The Exhumation of Jesse James Twin Children

The promise of Jesse Edwards James Jr. to his mother Zee Mimms James, to reunite her twin children whom Jesse buried after their birth in Tennessee with Jesse and her in Missouri, went unfulfilled for three generations. Before he died in 1951, Jesse Jr. bestowed the task upon his grandson, Judge James R. Ross. Three years before Judge Ross died in 2007, the task was bestowed upon me to execute the exhumation of Jesse James twin children for reinternment with their parents in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Kearney, Missouri.

Title slide from the Reunion of Gould & Montgomery James slide presentation
Title slide from the Reunion of Gould & Montgomery James slide presentation

The moving confluence of legalities, family permissions, socio-political objections, and conflict resolutions seemed always directed at times by an unnoticed, unseen spiritual hand, ever watching from the past and always guiding the exhumation of Jesse’s twins to final resolution and peace in ways surprising to us living participants.

An exhumation might appear as a clinical exercise, executed coldly by professional technicians, paid to do a job. The cost was not a problem to exhume and re-inter the twin children of Jesse and Zee Mimms James. In the end, though, no cost was necessary. The spiritual hand brought forth descendants of former generations and social relations of the James family generations long past to accomplish the task.

Ann Yager Hamlin-McCroskey with her sister Sarah Hamlin-Kuchenbrod
Third generation funeral director Ann Yager Hamlin-McCroskey who assisted in the exhumation of Jesse James twin children, shown here with her sister Sarah Hamlin-Kuchenbrod.

Assisting me was Ann Yeager Hamlin of the Stith Funeral Home in Danville, Ky. Not only was Ann my next door neighbor, she also is a 6th great-granddaughter of Reuben Giles Samuel, who is the great-grandfather of Dr. Reuben Samuel, Jesse’s stepfather. Among Ann’s ancestors are also found some Woodsons and one of the Younger brothers’ uncles. I asked Ann if it was necessary to purchase a casket. She advised, “For exhumed remains, plastic containers that can be bought at any Wal-Mart work best.” I then acquired two plastic containers from Sam Walton’s local store in Danville. Sam Walton is a 4th great-grandson of Jesse’s grandfather, John M. James.

B. Steven Spann of the Spann Funeral Home, formerly the Wheeler Funeral Home, Dickson, Tennessee
B. Steven Spann of the Spann Funeral Home, formerly the Wheeler Funeral Homes, Dickson, Tennessee

Representing the Humphreys County Court, to ensure all was done properly according to Tennessee statutes, was Anne’s funeral school classmate, B. Steven Spann of the Spann Funeral Home, formerly the Wheeler Funeral Home.

One of the gravediggers hired by Steve was Robert Shadowen, a 5th grand-nephew of Rev. Lewis Weaver Chaudoin and Katurah Mimms. Rev. Chaudoin married John M. James to Mary “Polly” Poor, Jesse’s grandparents.

Beleaguering Judge Ross and myself with multiple difficulties to overcome was Darrell L. Cave. The church sexton of Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Kearney, Missouri. Darrell then was in his mid-eighties. He was the fourth generation of his family to oversee the cemetery. Among Darrell’s ancestry, Darrell’s great-grandfather, William R. Cave founded Mt. Olivet Church and Cemetery. He was baptized by Jesse’s grandfather, Rev. Robert Sallee James. Darrell’s 4th great-grandfather, Rev. William Cave known as Uncle Billy, entered Kentucky with Jesse’s grandfather John M. James, in the self-exile of rebel Baptist preachers from colonial Virginia into the western wilderness.

