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.
Mimms and Pence Bombed at Pearl Harbor
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. 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
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
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 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’.”
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 James Preservation Trust has received the contribution of what is believed to be the last photo taken of Jesse Edwards James Jr., son of America’s iconic outlaw Jesse Woodson James.
The photo was taken in 1949 during Jesse Jr.’s confinement in the Norwalk State Hospital in Norwalk, California. Months later, Jesse Edwards James Jr. died on March 26, 1951 at the age of seventy-five.
In the same image also is pictured Jesse Jr.’s caregiver at Norwalk. He is Luther Garlin Henderson. The contribution of this historic photographic was made by Henderson’s son, Bruce Henderson, a retired attorney.
“My father suffered a heart attack in 1947, and was forced to cease employment in his industry. To support his wife, and infant son (me), he found less physically demanding work at Norwalk State Hospital, Norwalk, California.” – BRUCE HENDERSON ESQ.
NORWALK HOSPITAL – THEN and NOW
In the beginning, Norwalk Hospital was called Norwalk State Mental Hospital. Often it was referred to as a sanitarium.
Opened in 1916, the facility housed 105 patients with 21 employees, all administered by one physician. The 305 acre property included a farm, worked by the patients, most all of whom were unemployable men. The hospital had its own cemetery.
Shortly after Jesse’s Jr.’s passing, the name of the facility was changed in 1953 to the Metropolitan State Hospital, housing 1,900 patients. Marilyn Monroe’s mother Gladys was a patient there. In 1955, actor Bela Lugosi was admitted for ninety days for treatment of his morphine addiction.
Today the facility is dramatically changed. Gone is the farm. Much of the land surrounding the Norwalk Hospital where Jesse Jr. was committed now is an industrial park. The old hospital has been replaced by a modern facility. Inside, treatment is administered to conservator patients with psychiatric disabilities, felony defendants found incompetent, parolees treated for mental disorders, and patients judged not guilty by virtue of insanity. A long history of abuse and negligence continues to be alleged.
“I lay in bed a lot. It was horrible. There weren’t enough beds for everyone so women were lined up in the hallway. We were all so scared but they didn’t do anything to reassure or comfort us. We would all talk about what would happen to our kids, we were all worried about that. Some of the women lost their kids altogether. Some of the patients got electroshock therapy. I didn’t have to have that, I was lucky. They were scared about it. The whole time I kept thinking those horrible thoughts.”
Electro shock therapy, sometimes more aptly called electro-convulsion, was one of two therapies commonly applied to Norwalk patients. The second was hydrotherapy ice bath immersion.
Given his history of nervous disorder, Jesse Jr. very likely was administered electro shock therapy while at Norwalk.
However, the lingering question is, was Jesse Jr. ever subjected to a procedural lobotomy? The procedure was a popular application in the period, as evidenced by the tragic experience of Rosemary Kennedy, sister of President John F. Kennedy.
Seeking authentication experts of convenience doomed Justin Whiting & his fake Jesse James photo to failure.
When Justin Whiting’s “7£ eBay find” was rejected by the Jesse James family as a fake image of Jesse James, Whiting turned to experts of convenience. Whiting believed the experts he chose would provide the validation required to bring his tintype to auction. His experts would provide Whiting a path to the financial windfall he expected.
Whiting’s experts of convenience, however, fell far short of the task. Flaws hidden in their backgrounds and abilities proved to equal Justin Whiting’s flaws of expectation.
Rejected by Jesse James Family
In email salted by bad grammar, misspellings, and chronic badgering, Whiting repeatedly plagued the James family’s historian, Eric F. James, with conflicting claims related to several old photographic images Whiting owned. Once Whiting settled on the best image he thought was Jesse James, he requested the family historian’s concurrence without offering justification or reason.
In short order, James informed Whiting his image, in fact, was not an authentic image of Jesse James. James further advised Whiting that any effort to secure an authentication would be a waste of time, effort, and money.
Whiting abruptly switched to other images in his possession that he also claimed was Jesse James. Whiting’s incoherence quickly turned into an annoyance for James. The irritation turned into exasperation when Whiting informed James he would consult Lois Gibson for an authentication of his image.
Rejected by Lois Gibson
Lois Gibson was known to James as the haywire authentication artist in the Bob Ford/Jesse James Photo Hoax of 2017. James warned Whiting to be wary of whom he associated with, lest Whiting acquire the reputation of a con artist himself.
Months past before Whiting returned to James. When he did, Whiting complained that Lois Gibson did not believe his image was a match for Gibson’s Jesse James image authenticated in her hoax. Why would they, James questioned. You can’t compare a fake image of Jesse James to another fake image of Jesse James that was authenticated as a match for yet another fake image of Jesse James. Whiting’s rabbit hole of foolishness was laughable.
