Category Archives: Jesse James

2017 JAMES-YOUNGER GANG – Diary of a Preview Tour

What Happened in Missouri began in Kentucky

Dan Pence at Spring Hill Cemetery, Harrodsburg, Ky.
Dan Pence, President of the James-Younger Gang, views the plot for the Confederate dead in Spring Hill Cemetery in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

TOUR DIARY – DAY ONE

April 19, 2017 – Dan Pence and Tom Nall, president and past president of the International James-Younger Gang Inc., will arrive at the 200-year-old Hemp House here in Danville today. Then for three days, we will tour Kentucky and preview historic sites in preparation for the speaking events and tours that are scheduled for the 2017 annual conference in Georgetown come September.

Dan Pence-Tom Nall-Harrodsburg cemetery
Dan Pence & Tom Nall, president & past president of the James-Younger Gang, tour the Confederate cemetery at Hoordsburg, Kentucky

Today, we will begin at Constitution Square. We will talk about the enduring relationship between John M. James, Frank & Jesse’s grandfather, with Judge Harry Innes, his clerk & later Justice Thomas Todd, & Benjamin Sebastian of the Spanish Conspiracy. We will also address what role John M. James may have had in the ten Danville Conventions and how the Spanish Conspiracy led to his ruin.

Next, we will retrace the ride of Frank James, the Younger & Pence brothers with William Clark Quantrill when they rode through Danville in 1864 on a mission to “visit” President Lincoln.

At the family plot of the close Confederate ally of Frank James, John Pendleton “Black Jack” Chinn. Dan Pence stands beside the tombstone of Black Jack’s grandmother, Sarah White Stull Hardin-Chinn. Her husband Christopher Columbus Chinn is the namesake of Kit Chinn who traveled the racetrack circuit with Frank James in his retirement years. Black Jack rests behind Dan Pence among two rows of his Chinn and Morgan families.

We will tour their escape route from Danville to Perryville and up to Sally Van Arsdall’s farm outside Harrodsburg. There, Maj. James Bridgewater, whose wife was a Pence, caught up with the band and attacked them in the middle of a cold January night. Four of the band was killed. Previously, the James-Younger Gang Journal published my account of this event, “Why, Maj. Bridgewater?”

We will then tour Oakland Church cemetery where Quantrill ordered their fallen men to be buried. We also will visit Spring Hill Cemetery in Harrodsburg, where Frank James and Black Jack Chinn exhumed their slain from Oakland Church Cemetery and re-interred them in the Confederate plot at Spring Hill around 1898.

Nearby the family plot of Black Jack Chinn, Dan Pence tours the family plot of Franklin Pierce “Frank” James. In Harrodsburg, Frank James was the cashier of the Mercer County National Bank. Black Jack Chinn sat on its board of directors. Frank was twice elected Sheriff of Mercer County, and also was elected State Auditor. He halted construction of the new Kentucky State Capitol when the legislature failed to appropriate sufficient funding.

Returning to Danville, we will visit Bellevue Cemetery and the grave site of the grandparents of Clell Miller, Henry Logan Thurmond & Mary Kenley-Thurmond. Clell Miller was one of the James-Younger Gang. He was killed in the Northfield Bank robbery.

We will round off today’s tour in Danville with visits to Weisiger Park next to the Boyle County courthouse where Joseph McAlister James, aka Joseph McJames, operated the St. James Hotel. We also will stop by the parking lot on Third St. backing up to the Boyle County jail where Joseph McJames owned and operated James Hall, Danville’s first and original theater, and convention center.

In the coming two more days, we plan to tour in Woodford and Scott Counties.

DAY TWO  on TOUR 

Tombstone of Thomas Evans James, brother of Franklin Pierce “Frank” James. T.E. James operated the oldest dry goods firm in Harrodsburg – Hansford, James, & Co. His partner Smith Hansford rode with John Hunt Morgan, David Hunt James, & Richard Skinner James, both of whom were captured and sent to Camp Douglas Union Prison Camp in Chicago.

April 20, 2017 – Yesterday, after a full day of touring numerous historic sites relating to the pioneer settlement of John M. James in Kentucky and his pioneer families of Pence, Nalle, Vardiman, & Sallee, we ended our tour at Bellevue Cemetery in Danville.

Standing before the graves of Clell Miller’s grandparents, I received the ultimate compliment from Dan Pence. Turning to me, Dan said, “My grandfather would have loved to have known you.”

Tombstone Rev. Jesse Heah
Behind the tombstone of Thomas Evans James, Tom Nall spotted the tombstone of Rev. Jesse Head.  Rev. Head married President Abraham Lincoln’s parents, Thomas & Nancy Hanks Lincoln.

