Tag Archives: West

Obituary of Dr. John R. James, Uncle of Frank and Jesse James

John R. James Obituary
Obituary of John R. James.

The James Preservation Trust has received the contribution of the obituary of Dr. John R. James, an uncle of Frank and Jesse James.

For over a hundred years the obituary lay inside the family bible of Jesse Edward Smith, Dr. James’ grandson. Upon the death of Jesse Edwards Smith, the bible was passed to his daughter Agnes. Although Agnes married, she bore no children. Agnes left the bible to her favorite nephew Jesse Deets Smith.

The James Preservation Trust extends its gratitude to Jesse Deets Smith and his cousin Sandy Kassen for this contribution. Both are descendants of Dr. John R. James, an uncle of Frank and Jesse James.

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OBITUARY TEXT

Doctor John. R. James was born in Logan County, near Russellville, Kentucky, February 5th, 1815, and fell on sleep October 25th, 1887, at Carthage, Missouri, aged seventy-two years, eight months, and twenty days. He was the son of Rev. John James, who was noted for his piety and fidelity in the early history of Kentucky.

Jesse Edward Smith
Jesse Edward Smith, grandson of Dr. John R. James. See RELATED STORIES below.

The subject of this sketch was converted at Red Oak Grove Church, in Logan County, October 1832, in a revival meeting conducted by Reverend Mr. Stephens. and joined the Methodist Church at once. His conversion took place in the time of the great revival which spread over that, part of the State—he was soundly and genuinely converted. Through his Christian life of about fifty-five years, he continued to evidence the spirit of the Master, and to adorn the doctrine of Christ. During all this time he brought not a reproach upon the religion he professed, never faltering nor deviating from the path of duty; always cheerfully supporting the institutions of the church he loved so well. As he said to me, “I’ve stood by the Southern Methodist Church through all her history.”

He was happily married to Miss Amanda Williams, of Logan county, in 1836; she died in 1871. This union was blessed with three children, John. F., Robert. W., and Sue P., (now Mrs. Smith). He was again married in 1872, to Mrs. Bradley, who died in 1884.

Bro. James now felt that the charm of earth was broken, so he was only awaiting the summons. Two brothers and one sister were with him when called to go— Reverend William and Mr. T. M. James, and Mrs. Elizabeth West; also his immediate family, who did all that loving hands could do. I was with him before the end came and talked with him freely about the crisis. “I am willing and prepared to go.” For fifty years I’ve been preparing for this event.” Without fear he passed to the land of rest.

J. H. Todd
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ADDITIONAL OBITUARY

CARTHAGE BANNER Weekly Edition
published October 27, 1887
Carthage, Missouri

DR. JOHN R. JAMES
Dr. J. R. James died this morning at five o’clock at the residence of his son-in-law, J. W. Smith, corner of Chestnut Avenue and Clinton street. The deceased was almost a total stranger in this city, having come here from Anthony, Kansas the 7th of last month with his son, R. W. James, who is now in the harness and buggy business on North Main Street. He was over seventy-two years of age and died from a disease of many years standing. His two brothers and a sister, Rev. Wm. H. James, T. M. James, Mrs. Elizabeth West, all of Kansas City, arrived last evening and were present at the time of his death. The funeral will take place tomorrow at 10 a.m. from the South Methodist Church, Rev. J. W. Todd preaching the sermon. The funeral services will be in charge of the Masonic order of this city and the remains will be interred in Park Cemetery.

RELATED STORY: Jesse Edward Smith Recalls Jesse James, His Namesake & Cousin

Susan Prudence James-Smith
Family of Susan Prudence James, daughter of Dr. John R. James, and her husband John Wesley Smith

Wilbur Allen Zink – In Memoriam


Eric James & Wilbur Zink

The James family has lost a dear and treasured friend. Wilbur Allen Zink passed away September 26, 2010. He was born April 30, 1926.

Wilbur was a pallbearer at the re-internment of Jesse James on October 28, 1995. He was co-founder of the James-Younger Gang, and an honorary board member of the Friends of James Farm. He was a member of a number of organizations including the Kansas City Posse of Westerners, The National Association for Outlaw & Lawmen History, and the Wild West History Association.

Prior to his passing, Wilbur was preparing to write a book, based on a collection of letters he had acquired that were written by Frank James. His title for this book was Burn These Letters. Wilbur was the author of several previous books. It All Started with a Tornado recounted his home town of Appleton City, Missouri, where Wilbur inherited and operated his Ford dealership that was three generations old. He recounted his days in World War II aboard the U.S.S. Nassau in a book titled The Little Princess.

An avid collector of Western artifacts, antiques, and memorabilia, Wilbur put his historical knowledge to pen an additional book, writing The Roscoe Gun Battle, Younger Brothers Versus Pinkerton Detectives.  

