Every good story has charming and endearing characters and this one is chock full of them. Some of them are easy to spot; a Russian spy, a Russian Red Army general, a USN intelligence officer, Victorian women, a handsome young man, a baby girl, and some not so well known; a medical doctor, mobsters, counterfeiter’s, unidentified Gmen, and a myriad of accomplices all set against the backdrop of the turbulent 1930’s.
First and foremost is Nicholas Dozenberg, or “Nick,” as he preferred to be called by his friends and family. He was charismatic, intelligent, “generous to a fault,” with an impeccable sense of timing. He was described by his surviving spouse as the, “cleverest spy between two continents,” an interesting insight given the adamant plea that she, “knew nothing,” of his candestine career. He was a typical man in the sense that he admired beautiful and charming women. In 1904 he was a young Russian-Lettish immigrant following his oldest brother Carl Dosenberg who had already settled in the bustling Lettish community of Boston. He was one of 8 children and their parents most of them completing the journey to the promised shores.
Not much is known of Nick’s first wife, Katherine Peagle or “Ancit,” her casual name. She was also of Russian Lettish descent. She was his constant companion even following him into the Russian spy circles upon Nick’s recruitement in 1928 until her death January 1, 1936 in China.
|Albert Davis with daughter Mary Frances Davis
named for one her paternal aunts
Upon the death of his first wife Nick wrote an American woman whom he had meet several years earlier and had corresponded with through letters and postcards sent from around the world. The letter of proposal reach Frances DeLawder Feb 14, 1936 in New York City. She cabled back her response and set out for Japan.
Born Mary Frances Davis in the year 1895 she was the sixth of eight children. Her birth was preceded by the death of the second male child barely 14 months of age. Frances grew up under the tutelage of her older sisters, Ruth, Nina, and Emma. Mother Emma was preoccupied with George Easton the third male born a short 21 months later and the baby Winifred born in 1899.
|Frances and John DeLawder
Frances was blessed with a “porcelain complexion,” and long lanky frame imbued with female charm that could not be ignored. She won the heart of her handsome childhood sweetheart, John Lurman DeLawder and with his safe return from the war front they where wed in April 1920 shortly after Frances’ 25th birthday. It was without any exaggeration the happiest day of her life. Her domestic future was secured at least for a short while.
The story that follows is not included in the “official version,” promoted and scrubbed clean by two well intentioned Victorian women, also sisters, but it is the truer to life and much more interesting, “warts and all.”
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