Paso Robles Hotel, 1935

Research Updates for Jesse James Soul Liberty

Estimated reading time: 14 minutes

Home » Research Updates for Jesse James Soul Liberty

The publication in 2012 of Jesse James Soul Liberty, Vol. I, Behind the Family Wall of Stigma & Silence, did not end research efforts into all the subject matter the book covers. The accumulation and publication of past biography and living James family history continues. Here are some recent research updates to Jesse James Soul Liberty to begin 2019, plus a couple of previews of what more is to come.



New Photo of the Paso Robles Hotel Built by Drury Woodson James

Recognize this place?  It’s the Paso Robles Hotel built in California by Drury Woodson James. The sign in front says room rates start at $1.50 per night.

This may be one of the last images taken of the Paso Robles Hotel, built by Drury Woodson James, before the hotel tragic destruction.

Paso Robles Hotel, 1935
In the 1935 Pioneer Day parade the royalty rode horseback. Marshal Daniel S. Lewis flanked by Belle Hazel Kuhnle on his right and Queen Anna Baker on his left. Right clock to enlarge in a new tab.

This 1935 image surfaced recently in 2019 among publicity for the annual Pioneer Day held in Paso Robles. Five years later in 1940, Drury’s Paso Robles Hotel would succumb to fire and be no more.


Coffeyville Welcomes Joseph McJames

Joseph McAlister James arrives in Coffeyville
Newspaper account of the arrival of Joseph McJames in Coffeyville, Kansas

The story of Joseph McAlister James, aka Joseph McJames, appears in Jesse James Soul Liberty in the chapter “Goodland.” Stray Leaves first introduced Mack’s time in Goodland, as well as his time in Coffeyville and the capture of his son in the Dalton Gang’s raid on the Condon Bank. Now, new details come to light.

This republished newspaper clipping informs us of Mack’s welcome to Coffeyville, Kansas in 1878. We also learn that Mack expected to bring two sons with him, as well as a brother who formerly managed Mack’s holdings in Goodland, Indiana.

We further learn that Mack’s son, John R. James, attended Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, the town Mack was leaving. Centre is the same college attended earlier in 1853 by Coleman Purcell Younger, a first cousin of the Younger Gang, and by Thomas T. Crittenden. As a lawyer, Younger later foreclosed on a large number of properties in Paso Robles owned by Drury Woodson James. The numerous foreclosures triggered Drury’s financial collapse during the Long Depression and the Panic of 1893. Later as Governor of Missouri, Crittenden organized the bounty to capture Jesse James that tragically resulted in the assassination of the outlaw.

Obituary of Joseph McJames

Joseph McAlsiter James obituay
Obituary for Joseph McJames

In this obituary, the reference to Mack’s three sons includes George Thomas James 1853-1938, Daniel Ephraim “D.E.” James 1845-1913 who was captured in the Dalton Gang’s raid on the Coffeyville bank, and Francis Marion “F.M.”/Marion James Sr. 1843-1910, great-grandfather of Stray Leaves‘ publisher Eric F. James.


Rev. John R. James, son of Joseph McJames

Mack Maintains Press Relations – Research Update

John Robert James ordination in the news
Newspaper account of the ordination of Rev. John R. James

A son of Joseph McJames was the Baptist minister Rev. John Robert James. He attended Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.

However, he was ordained at the age of 27 in Lancaster in Garrard County, Kentucky. In 1782, Garrard County was the arrival destination of the Traveling Church, that included many of rebel the Baptist preachers who self-exiled from Colonial Virginia into the forbidden western frontier of the Kentucky District. Among these dissenters was Rev. James’ great-grandfather John M. James.

Lancaster was a good place for a novice preacher to start his ministry. There, John could get a leg up. The parents of John’s wife, Annie Wearen, owned and operated a furniture store in Lancaster. Within the store, they provided undertaking services and managed the local cemetery.

Following his ordination, Rev. James visited his father in Coffeyville. There, he preached to a congregation of the local Methodist church who welcomed him warmly, as they later would when members of the Younger family visited in Coffeyville.


Rev. John R. James Killed

An Early and Untimely Loss – Research Update

A newspaper in Paris, Kentucky, where Rev. James was serving the First Baptist Church,  announced his tragic passing.

