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History Authors to Meet James-Younger Gang

James-Younger Gang-2017 Conference logo

A lineup of impressive book and history authors will welcome registrants to the annual 2017 Conference of the James-Younger Gang & family reunion.

The selected authors will focus on the conference theme, “What happened in Missouri began in Kentucky.”

Guerrilla raids and warfare, John Hunt Morgan, social culture that led to war…all vie with personal history written by family descendants about ancestors. These authors bring a unique perspective to the history of the James-Younger Gang and their families that only is found in a meeting like this.

FAMILY PERSPECTIVE AUTHORS

 

James-Younger Gang History Authors

SUE KELLY BALLARD

In My Blessed, Wretched Life, Rebecca Boone’s Story, Sue Kelly Ballard writes a captivating, gut-wrenching, story about Daniel Boone’s wife, Rebecca Ann Bryant. Rebecca and Daniel Boone are 5th great-grandparents of the descendants of Jesse James Jr. and Stella McGowan.

“Ballard captures every mood and moment of Rebecca’s life in the backwoods and on the frontier with accuracy and passion, with authenticity and beauty, and at a pace that keeps the reader diving headlong into each new page eager to swallow up what happens next… it takes a skilled frontier woman…to keep everyone and everything moving along together.”

Born in Kentucky, Sue Kelly Ballard is a Board Director of the Boone Society and co-edits the Society’s Compass newsletter. A member of the Filson Historical Society and DAR, she recently received the DAR Award for Women in the Arts. Ballard is an “army brat,” having lived in several states and overseas. Recently, she retired as a professor emerita of chemistry.

James-Younger Gang History Authors

ERIC F. JAMES

In This Bloody Ground, Eric F. James writes a leading-edge history about John M. James, the grandfather of Frank and Jesse. In the epic style of his award winning Jesse James Soul Liberty quintet, Eric draws upon a cornucopia of unexplored sources to reveal for the first time an historical record too long ignored.

This Bloody Ground steers the reader deeply into the Kentucky wilderness with John M. James and his self-exiled bunch of rebel Baptist preachers, from John’s first meeting with Daniel Boone through the resistance and trials of the American Revolution. Facing persistent Indian raids and certain death on this unforgiving frontier, John nearly loses his family. Joined by the families of Lindsay, Cole, Pence, Nalle, Scholl, Hite, Vardeman and others, all bind to one another for self-survival and self-rule. Conspirators threaten and abound.  The choice is dire. John’s selection engulfs him. Stay under a repressive Virginia, or join Kentucky to Spain. With statehood overriding, John rises as a political founder and legislative representative. But, ruin remains his destiny. Under threat of revelation, John retreats to Rogue’s Harbor (later called Logan County) to live in anonymity and a new family of his own. Facing death, John M. James still yearns for more revolution. This time, against banks.

Eric writes and publishes Stray Leaves, the official website and blog for the family of Frank & Jesse James. Volume I of his quintet was recipient of the Milton F. Perry Award.

James-Younger Gang History Authors

DAN PENCE

In I Knew Frank, I Wish I knew Jesse, and in Guerrillas and Other Curiosities, Dan Pence edits and compiles a unique personal historical record harvested by his grandfather, the author Samuel Anderson Pence. As an inveterate collector of historical minutia and as a personal friend of many among the Jesse James community, S.A. Pence presents a story with infill information that every historian writing on this subject wishes he knew.

Dan Pence is the present president of the James-Younger Gang.

James-Younger Gang History Authors

EDDIE PRICE

In Widder’s Landing, Eddie Price writes of a widow’s journey on a flatboat down the Ohio River and arrival in the unknown and bedeviling frontier of Kentucky. She faces destiny alone. The widow’s journey mirrors the arrival of Anthony Lindsay and his family. Lindsay’s young son saw only desperation in the wilderness ahead. If he did not marry a girl from the Quissenberry family on their flatboat, he never would find a wife in the wilds or have a family of his own.

