Tag Archives: Betty Dorsett Duke

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

Betty Dorsett Duke Book All Smoke, No Gun

BOOK REVIEW: Jesse James: The Smoking Gun by Betty Dorsett Duke (Betty Dorsett Duke: 2011), 337 pp., soft cover, $19.

By Nancy B. Samuelson

This is the third book written by Betty Dorsett Duke in an attempt to convince the world that her great-grandfather, James L. Courtney, was really Jesse James. Like her previous books, this one is another example of half-baked ideas, lack of scholarship, and wild imagination.

Jesse James, The Smoking Gun-book

The smoking gun is a photograph that Ms. Duke bought on e-bay. She claims this photo was taken in Texas in 1875 and is the wedding photo of Frank and Annie James with friends and family, including Belle Starr. The photograph is most likely one taken in 1888 at the time Mrs. Caroline Quantrill

(mother of the famed guerrilla leader) visited Missouri. Mrs. Quantrill was given a reception at Blue Springs, Missouri in May 1888. There was also an ice cream social held in her honor and she spent some time in September visiting with Mrs. Reuben Samuel, the mother of Jesse and Frank James. Woodcuts or sketches of Mrs. Quantrill appeared in the Kansas City Journal, the Kansas City Star, and other newspapers during her stay in Missouri. This same photo that Duke labels her “smoking gun” is currently displayed on quantrillsguerrillas.com and Mrs. Samuel and Mrs. Quantrill are identified as the two elderly ladies in the center of the photo.

There are other misidentified and questionable photos in the book as well. On page 280 there is a photo identified as Arkansas Tom Dalton. This man is, in fact, Roy Daugherty, alias Arkansas Tom Jones. He was a member of the Bill Doolin gang and was captured after the gun battle in Ingalls, Oklahoma Territory on September 1, 1893. On page 138 there is a supposed picture of Wood Hite, a cousin of Jesse and Frank James and a sometime member of the James gang. There has never been a published photo of Wood Hite as far as I know. Some time ago I contacted the Logan County, Kentucky Historical Society in an attempt to locate photos of the Hite family. The Society does not know of any photos of this family.  They did supply a couple of photos of some of the Hite graves. Several more of the photos in this book are very questionable as well.

Ms. Duke spends a great deal of space recounting all the problems with the Dr. James Starrs  exhumation and DNA testing of Jesse James in 1995. She has said most of this before, and many other people have questioned this as well, including this reviewer. Ms. Duke does add a new wrinkle in this book. She now says Stephen Caruso, Deputy Counselor for Clay County, Missouri in 1995, admits that the hair and tooth from the James Farm that was provided to Dr. Starrs was not what it was said to be. Caruso has allegedly stated that the hair provided was from the head of John Hartman the Director of Clay County Parks Department and the tooth was not from the James Farm. If this information is correct then the Starrs DNA testing was completely and totally faked.

Ms. Duke has a lot of other misinformation in her book. She claims there is no documented evidence that Frank and Jesse James lived in Tennessee. There was testimony in both of Frank James’ trials to the effect that he lived in Tennessee and was known as Ben Woodson while there. She states that Rev. Robert S. James reportedly died in a mining camp called Rough and Ready (since renamed Placerville) California.  Rough and Ready still exists today and Placerville is a completely different town.

A lot of people change identity here and there throughout the book. None of this is explained to the satisfaction of this reviewer. Quanah Parker becomes a good friend of the James boys and builds a house for them according to Duke. It is very odd that none of the biographies about Quanah Parker have ever mentioned this. Burk Burnett, Dan Waggoner, Billy Dixon and several other well known western characters are brought up in this book.  Duke claims most of these men were associated with her great-grandfather James L. Courtney. Evidence to support these claims is either lacking completely or very garbled.

Ms. Duke comes across as very paranoid in this book. She makes a lot of claims about the “James Establishment” putting her down because if the truth were known then the James Farm and some other museums would lose money. She also claims that some of these “James Establishment” people are making threats to harm her and her family.

In summary, this is another very bad book trying to prove that Bob Ford did not kill Jesse James in April 1882. Unless you find crackpot theories highly entertaining do not waste your money on this book.

RELATED STORIES

MURDER, and Betty Dorsett Duke

Betty demands blood from a great grandson of Jesse James

Betty’s true biological family refutes her claims

Betty claims Eric James & others are out to kill her

Stalkers of Famous & Infamous Families (posted July 28, 2010)

MURDER, and Betty Dorsett Duke

Betty Dorsett Duke thinks I’m out to kill her. She’s insane. Betty thinks others are out to murder her, too. Yes, she’s that insane.

Jesse James family claimant Betty Dorsett Duke
Betty Dorsett Duke

But why would anyone want to murder Betty Dorsett Duke? After all, she doesn’t exist.