Regardless any reason, or the lack thereof, Lois Gibson offered to authenticate Whiting’s image for $750 plus an additional $750 to authenticate Whiting’s comparison image.
Whiting told James he would align with James in branding Gibson a fraud if only James would approve his image. At this point, James ceased responding to Whiting’s chronic email.
Accepted by Experts of Convenience
In time, Whiting returned once more to James to announce he had found an authenticator more expert than the Jesse James family. His authentication expert accepted Whiting’s image as a match to an image of Jesse James known by James. Shortly, Whiting expected, his image would be fully authenticated in writing so he could proceed to the auction market.
William Dunniway is not an expert in Jesse James photography. He is not an expert in photo image authentication, nor is he trained in any photographic forensic science. This did not stop Justin Whiting from seeking William Dunniway as his second expert after Lois Gibson to authenticate his fake image of Jesse James.
William “Will” Dunniway gave up historical re-enacting to pursue his interest in wet collodion photography
For 25 years, Will Dunniway, as he is known, was a re-enactor of history. Today, Will no longer does re-enactments. Instead, his time is devoted to his interest in wet collodion photography, an old style of photographic image creation that differs entirely from the tintype photography of Justin Whiting’s image.
Like Justin Whiting, inexperience in the forensic science of image authentication did not stop Will Dunniway from stepping beyond the boundaries of his abilities. When he did, Dunniway exposed his own deficiencies.
Recently, Will Dunniway was called upon to assess an image claimed to include Billy the Kid. The National Geographic Society produced a documentary about the find.
The image since has become highly controversial and has divided the community of western historians. Dunniway’s opinion revealed the limitations of his expertise.
The tintype itself was analyzed by noted wet-plate collodion photographer Will Dunniway…He date-stamped the croquet photo to a plate made between 1877-1881. The chemical process used to make the plate tells the tale. Residue and a close look at the media material itself is consistent with photographs made in that time frame. Dunniway also confirms McWilliams findings that clothing worn in the period is correct.”’
Such was Will Dunniway’s sole findings.
Will Dunniway suggested that period clothing and an estimated date of 1877-1881 says the third person from the left is Billy the Kid.
Of Dunniway’s two findings – one, the date stamp of a collodion image compared to a tintype, and two, the identification of period clothing – neither of these findings authenticate anything regarding the primary question. Does the image include Billy the Kid?
Dunniway’s Expert “Authentication” for Whiting
Wisely, Dunniway begins the written affidavit of his findings for Whiting’s Jesse James tintype. He boldly states, “…I am NOT a facial recognition expert.”
This statement alone should have disqualified Dunniway as an expert in forensic science suited to assess and write an image authentication. Any opinion Dunniway might produce was doomed to be rendered unworthy.
Regardless, Dunniway persisted in Whiting’s authentication charade. Dunniway stated, “The age of the image was about 1861-1862.” He offered no explanation for his declaration.
Again without evidence, Dunniway speculated as if fact, about Whiting’s comparison image. Dunniway stated, “It [the comparison image] appears to have been printed of a collodion glass negative…” Then Dunniway added one more disqualifying pointless absurdity, “This is only conjecture…”
In conclusion, Dunniway’s imagination took flight like that of Justin Whiting. “I believe it was taken on the same day by the same photographer. This is very evident by the face, hair cut [sic], jacket, shirt, and tie that this is the same image of Jesse James at 14 years old.” How this imaginary deduction is made, Dunniway left entirely unexplained.
In the end, Dunniway excused himself and his valueless declarations. “I recommend that Justin follow up with a facial forensic comparison…” With that, the buck was passed from Justin Whiting’s second expert to his third expert, Kent Gibson.
A public watchdog, says Kent Gibson “has never met a photo he didn’t authenticate as a famous person. His most famous pratfall was the bogus Amelia Earhart.”
Under the name of Forensic Audio, Gibson markets himself as “Certified Forensic Audio Examiner.” His impressive show business resume boasts abundant credentials limited to the field of audio.
Nothing in Gibson’s resume reveals any training, expertise, or experience in forensic science, historical photography, photographic analysis, or history.
Like many in show business, Gibson prefers to put forward a younger, more attractive image of himself. The photo of Gibson that appears on his website is a much younger version of the middle-aged persona one meets in person.
Gibson also fudges the location of his business. On his website, Gibson advertises, “My studio laboratory is in the Hollywood Hills.” His actual address, that appears on the same web page, exposes Kent Gibson’s fundamental difficulty with veracity.