Eddie’s book Widder’s Landing received the Gold medal for “Best Historical Fiction” in the 2013 Reader’s Favorite Awards. In 2015, he received the National Literary Habitat Award for “Best Historical Fiction.” Aside from being an award winning author, Eddie Price is a speaker for the Kentucky Humanities Council Speakers Bureau. His topics cover a variety of subjects, most concerning the era up to and including 1812. Soon, Eddie’s next book will be published. In An Unlikely Trio, Eddie writes about the 1913 Kentucky Derby when a thoroughbred, jockey, and breeder-trainer made racing history. In Chautauqua presentations, sponsored by the Kentucky Humanities Council, Eddie portrays jockey Roscoe Goose. For more about Eddie Price see his website.
WARFARE PERSPECTIVE AUTHORS

 

James-Younger Gang History Authors

FRANK KURON

In Thus Fell Tecumseh, Frank Kuron chronicles the battles and hardships of forces on both sides of the early-American conflict of 1812. Specifically, he targets the eighteen month period leading up to the Battle of the Thames in October of 1813 when the great Shawnee leader Tecumseh was killed. Over 160 primary accounts from diaries, newspapers, and letters of troops involved at the Thames provide the reader with the opportunity to solve the mystery now over 200 years old. How and by whose hand was Tecumseh slain? Was it Col. William Whitley, the frontier neighbor of John M. James at Crab Orchard, who killed Tecumseh?  Or, was it Richard Mentor Johnson of Ward Hall?

Frank Kuron is a lifelong resident of Toledo, Ohio. He has written history newspaper columns about the War of 1812 for the Toledo Free Press. Frank writes in a personal and engaging style, bringing to light lesser-known people, events, and the aftermaths of the war. He now is researching material for his next book about the frontier life of early America. As a board member of the Fallen Timbers Battlefield Preservation Commission, Frank encourages public awareness of this key, yet nearly forgotten, American & Native American confrontation.

James-Younger Gang History Authors

GERALD W. FISCHER

About Guerrilla Warfare in Civil War Kentucky, Gerald W. Fischer writes, “Usually when people think about guerrilla activity during the Civil War, the border conflicts between Kansas and Missouri come to mind, enhanced by tales of Quantrill’s Raiders and Bloody Bill Anderson preying upon innocent townsfolk and civilians. However, guerrilla forces roamed throughout the border states and beyond throughout the entire war. Similar tales can be found in Kentucky, the Virginias, and other areas at a time when loyalties could be found for both North and South. This is especially true for the Heartland of Kentucky…Guerrilla Warfare in Civil War Kentucky explores the real guerrilla fighters of the region, their exploits and their eventual demise, along with some of the infamous lawmen and soldiers assigned to bring them to justice.”

Gerald also has authored Battletown Witch, and co-written the book Meade County Families and History.  He blogs for the Meade County Area Chamber of Commerce, and writes a weekly history feature for the Meade County Messenger.  He is a regular contributor to the Kentucky Explorer magazine. Born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Gerald studied history, archeology and anthropology at the University of Louisville, earning two undergraduate degrees in history and anthropology.  Graduating with honors from Spalding University with an M.A. in teaching, Gerald taught school in Florida and Kentucky.

James-Younger Gang History Authors

WILLIAM A. PENN

In Kentucky Rebel Town, William A. Penn examines Cynthiana, “that infernal hole of rebellion” where John Hunt Morgan’s last Kentucky raid ended calamitously. With Morgan went the Confederacy’s best chance, as Morgan himself opined, “to hold Kentucky for months.”  Penn probes the divided loyalties and tense conflicts that wracked the picturesque Bluegrass town during four years of upheaval. Penn traces the local confrontations between Unionists and Rebels with aplomb, giving close attention to the shifting allegiances and fortunes of leading community figures.  Penn concludes that a majority of Cynthiana’s white citizens maintained their rebel sympathies throughout the war and far into its aftermath.

Penn examines topics ranging from enlistment and conscription to early confrontations over federal encampments around Cynthiana. Petty jealousies and personal rivalries animate its central characters as much as grandiose claims to Southern honor or devotion to the Union. Penn is at pains “to explore the effects of the war” on all local residents. Drawing from an impressive amount of letters, diaries, newspaper accounts, and federal records, Penn highlights the daily physical and psychological struggles that those on the home front endured and the shattering personal losses that were all too common during wartime.

William A. Penn, editor of the Harrison Heritage News, has published articles in Northern Kentucky Heritage and the Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly. He is a board member of the Historic Midway Museum, and operates its store in Midway, Kentucky.

James-Younger Gang History Authors

JAMES M. PRICHARD

Reviewers say, Embattled Capital is a must-read for students of the conflict seeking an intimate look at how the war affected life in a slave-holding border-state. The book shows that the citizens of Frankfort, Kentucky experienced a much different war. Allegiance was fluid and could change depending on who maintained power. The book’s strength lies in the author’s ability to vividly convey the city’s wartime experiences through the excellent use of primary sources.  His skill tells the story of Frankfort’s Civil War and postwar story through the eyes of the local community.

