Nancy Samuelson, book reviewer for the Wild West History Association, the James-Younger Gang Journal, & Leaves of Gas reviews the latest book to come from the imagination of treasure hunter Ron Pastore
Jesse James’ Secret: Codes, Cover-Ups & Hidden Treasure by Ron Pastore and John O’Melveny Woods, (Intellect Publishing. 2010). 296 pp., soft cover, $19.95.
This is another round of Jesse James did not die in 1882. Like most other books and articles of this ilk this one is loaded with misinformation and fairy tales. There are no notes, no bibliography, or any other pretense of real research. The book is also replete with photographs of very dubious identification and origin.
Jesse James was really Jeremiah (or was it Jere Miah—the authors can’t seem to keep the spelling consistent) James. Jeremiah lived on well after Jesse James was shot and killed by Bob Ford in 1882, raised a large family and died in Kansas.
Even well documented facts concerning the James and Younger families are totally twisted in this book. For instance the father of Robert James (the father of Frank and Jesse) is said to have died on a buffalo hunting trip to Indian Territory. In fact, both of Robert James’ parents, John and his wife Mary (Polly), both died in Logan County, KY in 1827 and there are extensive court records that document this.
The authors claim that the James boys and the Younger boys were cousins and this is not true. The authors also list the following Youngers as members of the James-Younger gang: Bud, Cole, Bob, Jim and Grat. Bud was a nickname for Cole Younger and there was never a Grat Younger. Grat was a Dalton and a member of the Dalton Gang. The Daltons and the Youngers were, however, related.
I could go on for several pages just listing errors of fact in this book but that would do little but document the complete lack of scholarship of the authors.
The entire book is more tall tales of Knights of the Golden Circle, buried treasure, switched identities, etc, etc. Unless you wish to collect all of the weird books in print about Jesse James I would advise you skip this one.