Dan’s grandfather is Samuel Anderson Pence, the author of I Knew Frank…I Wish I had Known Jesse. This book and its companion book Quantrill’s Guerillas 1861-1865 compiles Pence’s lifetime accumulation of history, stories, facts, and data relating to Pence’s personal relationship with the social communities and family of Frank & Jesse James. Dan edited and published his grandfather’s book posthumously. So much of Dan’s book is new and previously unpublished history. I have used this book often in my own research and writing.

Jesse Head plaque
Tombstone plaque for Rev. Jesse Head. “Rev. Jesse Head, Jan. 28, 1768-March 22, 1842. Preacher-Editor-Patriot. He married June 12, 1806, Thomas Lincoln & Nancy Hanks, parents of Abraham Lincoln. Jane Ramsey Head, April 10, 1768-August 30, 1851. Married Jesse Head January 9, 1789 and nobly shared with him the privations and triumphs of the life of a pioneer preacher.”
Jesse Head
Rev. Jesse Head 1768-1842 who married Abraham Lincoln’s parents

I was thrilled to think Dan thought so kindly about my research and writing. Dan’s generous compliment could not have thrilled me more.

Today, we continue our tour in Georgetown and Midway and the historic site related to the James family there.

DAY THREE on TOUR

April 21, 2017 – So far, very few complications have arisen regarding our programming for the September conference. Everything is working out well and in some cases better than first thought. This conference is going to be great!

However, while conducting our tour, revelations have occurred to us which surprised us. There really is no reason why the three of us, all raised in the upper Midwest, should find ourselves bound together by Jesse James. Yet, here we are.

Yesterday, Dan revealed his story “You have to go to Kentucky.”

Dan Pence-TomNall-Barbara Nall-Perryville Confederate Memorial
Dan Pence, Tom & Barbara Nall tour Perryville Battlefield and its memorial to the Confederate dead.

As a trained chemist, grown up In Michigan, Dan knew nothing of his connections to Jesse James. Not until Dan’s son brought home a book one day about Jesse James and Dan began to look at his grandfather’s box of memorabilia, did Dan begin to follow his path of spiritual discovery.

Dan Pence, Tom & Barbara Nall tour Logan’s Fort, a first stop for any migrant coming to Kentucky from Virginia in the early 1780s, including Frank and Jesse James’ grandfather, John M. James.

Following the neglected leads left to him, Dan began his journey. Dan’s door of discovery opened when a near stranger instructed him “You have to go to Kentucky. When Dan did, like me Dan discovered the unexpected.

In the Kentucky corporate offices of Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Dan met with Bill Samuel. Bill showed Dan Bill’s own neglected box of family memorabilia. Among the artifacts in Bill’s box were photos of Dan’s grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather.

Ever since then Dan has been on his own personal tour to discover what meaning Jesse James holds for him. Even on this preview tour of historic sites in Kentucky and after publishings his grandfather’s books, Dan is still learning more.

James-Younger Gang-2017 Conference logo

The three of us boys from the upper Midwest agree. We are traveling a curious path of divinity. We fully expect more revelations to come. Come to Kentucky, and you can, too. Join us and tour with us at the 2017 annual conference of the James-Younger Gang.

Frank James Was Framed – Remove from Frame

Two new articles about Frank James drew our attention last week. The Wild West History Association just published an informative article in their WWHA Journal, March 2017, about Frank James in Oklahoma. The article is written by Roy B. Young. The article shows Frank James was framed.

 

Frank and Jesse James-OK
Frank & Jesse James in Oklahoma by Roy B. Young

The face of the article, which is more about Frank James than Jesse James, presents an old-timey vibe, reminiscent of western pulp magazines of more than fifty years ago when sensationalism was the rage. Regretfully, the article then begins with the fake-news subject of treasure hunting for Jesse James hidden gold in Oklahoma. You have to leap past that hurdle and another hurdle at the end to get to the meat of Young’s story that is bonafide and new.

Roy B Young-framed
Author Roy B. Young

Roy B. Young employs the current rage of culling old newspapers, many now online, to tell a story either overlooked, forgotten, or not present in today’s history consciousness. Having culled most of these papers myself in their original depositories for a couple of decades, I noted a lot of familiar information in Young’s story. My forthcoming Volume IV of Jesse James Soul Liberty quintet is a biography of Frank James in his retirement years.

Informed as I think I am, Roy B. Young found lost history I did not know about. I’ve expressed my thanks to him for writing it. Nothing tickles a historian more, than learning something new he didn’t know.

