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Who Do You Think You Are ?

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I’m looking forward to this program for a number of reasons.

Ever since I gave the Founder’s Day Address at Georgetown College in Kentucky a few years ago, I’ve publiclly advocated for the institution of accredited study of family history in schools and colleges. Not so much for learning about one’s family, which is thrilling in itself; nor for learning research, business, & presentation skills that can benefit anyone in any profession. But more so, for the sense of self identity and sense of inclusion that results.

Family history study retards the societal ills that arise when people feel isolated & alone. A student of family history can find more than personal identity. One further finds integration of self with family, community, & social structures.

In the past dozen years, STRAY LEAVES has made a journey of stunning discovery. Not just about the family of Jesse James and its relatives formerly unknown, but also about other American icons like Sam Walton, George Bush, Dan Quayle, Kit Carson, & numerous others who hold a recognizable place in American culture. Now our family of stray leaves joins them. They not only offer insight into us, we offer insight into them.

In the past two years, I’ve been prospecting for a literary agent & publisher for our new James family history, SOUL LIBERTY, Behind the Heritage of Silence in the Family of Jesse James This year Volume I of this trilogy will be ready for publication. For the publishing world, though, this has been a hard sell.

Publishers don’t want to have anything to do with genealogy. Publishers also lack the insight of how new history generates itself from genealogy research. Yet, when anyone reads a preview chapter of SOUL LIBERTY one of the first questions asked is, “Where did you find all this new information and history?”

Hopefully, Who Do You Think You Are? will open their eyes to how much new history yet can be written, if we only look to ourselves.

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Tuesday October 19th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

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Tuesday October 19th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

☞Today in Old-West History — On today’s date 119 years ago, Sunday, October 19, 1902, notorious Old-West outlaw & fiddle player James Hardin “Uncle Jim” Younger (1848-1902) met his earthly demise at the age of 54 when he committed suicide by gunshot whilst on parole at Saint Paul, Minnesota.

☞Requiéscant In Pace, Jim Younger.

☞Jim Younger was one of the central figures of a band of the most desperate outlaws the Old West ever knew — the infamous James-Younger Gang, which was formed by Jim’s brother Cole Younger along with Frank & Jesse James.

☞Jim Younger joined the Confederate Army during the War Between the States (1861-1865) & served with Quantrill’s Raiders. In 1864, he was captured by Union troops & was imprisoned until the end of the War.

☞After the War, Younger worked on various ranches until he joined the James-Younger Gang in 1873. When his brother John was killed at Roscoe, Missouri in 1874, Jim left the gang & went out west where he worked on a ranch in San Luis Obispo, California.

☞In 1876, Jim returned to the gang, & on September 7 he participated in a bank robbery that became known as the Great Northfield Minnesota Raid. During that robbery he was shot & captured. The James brothers escaped, but Cole, Jim, & Bob Younger were shot up by a posse, arrested, & sentenced to long terms in the state penitentiary at Stillwater, Minnesota, where they were afforded celebrity status.

☞Jim Younger’s fiddle was one of the few possessions that he was allowed to have with him in prison, & he played it often. As time passed, Jim noticed that a little bird would appear most every day in the window of his jail cell. It seemed as though the bird came to listen whenever Jim played his fiddle. Jim was lonely & he befriended the bird which he named “Swipsy.” The bird would fly into the prison cell & Jim would always try to have crumbs to feed Swipsy. One day, a fellow prisoner killed the little bird just for spite. Jim then painted a picture of Swipsy on the back of his violin to remember his little feathered friend.

☞In 1898, the prison warden allowed the prisoners to throw a Christmas party at his own home, with Cole Younger portraying Santa Claus & Jim Younger playing his fiddle.

☞Paroled in 1901, Jim became engaged to his long-time lover Alix Mueller; however, because of the terms of his parole he couldn’t marry her.

☞On October 19, 1902, after a failed attempt to sell tombstones & then insurance, Jim Younger locked himself in his room, wrote a suicide note to Alix, picked up his revolver, & blew his brains out.

☞In 2013, Jim Younger’s fiddle, which was played by him at the famous 1898 Christmas party at Stillwater Prison, was sold at a Dallas, Texas auction for over $11,000.

☞The left-hand photograph depicts the image of Swipsy the Bird that Jim Younger painted on the back of his fiddle. The right-hand photograph depicts an undated studio portrait of Jim Younger.
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Tuesday October 5th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

For Drury Woodson James, founder of Paso Robles, CA., and all his descendants, PASO ROBLES FOUNDERS’ DAY 2021. See MoreSee Less