Category Archives: Sift

The SIFT for April 2019

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



Adina Brown Speaks of Diversity & Belonging

Adina Brown is a James descendant. Her mother and grandfather are Elizabeth Lee “Libby” James and the late Sgt. Robert Lee James of Midland, Texas. See “Our American-Aboriginal Family – The Love Story of Robert Lee James & Susan Ann Syron.”

On the side of her father Craig Onan Brown, Adina descends from the original Aboriginal people of Australia. Both sides of this family treasure education.

At present, Adina is attending the University of Canberra. From UC, Adina talks about discovering diversity and what it means for her.

Adina Brown at the University of Canberra

“Belonging means feeling comfortable to be yourself in the environment or group around you. It is to feel welcomed and feel as if any of your differences as a person are overlooked or accepted and appreciated. I call Western Sydney home and I was born and raised in Penrith. My siblings and parents still live there so it’s a massive change moving away, but a big reason why I feel like I belong to UC is the diversity of the students and community. Everyone appreciates you for you and is so welcoming and kind. As I got accepted, I found out that my Uncle was the first Aboriginal to graduate UC, so it made me feel as if I was meant to be at UC and be a part of the community. I feel like I can be myself a UC because of how supportive everyone is around, most first year students are in the same shoes with beginning university and living away from home. Staff are very helpful, they not only point you in the right direction for services but are happy to give advice and listen to any you may have.”

– Adina Brown
Adina Brown with her mother Elizabeth Lee “Libby” James Brown

Lawsuit has Implications for Con Artists & Identity Thieves Engaging in Historical Photo Fraud

We’ll be monitoring this lawsuit most intently. Its outcome could put an end to the proliferation of fake photos of Frank and Jesse James. The lawsuit also could end the identity theft of the Jesse James family.

Tamara Lanier is suing Harvard University for wrongful expropriation of historic images she says depicts two of her ancestors. Her lawsuit petitions for Harvard to turn over the subject photos, to acknowledge her ancestry, and payment to Lanier of an unspecified amount of damages.

While Lanier’s ancestry is not stated, Stray Leaves suspects she may be related to the Jesse James family. Many of the Lanier family share kinship with the James, including music legend Quincy Jones and famed American playwright Tennessee Williams, aka Thomas Lanier Williams III. Thomas Stratton Lanier and spouse Margaret Sallee turned out to be the original owners and builders of a 1903 Victorian home in Danville, Kentucky, once owned by Stray Leaves’ publisher Eric F. James.

If Lanier wins her suit, Harvard’s images must be returned to Lanier as property due to heirs. This outcome would have an enormous impact on the number of fraudulent photos now in circulation that are claimed to be Frank or Jesse James. If Lanier is successful in her lawsuit, the James family could accept the false claims of hoaxers, con artists, and profiteers of historical images as true. The James then could lay claim and collect the images as being property due to heirs. In the end result, the James could take the fake images out of circulation.


Happy 100th Birthday, Lawrence Ferlinghetti

On today, March 24, 2019, I make an exception to my policy of not celebrating birthdays. A 100th birthday is a milestone of passage in eternity’s time frame. Few people achieve it. Even less reach the marker while still being an influence in so many lives.

Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in front of his City LIghts Bookstore in San Francisco

When Ferlinghetti’s second centenary arrives, you and I will be gone and forgotten. But Ferlinghetti still will be here and relevant. This was perceived decades ago by Charles Michael James of our James family. C.M. was among the first to publish Ferlinghetti’s work at his Fantome Press. The archives of Fantome Press can be found at the University of Ohio. You can find Lawrence Ferlinghetti in his bookstore.


Stray Leaves Contributes to Pocahontas Descendants Initiative

Recently Stray Leaves made its own contribution to the Pocahontas Descendants Initiative sponsored by the Community Engagement Dept. of Gloucester County, Virginia. The program is described in this article.

Matoaka “Lady Rebecca” Pocahontas 1595-1616/1617

The report which Stray Leaves provided identifies over 3,000 known descendants, some of whom are James relatives with Pocahontas ancestry.

If you have Pocahontas ancestry, we urge you to submit your own contribution.


Do You Qualify for Chickasaw Citizenship?

With the recent discovery of the James ancestry of Susannah James and her lines of Chickasaw descendants, we now learn that today’s living descendants in those lines – if there are any – may be eligible for Chickasaw citizenship.

