Tag Archives: Aboriginal

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

Our American-Aboriginal Family – The Love Story of Robert Lee James & Susan Anne Syron

PREFACE: Who would believe that the family of Frank & Jesse James had cousins with origins in the Aboriginal outback of Austrailia? The idea is unimaginable, despite the fact that the brothers’ uncle, Drury Woodson James, married a woman who came to California from Austrailia. Uncle Drury’s wife, Maria Louisa Dunn, however, was of Irish ancestry.  Today, new research documents that our American-Aboriginal family is not just a fanciful imagining. It is fact. The love story of Robert Lee James & Susan Anne Syron extends the diversity of the Jesse James family further than known while continuing to offer unique insights into our James family character and persona.

Our American-Aboriginal Family

The Love Story of

Robert Lee James  & Susan Anne Syron

By Elizabeth Lee James-Brown, their daughter

 

Robert Lee James-Susan Anne Syron
Bob & Sue, Robert Lee James & Susan Anne Syron

Sometime in 1969, my parents Robert Lee James and Susan Anne Syron met in Sydney, Australia. Like other military in the Vietnam War, the U.S. Army sent Robert to Sydney for R&R – rest and relaxation. He was twenty-four. At twenty-six, Susan was older than Robert. They were just two young people about in the city to have a good time.

When Robert was a teenager, his grandfather, John Oliver James, called Jack, adopted him and his younger brother George. Jack’s daughter Virginia abandoned her two sons. The brothers lived in Midland, Texas with Jack and his second wife, Goldie White. Jack’s first wife, Dimples Hite, was Virginia’s mother.  Although they were not affectionate people, Jack and Goldie provided well for Robert and George.  Interaction with extended family was limited to holidays and special occasions.

Robert joined the army straight from college, intending to make military service his career. During his second tour of Vietnam and his visit to Sydney, he was considerably older than many of the other servicemen at the time. He served with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment -“Blackhorse Regiment”.

Jack Oliver James visits his boyhood home at age 86.
Commonwealth Journal, Somerset, Kentucky, 1983. At age 86, Bob’s grandfather John Oliver James 1897-1987 visited his boyhood home in Shopville east of Somerset. The home was built by his own grandfather, and Bob’s 2nd great-grandfather, the “talented, but erratic” Rev. Joseph Martin James 1791-1848. Read the entire text of  “On the road again”  HERE.

Susan was the youngest of eight children in her family. She grew up in the inner city suburbs of Sydney. Houses were close together and so were the people. Her godmother lived next door. The extended family visited often. Susan spent time daily with her mother and siblings, even as an adult. Susan’s mother was an English migrant. When she came to Australia, Australians called them £10 POM’s, slang for English people who paid £10 for boat fare from England to Australia.

Flag of the Biripi Nation
Biripi Nation Flag

Susan’s father was an Aboriginal man from the Biripi Nation. According to a Biripi historian, before Anglo contact, Biripi women kept the history of their lives. Today, many still do. Healing sick children were the job of Biripi women. Aboriginal women took their children into the bush to teach them about medicine. They taught children to observe and mimic rather than to question. Kin relationships among Biripi were complex. Every known and unknown Aboriginal person had a relationship with everyone else. Biripi women kept alive their bitter history of dispossession and oppression by their colonizers.

When Susan met Robert, Susan was working in customer service at the David Jones Department Store. She also was an usherette part time at Hoyts Town Theater.

Susan Comes to The U.S.

Robert and Susan were married on September 20, 1969, in Kings Cross, Australia. In 1970 when Robert returned from Vietnam, Susan met him in San Francisco. They drove to Kentucky where Robert was based at Fort Knox, as a drill sergeant. Robert and Susan bought a house trailer and lived off base in a trailer park in Radcliff. Later, they bought five acres of land and moved there.  Soon after, Robert’s brother George was sent to live with Robert and Susan. George then was about age fourteen.

Betty Syron Alchin-Pauline Waddington- Susan Syron James
Betty Suron-Alchin (L), Pauline Waddington (C), Susan Syron James (R)

Susan soon was pregnant. She gave birth to a healthy girl, me. I was born in February of 1971 in Ireland Army Hospital on Fort Knox army base. I was named Elizabeth after my Aboriginal grandmother, Susan’s mother Lizzie. My middle name of Lee comes from my father, Robert.