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Excerpt – The Jameses decided to bid on farm land in the Indian Pasture Reserve two and a half miles northwest of Fletcher, Oklahoma just inside the southern border of Caddo County. On November 9, 1960, a Lawton newspaper announced that Frank was seen in that city with a “companion” driving a two-horse buggy “bidding a few friends goodbye on the fly and drove out of town under whip.” The article continued, “Just as the buggy rounded the curve of Fifth Street, east of the courthouse, James doft his big white sombrero so that his long gray locks fluttered in the breeze and he gave a yell as in days of old.”

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Regrettably, Young ends his well-done story of Frank James, writing about the Jesse James imposter J. Frank Dalton. Why Oklahoma feels it necessary to include fake news as a necessary component to its true history is beyond me. Sensationalism calls into question any factual or true history associated with it.

This article would have truly been a superior one had it not been for the bookends of treasure hunting and J. Frank Dalton, framing it.

Forget for now Frank James being framed in this manner. Grab the fresh history Roy B. Young now offers anyway. Then wait for Jesse James Soul Liberty, Vol. IV, Frank James in Retirement to address Young’s speculation and provide you even more unknown history about Frank James in his retirement years.

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The second article about Frank James comes from the Osage County News. Wendi Bevitt writes about the visit of Frank James to Burlingame, Kansas and the 1899 Osage County Fair.
1899 Burlingame
Burlingame Fair – 1899

Prior to writing her story, Wendi queried us about Burton Allen James, Indian Agent from the James family for the Sac and Fox Reservation. She also queried about Perry Fuller, the onetime business partner of Frank and Jesse’s uncle Thomas Martin James, whom I also wrote about in Jesse James Soul Liberty, Vol. I.

Since Volume IV of JJSL will address Frank James in his retirement, I was pleasantly surprised to read the outcome of Wendi’s article. Much of her story is focused upon Frank James in his career as a public speaker and as a race starter when he appeared in 1899 at the Osage County Fair.

Frank James-Osage County Fair
Frank James as race starter at the Osage County Fair, 1899

Like Roy Young’s reporting on Frank James, Wendi Bevitt’s article brings fresh history into view. The freshness is in the details, such as how Frank James started a race.

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Excerpt – He would stretch an immense rubber rope across the track and when the racers were at their mark, he would let the rope fly free.

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Interesting, too, is the behind the scenes arrangements of a Frank James speaking engagement. History like this has not been published before and is a welcome addition to the historical record.

WENDI BEVITT is the owner-operator of Buried Past Consulting LLC, a firm specializing archaeological surveys, historical research and report preparations for both public and private sector clients.

Jesse James Cave, located on the Sac-Fox Reservation in Osage County, Kansas, is visited by Wendi Bevitt’s children.

Fox Business News Proves Bob Ford/Jesse James Photo Hoax Is Reality TV

We predicted months ago that the Bob Ford/Jesse James photo hoax is a set-up for a reality TV show. Now, Fox Business News proves that the fake photo promoted by Sandy Mills & Lois Gibson is headed, in fact, for reality TV as predicted.
Strange Inheritance reality TV mastheard
Strange Inheritance, a production of Fox Business News

Fox feeds on fake fodder. With Bill O’Reilly going on “vacation” after losing advertising support, Fox Business News brings the Mills-Gibson hoax to its reality TV show “Strange Inheritance,” hosted by Jamie Colby.

More Lies Than Legend

It appears that O’Reilly’s fake history show “Legends & Lies” about Jesse James was not fake fodder enough for the fake news network.

Anyone with factual knowledge of Jesse James history who views O’Reilly’s show knows instantly from the opening scene that O’Reilly’s show is a downhill downer. Debunking O’Reilly’s fake history about Jesse James, the outlaw Jesse James never shot anyone in the back.

Fox “friends” the Hoax Cabal

From its “Media & Advertising” department, Fox Business News announced the program “Strange Inheritance” a week in advance. To promote the show, producer Brian Gaffney wrote and published his own promo “Heir Cashes in on Controversial Jesse James Photo.”

Brian Gaffney 2014 promo for “Strange Inheritance” reality TV show

In typical Fox fashion, Gaffney’s headline starts with two lies, necessary to the continuation of the Mills-Gibson hoax narrative. Debunking Gaffney’s headline, Sandy Mills is no heir of the Jesse James family, and her tintype is not a Jesse James photo.

However, wait. Maybe we should say the article opens with three lies. Who is this Brian Gaffney, the latest Mills-Gibson enabler to “friend” their hoax cabal?

Houston, We Have an Identity Problem

Long before the idea of a reality TV program came along, The Houston Chronicle introduced the fake claim of the Mills-Gibson hoax. A long list of enablers of the hoax tagged along for the ride. They have become known as the hoax cabal of alleged identity thieves. Like the hoaxers Sandy Mills and Lois Gibson, many suffered from issues of identity and veracity. It is not surprising that Fox Business News would find a publicity ally in Sandy Mills and Lois Gibson.

