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.


AstroCreep said...

Love this!!

DebS said...

No one knew where Bill Vance went when he left Spahn and the Family. Now we know, and it's really unexpected. The little snippets about Madaline Cottage are interesting, too.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Excellent article. Thank you. Didn't Ella Jo supposedly leave the group with ol' Bill over her/them not wanting to go out on the 8th/9th?

DebS said...

Yes, Ella did leave with Bill after the Hinman murder. She was upset that her friend had been killed and felt partially responsible because she had said that Gary had come into an inheritance. I don't think Ella came back but Bill did.

Mario George Nitrini 111 said...

Ms DebS,
Let me first start out by saying:
"You are one incredibly great writer, researcher, ect, ect.....

When I read this portion of your blog-post written by Neal Sheehan:

"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."

I said to myself,
(for some of what I've been told about "HAPPENINGS" at SPAHN RANCH when the Charles Manson Family was there)
pertaining to a certain "biker group."

And now, corroboration about even after some Manson Family Members went to Barker Ranch, there were STILL Manson Family Members at SPAHN RANCH, with this paragraph:

Vance/Cole......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."

WOW, some Manson Family Members still at SPAHN RANCH AFTER Manson and many of his followers went to Barker Ranch,
which I had been told about, and enhances Alisa Statman's claim in her about book, "Restless Souls," about Paul Tate following bikers from Cielo Drive back to SPAHN RANCH.

Matt? would you please confirm the email I sent you on March 10th, 2019, at 7:33am, and being this portion of the
Direct Message I sent to George Christie, Thanks:

"The Charles Manson Family.
When you tweeted back to me and said:
"There was a lot of partying going on there, yep.
In a round about way that's what Bill said.
I asked Bill why he went up to SPAHN RANCH when the Charles Manson Family was there? Bill's answer:
The girls and to conduct business."

George Christie Direct Messaged me back. It was positive & it was VERY TELLING.......

Mario George Nitrini 111
The OJ Simpson Case

Mon Durphy said...

That area of Missouri is about 4 hours from me, outside of KC being an hour and a half away there's not much but farms up there, if anyone has heard of the Ken McElroy story where the whole town got together and riddled Ken with about a thousand bullets after he bullied the town for years that area is where it happened

Ajerseydevil said...

Wondering how the Col. Got his hands on a copy of Tom Mcneils new book since it's not to be released until June 25 & how about a review it sounds like a very interesting read although I definitely don't buy into the whole MKultra mind control theoey from the review I read he goes into some detail & reasons why Manson was never locked up for numerous series parole violations

Gorodish said...

Wow, an article on the mysterious Bill Vance! I always wondered what happened to him. In the past, I've tried to piece together, from different sources, his movements during 1969-70, and this post fills a huge hole in the Vance saga. He apparently showed up on the scene at the beginning of 1969 and rented the Gresham St. house for the Family. He became the Minister of Scam for them, getting involved in B&E's, pimping the girls as strippers, etc. He eventually became involved with Ella Jo Bailey. When Ella Jo was freaked out over the Hinman murder, Vance offered to take her to Florida, and they left in a truck around the end of July. Tex Watson somewhat corroborates this in his book, where he wrote "He (Manson) went so far on this one as to equip our big truck with a shortwave radio (it was supposed to block the front entrance to our subterranean prison), but then an ex-convict friend of his stole the whole rig and ran off to Texas with one of the girls"(Tex obviously confusing Florida with his home state). Bill and Ella made it as far as Cleveland, where Ella was busted for using a stolen credit card. After her court appearance, her mother quickly whisked her off to her home in Michigan, leaving Bill behind. This was late August. Vance appears to have quickly made his way back to Spahn Ranch, where he most likely incurred the wrath of an increasingly demented Manson. My guess is, for his "atonement", Vance was forced by Manson to participate in the Shorty Shea murder (if Bruce Davis' story does ring true). Vance then became involved with the move to Death Valley. Here's Tex again, from WYDFM (describing being in Olancha): " I spent most of the next day watching, waiting like an animal that knows the hunt's on. Then the truck appeared again. This time the driver was one of Charlie's ex-convict friends who had been wandering in and out of the fringes of the Family for a couple of months. He was never much interested in Helter Skelter or the end of the world; armed robbery was good enough for him. But the Family provided him a base of operations and available women, and Manson and he had been friends in prison; so he spent time with us and did things for Charlie. He brought two of the youngest Family members with him" (Dianne Lake and most likely the Friedman boy). Vance was arrested at the second Death Valley raid (10/12/1969) and released two weeks later along with Claudia, Little Patti, and several others. They apparently all went to stay at the Mark Ross house in Venice, where the unfortunate Zero met his demise November 5th. Vance and the two women seemingly scattered some time in 1970, and that's where this post picks them up and fills in more of the blanks. Excellent research DebS !!!

