tv Strange Inheritance FOX News May 24, 2015 12:00am-12:31am PDT
>> a sailor who was with jfk aboard pt-109. >> the young man's mother begins a correspondents with the future president. >> i was shocked. >> the letters are tucked away for years. >> they could be of historical value, and worth a lot of month. >> this is a pressure that surfaces that no one knew existed. >> if they could prove they are real. >> the signatures look authentic. >> this is eye real signature? >> this is a real jfk si signat. >> will bidders open their wallet? >> looking for 100.
110, now 120. jamie: i am jamie colby, i am on my way to fall river, massachusets about an hour south of boston, i am going to meet a man whose strang strange inher 0 begins with his family powerful connection to a future preside president. >> i am dennis harkins, my mother passed in 1990, she left us with correspondents regarding our uncle harold who was lost in south pacific during world war ii. jamie: i am jamie. what is this place? >> our en eithe inheritance. >> the ship, let's check it out. >> reporter: battleship code museum here has two of last
remaining pt boats from world war ii, his uncle harley, joined navy in 1941. >> he was the typicalismish younger brother. then a month later here will pearl harbor. with u.s. at war, harl is shipped to the south pacific, he puts in a request to join a pt boat crew, which means patroler to meado torpedo, and they had twin machine gun turrets. >> they could lay low in the water, wait for the enemy ships to pass, then attack with the torpedos. >> the museum curator shows me
around, tight quarters. quarters. why the moss quito -- mosquito fleet. >> they could infection you with malaria, they were deadly and fast. jamie: harl's captain, 26-year-old navy lieutenant, john f. kennedy. >> so, this is where kennedy, lieutenant junior grade, controlled the ship from? >> correct. jamie: right here, you could barely see over, and they operated in the dark of night. >> yes. jamie: 4 feel the away is where harold was operateing that turret this puts it in perspective. >> idea was to go out attack the destroyers and sink them. jamie: no radar? >> the 109 had no radar. >> on one such night august 1,
1943, out of darkness. a japanese destroyer traveling at 40 knots. 19-year-old harold marney is stationed in that gun turret. >> he gave the alarm, ship at 2:00. >> reporter: 2:00. jamie: the ship slices right through pt109. >> right here this wing tank, actually exploded. jamie: hard to imagine anyone could have survived. >> things happened so fast, he probably got sucked into the weight of the ship. jamie: harold and a second sailor andrew did not have a chance, the surviving sailors swam to a small string of islands and take refuge until they are rescued 6 days later, lute kennedy writes to harl's mother, jennie marney. >> this letter to offer my
deepest sympathy for the loss of your son. jamie: wrote, i realize there is nothing that i can say can make your sorrow less, hammer cal hae aboard my boat, jennie wrote back, thanks him for his letter, asking if it was possible her son could still be alive, kennedy spend ons, we could find no trace of him. although every effort was made to find him. i am terribly sorry they cannot be of more help or encouragement. >> my grandmother, jennie was from am hurst, nova scotia. she was proper. jamie: and feels she made a friend in 1944, mom learns that kennedy will be in boston to get treated for the back injuries he
sustained on pt109, she goes to visit him in the hospital. jamie: you just don't get in to see jack kennedy. >> no. jamie: but she does more than once. >> what they talked about god only knows, i am sure they talked about harold and his brother joe. jamie: his older brother joe was a naval naive yeah, thiator, whs killed in a top-secret mission, jennie writes her own letter of condolence. i want you to know how much i appreciate your card, he says, i know you know how we all feel, boys like harold and my brother joe can never be replaced. incredible. he says, i hope i shall see you sometimes again. >> yes. jamie: in 1946, kennedy is elected to congress. 6 years later to senate, and in
november 1960, kennedy wins the white house. narrowly defeating vice president richard nixon. >> the torch has been passed to a new generation of americans born in this country. >> ke kennedy writes, sends a memorial at the wall in philippines that has been inscribeed with harold a name, he closes his letter saying, if ever you are in the nation's capital, i would like very much to have the white house and other public places shown to you, then that awful day, november 1963. jamie: president kennedy of shot today just as his motorcade left downtown dallas. the end of the white house camelot years, and end of mum's
relationship with the most powerful man in the world. jennie marney dies in 1973. and bequest her carefully preserveed letters from kennedy to her daughter elaine, and she gave them to her son in 1985, 5 years before she died. >> i said oh, wow, and promptly put them in a safe deposive box. jamie: there they remained for a quarter century, but a surprise phone call from a straeufrpbl strangeer. >> i got on the phone, and there was a strange message, are you the nephew of pt109 crew member harl marney. >> what is the most expensive piece of presidential
>> it is a, geroge sheldon george washington draft cop of the constitution. jamie: for years jennie marney correspondents with john f kennedy. they remained friends until jfk's assassination in 1963, neither dennis harkins or frances piorek who were half brothers ever met their uncle. >> i heard just whispers, he was on pt109, and kennedy was the commander. jamie: frances catching the jeaniology bug. >> i realized i know not know about my family.
