Category Archives: Memorials

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).

Harold Dellinger – Jesse James pop-Historian

Harold Dellinger has died.

Harold Dellinger-pop-Historian
Harold Dellinger

Harold was Jesse James’ pop-historian.

Most people don’t know Harold Dellinger. Among the Jesse James community, Harold was an officer and active participant in the James-Younger Gang, the William Clarke Quantrill Society, and the Friends of James Farm. Those are the people who knew Harold best.

There is another group of people who knew Harold Dellinger on a much different level. Harold was known to them as a pop-historian. That is, Harold was one who appreciated history so much that he rose to a level of authority although he was not trained officially as a historian.  For many, Harold was their introduction to the popular history of Jesse James and the Civil War. Only those close to Harold knew his interest in Jesse James began simply enough when Harold was a young parole officer in Kansas City.

In 2007, Harold published his book JESSE JAMES, The Best Writings on the Notorious Outlaw and His Gang. The book served as an excellent introduction to Jesse James for newcomers to the subject. For the knowledgeable already, the book offered an indispensable addition to one’s library shelf of Jesse James books.

In recent years, Harold produced some YouTube videos, as the Quantrill Society visited obscure historic sites connected to Jesse James and the Civil War.

Harold’s visit with the Quantrill Society to the historic residence of Judge Luther Mason prompted Stray Leaves to initiate an inquiry into the ancestry and kinship of Judge Luther Mason. Not surprisingly, the research revealed Judge Mason is kin to Frank and Jesse James, as well as to other notables of the Civil War era.  While their kinship as half 5th cousins is somewhat distant and indistinguishable in the period, the tug and pull of their shared genetics now remains known and unmistakable, revealing new history to come.

The James-Younger Gang issued the following condolence:

Harold Dellinger condolence
Condolence from the James-Younger Gang

“We are saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Harold Dellinger and send our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and associates. Our historical community has lost a valued member. Harold will be remembered fondly for his kindness and willingness to help fellow historians.

“We had the pleasure of having Harold as a guest speaker at our 2015 conference in Kearney, Missouri. He gave us a wonderful presentation on Jim Cummins then joined us for our banquet where he mingled with new and old acquaintances.

“He will be greatly missed.”

 

On behalf of the Quantrill Society, President Cyndy Taylor had this to say:

“The William Clarke Quantrill Society is still reeling from this blow–Harold was fine one day, before Higginsville, and gone the next.

His daughter, Laura, told me today that there would be a visitation on June 14 from 4-7pm with a eulogy at 6 pm during that time, at Passantino Funeral Home in Kansas City, Missouri. The obituary will be coming any day now, as the family is still putting it together. He will be buried at Lancaster, Missouri where his parents are buried.

“Harold was president of the WCQS for 10 yrs. or more, and good friend /assistant to Don Hale. He belonged to a number of historical organizations.

“To say ‘We miss him’ is the understatement! He was on our ‘frequent contact’ list; all of us, especially the board members, talked to him and asked questions of him sometimes weekly.

“In sorrow,

“Cindy Taylor

“WCQS pres.”

 

On Saturday, June 2, 2018, Harold was scheduled to participate in Confederate Memorial Day events in Higginsville, Missouri. When he failed to appear, members of the Quantrill Society checked his residence, where Harold was found deceased.

R.I.P., friend  of Jesse James and Stray Leaves.

Condolences accepted in Comments below.

UPDATE:  Obituary, Funeral, & Intenmet

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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