Category Archives: Events

William Nalle – Guard of Honor at the Funeral of Gen. Robert E. Lee


As a cadet at the Virginia Military Institute, William Nalle 1848-1911 was one of the Guard of Honor to stand over the body of Gen. Robert E. Lee during his funeral. In the following letter, Nalle writes home to his mother Columbiana Major 1824-1898, wife of Thomas Botts Nalle 1816-1893, informing her of the event.

Adj. Gen. William Nalle is a first cousin, 3 times removed of Clarissa “Clara” Nalle the spouse of John M. James. Their descendants, too, are relatives of the Adjutant General.

Letter of William Nalle to His Mother

Va Military Institute
Lexington Oct 16th 1870

Dear Mother

I expect you have been looking for a letter from me for some time and in fact I would have written but about the time I thought of writing the rains & the flood came on, destroying bridges canals, & cutting off communication generally.

I suppose of course that you have all read full accounts of Gen. Lee’s death in the papers. He died on the morning of the 12th at about half past nine. All business was suspended at once all over the country and town, and all duties, military and academic suspended at the Institute, and all the black crape and all similar black material in Lexington, was used up at once, and they had to send on to Lynchburg for more. Every cadet had black crape issued to him, and an order was published at once requiring us to wear it as a badge of mourning for six months. The battalion flag has heavily draped in black, and is to stay so for the next six months. The Institute has been hung all around with black. The College buildings were also almost covered with black. All the churches and in fact the town looked as if they had been trying to cover everything with festoons of black cambric, and every sort of black that could be procured.

Gen. Robert E. Lee funeral procession

The morning after his death we marched up and escorted the remains from the house to Washington College Chapel, where they lay in “state” until the burial yesterday morning.

After the remains were placed in the Chapel on the morning of the 13th the entire procession was marched through the Chapel, past the corpse, which they were allowed to look at. The lid of the coffin having been taken off for that purpose. I saw the General after his death, and never saw a greater change than must have taken place in him a short time before he died. Some days before he was taken I met him in the path leading into town, coming in direction of the barracks. He was walking, and seemed to be the picture of health, and when I saw him in his coffin, he looked to be reduced to half his original size, and desperately thin. When first taken with the paralytic stroke or whatever it was, he fell on his dining room floor, a bed was placed under him and he died where he fell. The doctors forbid anyone to move him. Myself and four other cadets with Gen Smith’s permission sat up all night with the corpse on Friday night, perfect silence was kept the whole night, no one speaking except in a low whisper. It was considered a great honor to be allowed to sit up with the remains, and a great many applied for the privilege but one of the college professors on arrival took only five of us, whom he requested to stay.

William Nalle giuards Robert E. Lee
” Myself and four other cadets with Gen Smith’s permission sat up all night with the corpse on Friday night, perfect silence was kept the whole night, no one speaking except in a low whisper. “

The day following the funeral procession after marching all around town and through the Institute grounds, formed around the college chapel and he was buried in the chapel under the floor of the basement. The procession was a very large one, a great many persons from a distance being here. Our brass band with muffled drums, went ahead of the hearse playing the dead march. Cannon of our stationary battery were fired & &. The hearse however was perfectly empty the corpse being all the time in the Chapel where it was placed at first.

NEW YORK TRIBUNE, October 15, 1870

The flood of which I spoke, did a great deal of damage in this part of the country, carrying off some ten or fifteen houses, some dwelling houses some ware houses situated at the canal boat landing near here all the bridges in the river were carried off and the canal running to this place entirely ruined, all the locks being torn up and carried off. It was a rare sight to see large houses, bridges, mills & every sort of lumber go sailing at a rapid rate, down the river. Up to a week or two since, we could get no mails or any thing that had to come from a distance, and it is still very difficult to get provisions. Mails come and go regularly now, as they have fixed ferries for stages &&.

I was made a sergeant in Co A about three weeks ago, and the evening after the first appointment, I was appointed color sergeant. I have to carry the battalion flag and have charge of the color guard, do not wear any such accoutrements as cartridge box and bayonet scabbard, when I am in charge of the guard, as the other sergeants have to do, but wear only a sword and sash, go to church in the staff, and enjoy various other privileges Jessie is getting along very well, he seems to be a great favorite. I had him put in a room, with the best new cadets that I could find. One of them is a son of Col. Dulaney of Loudoun, the others seem very nice little fellows, and they are all about the same size.

I am gettng along pretty well I think, and I written about all that I can think of at present. Let me hear from you soon and let me know whether or not Gen Smith sent pa the receipt for the deposit.