James M. Prichard is the former Research Room Supervisor at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Presently, he works in the Special Collections Department of the Filson Historical Society. He is a regular contributor to Civil War Times, North and South, and True West magazines. His essays have appeared in the Kentucky Encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Louisville, Biographical Dictionary of the Union, Heidler’s Encyclopedia of the Civil War, The Worl Encyclopedia of Slavery, Confederate Generals in the Western Theater, Kentuckians in Gray, and Virginia at War: 1863.

James-Younger Gang History Authors

RONALD WOLFORD BLAIR

Wild Wolf, The Great Civil War Rivalry is the Story of Col. Frank Wolford, the celebrated Civil War cavalier and rival of Confederate raider John Hunt Morgan. Written by Wolford’s second great-nephew, Ronald Wolford Blair, the book discusses in detail Wolford’s heroic leadership in part of more than 300 battles and skirmishes and his notable rivalry with Morgan’s Raiders during which Wolford was wounded seven times. Additional details about Wolford’s political career and personal life are reviewed, plus little-known facts about his staunch opposition and policy dispute with President Abraham Lincoln over the use of black soldiers in the Union forces.

Ronald Wolford Blair is a contributing author of the book, Kentucky’s Civil War: 1861-1865, which won a Governor’s Award, as well as the book, Kentucky Rising, written by his friends, Dr. James A. Ramage and Dr. Andrea Watkins. Ron has written for as the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Lexington Herald-Leader. He is a member of the Civil War Trust for the preservation of Civil War Battlefields. Ron also is a member of several Civil War roundtable organizations, the Kentucky Historical Society, Friends of Henry Clay, and Morgan’s Men Association, among other organizations.

What Happened in Missouri began in Kentucky

RELATED

Program for the Conference and Reunion

Registration to Attend

More Lookalike Photos From the Gene Pool

Photos appearing in lookalike galleries from the Jesse James family have proved a big success, ever since they first appeared on Stray Leaves in the late 1990’s. Whether it is comparison images of Jesse Woodson James, Jesse James Jr., Frank James, Susan Lavenia James, Rev. Robert Sallee James, the childhood photos of Mary Susan James, or Jesse’s great grandson Judge James Randall Ross, all of the lookalike photo galleries prove popular with Stray Leaves’ family,  guests, and visitors. The time has come for more.

Jesse James Jr Jesse James lookalike Ribert Salle James

With rapid changes in internet technology, and the pressing need to expand publishing to platforms that are more mobile friendly, now seems a good time to update the availability of those preciously endearing lookalike photos. We’d like to ensure they can be enjoyed everywhere.

The thought also has occurred; why not expand the   lookalike galleries, to better show the unique characteristics that are common, not only within the gene pool of the James family, but also among those who are key relevant figures to the James family  saga?

In my recent articles, here about Henrietta Younger and about Clell Miller in the James-Younger Gang Journal, the physical characteristics that appear in their family photos as genetic, are very evident. They recur generation after generation. In fact, they are so arresting that they remind us something additional should be done to mine this overlooked category of interest.

In Jesse James Soul Liberty, I advocate the recurrence of genetic personality, behavior, and character that permeates the James family, through each and every generation. That identity is the James family’s very soul of personhood, their  quintessential identity that has eluded Jesse James historians from the start. The genes that form this very soul of behavior, character, and personality, are the same genes that form the family’s physical features. The continual evolution of that physicality compels the same attention as does the family’s personhood. This is true now more than ever, as our study of the James family turns increasingly more toward DNA, family genetics common heritage, and their underlying implications for heredity and health.

Zee Mimms James ear

My article “Hey, James Family, Send Me Your Ears” is an excellent example of reader interest in this subject of lookalike photos and family genetics. This story shows up in the daily statistics as a web page of continual interest bearing a very high visitor count. The stats indicate Stray Leaves may be overlooking a key parameter for assessing the identity of the James family.

History books often rely upon illustration for telling stories. Illustrators lean heavily toward attention grabbing techniques that insert invented details. Those details may appear dramatic in rendering and succeed in securing a reader’s focus,  but seldom are they historically accurate. Such illustrations skewer historical fact. Nowhere is this more evident than in every reality TV program ever produced. Note: I said reality TV program, not documentary history or documentary film.

However, an historic photo that is reliable and true does not distort history, unless, of course, the photo is fraudulent. In fact, when relevant and factual images appear together to tell a story, the image enhances history and the understanding of it. The history is rendered better. An illustration may enhance a reader’s imagination, but the use of a photographic image does the same with accuracy and reliability. Of course, this does not pertain to photoshopped images.

