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Introduction

This website is dedicated to the life of Mr. George Moore Taggart III.  It is a "work-in-progress" subject to change. What little that is presented here was pieced together from previously known facts and from searched documents, photographs, and individuals contacted through the Internet.  It is my hope that those persons who knew George Taggart will discover this website and help to enrich this presentation by their own contributions.

Northern Mariana Islands Flag

First Encounters

 

I first learned about George Taggart from my father, USMCR Major Robert B. Sheeks,, who served with Taggart for a comparatively short time during World War II.  My father had participated in the Saipan campaign.  He landed with the 2nd Marine Division on June 15, 1944. Subsequently, he would spend the next 14 months on Saipan.  After the invasion and battle for Saipan, when the island was finally declared secure and under the control of the US military, a unique assignment was handed to my father.  Navy Lt. George Taggart, USNR, along with his close friend Lt. Bob Young, was given the task of revitalizing the Saipan skipjack fishing fleet.  Their first assignment was daunting and challenging-- to raise and repair four of the sunken Japanese fishing boats that had been badly damaged in the pre-invasion bombardment
 
Once afloat, the work of actual fishing could begin.  But first Taggart needed boat-yard workers, boat-wrights, carpenters, engine mechanics; then captains and crews to operate the skipjack boats.  
 
To recruit experienced workers and qualified boat crews, Taggart enlisted the help of Navy Lt. Harris “Jish” Martin (Japanese Language Officer) of US Naval Civil Affairs at the civilian detention center, Camp Susupe.   My father, at that time Marine Lt. Robert B. Sheeks, was "borrowed" by Taggart to serve as security offficer, for on-board monitoring of the Okinawan boat captains and crews. His job was to make sure there was no danger of their escape to the nearby islands, still under enemy control.  This interesting, but all too brief, encounter was the beginning of their working relationship. 
 

Just days before the war ended unexpectedly, my dad left Saipan in early August,1945 bound for home leave in the United States.  Lt. Taggart continued working on Saipan after the war ended.  The re-established, up and running fishery was turned over to a cooperative headed by Carolinians.  Tag then transferred to other Micronesian islands (Palau, Guam, Truk), as well as Okinawa, to head up new Civil Affairs development projects.  From these limited beginnings George Taggart would build on first-hand experience and end up spending the rest of his working life, about 20 years, in the South Pacific and Japan.  He became a well-known fisheries expert and the Economic Development Officer for the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands (T.T.P.I.) region.   


D-Day on Saipan. Effects of US Naval gun bombardment.
Japanese fishing boats burning in Garapan Harbor, mid June 1944.


Guam Flag

The Life of George Taggart


He was born George Moore Taggart III on November 29, 1902 in a suburb of Seattle,Washington.  Starting from an early age he picked up the nickname of "Tag" which would stay with him throughout his life. His father, Samuel Watson Taggart, was born in 1876, in Vinton, Iowa.  Samuel was a former Nome and Seattle businessman.  George's early years of growing up, his education and early work experience have been updated by the contributed commentary posted below. George spent the early 1920s working aboard merchant ships to Europe and Asia. In the late 1920s he went to Tahiti. In the 1930s he spent time in Mexico, Alaska and Afghanistan. When war broke out, George entered the Navy. As a commissioned US Naval Reserve Officer, Lt. George M. Taggart was a trained specialist in military government and civil affairs.  After the war, Taggart was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.  He then spent time with the TTPI at Guam, Palau, and Truk. The 1950s were spent in Okinawa with the USCAR.  The early 1960s were spent back on Saipan. He retired to St. Croix, V.I. in 1966. George M. Taggart's immediate family included his wife, Margaret Carberry Taggart (born in Browning, Montana 1905), and their only daughter, Kay Margaret Taggart (born in Cut Bank, Glacier, Montana, on December 28, 1939).  Kay later married to George Thomas on Okinawa. Kay and her husband then moved back to the US, then resided at her father's property on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Divorced in 1972.  A son, Cameron (and daughter in-law, and grand daughter), live in Florida.  Kay remarried to Francois Guesdon, and together they worked in the charter yacht business.  Francois would later die of cancer.  Kay now lives near Bigfork, Montana. George Thomas passed way on November 28, 2013.


University of Washington 1926 Yearbook photograph

 

As mentioned above, my ability to relate the more detailed facts of George Taggart's life begins with my father's encounter with him on Saipan in 1944. His life before and after World War II is presented below using documents and books in where he is referenced, as well as a few photographs available for viewing on the Internet. All the documents and photographs mentioned are available for viewing on the Internet by Google Search.  Note:  I do not claim any originality for the content of this website.  It is simply an accumulation of data that was already part of printed records and within the memories of those people who knew George Taggart.


Positions held by George Taggart include:


Fisheries Officer for the military government on Saipan after the invasion landings in June 1944. 


Staff, Civil Administrator Palau:

Island Trading Company Branch Manager in Koror (Palau): Mar 1948 to Sept. 1948.


Boating, Fishing and Shipping Commissioner Saipan: Mar 1949 to Sept. 1950.


Chief Fisheries Officer, Fisheries Division, United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Is. USCAR, Naha, Okinawa. circa 1954 -1956.


Economic Development Staff, Saipan

Headquarters Staff, Saipan cr 1960

Supervisory Economist in the Saipan District


On Staff of the Pacific Trust Territory Fisheries Commission

Trust Territory Economic Development Officer


George Taggart retired in 1966


Note:  Actual dates and length of service are not complete at this time and may overlap or are one and the same.

Skipjack Tuna

Official Documents Referencing George Taggart:


1.)  Fishery Resources of Micronesia. Fishery Leaflet No. 239. United States Department of the Interior. By Robert O. Smith, Aquatic Biologist, United States Wildlife Service, Washington DC, May 1947.

