated by what locals referred to as hippies and they wanted the press to find out more about the new residents.  This was the very early 70s and hippies in the farm belt were not a welcome sight.

The three people operating the farm were William Rex Cole aka Bill Vance, Claudia Leigh Smith aka Linda Baldwin and Madaline Joan Cottage aka Little Patti.

Stanberry and McFall are located in Gentry County in the northwest corner of Missouri.   McFall is about 82 miles north of Kansas City.  According to the 1970 census there were 203 residents in McFall.  There are currently 93 residents in the town.

The reporter/editor, Neal Sheehan, who I suspect wore many other hats related to the paper, has a quirky and quaint way of writing a story which lends itself to the contents of the articles.  You might find yourself chuckling and snorting as you read!

The Stanberry Headlight
Stanberry, Missouri
July 22 1971

They Work Too Hard to Be Hippies

A rumor that a group of “hippies” was living it up on a farm just south of McFall was more or less nullified when a representative of this newspaper visited the scene last Friday afternoon, approximately 11 months after the Rev. William R. Cole, formerly of Kansas City, and members of his Youth-for-Life organization leased two farms and began raising organic foods for sale in Kansas City.  Pictured above checking for insects in some of their 4,000 tomato plants are Linda, 22, at the left, who is a native of Pennsylvania, and has travelled much and calls the United States home, and John Weaver, 19, of Simi Valley, Calif. Who is working at the Nubian farms this summer and will return in September to his second semester at Morepark Junior College in Ventura, Calif.  The story is below.

(the pictures accompanying the articles are too dark to post)

Youth-for-Life Flock Raises Food Organically Near McFall

A rumor that a group of “hippies” was living in their traditional style on a farm just south of McFall sent the editor of this newspaper scurrying to the scene last Friday afternoon- just 11 months late.
The rumor wasn’t without a certain amount of foundation, but it certainly didn’t lead us to what we expected to find.  It wasn’t anything like we’ve read about the Haight-Ashbury area in San Francisco or other hippy-lands.

The first thing we found was a large “No Trespassing” sign.  That we ignored.  Then we found a run-down, ramshackle farm house, an old school bus, one goat, two pigs, one sheep, three rabbits, 100 “crazy” chickens, numerous dogs, two women and a young man.

That was our introduction to Nubian farms, which is supervised by the Rev. William R. Cole, pastor of the Youth-for-Life organization, which was chartered in January 1970, in Kansas City, Mo. by the Calgary Grace Christian Church of Faith at Fort Lauderdale, Calif. And the Rev. Mr. Keck.  The latter church is approximately 20 years old.

(note:  Fort Lauderdale is in Florida, there is no Fort Lauderdale in California)

Arrived Last August

The Rev. Mr. Cole, who was not present last Friday afternoon, and a group of his followers arrived in the McFall area in August 1970, with the express aim of making a living by putting organic farming on a paying basis.  They leased two separate farms, approximately 200 acres, and two farm houses then had a pretty rough time getting through a hard winter.  They sold wood in Kansas City to make ends meet, so we understand.

Now apparently things are looking up for the Youth-for-Life members, the changing population of which usually runs around 10 adults and two or three youngsters. They can’t be hippies because they’ve put in too much labor in their non-profit enterprise of raising food organically.  They were working when we arrived which we’ll admit surprised us.  A hippy and work just aren’t compatible.  They don’t go together.

Furnish Information

With the Rev. Mr. Cole away, we had to gather our information from Linda, 22, who neglected to furnish us a last name, who has been on the project since it started last August, and the young man, John Weaver, 19, of Simi Valley Calif., who is working at Nubian farms this summer before returning for his second semester at Morepark Junior College in Ventura, Calif.  The other young woman didn’t care much for the “press” and made no secret of the fact.  She did, however, relent long enough to borrow one of our tailor-made cigarettes.

The organic farmers are obviously rolling their own cigarettes until their crops begin producing some revenue.  We share their hope this won’t be long now.

