Tag Archives: KGC

Knights of the Golden Circle Exposed

BOOK REVIEW: Baker, L. C., The Ones That Got Away: Knights of the Golden Circle Exposed (no publication information given) pp.177, some photos and illustrations, no endnotes, bibliography, or index. ISBN 978149959393, soft cover $14.99

By Nancy B. Samuelson

Book jacket: The Ones That Got Away, Knights of the Golden Circle ExposedThe Knights of the Golden Circle seems to attract all kinds of strange people and theories. This book, indeed, contains some strange theories and a lot of misinformation. The writing is littered with errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. The photographs and illustrations used are of very poor quality. The author gives little or no information about where he got his material.

The author would have us believe that Lewis Cass, who resigned as Secretary of State because Buchanan took little or no action against the secessionists, and Illinois Senator Orville Browning were connected with the Knights of the Golden Circle. He hints that both men may have had something to do with Lincoln’s assassination. He also makes the preposterous accusation that Browning, a close friend and confidante of Lincoln for many years, carried on a lengthy love affair with Mary Todd Lincoln!

L.C. Baker
L.C. Baker, author of The Ones That Got Away, Knights of the Golden Circle Exposed

There is a lot of misinformation about Ben Ficklin and his association with Sen. William M. Gwin of California and the freighting firm of Russell, Majors and Waddell. He says Ficklin was a West Point graduate. This is not so, Ficklin graduated from Virginia Military Institute (VMI). Ficklin was acquainted with Sen. Gwin and Gwin did back the Pony Express, which was first Ficklin’s idea. Gwin was a farsighted man who fought long and hard for all sorts of development on the Pacific Coast that would benefit California and the nation. Gwin was, as one author put it, “adept at reconciling contradictory forces for his own political advantage”.  However, to state that Gwin was trying to obtain a monopoly in the opium trade to raise money for the Knights of the Golden Circle is way out there in left field.

The author’s idea that Russell, Majors and Waddell and Ficklin had a monopoly of freighting during the “Mormon War” and made a fortune is completely wrong. Russell, Majors and Waddell lost a half million dollars when their wagons and livestock was stolen or destroyed by the Mormons and the Indians. The Pony Express also lost money and the company went broke and sold out to Ben Holladay.

Jesse James gets into the story in the chapter on Captain Logan Enyart. Enyart served in Company G. of the First Missouri C.S.A. He was married to a sister of Col. Richard B. Chiles, his commanding officer. Chiles later joined Quantrill’s Raiders and was killed during the war. Enyart probably knew Frank and Jesse James during the war. The author would have us believe Jesse James made regular visits to Enyart’s home in Nebraska City, Nebraska after the war. The author states that is was a well known fact that Enyart had a secret underground passage between his house and stables over 100 yards long to give the James gang entrance to his house. (He must have borrowed this one from some Dalton Gang mythology.) The author did not, however, seem to know that Enyart did invite Frank James to stay at his home when Frank was an official race starter in Nebraska City in August 1909.

Many other examples of bad information in this book, could be pointed out. The above should be enough to tell the discerning readers to save their book money for something more worthwhile.

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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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Jesse James’ Hidden Treasure – Deconstructing Chapter One

Jesse James’ Hidden Treasure – Deconstructing Chapter Two

Jesse James’ Hidden Treasure – Deconstructing Chapter Three

Jesse James’ Hidden Treasure – Chapter 4 deconstructed

Jesse James’ Hidden Treasure – Chapter 5 Deconstructed

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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.

Jesse James’ Hidden Treasure – Deconstructing Chapter Two