Home » BELLE STARR appears in JESSE JAMES SOUL LIBERTY
Here are some people you’ll meet when you read Chapter Four of JESSE JAMES SOUL LIBERTY by Eric James. Chapter Four is about John James of Alvarado, Texas…
The top row is Myra Belle Shirley, more famously known as Belle Starr. While John James of Alvarado was teaching his school on the Texas prairie in July of 1872, John was visited by Belle Starr. John recounted the visit in his diary.
The bottom row is pictures of Emily Wren “Emma” Shirley. In 1896, John’s son, Enoch Elbert “Elo” James (pictured below), married Emma Shirley.
John was visited by Belle Starr shortly after the Comanche Indians slaughtered John’s neighbor Nicholas Henry Dawson. Nick Dawson had migrated to Texas from Woodford County in Kentucky where the Dawson family lived near the Black Horse Inn operated by the Cole family of Frank & Jesse James’ mother, Zerelda Cole.
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From Jesse James Soul Liberty, Vol. I, Daniel Lewis James Jr. writes to a newspaper, also under his pen name of Danny Santiago, about the credit for the Broadway hit "Bloomer Girl." Dan cites Yip Harburg:
To the Editors:
It was belatedly called to my attention that in the John Gregory Dunne article of August 16 on the James/Santiago story, I seem not to have given full credit to my collaborators on the 1944 musical comedy Bloomer Girl. Regrettably this oversight of mine was compounded by the newspapers which only partially reprinted Dunne's piece.
The facts in brief are as follows: the originator of the story idea from which the musical grew was my wife, Lilith James, who charmingly chose the perversities of Fashion to dramatize the early struggles of the Women's Rights movement. She also developed the principal characters. I joined her in writing a first draft of the libretto. It failed to satisfy our lyricist, E.Y. Harburg, and Harold Arlen, the composer. It also failed to satisfy us. An impasse developed at which point all agreed to call in the team of Sig Herzig and Fred Saidy who were experienced writers in the field of musical comedy. They reworked the material to the satisfaction of everyone but Lilith and myself, who had hoped to invade Gilbert & Sullivan territory, with what we thought was a light-hearted paradoxical look at history. What I took for a personal artistic failure for which I blamed first of all myself, went on to become a lavish entertainment which played on Broadway for eighteen months and has since often been revived in summer theater. If I was not delighted, audiences certainly were and full credit for this should be given to Sig Herzig and Fred Saidy (now deceased) without whom the production would never have taken place.
I deeply regret that this clarification will reach only a fraction of those who read John Gregory Dunne's piece and its successors.
Dan James/Danny Santiago Carmel, CaliforniaApril 8, 1896: The great American popular song lyricist Yip Harburg was born on this date in 1896! Yipper worked with many well-known composers. He wrote the lyrics to the standards "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?," "April in Paris," and "It's Only a Paper Moon," as well as all of the songs in The Wizard of Oz, including "Over the Rainbow." He was known for the social commentary of his lyrics, as well as his liberal sensibilities. He also championed racial and gender equality and union politics. ... See MoreSee Less
Caleb Wallace was well known to John M. James. Their acquaintance formed during the 10 conventions at Danville that led to the formation of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. In 1807, John M. James served in the state legislature, during the period when Humphrey Marshall brought charges against him, Judge Harry Innes, and Judge Benjamin Sebastian, alleging they tried to sell Kentucky to Spain, in the affair dubbed "The Spanish Conspiracy." These stories will be told in great detail in Volume II of JJSL, This Bloody Ground. ... See MoreSee Less