Your affectionate son,

W. Nalle

Lee Chapel Interior 1890

Gen. William Nalle died on July 30, 1911. His own obituary identifies the details of his life.

Gen. Wm. Nalle Dead

“Gen. William Nalle, for 3 years Adjutant-General of Virginia, died at his home at Culpeper Sunday afternoon after a long illness of typhoid fever.

“Gen. Nalle was a native of Culpeper county, and had been associated with the State militia since early manhood. He was a graduate of the V.M.I.

“Gen. Nalle entered the Virginia volunteers July 28, 1879, as captain of the Culpeper Minute Men. He was elected major of the Third Regiment in 1882, and later was made lieutenant-colonel. He occupied the position of lieutenant-colonel until November 15, 1838 [1883?], when he became colonel.

“He was a thorough tactician, a soldier every inch of him, and a man who commanded the respect and admiration of all.
He served two terms as Adjutant General, retiring when Gov. Swanson went into office.

“Since he went out of office, at the beginning of 1906, he had lived quietly at Culpeper, pursuing the practice of his profession as a civil engineer.”

From: THE DAILY STAR, Fredericksburg, Virginia, August 1, 1911 (page 2, column 3).

Christmas presents For you

Through the years, not every Christmas turns out to be perfect. This year, we are sadly disappointed that our special holiday present for you was ruined in delivery. Instead, we bring you the poem “A Christmas Wish,” specially written by Frank Younger for this Christmas season. Also, we re-gift you with a Christmas package of presents from years past.

 A CHRISTMAS WISH  by Frank Younger

Soon we celebrate again that festive Christmas Day
With our fellowship, joy, song and love,
And tiny Baby Jesus in His manger filled with hay,
A chorus of angels from above.

There's food and decorations. There's Santa and his toys,
And families gathered from far and wide -
Mom and Pop and cousins, aunts and uncles, girls and boys
All congregated around the warm fireside.

Let the spirit of this special time be with us all the year,
Let the gladness in our hearts guide what we do.
Let our smiles and generosity sincerely shine forth clear -
Let the Christmas Spirit live each day in me and you.

CHRISTMAS RAP By Thurston James

A GLITCH STEALS CHRISTMAS by Phyllis Marchese

The true story of a James family Christmas gone madly awry.


In my vivid memories, one of those holiday glitches was the year we had the most unusual Christmas tree in the neighborhood.

My Uncle Bud came to our house a few days before Christmas. The plan was for him and my Dad to go shopping for our Christmas tree. After a light lunch, they were off to find a tree. They must have looked for the perfect tree, because they didn’t get home until 10:30 that night.

CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS

From a Christmas past, an ever-present and a timely tale to not let Christmas presents get in the way, lest we forget the true meaning of Christmas.

A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES by Dylan Thomas

Lastly, never to forget dear Mrs. Prothero nor especially our James family’s ancestral roots in Wales…

Poet Dylan Thomas recites his classic Christmas story “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”

Not everyone is happy with a Christmas present received. Not everyone can give the Christmas present they want. What matters, in the end, is to share with family the love and meaning of the Christ child, no matter who is your family.

MERRY CHRISTMAS from your family of Stray Leaves.


The Sift – May 14, 2018

The Sift is a periodic omnibus of significant, but smaller, ingredients of history, genealogy, and news, received behind the scenes & sifted daily at Stray Leaves.

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Daniel Lewis James Movie “The Great Dictator” Banned by Thailand’s Ruling Junta

Blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Daniel Lewis James and first cousin of Jesse & Frank James, still makes news in the 21st century. Read “Thailand’s Junta Got Charlie Chaplin’s ‘The Great Dictator’ Blocked From YouTube.”

Dan James gave Charlie Chaplin the unique American verbiage the British actor required when Dan co-wrote The Great Dictator with Chaplin. His story is featured in the chapter “All For the Underdog” in Volume I of Jesse James Soul Liberty.

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Farewell Barbara Pierce Bush – James In-Law

Each time I must enter the passing of another James family member into the master genealogy database for Stray Leaves, I do so with a measure of sadness. On rare occasion, such as in recent minutes, I do so with difficulty.

Barbara Pierce Bush was not of James blood. She is an in-law to her Bush family who is our blood. Like many in-laws of our family, Barbara Bush was a stellar influence whose impact never will be under-measured but celebrated instead.

For those among our family who found themselves at odds with Bush politics, none that I know ever found themselves at odds with the political understanding and insights that Barbara provided. She connected the dots with effective savvy and sometimes necessary glue.

Barbara Bush is a unique American treasure. Prayers will be left for those she left behind. For each tear, there will be a smile, followed by the music of laughter. She is a person well worth remembering and celebrating.