2.)  Survey of the Fisheries of the Former Japanese Mandated Islands.  Fishery Leaflet No. 273. Fish and Wildlife Service. United States Department of the Interior.  By Robert O. Smith (Aquatic Biologist, Office of Foreign Activities, Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington DC, October 1947.

3.)  Socio-Political Summary of the Trust Territories of Pacific Islands. Civil Affairs Inspection Tour made by the U.S.S. Roque (AG-137), January 1948. The US Navy inspection party reported current conditions of Self Government, Health & Sanitation, Education, Rehabilitation, Radio Communications, etc.  Islands visited included Jaluit, Kili, Namorik, Kausie, Pingelap, Mokil, Ponape, Ngatik, Nukuoro, Kapingamarangi, Satawan, Namoluk, Nama, Truk, Lamotrek, Woleai, Koror, Peleliu, Angaur, Yap, Ulithi, Saipan, Rota, and Tinian. 

4.)  INDO-PACIFIC FISHERIES COUNCIL Proceedings. 5th Meeting, Bangkok, Thailand, 22nd January-5th February 1954.  Section 1. IPFC Secretariat, FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) Regional Office for Asia and the Far East, Bangkok 1954.

5.)  INDO-PACIFIC FISHERIES COUNCIL Proceedings. 6th Session, Tokyo, Japan, 30th September-14th October 1955.  Section 1. IPFC Secretariat, FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) Regional Office for Asia and the Far East, Bangkok 1957.

6.)  A Plan for the Development of Fisheries in Guam. By H. van Pel, Fisheries Officer, South Pacific Commission, Noumea, New Caledonia, 1955.

7.)  A Fisheries Development Plan for the Carolina Islands. (Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands).  By H. van Pel, Fisheries Officer, South Pacific Commission, Noumea, New Caledonia, 1956.

(Background on H. van Pel - Herbertus-nicknamed, Bert.  He was recruited in 1950 by the South Pacific Commission. Bert, a Dutch fisherman, spent his early years in Holland as a trawlerman.  He worked for many years in the Sumatra, Java area under Dutch supervision.  When the Dutch left the SPC, Bert took the position of Fisheries Officer.)

8.) The Administration of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, 1945-1962. By Niles Russel Gooding.

9.) United States Naval Administration of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands" 1957, by Dorothy E. Richard, USN.  George Taggart is referenced in volumes I, II and III.

10.) Archaeological and Historical Data on Pelagic Fisheries in Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands.  By Judith R. Amesbury. Micronesian Archaeological Research Services, Inc. Guam, 2008.


George Taggart inspects dried sea cucumbers (trepang) with native at Koror.

Note:  Mrs. George M. Taggart served as the Educational Administrator at Koror.  


George Taggart's own published writings:

1.)  Town & Country Home Journal, Volume 100 (Hearst Corporation, 1945) SAIPAN. How the Colonel got his Japanese battle flag... by Lt. George M. Taggart, USNR.

2.)  The Micronesian Reporter, Vol XII, Number 5, July 1 - August 15, 1964 (Pages 8 to 11). The Need for Copra Stabilization in Micronesia. By George M. Taggart   (http://www.pacificdigitallibrary.org/ )


Newspaper Articles Referencing George Taggart

Article: Moberly Monitor & The Milwaukee Journal Archives: May 14, 1949. Filipino Feasters May Have Dined on A Poisonous Moray. Agana, Guam. An eel which caused the serious illness of 43 Filipino feasters on Saipan was identified today as a type of moray. George M. Taggart of the trust territory fisheries commission made the identification by showing colored pictures of the eel to some of the stricken Filipinos. Taggart said an eel of the same general type in the Philippines is not poisonous. The U S Army's 22nd general hospital reported 13 Filipinos there still were unconscious and two were in critical condition. Four other patients were conscious and improving. Three of 26 at the Guam naval hospital were comatose and in oxygen tents. Condition of the others was not serious.


Articles from: The Seattle Times, Seattle Daily News, Seattle Star Archives: (Interested persons can select and download articles from the Seattle Times archival website at- http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives/?p_product=HA-SE&p_theme=histpaper&p_action=keyword#from=stnv3 )


Articles from: The Los Angeles Times Archives: (latimes.com  Author: Gene Sherman, Date: July 1963. Multi-part article regarding Micronesia)

Article from:  The Daily Boston Globe Archives: Jap Fishermen, Under Guard, Catch Food for Saipan Camp. Date: May 16, 1945. Author: Martin Sheridan


 

Typical Japanese fishing vessel of the type raised by Taggart and his crew at Saipan.

Books & Publications where George Taggart is Mentioned or Referenced:


1.)  LIFE Magazine, May 21, 1945. Pg... 53 Article: The American Marianas, by John Dos Passos (Lieut. Stauffenbiel is quoted saying, "...the man who really got the fishing fleet afloat and put the industry back on its feet was Lieut. George Taggart.")  Hyperlink:  http://books.google.com/books?id=50kEAAAAMBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

2.)  Leatherneck, Volume 28, Issue 11 (Leatherneck Association, 1945)  Feathering the Bonito, by Lieut. Harold H. Martin, USMC (History Division).

3.)  Asia and the Americas - Volume 45 Asia Magazine, Inc. (East and West Association, 1945)

4.)  A Grammar of the Language of Palau. By Arthur Capell.  National Research Council (U.S.)  Pacific Science Board, 1948.  Dedicated to the work done by G. Taggart of the Island Trading Company and Mrs. Taggart for her work in copying and organizing information on the subject.

5.)  Chamorros and Carolinians of Saipan.  Personality Studies.  By Alice Joseph, M.D. and Veronica F. Murray, M.D.  Greenwood Press, Westport, Ct., 1951.  (Briefly mentions the fishing industry was revived.  Then left in the hands of the Japanese civilian prisoners until their repatriation in 1946, when the small fishing fleet was taken over by a private cooperative composed of Garapan Carolinians.