While Susan was extremely homesick for her Aboriginal family and Australian homeland, all other things seemed well and good. Living in America was a very different lifestyle for Susan. Not only was it the other side of the world in another country, there were multiple cultural differences, too. Army culture for one. White versus black culture in America for another. The only family that Robert had in Kentucky was his Aunty Catherine, who we called ‘Annie’ as that was how the children pronounced aunty and her brother Uncle Lee. Robert and Susan regularly had Sunday lunch with Annie and Lee.

In early 1974, Robert was posted to Germany for peacekeeping duty. He refused to take Susan and me. Robert believed that women and children had no place in another country in such times, and said so strongly. Susan felt very alone and isolated. The way she put it was, “I was alone with two kids, miles from the nearest neighbor, in a house trailer, on the top of a hill in tornado season.” Late one night, Susan called her mother and burst into tears. Her mother asked each of Susan’s brothers and sisters to contribute what they could to pay for airfare for Susan and me to come to Australia. When Robert would return from Germany, Susan planned she and I would go back to the States

My Big Trip andAboriginal Family

Now it was September of 1974. I remember much of the travel from America to Australia, although I was only three years old. I remember feeling very sad. Mum agreed that I did cry quite a lot. I cried for “my Annie” and told everyone who spoke to me that my daddy is in “Germawee.” I had a deep southern American accent and my family back in Australia laughed when I spoke.

Libby James-Brown
Elizabeth Lee James-Brown, daughter of Bob & Sue Syron James

My Australian grandmother Lizzie wrote to Annie in Elizabethtown, Kentucky at some stage. I think Lizzie must have appreciated that Annie and Lee accepted Susan and me as their family. Annie and Lee were simple and kind people. Susan loved Annie and Lee very much. Susan spoke of a conversation where Robert said that Jack had not realized that Susan was Aboriginal and he didn’t think that Jack would be happy if he knew. Lee said, “Robert did you marry who you wanted to?” Robert said, “Yes, sir!” And Lee said, “Well I reckon that’s all that matters, then.”

Susan and I arrived in Australia with a suitcase of clothes between us. We had nowhere to live, and we owed our airfare to Susan’s family. We stayed with Grandmother Lizzie for some time, until one of Susan’s brothers told Susan, “Mamma’s too old to live with a small child.” We then lived with Susan’s sister, my Aunt Betty, for a while until our welcome was worn out there too. Susan and I moved on to another sister, my Aunt June and our welcome was soon worn out again. The problem was simple. Susan needed to pay back the cost of our airfare before we could afford to pay rent. Susan’s minimal wages as a barmaid were just not enough.

Sue Syron Jasmes with grandchildren Desmyn, Leeroy, Marlyn, and Adina Brown

Until I was about ten, I had thought George was my brother. No one told me otherwise. I just assumed this because he was there when I was born and he was there when we left Kentucky. My mother was horrified to think I believed she had left her child behind. I think I thought that he stayed with our father. She later told me that she spoke to Jack and asked permission to bring George to Australia with us. Jack refused and George stayed with Annie and Lee in Kentucky. I guess when Susan did not return to the U.S., George eventually was sent back to Jack and Goldie in Texas.

In 1977, doctors diagnosed Grandmother Lizzie with terminal cancer. Susan wanted to be with her family until Lizzie died. Robert was not pleased about this.  In 1978 before Lizzie died, Robert and Susan divorced. Afterward, Robert married twice more. Susan never remarried. She bought a house; and, in female Aboriginal tradition, she fostered over 100 Aboriginal children, for thirty-five years until she passed away in 2015.

I believe that the only real issue within the relationship between Robert and Susan was one of cultural difference.

My Life Moves On

My father’s contact with me was intermittent and very much influenced by his second and third wives. He also focused obviously on his lost relationship with Susan. Robert had long conversations with Susan, but short conversations with me. Our conversation often went like, “Daddy loves you pumpkin, now put mommy on.”

Elizabeth Lee James-Brown with children Marlyn, Desmyn, Leeroy and Adina Brown
Author Libby James Brown with her children Marlyn Bruce Ronald, Desmyn Francis Gregory, Leeroy James Peter, and Adina Sussanne Vite Brown. Patronymic James family names were applied. Sue Syron is honored particularly by the double “ss: in Adina’s name.