So now, the question must be asked. Who is Brian Gaffney? We know there is an identity problem.

Brian Gaffney-Reality TV producer
Brian Gaffney, producer of “Strange Inheritance,” a reality TV show from Fox Business News

Is this Brian Gaffney?

On LinkedIn, Brian Gaffney identifies himself as “Fox News Channel/Fox Business Network executive focusing primetime series, documentaries, 360 video and virtual reality.” He also identifies himself as a producer of “Strange Inheritance.” Despite having attended law school, virtual reality and reality TV are Gaffney’s medium.

Brian Gaffney is no stranger to identity politics, specifically those that affect the Fox Network. In 2015 Gaffney was engaged in protecting the network and defending Roger Ailes, soon to be fired from Fox arising from sexual harassment charges costing FOX $13 million in settlement fees. The Hollywood Reporter wrote about the sleazy identity games in its article “’Pawn Stars’ Producers Claim Fox News Network Execs Outed Gay Man in Reality TV Lawsuit.” It is not surprising Gaffney added the word “Controversial” in the title of Gaffney’s program announcement. Controversy is the grist of Fox media.

Brian Gaffney on IMDb
Brian Gaffney, as he appears in his IMDb profile as a producer for the Fox Network

On the other hand, is this Brian Gaffney?

IMDb, the Internet Movies Database, identifies this Brian Gaffney as a producer for Fox. He produced five episodes of “Fox News Reporting: The Right, All Along – The Rise, Fall, and Future of Conservatism.”

We are confident that, given Lois Gibson’s prodigious artist skills for photo imagery comparison, Gibson will prove both of these Brian Gaffneys as being one and the same person. In the moment, we take Gaffney’s own blog as evidence of who he is and will proceed on the basis of that identity.

REALITY TV or ALT-FACTS

Jamie Colby is the host of the forthcoming reality TV program. Colby is on the hunt for her next “shoot.” Trained as a lawyer, Colby sidesteps facts to sustain the corporate identity of the Fox Network that is “Fox Entertainment News.” Colby’s “Strange Inheritance” is not likely to produce any bonafide news.

Jamie Colby-Strange Inheritance Reality TV
Jamie Colby, host of “Strange Inheritance” and her “shoot”

Belying her lawyer training, Colby avoids substantive due diligence. Do not look for Colby to display any hard-hitting investigative reporting. Colby never contacted the Jesse James family regarding her show’s topic or the claims of the Mills-Gibson hoax. Reality TV is solely focused on diversion, advertising, ratings, and cash. Producing those results, and not necessarily facts or truth,  is what matters to Jamie Colby and Brian Gaffney.

As did Bill O’Reilly, right from the start Colby sets facts aside. Colby’s alt-facts begin in her trailer teaser for the show. Less than sixty seconds into her program teaser, Colby displays an image long debunked by the Jesse James family as a fake.

Less than a minute and a half into Colby’s story, Sandy Mills changes the story that she has promoted for almost two years. Mills does not state she is a relative of Jesse James. Instead, Colby reports, “her forebears occasionally aided Jesse James.”

Auctioneer Robb Burley appears in the trailer, proclaiming “We’ve heard anything from $50,000 to a half million dollars.” That is a substantial reduction from “the millions” Mills formerly touted she was aiming to receive for her fake photo. If Burley’s estimate expectation was true, you would think Burley would salivate over collecting the customary seller’s fee following a successful auction. Curiously, Burley waived his fee, choosing instead to be compensated by his association with the notoriety of the Mills-Gibson hoax.

BUYER IDENTIFIED
Bonafide Collector, Auction Shill, or Reality TV Conspirator?

The name Terry Verburgt is not one recognized among the known collectors of Jesse James artifacts or Western relics. Gaffney and Colby identify Terry Verburgt as the auction bidder who presumably paid $35,000 for Mills’ tintype. In the auction sale and purchase, there is no evidence of cash payment actually being made. Regulars who attend Burley auctions stated at the time of the sale that Verburgt was not a regular attendee at Burley auctions, nor was he known to them.

So, who is Terry Verburgt, who suddenly appears in circles where he should be known and recognized, but was not? We doubt Colby will investigate that in her show. Regardless, we have done some due diligence of our own.

Terry Verburgt is a resident of New Braunfels, Texas, where Robb Burley’s auction gallery is located. Verburgt appears to be a gold prospector who enjoys displaying his knowledge. Formerly, Verburgt was a VP and director of an aerospace supply company.