If anyone pursues this, please inform the rest of your family at Stray Leaves.

Who Says Nonsense Like This?

We think it is solely kooks, crazies, and con artists who promote fake photos and bogus history about Jesse James. Not so.

In this article, Brian Haines falsely claims:

“Through the years, the [James] gang amassed hordes of gold and buried it for safekeeping in a number of places in Kansas and Nebraska. Survivors of the gang claimed to have not known where James hid the gold. According to a number of Old West historians, the gold is still hidden in the ‘hidey holes’ where it was buried so many years ago”

Brian Haines, Executive Director of the McLeod County Historical Society & Museum in Hutchinson, Minnesota

Who is Brian Haines? Brian is the Executive Director of the McLeod County Historical Society & Museum in Hutchinson, Minnesota. He holds a BA in History from St. Cloud State University. You think he would know better than to promote fake history, or even play loosey-goosey with it. Unfortunately, not so.

We particularly liked the comment to this post by Chuck Rabas:

“I’m not going to address all of Mr. Haines’ ill-informed claims, but only the two that were unforgivably ignorant:

1. ‘When the Civil War broke out in America in 1861, James and his brother, Frank, joined a group of Confederate guerillas [sic] known as Quantrill’s Raiders.’

“When the war broke out? Frank joined the Centerville Home Guards in May, 1861. He was captured shortly after the Battle of Wilson’s Creek and later paroled. After the war, he stated that he first met Quantrill in May of 1863. Frank was named as one of the guerrillas led by Fernando (or Ferdinand) Scott who took part in a raid at Richfield (now Missouri City), Missouri on May 15, 1863. Jesse did not join the guerrillas until the spring of 1864, and then it was the band led by Wm. T. “Bloody Bill” Anderson.

2. ‘Through the years, the gang amassed hordes of gold and buried it for safekeeping in a number of places in Kansas and Nebraska.’

“In the 15 years from 1866 through 1881, the total amount taken in robberies in which Jesse has been implicated was approximately $250,000 — an average of between $16,000 and $17,000 per year. (Sources vary, so I’m using the highest amounts I’ve seen cited.) Most of that amount was paper — currency, bonds, etc., with only a small percentage (a VERY generous guess would be 10% to 15%) in gold. If one takes into consideration that the loot from each robbery had to be divided among the participants, and factors in Jesse’s expensive passion for horse racing, there’s scarcely ‘hordes of gold’ left to bury.”


More Jesse James Kinship Than Anyone

I invite you to spend an hour out West with Hayden Calvert “Bud” Cooper. Bud is the founder, former mayor, and now museum keeper of Myton, Utah.

At age 92, Bud has more family connections to Jesse James than anybody I have found.

Bud is a grandson of Hayden Calvert & Sallie Morgan of Harrodsburg, Kentucky. This makes Bud a 6th cousin of Frank James’ cohort John Pendleton “Black Jack” Chinn of Harrodsburg. Bud also is a 1st cousin to Nicholas Dorsey. This makes Bud a 6th cousin also of Frank & Jesse James. Bud is even related to Frank’s wife Annie Ralston. His other kinship connections are too numerous to mention. Enjoy Bud Cooper now. He is living history.


Graves Family Reunion – 2019

GRAVES FAMILY cousins are returning to Kentucky. Everyone is invited.

From Fayette County, Kentucky, Mary Jane Graves & Lloyd J. Goodwin are the 3rd great grandparents of actor Steve McQueen:
Lloyd J. Goodwin & Mary Jane Graves
. Elizabeth Elenora Goodwin & Pike Montgomery Thompson
.. John William Thomson & Julia Franklin Graves
… Lillian Mae Thomson & Victor Lee Crawford
…. Julia Crawford & Terence William McQueen
….. Terence Stephen “Steve” McQueen

Confederate Statues Removed

The statue of John Hunt Morgan, that once graced the entrance to the Fayette County Courthouse, now resides in Lexington Cemetery.

This statue of John Hunt Morgan formerly stood before the Fayette County Courthouse in Lexington, Ky. There, it was in view of the Second National Bank of Lexington, founded by David Hunt James who served with Morgan together with his brother Richard Skinner James. Following the recent brouhaha over Confederate statues, Morgan’s monument now stands in Lexington Cemetery where all of these warriors rest.

