The Sift from Stray Leaves is a periodic omnibus of significant, but smaller, ingredients of history, genealogy, and news, received behind the scenes & sifted daily at Stray Leaves.
Beating the Bushes for How Daniel Lewis James Jr. Died
Who says how you die? Over the weekend I was talking with Martha Diehl, the granddaughter of Daniel Lewis James Jr. Dan is the blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter and subject of the chapter “All for the Underdog” in Jesse James Soul Liberty. Martha commented about Dan and how he died. “He died instantly of an aneurysm in his kitchen while fetching a piece of bread for his pet rabbit.” That was how Martha received the news of Dan’s passing from her mother, Barbara James.
The New York Times reported Dan’s passing far less personally.
New York Times
DANIEL LEWIS JAMES IS DEAD AT 77; WROTE ABOUT LOS ANGELES BARRIO
By EDWIN MCDOWELL
Published: May 21, 1988
LEAD: Daniel Lewis James, who startled the literary world when he was revealed to be the author of a prize-winning novel about a Mexican-American family in a Los Angeles barrio, died Wednesday at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in Monterey, Calif.
Martha complains, “Dan died at home, not at CHOMP,” i.e. Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.
And yet, Dan’s death certificate, issued by Monterey County in California, produced a third and entirely different story. Monterey County cites the cause of Dan’s death in clinical terms as a heart attack and “severe coronary atherosclerosis.”
Somehow, all three reports perfectly reflect the multi-dimensional personality of Daniel Lewis James Jr. who practiced the art of multiple identities. You can suspect Dan scripted the three scenarios himself, each for a different audience.
Here’s laughing with you, Daniel Lewis James Jr.
Hunting for Elk Run Farm of Capt. John James 1708/09-1778 & Dinah Allen 1716-1800
Thanks to the recent appearance of an old map, the location of their Elk Run farm and its James cemetery can now be identified. This has been a hunt in progress for years. This also is where the Capt. James and Dinah Allen are presumed to be buried.
Elk Run Farm is central to the triangular points of the Potomac River, Washington D.C. and the town of Culpeper. From this location, the James family financed George Washington with specie during the Revolution.
This family also is a progenitor of Benjamin James, the Indian Trader, whose children Susannah and Benjamin James “of the Choctaw” went forward to become integral elements of the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations.
Furthermore from Elk Run Farm, their daughter Elizabeth James and her spouse John “Old Wisdom” Bradford migrated into the Kentucky frontier where John Bradford founded the Kentucky Gazette. The newspaper recorded the events surrounding the early founding of the Commonwealth and remains a seminal course of Kentucky’s first history.
As well, Capt. John James and Dinah Allen of Elk Run Farm are 2nd great grand uncle & aunt of Frank & Jesse James, as well as of John James “of Alvarado.” Among the James family, Elk Run Farm is an important key factor and geographic location point in the genealogical origination of the James family.
Campaign to Honor Choctaw & Chickasaw Women of the James – Survivors of the Trail of Tears
Susannah James-Colbert and Jane James-Wilson are a granddaughter and a 2nd great-granddaughter respectively of Capt. John James and Dinah Allen. For more on their kinship, both can be found in the special Choctaw/Chickasaw genealogy database on Stray Leaves.
Study of Ward Hall
For those who attended the James-Younger Gang & Family conference in 2017 and who visited Ward Hall with us, here’s a charming reprise of Ward Hall, beginning with our host that day, Kentucky historian Ron Bryant.
Recently, young filmmakers used Ward Hall as a backdrop for the film short below. We wish we had known these talented young filmmakers when we visited Georgetown. Back then we were looking for someone to video our events. Maybe another time.
Dalton Gang Photographer Also Photographed the James
An incoming photographic artifact to the James Preservation Trust, courtesy of James family descendant Geoff Saunders, amplifies the story of Joseph McJames and the Dalton Gang robbery in Coffeyville. Mack’s son Daniel Ephraim James was captured in the robbery while it was in progress. The story also appears in Chapter Three of Jesse James Soul Liberty, titled “Goodland.” Contributor Geoff Saunders is a 2nd great-grandson of Mary Ellen James and a 3rd great-grandson of Joseph McJames.
Mack’s daughter, Mary Ellen James who is Daniel Ephraim James’ sister, had her photo portrait taken in Coffeyville. Her photographer was W.H. Clark. He is the same photographer who took the iconic image of the dead Dalton Gang body lineup following the robbery. Clark’s son, Ray H. Clark known as Champ, also appears in the body lineup photo. Champ Clark is peering over his hand through the fence, as his father took the historic photo.
Later, W.H. Clark purchased Bob Dalton’s gun from Dalton’s estate. The gun was used in the robbery. Clark’s son, Ray H. “Champ” Clark, inherited the pistol on his father’s passing. Champ then bequeathed the gun to his step-son Richard H. McGregor, whose widow put the gun up for auction in 2005 with proceeds to be donated to charity.
Exploring State Representative A.J. James in the Old Kentucky State Capitol
I’ve sat in this legislative chamber of the Old State Capitol in Kentucky a couple of times before. In honor of President’s Day this year, the Kentucky General Assembly did the same.
Usually, I was alone as I tried to imagine the chamber filled with legislators. Among them was Andrew Jackson “A.J.” James who was a state representative from 1855 to 1857. There would be observers in the balcony then. The chamber was smokey, crowded, and loud, even when someone was speaking. Stateliness was not a requirement in the antebellum era.
Democrats from Pulaski County nominated their favorite son A.J. James in 1875 to succeed Gov. Preston Leslie. Under Leslie, A.J. served as Kentucky’s Attorney General. He also had been Secretary of State under Gov. Beriah Magoffin and mayor of Frankfort. Ultimately, A.J. lost the nomination to James McCreary. Family lore says A.J’s wife didn’t want A.J. to run. Instead, McCreary was elected Governor of Kentucky. By then, I believe, A.J. was ready to walk away from political life. He withdrew to become President of Farmer’s Bank of Frankfort.
Louisville International Airport to be Renamed for Our James Cousin, Muhammad Ali
Recent research by Stray Leaves established that Muhammad Ali is a 2nd cousin, 3 generations removed of Frank & Jesse James. Ali also has a second line of supporting kinship to the James brothers through Rev. Jeremiah Vardeman.
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Ali has been Louisville’s favorite son for a long time. He is widely honored. Renaming Louisville International Airport for Ali could not be a more appropriate honor. Muhammad Ali is one of Louisville’s finest exports.
Land Patents of This Bloody Ground
Readers of This Bloody Ground, the forthcoming Vol. II of the Jesse James Soul Liberty quintet, will get a heavy dose of source data about the Kentucky frontier life of Jesse & Frank James’ grandfather, John M. James. Early Land Patents of Kentucky were culled extensively in preparation for the book. This voluminous research took more than a decade. These patents will give you an idea of the sources that were consulted. These are sources that have gone ignored for too long by the traditional historians of the Jesse James story. This is one reason why This Bloody Ground will be a ground-breaking history of its own when it is published. Get ready to have your preconceptions of Jesse James rattled when you read this history that has never been researched, written, or told.