Most curiously, Terry Verburgt is a registered director of M. Windberg Galleries. The Windberg Art Center in Georgetown, Texas, is a seller of art supplies. In the art world, the track record, provenance, and reputation are always a prime consideration in regard to a prospective purchase. How aberrant is it that someone from an art supply company dishes out an exorbitant $35,000 ready cash to buy a questionable and controversial artifact that has no bonafide provenance, track record,  or formal scientific authentication? Who would do so just on say-so? Was the say-so of artist Lois Gibson alone worth $35,000? This acquisition does not pass the smell test.

Reality TV crew of Strange Inheritance
Jamie Colby, Brian Gaffney, and the crew of Fox News’ reality TV show Strange Inheritance
Now We Remember

Sandy Mills is not an heir of the Jesse James family, nor is she a relative. Her tintype is not Robert Ford and Jesse James.

Lois Gibson is not a forensic scientist who can produce a scientific forensic report to authenticate an historical image.  Gibson is only an artist.

Robb Burley took no fee for his auction, but he had a film crew on site to video his auction. There is no evidence he actually received $35,000.

The buyer Terry Verburgt came our of nowhere. He’s in the art supply business like Lois Gibson. He was unknown to Burley’s auction regulars.

Now Fox Business News appears to create a reality TV show around all this nonsense. Where lies a legitimate business interest here?

Red flags were waving over this charade from the start. We foretold the Bob Ford/Jesse James photo hoax of Sandy Mills and Lois Gibson was headed for a reality TV show. Now it has come to pass.

The Bob Ford/Jesse James photo hoax is nothing more than a reality TV show, a hoax faked about a fake historical artifact for a network that specializes in fake news and now perhaps faked entertainment.

Now, do I hear a higher bid for all this fakery? I have one. It’s a book, titled Identity Thieves.

RELATED:

Lost Jesse James Photo – Not Lost Lost, Not Authenticated

Enablers of the Bob Ford/Jesse James Photo Hoax

Auction Gallery Partners in Jesse James Photo Hoax

Defamation Suit Threatened in Jesse James Photo Hoax

Photo Hoax Attracts Foreign Curiosity

Jesse James, Robert Ford, and the Tintype by Mark Bampton

MEN of the Jesse James Family-Photo Comparisons

Jesse James Look-Alikes from Within His Family

James-Younger Gang 2017 Conference-A Forensic Analysis of the Bob Ford/Jesse James Photo Hoax

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Jesse James, Robert Ford, & the Tintype by Mark David Bampton

Employing scientific forensic analysis, Mark David Bampton of Great Britain further debunks the Bob Ford/Jesse James photo hoax made infamous by tintype seller Sandy Mills, artist Lois Gibson, and their enablers.                             

FREE DOWNLOAD the entire paper HERE or to read in larger pdf format. HOVER over the cover image below to turn the page.

ABOUT MARK BAMPTON:

Mark Bampton
Mark David Bampton of Ampthill, England

“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

RELATED:

Lois Gibson-Sandy Mills Tintype Controversy Puzzles Great Britain – but not for long

In his forensic analysis, titled “Jesse James, Robert Ford, and the Tintype,” Great Britain’s Mark Bampton poses his question about the controversy in typical British fashion –  as a pun.

 “Who are these four?”

True Jesse James and Bob Ford-Fake Jesse James and Bob Ford
Cover image from Mark Bampton’s discourse, “Jesse James, Robert Ford, and the Tintype.”

Mark Bampton lives in Ampthill, which he describes as “a small Georgian town” in Bedfordshire, Great Britain.  Prompted by the reaction of the Jesse James family to the Bob Ford/Jesse James photo hoax, promoted by Lois Gibson and Sandy Mills and their circle of supporters,  Mark Bampton decided to apply his own scientific forensic analysis to the image controversy.  Not surprisingly, Bampton arrives at a different conclusion than Lois Gibson.

“It took me a little longer than expected to look into Lois Gibson’s authentication material due to the number of problems with it. From the material that I could find, I could not identify any effective analysis process.”

 

Mark Bampton
Mark Bampton of Ampthill, England

Unlike the artist Lois Gibson who claims to have authenticated Mills tintype by employing imagined photo comparisons and artistry, Bampton is not an artist. Bampton’s field is industrial design and product engineering, a profession that Bampton says requires both “artistic and technical demands.”

Instead of artistry, Bampton applied the sciences of mathematics, linear technical analysis, and measurement testing. These are the same skills Bampton employs as a product engineer. They also are the skills that a trained scientific forensic scientist normally would apply in the formal analysis of an historical image or artifact.

“I could not identify any logical or justifiable reason why Lois Gibson would authenticate the tintype…”

 Bampton soon discovered the Bob Ford/Jesse James controversy was not the only controversy involving the Houston-based artist. Lois Gibson also created a very similar controversy over an image she claimed was the famed bluesman, Robert Johnson. On the website Academia, Mark Bampton discovered that England’s newspaper The Guardian  had reported on the Jonhson controversy in an article titled, “‘Robert Johnson’ photo does not show the blues legend, music experts say.”