An underlying goal of Stray Leaves and of Jesse James Soul Liberty is to dispel mythologies. A primary objective is to wipe out the chronic myth-making or fictionalization and revisionism that plagues the history of Jesse James and stalks his family. Here, we identify and call out the fraudsters and con artists who lie. We put media on the chopping block, when media feeds the public pabulum instead of the nutritious sustenance of truth and facts. In every effort, we intend and strive to be historically accurate and correct, whether it be in the hundreds of thousands of genealogical details appearing in the SURNAMES database, the history featured in our stories or in blog posts or commentary.

A decision has been made. As our SURNAMES genealogy research formerly expanded beyond the core of the James family alone to include research into their in-law families, and by a third-level extension to include research into those individuals who form the social communities of the James, the James family lookalike galleries now will be expanded to include those additional levels, too.

Watch for the upcoming post “Cole Younger’s Lookalike Gene Pool.”

Sons of Liberty Take History Channel to the Woodshed

History logoHistory, the network for male entertainment formerly called the History Channel, is taking steps not be chastised again for producing bogus historical accounts. The effort appears as honest as a baby step.

The website for its upcoming mini-series Sons of Liberty sports a link called the “Historian’s View.” Therein lays History Channel’s disclaimer. “SONS OF LIBERTY is a dramatic interpretation of events that sparked a revolution. It is historical fiction, not a documentary.” So much said for History to set the record straight, but is it?

join or die-sons of liberty

Apparently not enough, for The Journal of the American Revolution. The Journal ‘s TV reviewer Thomas Verenna got an early preview of Sons of Liberty. He was drowned by the network in a sea of promotional material. Despite the appearance of credentialed historians in the series, Verenna observed, “Understandably, one might get the impression from these sneak peeks that this is some sort of docu-drama. Well, it’s not that at all. You have to dig a bit to find it (it’s never explicitly stated in the trailers or promotional content)… actually, it’s more of an alternate history…”

Sons of Liberty logo

Over the years, we’ve taken History to the woodshed a number of times, recently in 2013 for “making [up] history every day” regarding productions relating to Jesse James. Challenging History has stopped it from producing more Jesse James fictional invention. Realistically, though, we expect the network will continue to develop more fictional entertainment around Jesse in the future. Jesse James is too appealing just to give up.

Unfortunately, neither historians of Jesse James, nor historians. in general, carry the political clout of the family of John F. Kennedy, as we reported. The Kennedy clan effectively put a cease and desist order on the network with only the threat of going to court. History has since dropped any proposals altogether of producing fictional history around the personage of President John F. Kennedy.

Journal of the American Revolution

The Journal admits that the production values of the mini-series are pretty good. The show is entertaining. But the show also is flawed, sufficiently enough to warrant a lengthy list of fact checking on its historical facts. The Journal breaks down each episode here, as we’ve done here in the past.

Nothing would please us better than, not to be the guardian of the History Channel’s truancy. If only the network had changed its name from the History Channel to Wishful History. Then there would be no need to disclaim its productions. As it persists in its brand of flawed, interpretative, alternate, or downright bogus history, the network and its productions must continue to be monitored for a chronic lack of integrity masquerading as an authority.

Sons of Liberty principals

Stray Leaves Has a New SURNAMES Genealogy Database

The new “official genealogy” database for the family of Frank & Jesse James is gigantic. Researchers now will have more paths of discovery to kinship relationships, not only with America’s iconic outlaws, but also with presidents, office holders & public servants, famous arts & cultural icons, and business behemoths who changed the nation.

surnames
The Stray Leaves SURNAMES genealogy database

It’s been a decade since the popular SURNAMES genealogy database on Stray Leaves was last updated. While visits to the database rose as high as 55,000 daily, its content was replicated across the internet. Meanwhile, new research did not stop growing the database.

Eric F. James has compiled the SURNAMES database since 1997. “Most genealogists only research their own family surname. So did I – in the beginning. But soon I learned that the in-law families of the James knew more about the James than the James knew about themselves. So I started to research the genealogy of the in-law families just as much, if not more. That’s when the explosion came.”

The more his research expanded, the more the names of other historical American icons entered his genealogy. “In 2002, when I showed Judge James R. Ross, Jesse’s great grandson, my findings about his previously unknown ancestry, he was not so surprised. James family lore historically foreshadowed his relationship to the French Bourbon Kings, but never to Judah, the King of Judea. As a lifelong Democrat, though, Judge Ross was dumbfounded completely to find himself related to the Presidents Bush.”