Mon Durphy said...

I highly doubt Charlie ever forced Bill to do anything seeing as how Bill would knock his little horse jockey ass out, my take on Bill is that he was around for the girls, I had read somewhere that Bill was good at getting dancing jobs at some of the bars around the ranch and basically drove them back and forth

DebS said...

Ajersydevil, The Col got an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC). There is one up for bid at Ebay right now, though the listing ends when the book is released, so there is little point in bidding on it. ARC's generally don't have pictures and the actual version that is released might be slightly different.

We will be happy to post the Col's review on the book when he drafts it up.

DebS said...

Gorodish, thank you! Bill Vance has always been the mystery man and I was excited to find the articles.

So, what do people think, was Bill Vance's name Bill Vance or was it William Rex Cole or something else entirely? Deemer's list has both names and two different social security numbers and driver's license numbers like they were two separate people.

Bobby said...

Was Bill vance the that was borrowing Cindy's truck for burgerly and when she told him no more cm and he beat her up ?

Mon Durphy said...

The story was Charlie bitch slapped her across the room and she grabbed a gun off a table and pointed it at him and told him to get out

DebS said...

I'm suspect of anything that Windy Bucklee aka Lee Saunooke has said but yes, she said that Vance used to borrow her truck while she was at work and pull robberies. After she went to Vance and demanded her key back, Charlie came to her house and beat the crap out of her.

Her story gets "better" every time she tells it......

Mon Durphy said...

Here's Charlie verbatim "that wasn't his real name though, I don't think anyone knew his real name, he had about 25 names, everytime I met him he was somebody else but that's the way we do it where I live, I was Bill Thomas, William Seargent Bartlett, Charlie Deere, Mr the tractor.....and then I was Luther Maddox, Ive been alot of different guys, man"

Ajerseydevil said...

Thanks Debs & excellent article buy the way we all know how hard it is to find anything new on the subject anymore

Mon Durphy said...

Wasn't Bill the one who set the group up with the Yellow Submarine house?

BlueJayWay said...

How about this tape Bill had?

From the 3/9/72 article:

"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."

...and from Linda and Bill's letter quoted in the 4/20/72 article:

"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"

Thanks to DebS for this amazing piece!

DebS said...

Blue Jay Way, yes, the tape is one of the most interesting parts of the story. I will have more on it in next weeks post. To be fair, I don't know what happened to it but I'm fairly certain it's not anything thing that has ever been released. I'm not real familiar with the entire Manson catalog but I've asked people who are and no one has ever heard of this recording.

Monica said...

Great post Deb!
The author of the newspaper articles made me smile...good ole boy quirky.
I am sure the three were scared for quite a few years after they scampered out of town. Your research skills amaze me. Looking forward to reading the Shorty book!

Doug said...

Awesome job researching this excellent post! You've found a substantial wealth of information from a place where not even handfuls of dust were to be found.
Wouldn't it be something if the mystery tapes were the Deasy or Brian Wilson masters!

Looking forward to Part Two!

David said...

Gotta love: “If the S.O.B. gets too nosey,” she declared flouncing off into the house, “throw him out!”

The tapes are very interesting. If they date from the timeframe claimed ("between the date of the Tate murders and his capture on Oct. 10, 1969") then they are none of the tapes we know about. Deasy and Wilson are prior to the murders.

That means Jakobsen either hung around a lot longer than he claimed, the time line on the recordings is way off or someone else was behind the tapes.

Unless we believe the Family recorded them on their own.

Mon Durphy said...

Might be worth going back and listening to the Jakobsen tapes on YouTube, I think there's 5 or 6 parts

David said...


I almost know them by heart. He claims his last significant contact was before the murders. He recorded in March-April-May. Mostly in March.

DebS said...

If the tape comes even close to what the article said, "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." It's much more than an ordinary recording.

Vance and Smith apparently did receive a letter from someone in the family who knew where they were, so why the big mystery, unless the person who wrote them had also split from the Family. Also, the letter saying that Little Patti "knew too much" is also suspicious and probably relates to the death of John Haught. Whoever wrote the letter was keeping their mouth shut about what they knew.

Did Cole and Cottage go into hiding because they thought they might be arrested for murder? Cole for Shorty's murder and Cottage for Haught's murder. The police report on Haught's death says that Linda Baldwin, Bruce Davis, Susan Bartell and Cathy Gillies were in the apartment when Haught died. Linda Baldwin was in the bedroom with him, Davis and Gillies were in the living room and Gillies was in the bathroom.

While Cottage and Smith were said to have both used the alias of Linda Baldwin, how do we know that it was Madaline Cottage using that alias at that time?

Mon Durphy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mon Durphy said...

