|Paul De Gaston - River Nile|
I got this letter the other day:
Regarding My Grandfathe
About My Grandfather, Paul DeGaston – Photographer and Artist
Well, we have quite a story to tell you and would love to talk with to clarify the life and history of my grandfather, Paul DeGaston, the photographer and artist. I am preparing my own fine art photography website and asked my wife to find some of my grandfather’s photos on her computer and in the process she Goggled my grandfather’s name once again and found your website and story/questions about my Grandfather and his art.
The bottom line is my Grandfather made his living as a professional photographer and traveled as you said all over, especially to Hawaii, lived in San Francisco for a while and also had a studio in La Jolla—hence the Escondido connection. The Black Dahlia DeGaston/abortionist is a different person which we discovered in doing our own background research on my Grandfather about two years ago. (What are the odds that we would see your blog about Paul DeGaston, asking about who he is, 4 days after you wrote it? That’s synchronicity for you. I guess we “heard” your “call!”
We’re going to call you tomorrow, Thursday, March 1st and hopefully connect with you in person. I’ll be happy to tell you everything I know about him.
With our best regards,
I wrote him back:
Thank you guys, it will be a pleasure to speak with you. Call me after 10 at 7xx-xxx-xxxx.
The nexus for me was that according to the ship's documents, I believe that the Paul De Gaston going to Hawaii had a spouse named Leona. The Black Dahlia man had a spouse named Cleona. With all of the subterfuge I figured slam dunk. But strange coincidences do occur occasionally in an infinite universe! In any case, my blog readership has been enthralled with the whole story so far so now we can tie a nice bow around it. (That is, unless your grandfather fooled you, too...)
They called me yesterday and we talked. We filled each other in on information that the other did not have. He told me that DeGaston authored a book, I told him about a magazine article I had found. He says that his relative lived in La Jolla for a period of time. and never to his knowledge in the state of Washington. Friend of Ansel Adams. We agreed to continue to share information.
And I am still not totally convinced. There are so many strange oddities in the matrix.
|1925 S.F. City Directory|
|From DeGaston.com (Black Dahlia)|
|World War 1 Draft Card|
Why the multiple names?
* The Black Dahlia DeGaston supposedly died in 1956. The second man, in Riverside in 1963. But the first one never had a social security number! Tell me, how can you live and work in this country for fifty years without one? And why is there a Nevada marriage license for Paul R DeGaston to Violet, two years after he had supposedly died? Curiouser and curiouser.
|May 17, 1929 Passenger list to Honolulu - Sonoma|
My correspondent tells me that the names of a daughter or sister in both families were identical when they talked to Black Dahlia DeGaston's family. Perhaps it was Julia or Gloria, I forgot to jot it down. DeGaston the artist works in Hawaii in the mid thirties, Black Dahlia picked up by the FBI and incarcerated for unspecified period in 1942, Black Dahlia affair around 1946...H-m-m-m, it could all conceivably work for one individual.
|Oakland Directory c. 1924|
I guess that my biggest question is why is there no record of Paul Robert DeGaston anywhere until he is picked up by the FBI and then later jailed in the Black Dahlia case. No social security, no war record (he claimed to have been in World War I), no city directory listings like we see with this other individual. A man who is said by his descendants to have lived a fairly normal life, even playing music in the Glendale Symphony but no records anywhere. How could he have not left any footprint? So who was he, really?
I am going through lots of records on Ancestry.com and elsewhere and will try to fill in the dots wherever they may lead. Feel free to pitch in.
Found this blurb on Percy - apparently an innovator in the technology of night photography:
First Night Photography:
September 5, 1914: Percy DeGaston, cameraman at Balboa, devised a new compound, providing enough actinic light to film night scenes. The Balboa film, An Eye for an Eye, copyrighted January 1915, was the first movie in the world to use night photography successfully.
Percy De Gaston, inventor of the new chemical compound and apparatus which furnish enough actinic light to film scenes at night, is a camera man at the Balboa studios. When a scene is being photographed at night, the country is illuminated for several hundred feet distant, the violet-white flame burning steadily for two minutes. Director (William) Taylor filmed seven camp-fire scenes by the new light, and is said to have obtained excellent results.
Three new alias's for Paul R. DeGaston, Hoisch, Baker and Marsh. Apparently C.J. Morris was not an alias but a partner in the abortion clinic.