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Rita Coolidge Dedicates Cherokee History in Kentucky

Thanks to Cherokee descendant Rita Coolidge for signing my book, Jesse James Soul Liberty, for our James family cousin, Mark C. New. In addition to being a James cousin, Mark is also a 6th great-grandson of Cherokee Chief Doublehead and his daughter Princess Cornblossom. Rita signed the book to Mark “with love.”

Rita Coolidge in Stanford, Kentucky 2013
Singer & Cherokee Descendant, Rita Coolidge

On this chilly, drizzly morning of October 19, 2013, I was pleased to be among the two hundred or more. We warmly welcomed Rita Coolidge to Stanford, Kentucky. Here she dedicated an historical highway marker to the memory of her Cherokee ancestry. The Cherokee were among the earliest people to occupy this part of Kentucky together with the Shawnee.

The audience for Rita Coolidge in Stanford, Kentucky 2013

Coolidge recounted stories told to her by her Kentucky grandparents. In school, she recounted being taught how America was founded by Columbus. At home, she was taught a longer history of her own descent from Native-American people. They were present in America before Columbus. The two histories she learned couldn’t be more different. Her parents at home in Tennessee told her much more other kids never learned in school.

Rita Coolidge addresses the citizens of Lincoln County, Kentucky about her Cherokee heritage 2013
Rita Coolidge before the Lincoln County, Kentucky Courthouse

Rita sang us a Cherokee song she learned. Her ancestors chanted the song as they walked the Trail of Tears to their exile in distant Oklahoma.

Her friendship with today’s Cherokee Chief of the West in Oklahoma recently informed her, “If Andrew Jackson knew how pretty Oklahoma was, we never would have got it.”

Rita Coolidge dedicates an historical marker in Lincoln County, Kentucky to Cherokee heritage
Rita Coolidge Dedicates Historical Marker to Cherokee History

After the dedication, Rita Coolidge took some time to meet and talk with many of her admirers and many Kentuckians with whom she shares Cherokee heritage. She also signed a copy of my book for our James cousin Mark C. New, who also has Cherokee ancestry. Mark’s 6th great-grandfather is Cherokee Chief Doublehead

And guess whose camera batteries died right when it was time to have his picture taken with the beloved singer? I’ll never make that mistake again.

Rita Coolidge autographs Jesse James Soul Liberty for a James family member with Cherokee ancestry

Mark C. New was unable to attend with me. He is a funeral director in Burkesville, Kentucky, and had two burial services on the day of the dedication.

Among the family, Mark is best known for the annual family reunion he holds at his family’s homestead in Science Hill, Kentucky, every year on Memorial Day. The hayride to the nearby cemetery is a big hit with the youngsters who get to meet the ancestors in the cemetery about whom all the grown-ups were heard talking.

JAMES & CHEROKEE PEDIGREE OF MARK C. NEW

Chief Chuqualataque, “Doublehead” & Taltsuska, Cherokee

.. George Jacob Troxell & Cornblossom, Cherokee

… James William Vaughn & Elizabeth Troxell

…. Merritt Bergin Matthews & Elizabeth Vaughn

….. Dupree Denney & Matilda Matthews

…… John Perry New & Cecelia Jane Denney

……. Dellas E. New & Sarah Ethel Nevils

…….. Ernest Edwin New & Janice C. James

……… MARK C. NEW

……. Janice C. James & Ernest Edwin New

…… Fred O. James & Hazel Adams

….. John Perry James & Lydia Crow

…. Judge John Thomas James & Patience Jenkins

… Rev. Joseph Martin James & Permellia Estepp

.. John M. James & Clarissa Nalle

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Wednesday June 16th, 2021
Stray Leaves

As a 6-year-old boy, Jesse Edwards James Jr. was a witness to the murder of his father, Jesse James. The event impinged on his life forever after. His unruly childhood was brought to heel by both family and community, which included the Crittenden family of Gov. Thomas T Crittenden. It was the family friend Gov. Crittenden who put the bounty on Jesse James that resulted in his killing. Law school and a job in the Crittenden law office directed Jesse Jr. into his future as a lawyer. He did alright until he was solicited into producing a movie about his father. After collecting production money from family, friends, and business associates, the movie flopped. Jesse Jr. assumed responsibility, but he never could never repay the money lost. Severe depression overcame Jesse Jr. He required hospitalization, and then institutionalization. Equilibrium escaped him every living day. He died at age 50 in the care of his loving wife Stella and his four daughters. His grandson Jim Ross, whom he raised with his daughters, became a lawyer and judge. See MoreSee Less

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He has his mother's nose.

That was cool but creepy at the same time. Last photo looked like there was no one home. You can see the change in his eyes.

Monday June 14th, 2021
Stray Leaves

HAPPY 30TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY to the 2nd great-grandson of Jesse James, David James Ross, and his wife Jessica Lemoine Esq. David & Jessica appear here at their 20th anniversary in Jamaica, and more recently in 2018 supporting their adopted family, the Los Angeles Kings ice hockey team. See MoreSee Less

HAPPY 30TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY to the 2nd great-grandson of Jesse James, David James Ross, and his wife Jessica Lemoine Esq. David & Jessica appear here at their 20th anniversary in Jamaica, and more recently in 2018 supporting their adopted family, the Los Angeles Kings ice hockey team.Image attachment
Friday June 11th, 2021
Stray Leaves

ZEE MIMMS JAMES AUTHENTIC PHOTOS ANIMATED . . . Zee was named after Jesse’s mother, Zerelda Cole. Zee and Jesse were first cousins. John M. James was grandfather to them both. Despite the strong family tie, most of the family disapproved of their marriage. Their uncle, Rev. William James a Methodist minister and himself a black sheep among the James, married Zee and Jesse. Zee bore Jesse five children. Two lived to adulthood. A set of twins died soon after birth. A fifth child was miscarried. Zee died at age 55 of neurasthenia, a condition characterized by lassitude, fatigue, headache, and irritability, associated chiefly with emotional disturbance.
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Impressive

Eerily Amazing 😳 Thank You

Wednesday June 9th, 2021
Stray Leaves

BOB FORD AUTHENTIC PHOTOS ANIMATED . . . Yesterday, June 8, 2021, was the 129th anniversary of the murder of Robert Newton Ford by Ed O’Kelley in Creede, Colorado. The murder was the retribution of Bob Ford’s assassination of Jesse James on April 3, 1882. History recalls Ford as "that dirty little coward." See MoreSee Less

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