Regardless of lost time and a promise too long deferred, Gould and Montgomery James, now are reunited with their parents in Missouri, never to be forgotten, just as Zee wanted

VIEW THE SLIDESHOW IN THE ARCHIVES

  • The exhumation of Jesse James twin children - slide show

 

 

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Tuesday November 24th, 2020

Stray Leaves

ANOTHER TRAGIC DEATH in the line of Rev. Joseph Martin James & Permelia Estepp. Two days ago, Richard Lee James, age 62 of Wilmington, Ohio, died on the farm of his father Raymond James, age 88, in Russell Springs, Ky. Details are pending. It is assumed to be a farming accident.
Richard’s passing is particularly tragic. His daughter Heather Lee James collapsed and died suddenly at the age of 23 in 2008 from diabetes. In her honor, Richard bore a tattoo image of his daughter on his shoulder.
Richard’s 2nd great grandfather, Judge John Thomas James also suffered a tragic death in 1923. While crank starting his automobile, the car proceeded to run over Judge James and drag him to his death.
Richard Lee James was a veteran and remained an activist in veteran issues.
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ANOTHER TRAGIC DEATH in the line of Rev. Joseph Martin James & Permelia Estepp. Two days ago, Richard Lee James, age 62 of Wilmington, Ohio, died on the farm of his father Raymond James, age 88, in Russell Springs, Ky. Details are pending. It is assumed to be a farming accident.
Richard’s passing is particularly tragic. His daughter Heather Lee James collapsed and died suddenly at the age of 23 in 2008 from diabetes. In her honor, Richard bore a tattoo image of his daughter on his shoulder. 
Richard’s 2nd great grandfather, Judge John Thomas James also suffered a tragic death in 1923. While crank starting his automobile, the car proceeded to run over Judge James and drag him to his death.
Richard Lee James was a veteran and remained an activist in veteran issues.Image attachmentImage attachment

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🙏❤️

Deepest condolences to family and friends. 🙏

Sunday November 22nd, 2020

Stray Leaves

Photos from Jesse James Soul Liberty, Behind the Family Wall of Stigma & Silence's post ... See MoreSee Less

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I loved Judge Ross. He was so very kind to me and in the last years of his life we spoke often. The family resemblance between him and my father was uncanny

Tuesday November 17th, 2020

Stray Leaves

The passing of our cousin Cathy Eloise Smith-Suttle is noted. Cathy's common ancestors with our James are Cathy's 5th great grandparents, Judge Joseph McAlister Sr. of Gilmore's Rifles in the Revolution, and wife Nancy Agnes Gilmore. ... See MoreSee Less

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So Sorry 🌸

Tuesday November 17th, 2020

Stray Leaves

Stray Leaves has just learned of the passing of Margaret Elizabeth "Betty" Shouse in Kansas City on April 30th, 2019. Betty is a great-granddaughter of John Watts Shouse, who together with his son James O. Shouse, William Wysong, William Dagley, Joseph T. Pettigrew, William G. Dollis, Riley Henderson, and Dick Liddil formed a plan and tried to get Jesse James to surrender to authorities prior to his assassination. ... See MoreSee Less

Stray Leaves has just learned of the passing of Margaret Elizabeth Betty Shouse in Kansas City on April 30th, 2019. Betty is a great-granddaughter of John Watts Shouse, who together with his son James O. Shouse, William Wysong, William Dagley, Joseph T. Pettigrew, William G. Dollis, Riley Henderson, and Dick Liddil formed a plan and tried to get Jesse James to surrender to authorities prior to his assassination.Image attachment

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❤️🙏

Deepest condolences to family and friends on her passing.

Friday November 13th, 2020

Stray Leaves

The historic meeting place of the James-Younger Gang destroyed in Northfield, Minnesota.
About 20 years ago the historic Archer House hosted the annual meeting of the James-Younger Gang. Many of us resided in the hotel for the term of the conference.
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The historic meeting place of the James-Younger Gang destroyed in Northfield, Minnesota.
About 20 years ago the historic Archer House hosted the annual meeting of the James-Younger Gang. Many of us resided in the hotel for the term of the conference.

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Yeah, it was a beautiful hotel. I stayed there at least 3 times. It is a shame to lose it and it's a huge loss to Northfield.

That’s terrible. Looks like it was a beautiful building

how awful. was it completely destroyed?

UPDATE: The day after the fire. youtu.be/z46Fn0BzNzA

We stayed there in 2018 for a couple of nights. It was a wonderful place. When we arrived, there was a storm brewing and we sat outside along the river and watched it coming closer. The front porch of the house was a lovely place to sit in the mornings. Happy memories.

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