The man in the mirror is Thomas Jesse Cole, a third cousin of Frank & Jesse James. Though unrelated, Thomas Jesse Cole had much in common with the man looking into the camera. He is Orson Grimmet. The two are standing at the bar in Grimmet’s saloon in Lander, Wyoming.
Orson Grimmet was born in Birmingham, England in 1850. When five years old. He and his parents arrived in America and headed west. Over several years they wandered around Utah and Idaho, where his father died. Orson’s mother moved on to Lander, Wyoming, where she died.
Though twenty-five years younger than Grimmet, Thomas Jesse Cole found himself orphaned to his mother at age four. His father, Ben Cole, had become crippled by a knee infection after bringing his family to Brownsville, Nebraska from Missouri. The infection claimed him at age forty. Jeanette Cole moved on with her son to Litchfield, Nebraska, where she died shortly after arrival.
In Lander, Orson became a stockman. He was elected Sheriff of Fremont County, serving two terms. He was active in Democratic politics, and invested in copper and gold mines. He belonged to the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, and the Knights of Pythias. All the while, he worked each day in the saloon, that became his unofficial office. There, he met Thomas Jesse Cole.
Sometime between 1893 and 1896, Thomas Jesse brought his wife and daughter to Lander. There, Orson Grimmet became a mentor to Thomas Jesse Cole. Unknown is whether the two were partners, or whether Orson was Thomas Jesse’s financier in his own saloon. Thomas Jesse is pictured here, standing behind his bar. The pair remained friends. Both were acquaintances of Butch Cassidy, who frequented each their saloons.
When Caspar, Wyoming elected Pat Royce sheriff, it was very likely Orson Grimmet who arranged the appointment of the daughter of Thomas Jesse Cole, Pearl May, as the first female deputy sheriff in Wyoming. In 1908, Thomas Jesse named his third son Thomas Orson Cole. Orson Grimmet died ten years later. Thomas Jesse Cole a decade after him.
Thomas Orson Cole
. Thomas Jesse Cole
.. Ben Cole
… Jesse Cole Jr.
…. Jesse Cole Sr.
….. Richard James Cole
…. James Cole
… Zerelda Elizabeth Cole & Robert Sallee James
.. Jesse Woodson “Jesse” James
.. Alexander Franklin “Frank” James
From the Phillip Cole Archive; The James Preservation Trust.
1. Orson Grimmet Saloon; Lander, Wyoming
2. Thomas Jesse Cole Saloon; Lander, Wyoming
3. Thomas Orson Cole; My First “Harley” 1928
At 94, Darrell L. Cave is still connected to the family of Frank and Jesse James. As was his 4th great grandfather, Rev. William Cave, back in the 18th Century.
Uncle Billy Cave, as he was called then, was exiled from Colonial Virginia as a rebel preacher. Among other rebel preachers who were known to “shove a text of scripture down your throat,” Uncle Billy entered Kentucky in a Traveling Church, together with Jesse and Frank’s grandfather, John M. James. When the Cave and James families moved on to Missouri, Uncle Billy’s grandson Uriah Cave donated land in Kearney to establish the Mt. Olivet Church.
In 2004, Darrell Cave personally dug the final resting place in Mt. Olivet’s cemetery for Jesse’s twin children, Gould and Montgomery James. Laying the twins to rest beside their parents was Jesse’s great grandson, Judge James R. Ross. Assisting the Judge was Eric James of the James Preservation Trust, who had exhumed the twins’ remains in Waverly, Tennessee, and brought them to Missouri.
In his eulogy over the twins’ grave, Judge Ross recognized the fulfillment of a promise he had made to Jesse’s son. “Today, we reunite Gould and Montgomery James with their parents. We know they are with their parents in heaven. In bringing them here, I am fulfilling a promise I made 50 years ago to their son, Jesse Jr. I am glad to have fulfilled this promise. May God grant them eternal rest.”
From the start, the re-internment of Jesse’s twins had been fraught with numerous difficulties. Darrell Cave, who had been a long time sextant of Mt. Olivet Cemetery, had his own issues about the event. Darrell was mindful of the circus atmosphere that previously surrounded the exhumation of Jesse James in his cemetery in 1995. He was not about to let another circus happen again. The hurdles Darrell Cave set up required persuasion.
As cemetery sextant, Darrell first denied the re-internment altogether. Following numerous conversations with Judge Ross, Darrell was persuaded to finally allow the wishes of Jesse’s wife Zee for reunion with her children to be fulfilled.