One research discovery now produces more controversy for the James than does their relationship to outlaws. “In today’s social climate, what can you say when you find out Wal-Mart’s founder Sam Walton is your cousin?” As Eric F. James is called upon often to defend kinship with the criminal career of Jesse James, he’s just as often called upon to defend the business practices of Wal-Mart. James thinks he found the perfect answer, though. “I simply tell people this when I request the family discount at WalMart, I never receive it.”

data transfer
Upload of the SURNAMES database began January 23rd, and continued to upload over 100,000 new web pages around the clock until 2 a.m. January 28, 2014.

Stray Leaves’ new SURNAMES database expects to serve more than just genealogists and family historians. The database now includes 273,469 people, in 94,761 family groups, almost double the size it was before. “It got that way,” James says,” because a third tier of research was added. Beyond the James family and their in-laws, I also explored the relatives of the in-laws of the James. That’s when a lot of new James family history was discovered.”

The third tier of research led Eric F. James in unexpected directions and down pathways he never would consider taking before. “Soon, not only was the genealogy piling up, but a lot of new history, previously unknown, was revealing itself, too.

“That’s when it became necessary to start writing the history of the Jesse James family. I had to explain with more than just a skeletal genealogy format what happened with the James, with whom, and why. That’s also why his book Jesse James Soul Liberty is just the first of five volumes to be published in the coming years. Volumes of new history have emerged from the genealogy. “I could write more than just five volumes.”

“The new SURNAMES database includes many of the characters who populate my history books. Readers will be able to go to the database, and clearly see the relationships, how they went back generations, and why their existence was not so surprising after all. The James family were not isolated. The James were part of a large influential community, that cut its path across America together, all the time creating the fundamental identity of America and what it stands for in the institutions they founded, that still hold sway and influence in American life today.”

surnames
List of surnames appearing in the Stray Leaves SURNAMES genealogy database
Book author Eric F. James
Eric F. James, historian, genealogist, compiler and publishers of the Stray Leaves SURNAMES genealogy database

What will another decade hold for the SURNAMES database? “Believe it or not, the database had to be cut back about 15% in order for the software to compute and report kinship. The process of very selective trimming took almost two years. The database continues to grow exponentially. In the future, there may be more than one gigantic database. There may be many databases that will be all interlinked.”

James adds, “My time for this may be running its course. The next stage probably will be handled by someone younger, coming up behind me. I love everything I’ve learned hanging out with the dead. But, really, I’ve got to get up from this desk.”

Rita Coolidge Dedicates Cherokee History in Kentucky

Thanks to Cherokee descendant Rita Coolidge for signing my book, Jesse James Soul Liberty, for our James family cousin, Mark C. New. In addition to being a James cousin, Mark is also a 6th great-grandson of Cherokee Chief Doublehead and his daughter Princess Cornblossom. Rita signed the book to Mark “with love.”

Rita Coolidge in Stanford, Kentucky 2013
Singer & Cherokee Descendant, Rita Coolidge

On this chilly, drizzly morning of October 19, 2013, I was pleased to be among the two hundred or more. We warmly welcomed Rita Coolidge to Stanford, Kentucky. Here she dedicated an historical highway marker to the memory of her Cherokee ancestry. The Cherokee were among the earliest people to occupy this part of Kentucky together with the Shawnee.

The audience for Rita Coolidge in Stanford, Kentucky 2013

Coolidge recounted stories told to her by her Kentucky grandparents. In school, she recounted being taught how America was founded by Columbus. At home, she was taught a longer history of her own descent from Native-American people. They were present in America before Columbus. The two histories she learned couldn’t be more different. Her parents at home in Tennessee told her much more other kids never learned in school.

Rita Coolidge addresses the citizens of Lincoln County, Kentucky about her Cherokee heritage 2013
Rita Coolidge before the Lincoln County, Kentucky Courthouse

Rita sang us a Cherokee song she learned. Her ancestors chanted the song as they walked the Trail of Tears to their exile in distant Oklahoma.

Her friendship with today’s Cherokee Chief of the West in Oklahoma recently informed her, “If Andrew Jackson knew how pretty Oklahoma was, we never would have got it.”