 

Robert Johnson image controversy
Disputed image of famed bluesman Robert Johnson

Dr. Bruce Conforth, a university professor of American culture and a founding curator of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, was cited in The Guardian article as criticizing Lois Gibson’s authentication technique.  “Historical scholarship relies on evidence,” Dr. Conforth said. “And if you look at the alleged authentication of that photograph there really wasn’t a piece of evidence, there was opinion. Historical fact is never validated by opinion; it can only be validated by evidence.”

Bampton soon discovered the reason why Lois Gibson would authenticate the claimed Bob Ford/Jesse James tintype.  when he read another article written by Dr. Bruce Conforth, that also was published on Academia. In writing “A New Analysis of the Two Accepted Photos of Robert Johnson and the Alleged 3rd Photo,” Dr. Conforth lays out the story of the Johnson image, its discovery, and Gibson’s record of association with it. This article followed two previous publications by Conforth. “Another Robert Johnson Photo Debunked” documents Conforth’s disgruntlement with the fakery surrounding the Johnson image. “The Business of Robert Johnson Fakery” is another Conforth article published in Living Blues magazine.

To Mark Bampton, the Conforth’s story already was  a familiar one. Dr. Conforth’s story of the Johnson image reflected almost precisely the sad saga of the Bob Ford/Jesse James image as related in the James family’s rebuttal to Gibson’s authentication.

Linear forensics applied to claimed Robert Johnson image
Linear forensics applied to Lois Gibson claimed image of Robert Johnson

Very familiar to Mark Bampton was the linear forensics applied to the Johnson image, that appeared in Dr. Conforth’s treatise.

Bampton decided to apply his own forensic skills upon the assumptive Bob Ford/Jesse James image.

 “I intended to make my report factual and impartial although conclusions about the veracity of the authentication were largely inevitable.”

Linear forensics applied to authentic image of Jesse James with a claimed image
Linear forensics applied by Mark Bampton to Lois Gibson’s alleged authentication of the claimed Jesse James image yields numerous discrepancies that are plainly visible.

Using several applications of linear forensics, now fully and clearly outlined in Mark Bampton’s documented report,  discrepancies proved to be multiple and evident. Not only were discrepancies revealed in the conjectural Jesse James image, they also became evident in Gibson’s uncertain Bob Ford image.

Linear forensics applied to authentic image of Bob Ford with a claimed image
Linear forensics applied by Mark Bampton to Lois Gibson’s alleged authentication of the claimed Bob Ford image yields plainly visible discrepancies.

“If this is correct, $40,250.00 is a lot to pay for a picture of two unknowns, even if it is an old tintype! Personally, I’d move the decimal place at least three places to the left.”

Mark Bampton registered shock when told by the James family that Sandy Mills’ tintype had sold at auction for $35,000, plus auction fees. The James family was informed of the sale by two regular attendees at Burley Auction Gallery events. The regulars stated that the prize bidder was not recognizable and was unknown locally.

The James family alleges that the fraud that is evident in Gibson’s hypothetical authentication may extend to the auction, too. Prior to the auction, Stray Leaves publisher, and Jesse James family biographer Eric F. James was contacted by the Houston Chronicle to schedule an interview following the auction. Given the very surprising outcome of the auction, this result should have made a gigantic news story, attracting worldwide attention. No historical image of Jesse James or the James family has ever sold for more than two thousand dollars. Eric F. James is perplexed that the Houston Chronicle did not follow through and interview him afterward as planned. Nor did the newspaper report on the auction outcome as it had planned. This was even more perplexing given the fact that Dylan Baddour of the Chronicle had broken the story initially about the pretentious tintype. Baddour previously also reported on Gibson’s alleged authentication of the Robert Johnson image.

icollector bid report
Sale report for the fake Bob Fork/Jesse James tintype is identified on icollector website

Not willing to accept one piece of oral testimony about the auction result alone, Mark Bampton uncovered secondary evidence of the auction’s outcome on icollector.com.

Of course, no evidence remains that the purchase money actually was paid, the image transferred, and the sale concluded. Nor has the winning bidder been publicly identified following the acquisition of such a prized auction artifact. Those unknowns in itself guarantees that this story will continue to be a controversy for a long time to come.

Initially, Mark Bampton titled his paper in true British fashion, using a very witty pun. He posed the question,  “Who are these four?”

The literal answer to the pun is a fake Bob Ford, a fake Jesse James, and two authentic images of them.  The non-literal answer is, whoever has benefited the most financially or in publicity from the promotion and sale. Among Lois Gibson, Sandy Mills, the auction house, and the Gibson-Mills ring of partners and supporters, a lot of unknown information remains. Ample room for conjecture is left. The wealth of criticism leveled at this controversy will not abate soon, at least not until the pun of the question finds authenticatable answers.