6.)  The Underwater World:  A Complete Guide to Diving, Spearfishing and Other Underwater Secrets.  by John Tassos. Prentice Hall, 1957.

7.)  Bulletin. University of Hawaii (Honolulu).  Micronesian Program.  Department of Anthropology, 1967. Obituary. 

8.)  Pacific Islands Monthly:  PIM, Volume 38, Issue 11 (Pacific Publications. November 1967) Obituary. 

9.)  The Emergence of Modern Micronesia.  by Emmett E. Cockrum.  University of Colorado, 1970. Page 272.

10.)  The Saga of Cimba. A Journey from Nova Scotia to the South Seas. Richard Maury. John de Graff, 1971. Addendum: see https://sites.google.com/site/cimbayacht/

11.)  The Guam Recorder. Volume 6, 1976. The Geography of Micronesian Copra. (Ref. Staff Study on Marketing of Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands Copra, 1965)

12.)  Pacific Islands Monthly, Volume 53 (Pacific Publications, 1982) Book review by Harry H. Jackman of "Words of the Lagoon" by R. E. Johannes, 1981.

13.)  Micronesian Handicraft Book of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands by Marjorie D. Wells.  Carlton Press, 1982.

14.)  Eyewitness:  The Amelia Earhart Incident. By Thomas E. Divine. Renaissance House, 1987.

15.)  An Island to Oneself. By Tom Neale. Ox Bow Press, 1990. (This book was dedicated to George Moore Taggart III).

16.)  Strangers in Their Own Land.  A Century of Colonial Rule in the Caroline and Marshall Islands. By Francis X. Hezel, University of Hawaii Press, 1995-08.

17.)  Remaking Micronesia.  Discourses over Development in a Pacific Territory, 1944-1982. By David L. Hanlon. University of Hawaii Press, 1998.

18.)  Journal of MICRONESIAN FISHING, Fall 2009. Commercial Tuna Fishing on Saipan: A Look Back. By Scott Russell. Pages 11 to 14.

19.)  AKU! The History of Tuna Fishing in Hawaii and the Western Pacific. By Peter T. Wilson. Xlibris, 2011.  (See the personal email letter from Peter Wilson posted below)

20.)  Several nautical publications including:  MotorBoating- June 1944; The Rudder - Volume 52, 1936; The Sea Chest. A Yachtsman's Reader 1947. All referencing George Taggart while serving as member of the crew of Cimba.

  




Commentary  Contributions


Hi Robert

As I am not familiar with Facebook, I hope this reply reaches you. First, pardon my tangeled reponse...might be better if you responded by going to my email address, as I will have reviewed old papers to provide more details.


But, to start...George Taggart was my close friend, my boss, and a very 
great man. However, it has been many years since we last met so you will 
have to forgive any mistakes or lack of details this causes me to tell you 
what I can about George.

So, to start...I first met George I believe when I was in Okinawa doing a fisheries survey for Bumble Bee Seafoods. As I recall I went to his home and into his bedroom where he was in bed. As we were, talking a mongoose suddenly came out from under the covers and roamed about. The cutest darn thing ever and what a neat pet. I don¹t recall what we talked about, but next comes the time I met with him on Saipan while I was heading up the fisheries programs 
for the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) and he was my boss.

We went together up to the Suicide Cliffs where the Japanese were. The 
Japanese had been jumping off as our forces moved them up the island. As I recall, we stood near the jump off place and George told me about the time 
he was there while this was happening...he had an associate with him and as 
they were watching, a Japanese couple took their two kids, opened their
mouths and cut off their tongues and then left them and jumped off the 
cliff. George told his friend to grab one of the kids and he would grab the other and he said, "Keep their mouths closed so they won¹t bleed to death". As I recall, the one he grabbed came out ok, but the other died.

Next, he came to Saipan where I was living in a Quonset building left over from the 
war. When he came up to our house, I of course showed him about and when we 
went into the bathroom, he went to the sink and turned on the right faucet 
which was our hot water faucet...He turned to me and said "you would think 
after all these years they would have fixed this." ­ He had lived in this 
house after we had conqured Saipan.

At this point, my memory fades, however, I know he was a fine and wonderful 
man but I will go into my old books and see if I can find more about our 
years of working together...but do email me in case I do come up with more...
Cheers, Peter T. Wilson, Author, Honolulu, Hawaii

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Bob,

I sat down with my Dad and we went over what we had talked about in the past concerning George Taggart.  Unless otherwise noted, this information comes from conversations with Mr. Taggart, as well as can be remembered fifty years later.  I took notes and will try to organize this a little as I go, but it will not be a polished narrative by any means.

My father is Lowell Boothe.  We lived on Saipan from 1958 to 1962.  My folks were both teachers at the Intermediate School in Chalan Kanoa (Saipan).  Dad taught agriculture.  George Taggart worked in government administration.  We lived in a Quonset hut housing area on Navy Hill with other civilian employees.  The Taggarts lived in the next row of houses, just downhill from us.   Dad doesn't remember where George worked, but figures it was most likely in Lower Base, just below Navy Hill, since that's where most of the administrative offices were.

Mr. Taggart's father was a civil engineer and traveled a lot, including work in Alaska.  That may be how George came to live there at some point in time.  He would work a job until he had enough money to go prospecting.  When he had to, he would get another job and work until he had enough money to go again.  He showed my father his civil service form, which has a section for listing all previous employment, and it was many pages long, listing a very large employment history.  

While prospecting in a valley in Alaska, a Dutchman who was doing hydraulic mining in the next valley showed up at his camp cussing up a blue streak and told him he had uncovered a frozen mammoth and had to leave because the smell was so bad.

