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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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GREAT-GRANDSON OF JESSE JAMES & DANIEL BOONE, DONALD JAMES BAUMEL, IS DEAD

“If all I did was to walk around saying that I’m a descendant of Daniel Boone and a descendant of Jesse James, I wouldn’t have a life of my own.”
– Donald James Baumel to Eric F. James, 2002

Donald James Baumel, James Gang & Family Reunion, 2002, Paso Robles, California

The ancestry which Donald James Baumel inherited from America’s iconic outlaw Jesse James and Kentucky’s iconic explorer Daniel Boone determined how Don lived and died. Central to his life was what Don valued most – his privacy.

Don Baumel died on April 27, 2011. Family members delayed announcement of his death, considering whether to announce it at all. If Don had his way, he would have probably preferred to slip away into history totally unnoticed, with no recognition either of his life or of his death by anyone.

Don was last seen among his family at the James Gang & Family Reunion, held in Paso Robles, California in 2002. Months of coaxing by Judge James Randall Ross, Don’s first cousin, finally got Don to show up. Among 200 family and friends attending the reunion, Don went virtually unnoticed among them as he circulated freely through all the events. No one had seen Don in years. He talked with few people.

At a break in the events, Judge Ross and I went to lunch with Don. He ordered a sandwich, but picked at it sparingly. We then went shopping for a western outfit, so Don could be dressed western style like the rest of us. But in every store, Don resisted. Nothing was purchased. That night at the banquet, however, Don appeared in a western outfit that had more worn authenticity than anyone else in the dining room. He looked like he just had stepped out of the California West when Frank and Jesse last visited Paso Robles. The clothes were Don’s own.

Touring historic sites the next afternoon, Don rode with me, my niece Kathryn Craft, and Steve Leonard of the James Preservation Trust. For once, Don was not silent at all. We showered him in questions. Don not only responded generously, he gave us an exclusive insight into his life, which no one ever had heard before.

Don was born a twin. His twin sister Diane survives him. In high school in Los Angeles, Don and Diane both were considered “joiners.” If a group existed, they joined. Years later in 2007, I met Barbara Clemens from their high school class. Barbara confirmed the fact. Diane and Don were elected by their classmates, together with three others, as “Ephebians,” the top graduation honor awarded to those who demonstrated the highest grade averages, and who were the most socially and politically active. Don was Vice-President of the student body.

About this time, Don learned he was a direct descendant of the notorious outlaw Jesse James. Like most others among the James family who stumbled upon the family secret, Don was advised not to advertise the fact, but not to deny it either, if questioned. Don chose to avoid the question altogether.

When he joined the U. S. Army, Don’s life began to change. He was assigned to a security group, and stationed at a radio squadron in Mobile, Alabama. Don learned tools of the secrecy trade. Exiting the Army, Don enrolled at UCLA in California. He no longer was the socially and politically active student that he once was in high school. Don had changed.

Don knew little of his family history, unlike his cousin Jim Ross, who had grown up in the household of Jesse James Jr. For himself, Don seemed to live in a growing fear of the past. As he did, Don’s life appeared to become directionless. When his father Mervyn Baumel died in 1964, Don was left a trust fund instead of an outright inheritance. Unlike his cousins descended from Thomas Martin James, the Kansas City millionaire merchant, Don didn’t need to worry about having money or a career, and the possible exposure that came with it

Most of his life, Don lived in San Francisco. Like a couple of his less recognized cousins, Rev. William Henry James who maintained a mission for the poor and homeless of Kansas City, and Luther Tillman James who founded the Kansas City Provident Association to financially support programs for the poor and homeless, Don developed an affinity for the disenfranchised of San Francisco. Among the faceless of Market Street, Don found he could live and work as he pleased, both comfortably and anonymously. Money meant little, if nothing, to Don. Anything he had, he was happy to share or give away. Like Rev. William Henry James, like his ancestral Mimms cousins, and like his third great grand Uncle Drury Woodson James, Don lived in a hotel.

A heart attack took the life of Donald James Baumel, as it did his cousin Jim Ross in March of 2007, and also Jim’s mother Jo Frances James in March of 1964.

ERIC JAMES
Danville, Ky.
September 28, 2011

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DON’S DESCENT FROM JESSE WOODSON JAMES
Jesse Woodson James & Zerelda Amanda Mimms
. Jesse Edward James Jr. & Estella Frances McGowan
.. Mervyn Baumel & Jessie Estell James
… Donald James Baumel

DON’S DESCENT FROM DANIEL BOONE
Daniel Boone & Rebecca Ann Bryant
. Nathan Boone & Olive Van Biber
.. Alfred M. Hosman & Mary Boone
… Luther Alfred McGowan & Mary Frances Hosman
…. Alfred Monte McGowan & Martha Ann Wood
….. Jesse Edward James Jr. & Estella Frances McGowan
…… Mervyn Baumel & Jessie Estell James

…… Donald James Baumel

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