REV. JOHN R. JAMES KILLED
He Jumps From a Buggy, is Knocked Unconscious and Dies Without Speaking.
“WE KNOW NOT THE DAY NOR THE HOUR.”

About 5 o’clock last evening Rev. John R. James, pastor of the Baptist church in the city, started to Millersburg in a buggy in company with WM. M. GOODLOE, and when near the residence of RUSSELL MANN their horse frightened and ran off. MR. JAMES jumped from the buggy, fell on the pike, and was unconscious until 12 o’clock at which time he died. MR. GOODLOE remained in the buggy and was not hurt.

Mr. James had an appointment to deliver a sermon at Millersburg, and expected to return home after the service. They were driving the Mexican pony of MISS LUCY ___LLER, and he was thought to be very gentle. The deceased had only been a resident of this city for the past three weeks, taking charge of the Baptist church on the first Sunday of this month. He came here from Kirksville, Madison County, but was lately of Danville, Ky. His age was 28 years and he leaves a wife and two children, who had lately taken possession of his parsonage.

Rev. Mr. James was winning golden opinions from all who heard him. He had been here only a month, but in that time had delivered a number of the best and most striking discourses ever heard here, and was recognized as a valuable accession to the ministry of our city. The Thanksgiving services were to have been held at the Baptist church tomorrow and MR. JAMES was to deliver the sermon. When the news of the accident reached town, the whole community was shocked and many persons went down to MR. MANN’s to render him all the assistance possible.

His wife and children were taken to him soon after the occurrence, but he never recognized them, being unconscious from the time he was hurt until his death. His father, JOSEPH MC JAMES  was telegraphed, to Westervelt Ohio, their old home, and her mother, MRS. WEARING, to Kirksville.


James City, Virginia

Query of the Day – Opens Door to Vol. III of JJSL

Sept. 15, 2018
When I was a child about (1954) we had a boy (Ray James) who was a foster kid staying at my aunts house near Warrenton, Va. He said he was kin to Jesse James. His family lived in the area near “James City” which is in Madison Co. Va. A few years ago I went to photograph the “Ghost Town” of “James City” and also went into a little local museum of “James City” and read an article that stated that “Frank James” had visited relatives in “James City” some years before he died. Also that the “Ford” family came from this area too. Can you verify that this connection is true?

Reply

Thank you for your query. I wish you still were in contact with Ray James. I’d love to talk with him.

I’d guess that Ray did not know exactly how he was related to Frank & Jesse James. It’s taken me nearly 20 year to figure it out myself. I had a lot of help from DNA, though. I know Frank & Jesse had no idea about all of their early Virginia ancestries that reach back to UK royalty around 1620, and still further beyond to the prophets of the biblical period.

In September 2017 the Graves family of Graves Mountain and Graves Mill in Madison County VA assembled here in Woodford County, KY to hear all about their kinship to the Jesse James family. I gave a slide presentation that took up an entire morning, peppered with endless questions. I have yet to mount that presentation for our website Stray Leaves. However, here (below) is a little introduction video with some photos from my talk.

The story of these James and their descendants will be told in Volume III of my Jesse James Soul Liberty quintet. Expect publication in about 3-4 years.

James City, Virginia (now renamed Leon) was founded by Rev. Daniel James 1764-1845. You will find him listed in our SURNAMES search genealogy database on Stray Leaves. Frank & Jesse James became future cousins of this ancestral James line which the brothers never knew.

Descendants of Rev. James who left Virginia migrated into the Kentucky frontier to become tobacco & hemp planters, bankers, riders with John Hunt Morgan, captives of the Union, and bluegrass blue blood. Others went further into Louisiana Territory to become charge d’affairs for Spain, Natchez slave traders, Mississippi and Nashville bankers. They receded in time as bankrupts.

James City, founded by Rev. Daniel James Sr. 1764-1845

Hazel Goes to Egypt

Budding New Family Author?

On pages 221-222 of Jesse James Soul Liberty appear the McGreevy-Harmon descendants of Thomas Martin “T.M.” James.