Mr. Taggart went to college in or near Seattle, but it took him something like 7 years to complete.  When he got the urge, he would go to the port and sign on with a ship's crew and be gone for extended periods traveling all over the Pacific, then return and go back to school.  He had traveled all over the Pacific while still a very young man.  When Dad mentioned an upcoming trip to Hong Kong, Taggart told him about a couple of restaurants to eat at, and gave him directions to a tiny out-of-the-way tailor shop where Dad had a couple of suits made.  When Dad mentioned Mr. Taggart, the tailor said he knew him.


His first love was sailing ships and he could describe in great detail the sails and rigging of different kinds of ships.  My father said to him that he should have sailed around the world, and Mr. Taggart told him he and a friend had done that in a large (35 foot?) boat years before.

At some point, Mr. Taggart and a buddy went to Mexico and tried to make a living in the copra business, running their own coconut plantation.  They gave it up because there were too many problems with thieves and bandits.

 

Mr. Taggart lived for some time in Tahiti (described himself as a beachcomber) and was an experienced pearl diver, helped by the fact that he could hold his breath for an amazing length of time, as my father can attest to.  Dad thinks that he learned pearl cultivation, possibly in Japan.  He's not sure if that was before or after the war.  He may have done that to explore new possibilities for post-war industry in Micronesia.

During his years at sea, he earned his rating as a chief engineer.  He talked of being hired as engineer of a ship that took a Hollywood film crew to northern Alaska to make a movie.  Dad thought the title was "Eskimo."  While there, the ship was frozen in by ice as the filming went on for many months.  He talked about hunting seals there, and eating seal and whale blubber, which he described as taking a lot of getting used to.  I looked online and found this article on a movie by that name: http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/137/Eskimo/articles.html  The description in this makes me believe this is the movie he was talking about.  I also noted that this movie is being shown on Turner Classics this coming March, so I am looking forward to watching it.

Taggart had at least one other contact with Hollywood.  While living on Tahiti, a crew came to work on production of the 1935 version of Mutiny on the Bounty.  He was hired to work with the Tahitians used in the filming.  While scenes were being filmed, he dressed as one of them and joined in, so if one knew where to look, it might be possible to pick him out at some point in the movie.  He talked about meeting and working around the cast and film crew.

Dad was reading a book about Eskimos (don't know the title, thinks it was written by a man from Norway or Sweden) and mentioned it to Taggart.  When he heard the author's name, he said he knew him and went and got a picture of them together, taken on the steps of the UN building in New York.

 

This one has us stumped.  Dad had told me long ago about a book written by a man who went to live alone on an island, dedicated to Taggart.  He thought the title was "No man is an Island" and the author was originally from France.  He said Taggart told him that the author and he were beachcombers at the same time in Tahiti. I did some checking online about the book "An Island to Oneself" (author from New Zealand) mentioned on your website.  From what I found, it seems that book was originally published in 1966.  Dad doesn't think we saw Taggart again after we left Saipan for other islands in 1962, so the timeline doesn't seem to make sense for that book.  I haven't come across any information on another book that might seem to fit.  


Dad believes Mrs. Taggart (can't remember her name) was also from Washington. He heard later from friends that she had died on Guam and had been buried at sea. He was also told that George was buried at sea when he died in the Virgin Islands. Dad remembers that Taggart had talked about owning land in the Virgin Islands when they were still on Saipan, and that they planned to retire there.
---------------------
I was hoping that Vol 3 of the Naval Administration book might have some information concerning Mr. Taggart, but the place I ordered from had the wrong book listed. The only other copy of Vol 3 I can find right now sells for $125 and I'm not going to pay nearly that much since another seller has the set of three volumes for $85. I will keep checking until I come across a reasonable price on Vol 3 alone.
If Dad remembers more or we come across any other info, I'll be in touch. I will let anyone who might be interested know about your site and I look forward to seeing more things added in the future.
Regards,
Gary    


Gary and Lowell Boothe, Floyd, Virginia


__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Robert

I believe George had studied fisheries at the Univ. of Wash., Seattle.; and instructed there before and/or after the war (actually it was Foreign Trade).

One of Taggart's close associates and friends  on Saipan during the war, was Harris I. (Jish) Martin "Navy Civil Affairs Unit" (Japanese Language School, Class of 1944).  Jish was a BIJ (Born in Japan) man whose parents were American missionaries. In requesting his memories about George, Jish had difficulty trying to recall facts about Taggart. He was unsure whether George had owned the “Idle Hour” or used it on loan. He recalled that he and George arrived at Saipan on the same ship. He thought it was the "Sheridan", APA-51 (Navy troop and cargo transport). There was a group of five Civil Affairs officer personnel---Taggart and Jish, and three other Navy JLO’s (Japanese Language Officers) who were Boulder, Colorado classmates,---- Philip Monahan, Lance La Bianca, and Russell  Stevens, who later became a Judge.

George Taggart had received wartime Civil Affairs training, at some program back East in the U.S. I asked if it might have been Michigan State University. He could not recall, but has the impression that it was somewhere closer to the East Coast.

 (This turned out to be Columbia University.)


Jish Martin has three daughters. The eldest, Val, lives near him. The youngest, Andrea, lives in Capitola. The middle daughter, Daphne, lives in Albion. Jish was surprised that I know about Albion. I told him about our experience with Mendocino property ownership on the coast.

I urged Jish to write his autobiographic memoirs, and to consider using Dragon “Naturally Speaking” for the typing. He thinks Val knows about it and will help him get and use the software.  He said that he will start writing episodes, starting with the POW camp at Saipan and his experiences there. 


Major Robert B. Sheeks, USMC Ret., Santa Rosa, California



_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Dear Mr. Sheeks,

I'm writing to you on behalf of my mother, Margaret (Ngithob) Cole.  She is a native Palauan and lived with the Taggart's in the 40's I believe.  She became best friends with George's daughter, Kay.  She taught Kay Palauan and Kay taught my mother English.   My mother has wanted to connect with Kay for many years but had no way of finding her.  I'm in hopes that you may have some information on where Kay might be living or if she is even still alive.

