Silver Shirt Awaits Trial in San Diego
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Silver Shirt Awaits Trial in San Diego

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Donald J. Niswender, Silver Shirt organizer, awaited trial today on charges of stealing $900 from John Beatty, rancher.

At a two-day preliminary hearing in Township Court the Pelley follower contended that Beatty had given him the money to be used for furthering the Silver Shirt causes and that some of it had been spent on arms and in building structures on the Beatty ranch in preparation for a seven years’ war with Communists.


It was testified that the structures were to be used as retreats for women and children and as storehouses for food in case of siege expected from attacking Communists.

Beatty said Niswender warned him that gold would soon become worthless, so he gave the organizer $1,700 of the yellow metal to be changed to silver. Only part of this money was returned, the rancher charged.

Niswender claimed that the money not expended on the “barracks” was spent on Niswender, part for “battle garb” consisting of hunting boots and trousers. According to testimony, the fighting clothes of the Silver Shirts was to include, besides the boots and trousers, bright silver shirts with the letter “L” sewed on the front.


Other plans for fortifying Beatty’s ranch included, according to testimony, mounting of a machine gun on a dog and organizing storm troops, several platoons of which were to be marshaled by Beatty. Beatty said that Niswender had on a blacklist Oliver Sex-son, undersheriff, who was supposed to be tied to a dog chain and dragged through the brush.

One of the ex-officers of the Silver Shirts, Leon Misamore, deputy constable, said after he was on the stand that cars of Silver Shirts were always filled with rifles, shotguns and ammunition. The weird and fantastic testimony of the witnesses as they revealed the plans for the fight against Communism attracted a crowd of spectators, most of whom were Silver Shirts.

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