Wasn't it May when Deasy and Charlie got into it and Mike chased Charlie around with a pitchfork with either Bruce or Tex catching up with them and giving Mike a beatdown? If you look at Deasys wiki page it says "he spent a few days at Manson "place" and had a bad trip and went home and had no contact with him again"? If Deasy and Melcher were at Spahn as late as May or as something I recently read that Melcher was seen at Barker getting in a car with some girls and Charlie

StillGrooving said...

Where is Little Patti today?

DebS said...

Little Patty seemed to vanish and her whereabouts are unknown.

starviego said...

As did Bill Vance. Again.

I get the feeling that cops/prosecutors weren't looking for him too hard.

starviego said...

Why would detectives even bother looking for Vance by this point (July 27, 1972)? Weren't all the murder trials over by then?

starviego said...

1971 Nov 8 Grogan convicted on Shea-death sentence, later to Life per judge

1971 Nov 30 Manson convicted/sentenced for life in Hinman-Shea murders

1972 Mar 14 Davis convicted Hinman-Shea-life sentence

DebS said...

The juries in the Davis and Manson trials for killing Hinman and Shea were deliberating in March 1972. It sounds like they finally figured out where Vance was towards the very end of the trial and issued a warrant which wasn't served until Feb. 27th or 28th. So, they would have had time to get Vance on the witness stand before deliberations began had they been able to capture Vance.

The first article in the Stanberry Headlight regarding the fact that the three had been with the Family was March 9, 1972. I did not realize until you mentioned dates that I inadvertently left the date off the "Manson Family Leaves County" article. The article says that Cole and Baldwin left McFall Feb. 25th 1972.

starviego said...

Whoops, my bad. Thanks for clearing that up.

starviego said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gorodish said...

I have both editions of Ed Sanders' book "The Family". In the later edition (2002), in Chapter 109, under "1972", Sanders writes: "Toward the end of the Bruce Davis trial, I appeared at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, where I gave a poetry reading with music. Also appearing at the symposium were Ken Kesey, Paul Krassner, and others. A young couple approached me at the party afterwards and said they knew Bill Vance, and told me he was living in McFall in northern Missouri, posing as a minister named William Cole who was driving a truck sporting the letters "Youth For Life", which Vance said he'd received from a religious organization in Miami. I called Sheriff's homicide in Los Angeles and told them how to reach Mr. Vance.(Bold type is mine) He was in a house with ex-family person Claudia Smith. The legendary Little Patty, who had been in the sack with Christopher Zero when the gun went off, had also been living with Vance, but he told authorities she had been institutionalized by her parents, who apparently resided in Pittsburgh, PA. Little Patty, I was told, burned down all or part of Vance's home, and so had been asylumized. Vance had supposedly run off with some of the better Family music tapes. Sheriff's homicide officers were also told he had the tapes on which the Family had re-created the murder of Gary Hinman. Sgt. Whitely: "I went back to see him in Missouri and listened to a couple of the tapes but they were just singing. I didn't hear anything that would relate to murder." It was then that Whitely began to get letters from Sandra Good and also from Manson. They wanted the Vance music tapes." Sanders was the one that put the cops onto them? Sounds like Vance and Claudia bailed after the cops interviewed them, not before? Maybe the Sheriff's investigators were coming back for a second interrogation and they bailed?

DebS said...

I kind of wonder how the couple knew Bill Vance was William Rex Cole. Not having been at the symposium I don't know what Sanders said to the audience besides reading his poetry. However, Sanders book was out by then so maybe they had read his book and put things together.

Sgt. Whitely never did catch up with Vance/Cole in Missouri though. He had left with Smith two days before Whitely and Guenther arrived.

There will be more on some of the other stuff in the next post.

starviego said...

Gorodish said...
Sgt. Whitely: "I went back to see him in Missouri and listened to a couple of the tapes but they were just singing. I didn't hear anything that would relate to murder."
... Wow.... Sounds like Vance and Claudia bailed after the cops interviewed them, not before?

But if so, why didn't Whitely have them picked up for the outstanding arrest warrant and have them extradited back to California? He came all the way to MO just to listen to some taped music? Doesn't make sense.

HellzBellz said...

@ Starviego

Sheriff's homicide officers were also told he had the tapes on which the Family had re-created the murder of Gary Hinman. So They THOUGHT they had something....But turned out it was only Music

Chris Till said...

Fascinating and a fine piece of research. As it was titled Part One, I look forward to Part Two.

There is not much countercultural or communal history in northwest Missouri from that era that I can recall offhand. The only bits that I can think of are the Lyman Family communal property in Marshall County, northeast Kansas, but that's about 150 miles away. I'm not sure that they got it until after Thomas Hart Benton died in 1975, but could be wrong. The other is the East Wind Community in south central Missouri, but that was not founded until about 1974.

I wonder what drew them to that specific area?

Awaitingmyescapewithlove said...

That would be an interesting group of people to see together.