They put in 4,000 tomato plants which was less than they hoped to raise this season; five acres of sweet corn, sweet potatoes, soybeans and field corn.  The plan is to market their crops in Kansas City, but local purchasers will be welcome.  Just ignore the “No Trespassing” sign if you’re a customer.

Chemicals Excluded

Organic farming, as mystery to this writer, doesn’t sound too easy.  The Rev. Mr. Cole and members of his small and ever changing flock use only manure for fertilizer and only organic pesticides, which excludes DDT and most of the accepted chemical products of that nature.

The Nubian farm group is working on a pesticide of their own, which apparently uses tobacco that might someday be marketed on a commercial basis.

The energetic group is not overly supplied with farm equipment.  They have a horse-drawn plow, an old Allis-Chalmers tractor, a manure spreader and a few other minor pieces of equipment, such as a chainsaw.  The group would be interested in receiving any old farm equipment, especially horse-drawn, that anyone in the area is planning to “junk”.  They realize, of course, that antique dealers are latching on to most such items.

Two Other Such Farms

There are two other such organic farms operated in much the same manner, minus the religious affiliation, according to Linda.  One is near Gallatin; the other in Oklahoma.

This writer did not delve too deeply into the religious aspect of the Youth-for-Life movement.  It’s easy for us to get in over our head in that phase of our culture.  Linda was kind enough to sum it up for us, “Total acceptance of all churches and beliefs with no prejudice at all.”

Look to 1972

It was easy to see that the young woman was more interested in discussing organic farming- and the good year they hope to have in 1972 with the crops they plan to grow on a much larger scale.  The land was far from productive when they leased it but they’re enriching it with plenty of lime, we learned.  So, the group is planning ahead.

The only “grass” we saw, incidentally, was being used to mulch the tomato plants, which may or may not prove something.  We commented upon leaving that we had not exactly found what we expected in conjunction with the rumors we had heard.

“What did you expect to find, wild parties and nearly nude women,” Linda asked with a twinkle in her eye.

“Nope, not exactly,” we lied like a trooper.  We just didn’t expect to learn so much about organic farming and horse-drawn plows and that sort of thing.”

Different Outlooks

There is no doubt in this writer’s mind that the Nubian farm folks live differently than we and most of our readers.  Their outlook is different.  Their philosophy on life is different.  They dress a little differently, but not much.  And they seem to work much harder than most of us.  Television is on their “taboo” list, by the way.

The McFall businessman who directed us to the unusual organic farm commented that the Rev. Mr. Cole and the members of his constantly changing flock mind their own business and don’t bother anyone and work like the very dickens to scratch out a living from the soil.  He was all for them, we gathered.

So is this writer.  Rumors or no rumors we have to remove them in our mind as the “hippy” class.  They’ve worked too hard with too little to fit that classification.

Indications are what little trouble this small “commune” has experienced is when friends, usually from the Kansas City area, drop by for a weekend visit- like 35 persons did one Sunday.

“That was just too much,” Linda declared with a grimace.  “Just too many people.”
The Youth-for-Life group address is McFall, Mo. If you’re interested.

This next article is an outtake from an editorial column about taking photos and conducting interviews with people who don’t really want to cooperate.

The Stanberry Headlight
August 19 1971

It Happens Every Thursday

By Neal Sheehan

Seems like we’ve been running into all sorts of trouble and hazards in our camera capers lately.  Getting photos and facts is becoming rougher than some of our city streets, many of which are mildly bumpy at best.

Trouble, of course, is the one thing you can borrow without references and the supply always seems to exceed the demand.

Take the time several weeks ago, for example, when we dashed off to the McFall area to get a hot story on the alleged “hippies” who had taken over the community to the consternation of several residents.

That’s when we found out that public opinion lots of times is what people think other people think- or gossip which has reached the proportion of an epidemic.

We didn’t find any hippies, semi nude females, wild parties or anything like that.  We found a small commune of church-affiliated amateur farmers who had for 11 months been attempting to scratch out a living raising organic foods for sale in Kansas City and locally if possible.