But Darrell had his caveats. No press would be permitted. Agreement came readily. Then Darrell insisted no cameras be present. Eric James laughed, reminding Darrell of the famous picture of Frank James standing before the gates of James Farm where a posted sign read, “No Kodaks!” Eric argued there had to be a documentary record, since historical personages were involved and the event itself was historic by nature. Darrell relented. Then Darrell insisted only one person could be in attendance. Eric and the Judge rebutted, stating the event required at least one principal and one witness. Before they provided the legal argument for why, Darrell agreed. Darrell only would allow Judge Ross and Eric James to attend.
On the day of re-internment, Eric James met Darrell Cave in person for the first time. Eric was struck by something he could only define as spiritual.
Recalling his arrival for the dis-internment of Jesse’s twins in Tennessee, Eric met the grave diggers in Waverly for the first time. One introduced himself as Robert Shadowen. Immediately Eric asked Robert for the name of his grandfather. When Robert told him, Eric said, “You’re kin to the James.” Robert denied it. Using his laptop, Eric showed Robert how Robert’s ancestral French Chaudoin family, sometimes pronounced Shadowen in America, was linked to the Mimms family, and through the Mimms to their James cousins.
In Kearney, when Darrell Cave introduced himself, his Cave surname struck a similar chord with Eric. Then Eric inquired of Darrell, “Cave family of colonial Virginia?”
Darrell responded, “Yep.”
Eric pressed, “Came into Kentucky with the Traveling Church?”
Again, Darrell responded “Yep.”
Eric pressed further, “Are you descended from Uriah Cave?”
Darrel answered, “He’s my second great grandfather.”
Eric explained his excitement to Darrel Cave. Eric pointed additionally to the fact that the dis-internment in Tennessee was assisted by Ann Yager Hamlin, a descendant in the Samuels family who also are related to the James through the outlaws’ stepfather Reuben Samuels. Hamlin represented Humphreys County as its official court witness to the exhumation. Ann Yeager Hamlin, Robert Shadowen, and now Darrell Cave had not been assembled through any conscious preplanning. Such an outcome could only be defined in the context of a spiritual event. Clearly, hands from on high were also assisting.
Back in Kentucky, Eric went to the files of The James Preservation Trust. Eric had been working on a donated archive from Mike Albright, a James relative of the Cole family from Nebraska. Eric sent a picture from the file to Darrell Cave of some Cole family children in Nebraska. A boy at the left the end of the picture was identified as “Darrell Cave.” Eric inquired of Darrell if he knew the identity of the boy Darrell Cave in the photo. Darrell responded, saying “That’s me.” Darrell then explained that, following harvest time, the Cave family usually traveled and visited with cousins. In this case, Darrell was visiting his Cole family cousins in Nebraska, who also are cousins of the James.
In 2010, the Kearney Chamber of Commerce recognized Darrel Cave and his family for their contributions to the City of Kearney.
The following obituary appeared in the Commonwealth Journal newspaper of Somerset, Kentucky on June 7, 2011:
Somerset — Lowell Gene Roy was born on June 11, 1938 in the Hickory Nut area of Pulaski County, Ky. He departed this life on June 2, 2011 reaching the age of 72, after a long illness.
He was united in marriage on October 10, 1959 to Cynthia Schafran, who survives. To this union were born four children, Martina of Dearborn, Mich., Mark of Dearborn Heights, Mich., Mike (and Gerri) of Garden City, Mich., Marlene (and Greg) of Livonia, Mich..
He was the youngest of six children born to Vola T. Roy and Myrtle Spaw Roy, who preceded him in death. He was also preceded in death by two sisters, Marcie Dye and Geneva Spencer, and one brother, Ether Roy. He is survived by one brother, Clair Lee Roy of Melvindale, Mich., and one sister, Rebecca (and Tom) Waddle of Monticello, Ky.
He is also survived by five grandchildren, Ryan, Stefanie, Brandon, Madilyn and Matthew and three great grandchildren, Samantha, Nicholas and Zachary.
He was saved as a young man and was a member of Mt. Lebanon Church in Kentucky. He joined the Army in 1958 and served two years of service to our country.
He worked most of his life as a truck driver, which he greatly enjoyed. His greatest joy was his farm back home, which he visited when he was able. He leaves a multitude of family and friends who will greatly miss him.
Funeral services were held at 9800 S. Telegraph at Howe-Peterson in Taylor with burial to follow on June 6, 2011 at Lakeside Memorial Gardens in Somerset, Ky., on West Ky. 80.
