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Lawsuit Defense Fund for Jesse James

Go Fund Jesse James

Seems weird, doesn’t it? Asking you to give money to defend in a court of law America’s best-recognized outlaw who’s just had his identity stolen?


A lawsuit is serious business. It’s worse when the history of Jesse James and his family is threatened, and their known physical genetic identity is thrown up for grabs.

When the true identity of Jesse James is applied to fake images and tintypes , the stakes for the living family of Jesse James grow high. If the physical identity of Jesse James can be stolen, so could yours.

Better yet, consider what happens when made-up history about Jesse James overrides the rock-solid veracity of his genetic history. All history is turned on its head. No one knows what to believe.

Photographic identity fraud happens to Jesse James all the time. It happens to other historical people, too. It will happen to you someday if Stray Leaves does not prevail in this lawsuit.

Now is the time to stop photo fraud identity theft. Look at what’s happened to Jesse James’ family. You might have a different opinion about making a donation to Jesse’s lawsuit defense.

What Happened? – The Lawsuit

The Jesse James family is under assault. In January of 2015, a lawsuit was filed in the 25th District Court of Guadalupe County, Texas. The defendants named in the lawsuit are:

  • Eric F. James, the genealogist and family historian for the Jesse James family.
  • Also named as defendants are Stray Leaves, the Jesse James family’s official website;
  • and the James Preservation Trust, the James family’s vast electronic repository of family research, history, biography, photos, documents, and genealogical data.

These resources traditionally have been self-supporting. Their data and information are sought by, and shared with, historical institutions, museums, genealogical and historical societies, book authors, media, auctions houses, artifact collectors, and a public with specific interests in family history or Jesse James.

Among the research that is provided freely for educational purposes, one mission of these resources is to alert the Jesse James family and interested parties to the existence of false and misleading information. Of special interest is prospective fraudulent activity regarding Jesse James’ history, genealogy, artifacts, or imagery, and claims that are known or suspected to be inaccurate, untrue, or inauthentic. Parties seeking to capitalize on fake Jesse James history are given critical focus.

The Tintype Claim

Fake photo claimed to be Bob Ford and Jesse James
The tintype claimed by the litigants to be Bob Ford and Jesse James, otherwise deemed to be a fake image.

Litigants of the lawsuit claimed that a tintype put up for sale at auction by two of the litigants was authenticated by a third litigant to be Jesse James and his assassin Robert Ford. The tintype was bid and purchased by a fourth litigant.

Prior to the auction, Stray Leaves‘ publisher, Eric F. James informed the owner-seller of the image that the tintype was not an image of Jesse James. Rejected by the James family, the tintype owner contacted a self-proclaimed authenticator of historic images to attach the identity of Jesse James to the tintype that she wanted.

On a mission to ascertain how the old tintype was touted publicly as being Jesse James and his assassin Robert Ford, Eric F. James researched and reported to the Stray Leaves family his findings of what was behind developments, revealing from the public record details of what now is known as the Bob Ford/Jesse James photo hoax.

Litigants of the Lawsuit

Behind the shenanigans, which Stray Leaves reported, stand the litigants who brought this lawsuit. All were hell-bent on self-promotion and profiteering at the expense and exploitation of Jesse James and his known historical physical identity, not to mention the abuse of the genetic identity of the Jesse James family.

  • Lois Gibson is a self-proclaimed authenticator of historic images. But she has no scientific credentials. She is a creative artist by occupation. Gibson is notorious for her false assessments in fake images of Billy the Kid and Robert Johnson. She contradicted the Johnson family about their own known identity. She did the same to the family of San Antonio mayor and Texas pioneer Jose Miguel de Arciniega. That conflict erupted into the lawsuit of JMADS LLC v. Norma Langwell in Texas. Gibson’s image of Jose Miguel de Arciniega contradicted the history and knowledge of Arciniega’s own descendants. Gibson claimed her imagery of Arciniega to be superior to that owned by the Arciniega family. The settlement of this lawsuit stopped Gibson from making such false claims about the Arciniega family ever again.
  • Robb Burley and Burley Auction Gallery promoted and auctioned the tintype that Gibson falsely identified as Bob Ford & Jesse James. Burley conducted no investigation of his own. Instead, he relied upon the assessment of Gibson.
  • Terry Verburgt is reported in the press to be the purchaser at the auction of the falsely claimed tintype. Verburgt’s role as a litigant associated in this lawsuit with Gibson and Burley is an intrigue, yet to be revealed. Verburgt is unknown among Jesse James collectors and was unknown to Burley Auction Gallery regulars.

The Case

What happened is this. When the Burley Auction Gallery put the tintype up for auction and the gavel fell, the auction failed to produce the windfall of $1 million that was projected. The auction event was filmed. Following the auction, there was no series pick-up for a reality TV program produced from the auction.

The open market place handed these multiple failures to the litigants, rendered by the court of public opinion at auction that didn’t buy the auction hype.

Now, the litigants bring lawsuit indictments, seeking a quarter-million dollars from Eric F. James, Stray Leaves, and the James Preservation Trust. The litigants allege that publications by James and Stray Leaves in covering the auction event amounted to defamation causing their loss.

Prosecutions of the Past

In the years since Bob Ford murdered Jesse James, the James family has been led down this road of false identity and problematic family claimants before. Charlatans, fraudsters, claimants and con artists constantly trick the identity of Jesse James for their own benefit. The financial expense expended by the Jesse James family and its legal defense has left it historically without sufficient resources to underwrite the current contest.