I did not see my father again until I was 30 years old. Contact between Susan and Robert was lost during Robert’s divorce from his third wife Geraldine, particularly after an incident where Gerri called Susan accusing her of being the reason that her marriage to Robert was failing. Susan called Robert, saying please keep your drunken wife off my phone. An argument ensued. Then, contact ceased for the next 10 years. About a week before I was to be married, Susan called local police in Texas asking that a message is delivered to Robert to urgently contact Susan. However, this message was never received by Robert.

I had finished high school at a local public school and in 1991 started as an administration trainee at a government television station, the Special Broadcasting Service. By 1994, I had bought a house and attended university part-time in 1995. At university, I met Craig Brown, an Aboriginal man from the Gumbainggir tribe. We were married in 1997.

Craig "Cbt" Brown
Craig “Cbt” Brown , Libby’s husband, with daughter Adina and friends

Although a doctor diagnosed me with cervical cancer, I was concerned that treatment might affect my ability to have children. However, we had four children in quick succession. Marlyn Bruce Ronald Brown was born in October 1996, Desmyn Francis Gregory Brown was born March 1998, Leeroy James Peter Brown was born January 1999 and Adina Sussanne Vite Marie Brown was born February 2000.

After the birth of Adina, I searched for Robert again. In all the years since Robert and Susan separated, Susan never spoke badly to me about my father. I asked Susan where she thought Robert might be. Susan foreshadowed, “He won’t be well. Vietnam will have impacted his health. Look near army hospitals.” Susan knew Robert first had tested positive and subsequently inconclusive for Agent Orange maybe around 1987 to 1989.

Susan Syron James with grandchildren-2013
Sue Syron James in 2013 at age 70 with her grandchildren.

In 2000, the internet was primitive but helpful. I so recall the dial up sound. With four children under age four, it was often very late at night when I sat down to search for my father Robert. What I found was the old address: 1200 Alpine Way in Midland and a phone number. Could it really be this easy? This was the address were Robert and George grew up. it was the home of John Oliver James, where Jack died. Jack built this house. He lost in a bankruptcy. He bought it back. Robert inherited this house. Robert fought Gerri for this house during their divorce.

I called the phone number. To my surprise, it rang; but it rang out. Again the following night, I stayed up due to the time difference. Into the wee hours, I called and called again. Finally, I told Susan that I had been calling for a week. Susan said, “Why don’t you let me call? You don’t need to be awake all night.”  Two weeks later, Susan called me and said, “Sit down…I spoke to your father.”

Robert “On the road again”

Funeral of Susan Syron James. Sue passed away March 15, 2015. Elizabeth James Brown with her husband Craig Onan “Cbt” Brown, and their children, the grandchildren of Sue and Bob James.

Through tears of joy, I asked question after question. Susan laughed as she told me how Robert proposed to her on her call, and quite seriously too. The big news was that Robert was terminally ill. He had lung cancer. The reason there was no answer for three weeks was, Robert was driving trucks for the

The big news was that Robert was terminally ill. He had lung cancer. The reason there was no answer for three weeks was, Robert was driving trucks for the Landspan trucking company. He was on the road for twenty-eight days. He was back in Midland for only four days, then back out again. When in Midland, Robert would see his oncologist on Monday morning, do chemotherapy treatment on Tuesday, and go back on the road on Thursday evening. Robert had been doing this for two to three years. Now, Robert owned his home. He had no debt, expect a store account for his furniture.

I called Robert. He agreed to send me money to come to Midland. After a conversation with my husband Craig, we agreed I also would take Robert’s first-born grandchild, our son Marlyn who was age four.

Robert Lee James-Susan Anne Syron wedding photo
Wedding photo of Bob and Susan Syron James, November 9, 1969, King’s Cross, Sydney, Australia

I and Marlyn visited Robert in late July of 2001. The following Christmas, Susan also visited with Robert. Susan was concerned that Robert would not be alone for Christmas. She thought correctly. It may be his last Christmas. Robert was very honest about his intentions in paying for Susan to come visit. Susan had said it was obvious that Robert was still trying to win her back.

On the 14th of December 2002, Robert passed away after a long and brave fight. He is buried in the Resthaven Memorial Park cemetery in Midland Texas where his father Jack is buried. In Robert’s dying days he proposed to Susan again, which she refused with a laugh, saying, “I did that once before and it didn’t work”. My father once told me that divorcing my mother was the greatest mistake he ever made.

 

  • Leeroy James Brown
    Leeroy James Peter Brown - Heart Throb