The Second National Bank of Lexington founded by David Hunt James. The bank is the building to the right with the arched entry. The width of the building is less than 25 feet giving the bank its nickname of “the hole in the wall.”
The statue of John Cabell Breckenridge also has been removed to Lexington Cemetery.

The Morgan’s Men Association has announced, there will be a memorial service at the Morgan equestrian statue in Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, KY at 3 PM on June 2, 2019. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Order of Confederate Rose, and Morgan’s Men Association will participate. All are welcome to come to honor General Morgan and the Confederate Veterans.



Losing a Parent Changes Us Forever

How many more stories are yet to reveal themselves from within the Stray Leaves‘ genealogy database?

Genealogists always consider the fact of a demise as raw data. How many of us, though, consider the physical and emotional effects of that demise upon those left behind? That life continues to live after death.

Losing a parent changes us both psychologically and physically. Scientists now say, there’s proof. To more fully comprehend what is family, hereditary health demands that we look beyond what is evident in raw genealogical data.

Have you shared your story with Stray Leaves of what happened to you when your parent(s) died?


Second-born Children Are More Likely to Make Trouble

If Jesse James had a psychiatrist, he may have heard about this in therapy. We know, he did not.

That leaves the rest of the living James family to consider the principle. So, listen up, second-borns!

Read this article. Then leave us your story, reactions, or comments.


Old Jesse James Con Artists Never Die. They Just Propagate the Next Generation.

Daniel J. Duke

Daniel J. Duke is the son of the notorious Betty Dorsett Duke.

You remember Betty. She’s the one who accused the Leaf Blower of trying to murder her. Then she went to the FBI with her complaint, because police authorities in Texas wouldn’t act on her complaint. She proudly touted the fact the FBI was investigating the Leaf Blower. After the FBI did, the FBI shut down Betty Dorsett Duke and her false claims.

Then surprisingly, Betty died. Exposed by her own family for the factually true identity she denied, and exposed for her true identity as a con artist, Betty Dorsett Duke had nothing to live for.

None of that has stopped young Daniel J. Duke from following in the path of his mother.

Daniel falsely claims, as his mother did, that he is a descendant of Jesse Woodson James. Like his mother, Daniel has written a book based on his own childish fantasies and wishful thinking about Jesse James. To promote the book, Daniel J. Duke pulls in all his mother’s old bogeymen, like Texas Attorney General Waggoner Carr.

After all, Texas is the progenitor and safe harbor of Jesse James hoaxers. Most all come from Texas. They still do.

COMMENTS FROM FACEBOOK:

  • Colleen Campbell Taylor Is he the son that she always said looked just like Jesse James? NOT!
  • Chuck Rabas When Betty was working on her second book about her absurd claim, she contacted me by phone. I was a bit surprised, as I had made my opinion of her inane claims quite clear on a number of internet forums. In the course of our telephone conversation, she indicated a desire to use some of my comments made during the conversation in her upcoming book. I informed her that if she used any of them in a context that would in any way appear that I supported ANY of her claims, I would sue. I was among those she subsequently insisted were hired by Eric James to destroy her.
  • Matthew Schmidt Yup and a lot of fake Jesse W James, Wyatt Earp, Billy The Kid daguerreotypes seem to show up for sale out of Texas as well?! Cons… all of them. IMHO.

RELATED: Murder & Betty Dorsett Duke

SIFT from Stray Leaves – March 2019

The Sift from Stray Leaves 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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Beating the Bushes for How Daniel Lewis James Jr. Died

Who says how you die? Over the weekend I was talking with Martha Diehl, the granddaughter of Daniel Lewis James Jr. Dan is the blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter and subject of the chapter “All for the Underdog” in Jesse James Soul Liberty. Martha commented about Dan and how he died. “He died instantly of an aneurysm in his kitchen while fetching a piece of bread for his pet rabbit.” That was how Martha received the news of Dan’s passing from her mother, Barbara James.

The New York Times reported Dan’s passing far less personally.

OBITUARY
New York Times
DANIEL LEWIS JAMES IS DEAD AT 77; WROTE ABOUT LOS ANGELES BARRIO 
By EDWIN MCDOWELL 
Published: May 21, 1988
LEAD: Daniel Lewis James, who startled the literary world when he was revealed to be the author of a prize-winning novel about a Mexican-American family in a Los Angeles barrio, died Wednesday at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in Monterey, Calif.