T.M.’s second great-grandson, Jamie Harmon, has been taking his family on annual global vacations. Right now the family is in Giza in Egypt, staying next to the pyramids. Jamie and his wife Ashley have been sending back extraordinary photos of their experiences that include their children Hazel and Hugh Harmon.

Back in 2011, Hazel debuted on Stray Leaves in the excellent photos taken at Hazel’s birth. In Egypt now, Hazel is making local friends and really enjoying the sights.

Jamie’s imaginative photos showing Hazel’s fun and delight prompted me to suggest that Hazel should share her vacation adventure with other children who cannot easily go to Egypt. Hazel could write a children’s book about her adventure now, and write about her future vacation adventures in the coming years. The first in this new series of Hazel’s children’s books could be Hazel Goes to Egypt. Easily, Hazel could join others among the James family who are notable book authors.


A Most Unusual Christmas Gift

Research Update Opens Another Door to Volume III

A most unusual Christmas gift arrived. On this recent Christmas day, Stray Leaves learned of the passing of Dorvan Paul James.

Although Dorvan died two years ago in 2016, his obituary was not discovered sooner, and for good reason. In the obituary, Dorvan is identified by his nickname of Buddy James. Ironically, that’s the same family nickname given to Eric F. James, publisher of Stray Leaves.

D. D. James
David Daniel “D.D.” James Sr. 1819-1902, great-grandfather of Dorvan Paul James and his siblings

D.P. James, as he was known locally in Texas, is a 3rd cousin, once removed of Frank & Jesse James. On his mother’s side of the family, D.P. James also is a 6th cousin, twice removed of the Younger brothers.

The first great-grandfather of Dorvan is David Daniel “D.D.” James, one of the three brothers who operated the Forks of the Road slave market in Natchez, Mississippi prior to the Civil War.

Their father Thomas Graves James, Dorvan’s 2nd great-grandfather, ran away from the James family home in Culpeper, Virginia, after having a disagreement with his father Joseph James, the Elder. Runaway behavior seems almost genetic among men of the James family. Another sibling, Joseph James the Younger, also ran away from home citing, his disagreement, too, with the elder Joseph James. 

Going South and West, Thomas Graves James became wealthy serving Spain as a charge d’affairs in Georgia and in Choctaw lands of Mississippi territory. He acquired much land, most notable of which was Hyde’s Landing in Nashville, a retreat pictured below where Frank and Jesse James on occasion resided.

In 2014, Dorvan’s brother Gene Dale James pre-deceased Dorvan. Their sister, Sara Ann James-Bowers, survives. The unusual story of this not-so-usual family, reunited by DNA testing with the James ancestry they lost, will appear in Volume III of Jesse James Soul Liberty, The Forks of the Road.



Jesse James oul Liberty, Vol. I
Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

EXCITING NEWS FROM PARIS, FRANCE . . . We've recently learned that the archives of Charlie Chaplin in Paris have an abundance of material related to our blacklisted, American screenwriter Daniel Lewis James Jr. Dan James story of his relationship with Chaplin is told in the chapter "All For the Underdog" in Jesse James Soul Liberty, Vol. I, Behind the Family Wall of Stigma & Silence.

Nellie Willard Werger pictured below, a granddaughter of Lillith Stanward, Dan's wife, made a substantial contribution of artifacts to the Chaplin archive.

Photos of Dan James with his Leica camera slung around his neck, when he worked on the movie set of The Great Dictator, now compliment the daily notes that Dan wrote during production. Photos Dan took while filming and also off the set also appear in the archive.

One of the images of Dan James that has captivated our attention is a photo of him shirtless, as he worked with Chaplin in a scene where Chaplin is in a mud hole. Dan's shirtless image perfectly displays the broad shoulders and body trunk that is genetic among our James men. This is a physical feature very commonly overlooked by those who seek to authenticate images claimed to be Jesse James.

More regarding this archive of new photos and documents will be appearing soon on our website Stray Leaves.
... See MoreSee Less

EXCITING NEWS FROM PARIS, FRANCE . . . Weve recently learned that the archives of Charlie Chaplin in Paris have an abundance of material related to our blacklisted, American screenwriter Daniel Lewis James Jr. Dan James story of his relationship with Chaplin is told in the chapter All For the Underdog in Jesse James Soul Liberty, Vol. I, Behind the Family Wall of Stigma & Silence.