In Betty’s imaginary world, she craves to own existence. Betty craves an identity of her own. More than anything, Betty craves a famous identity.

You see, Betty has no identity. She’s murdered it. And she believes she’s gotten away with the crime.

Long ago, maybe as early as childhood, Betty did away with the family she was born into. She killed them off straight away, in her mind. Betty killed her own family because she didn’t want to accept the birthright God gave her. No, God, Betty said, not your choice. My choice. I want to be the great-granddaughter of Jesse James.

Irrationality, like challenging Creation itself, Betty conveniently disregards. If indeed she was the outlaw’s great-granddaughter, Betty would be approaching 90 years old. Betty is a generation short.

“Give me your blood!”

Betty desperately craves the blood of Jesse James as her own. She once confronted a real great-grandson of the outlaw. As if performing a stick-up, Betty demanded. “Give me your blood! Right here and now!” Jesse’s great-grandson, who was a Superior Court Judge, laughed at her. He ruled his assailant was crazy.

“I can prove we’re kin.”

Another time, Betty tricked an old woman in her nineties to give Betty a vial of her blood. She told the feeble woman, “so I can prove we’re kin.” The aged woman was a true cousin of Jesse James. Betty is not.

Assaulting people is something Betty likes to do. It’s fun for Betty. It’s her occupation and recreation. After all, in Betty’s world of imagination, there are no consequences. In Betty’s mind, she’s the daughter of an outlaw. Assaults are to be expected, imaginary or not. But then, Betty decided to turn her imagination into reality.

Betty formed a gang. They could do her dirty work for her, and Betty could fly free of any consequences.  Betty manipulated a con artist who peddled fake historical photographs to be her front man. The con thought he could become famous, too, if he could just hold on to Betty’s skirt. But the world fast recognized the fool was a con man, like Betty. Somewhat confounded about what to do with her ineffectual protégé, Betty easily bought into his world of daydreams and illusory nightmares, too. Fantasy birds of a feather.

Betty wasn’t above conscripting a puerile, little boy into her gang, either. As if he was born her own, Betty adored the babyish boy who loved nothing more than to make fun of grown-ups. Betty could offer the infantile ample targets of opportunity. Over the years, Betty conscripted others into her gang. But none could survive among the lies which populate Betty’s imaginary world.

Even within her world of outlaw spirits and phantasmagorical invention, Betty continues to fantasize. If someone were to murder her, Betty hallucinates, she then can become famous. Who would be the best person to murder her? Of course. The murderer must be someone Betty believes is from Jesse’s family. Betty picked me.

With the encouragement of the silly con man and the effete boy who likes to insult grown-ups, once more Betty devises another assault. Because Betty has conspirators, Betty believes I must have conspirators, too. She assigns me a batch and then fabricates a fiction of how we’ve banded together against her.

“They’re trying to murder me.”

Betty imagines a confession of guilt is what’s needed to turn a convincing trick. She finds some hapless soul to play along in a charade he doesn’t believe himself. Betty calls the FBI. “They’re trying to murder me,” she cries. “I have evidence – a confession!” Once more, no one comes. Betty does not live in a world of facts and reality where real crimes need investigation. Betty lives in her imagination.

Frustrated, Betty appeals for recognition to the press, to TV reporters, and to the national news outlets. Betty desperately litters the internet, posting her accusation over and over. All to no avail. No one investigates her accusation. No one is interested in Betty’s concocted confession. Yet again, no one responds to Betty. Sadly and pathetically, she is not of their world.

Betty is a lonely person.  Like all who live in a world of self-made madness, Betty struggles every day with the identity she created for herself. But happiness never comes, because nobody believes Betty is a great-granddaughter of Jesse James. Certainly not her own family. They ignore Betty. Certainly not the family of Jesse James. Few of them know who Betty Dorsett Duke might be. There is no one, no one to validate the existence of Betty Dorsett Duke. She doesn’t exist.

How can anyone want to murder someone who doesn’t exist? Who is there to murder? There is no one.

ERIC JAMES

Danville, Ky. 2012

UPDATE: Betty Dorsett Duke died on August 29, 2015. Her online obituary identified her as “Betty Gail Duke,” a name she never employed when making her claim against the James family. Her claim remained unproven unto her death. Her own family continues to discredit her claim (see link below). The Jesse James family denies Betty Dorsett Duke, aka Betty Gail Duke, is their kin.

Betty Gail Duke obituary
Online obituary for Betty Gail Duke

RELATED STORIES

Betty demands blood from a great-grandson of Jesse James

Betty’s true biological family refutes her claims

Betty claims Eric James & others are out to kill her

Stalkers of Famous & Infamous Families (posted July 28, 2010)

Betty Dorsett Duke Book All Smoke, No Gun