Martha complains, “Dan died at home, not at CHOMP,” i.e. Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.

And yet, Dan’s death certificate, issued by Monterey County in California, produced a third and entirely different story. Monterey County cites the cause of Dan’s death in clinical terms as a heart attack and “severe coronary atherosclerosis.”

Somehow, all three reports perfectly reflect the multi-dimensional personality of Daniel Lewis James Jr. who practiced the art of multiple identities. You can suspect Dan scripted the three scenarios himself, each for a different audience.

Here’s laughing with you, Daniel Lewis James Jr.


Hunting for Elk Run Farm of Capt. John James 1708/09-1778 & Dinah Allen 1716-1800

From a biographical sketch of John James in the book “Virginia Ancestors by George W. Moffett” by V.L. Moffett, Clarksburg, WV, 1980.

Thanks to the recent appearance of an old map, the location of their Elk Run farm and its James cemetery can now be identified. This has been a hunt in progress for years. This also is where the Capt. James and Dinah Allen are presumed to be buried.

Elk Run Farm is central to the triangular points of the Potomac River, Washington D.C. and the town of Culpeper. From this location, the James family financed George Washington with specie during the Revolution. 

This family also is a progenitor of Benjamin James, the Indian Trader, whose children Susannah and Benjamin James “of the Choctaw” went forward to become integral elements of the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations.

Furthermore from Elk Run Farm, their daughter Elizabeth James and her spouse John “Old Wisdom” Bradford migrated into the Kentucky frontier where John Bradford founded the Kentucky Gazette. The newspaper recorded the events surrounding the early founding of the Commonwealth and remains a seminal course of Kentucky’s first history.

As well, Capt. John James and Dinah Allen of Elk Run Farm are 2nd great grand uncle & aunt of Frank & Jesse James, as well as of John James “of Alvarado.” Among the James family, Elk Run Farm is an important key factor and geographic location point in the genealogical origination of the James family.


Campaign to Honor Choctaw & Chickasaw Women of the James – Survivors of the Trail of Tears

Susannah James-Colbert and Jane James-Wilson are a granddaughter and a 2nd great-granddaughter respectively of Capt. John James and Dinah Allen. For more on their kinship, both can be found in the special Choctaw/Chickasaw genealogy database on Stray Leaves.

Top row, 2nd from right:
Susan James-Colbert, born March 27, 1783; daughter of Benjamin James, interpreter and agent to the Choctaws and his Choctaw wife; wife of Maj. James Colbert. She died Dec 3, 1863 near Soper, Choctaw Nation, Oklahoma Territory.
Bottom row, 2nd from left:
Jane James-Wilson, born 1837; daughter of Dace James and Rutha; wife of John Wilson; died in 1909 in Fort Towson, Oklahoma. One-year old Jane and her mother came over the Trail of Tears with the Chickasaws, her white father having died in Lowndes County, Mississippi in June 1837.

Study of Ward Hall

For those who attended the James-Younger Gang & Family conference in 2017 and who visited Ward Hall with us, here’s a charming reprise of Ward Hall, beginning with our host that day, Kentucky historian Ron Bryant.

Recently, young filmmakers used Ward Hall as a backdrop for the film short below. We wish we had known these talented young filmmakers when we visited Georgetown. Back then we were looking for someone to video our events. Maybe another time.


Dalton Gang Photographer Also Photographed the James   

An incoming photographic artifact to the James Preservation Trust, courtesy of James family descendant Geoff Saunders, amplifies the story of Joseph McJames and the Dalton Gang robbery in Coffeyville. Mack’s son Daniel Ephraim James was captured in the robbery while it was in progress. The story also appears in Chapter Three of Jesse James Soul Liberty, titled “Goodland.” Contributor Geoff Saunders is a 2nd great-grandson of Mary Ellen James and a 3rd great-grandson of Joseph McJames.

Photo portrait of Mary Ellen James, taken by Coffeyville photographer W. H. Clark. Mary Ellen’s brother, Daniel Ephraim James, was captured by the Dalton Gang during their robbery of the Coffeyville Bank.