“I plan to do a separate paper for each of the two Robert Johnson photographs…I plan to follow a similar analysis for the Robert Johnson papers as for the Jesse James paper.”

Georgetown College
Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky

This fall, Mark Bampton will visit America to present his paper on “Jesse James, Bob Ford, and the Tintype” before the James family, their friends, and associates at the annual conference of the National James-Younger Gang Inc. The conference will be held in Georgetown, Kentucky. The public is welcome to attend.

MEET Mark Bampton:  SIGN UP for notices to attend & meet Mark Bampton at the James-Younger Gang 2017 Conference.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Mark Bampton’s entire paper now appears on the Academia website and also is free for download HERE.

CONTACT Mark Bampton

Defamation Alleged by Burley Auction Gallery

With a little bit more than twenty-four hours before Burley Auction Gallery puts up the fraudulent Bob Ford-Jesse James tintype for auction, Robb Burley the auction house owner dispatched an email to Stray Leaves publisher Eric F. James, alleging defamation and threatening James with a lawsuit.

Shortly before, the auction gallery sent out a public relations release, still promoting the bogus artifact. Now a new question arises. Is Burley’s auction a legitimate one?

Email:Burley to James
Defamation threat of Robb Burley to Eric F. James, Thursday, January 12, 2017, 3:32 pm EST. Full text copied below.

BURLEY CLARIFIES

In setting off his defamation charge, Burley clarifies several ambiguities related to the auction item.

BURLEY CLARIFIES that Nikki Thibodeaux is, in fact, an associate of his. Thibododoux placed Burley’s PR piece on PRWeb

Thibodeaux & Burley-Threaten Defamation
Nikki Thibodeaux and Robb Burley image provided by Robb Burley, “so you can update your blog.”

BURLEY CLARIFIES the Thibodeaux photo that appeared in the cabal of hoaxers on Stray Leaves is mistaken. The person is not the same as his associate. The mistaken photo since has been removed. Robb Burley provides an image of his associate Nikki Thibodeaux instead, “so you can update your blog.”

The offer perplexes. Is Burley admitting that he and Thibodeaux are joined abettors? Burley’s Thibodeaux image since has replaced the mistaken image.

BURLEY CLARIFIES more importantly that the consignor of the hoax photo is, in fact, Sandy Mills, the original hoax claimant still lingering in Burley’s shadow.

This answers why no former sale of the artifact was known or could be found. It also removes Tommy & Sara Jane Howell from the cabal list as being the consignors whom Burley prominently identified in advertising.

BURLEY CLARIFIES finally that the auction of Sandy Mills’ artifact is not, in fact, an arms-length business transaction. Burley clearly states he is not charging a seller’s fee to Mills.

Burley’s auction has an alternative motive. Burley states, “I took the contract to take down a bully, plain & simple.” The bully Burley considers is Eric F. James.

By Burley’s admission, the auction of the Mills artifact itself may be a contrivance and a sham altogether. This calls into question whether Burley is employing his auction license to legitimate effect. Or, is Burley’s license being misused?

BURLEY’S COLLEAGUES

Burley Auction Gallery Colleagues
Auction house colleagues of Burley Auction Gallery

To threaten a lawsuit is commonplace among auction houses, especially as the auction date grows near. It also is especially true when troubling questions arise about authenticity.

Robb Burley proudly provides a list of his auction house colleagues. They are advertised in his marketing.  Two on Burley’s list have threatened the James family with lawsuits before. None materialized.  One alone on his list has worked with the James family to bring bonafide Jesse James artifacts to the completion of a successful auction. The James family respects and endorses that auction house for its professionalism, due diligence, faultless promotion, and ability to generate a satisfactory sale.

BURLEY THREATENS

The following is the full text of Robb Burley’s threatening email charging defamation, as it is written. Answers to most all of the questions Burley poses have long appeared on Stray Leaves available to anyone willing to read and get acquainted.

DEFAMATION

Eric James,

Thank you for the good laugh this morning. You are apparently as wrong about Nikki Thibodeaux’s photo as you are about the tintype. I am attaching a photo of Nikki & I so you can update your blog. At least you got my photo right (even if you did trim out former Texas Governor/ incoming Secretary of Energy Rick Perry).

Before we discuss the photo, you have several other egregious lies that you need to be addressed immediately. The Howell Family does not own the tin type, Sandy Mills does. The photo, Shelby GT350 & the Texas Ranger collection are being sold alongside the estate collection. Thats why the estate is listed PLUS the Texas Ranger collection PLUS the Jesse & Bob photo. You never called to ask. You just went to printing lies. So you have slandered the name of a late client because your facts were wrong. Not that facts matter to you.

