Tag Archives: treasure

The Largest Knights of the Golden Circle Treasure Ever

BOOK REVIEW: Myers, Jack, Knight’s Gold: The Largest Documented KGC Treasure Ever Discovered (Jack O’Llantern Press, 2016) pp. iv +498, illustrations, endnotes, no bibliography or index, ISBN 9781539896562, soft cover $18.95

By Nancy B. Samuelson 

Like a lot of books about the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) and the tales about treasure that the KGC supposedly buried to finance a second Civil War, this work contains a lot of speculations, garbles a lot data, and contains a ton of misinformation. The book is tedious to read, everything the author says he repeats at least three times.

Knight’s Gold
Knight’s Gold: The Largest Documented KGC Treasure Ever Discovered by Jack Myers

A lot of the book deals with two treasure troves found in Baltimore, Maryland. Both of these troves are believed by the author to have been buried in basements by members of the KGC. Little factual data and a lot of questionable information is given to support this theory. We are asked to believe that two teenagers who found the first trove carried five thousand gold coins home in their pockets and shoes! A practice problem from the book, New Practical Arithmetic, published in Boston in 1875 is construed by the author to be a coded message by the agents of the Knights of the Golden Circle in Baltimore concerning the buried treasure.

Ray's New Practical Arithmatic
A coded treasure message published in 1875?

 

Another reported treasure trove is located within Victorio Peak in New Mexico. This area is now on the White Sands Test Range. A lot of various stories are related about this reported treasure trove. The odor of fraud permeates almost all of what is reported about this supposed treasure location.

The most bizarre “treasure” parts of the book deal with none other than America’s most famous bandit, Jesse Woodson James. 

The James boys did not spend their loot but socked it away to help fund the Knights of the Golden Circle and the second Civil War. No mention is made of all the race horses the James brothers bought, raced and bet on.

Almost all of the off the wall stuff published about Jesse James is trotted out in this book. Orvis Houk, Del Schrader, Ron Pastore, Henry J. Walker and a variety of other questionable James literature is quoted.(Somehow Betty Duke and her claim that her great-grandfather, James L. Courtney, was the real Jesse James got left out. This must have been an oversight.) This specious material is jumbled in with material from well written and well researched books. The author makes no effort to select the wheat from the chaff in any of this.

The James material is all a total tangle of out and out falsehoods, misinformation and speculation. One fiction novel even is cited to support some of this material.

Examples of some of this material are: (1) William Clark Quantrill was head of the KGC’s Knights of the Iron Hand; (2)John Newman Edwards wrote dime novels after the war; (3) After the war Jesse James worked as a bounty hunter and tried to go straight; (4) Gov. Crittenden appointed Sheriff James Timberlake as a deputy U. S. marshal (these are federal appointments); (5) Sheriff Timberlake went to New Mexico after he collected his reward and likely helped stash some of the Victorio Peak treasure;  (6) Albert Pike started the KKK:  etc. etc. etc. The nonsense boggles the imagination!

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Who’s treasure is it? The email from the unidentified woman was insistent. “This family is part of the Jesse James family. You represent the Jesse James family. These things now are yours.”

Nothing about the woman, what she said, or what she described made any sense at all. But I’m used to dealing with that. All I could glean was that some woman died in Florida – I couldn’t get a name. Locally, she was known to be kin to Jesse James – How? I couldn’t learn that either. Now, the deceased woman’s house was being cleaned out, and her debris was flying my way.

bag of treasure

What I expected to receive was a letter envelope with, maybe, some photos. What I got instead was a shipment box. Inside was a large plastic shopping bag. The bag was loaded with studio portrait photos in their cardboard fold-out frames, piles of fading snapshots, an envelope of records and official documents, and a baby shoe.

Like most people, the deceased woman was a bad record keeper. The photos were not identified by names, but rather by relationships. “Sis’s grandkids.” Great. Who’s Sis? Who are the grandkids? Who are these people? I was reminded of occasions when asking for directions in the South. Replies contained no specific point-to-point directions by name, but only by oblique references, informed by personal memory. “Go down about two miles to the corner where the gas station used to be.”