Mack’s daughter, Mary Ellen James who is Daniel Ephraim James’ sister, had her photo portrait taken in Coffeyville. Her photographer was W.H. Clark. He is the same photographer who took the iconic image of the dead Dalton Gang body lineup following the robbery. Clark’s son, Ray H. Clark known as Champ, also appears in the body lineup photo. Champ Clark is peering over his hand through the fence, as his father took the historic photo.

Historic photo, taken by Coffeyville photographer W.H. Clark of the dead Dalton Gang, following the Coffeyville Bank robbery. The photographer’s son Champ is seen peering through the fence above.

 

Later, W.H. Clark purchased Bob Dalton’s gun from Dalton’s estate. The gun was used in the robbery. Clark’s son, Ray H. “Champ” Clark, inherited the pistol on his father’s passing. Champ then bequeathed the gun to his step-son Richard H. McGregor, whose widow put the gun up for auction in 2005 with proceeds to be donated to charity.


Exploring State Representative A.J. James in the Old Kentucky State Capitol

I’ve sat in this legislative chamber of the Old State Capitol in Kentucky a couple of times before. In honor of President’s Day this year, the Kentucky General Assembly did the same.

Usually, I was alone as I tried to imagine the chamber filled with legislators. Among them was Andrew Jackson “A.J.” James who was a state representative from 1855 to 1857. There would be observers in the balcony then. The chamber was smokey, crowded, and loud, even when someone was speaking. Stateliness was not a requirement in the antebellum era.

Democrats from Pulaski County nominated their favorite son A.J. James in 1875 to succeed Gov. Preston Leslie. Under Leslie, A.J. served as Kentucky’s Attorney General. He also had been Secretary of State under Gov. Beriah Magoffin and mayor of Frankfort. Ultimately, A.J. lost the nomination to James McCreary. Family lore says A.J’s wife didn’t want A.J. to run. Instead, McCreary was elected Governor of Kentucky. By then, I believe, A.J. was ready to walk away from political life. He withdrew to become President of Farmer’s Bank of Frankfort.

Kentucky State Legislators of 1909, revisited in the Old State Capitol by Kentucky legislators of 2019

Louisville International Airport to be Renamed for Our James Cousin, Muhammad Ali

Recent research by Stray Leaves established that Muhammad Ali is a 2nd cousin, 3 generations removed of Frank & Jesse James. Ali also has a second line of supporting kinship to the James brothers through Rev. Jeremiah Vardeman.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Ali has been Louisville’s favorite son for a long time. He is widely honored. Renaming Louisville International Airport for Ali could not be a more appropriate honor. Muhammad Ali is one of Louisville’s finest exports.


Land Patents of This Bloody Ground

Readers of This Bloody Ground, the forthcoming Vol. II of the Jesse James Soul Liberty quintet, will get a heavy dose of source data about the Kentucky frontier life of Jesse & Frank James’ grandfather, John M. James. Early Land Patents of Kentucky were culled extensively in preparation for the book. This voluminous research took more than a decade. These patents will give you an idea of the sources that were consulted. These are sources that have gone ignored for too long by the traditional historians of the Jesse James story. This is one reason why This Bloody Ground will be a ground-breaking history of its own when it is published. Get ready to have your preconceptions of Jesse James rattled when you read this history that has never been researched, written, or told.


Final Sift and Year-End Roundup of 2018

The final Sift and the year-end roundup of 2018 have produced some surprises.  Then again, Stray Leaves never fails to produce surprises. To receive future Sift surprises as they happen, LIKE Stray Leaves on Facebook.


Swain's Jesse James Tent Show

Mimms and Pence Bombed at Pearl Harbor

Wyatt Leon James, survivor of Pearl Harbor
Wyatt Leon Mimms 1917-2005

December 7 is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. On that fateful day, Wyatt Leon Mimms was stationed in Pearl Harbor, serving the US Navy.

Wyatt is a 3rd cousin, one generation removed of Frank and Jesse James.

After the war, Wyatt remained for some time in Hawaii, working as a police officer and later a special agent with GTE Telephone. He was married six times in his lifetime. He returned to the States and died in Placerville, California.

Wyatt’s father, Eddie Bernard Mimms, brought his family to Salinas, California from Crawford County, Kansas, and Oklahoma where Wyatt was born.

Archibald Bernard Pence Sr.., survivor of Pearl Harbor
Archibald Bernard Pence Sr..