You list something about another auction house getting indicted & fake Ranger items, none of which happened here or ever had anything to do with me. You try to slander by guilt through mention, not even association. We stand behind everything we sell here & always have. I will gladly put my reputation up against anyone in the auction industry. Just the month before last we were listed among the top 15 gun auction houses by True West magazine. We work hard for our sellers, but take extraordinary efforts to protect our buyers. We only sell a clients collection once, But our buyers will be with us for life. Most of our sellers are previous buyers, or recommended by previous buyers. Anyone who is interested in the photo will have a 30 day period to return for any reason. Anyone that has been serious about the photo is aware of your opinion, they just don’t believe you. I am not trying to convince anyone of anything. I simply present the evidence provided by identification & history/genealogy expert & let the bidders decide. You claim I am part of some grand “hoax”, yet I am not charging Sandy Mills a sellers fee. I have never met Lois Gibson or Freda Hardison, & only met Sandy Mills once when I picked up the photograph. What exactly am I getting out of this, other than being slandered by a blogger with a very common last name? You are used to everyone taking your lies & not fighting back. That’s about to change drastically. You have slandered anyone that disagrees with you. The list is long & prestigious compared to what you bring to the table.

You are correct in one matter, there as many fake Ranger badges as there are fake Jesse James items. We only sell authentic Texas Ranger items. That is why we have had the pleasure of selling more real Texas Ranger items than anyone over the past few years, including Texas Ranger Captain & U.S. Marshal Jack Dean’s collection. (photos attached from our last auction).

This isn’t the first James related item to be brought to us, but it is the first one we have agreed to offer at auction. Several years back a Colt pistol showed up here with a bloated file folder full of pedigree. After months, I sent it back to the consignor because for all its pedigree, it didn’t add up. The gun ended up in a major east coast auction house with a massive a large estimate on it. I thought I had made a mistake until I saw they had to pull it from the sale. We turn down far more “historic” items than we sell here. We are selective in what we offer our buyers

As for my due diligence, I read your blog post in regards to the photo a year ago. While I agreed with some of your points & questions raised, I couldn’t take it seriously because it was negative character assassinating rant wrapped in a computer hack conspiracy. The main reason I took Lois’ assessment over yours was there was no good reason to listen to yours. Why should I or anyone else? What qualifications, certifications, or degrees do you have?  When you say the Jesse James family, what does that actually mean? You speak for every family member? Who gave you that authority?  Who appointed you? Are you elected? How often are you elected or is more of a dictatorship of title? What are your qualifications? How are you related to Jesse James? What other “experts” examined the photo? Who are they? What are their qualifications? I understand that you made friends with Jesse’s grandson & started a blog, but what else gives you the expertise you claim to have?  None of those questions can be answered from the information you have on your blog. Someone should really take a hard look at that before giving credence to your opinion. No wonder you are trying so hard to kill this item, it may end up proving how little your opinion matters. Someone may actually take a closer look at what it is you actually do. Your actions are far from professional by any measure.

The fact is the photo has two legitimate experts that back it with provable genealogical ties, & a blogger/supposed relative against it. The problem is you have slandered the item to such a point that you have greatly hurt the value of the item among top photo collectors, though you have not completely killed it. The problem is the defamation of my name, perpetrated by you will remain long after the auction Saturday. I will seek rectify that through the courts soon enough. I didnt take the contract to make a bunch of money (no seller fees charged). I took the contact to take down a bully, plain & simple. After reading your blog & how you attempt to intimidate, accuse, & slander anyone that differs from your opinion, you are used to being a bully hiding behind a computer screen. That will not work for you this time. Correct your lies. You have a right to believe what you chose, but it does not give you the right to slander those that disagree with you. You may just end up meeting that person face to face some day.

You will be hearing from me.

Best Regards,

Robb Burley

ANOTHER FINAL GAVEL

Eric F. James denies Robb Burley’s allegation of defamation and questions who’s identity is being defamed. James does not know if Burley will make good on his threat, or not. He notes Burley is putting out additional promotion nearing the stretch. Burley and Sandy Mills may set a  reserve that is too untenable and a bar to a sale. Mills still may be expecting “in the millions.” They also may be setting up James for their fall. James notes, if Burley does proceed with his threat, it is Burley who may find himself self-defeated.

Like other artifacts of questionable authenticity in James’ experience, he says the item may or may not sell at auction. If there is no reserve attached, he expects it will sell. If it does not sell, the auctioneer may continue to effect a private sale behind the open market.

In his final comment, James concludes, “We’re talking about an auction here. In an auction, reality always falls somewhere between bluster and the real deal.”