Some of the photos bore the name of James. But none of the names was familiar. The images didn’t resemble any James I know. I searched the internet but found nothing relating to these James. So, whose Jesse James treasure was this? I was stuck with the mystery.

research files of the James Preservation Trust

The historian, genealogist, and archivist in me recognized I could not throw any of this away. This belonged to someone unknown, someone yet to be found. Meanwhile, I was stuck with it all. I stashed the collection with my files, hoping someday, someway, someone or something would appear to claim it, or direct me to its rightful heir. For about seven years, the bag and its treasure sat waiting, like so many family orphans.

Two weeks ago, I was browsing Find-a-Grave for updates and new information, just as I continually browse courthouses, libraries, and research archives for things overlooked, new references, identities familiar from my growth of knowledge, or for the latest deaths, notices, or entries. A Find-a-Grave listing appeared with references to a James, familiar from my mystery treasure.

Find-a-Grave posting

I promptly dispatched an email to Christine Cartwright, who posted the entry. “Are you related to this family, or know someone who is?”

“Hi Eric, Yes, I am a relative William Everett James. He was my great-grandfather. What kind of information do you have may I ask? Some of us are in the dark because a small part of the family doesn’t want to share pictures, docs, and stories with the rest of us…Please if you have new information I would love it…”

In further correspondence came this revelation “Yes, there has been talk that one of the great aunts had some letters from Jesse and Frank and somehow they are cousins. But no one can find this so-called letters or maybe someone is hiding them. I don’t know but it would be great to know if there is a link.”

Christine Cratwright
Christine Cartwright & Her Orphaned Family Archive

The treasure sent to me anonymously finally has found its rightful home. Returning the collection has been deeply gratifying, like so often before when orphans of the James are rediscovered, or rediscover their past, with the help of our Stray Leaves website and its SURNAMES genealogy database.

True to any genealogy quest, though, arriving at one answer always raises more questions. Is the Everett Roscoe James of Clinton County, Ohio related to the James in our SURNAMES database? Christine has solved one mystery. His real name was William Everett James, and Roscoe was his nickname. Christine’s research will continue. Is William Everett James related to the Jesse James family? Christine will continue working on that, too; as I stand by to help. Perhaps a DNA test will put the question to rest. But does that really matter? It took six years to resolve the mystery of this lost treasure of family photos. What’s another month or two to nail down a family identity? For many, it takes generations. Meanwhile, Christine and her family now have some lost treasure from their own family to study and enjoy.

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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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The Latest Fake Jesse James History From Ron Pastore

 

Nancy Samuelson, book reviewer for the Wild West History Association, the James-Younger Gang Journal, & Leaves of Gas reviews the latest book to come from the imagination of treasure hunter Ron Pastore

 

 

 

Jesse James’ Secret: Codes, Cover-Ups & Hidden Treasure by Ron Pastore and John O’Melveny Woods, (Intellect Publishing. 2010).    296 pp., soft cover, $19.95.

This is another round of Jesse James did not die in 1882. Like most other books and articles of this ilk this one is loaded with misinformation and fairy tales. There are no notes, no bibliography, or any other pretense of real research. The book is also replete with photographs of very dubious identification and origin.

Jesse James was really Jeremiah (or was it Jere Miah—the authors can’t seem to keep the spelling consistent) James. Jeremiah lived on well after Jesse James was shot and killed by Bob Ford in 1882, raised a large family and died in Kansas.

Even well documented facts concerning the James and Younger families are totally twisted in this book. For instance the father of Robert James (the father of Frank and Jesse) is said to have died on a buffalo hunting trip to Indian Territory. In fact, both of Robert James’ parents, John and his wife Mary (Polly), both died in Logan County, KY in 1827 and there are extensive court records that document this.

The authors claim that the James boys and the Younger boys were cousins and this is not true.  The authors also list the following Youngers as members of the James-Younger gang: Bud, Cole, Bob, Jim and Grat. Bud was a nickname for Cole Younger and there was never a Grat Younger. Grat was a Dalton and a member of the Dalton Gang. The Daltons and the Youngers were, however, related.

I could go on for several pages just listing errors of fact in this book but that would do little but  document the complete lack of scholarship of the authors.

The entire book is more tall tales of Knights of the Golden Circle, buried treasure, switched identities, etc, etc. Unless you wish to collect all of the weird books in print about Jesse James I would advise you skip this one.

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