John James, alias Jesse James

When brought to trial by the James family, Jesse James was revealed to be John James, a man with no kinship to the Jesse James family. He was mentally ill. Jesse James’ son, Jesse Edwards James Jr., and his wife Stella Frances McGowan James committed the man to a hospital and they paid for his institutionalization.

J. Frank Dalton, alias Jesse James

J. Frank Dalton toured America in the 20th century, claiming he was in fact the living outlaw Jesse James, alive to age 106. Some parties today in Granbury, Texas and elsewhere, still believe in his charade as historical fact.

Betty Dorsett Duke

Betty Dorsett Duke, also from Texas, claimed her grandfather was in fact Jesse James. Duke never explained why her claim did not make her an additional generation older than her birth date as the historical timeline would require. Duke accosted Jesse’s great grandson Judge James R. Ross in public. She demanded his blood for a DNA test to prove her claim. After Judge Ross died, Duke alleged Eric F. James was part of a conspiracy to assassinate her. Her complaint to the FBI about him and his co-conspirators , and the subsequent investigation by the FBI, shut down her claim. After that, Duke unexpectedly died at a young age.

Read “Murder, and Betty Dorsett Duke” and the denial of Duke’s claims by Duke’s own family.

Jesse Gregory James

Jesse Gregory James, aka Jesse James, now living in Texas, claimed in public media to be a descendant of the outlaw. When confronted by Stray Leaves and Eric F. James to produce his Y-chromosome DNA results for comparison, the TV celebrity took no action to substantiate or to further his claim. Jesse G. James has refrained from making the claim ever since.

An endless cornucopia of photographic images claiming to be Jesse James flood the desk of Stray Leaves monthly. No two ever look alike, and none is ever Jesse James. Images that are highly promoted like the claimed Bob Ford/Jesse James tintype usually spawn two or three additional false claims, as did the Ford/James image.

“I took the contract to take down a bully, pure & simple”

Robb Burley stated to Eric F. James in writing that his actual intent in holding the tintype auction was to bring down Stray Leaves, Eric F. James, and the James Preservation Trust.

“I didnt (sic) take the contract to make a bunch of money (no seller fees charged). I took the contact to take down a bully, plain & simple. ”

Source: Robb Burley of Burley Auction Gallery

Over a year ago, James gave Burley an opportunity to have his grievances addressed through Burley’s lawyers. Instead, Burley waited until a year after the auction to sue using different lawyers.

You are Invited to Join the Jesse James Family

We invite you to join us in our legal defense of Jesse James’ identity as well as our own and what we do. Your contribution will protect free speech. Your contribution will defend family identity that is faithful and true. Donate and protect history that is honest and factual. We are the family, friends, and supporters of the Jesse James family with a very serious interest in keeping history authentic and true. Join us as we Go Fund Jesse James.

Learn More & DONATE HERE

The family of Frank & Jesse James thank you.
So will history.

To read the entire story of the Bob Ford/Jesse James tintype photo hoax from its beginning in November of 2015 to the present lawsuit, click HERE.

At the bottom of the hoax story, you also will find RELATED links to all the posts about this story that followed.

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Tuesday June 30th, 2020

Stray Leaves

Here's some colorful video history on George Morgan Chinn, a grandson of Frank James' cohort John Pendleton "Black Jack" Chinn. Whenever I drive from Danville to Midway or Lexington, Ky, I pass the ruins of Chinn's Cave House.
Here also are a couple of testimonials about George, also colorful, from the files of the James Preservation Trust.
#1- "I remember George very well. He was my late father's cousin and we do have his linage through the Morgan's, dating back to John Morgan in 1778. He was a really smart fellow and funny. His [Ed.: grand] father was Jack Chinn. I have a picture of him with William Jennings Bryan, Dicky Brant, and Frank James (Brother of Jesse) seated in a buggy hitched to the only grey horse that won the Kentucky Derby. Jack was fined five dollars for speeding in a horse-drawn vehicle. He paid ten dollars and told them to keep the change because he was going out of town (Harrodsburg, Ky) the same speed he came in. My dad had a lot of these old family tales."
And #2 - "hi I knew him personally. He has a lot of historical books at the Fort Harrod Museum. He also published one about Brooklyn or the Palisades area of Jessamine and Mercer Counties. His wife's nickname was Cotton because of her white hair. They were both feisty. I lived and grew up on five acres that attached to the Chinn land. It was at 5555 Lexington Rd in Mercer county. The Chinn mansion was in a hairpin curve...'Chinn curve.'
"We had hunters and trespassers that would go on the property and we would have to call the Chinns to have them removed.
"My grandfather grew up and ran with Jack Chinn. Jack had a moonshine still in a cave across the ky river from the mansion. He would take a boat across to the cave.
Mr. George Chinn was a historian and you can look for his books on google. Or contact the Fort Harrod in Harrodsburg or the local library. Sorry, that is all I have except I know George had a daughter."
George Morgan Chinn also was a director of the Kentucky Historical Society and editor of their publication "The Register." He authored several books, including "Kentucky: Settlement and Statehood, 1750-1800," still in print, "The Encyclopedia of Hand Arms," and the five-volume work "The Machine Gun."
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