Tag Archives: Samuel

Book Review – The Trial of Jesse James Jr. by Laurie Ann Little

BOOK REVIEW: The Trial of Jesse James, Jr.: The Son of An Outlaw Stands Accused, adapted by L. A. Little, (Vintage Antique Classics Publishing Co. 2012), 201 pp., soft cover, $14.99.

By Nancy B. Samuelson

The Trial of Jesse James, Jr. book

This book opens with a short section, “Beginnings” which gives a bit of the history of Jesse James Jr. (Jesse Edward James). This tells how Jesse Jr. applied for a job as office boy to Thomas T. Crittenden Jr., the son of the Governor who was responsible for the death of the outlaw Jesse James. Young James and young Crittenden became lifelong friends. Young Jesse met many influential friends in the Kansas City area. He was a well liked and had a reputation as a hard-working, honest young man.

The bulk of the book is a series of newspaper articles from The Kansas City Journal. These begin in September 1898 after the robbery of a Missouri Pacific passenger train near Leeds, Missouri. Jesse James Jr. was soon accused of taking part in this robbery. The newspaper articles continue through early March 1899 when Jesse was acquitted of all charges.

These articles tell about the accusations of W. W. Lowe, a suspect himself, and a switchman at the Santa Fe Railroad switch yards. There were other suspects as well including Andy Ryan, the brother of Bill Ryan of the old Jesse James gang, and Jack “Quail Hunter” Kennedy, who was suspected of a number of crimes.

Jesse Jr. maintained his innocence and had a wide circle of friends who stood by him during the trial for this robbery. He had four defense attorneys and they were able to get a new Judge to try the case. Affidavits were submitted to show that Judge Wofford was prejudiced against Jesse Jr. Wofford was replaced by Judge W. D. Shackelford of Boonville, Missouri. The Prosecuting Attorney was James A. Reed, later a U. S. Senator and a presidential aspirant. Reed had six other attorneys assisting in the prosecution.

The articles give a good look at some of the police procedures at the time. Suspects were detained but not arrested for some time. There is discussion of “Sweating” prisoners as well. Jury selection is discussed and a lot of testimony from witnesses is included in a number of the articles.

The trial ends in acquittal of Jesse Jr. on all charges. The jury was out for about one hour and only one ballot was needed to make the decision. The Prosecuting Attorney then dismissed the charges against the other suspects.

Frank James attended the trial and he is mentioned several times. Mrs. Samuel, grandmother of Jesse Jr., and other family members were present and testified in Jesse’s behalf.

One additional newspaper article appears near the end of the book. This is in February 20, 1910. W.W. Lowe, who was the primary accuser of Jesse Jr. admitted he lied about James’ involvement in the robbery and said his story was a frame up.

The book has a one-page epilogue about the later life of Jesse Jr. The last section of the book is a reprint of the first four chapters of Jesse James, My Father, written in 1899 by Jesse Jr.

The book is nicely produced and easy to read. The front cover has a nice photo of Jesse Jr. There are a few illustrations from the newspapers throughout the book. There are no notes nor is there an index.

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)

Dr. Samuel Evans James’ Yacht “The Wanderer”

Russell Hatter, the assistant curator of the Capital City Museum in Frankfort, Kentucky, sent us this newspaper clipping from the Kentucky Journal of September 8, 1903. The story documents a day cruise on the Kentucky River aboard Dr. James’ yacht The Wanderer.

Kentucky Journal, September 8, 1903

Among the guests, the article identifies Sally Jouett Taylor, Dr. James’ wife. After Dr. James died, Sally married John Stout Cannon, whose father is the famed riverboat captain John W. Cannon, whose steamboat Robert E. Lee raced against the steamboat Natchez, thrilling all of America. Capt. Cannon is also on the guest list of the cruise.

Sarah Jouett Taylor James
Capt. John W. Cannon

Also aboard is Dr. James’ mother-in-law, Elizabeth Sarah Fall-Taylor, and brother-in-law Edmund Haynes Taylor Jr. Edmund Taylor was raised in the home of President Zachary Taylor. He had been a Kentucky State Representative and a former Mayor of Frankfort, following the mayoralty of Dr. Evans’ father A.J. James. At the time of the cruise Taylor was manufacturing Old Taylor brand whiskey.

H. W. McChesney was a justice of the peace at the Frankfort court, who later relocated to Chicago. Other identities are unknown.

A bevy of your girls is also on the cruise. Among them is Annie Samuels whose identity is unknown. She is presumed to belong to the Samuels who lived in Frankfort, who were related to Dr. Reuben Samuels, the second husband of Zerelda Elizabeth Cole, with widow of Rev. Robert Sallee James.

RELATED STORIES

Dr. Samuel Evans James Office in Frankfort, Kentucky

Campbell E. James Takes Bashi-Bazouk to Victory

Burial of Dr. Samuel Evans James

Dr. Samuel Evans James’ Yacht “The Wanderer”

Russell Hatter, the assistant curator of the Capital City Museum in Frankfort, Kentucky, sent us this newspaper clipping from the Kentucky Journal of September 8, 1903. The story documents a day cruise on the Kentucky River aboard Dr. James’ yacht The Wanderer.

Kentucky Journal, September 8, 1903

Among the guests, the article identifies Sally Jouett Taylor, Dr. James’ wife. After Dr. James died, Sally married John Stout Cannon, whose father is the famed riverboat captain John W. Cannon, whose steamboat Robert E. Lee raced against the steamboat Natchez, thrilling all of America. Capt. Cannon is also on the guest list of the cruise.

Sarah Jouett Taylor James
Capt. John W. Cannon

Also aboard is Dr. James’ mother-in-law, Elizabeth Sarah Fall-Taylor, and brother-in-law Edmund Haynes Taylor Jr. Edmund Taylor was raised in the home of President Zachary Taylor. He had been a Kentucky State Representative and a former Mayor of Frankfort, following the mayoralty of Dr. Evans’ father A.J. James. At the time of the cruise Taylor was manufacturing Old Taylor brand whiskey.

H. W. McChesney was a justice of the peace at the Frankfort court, who later relocated to Chicago. Other identities are unknown.

A bevy of your girls is also on the cruise. Among them is Annie Samuels whose identity is unknown. She is presumed to belong to the Samuels who lived in Frankfort, who were related to Dr. Reuben Samuels, the second husband of Zerelda Elizabeth Cole, with widow of Rev. Robert Sallee James.

RELATED STORIES

Dr. Samuel Evans James Office in Frankfort, Kentucky

Campbell E. James Takes Bashi-Bazouk to Victory

Burial of Dr. Samuel Evans James