Category Archives: This Bloody Ground

A PREVIEW of Jesse James Soul Liberty, Volume II

An interview today prompted the question, “What are you working on now?” Here’s your preview…

Baptist preacher in the colonial era

I’m finishing writing Volume II of my Jesse James Soul Liberty quintet; this volume subtitled “This Bloody Ground.”

This biographical history focuses on the grandfather of Frank & Jesse James, John M. James, a patriot of the Revolutionary War who falls in with the rabid Baptist preachers, violently persecuted by the Anglican establishment. This band of rebel, sharpshooting preachers barter their participation as minutemen of the Revolution for the promise of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. They fight pivotal battles that win the Revolution.

As adoption of independence and religious liberty is lagging, the rebel preachers exit the Old Dominion with their Traveling Church for New Canaan, the violent and uninhabited western frontier of the Cain-tuc. There, John M. James and his fellow Baptist ministers construct the socio-political, religious communities and structures that separate the independent Commonwealth of Kentucky from the Old Dominion. They win the War of 1812 to secure their own establishment, and for the future of a new frontier pastorate. Then, they migrate once more, this time into the West and Far West to ground the political environment of American religious conservatism, still so much in evidence today.

Doing so, John M. James further imprints a legacy upon his family’s progeny with the socio-political interests that not only made iconic outlaws of the James brothers, but also formed the modern American character and identity of the James family, so amply depicted in Volume I, “Behind the Family Wall of Stigma & Silence.”

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I just learned of the passing of the Chicano author Rudolfo Anaya on June 28, 2020, who appears prominently in my book Jesse James Soul Liberty, Vol. I.
Anaya was not above human prejudice, nor above holding a public lynching of a white person, as he did with Daniel Lewis James of the James family. Dan James was a Hollywood screenwriter and collaborator with Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator. He and Chaplin were blacklisted. When Dan James went underground, he volunteered in the Chicano community in the barrios of Los Angeles as an unpaid social worker. Dan sent Chicanos he met to school at his own expense and he got jobs for their parents in the film industry. From his experiences in the barrios, Dan wrote a novel Famous All Over Town. Since Dan was blacklisted, he wrote under the pen name of Danny Santiago (Dan St. James). His novel won a prestigious national award. When Dan failed to show up to accept the award, the Hispanic literati, of which Anaya was one, held a public inquisition. They lynched Dan for being an Anglo.
Neither Anaya nor any of the Hispanic literati ever apologized to Dan or to the James family for their prejudice or transgressions. Today Dan’s novel is taught in college-level Hispanic studies aside from his films now taught in film schools.
The following excerpt is from pages 253-255 of JJSL.
“Assembled by a ‘kangaroo court of intellectuals’ as one writer called the Hispanic elites who gathered, the inquisition posed the question, “Danny Santiago, Art of Fraud?” Ishmael Reed, himself a non-Hispanic, incited the Before Columbus Foundation of Berkley, California to conduct the inquiry, held at the Modern Times Bookstore in San Francisco. Many established Hispanic writers represented the Foundation as peers. The panelists were Gary Soto, Rodolfo Anaya, Thomas Ibarra, Myrta Chaban, and Juan Felipe Herrera. About 120 guests attended. Dan James was branded a fraud. Blacklisted first by Hollywood, Dan James was brown listed now by the Hispanic community he faithfully and quietly had served.”
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I just learned of the passing of the Chicano author Rudolfo Anaya on June 28, 2020, who appears prominently in my book Jesse James Soul Liberty, Vol. I.
Anaya was not above human prejudice, nor above holding a public lynching of a white person, as he did with Daniel Lewis James of the James family. Dan James was a Hollywood screenwriter and collaborator with Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator. He and Chaplin were blacklisted.  When Dan James went underground, he volunteered in the Chicano community in the barrios of Los Angeles as an unpaid social worker. Dan sent Chicanos he met to school at his own expense and he got jobs for their parents in the film industry. From his experiences in the barrios, Dan wrote a novel Famous All Over Town. Since Dan was blacklisted, he wrote under the pen name of Danny Santiago (Dan St. James). His novel won a prestigious national award. When Dan failed to show up to accept the award, the Hispanic literati, of which Anaya was one, held a public inquisition. They lynched Dan for being an Anglo.
Neither Anaya nor any of the Hispanic literati ever apologized to Dan or to the James family for their prejudice or transgressions. Today Dan’s novel is taught in college-level Hispanic studies aside from his films now taught in film schools.
The following excerpt is from pages 253-255 of JJSL.
“Assembled by a ‘kangaroo court of intellectuals’ as one writer called the Hispanic elites who gathered, the inquisition posed the question, “Danny Santiago, Art of Fraud?” Ishmael Reed, himself a non-Hispanic, incited the Before Columbus Foundation of Berkley, California to conduct the inquiry, held at the Modern Times Bookstore in San Francisco. Many established Hispanic writers represented the Foundation as peers. The panelists were Gary Soto, Rodolfo Anaya, Thomas Ibarra, Myrta Chaban, and Juan Felipe Herrera. About 120 guests attended. Dan James was branded a fraud. Blacklisted first by Hollywood, Dan James was brown listed now by the Hispanic community he faithfully and quietly had served.”