All my mother knows is that she (Kay) graduated from Kubasaki High School (Okinawa, Japan) in 1957 and married sometime after that.

I ran across your website when I Googled "George Taggart and Palau".

Thank you,

Cherie Cole Buzzell

Bob,

Can you tell me where in the Duggan collection I can find the pic of George and his wife?  We looked thru the Palau pics and found pics of George and others my mom knew, Peter Wilson being one of them.

We believe the Taggart's had only one daughter, Kay, born in 1940.  We found that information in a 1940 census that the Taggart's were in.   Here's a link if you'd like to view it:

https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VBQ9-JMK    (Kay M. Taggart, Born  in Montana, actual correct date is 1939)

My mother does not believe they had any more children. When she lived with them, Kay would have been around 8 or 9 and there were no other children at that time. Kay graduated from Kubasaki High School, Okinawa, Japan, in 1957. My mother saw a picture of Kay's wedding and she and her husband were dressed in Kimonos so we think they may have been married in Japan.  My mother believes she married an American.....at least that's what it looked like to her in the picture.

I've heard many stories of my mom and Kay over the years.  It would truly be a special thing if they were reunited.

I Facebook messaged Peter Wilson to see if he might have any info but I've yet to hear back from him.

Thank you, Bob!  If I find out any more info, I will be sure to let you know.

Cherie

March 16, 2013

 Hello Cherie;

 Today I had a delightful, long phone conversation with Kay in Florida.  Among the topics we touched upon were you and your mother.  I wanted to send you Kay's cell phone number and mailing address in Montana.  She does not have a computer, so she is not on-line.

Bob

_________________________________________________

 Oh my goodness, Bob!  This is such an answer to my prayer.  My mom has been given six months to live after fighting 5 long years with lung cancer. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

 Cherie

 Bob,

 I spoke to Kay this afternoon!!  She was such a sweet lady!   Kay happens to be in Florida right now and is going to see my mom on the 28th!!  I cannot tell you what a blessing this has been.  My mom just got the diagnosis yesterday that she only has 6 months to live and getting the phone call from her childhood friend today really boosted her spirits! They have not seen each other in 64 years!  I'm still amazed at how this has all come together. I want to thank you for your diligence in pursuing the info you were seeking on Mr. Taggert and I am so grateful that our paths crossed.  I will send you a picture of the two of them after they see each other.

 Many blessings to you,

 Cherie 

Margaret Cole passed away on May 6, 2013.  In May of 2014, Ngithob Cole's ashes were spread out at a Montana mountain range near Kay's home.


_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


George Taggart with his Cockatoo ComMar Guam Feb. 1950
George Taggart with his Cockatoo, ComMar, Guam Feb. 1950
"Margo Duggan Collection, 1949-1954 ."  courtesy , Pacific Collection, Unv. of Hawaii-Manoa Hamilton Library

The Margo Duggan Collection:

Slides of Micronesia and Hawaii 1949 - 1954

Photographs of George Taggart.  Mostly on Guam in 1950.  Follow this link and click Search:

http://digicoll.manoa.hawaii.edu/duggan/




In Memorium 

George Taggart (1902-1967)- His Final Days

George Taggart's last known residence was at ChristianstedSaint Croix, U. S. Virgin Islands.

Pacific Islands Monthly (PIM) Volume 38: Deaths of Islands People...Mr. George M. Taggart, a former economics adviser on the High Commissioner's Staff of the United States Trust Territory, died at his home in the Virgin Islands on July 20, 1967.  He was 64.  George was buried at sea in the Caribbean.  George's wife, Margaret, passed away in 1962 due to complications of pneumonia while they were still residing on Saipan. She was buried at sea off Saipan in the Marianas Trench. At both sea burials, the poem "Crossing the Bar" by Lord Alfred Tennyson, was recited by George for his wife Margaret and for George Taggart by those attending.


Crossing the Bar, by Lord Alfred Tennyson

 

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,

And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

When I put out to sea,

 

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

When I embark;

 

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place

The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have crossed the bar.

__________________________________________

This website was created and is maintained by Robert H. Sheeks.  Comments and contributions are always welcome.  Please contact the website producer and administrator: BobSheeks@aol.com

Also please visit my father's own website at http://www.robertbsheeks.com

The Fate of the Yacht CIMBA: https://sites.google.com/site/cimbayacht/


Special Thanks and Acknowledgment:  Kay Taggart Guesdon (George Taggart's daughter), Susan Strange, Professional Archival Researcher, McLean, Virginia. Peter T. Wilson, Author.  Stu Dawrs, Senior Librarian, Pacific Collection, Hamilton Library, University of Hawaii-Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii. Jayvee Vallejera, Editor, The Saipan Tribune. Scott Russell, Author, Division of Historic Preservation-Northern Marianas Humanities Council.  Gary and Lowell Boothe, Cherie Cole Buzzell, Jish Martin.  Stuart Bockman. Jan and Nancy Prins. The Seattle Daily News and The Seattle Times archives- Articles provided by George Taggart's distant cousin. Mr. George Thomas of St. Croix, Virgin Islands.


A work in progress:



George Moore Taggart Timeline

1902 -1920

 

George Moore Taggart (nicknamed Tag) was born in Seattle, November 29, 1902.  He was the first born of three children to Samuel and Mary Belle Taggart.  His brother Phil and sister Elizabeth were also born in Seattle.  George spent his early years, attending elementary school, grade school, and high school, moving with his parents between Seattle and Nome, Alaska.  His father was a strong minded, entrepreneurial type who started several different ventures including a freighting business in Alaska handling building materials and heavy equipment.  Samuel also ran his own taxicab company in Seattle.