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Phillip K. Smith III Exhibits in Milan

Phillip K. Smith III
Phillip K. Smith III, Artist

Phillip J. Smith III has a new installation, “Open Sky,” in Milan, Italy.

Smith denies he is a third great-grandson of Susan Prudence James & John Wesley Smith, despite bearing all the customary genetic physical features of James descendants, including the telltale ear formation.

Smith is not the first to deny his kinship. Nor will he probably be the last. His art is rather ironic since it is constructed around the use of mirrors and reflective imagery. On the other hand, outside of Stray Leaves research into Smith’s ancestry, his art may be his only reflection of his self-constructed identity.

Open Sky
Open Sky by Phillip K. Smith III, Milan Italy, 2018

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Think You’re Anglo-Saxon?

Think you are Anglo-Saxon? Read this story, then check your DNA & your knowledge of archeology.

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Beware Minnesota Historical Society & Good Riddance as Executive Director of Kentucky Historical Society Departs 

Kent Whitworth-Minnesota Historical Society
Kent Whitworth

 

BEWARE MINNESOTA!!!

Former Executive-Director Kent Whitworth is the fool who bamboozled the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Historical Society into filing a lawsuit against its own members! He charged me and other members with trying to create a shadow government. Really! After filing his frivolous lawsuit, he then failed to prosecute it.

God only knows what nonsense he has in mind at the Minnesota Historical Society for the history of the Younger brothers and the James Gang.

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Query from Logan County (KY) Public Library

This week Mark Griffin queried me. Mark is the reference specialist at the Logan County Public Library in Russellville, Kentucky. Mark questioned, “Have you come across any information saying Gov. Thomas Crittenden of Missouri ever met with Gov. Luke Blackburn of Kentucky in Louisville to discuss the matter of Jesse James?”
My answer was as follows:

“I don’t know of any specific meeting, however, the following is known. Thomas T. Crittenden was a close ally and supporter of the James family, the family relationship stretching back at least a couple of generations and closer, following the killing of Jesse James. Crittenden had put out the $10,000 reward for Jesse’s capture, not for his murder.

Luke Pryor Blackburn
The wicked Dr. Luke Pryor Blackburn

“Dr. Luke Pryor Blackburn, born in Woodford County, Kentucky, contained two epidemics in Natchez, Mississippi in 1848 and in1854, one of yellow fever and another pf cholera. He also was a physician to Gen. John Anthony Quitman. Next to Quitman’s plantation on St. Catherine St. was the Forks of the Road slave market, operated by three brothers of the James family – Thomas Green, David Daniel, & John Duke James. The father of the James brothers, Thomas James, was a charge d’affaires to the Spanish government. Later he retired to Hyde’s Landing in Nashville, Tennessee where Frank and Jesse visited and lived periodically. Blackburn and the James surely would have known one another in this period.

“During the Civil War, Blackburn served with Sterling Price together with A.J. James.  A.J. was attorney general under Gov. Beriah Magoffin when Magoffin refused to send four regiments to Lincoln for the war. During the war, Magoffin’s descendants are a first cousin of Blackburn.  A.J. James served under Preston Leslie, and it is said under Gen. Joseph Orville “Jo” Shelby, who is Blackburn’s nephew. After the war, James would become Secretary of State. In retirement, A.J. James was president of the Farmers Bank of Frankfort, with Blackburn’s cousin Edmund Haynes Taylor on its Board of Directors.

Andrew Jackson "A.J." James from The Sift at Stray Leaves
A.J. James

“In the Civil War period, Blackburn shipped infected clothing to the North and to Lincoln, in particular, intending to kill him. Months after the war ended, Quantrill and the James brothers rode through Kentucky en route to Washington. It is said they intended to assassinate Lincoln. They were halted by Maj. James Bridgewater. Quantrill was killed. Frank James surrendered. Blackburn’s nephew Jo Shelby testified at Frank’s trial and Frank was exonerated.

“Blackburn is related to a small number of James. He also is kin to Presidents George Washington, James Madison, and the Lee family of Virginia of Gen. Robert E. Lee, as well as V.P. Richard Mentor Johnson. He also is related to my second wife through her grandfather R. J. Reynolds. Most of these kinships are in the third to fifth cousin categories.

“Given all of these relationships, it is entirely possible that Dr. Luke Pryor Blackburn talked with Gov. Crittenden.”

I referred Mark Griffin to Dr. Thomas J. Sabetta of the University of Kentucky, who recently was a panelist at the 2017 James-Younger Gang & Family conference. Dr. Sabetta currently is writing two books, one about Capt. Delos T. “Yankee” Bligh who pursued the James Gang, and another on “Dynamite” Dick Mitchel, a rider with John Hunt Morgan, Basil Duke, Sue Munday, and Sam Berry.

