Sunday, January 27, 2013


January 27, 2013


Englewood, Colorado (JFK+50) Just 7 years ago today, January 27, 2006, Western Union made this announcement...

"Effective (today) we will discontinue all Telegram & Communication Message services..."

The announcement, which appeared on the WU website, brought to an end the telegraph age, which WU initiated with its founding in 1851.

                 Western Union Telegram
                    The Franklin Institute

Samuel F.B. Morse invented the telegraph in 1837 & sent the 1st message from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore, MD. on May 24, 1844.  The message was
"What Hath God Wrought?"

The 1st commercial telegraph message was sent in 1846 by 1851 there were over 50 telegraph companies in the U.S.

For the rest of the century & most of the next, the telegraph became one of the most important means of communication in the nation.

              Western Union Child Workers
                              March 1911
                 Library of Congress Photo

Telegraph wires crisscrossed the United States & a telegraph message came to be called a "wire".

There are some connections, no pun intended, between the telegraph & JFK.
Surely, you would not doubt that we could find some.

On November 9, 1960, on the morning after the election, President-elect John F. Kennedy spoke to reporters & a national TV audience at the Armory in Hyannis Port.  

JFK opened his remarks by saying...

"Ladies & Gentlemen, I've received the following wire from Vice-President Nixon.  'I want to repeat through this wire the congratulations & best wishes I extended to you on television last night.  I know that you will have united support of all Americans as you lead the nation...'"

                           You Tube Video
          President-elect John F. Kennedy
            Hyannis Port, Massachusetts
                        November 9, 1960

JFK then read his reply, which was also in the form of a wire....  

'Your sincere good wishes...are accepted (& you) are to be congratulated on a fine race.'

JFK went on to read a wire he received from President Eisenhower as well as his reply.


On November 24, 1963, Dallas night club owner Jack Ruby made a trip in his car to the downtown area supposedly to wire money to Karen "Little Lynn" Carlin, one of the strippers at his nightclub.

Ms. Carlin, who lived in nearby Fort Worth, called Ruby that morning at 10:10 & in a conversation lasting 11 minutes, requested the money to pay  rent.

The Western Union office in Dallas was at 2030 Main Street, just across from city police headquarters where Lee Harvey Oswald was being held.*

*The WU office was later moved to a corner on the same side as the police station, but in Nov 1963, it was located across the street.

Original Site of Western Union Office
    2030 Main Street, Dallas, Texas

A receipt for the Western Union transaction was found in Ruby's pocket after he shot Oswald in the basement of police HQ at 11:21 a.m.  

The receipt was stamped 11:17.