In addition to his interests and occupation, Wilbur A. Zink also was an ordained minister. A Memorial service will be at the Missouri Christian Church in Appleton City, Missouri, at 2:30 pm, October 2, 2010. Lunch will be served at 11:30 am.

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The funeral home has just posted an official obituary & funeral arrangements for Wilbur Zink.

Stalkers of Famous & Infamous Families

Yesterday, on the True West magazine web site where I also blog, there was a shootout. Not with bullets, but with words. The perpetrator was a known stalker of mine, who came gunning for me. The stalker made his violence palpable.

The topic of the blog was titled, “Related to a Historical Person?” (The posting has since been taken down by True West)  I don’t think Walker, the poster of the blog, had any idea what was in store. I humorously chimed in about being a cousin to Sam Walton, but always I’m denied the family discount at Walmart. Randomly, out of nowhere, the stalker appeared under the cover of an anonymous alias to execute the dirty work.

Repeatedly, the stalker badgered me to reveal if I was or was not related to Jesse James. By custom, I do not claim to be related. I know full well the danger it produces and the harm it generates. The stalker furthered badgered me about The James Preservation Trust, founded by myself & the great grandson of Jesse James to address the historical interests of the Jesse James family. The stalker charged me with creating a phantom organization. In fact, the Trust is well documented in the public record & its officers publically identified on Stray Leaves for years. As for me, for the last 55 years I’ve lead a very public life, the information of which anyone can find if they just go looking for it.

My first warning about stalkers came from my mother-in-law in my second marriage. Miss Nancy was the daughter of famed tobacco scion R. J. Reynolds. At first, probing to learn if I myself was a stalker of her daughter, Miss Nancy soon turned in a motherly way to advise me of what I myself may expect. Though she spoke of paranoia, as I could expect to experience it, she also made clear that personal and even physical violence would be an ever constant threat. With that said, she then took me for a ride in her highly polished, black Chrysler that was almost twenty years old. She drove off, leaving her chauffeur standing in the garage.

Miss Nancy was right. My Hollywood marriage to her daughter was littered with a constant litany of worthless sycophants, predatory investment schemers, mongering Scientologists, and the occasional crazed drugee who appeared out of nowhere but required removal from the grounds by police. Living behind closed gates was not sufficient. Nor was it enough to employ three Great Danes, two Bloodhounds, and a St. Bernard in a chronic riot of barking for protection. Every moment you knew that someone was out there, trying to get at you for something, usually having nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.

Even before Jesse James was assassinated, the James family had formed its own defenses. Their common defense was to decompose the family into isolated cells of protective anonymity. Personal identity was surrendered. Surrendered, too, was any sense of common family. For more than 125 years, the James family has endured under its shroud since. One line of the family can’t even recognize the other, and occasionally won’t. My book Soul Liberty, to begin publication next year in four successive volumes, will address the James family condition and their identity lost to a constant state of seeming redemptive purgatory.

Personally, I do not open the door to someone unexpected. Too many come to the door unannounced. I do not pick up the phone of an unidentified caller, or a caller I don’t know. One stalker called me five times a day, every day for three years. I’ve learned to change my unlisted phone numbers often. Like Frank James, who circumnavigated the exterior residence before sitting down to a meal with his back to the wall, I too have event rituals I will not mention. I’ve notified certain individuals, that should I encounter a violent or unexpected or unexplained demise, there is a list of those who authorities should investigate.

I don’t consider myself a hunted man. But I do consider myself haunted. The last time R. J. Reynolds peered down at me was from a tin advertisement for his tobacco, nailed to the rafter of a log cabin gift shop at the Calico Mine in Barstow, California, as I and his granddaughter blithely shopped for souvenirs. The last time Jesse James peered at me was from the grave of his twin children, when I exhumed them in Waverly, Tennessee, to re-inter them with Jesse and their mother Zee James in Kearney, Missouri, per Zee’s lifelong wish, and per the promise she extracted from Jesse Jr., a promise left unfulfilled for too long.

In some way, I both regret and am happy that Brad Pitt’s movie, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, was not as successful as it deserved to be. I got its message in a big way! All it takes is one worthless individual, who is so devoid of self that their own identity must be found by inflicting harm on someone who is better known or recognized.

So, I live more in the virtual world today than in public. More in media, and on the internet, where cyber-stalkers are as real as any true-life physical stalker. Actually, cyber-stalkers are easier to deal with than physical stalkers. When cyber-stalkers appear, I record them, produce the record of their actions against me, and place the record with authorities for any future reference that may be required. It’s far better than living behind electric gates with five barking dogs. And, like Miss Nancy, I’d still get to drive my big, black, 1979 Lincoln Town Car, if I hadn’t sold it when petro-dollars went to four bucks a gallon.

UPDATE

The page for the blog link “Related to Historical People” has since been removed from the True West web site.

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