 

During his time living in Alaska, George’s imagination and wanderlust was fueled listening to stories told by the whalers, who were temporarily beached while their ships were locked in ice during the winter months.  Tag seemed to have adventure in his blood.  He occupied his spare time in outdoor activities such as playing sports.  At the young age of nine George also ran his own dog sled team.

 

Back in Seattle, in1919 at the age of 16, George was given his first opportunity to go to sea. He joined the crew of the research schooner “Sanwan” (owned by E.W. Scripps) set to take a scientific voyage from Seattle to the southeastern Pacific.  He served as a cabin boy doing odd deck jobs.  He kept a daily log of the voyage. But he disembarked at Los Angeles and returned to Seattle where he finished high school.

 

1921 - 1930

 

In 1921, at age 18, George was given his second opportunity to go to sea.    From April thru July, before entering college, Tag took jobs as a deck mate and as an engine room worker on the freighter (S.S. Orani) from Seattle, via Panama to Europe.   He toured the ports of Panama, Holland, Germany and France, and kept a log of his travels as well as writing home every chance he could.  Returning via Rio de Janeiro, while ashore he suffered an attack of appendicitis, and underwent the operation without anesthetic in a rundown jungle hospital. 

 

On his return to the US, George continued his seagoing adventures and in June of 1922 he again was at sea visiting ports in the Far East including Japan and Shanghai. While at sea, he studied for and received his Quartermaster's Certificate.  Tag worked onboard the APL liner Pres. McKinley.  While in Yokohama, George made business contacts that later led to merchandise sources for his US traveling salesmanship venture back in the Midwest, U.S.

 

In 1922, George and a partner traveled the western United States selling imported jewelry out of a truck.  This venture spanned only a few months.  George then returned to Seattle to attend college.

 

From 1923 -1926 George entered the University of Washington.  His major was Foreign Trade.  He also took a course in Latin, which his father insisted he take. Concurrently he worked for a variety of local Seattle based sightseeing tour operators. 

 

George graduated in 1926 with his degree and continued to work locally for tour companies for the next two years, saving his money for his next big adventure.  While attending university, George met a fellow student and developed a loose friendship with Margaret Carberry of Cut Bank, Montana.  She would eventually become his future wife.

 

At age 25, from 1928 to 1930, George traveled by ship to Tahiti, French Oceania.  On arrival and to raise living wages, he first take work onboard an island schooner carrying supplies and trade goods among the smaller island groups.  While in Tahiti he would meet and become life-long friends with Tom Neale, a New Zealander who would go on to write his own autobiography titled “An Island to Oneself”.  His book was dedicated to George Taggart.  George would met and partner up with a local Tahitian girl and together they set out to try pearl diving on the island of Hikueru in the Tuamotus.  During his two year stay George learned to speak the Tahitian language fluently and would write home some of his most beautiful and inspired letters telling about his experiences as well as about the local Tahitian people and their culture.  George left Tahiti for home, but before long he would soon be off on his next adventure.  But Tahiti would remain Tag’s most loved and remembered destination for the rest of his life.

 

1931 - 1940

 

In 1931 at age 28, George agreed to take a managerial position as a plantation supervisor in Mexico. The Mexico-Pacific Co., based in Seattle, needed someone to take over where previous managers had failed in an attempt to salvage their interests in a copra and agricultural producing operation in the State of Guerrero.  The conditions there were very difficult and primitive.  He encountered many hardships including corrupt policies of the Mexican government, lawlessness and bandits in the outlying villages and towns, disease (George would come down with amebic dysentery and was hospitalized for a spell in Mexico City).  He encountered rebellious plantation laborers and was attacked and stabbed.  He was even stung twice by scorpions.  He held out for about a year.  He gave it all he had, but in the end with no chance of making the plantation work, he was forced to give up.  During his time in Mexico he gained a working knowledge of the Spanish language.  Tag returned home to Seattle in 1932 with many stories to tell.  He had maintained an ongoing editorial relationship with the local Seattle newspapers and many articles of his early adventures were published in his hometown papers.  George even went out on the lecture circuit and made many public speaking appearances at local community groups telling about his adventures to Europe, the Orient, Tahiti, and Mexico.  He was home only long enough to recover from his travels before he was off again.

 

From 1932 to 1933, at age 29, George would be back in Alaskan waters.  He was hired by MGM studios to serve as an engineer on board the sailing ship “Nanuk”.  MGM was there to produce a film, the motion picture “Eskimo” (based on the book by Peter Fruechen).   George saw much of the Alaskan coastline and inland townships, worked with the local Eskimo people, and sailed across the Bering Sea to Siberia.  He endured through sub-zero temperatures, machinery breakdowns, and filmed in one scene of the movie as an extra.  

 

In 1934 George returned to Seattle where he joined in a new travel partnership to help his lawyer friend, Laurance “Babe” Peters, produce a documentary film about Afghanistan.  He set out for Los Angeles where they boarded a ship for Hong Kong, then on to India.  They traveled across land to the Khyber Pass and into Afghanistan.  They traveled overland in a Ford truck.  The going was difficult to say the least.  They encountered much government “red tape” about visas and problems regarding restrictions to film in the local tribal areas.  On one occasion their truck broke down and they had to seek assistance by traveling on horseback to local villages to find parts and food.  Some filming took place as well as a book manuscript, but not much success came of the attempt.  In addition to the filming project, “Babe” Peters would procure and bring home to the US, one of the first Afghan hounds to be raised and bred in the United States.  After serious discussion between Taggart and Peters about the trip’s success, George left his partner in India and traveled on his own, south by ship to Australia and on to Tahiti for his second visit there.