Nellie Willard Werger pictured below, a granddaughter of Lillith Stanward, Dans wife, made a substantial contribution of artifacts to the Chaplin archive. 

Photos of Dan James with his Leica camera slung around his neck, when he worked on the movie set of The Great Dictator, now compliment the daily notes that Dan wrote during production.  Photos Dan took while filming and also off the set also appear in the archive.

One of the images of Dan James that has captivated our attention is a photo of him shirtless, as he worked with Chaplin in a scene where Chaplin is in a mud hole. Dans shirtless image perfectly displays the broad shoulders and body trunk that is genetic among our James men. This is a physical feature very commonly overlooked by those who seek to authenticate images claimed to be Jesse James. 

More regarding this archive of new photos and documents will be appearing soon on our website Stray Leaves.Image attachmentImage attachment

I'm considering including this image of the actress Sarah Bernhardt in Vol. V of JJSL, a biography of Drury Woodson James. On the morning of April 18, 1906, eighty-two-year-old Drury awakened at his Lenox Hotel to the great San Francisco earthquake. His wife, Mary Louisa Dunn, twenty years Drury's junior, was torn between administering the hotel and its guests and her Catholic Church about to serve the dispossessed. Drury's son-in-law Edward Frederick Burns watched his Turkish Baths at 11 Grant St. burn to the ground. Suddenly Sarah Bernhardt appeared among the ruins. That night she performed Phedre in Berkeley. ... See MoreSee Less

Im considering including this image of the actress Sarah Bernhardt in Vol. V of JJSL, a biography of Drury Woodson James. On the morning of April 18, 1906, eighty-two-year-old Drury awakened at his Lenox Hotel to the great San Francisco earthquake. His wife, Mary Louisa Dunn, twenty years Drurys junior, was torn between administering the hotel and its guests and her Catholic Church about to serve the dispossessed. Drurys son-in-law Edward Frederick Burns watched his Turkish Baths at 11 Grant St. burn to the ground. Suddenly Sarah Bernhardt appeared among the ruins. That night she performed Phedre in Berkeley.

Yip Harburg appears on page 241 of Jesse James Soul Liberty Vol. I. He was the lyricist with Harold Arlen as the composer for the play Bloomer Girl, written by Daniel Lewis James Jr., originating from the idea of Dan's wife Lilith Stanward. They chose the perversities of fashion to dramatize the early struggles of the Women's Rights Movement. Like Dan James, Harburg, too, was blacklisted by Hollywood.April 8, 1896: The great American popular song lyricist Yip Harburg was born on this date in 1896! Yipper worked with many well-known composers. He wrote the lyrics to the standards "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?," "April in Paris," and "It's Only a Paper Moon," as well as all of the songs in The Wizard of Oz, including "Over the Rainbow." He was known for the social commentary of his lyrics, as well as his liberal sensibilities. He also championed racial and gender equality and union politics. ... See MoreSee Less

Yip Harburg appears on page 241 of Jesse James Soul Liberty Vol. I. He was the lyricist with Harold Arlen as the composer for the play Bloomer Girl, written by Daniel Lewis James Jr., originating from the idea of Dans wife Lilith Stanward. They chose the perversities of fashion to dramatize the early struggles of the Womens Rights Movement. Like Dan James, Harburg, too, was blacklisted by Hollywood.

When John Hunt Morgan surrendered in the Civil War, some of our James family serving under him surrendered with him. David Hunt James and his brother Richard Skinner James, of Woodford County, Ky., were captured and sent as POWs to Camp Douglas in Chicago. Richard died of his injuries while incarcerated. David Hunt James was sent to Richmond, Va. at war's end and paroled. He walked home to Woodford County, where he returned to his family's farm, continued to farm hemp and tobacco, and founded the Second National Bank of Lexington. Also captured with the James brothers was John Smith May, a nephew of Rhoda May and Rev. Joseph Martin James of Pulaski County, Ky.
youtu.be/fkHPITw1dv4
... See MoreSee Less

Video image

Comment on Facebook

Several of my family served under Gen.Morgan and were captured then sent to camp Douglas..Thank you for your post.

Load MORE