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Jesse James, Lost Treasure, & the Golden Circle – Where’s the Beef?

BOOK REVIEW: JESSE JAMES AND LOST TREASURES OF THE KNIGHTS OF THE GOLDEN CIRCLE by Dr. Roy W. Roush, Ph.D., (Front Line Press: 2010, 81 pp., soft cover, $24.90.)

By Nancy B. Samuelson

Jesse James and Lost Treasures

The author claims he has a BA in Journalism, and a Ph. D in Biblical Archaeology. He also claims to have been a Professor at UCLA and Los Angeles City College and to have been a technical writer of Pilot Handbooks for numerous Aerospace Companies for years. Maybe-so ——but none of those qualifications are apparent in this 81 page (8 ½ x11”pages) book. Further 24 of those pages are either filled with full page photos or illustrations or left entirely blank.

There are no notes, no bibliography and no evidence that the author has any acquaintance with any serious history of either the Knights of the Golden Circle or of Jesse James. The author was associated with Del Schrader, a reporter, who wrote, Jesse James Was One of His Names [see this reviewer’s article, “The Ten Most Bizarre Books About Jesse James “, in the August 2010 WWHA Journal.] Orvus Lee Howk aka Jesse James III was another associate of the author of this book.

The first part of the book centers on the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC). It is stated that the KGC was organized in 1835 by Senator John C. Calhoun and others in Lexington, Kentucky. All of the literature I have read on the KGC credits George Bickley as the founder. So far as I can determine, John C. Calhoun had nothing to do with the KGC. Bickley started it in Cincinnati in 1854 as a filibustering society. By 1860 the KGC was used to promote secession. The author claims the KGC survived the War, planned to finance another Civil War, collected treasure of all sorts toward this end, and etc. etc. Jesse James is, of course, a member of the KGC and hid some of the treasures for the group. We are then treated to all sorts of hints about how to locate the treasures, and warned that some of the treasure is guarded by sentinels and booby trapped.

Bob Ford did not kill Jesse James. As evidence the author presents a blow-up of a photo of Ford where he claims Ford has his fingers crossed. This is said to be proof that he did not shoot Jesse James. There are a couple of pages of drivel trying to prove that Zerelda Samuel lost her left arm, not her right arm, when the Pinkertons raided the James-Samuel farm in 1875.

The real proof of the pudding is the man in Lawton in 1948—J. Frank Dalton! Several J. Frank Dalton photos are reproduced, including the one of him posing with Al Jennings. J. Frank Dalton’s name is explained as follows” The “J” stands for “Jesse”, the “F” for “Frank”, his brother, and the “Dalton” from his mother’s maiden name—nice deduction since her maiden name was Cole. One other ridiculous claim was to state that the James and Younger boys were first cousins and their mothers were sisters. The mother of the Youngers was a Fristoe.

Utter nonsense! Give this one a pass unless you collect such stuff.

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John William James – James Family Banker

Crab Orchard Cemetery, Lincoln County, Kentucky. The highest rise to the left is King’s Mountain, named after the Battle of King’s Mountain in which John M. James fought together with so many of the American revolutionaries who migrated to Lincoln County, Kentucky in the later 1700s.

From: Interior Journal, Stanford, Ky. March 2, 1906

Obituary of Mr. J. W. James

Crab Orchard, Ky. Feb 27, — on February 25th, near the somber hour of midnight, the noble and generous spirit of J. W. James, the noblest man that ever lived in all the tide of Time, took its flight from his elegant home to a far more splendid mansion in the skies.

He was not yet 45 and no man, not even his lamented father, the late G. W. James, will be so sadly missed by the poor and humble. He has had many work hands in his service, and when any servant or ex-servant died, he always gave him appropriate burial at his own expense. When some poor black woman, sick and out of coal and provisions, both would be sent at his own expense in his own wagon.