jamie: he is looking for any unknown relatives of harold marney, his message goes unnoticed until 2013, when brian willis, posts petition to place a headstone for marney in a veteran cemetery near springfield massachusets. >> i could not find him anywhere. honored, not even in springfield, and he was from east spring field. jamie: brian comes across frances' post from way back in 2001. >> i got a phone, and left a strange message. are you the nephew of pt109 crew member marney. >> it was stronging to get a call off the blue. jamie: in august 2013 that grave stone is placed at veteran's cemetery. idennis is thinking about those letters written to his grandmother that he has been holding on to for 25 years. isn't it time he did something
with them. but then a reckoning for dennis and frances, the brother john dies of diabetes at age of 57. >> it makes you start to think about what do you want to do with the rest of your life. because his death was unexpected. jamie: they retrieveed letter that frances had never seen. >> i was shocked when i say what the letters detailed. jamie: why now? >> the driving thing was the loss of our brother john. >> a wake up you know, i'm not get anything younger. >> these documents could be of historical value, and worth a lot of money. jamie: you had a big decision to make. >> i felt they were worth something. jamie: a number? >> 30 or 40,000 dollars perhaps. jamie: he did not pull that number out of a hat, the son of andrew kirk sold his
grandmother's letter for 9500 dollars. >> was it worth 9500 or 20,000 we had no idea. jamie: but they are about to learn, that authenticateing jfk documents for auction is more complicated. >> you need to know if you buy a john f. kennedy letter, he is one of the most forgeed autographs. jamie: is it easy or difficult to spot a fake. >> jfk is perhaps the most difficult. jamie: that is next on strange inher/10. >inheritance. >> a question for you, babe ruth is most forgeed autograph of all-times, what is the most outside of the sports world? neil armstrong? marilyn monroe? or e
>> what is the posted forgeed signature outside of the sports world? it is elvis presley. jamie: for 25 years, dennis harkins keeps an old family heirloom storeed away in a safety deposit box, 4 letters written to his grandmother, jennie marney by john f. kennedy, three handwritten before he became president, and one typewritten on white house
stationnary. he and his brother died it is decide it is time to sell. >> kennedy is a very important figure in american history. people really related to the kennedy family. chairs of jacquelin kennedy shoes sell for $30 now. $30,000. jamie: they hold their own unique value, back to that mission on the pt109. >> there are no other letters that we know of by john f. kennedy with his personal account of what happened that night. jamie: many a collector has been burned after plungeing dow pluna fortune for a newly discovered document that was a fake.
jfk*frpbgs is thfk is the fourtt forgeed signature. is it easy or difficult. >> he is perhaps most difficult. 80% of process is -- does the signature and handwriting match known exempt burglars, his -- exemplars, it changes so much. jamie: why would he change his signature. >> his personaly changes, and his signature changed. jamie: brothers than the handwritten letters must be re real. but bob eton cannot just take
their word, he compares them to a known letter. jamie: show me. >> a letter from 1940, three years prior. this similarities, he always had a tendency even later in life, when he made a t he would continue, he would break words up. >> confirming, they also have jfk's unique t, but how about the one from white house. jamie: president cannot sign every letter by hand what about that one. >> most of kennedy's letter from that time period were secretarial. but he had a bond with this family. jamie: this is a real signature. >> it is a real signature 92100% jamie: you are 100% sure. >> i am 110% sure. jamie: how much were they worth.
more are bidding by phone and on-line. >> this is our remarkable rarity auction. auction. >> were started getting butterflies. what is this going to do. >> a great lot. letters, one of a kind archive to family of his lost crew mate. >> we're starting with 22,000 bid on internet, now 23,000. jamie: remember preliminary estimate for all 4. was 50 k. >> 45 on the phone, frenc. >> 55 now, 60,000. >> >> they had auction people there, they were hollering, and pushing. >> 90,000. >>95,000. looking for 100? bid 100? yes. >> now 110. >> 110, now 120. >> 130?
130,000 dollars? 140? jamie: the bidding is not over. >> 140, now 150. >> 150. >> 150,000. >> 160 is high bid ing on the phone lookinbid ing on the phon. >> then the final call. >> this is sold . >> 3 times more than brother had originally hoped for. >> i am flabbergasted it was amazeing to watch it unfold. >> i hope that the successful bidder enjoys them, perhaps they will put them in a museum. jamie: a young man makes ultimate sacrifice for freedom that legacy he left for all of us, the let ters his commander was on the and future president writes helped light know his
mother's grief, and decades later, a financial boone for family he never knew. a "strange inheritance" indeed. how hard to part with them. >> it was hard but it was time, like an old jal opy peck up truck, you love it, but it is time to let it g time to move on. jamie: dennis a mum always relished her special relationship with john k kennedy, and not shy about calling in a favor, legend has it when mum retireed to connecticut had trouble receiving her social security benefits she turned to her friend now president kennedy for help, when letters on white house stationary arrived at the local social security office, officials there jumped to fix the problem, from then on mum always got her check on time.
i am jamie colby, for strange strang"strangeinherita >>ly leads most famous charge in american history. >> i am on side of pickett's charge. >> hundreds of main that made him immortal. >> a suitcase full of heirlooms left. >> a fast talking conman comes to down. >> he dressed well, he was glib of tongue. >> forcing general's heir into battle over his "strange inheritance." >> what was your reaction? >> i was pisd. >> it donned on me i was ripped off.