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Book Signing Adventures

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Surprise adventures and arrivals at my book signings are becoming no longer surprising.

Eric F. James with Katie Cole
Katie Cole speaks with author Eric F. James

Last week, at the Gathering of Authors, a young lady introduced herself to me. She said she knew all about Jesse James. “What’s your name,” I asked. “Katie Cole,” she replied. “Do you live in Frankfort,” I pressed.” “No,” she responded, ” in Stamping Ground.”

Katie Cole is kin to Jesse and Frank’s mother, Zerelda Elizabeth Cole. Zerelda’s uncle, Judge James Madison Lindsay of in Stamping Ground, sent Zerelda to a convent school in Lexington for disciplinary purposes.

Katie and I conversed at length about my book and its many pictures. Her mother, April Cole, took all these pics. I believe the website KyCaptialLiving.com, where more event pics appear, is her’s, too.

Katie is one sharp and intelligent young lady. When I inquired about her interests, she said she liked creating video games. Later in the day, Katie visited me again. She was collecting autographs from all the authors. I signed mine, “To Cousin Katie, Let’s get up a video game for Jesse. Best regards…”

A short time later, Kentucky’s 1999-2000 Poet Laureate, Richard Taylor, came over to introduce himself. “You don’t have to introduce yourself, Richard. I know you well,” I said. “You do?” Richard asked. I replied, “I never forget a person who sues me.”

Poet Richard Taylor
Richard Taylor, Author & Former Kentucky Poet Laureate

I then refreshed Richard’s memory of several years ago. At that time, Richard he sat on the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS). The Board he sat on decided to sue me with The Concerned Members of the KHS on the advice of an executive director to the KHS, appointed by one of Kentucky most corrupt governors, Gov. Ernie Fletcher. I was the Concerned Members’ president and became the primary target of the lawsuit.

Richard and I recalled the KHS misadventure and lamented what has become of the KHS since. He shared some intelligence that things might finally be turning around for the better with the KHS. I reminded Richard of the James family’s long standing with the KHS that preceded the lawsuit. We’re both looking forward to hearing news of new directions, and the re-stabilization of the venerable, old institution.

Poor Richard's Books, Frankfort, Ky.
Poor Richard’s Book Store, Frankfort, Kentucky

Before I relocated to Kentucky from California, when I visited Kentucky to do research for my books, Richard Taylor’s Bookstore in Frankfort was always my first stop. I always managed to leave one or two hundred dollars behind in his store. Now, Richard says, he’ll be stocking my books.

Richard’s Taylor family has a long history with our James that will become a very clear in Volume II of Jesse James Soul Liberty – This Bloody Ground.

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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

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