Tombstone of John William James 1861-1906

On one occasion, a poor destitute man, (William Kidd) with a withered arm, passing his place of business with an empty meal sack on his shoulder, and a coffee-sack in which he had three hens, the only property he had in the world, stopped in to warm. Willie said, what have you there, Bill, a “possum”? No. How are “possums”? Mighty scarce. How are times with you? Might hard. I have in my coffee-sack my only three hens. The only things I have in the world. I am taking them to the store to buy me some meal and coffee. Look here at this paper and see what your hens are worth in the market – 68 cents a piece. Take them back home to lay you some eggs, and take this dollar to buy you some coffee and meat, and take your meal sack up to my miller and tell him to fill it as full of meal as he can tie it. He gave more to preachers, churches, Sunday schools, Christmas trees, and to feed and clothe the poor, than any other man in Lincoln county.

Alas! how sad that one who had so often fed the hungry, should die hungry himself-because he could not eat! His donations to churches, Sunday schools, and to charity amounted annually to the hundreds.

Frank Brooks said on the train today, “The death of Will James is the breaking up of the noblest family that ever lived in Lincoln county.” His place here can never be supplied. His fortune was ample, his cash capital in the thousands, and his pockets always full to meet the demands of the borrower and the beggar. How much better this than millions to libraries for ostentation only, which do not benefit the poor people.

I never saw such universal sorrow expressed in all ranks of life. At his burying were the proud aristocrats and the poor tenant, working men and their wives and their little children shivering in the snow. At Stanford, Monday morning, much grief was expressed by such men as Cicero Reynolds, County Clerk George L. Cooper, and the editor of the Interior Journal, all of whom had business relations with him.

He was for some time clerk in the J. B. Owsley bank in Stanford, and was a devoted friend of this venerable financier, whose confidence he enjoyed. He was educated at Georgetown College, and though not gifted with the divine inflatus of lofty oratory, yet in a debate in that college when no doubt, he was competing with the Georgetown or Lexington bar, he took the prize of discussing whether or not circumstantial evidence should be admitted in courts. His side of the debate was the affirmative. He was a fluent talker, an excellent penman, and an accurate and rapid accountant. He was the fond idol of his mother and his relatives, male and female, loved him to idolatry. His aunt, Mrs. M. V. Stigler adored him as her own darling “Willie.” Deceased was twice married. His first wife was Mattie Owsley Evans, daughter of the late George W. Evans, and his present wife was Margaret, daughter of the noble old Scotchman, the late John Buchanan. His wives were both most excellent women of the first families, and his last wife is noted for her domestic qualities. Lik the great Washington, the deceased left no children, but all the poor of this community will ever regard him as a father, brother, and friend. His grand old father, G. W. James, and devoted mother, Lizzie P. James, preceded him to the tomb years ago. He leaves a most devoted wife to mourn his untimely death. His sisters, Mrs. Louanna Holdan, of Stanford, Mrs. Scott, of Somerset, and Mrs. Berta Morris, of Crab Orchard, are broken hearted with grief, fresh wounds no time can heal; and he left male and female relatives and friends who will never cease to mourn for him who never gave cause to mourn before. He was in many qualities the grandest man that ever moved in the track of time. Brave and noble, gallant and true! His poor little niece, Sue Beth James, and nephew, George Andrew James, dual orphans, whose father gave his life in service as a soldier in the far away Philippines, came up from Stanford to mingle their tears of the grave of the dear departed. All relatives and friends who are good enough will meet him again. Oh, shall we not strive to do so!

Tombstone of John William & Margaret Buchanan James

Rev. O.M. Huey made most beautiful and appropriate remarks at the residence to the large crow assembled there, which at first fanned the flames of grief in talking of the noble dead and cruel Death, til it was almost unbearable, but at the close, with his soft expressions (sic) and beautiful language, he assuaged our grief to soft, soothing, sacred billows of sorrow, which we hope will softly slumber there forever!

One by one our friends depart,
Who has not lost a friend?
There is no union here of hearts,
But that union has an end.
Farewell, dear Willie, we leave three
With the new-fallen snow for a winding sheet,
And cold, bleak winter for a bier;
And every clod beneath the mourner’s feet
Moistened with a tear.

FONTAINE F. BOBBITT

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PEDIGREE

John William “Willie” James 1861-1906 & Margaret Buchanan 1867-195-
. George W. James 1823-1888 & Elizabeth R. “Lizzie” Bobbitt 1841=1896
.. Rev. Joseph Martin James 1791-1848 & Martha “Betsy/Patsy” McAlister 1795-Bef.1930
… John M. James & Clara Nall

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RELATED BANKERS among the James family.