We figured we obtained a pretty good, honest story on the activities of the Youth-for-Life flock, but we’ll have to admit that we didn’t get the “expose” type of story we figured on when we took off on a mad rush for McFall shortly after we heard rumors emitting from that area.  Little did we know the unusual farming operation began last August.  There was no hurry.

As we reported several weeks ago, we found only three members of the “flock” present when we timidly crashed the “No Trespassing” sign and invaded the privacy of the Youth-for-Life flock.

There was Linda, a 22-year-old young woman who had been on the project since the beginning; John Weaver, 19, who was farming between semesters at a California college and another young woman, a brunette, who obviously detested the “press.”

After a little fast-talking Linda and John overcame their initial disapproval of our surprise visit and gave us some facts on farming organically with horse-drawn plow, etc.

The other young woman, however, never relaxed and became neighborly.  She did relent long enough to mooch one of our cigarettes, but she did that somewhat grudgingly and reluctantly.

We could see she didn’t take kindly to Linda and John furnishing us information and a picture for our story.  “If the S.O.B. gets too nosey,” she declared flouncing off into the house, “throw him out!”

“What do you mean, me or him?” we inquired innocently, nodding in John’s direction.

“You know who I mean, Buster,” she snapped as she continued to split the scene and entered the house.  Naturally we knew who she meant, but we didn’t sob about it.  We just kept interviewing Linda and John- and eventually hocus-focused them into a picture among their 4,000 tomato plants.  The picture appeared in this newspaper.

Seeing how we had invaded the privacy of the Youth-for-Life flock we mailed their leader the Rev. William R. Cole, formerly of Kansas City, a proof of the story we wrote for his approval before publication.

We immediately received a nice reply from the Rev. Mr. Cole in which he included an invitation ??????? if you’re ever in McFall, please drop by and see us.”

This is somewhat beside the point but we checked with Sheriff Benny Rainey and Deputy Sheriff Dallas Wright shortly after our visit concerning the Youth-for-Life organization.

We gathered from them that if all the county residents were as cooperative and as little trouble as the flock, we wouldn’t need Benny and Dallas.

We were glad to hear this because it substantiated our opinion of the situation, which was reached after we visited the farm.  How do these rumors get started?

The third article was written just after it was discovered that the Rev. Mr. Cole and his flock were Manson Family members!   LASO deputy sheriffs Gleason and Whitley paid a visit to Gentry County Missouri a scant two days after the flock decamped the farm in a big hurry.  Think they were tipped off to the LASO visit ?

The Stanberry Headlight
March 9 1972

The Stanberry Headlight published three photos at the top of the article.  The photos were the mug shots of Claudia Smith, William Cole aka Bill Vance and Madaline Cottage.  I have substituted mug shots from for the newspaper pictures which were barely identifiable. 

Manson ‘Family’ Members Leave County

(by Neal Sheehan)

The three persons shown above were instrumental in connecting Gentry county and the McFall community with one of the most bizarre, bloody and grotesque multi-murder cases in the annals of this country.

It’s a fantastic story, really, spanning from Aug. 9, 1969, when the Sharon Tate murder cases occurred in Los Angeles, Calif., area until late Friday, Feb, 25, 1972, when two of the persons above evaporated from their Youth-for-Life religious organization’s organic farming project at the south edge of McFall.

The hasty departure of the nervous, apprehensive pair came just two days ahead of the arrival of two Los Angeles county deputy sheriffs, William Gleason and Paul Whitley, who were anxious to question two or three of the former members of the notorious Charles Manson “family” in California.
Pictured, left to right, by the names they traveled under in Gentry county when they arrived in McFall in August 1970, are Linda Baldwin, 21; the Rev. William R. Cole, 37; and Patricia Baldwin, 25, who actually left the Youth-for-Life farming headquarters in McFall for Memphis, Tenn., late last August, but has not been seen or heard from since.

The investigating officers disclosed their fear that Patricia Baldwin may have met with “foul play” because “she knew too much.”  Life apparently was and is dirt cheap to the Manson “family” and the motorcycle clubs with which they hobnobbed in California.  Two of the cycle gangs closest to the “family” included the Satan Slaves and the Straight Satans.