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Historic James Related Home For Sale

4090 Lexington Rd, Paris, KY 40361
4090 Lexington Rd, Paris, KY 40361. Childhood home of Elizabeth “Betsy” Wright, spouse of Justice John Thomas James

In this historic home in Paris, Kentucky grew up Elizabeth “Betsy” Wright, the spouse of Justice John Thomas James, a son of Capt. John James & Dinah Allen. Their long line of James descendants includes living family today. Notable among them is Richard “Dick” Overgard, who first contributed the data on this line to Stray Leaves almost 20 years ago.

Other notables in this line also include Sheriff John Payne Kelly Sr. of Kelly’s Ford in Culpeper County, VA., made famous in the Civil War. The Sheriff married Betsy’s daughter Margaret Wright James. Their son Granville James Kelly Sr. was postmaster at Kelly’ Ford and the father of Alexander Doniphan Kelly. At Kelly’s Ford, this family essentially knew everyone personally in and around Kelly’s Ford, including those associated with the escape of John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincon’s assassin.

The home and property currently is for sale.

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Hite Family Reunion at Belle Grove

Hite Reunion logo
Hite Family Reunion 2018

This summer you can get a leg up on This Bloody Ground, Vol. II of Jesse James Soul Liberty.

Join the Hite Family Reunion 2018 at their historical, ancestral home, Belle Grove Plantation.

From this citadel, the Hite-Bowman family entered the frontier of Kentucky to inform, direct, and protect Frank & Jesse James’ pioneer grandfather John M. James in the wilderness. The keynote speaker is Richard Hite, whose book Sustainable Genealogy we have reviewed and recommended.

Hite Family at Belle Grove Plantation
Hite descendants visit Belle Grove Planatation

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Matrilineal  Ancestry Key to Choctaw & Chickasaw Descendants of the James Family

Susannah James from The Sift at Stray Leaves
Susannah James Colbert, matriarch of a line of James descendants of Chickasaw blood.

Our new and most recent research at Stray Leaves has taken a decided turn towards our James descendants of Choctaw & Chickasaw blood. Recently, we mounted a new searchable genealogy database, devoted to these two lines of unique James descendants.

A key thing to know when learning about the Choctaw and Chickasaw is how they differ fundamentally from our Anglo bloodlines.

In traditional Anglo bloodlines, power, family, and identity flow through the male paternal side of ancestry. Among those of Choctaw & Chickasaw blood, just the opposite is true. These Native-American tribes take their power, family, and identity from their female ancestry.

You can learn more about this matriarchal structure below where you will find a number of links and videos.

Matriarchs on chickasaw.tv
Stories of Chickasaw matriarchs can be viewed on the Chickasaw.tv video network.

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J. Mark Beamis – Photos from Exeter Reunion

J. Mark Beamis, son of Joan Malley Beamis and second great-grandson of Drury Woodson James, shares some photos from his recent 1973 class reunion at Exeter.

Exeter Class Reunion from The Sist at Stray Leaves

James Mark Beamis from The Sift at Stray Leaves
J. Mark Beamis, Class of 1973, Exeter College

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Forensic Science Proves “7£ eBay find” NOT Jesse James

The eBay find of Justin Whiting of the UK was promoted worldwide as being an image of Jesse James. Decrying Whiting as a fraud and a merchant of identity theft, the James family enjoined Mark David Bampton of Great Britain to analyze the image and make public his findings. Below is Bampton’s entire report for free download, plus highlights of his findings. 

MARK DAVID BAMPTON’S FORENSIC ANALYSIS

DOWNLOAD Mark David Bampton’s paper in pdf format.

DOWNLOAD Kent Gibson’s & Will Dunniway’s declarations for comparison

HOVER over slideshow for directional pages.

HIGHLIGHTS

Bampton-Analysis of Purported Photograph of Jesse James-Plate 4
Plate 4-eBay find compsarison

There is generally good alignment for most lines.
• Top of the head
• Centre of the eyes
• Bottom of the nose
• Edge of the top lip
• Where the lips join
• Edge of the bottom lip
• Bottom of the chin
• Top of the shirt collar

Bampton-Analysis of Purported Photograph of Jesse James-Plate 5
Plate 5-eBay find comparison

The distance between the bottom two lines indicates that the man on the left has a significantly longer neck than the man on the right.