Lowell Gene Roy (1938-2011)
. Vola T. Roy & Myrtle Spaw
.. James P, Rpy & Martha Carter
… Rev. William Madison Roy & Martha Ann Shadowen
…. Samuel Shadowen St. & Sarah James
….. Rev. Joseph Martin James & Martha Betsy McAlister
…… John M. James & Clara Nalle
David Ralph James, and his son Christopher David James, know one thing for certain about their DNA. They don’t possess the Y-chromosome DNA proven to be that of their paternal James ancestors.
The problem rests with David’s great grandmother, Mary Ellen James, who was born in 1856. She also is Sam Walton’s grandmother. As most of America knows, Sam Walton founded Walmart.
When Mary Ellen James left the home of her father Reverend Daniel Field James in Pulaski County, Kentucky, she took her only child with her. William Otho James was four years old when a history of Fayette County, Kentucky, reported in 1882 that his mother was unmarried and living in Missouri.
Unknown is whether or not Mary Ellen James left her Kentucky home in disgrace. No marriage record can be found for her. Nor can any record be found to identify the father of Will Otho James. Mary Ellen made sure her son bore her own name of James.
Leaving home, Mary Ellen took Will Otho first to Joplin, Missouri. Shortly after the report in Kentucky appeared, she then moved to Johnson County, Kansas, east of Kansas City and Lee’s Summit. There Mary Ellen married Reuben Moore Lawrence. He, too, had been born in Pulaski County, two years before she was. Together, the couple then moved to Corbin, Kansas, south of Wichita, where they started a family.
After Mary Ellen bore Reuben Moore Lawrence the second of their four children, Will Otho James struck out for Indian Territory. It was 1892. He was only fourteen. He’d be twenty-one before Sam Walton’s mother, Nancy Lee Lawrence was born. It would be almost a decade before Will Otho married and started a family himself.
Will Otho and his family lived in Kingfisher and Bartlesville, Oklahoma. When his children were grown, he settled in Norman. He was a charter member of the Assembly of God church. He operated a hotel, and the Log Cabin Restaurant, where he became a local celebrity among school kids who called him Dad.
David Ralph James is the grandson of Will Otho James. His aunts and uncles visited occasionally with the Lawrence family, and knew Sam Walton personally.
Knowing his DNA is not that of his James ancestry, David and his son Chris James cannot help but wonder if their DNA isn’t that of the Lawrence family, or even that of Sam Walton’s father, Thomas Gibson Walton.
ANCESTRY OF SAM WALTON
Samuel Moore Walton, aka Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, is a great grandson of Mary Ellen James. His pedigree is as follows:
Reuben Moore Lawrence Sr. and Rebecca Moore
. Reuben Moore Lawrence Jr. and Mary Ellen James
.. Thomas Gibson Walton and Nance Lee Lawrence
… Samuel Moore Walton
IS THE FATHER OF THIS LAWRENCE MAN THE UNKNOWN PARTNER OF MARY ELLEN JAMES ?
Robert H. Lawrence shares a physical resemblance with Will Otho James, as well as with Will’s sons Otho Junior and Vern Reuben James, his nephew David Ralph James, and grandson Christoper James. Like theirs, his life has its own mysteries.
Sometime between 1886 and 1890, Lawrence killed a person in a family feud. He was convicted and sent to jail. Within a year, he escaped. He changed his name to Robert Edward Goff and fled to Oklahoma Indian Territory, where many migrants from Pulaski County, Kentucky had settled. He married, settled in Sapulpa, had six children who carried the Goff surname, after which he mysteriously died.
The grandparents of Robert H. Lawrence are Reuben Moore Lawrence Sr. and Rebecca Moore, the same as the great grandparents of Sam Walton. William T. Lawrence, who may be Mary Ellen James’ mystery man, is his father.
W. T. Lawrence was eighteen years older than Mary Ellen James. He had served the Confederacy in the Civil War. Right before the war started, W. T. married Almira Griffin, a very distant cousin of the James. When Almira died around 1884, W. T. promptly remarried to Elvira Cash by whom he had two more children, Gopher and Iona. A third child is known to have been born to W. T. Lawrence, but that child has never been able to be documented. The only information about the mystery child that the descendants of W. T. Lawrence know is that the child bore the name James.
For the Goff descendants of William T. Lawrence, knowing the DNA of the Lawrence family would be as helpful to them as it would be to the family of David Ralph and Christopher James.