Archibald Bernard Pence Sr. served onboard the USS Oklahoma in the US Navy as Chief Petty Officer. The Oklahoma was docked in Pearl Harbor on that fateful day. Arch was blown overboard. Later, he was picked up by another serviceman in a small boat. They proceeded to pull fellow servicemen from the water.

Archibald Bernard Pence Sr. is a third cousin, two generations removed of Bud and Donnie Pence of the James gang.


Buy the Russellville Bank

Russellville Bank, robbed by the James Gang
The Southern Bank of Kentucky became better known as the Russellville Bank after it was robbed by the James Gang.

The Russellville Bank with its stately attached residence of bank cashier Nimrod Long is back on the market. This time it can be purchased directly from the owner and retired attorney Joe Clark.

Joe and his wife gave me a tour of this beautiful home in 2016 when I spoke before the Southern Kentucky Pastfinders inside the old Logan County Courthouse. Locally, it was claimed, my appearance was the first and only time a James was brought to court and held accountable for the assault on Nimrod long and the James gang’s robbery of the Russellville Bank.

The Carters have executed a wonderful restoration of the historic building. Located in the Russellville Historic District, the restored property combines historical authenticity and preservation with a modern sensibility for high style and luxury Southern comfort.

Anyone interested in an investment partnership with yours truly to turn this into an Airbnb tourism destination?


New Photos of Rhoda James-Hattler

Courtesy of James descendant Gearld Willis, we now have several new images of Rhoda Ann James & spouse Charles Colfax Hattler and their children Glee Estes and Jewell Irene Hatler. Rhoda Ann is a daughter of Cyrenius Waite James and the youngest sister of John James of Alvarado.


Marriage Announcement for Francis Marion James Jr. & Anna Emelian Knaff

wedding announcement of Frank James & Anna Knaff
1908 Wedding announcement of Francis Marion James Jr. 1880-1931 & Anna Emelian Knaff 1883-1954

Look what showed up on Facebook, thanks to cousin Tom Walden who is the administrator of the THOLL family group on Facebook. This is the 1908 wedding announcement of my grandparents.

New information from this is Anna’s residence address, plus her middle name of Emelian,. Formerly she was documented by their family as Emalia. It turns out the name Emelian is Norwegian in origin, and Emalia is the male version of the name. Anna was not Norwegian. Her Knaff family immigrated in 1848 to Wisconsin from the Duchy of Luxembourg, where Knaff cousins still are influential in the state government. Em-ELL-ee-ah is the pronunciation of the name. I’m still looking for the meaning behind the name.


The Early Death of Reno Conley Herrin

Reno Herrin
Dedication of Shopville School Annual to Reno Conley Herrin 1919-1940 who died an early and untimely death.
Allen Custer Herrin & Susan Harriett James
Allen Custer Herrin & Susan Harriett James, parents of Reno Conley Herrin

RENO CONLEY HERRIN 1919-1940 is a great-grandson of the “talented, but erratic” Rev. Joseph Martin James & Rhoda May. His grandparents are Susan Harriet James & Joseph Allen Herrin, pictured here.

From Terry Joseph White, a 3rd great-grandson of Joseph Martin James, to Eric F. James, May 14, 2011:“I just came across the photo booklet that Aunt Virgie (Reno’s sister Virgie Lucille Herrin Fuller) did a few years ago of the Herrin family. Here’s a summary of what she wrote about Reno: ‘Reno had lung problems all of his life and missed a lot of school due to health issues. He was an excellent basketball player, even tho doctors warned him not to play. Reno refused to go to school unless he could play. Reno collapsed on the ball court two months before he was to graduate. When the doctors inserted a needle to draw fluid from his lungs, the needle punctured his heart, which was enlarged, and caused his death’.”

Reno Herrin-Shopville School
Reno Conley Herrin at Shopville School

The eldest sibling of Reno also died too early and tragically. Leslie Raymond Herrin 1902-1930 died by drowning at the age of 28.


Obituary of Maj. George Burns Hite

Maj. George Burns Hite 1825-1891 is the husband of Nancy Gardner James, an aunt of Frank & Jesse James.

Two of their sons, Robert Woodson & Clarence Jeff Hite, associated with Quantrill’s guerrillas and the James Gang.

A third son, John William Hite, associated with Morgan’s Men in the company of John Hunt Morgan, and David Hunt James and his brother Richard Skinner James who were captured and sent to Camp Douglas in Chicago where Richard died.

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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