Jesse James By Another Name – The Bastard Bunch

Family Life Settled

On November 10, 1945, John William James married Marjorie Elnoa Jones. Her nickname was Girt. Before the marriage, Girt had a previous sweetheart, but her sweetheart did not return home from World War II.

Girt fascinated a number of men. She was flirty. She loved to party and was good at drinking, too. Mike James said of his colorful mother Girt, “she lived like she was in Gone with the Wind. She hired a black woman to do her laundry, and a nanny for her children.”

Marjorie Elnoa Jones James 1923-2011, called Girt

When Mike James entered his sophomore year of college, Girt and John William James divorced. Girt had been a secretary to the mayor of Somerset in Pulaski County. Now she required permanent employment again. Girt entered the Turnbull Memorial School of Nursing and stayed for the next 17 years. People appreciated her directness. Her genuine warmth put people at ease. Under the most trying or difficult circumstances, Girt could always make people laugh.

At home, Girt delighted in the visits of her children, grandchildren, and a great-grandchild. She cooked wonderful dinners for them. As an accomplished seamstress, Girt also provided them with custom clothes she made by hand.

Girt passed on March 21, 2011, long after her husband John William James set his path to redeeming the Bastard Bunch line of the James family.


Invention of Bastard Redemption

John William James 1923-1994, redeemer of the Bastard Bunch

Returning to civilian life from the military service, John William James was armed with ample skills to create a new life for himself. He pursued an occupation in the newspaper business in Knoxville, New York, Washington D.C. and Ohio. Inside the newspaper industry, he placed himself in the avant-garde of a technology that would revolutionize the publishing of newspapers in America.

At the Knoxville News Sentinel, he established one of the first phototypesetting systems used to print newspapers. The machinery necessary was not yet invented. Nor was it available in the commercial marketplace. He designed and constructed the new equipment himself.


MJ12-Close Encounters of the Ridiculed Kind

Media swarmed over reports of an unidentified flying object (UFO) that crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. Public interest flared to a fever pitch.

Briefing papers suddenly appeared in May of 1987 describing “Operation Majestic 12.” John William James acquired copies of the papers. The FBI declared the documents to be “completely bogus.”

John William James displayed these twelve pages to his three children. Then, he asked his sons Mike and Steve James and his daughter Patricia Suzanne James the question.

Whose side are you on?

“My father told me the majestic story when we were young kids. Michael said it was bogus, my late sister did not care. I did not know enough to make an informed decision.

“After serving in 2nd Force Recon in the Marines I now know the U.S. Government strategically misrepresents stories. Dad once said, ‘Yes, this is a true story. But no one will every believe it. And the feds will bury it.’ He kept the paperwork all these years…He claimed it’s true. I don’t know. I do know there are operations I was involved with that the government denies to this day that I can not prove…So I guess everyone has to decide what they believe is true. I now think Majestic was used to cover early stealth and Harrier research… – Thanks, Steve “


The Tug and Tow of Bastard Redemption

Eventually, John William James settled in Knoxville, Tennessee. At Christmas, however, he always returned home to Kentucky. When he arrived, the family noticed how he had become so noticeably different from them. He was liberal. He had many homosexual and lesbian friends.

The family also noted how alike he was to some of them. He was “constantly in this mist,” meaning he was a functioning alcoholic like so many others among the James family. The blot within the James family reached well beyond the “talented, but erratic” Rev. Joseph Martin James to an ancestral cousin Phillip Henry James in the Revolutionary War.

John William James died on June 19, 1994. In a Christian imitation, he surrendered his body for his fellow man. He donated his remains to science. Dr. Leonard P. Blass of the Department of Anatomy at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio received his donation. Nothing more is known of his body’s disposition or what value came from it.


Bastard Bunch Prejudice – Nevermore

Prejudice requires a conflict. Prejudice also requires a fire, burning to survive. For the Bastard Bunch, time has evaporated the conflict among the James family. Many descendants today do not know of these ancestral events. Most James living today do not burn with the flames of contempt and hatred that once afflicted their ancestors.

As the facts of history endure, all may never be forgotten. A bastard birth can never be reborn. A bastard birth can never be corrected. What can be corrected is derision and exclusion. Inclusion and acceptance can be reawakened.

From their experience with Frank and Jesse James, the James family is too familiar with stigma. The outlaw brothers stripped away dignity, respect, and family identity itself. The James family are victims, suffering a never-ending tide of erosion and destruction. As long as the legend of Jesse James endures, so will endure a measure of public prejudice against the James family as tides of family and public disapproval recede only to advance again.

For the Bastard Bunch, however, time has erased shame, dishonor, and disgrace of their misborn stigma. Bastardy no longer creates social pariahs. Bastardy is the inheritance of the legends of history. For that alone, Jesse James was right. No one ever should be named Jesse James again.

Whose side are you on?

More about The Bastard Bunch


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Tuesday April 20th, 2021
Stray Leaves

WE JAMES ARE PROUDLY DIVERSE . . .
This is the family of Elizabeth Lee James, a great-granddaughter of John Oliver James, born in Pulaski Co KY and died in Midland, TX and John's wife Dimples Hite. Among Libby's Aboriginal family Libby's daughter Adina Brown stands beside her. Adina posted "Things Not to Say to Aboriginal People." This translates equally to us in James families of African-American or Native-American descent. Even Frank and Jesse James had an African-American half-brother.
... See MoreSee Less

WE JAMES ARE PROUDLY DIVERSE . . .
This is the family of Elizabeth Lee James, a great-granddaughter of John Oliver James, born in Pulaski Co KY and died in Midland, TX and Johns wife Dimples Hite. Among Libbys Aboriginal family Libbys daughter Adina Brown stands beside her. Adina posted Things Not to Say to Aboriginal People. This translates equally to us in James families of African-American or Native-American descent. Even Frank and Jesse James had an African-American half-brother.
Friday April 16th, 2021
Stray Leaves

I'm imagining my grandmother Anna Emalen Knaff clocking into her sales job in 1903 at Marshall Field & Co. department store in the morning. In the late afternoon, she met my grandfather Francis Marion "Frank" James during the tragic Iroquois Theater fire in Chicago as they both tended to the injured, dead, and dying. ... See MoreSee Less

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Comment on Facebook

It's really great to have such hero's in the family. Strong giving people, wish I could of open them and heard their stories.

Thursday April 8th, 2021
Stray Leaves

Sisters, Hadie Alice Herrin-White & Mirna Florence Herrin-Criswell, in 1956 standing before 106 James St. in Somerset, Pulaski Co KY. They are 2nd great-granddaughters of Rev. Joseph Martin James & Rhoda May by Susan Harriet James & Joseph Allen Herrin. Photo courtesy of Hadie's son, Terry Joseph White. ... See MoreSee Less

Sisters, Hadie Alice Herrin-White & Mirna Florence Herrin-Criswell, in 1956 standing before 106 James St. in Somerset, Pulaski Co KY. They are 2nd great-granddaughters of Rev. Joseph Martin James & Rhoda May by Susan Harriet James & Joseph Allen Herrin. Photo courtesy of Hadies son, Terry Joseph White.

Comment on Facebook

Eric, My mom's name is Hadie. Ben is my dad. We used both names when setting up their Facebook account.

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