Rita Coolidge dedicates an historical marker in Lincoln County, Kentucky to Cherokee heritage
Rita Coolidge Dedicates Historical Marker to Cherokee History

After the dedication, Rita Coolidge took some time to meet and talk with many of her admirers and many Kentuckians with whom she shares Cherokee heritage. She also signed a copy of my book for our James cousin Mark C. New, who also has Cherokee ancestry. Mark’s 6th great-grandfather is Cherokee Chief Doublehead

And guess whose camera batteries died right when it was time to have his picture taken with the beloved singer? I’ll never make that mistake again.

Rita Coolidge autographs Jesse James Soul Liberty for a James family member with Cherokee ancestry

Mark C. New was unable to attend with me. He is a funeral director in Burkesville, Kentucky, and had two burial services on the day of the dedication.

Among the family, Mark is best known for the annual family reunion he holds at his family’s homestead in Science Hill, Kentucky, every year on Memorial Day. The hayride to the nearby cemetery is a big hit with the youngsters who get to meet the ancestors in the cemetery about whom all the grown-ups were heard talking.

JAMES & CHEROKEE PEDIGREE OF MARK C. NEW

Chief Chuqualataque, “Doublehead” & Taltsuska, Cherokee

.. George Jacob Troxell & Cornblossom, Cherokee

… James William Vaughn & Elizabeth Troxell

…. Merritt Bergin Matthews & Elizabeth Vaughn

….. Dupree Denney & Matilda Matthews

…… John Perry New & Cecelia Jane Denney

……. Dellas E. New & Sarah Ethel Nevils

…….. Ernest Edwin New & Janice C. James

……… MARK C. NEW

……. Janice C. James & Ernest Edwin New

…… Fred O. James & Hazel Adams

….. John Perry James & Lydia Crow

…. Judge John Thomas James & Patience Jenkins

… Rev. Joseph Martin James & Permellia Estepp

.. John M. James & Clarissa Nalle

Amazon Highlights “Incorrect Facts” Discrepancy

Amazon.com seized upon the discrepancy between a 2-star review and a 5-star review for Jesse James Soul Liberty as written by two Amazon customers. A third Amazon customer asked the same question of the writer of “Incorrect facts” that I did. Below is my personal reaction to the issue, that also was posted to Amazon’s observation of discrepancy.

amazon comments

Some might expect an author to become argumentative about criticism like this. I will not bite the hand that fed me.

On the day after Virginia J. Church posted her criticism here, I emailed her as follows:

“Hi Virginia, I was shocked to read your Amazon review of my book, copied here…I would have thought if you had any disagreement with the facts as written that you would have presented them to me directly, so they could be corrected promptly. I certainly don’t mind any critique of presentation, ideas, typos, etc. but to criticize facts as you did is devastating to a history book and its prospects for being read.

“This book is built upon facts. I have worked very hard and very diligently to be both accurate and correct. I respectfully request that you provide a list of each and every fact with which you take issue. I will make every effort to correct it.” – To this, I have received no response.

I also sent the same invitation to Virginia’s daughter, the author and publisher Jacqueline Church Simonds, who had posted a favorable supportive review of my book here but then deleted it following her mother’s review.  I have received no response from her either.

I posted my assessment of this issue on the James family’s official blog Leaves of Gas. I acknowledged the following to its community of James family, book readers, and subscribers.

“I was pleased to have the cooperation of my Amazon critic, Virginia J. Church. In our written interviews, she provided valuable history about her part of the James family. She also provided photographs not seen before. Researching her content independently afterward, most everything she offered checked out as true. What could not be verified was left out of the book. Our relationship, I thought, was cordial, constructive, and friendly. I take pride in the James family who participated in my book, and the relationships with them that have resulted.”

Two days before Virginia posted her comment, I accepted the Milton F. Perry Award for this book, in which I shared the award with those members of the James family who contributed so generously to the book. This also included Virginia Church. My acceptance was shared with them on Leaves of Gas also. Anyone can read it.

Whatever criticism Virginia or her daughter may have about me is irrelevant. What is relevant is the facts of their family history. My invitation to Virginia and her daughter remains open. However, if they are indifferent to the invitation or give no response, it can only be assumed that their concern is not sufficiently meaningful enough to call for being any more accurately depicted. If they allow the history to stand as written, it is their determination.

As I’ve stated publicly, the James family made this book. It is their words, their interviews, their memoirs, etc. that documents their history.  I’ve been privileged to compile this ground- breaking history, give it context, and offer analysis. Someday my interviews with Virginia Church and others in the book will make their way into a public archive, available to anyone. Meanwhile, readers may contact me directly through our various websites. I stand ever ready to discuss whatever questions or criticisms comes the way of this book.