It seems, according to written reports, that Manson provided the cyclists with the feminine members of his family- and they furnished him a mobile “infantry” force for his fiendish plans.

The pictures shown above, incidentally, were obtained from the official California files on the Manson “family,” compiled by Sheriff Benny Rainey and Deputy Sheriff Dallas Wright of Stanberry in co-operation with the visiting Los Angeles county deputies.  The sweater worn by Cole in the picture taken in California is now in Sheriff Rainey’s possession.  It was overlooked in Cole’s hurried get-away from McFall.

The three temporary Gentry countians were not directly implicated in the blood-curdling Sharon Tate case in which the lives of the attractive and pregnant movie actress and four others were abbreviated by a revolver and several knives handled by four of Manson’s “family” at his orders.

Involved in the actual murders at the Tate home were one man, Tex Watson, and three young women, Linda Kasabian, Patricia Krenwinkel and Susan Atkins.

Millions of words have been printed on the Tate case and the other murders in which the hippy “family” was implicated.  So, this newspaper will sidestep of the gruesome story that has shocked millions of readers for many months.

Formed New Church

Our interest, naturally, is in the three members of the infamous “family” who landed in Gentry county after forming a new “church” in Kansas City and who attempted to eke out a frugal living for almost 18 months via organic farming at the south edge of McFall.

There is no doubt that Linda, Patricia and Cole were members of Manson’s “family” and resided at least part-time at the Manson headquarters on the Spahn “movie” ranch at Chatsworth, Calif.

Official police records show that Patricia Baldwin, who also used other names including Claudia Leigh Smith, gave her address as the Spahn ranch at Chatsworth when she was arrested on a narcotics charge Sept, 20, 1969, in Los Angeles county.  At that time, she was listed as 5-foot-3, weighing 120 pounds, had brown hair and green eyes.  She told officers that she was born Aug. 11, 1950, in Culver City, Calif., and that her occupation was “baby-sitting in Topanga Canyon, Calif.”  She was released on bond on that charge, the records show and the outcome on the “narco” charge is not listed in the file on Linda.

Present at Murder

The records show that Patricia Joan Baldwin, also known as Little Patti and Madaline Joan Cottage, received several citations for traffic violations in the summer of 1968.  Her file also shows that she was present when another member of the “family,” John P, (Zero) Haught, was killed at No. 28 Clubhouse in Venice, Calif., on Nov. 5, 1969.  Little Patti also is known to have been driving a Volkswagen owned by another member of the “family,” Gary Hinman, on Aug. 1, 1969, which was just a few days before the Tate murders.

Patricia is listed in the files as 5-foot-2, weighing 110 pounds, and having brown hair and green eyes.  She was born May 7, 1946, in Ohio Valley, PA., according to the records.

William Rex Cole, who also used the names of William Van Sickle and David Lee Hamick in his travels, and had several nicknames, Duane, Bill, Vance and Buck, his file shows.  He is charged with forging a check while residing at Spahn ranch on Feb. 26, 1970, which was quite a time after Manson and many of his “family” had been apprehended.  It is possible that the money derived from the forged check was used for “traveling funds” to get him to Missouri.

Cole is shown in his file to be 6-foot-2, weighs 175 pounds, has brown hair and eyes and was born at one of two places, Memphis, Tenn., or Kingston, Mo., on Apr. 17, 1935.

Visited the Farm

It was last July that this writer visited the Youth-for-Life Nubian farms in the McFall area and finally, after much coaxing, extracted a story on the organic farming project from Linda- after initially receiving very cold shoulders from both Linda and Little Patti.

Little Patti, as we vividly recall, mooched a cigarette from us, then entered the ramshackle farm home with pertinent advice to Linda: “If he gets too nosey, throw the S.O.B. out!”