Kent Gibson’s studio is not located among the glamorous, star-studded, multi-million dollar mansions and estates of the Hollywood Hills with its stunning views and coveted seclusion. Gibson’s actual studio and home are in the workaday neighborhood of the Hollywood “flats.” Originally populated by crowded orange and avocado groves, Gibson’s neighborhood today is beset by heavy traffic, closely knit homes, and apartment buildings.
Whenever Kent Gibson is shown an old photographic image, Gibson exits the neighborhood of reality and enters a world of fantasy. Like Justin Whiting, Gibson dreams of discovering the historic photo that will make his name as popular as a celebrity subject he attaches to it. No explanation or justification for this is required in Gibson’s world of expertise.
Photo Identification Slip-ups
Despite his lack of scientific forensic credentials, Kent Gibson already has established a record of highly questionable photo “authentications.” One attached him with Will Dunniway to the disputable Billy the Kid. The other, more egregiously, finds Kent Gibson declaring an unknown image as the lost aviatrix Amelia Earhart. His Earhart declaration has been brutally disproved.
In 2017, the New York Times published a fake photo story, typical headline and all, that claimed Will Dunniway and Kent Gibson had authenticated Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett in the image above. The image owner, Frank Abrams previously had hawked the image as including Jesse James. Not finding believers in the claim to Jesse James, Abrams turned to Gibson and Dunniway to produce the altered claim of the Kid and Pat Garrett.
About the same time, Gibson’s authentication of the Billy the Kid croquet image was debunked. Gibson had claimed to discover the location where the image was taken. The location and timeline of the image were disproved. Amateur debunkers became more expert in debunking than the experts were in authenticating.
The image’s owner was revealed to be a shopper of photo experts. One abettor was a coin dealer and auctioneer, who stood to benefit by the sale of the artifact. Other auctioneers previously had passed on the artifact.
An unwitting abettor was the National Geographic Channel that was conned into producing a documentary of the discovery. Embarrassment followed for the Society when the discovery was debunked.
Gibson’s expertise in the artifice was downgraded after his Billy the Kid location identification was found to be an impossibility. Gibson had to admit his identification was not good enough to hold up in a court of law. Finally, Gibson’s reach into extreme fantasy to identify Amelia Earhart also was debunked.
Caught by the Short Hairs of Amelia Earhart
The face of Amelia Earhart is recognizable worldwide. Only an expert of convenience like Kent Gibson would dare identify a person showing no identifiable facial features, who is photographed from the back, as the famed aviatrix.
Gibson reached for worldwide recognition when he falsely judged this image for the History Channel. What he earned was worldwide mortification.
A post-mortem of Gibson’s debacle by the Center for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) summarized numerous flaws by Gibson and his abettors in the Amelia Earhart farce when the image was proved to be taken two years before Earhart’s disappearance.
‘I don’t know what to say,’ says Kent Gibson, the facial-recognition expert that the History Channel hired to analyze the photograph for Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence. ‘I don’t have an explanation for why [the photograph] would show up two years early.’”
In the documentary, Gibson said that based on the facial and body proportions of the two Caucasians, he said it was “very likely” that the photograph contained Earhart and Noonan [ed. her co-pilot].
In a phone interview with National Geographic, Gibson added that since the documentary filmed, he has acquired new facial-recognition software that signals a match between the photograph’s Caucasian man and Fred Noonan. His previous software had indicated that there were too few pixels in the photograph to successfully perform the analysis. (In a follow-up email, Gibson declined additional comment.)
Gibson’s “Authentication” for Whiting
Not skilled in the meticulous metrics and analytics of photo analysis that applies forensic science techniques which are extensive and time-consuming, Kent Gibson prefers to rely solely upon photo comparison software for the quickie authentications he proclaims.
Such software today is used to trick the eye, as one auctioneer tried to do in 2014. More commonly today, such software is deployed on Facebook to harvest metrics for advertisers by fooling Facebook subscribers to transform their photo images into historic persons, the opposite sex, art, or cartoon characters. (The same software could be employed to transform an image of Kent Gibson into an image of Lois Gibson. After all, the two never have been seen together.)
When addressing Justin Whiting’s image, Kent Gibson acted impulsively as he does routinely. Digital Trends reported,
…Gibson didn’t need long to reach his conclusion. “I could tell immediately,” he said after running the picture through several facial recognition programs. “It scored off the charts.”
Gibson is also hyperbolic in his assessment of the value of Whiting’s image. As the BBC reported,
Mr. Gibson said: ‘”All power to Justin. An authentic photograph of outlaw Billy the Kid sold for $5m (£3.6m) in 2015 so the sky’s the limit…Jesse James is a very famous outlaw so this is obviously a valuable image.”
Con artists of fake Jesse James images feed off of one another.
