I recently had written an article about the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s death on Nov. 22, 1963, and just learned that accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was buried in Texas and his grave was not very far from Wesleyan.
One of our student advisers told me how to get to Rose Hill Cemetery in Fort Worth and Oswald’s grave site, but I am not the best at taking directions. So after going in a loop twice, I finally pulled into a parking lot, pulled out my phone and went to Google maps and inserted Rose Hill Cemetery to locate where I wanted to go.
And after following those directions going down every road and every turn, I finally found Rose Hill Cemetery.
But my troubles were not over yet. Rose Hill Cemetery was very large, and after looking after grave after grave I decided to find the curator of the cemetery and ask where Oswald’s grave was. But the curator said she couldn’t give out that information due to privacy purposes, and I then went out to look for Oswald’s grave some more.
I then thought that if I could use my phone to find Rose Hill Cemetery, I could find Oswald’s grave on my phone as well. I pulled out my phone and entered Google.com to find Oswald’s grave and located a website called Yelp.com with directions for the grave. After much looking and following the directions, I finally found the grave of Lee Harvey Oswald.
It was a flat-graved, red marble marker with just the name Oswald on it: no date of birth or death on it – just his name. After taking a few photos, I finally headed back to my car and drove back to Wesleyan.
I did discover in research that Oswald was a former Marine and had been in Russia for several months after service when he met his wife Marina. But he returned to Texas where and got a job at the School Book Depository Building in downtown Dallas. After Kennedy had been shot, the police looked into the School Book Depository Building and found a rifle on the sixth floor window. They traced it back to Oswald.
Within an hour after the assassination, Oswald had shot Officer J.D. Tippit in South Dallas for questioning him and was arrested 30 minutes later in the Texas Theater. He was under arrest for the murder of John F. Kennedy and shooting and Texas Gov. John Connally. But Oswald denied shooting either of them. On Sunday, Nov. 24, 1963, Oswald was brought into the basement of the Dallas police headquarters to be moved to a more secure jail with only police and reporters with cameras running on live television were allowed there.
The moment Oswald had walked into the basement, Jack Ruby who had connections to organized crime and was a Dallas businessman pushed his way through the crowd past
the policemen and the reporters and shot Oswald with a .38 revolver.
When Oswald was buried, there were not enough people at the funeral to carry his casket, so a few reluctant reporters served as pallbearers. Oswald’s wife and children, mother and his brother were the only ones who came to his funeral. Oswald’s funeral actually cost $710. That was for the entire funeral, the casket, the use of the chapel, and the entire graveside service. The service only lasted 20 minutes.
“It was one step above a pauper’s funeral,” said JFK historian and former FBI analyst Farris Rookstool.
It was 18 years later after his funeral that an author thought that an imposter was buried in Oswald’s grave. This led for his body to be exhumed and examined in 1981, and the later autopsy proved that theory wrong.
Both Rookstool and Mike Cochran who was reporter for the Associated Press were there when Oswald’s crypt was exhumed, and they will return as the 50th anniversary approaches. On Oct. 18, 2013 (which would have been Oswald’s 74th birthday), fresh flowers were found on top of the grave.