We realize now, of course, why we had to talk so fast to get the story- and we’ll always wonder how we ever managed to get Linda to pose for a picture for us in the nearby tomato field.  It was not easy, believe us.  That story and picture, by the way, appeared in the July 22, 1971, issue of this newspaper under the heading, “They Work Too Hard to Be Hippies.”

The Rev. Mr. Cole was not present that day, but we later received a nice letter from him and Linda, describing how much they liked the article-and would we please send them 20 copies and bill the cost to the farm.

Put in Hard Work

They also invited us to drop by and see them if we were in the McFall area, something we always planned to do until now that it’s too late.  We have always wondered how they did on their 4,000 tomato plants.  Obviously, they were hiding out in Gentry county, but they certainly put in a lot of hard work while “lying low.”

It probably was because Linda refused or neglected to tell us her last name during our interview that we missed mention of her and Little Patti in an article, “Charlie and the Devil,” written by Ed Sanders, which appeared in the November, 1971, issue of Esquire magazine.

It was on Oct. 9, 1969, that officers arrested a number of the Manson “family.”  According to Sanders: “They arrested Linda Baldwin, also known as Little Patti, and Squeaky, using the name Elizabeth Elaine Williamson.  Some of the girls were nude.”

This indicates that Little Patti was using the name Linda at that particular time, which was about “par for the course.”  They were reported at various times as being half-sisters.  Anyway, Linda was using another name at the time.

‘Escaped Arrest’

“Quite a few of the family members escaped arrest in the Oct. 10 raid,” Sanders reported in his article.  “Among them were Dianna Lake and Claudia Smith, also known as Sherry Andrews.  Both of these girls hid under a canvass not far from the front gate of the Barker ranch when the raid occurred.”

Claudia Smith, as mentioned before, was one of the nom de plumes used by Linda- and it could well be her real name, according to investigating officers.

Charles Manson, himself, was one of eight “dirty hippies” arrested the evening of Oct. 10 by officers, according to Sanders’ account, which apparently put a halt to his fanatical plans for more fiendish murders of certain persons he did not happen to like.

California authorities are not only interested in apprehending Cole, Linda and Little Patti, if she is still among the living, they are vitally interested in obtaining a king-sized tape recording believed to be in Cole’s possession- the only such tape in existence.

Tape is Valuable

On good authority, the tape is believed to have been recorded by Manson and members of his “family” between the date of the Tate murders and his capture on Oct. 10, 1969.  It could shed new light on other activities of Manson and his faithful flock.  One officer estimated the value of the unique tape at $50,000.  Another officer’s conjecture the tape has kept and is keeping the Rev. Mr. Cole alive.

Thanks to Sheriff Rainey and Deputy Sheriff Wright, this newspaper has copies of two letters pertaining to Cole and members of his “flock.”  One letter apparently was received by Cole and Company from California.  It was written Aug. 27, 1971.  The letter is hand printed and the scrawled signature is impossible to decipher, although it apparently was written by a male.

The letter mentions the “family,” a “chick on acid,” and the following comments concerning Little Patti: “I got your letter yesterday.  That’s really something Patti leaving.  I sure as hell hope she keeps her mouth shut… Don’t take any chance with Patty.  I don’t know the whole story but from what you wrote in the letter it doesn’t sound too safe… You take it easy.  Be careful.  I don’t know what Patty’s trip is.  Don’t take the chance.  She could (blank) you up.”

Wrote the Clevengers

The second letter was written by Linda Baldwin and William R. Cole to Mr. and Mrs. Clare Clevenger of McFall, owners of the farm where the group lived for 18 months.  The Clevenger letter, received Feb. 28, three days after the pair left McFall, said:

“We suspected this for quite some time.  I’m sorry that we cannot make personal amends.  Clare, you have all rights distributing the property for debts owed by us.  As soon as we are able, we will make things straight with you.

Thank Popplewell, George Gist, Floyd Parks, Jim Bob Woodard and Clifford Pierce.  We appreciate and love you all for everything you’ve done for us.”

That letter, written two days after Linda and Cole left the McFall scene could very well be Gentry county’s last connection with the Manson “family.”

