Tag Archives: J. Frank Dalton

Frank James Was Framed – Remove from Frame

Two new articles about Frank James drew our attention last week. The Wild West History Association just published an informative article in their WWHA Journal, March 2017, about Frank James in Oklahoma. The article is written by Roy B. Young. The article shows Frank James was framed.

 

Frank and Jesse James-OK
Frank & Jesse James in Oklahoma by Roy B. Young

The face of the article, which is more about Frank James than Jesse James, presents an old-timey vibe, reminiscent of western pulp magazines of more than fifty years ago when sensationalism was the rage. Regretfully, the article then begins with the fake-news subject of treasure hunting for Jesse James hidden gold in Oklahoma. You have to leap past that hurdle and another hurdle at the end to get to the meat of Young’s story that is bonafide and new.

Roy B Young-framed
Author Roy B. Young

Roy B. Young employs the current rage of culling old newspapers, many now online, to tell a story either overlooked, forgotten, or not present in today’s history consciousness. Having culled most of these papers myself in their original depositories for a couple of decades, I noted a lot of familiar information in Young’s story. My forthcoming Volume IV of Jesse James Soul Liberty quintet is a biography of Frank James in his retirement years.

Informed as I think I am, Roy B. Young found lost history I did not know about. I’ve expressed my thanks to him for writing it. Nothing tickles a historian more, than learning something new he didn’t know.

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Excerpt – The Jameses decided to bid on farm land in the Indian Pasture Reserve two and a half miles northwest of Fletcher, Oklahoma just inside the southern border of Caddo County. On November 9, 1960, a Lawton newspaper announced that Frank was seen in that city with a “companion” driving a two-horse buggy “bidding a few friends goodbye on the fly and drove out of town under whip.” The article continued, “Just as the buggy rounded the curve of Fifth Street, east of the courthouse, James doft his big white sombrero so that his long gray locks fluttered in the breeze and he gave a yell as in days of old.”

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Regrettably, Young ends his well-done story of Frank James, writing about the Jesse James imposter J. Frank Dalton. Why Oklahoma feels it necessary to include fake news as a necessary component to its true history is beyond me. Sensationalism calls into question any factual or true history associated with it.

This article would have truly been a superior one had it not been for the bookends of treasure hunting and J. Frank Dalton, framing it.

Forget for now Frank James being framed in this manner. Grab the fresh history Roy B. Young now offers anyway. Then wait for Jesse James Soul Liberty, Vol. IV, Frank James in Retirement to address Young’s speculation and provide you even more unknown history about Frank James in his retirement years.

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The second article about Frank James comes from the Osage County News. Wendi Bevitt writes about the visit of Frank James to Burlingame, Kansas and the 1899 Osage County Fair.
1899 Burlingame
Burlingame Fair – 1899

Prior to writing her story, Wendi queried us about Burton Allen James, Indian Agent from the James family for the Sac and Fox Reservation. She also queried about Perry Fuller, the onetime business partner of Frank and Jesse’s uncle Thomas Martin James, whom I also wrote about in Jesse James Soul Liberty, Vol. I.

Since Volume IV of JJSL will address Frank James in his retirement, I was pleasantly surprised to read the outcome of Wendi’s article. Much of her story is focused upon Frank James in his career as a public speaker and as a race starter when he appeared in 1899 at the Osage County Fair.

Frank James-Osage County Fair
Frank James as race starter at the Osage County Fair, 1899

Like Roy Young’s reporting on Frank James, Wendi Bevitt’s article brings fresh history into view. The freshness is in the details, such as how Frank James started a race.

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Excerpt – He would stretch an immense rubber rope across the track and when the racers were at their mark, he would let the rope fly free.

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Interesting, too, is the behind the scenes arrangements of a Frank James speaking engagement. History like this has not been published before and is a welcome addition to the historical record.

WENDI BEVITT is the owner-operator of Buried Past Consulting LLC, a firm specializing archaeological surveys, historical research and report preparations for both public and private sector clients.

Jesse James Cave, located on the Sac-Fox Reservation in Osage County, Kansas, is visited by Wendi Bevitt’s children.

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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Fake Photo Reveals New Jesse James History

Jesse James in his famed pork pie hat with Larry, Curley, & Moe in Las Vegas.

Anyone who knows the history of the West probably instantly recognizes this image. When Jesse James abandoned his children and his wife and his family, he freebooted himself west to Las Vegas. Jesse had in mind to re-establish his faded and flawed career as the high wire attraction his Civil War life on the partisan trapeze had prepared him to be. Jesse fancied himself as the focus of attention by adoring vacationers who would come from all those places where formerly he had been hunted as an outlaw. He also fancied the tigers and ostrich plumed showgirls from France he expected to surrounded him and keep him safe.

In Las Vegas, Jesse was welcomed warmly by Ted Binion. Binion convinced Jesse to stop hiding his gold & hidden treasure in Oklahoma. Instead, Binion offered Jesse to stash his gold and hidden treasure inside a new machine Binion had installed in the center of his Casino for Dudes & Dudettes. Binion assured Jesse that, even though the public could see all of Jesse’s treasure through a glass window, the stash would be in the safest spot possible, because every time someone pulled the machine’s trigger to get the money, no one ever got anything out of the machine.

Ted Binion convinced Jesse James he would need an act. The Knights of the Golden Circle were due in town shortly for a secret convention in an undisclosed location. Binion knew about this from rocks with ciphered messages he had found in the desert. For all he knew, Binion said, they could be in Las Vegas already. The Knights needed to be hosted and entertained, and what the KGC liked best was inexplicable rituals. So Binion introduced Jesse James to Larry, Curley, & Moe.

As seen here, Jesse James posed with Larry, Curley, & Moe in this photograph meant to promote the new act, the image taken during Jesse’s rehearsals with the trio. Shortly after this picture was taken, the KGC informed Binion they had enjoyed the act and planned to adopt some of its features in their programs. The KGC left town as unnoticed as they had arrived.

The name of the act – Larry, Curley, & Moe, starring Jesse James – just didn’t have enough ring to draw a crowd. Once more, Jesse faced failure in his life. Having run off from everyone he knew, Jesse was alone in his world, without friends…until Binion introduced Jesse to Bugsy Siegal.

Bugsy was opening a new operation on the Las Vegas Strip. He needed some new acts. Bugsy asked Jesse, Can you sing? Only hymns, Jesse replied. No Good, said Bugsy. Can you dance, Bugsy asked. I can do a fast shuffle out of town, said Jesse. Doesn’t work me, said Bugsy. What can you do, asked Bugsy. Jesse replied, well, I’ve got this gang, or half a gang. The other half’s in prison. We rob banks. Gang, asked Bugsy. I already got a guy with a gang, named Sinatra. Finally, Bugsy Siegal advised Jesse James to leave Las Vegas, go out on the road, and work up an act. He assured Jesse, no matter if Jesse was wheeled back into his showroom on a gurney, Bugsy would hold open a spot for Jesse in his show.

So Jesse James disappeared from Las Vegas. He hit the road, disguising himself as J. Frank Dalton. Then he got the idea to make himself famous – as himself. He got some roadies, and together they wheeled Jesse all around America on a gurney, whipping up a crowd of gullible curiosity seekers. By the time Jesse James had perfected his act and felt ready to return to Las Vegas, Bugsy Siegal had been murdered. Ted Binion was dead. And Larry, Curley, & Moe were gone.

Jesse James died anonymously, as J. Frank Dalton. His show biz career never did get off the ground. But thank goodness for all those pictures of him that have survived the years. Without them, people would probably think he actually was killed by Bob Ford.