 

In 1935 George returned to Tahiti where he tried to set up his own plantation operation.  He bought a small tract of land to work, but eventually his property was confiscated by the French Government due to their new imposed restrictions of not allowing foreign nationals to own land in French Oceania.  At about this same time MGM studios was back in Tahiti filming the motion picture epic, "Mutiny on the Bounty” staring Clark Gable.  George was able to join the film crew, as he had once done in Alaska.  This time he helped as an extra, but mainly as the studio’s Tahitian translator/interpreter, since he had learned the local language while on his first trip to Tahiti.  He then would meet and become friends with Richard (Dick) Maury, the captain of the yacht “Cimba”.  Maury had set out from the U.S. east coast to make an around the world voyage.  He stopped over in Tahiti to catch up on his writing and refit the boat with supplies.  Maury was making small amounts of subsistence commission by writing a series articles for the magazine “Rudder”.  One of the original crew of “Cimba” left the yacht.  George was asked to join the crew and together they would continue the voyage from Papeete, as far as Fiji.  During the voyage, George again wrote a series of excellent letters about their daily experiences and stopovers.  “Cimba” would then flounder in a typhoon and run aground on a reef in Fiji.  With no means of transportation and no funds left, the voyage came to a sad end.  George boarded an ocean liner and worked his way back to Seattle.  Dick Maury would go on to write his biographic sailing story in his book, “The Saga of Cimba” in which he mentions George Taggart numerous times.

 

In 1936, at age 33, George tried his hand at gold prospecting on the Alaska tundra at such remote places as Wonder Gulch and Budd Creek.  He worked for a few different mining operations.  Conditions were rugged and backbreaking.  He endured swarms of mosquitoes, the cold and the heat, rain and snow.  Short supplies, injuries and machinery breakdowns were commonplace. He had rekindled his friendship with Margaret Carberry, and by then he had become more romantically involved with her.  They exchange many letters which helped keep his spirits up until they met again.  He returned to Seattle where they were married in November of 1938.

 

In 1938, George left the Alaska gold fields and took a short side trip to Honduras.   He joined a company that harvested mahogany hardwoods out of the tropical jungle.  The conditions were again very primitive and nearly unbearable.  He lasted only a few weeks and returned to Seattle via Florida. 

 

In 1939, George joined his wife in Cut Bank, Montana.   His daughter Kay was born on December 28, 1939.  During this time George took a job with Wein Airlines and continued to try his hand at gold prospecting in Alaska until 1941 when war broke out.

 

1941 – 1950

 

At age 40, in 1942, Tag tried to join the Naval Reserve but was classified 4-F for physical problems with his eyes.  In the meantime he took a job in the Seattle shipyards.  He worked with deck plans, blueprints and rose quickly up to a section leader.  It took a while but in 1943, with recommendation letters from his supervisors, coupled with his college education, and the increasing need for more armed forces personnel, he was granted a waiver and commissioned in the Navy.

 

In 1943 George was sent to Columbia University for Civil Affairs and Military Government training.  He also was schooled in the Malay language, a course that had no known significance at the time except speculation about where his active duty assignment might be.  But things didn’t turn out that way. 

 

In 1944 at age 42, after graduating from Columbia Univ., he was commissioned a Lieutenant.  He was sent to Hawaii to join the staff of the Civil Affairs section; then onward to Saipan for the June ’44 invasion.   He sailed to Saipan with his task force aboard the API-51, SS Sheridan.  While onboard he would meet and become acquainted with Harris “Jish” Martin.  Martin would end up serving with the supervisory staff at Camp Susupe.

 

From 1944-45 George was at Saipan, serving as a Civil Affairs officer (in charge of fisheries).  He was handed the assignment of raising several sunken fishing boats that had been heavily damaged and sunk during the initial naval bombardment.  He had to first raise and then haul them onto the beach, then get them back into running and working condition in order to revitalize the local skipjack tuna fishing fleet.  The task was daunting and difficult.  He set up workshops and slips to haul the boats onto the beach.  His resourcefulness and skills at shipboard maintenance from previous experiences gave him the wherewithal to meet the challenge.  With spare parts in short supply or nonexistent, he resolved to scavenge parts and materials from wreckage that had not yet been burned up.  He found and salvaged wood blanking from destroyed buildings, engines and engine parts from battle damaged landing craft, made fish hooks from bed springs, and came up with many more ingenious adaptations to put to good use.   He built a fish processing station.  He enlisted the help of the local SEABEES unit to work on the damaged fishing boats.  He requested and received help from Harris “Jish” Martin to recruit former boat captains and crews held in detention at the local civilian stockade at Camp Susupe.  George’s right-hand-man at Saipan was Lt. Bob Young.  They became life-long, close friends.  Bob would go on to build a successful career working for Wilbur-Ellis in San Francisco and New York.

 

With an initial four of the fishing boats repaired and launched, at this point in time, he met and received additional help from then, Marine Lt. Robert B. Sheeks.  Lt. Sheeks was excused from regular duties and assigned to serve as the security officer onboard the fishing boats.  His job was to make sure there wasn’t any threat of escape by the captains and crews to local islands still under enemy control.

 

Near war’s end, Tag was promoted to Lt. Commander and received a citation for his accomplishments.  He would stay on at Saipan where he hoped to find work in the post war Pacific region.  He truly believed he could make a positive difference in the reconstruction of the war ravaged area.  He remained attached to the Military Government office and awaited new assignment.  His opportunity finally came with a posting to Koror in the Palau group.   His wife Margaret and daughter Kay would sail via San Francisco to Hawaii to join Tag and prepare for moving on to Palau as a family unit again. 

 

From 1947 to 1949 Tag along with his wife and daughter lived at Koror.  He was now working as an economic development officer.  His job was with the US Navy Civil Administration charged with the task of establishing a market economy and providing government employment opportunities to the Palauans.  The ITC was founded (The Island Trading Company) whose purpose of which was to stimulate indigenous capital development.  (The ITC was the former "United States Commercial Company").   Tag was responsible for establishing many operations including inter-island boat transportation, overseeing the production of local handicrafts and trade goods, setting up schools for the local natives, and introducing training programs for mercantile shop keepers and much more.  He created programs to repair roads, docks, and also tried to introduce a local fishing program. 