Looking forward to This Bloody Ground, Vol. II of JJSL . . . John M. James entered the Kentucky District of Virginia in 1784, making his settlement permanent. His residence in Logan County would not occur until after 1807 - after his final term in the Kentucky House of Representatives, after his vigorous defense in the House of Judge Harry Innes and their roles in the Spanish Conspiracy to sell Kentucky to Spain, after his wife Clara Nall abandoned their marriage, and after all his personal disgrace. Logan County, known as Rogues' Harbor, became his new home, where he could start a new family, and begin a new revolution. This time, against banks!TODAY IN LOGAN COUNTY, KY – June 1, 1792

Kentucky became a state, barely escaping an earlier planned name of Transylvania. Col. Richard Henderson from North Carolina and in conjunction with the Transylvania Land Company purchased lands in what is now KY and TN, about twenty million acres. On 23 April 1775, he called for election for delegates to the Transylvania colony. In June of 1776, Virginia invalidated his purchases but gave him the area now known as Henderson and the twelve square miles surrounding the present-day town. Kentucky was then Kentucky County of Virginia and later separated into the counties we know today, Logan being cut off September 1, 1792. The diagram shows the area of the colony he planned. Visit McCracken County, KY library’s website to learn more.
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Looking forward to This Bloody Ground, Vol. II of JJSL . . . John M. James entered the Kentucky District of Virginia in 1784, making his settlement permanent. His residence in Logan County would not occur until after 1807 - after his final term in the Kentucky House of Representatives, after his vigorous defense in the House of Judge Harry Innes and their roles in the Spanish Conspiracy to sell Kentucky to Spain, after his wife Clara Nall abandoned their marriage, and after all his personal disgrace. Logan County, known as Rogues Harbor, became his new home, where he could start a new family, and begin a new revolution. This time, against banks!

It's taken me 5 years to do it. Last night at 2 am, I finally screened the movie Trumbo, starring Bryan Cranston. The movie is about the blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo who was a personal friend of Daniel Lewis James Jr. of our family. Like Trumbo, Dan James also was unjustly blacklisted by the House on Un-American Activities Committee and the Hollywood movie industry. Both Trumbo & James appear in JJSL Vol I in my chapter "All for the Underdog."
The film's storyline was known to me, in fact, intimately known, based on my research about Dan James for my book. But it sure was fun seeing the story on a movie screen. For years, I've thought Dan James' story would make a great movie. I still think it can, despite the appearance of the Trumbo movie.
If you read their story in JJSL or don't want to wait for a movie about Daniel Lewis James, see Trumbo now. Just imagine the title of the movie is James instead.
... See MoreSee Less

Its taken me 5 years to do it. Last night at 2 am, I finally screened the movie Trumbo, starring Bryan Cranston. The movie is about the blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo who was a personal friend of Daniel Lewis James Jr. of our family. Like Trumbo, Dan James also was unjustly blacklisted by the House on Un-American Activities Committee and the Hollywood movie industry. Both Trumbo & James appear in JJSL Vol I in my chapter All for the Underdog.
The films storyline was known to me, in fact, intimately known, based on my research about Dan James for my book. But it sure was fun seeing the story on a movie screen. For years, Ive thought Dan James story would make a great movie. I still think it can, despite the appearance of the Trumbo movie.
If you read their story in JJSL or dont want to wait for a movie about Daniel Lewis James, see Trumbo now. Just imagine the title of the movie is James instead.

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY fired the soul of Frank & Jesse James' grandfather John M. James just as it does today. When I was writing This Bloody Ground, Vol. II of JJSL, I relied upon John Ragosta (interviewed here) and his book Wellspring of Liberty to tell the story of John M. James and his band of rebel preachers who exiled Virginia for the frontier of the Cain-tuc. Listen to Ragosta's comments in this interview here for a first understanding of the term religious liberty. It may change how you view the topic today. ... See MoreSee Less

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