The parts of the yellow line marking the tops of the shoulders are significantly below the shoulders highlighted with red lines. This is consistent with the significant difference between the top of the shirt collar and the bottom of the chin and confirms that the man on the right has a much shorter neck than the man on the left.

Bampton-Analysis of Purported Photograph of Jesse James-Plate 6
Plate 6-eBay find comparison

There is considerable misalignment of the template and the lower part of the lapel in the right hand photograph is significantly wider than in the left photograph. The lower part of the lapel is also much longer as highlighted by the length of the yellow template line.
In contrast to what the experts say these are definitely different jackets in each photograph.

Bampton-Analysis of Purported Photograph of Jesse James-Plate 7a
Plate 7a-eBay find comparison

The horizontal lines are drawn through the following features although the top of the head is obscured by the brushed back hair.
• Top of the hairline at the parting
• Centre of the eyes
• Bottom of the nose
• Where the lips join
• Edge of the bottom lip
• Bottom of the chin
There is generally good alignment although the man on the right has a thicker bottom lip than Jesse James.

Bampton-Analysis of Purported Photograph of Jesse James-Plate 7b
Plate 7b-eBay find comparison

Vertical lines are created on the lower picture of Jesse James and continued up over the other photograph. They mark the following dimensions.
• The distance from ear edge to ear edge
• The distance between the centres of the eyes
It is not possible to align both eyes in the photograph at the top right so his right eye is
aligned. The left eye centre is noticeably inside the other vertical line indicating that his eyes
are closer together.
Coincidentally his right ear is aligned with the relevant vertical line but there is a significant gap between his left ear and the other vertical line. Together with the shorter distance between the eyes this indicates that the man in the top right photograph has a much narrower head than Jesse James.

CONCLUSION

It is clear from my analysis that there are significant differences proving that Justin Whiting’s photograph is not an authentic one of Jesse James…
His two photographs were taken with different photographic processes and include two different men wearing different jackets. There is nothing left to indicate that they were taken on the same day by the same photographer.

Auction Update

In the worldwide publicity Justin Whiting promoted, Whiting advertised that his “7£ eBay find” was headed to Christie’s in London. There, Whiting imagined he would reap at auction a $2 million dollar windfall that the experts Whiting consulted told him to expect.

On March 31, 2018, Christie’s notified Whiting in writing that his artifact was not suitable for consignment. Christie’s further requested that Whiting refrains from associating Christie’s name with his promotion.

UPDATE:  May 5, 2018

The Telegraph newspaper in Great Britain was the first to announce the story of Jsustin Whiting’s find. The Telegraph  now writes the obituary to the story, announcing ” Collector stopped from selling his £7 eBay picture of Jesse James for £2m after Christie’s call in experts.”

UPDATE; May 6, 2018

In America, the New York Post formerly followed The Telegraph in first reporting the Justin Whiting’s story. Now The Post walks away from the story, too.

The story of Justin Whiting and his “7£ eBay find” is a story of self-delusion, false hope, and cognitive dissonance, abetted by unscrupulous enablers, all whom wilfully sidestep reason and critical thinking for the dream of fleecing the public of an exorbitant amount of money. That is a crime unworthy of the name of Jesse James.

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ABOUT MARK BAMPTON

Mark Bampton
Mark Bampton of Ampthill, England

Mark David Bampton appeared in America in September 2018 to present his paper and findings in the Bob Ford/Jesse James Photo Hoax, at the 2018 conference of the James-Younger Gang and family. He also is noteworthy for his work in debunking claims in the Jesse James ambrotype claim. Bampton also is noted for his analysis and findings in the Robert Johnson Photo Hoax.

“I was born and have always lived in the UK. Since 2000, I have lived in Ampthill, which is a small Georgian town in Bedfordshire.

“From my formative years, I was interested in a mixture of the arts and technical subjects, moving on to complete an art foundation course. There I decided to pursue a career in industrial design, combining both artistic and technical demands.

“My career progressed into product engineering and development. I became interested in quality management and moved into this discipline through establishing management systems and achieving ISO9001 certification for my employers. This included some project management.

“I have always worked in manufacturing industries, involving automotive accessories, motorcycle and industrial safety equipment, though the majority of my time has been spent in the medical device manufacturing industry.”

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Arts Degree in Industrial Design, Class 2 (1) Honours
  • Diploma in Management Studies, with Distinction
  • Prince 2 Project Management

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RELATED

Part I – Jesse James Family Discredits 7£ eBay Find of Justin Whiting

Part II – Historic Photo Fraud Produces a Merchant of Identity Theft

Part III – Photo Experts of Convenience Juke Identity Theft

Part IV –  Forensic Science Proves “7£ eBay find” NOT Jesse James