 

The Taggart family household, no matter where it was located among the Pacific islands, was the center of activity.  Friends, military personnel, and dignitaries visited from far and wide.  Margaret Taggart was the ideal hostess. She took delight in involving herself with many social functions and made friends everywhere she lived.  They aided the local population in times of crisis such as in the aftermath of typhoons by providing food and shelter to the homeless.  At Koror Margaret started teaching school.  She also partnered with an Australian linguist and assisted him to write a book of the Palauan language.  Kay fit in well with the local people. She learned to speak Palauan just like a native.  She had many playmates but one friendship was especially close and important.  She was best friends with a young native girl named Ngithob.  During Kay’s few years living at Koror, she and Ngithob were inseparable.  They taught each other their own languages.  Kay learned about local customs, legends and Taboos.  Kay loved animals and so there was always a variety of pets around the home including a cockatoo, named Yakojan, that had been given to them by a Navy pilot who received the bird from a Japanese officer.  Kay kept cats, dogs, a monkey, and when they moved on to Okinawa, there would be a mongoose in the house. 

 

In 1950 the Taggarts moved on to Guam and later to Truk where Tag continued to work as the local Economic Development officer.  The Korean conflict had broken out and Tag felt it best for Kay to return home for a while. Kay went back to the US to live with her grandparents in Seattle until it was deemed safe enough for her to return to her parents in the Pacific region.   Tag would eventually take a discharge from the Navy.  He accepted a new position as a contracted fisheries specialist with the US Army on Okinawa.

 

1951 - 1960

 

In 1951 at age 48, Tag and Margaret moved from Guam to Okinawa where Tag took a position as Fisheries Advisor for the USCAR (United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands) under the US Army. While there he helped to introduce new fishing techniques, built up the local fishing fleet, and developed a deep sea fishing program to help the local fisherman move away from local, small operations that fished only short distances offshore.   Tag would introduce for the first time a species of Tilapia that he imported and raised in his backyard pond.  He took part in international conferences in Thailand, Japan, and Indonesia.   While there, his wife Margaret took a position with the Army as well and worked in the office of the Post Engineers.  Kay returned from the US and joined them and began her schooling that would take her through high school.   They stayed on Okinawa through 1960. The Army then ran out of funding and had to impose a Reduction in Force cut back program.  Tag would lose his position.  But he traveled to Washington DC where he solicited the Navy again and was rehired back into a new special position and was sent back to Saipan where he worked for the TTPI (Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands).

 

1961 - 1967

 

In 1961 and through 1965 (ages 58 to 63) Tag and Margaret lived and worked at Saipan.  They took up housing in the Capital Hill section of the island. Tag joined the staff at the offices of the TTPI as their Economic Development Officer.  Tragedy stuck in November of 1962.  Tag’s wife, Margaret, came down with a severe case of the flu.  She developed a bad cough that caused an almost asthmatic condition.  Her condition worsened.  Tag returned home to find her on the floor one evening.  She had fallen from her bed and choked to death as a result of bronchial pneumonia.   Tag took her body onboard the M.V. Ran Anin, a small auxiliary transport ship, and performed a sea burial of his wife’s body over the Marianas Trench. 

 

In 1966 at age 63, Tag finally retired from the TTPI and left Saipan and the Pacific for good.   He returned to his home at St. Croix, V.I., to live alongside his daughter and son-in-law, and grandson.  The home that Kay and George Thomas had built on the Taggart land was too small.  So Tag built himself a small shack nearby for himself.  In the first few months of his retirement he was enjoying life and his family.  He spent time with his grandson and made big plans of starting new ventures.

 

In 1967 at age 64, while at St. Croix, Tag suffered an abdominal attack while working on a drainage ditch on his property.   Kay rushed him to the local doctor who advised he needed special medical attention.  He was then transported to a hospital at Puerto Rico.  There he was diagnosed with inoperable, terminal stomach cancer.  The notifications went out to family and friends.  His mother and other family members flew in from Seattle to spend the last days with him at his home back on St. Croix.  They all tried to make him as comfortable as possible.  With his mother and Kay at his bedside, they talked about the old days and his many fond memories of adventure travel, people he met, and places he had visited throughout his life. Tag’s condition became progressively worse.  He slipped into a coma and died on July 20, 1967 at the age of 64.  He was buried at sea off Salt River, near his Virgin Islands home.  Many family members and friends were in attendance. Letters poured in from old friends from around the world who extended their sorrow on the news of Tag’s passing.  A special announcement was made in recognition of his contribution and service at a special session of the Congress of Micronesia. 

 

In summary:  All his life, George Taggart was around sailing boats, steamships, machinery, and the ocean.  He learned from on-the-job experience everything about shipboard life, engines, navigation, maintenance, etc.  From his early boyhood at age 16 when he took his first ocean voyage aboard Sanwan, to his European voyage, to his being a crew member on the inter-island schooner in Tahiti, to his Alaska engineering job on Nanuk, to his Mexico plantation management, plus his gold prospecting experiences, and more...his firsthand experience made up who he was.  He ended up on Saipan faced with the job of raising sunken fishing boats and putting them back into operation.  He was up for the challenge because he knew what needed to be done, and was resourceful enough to find a way to accomplish his task.  He was uniquely qualified. No one else but Tag could have done what he did.  He was able to reach back and use his skills of accumulated nautical and mechanical knowledge to turn chaos into order.  This is what earned him the respect and loyalty of his superiors, peers, and work crews.  From Saipan on to Palau, Okinawa and back to Saipan, all his knowledge helped him to accomplish so much within his lifetime.



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