It should be pointed out that while Cole and his “flock” were Gentry countians, as far as is known, they operated more or less as model citizens, according to most of their neighbors and the sheriff’s office.

Despite the venomous glances Little Patti aimed in our direction last July, we hope nothing drastic has befallen her.  We also hope that Linda, who impressed us with her sincerity concerning her religion, comes out alright “in the end.”

The rundown on each person from Deemer's list:

This fourth and final article appeared in an editorial by Sheehan about six weeks after the visit by Los Angeles County sheriffs Whitley and Gunther.  It answers a couple of questions about things in the previous articles.

The Stanberry Headlight
April 20, 1972
By Neal Sheehan

It Happens Every Thursday

Early last month this newspaper featured a story in depth on three former members of the “family” of the murderous Charles Manson in the Los Angeles, Calif., area.

The story became a story when it was revealed that three members of the Youth-for-Life religious organization, which had been operating an organic farming enterprise at the south edge of McFall since August 1970, were former members of the infamous Manson family.

Involved under the names they used here in the county were the Rev. William R. Cole, 37; Linda Baldwin, 21; and Patricia Baldwin, 25.

Patricia, or Little Patti, as she was known, left the McFall commune last August.  Linda and the Rev. Mr. Cole were still on the scene early in March when they were “spooked” and departed hastily for parts unknown just before two Los Angeles county deputy sheriffs and an attorney for the defense of Manson members in California arrived in Gentry county.

Apparently, Cole and Linda were wanted as witnesses in cases still pending against members of the Manson family.  The visiting defense attorney, who arrived a day before the officers, wanted to prevent them from testifying.

The two deputies feared that Little Patti may have met with foul play because she knew too much- and they were vitally interested in a large master tape recording known to be in Cole’s possession.
This writer, who visited the Youth-for-Life farming headquarters last summer and met Linda and a reluctant Little Patti, knocked out a story on organic farming for this newspaper at that time.

Our next story on the group appeared in the Mar. 9, 1972, issue explaining their records, their connection with Manson, their quick evaporation from this scene- and the conclusion that this was the last Gentry county would hear from the Youth-for-Life group.

The Kansas City Star also featured a lengthy story on the former Manson family members, which began on page 1.

Well, we were wrong in our conclusion in our story.  Last Tuesday morning’s mail included a letter from California signed “Linda and Bill” and addressed to “Dear Mr. Sheehan and citizens of Gentry county”:

“Bill and I have read the articles in the Stanberry Headlight and for the most part found them very nice.  We realize the news media sees anyone ever connected with Charles Manson as a murderer.  That was not our trip.  Our trip is our religion.

“Our religion is one of all religions.  Our goal is to bring people together in harmony and love.  Everybody can join together under the three necessities of life- food, shelter and clothing.  Regardless of anyone’s opinions for his wants and needs, we can identify with these three necessities.

We knew we would be discovered and we also knew of the emphasis and value that would be placed on the music (tape) in our possession.  We now feel the time has come when the music should be published.

This music should not be regarded as entertainment.  We extend an invitation to all media of publication interested in the music to write to: C. Smith, PO Box 3077, Simi, Calif. 93065

“Bill and I would like to express our deepest thanks to Clair and Kathy Clevenger, Tank Popplewell and family, George Gist, Clifford Pierce, Floyd and George Parks, Floyd Reed and mother, Gene Lupier, the Stanberry Headlight and everyone who liked us.  Thanks for just being our friends.

“Linda and Bill”

This newspaper was extremely happy to hear from Linda and Bill.  It’s obvious they are in no danger from the “law” at this writing.  We didn’t meet Bill, but we were deeply impressed at Linda’s faith in her religion and the fact that the Youth-for-Life folks caused no trouble to anyone, according to Sheriff Benny Rainey of Albany.

Their industrious attitude also impressed us.  It was like our headline pointed out last July; “They Work Too Hard to Be Hippies.”

Editor’s note: Linda, please let us know what became of Little Patti- if you know.  We sincerely hope noting drastic has happened to her.