In Regina, Canada, Rob & Karen Baron produce a YouTube channel called “Bargain Barons.” They are promoting their latest discovery – a tintype they claim is Jesse James.
The Barons say,
We have put the word out to several people. We very quickly heard back from Forensic Audio & Video Examiner KENT GIBSON. According to Kent: “Dear Rob & Karen: I ran your tin through one of my 5 different facial recognition programs and your photo is plausible.”
The Con Artist’s Template
So far, Rob & Karen Baron are making all the mistakes, following the typical template of a Jesse James photo con artist.
The Barons claim discovery of a tintype of Jesse James like Justin Whiting
The Barons found the tintype on the internet like Whiting
The Barons compare their tintype to fake images of Jesse James like Whiting
The Barons are shopping for experts of convenience like Whiting
The Barons claim Kent Gibson believes their claim like Whiting
Without a doubt, once the Barons have an authentication in hand, issued by an expert of convenience like Kent Gibson, the Barons may seek to become merchants of identity theft like Justin Whiting. They may seek an expected financial windfall, too.
If they do, the Barons will find the Jesse James family waiting for them to discredit their image and expose another fraudulent Jesse James photo misadventure.
The eBay find of Justin Whiting of the UK was promoted worldwide as being an image of Jesse James. Decrying Whiting as a fraud and a merchant of identity theft, the James family enjoined Mark David Bampton of Great Britain to analyze the image and make public his findings. Below is Bampton’s entire report for free download, plus highlights of his findings.
MARK DAVID BAMPTON’S FORENSIC ANALYSIS
DOWNLOAD Mark David Bampton’s paper in pdf format.
DOWNLOAD Kent Gibson’s & Will Dunniway’s declarations for comparison
HOVER over slideshow for directional pages.
There is generally good alignment for most lines.
• Top of the head
• Centre of the eyes
• Bottom of the nose
• Edge of the top lip
• Where the lips join
• Edge of the bottom lip
• Bottom of the chin
• Top of the shirt collar
The distance between the bottom two lines indicates that the man on the left has a significantly longer neck than the man on the right.
The parts of the yellow line marking the tops of the shoulders are significantly below the shoulders highlighted with red lines. This is consistent with the significant difference between the top of the shirt collar and the bottom of the chin and confirms that the man on the right has a much shorter neck than the man on the left.
There is considerable misalignment of the template and the lower part of the lapel in the right hand photograph is significantly wider than in the left photograph. The lower part of the lapel is also much longer as highlighted by the length of the yellow template line.
In contrast to what the experts say these are definitely different jackets in each photograph.
The horizontal lines are drawn through the following features although the top of the head is obscured by the brushed back hair.
• Top of the hairline at the parting
• Centre of the eyes
• Bottom of the nose
• Where the lips join
• Edge of the bottom lip
• Bottom of the chin
There is generally good alignment although the man on the right has a thicker bottom lip than Jesse James.
Vertical lines are created on the lower picture of Jesse James and continued up over the other photograph. They mark the following dimensions.
• The distance from ear edge to ear edge
• The distance between the centres of the eyes
It is not possible to align both eyes in the photograph at the top right so his right eye is
aligned. The left eye centre is noticeably inside the other vertical line indicating that his eyes
are closer together.
Coincidentally his right ear is aligned with the relevant vertical line but there is a significant gap between his left ear and the other vertical line. Together with the shorter distance between the eyes this indicates that the man in the top right photograph has a much narrower head than Jesse James.
It is clear from my analysis that there are significant differences proving that Justin Whiting’s photograph is not an authentic one of Jesse James…
His two photographs were taken with different photographic processes and include two different men wearing different jackets. There is nothing left to indicate that they were taken on the same day by the same photographer.
In the worldwide publicity Justin Whiting promoted, Whiting advertised that his “7£ eBay find” was headed to Christie’s in London. There, Whiting imagined he would reap at auction a $2 million dollar windfall that the experts Whiting consulted told him to expect.
On March 31, 2018, Christie’s notified Whiting in writing that his artifact was not suitable for consignment. Christie’s further requested that Whiting refrains from associating Christie’s name with his promotion.
In America, the New York Post formerly followed The Telegraph in first reporting the Justin Whiting’s story. Now The Post walks away from the story, too.
The story of Justin Whiting and his “7£ eBay find” is a story of self-delusion, false hope, and cognitive dissonance, abetted by unscrupulous enablers, all whom wilfully sidestep reason and critical thinking for the dream of fleecing the public of an exorbitant amount of money. That is a crime unworthy of the name of Jesse James.
“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.”
Bachelor of Arts Degree in Industrial Design, Class 2 (1) Honours