Jesse James

Death Hoax and Buried Treasures

Jesse James and History

What if the traditional history of Jesse James was not all true, and there was a clever twist where he escaped and lived to a peaceful and ripe old age? What if others close to him followed suit? Some have considered such proposals as utterly preposterous, while others have opened their minds to seriously consider the growing and undeniable alternative evidences. After perusing this site each reader will have to decide for his or her self if Jesse James was wise enough to fake his death, or did he just wait for the inevitable? As you consider the possibilities, ask yourself what you would have done given his limited choices.

Jesse James’ legendary status began in his own time and still attracts world-wide fascination – it will never die. He has been referred to as America’s Robin Hood, a robbin’ hood, an outlaw, a patriot and a terrorist. Perhaps he was all of these things, but the word terrorist is often misused to abuse one’s enemies. The debate will never end because one man’s Robin Hood or patriot is another man’s terrorist.

The traditional story of Jesse James’ death goes that he was living as Thomas Howard with his wife and first cousin, Zee Mimms, along with their two children, Jesse Edwards James and Mary James, at 1318 Lafayette Street in St. Joseph, Missouri. On April 3, 1882 he reportedly removed his guns, stepped onto a chair to dust a picture with his back to his house guests, Bob and Charley Ford, blissfully unaware that they had conspired with Missouri Governor Thomas T. Crittenden to kill him for reward money. Hearing the click of a pistol being cocked, Jesse began turning his head towards the ominous sound just as Bob fired a ball that tore through his brain. That very day a rumor began circulating that this was just another one of Jesse's death hoaxes, and it is still circulating to this very day. 

Tabloid journalism was alive and well in Jesse James’ day and operating in the same way, just sensationalizing a complete fabrication of untruths. This certainly holds true with Professor James E. Starrs’ 1995 exhumation and subsequent DNA testing of Jesse James’ reported grave in Kearney. Missouri's Mt. Olivet Cemetery. The DNA results are highly touted as proving with a 99.7 degree of certainty that Jesse died and is buried just as history reports, but the truth of the matter is that they proved absolutely nothing. 

No one alive today knows the complete true story of Jesse James. Much of the historical version of his life and death is based on hearsay from the very individuals who were trying to protect him. However, legitimate DNA testing can determine if he is buried in that questioned grave in Kearney, Missouri, but until this happens the traditional version of his death is based on nothing but folk lore. 

If Jesse did not die as history reports the domino effect begins -- Zee Mimms was not his wife; Jesse Edwards James was not his son; Mary James was not his daughter, and so on down the line. Most “experts” believe Jesse James died just as history reports, but they cannot definitively prove that he did without valid DNA results. There are enough dissenters to make it an intriguing idea, and if anyone could have pulled it off it would have been Jesse James.

Jesse James eluded capture for over twenty years, so he was certainly capable of pulling off his biggest heist ever by getting away with his own murder. The historical fact is that in 1879 he tried faking his death at Short Creek, Joplin, Missouri, so why wouldn’t he try it again in 1882 and succeed?

I’ve spent the last eighteen years trailing Jesse James searching for evidences leading to his true burial place, because once it's found his true descendants will be revealed. The search ended in Blevins, Texas. From all indications Jesse James is buried in Blevins Cemetery under the tombstone bearing the name of James L. Courtney.

For as long as I can remember I’ve heard family stories that claim Jesse James was my great-grandfather. The story goes that he assumed the name of James L. Courtney, hightailed it to Texas in 1871 and lived to tell his great-grandchildren about his amazing exploits.

Does Jesse James’ blood really run through my veins? How many supposed experts have ridden down the wrong trail? I want to know the truth and have researched every known fact. I rode, hell-bent, into wild uncharted territories, ambushed by hired guns at every turn. Some from the past, and some aimed today -- truth is a tough journey.

So saddle up! Together we'll retrace Jesse's discovery trail as I have replaced the fiction often told with the facts. You decide, perhaps you will catch a glimpse of a great mystery solved as I have; and maybe those rich insights will bring to you a new understanding of Jesse James’ life in the old Wild West. Most of all, for Jesse's sake, the real story of his life and death, never told before, unfolds. Ride with me, to a time, a place, and find The TRUTH about JESSE JAMES.

Wood Hite and Jesse James

Be sure to check out our latest Jesse James news in the "What's New" section of this website.  Our recent discovery is nothing less than amazing.

Jesse W. James aka J.L. Courtney

Young Jesse W. James

Although the "Jesse James powers that be" as well as most noted historians insist that both images pictured on the left are of Jesse James, they are obviously absolutely wrong.   The left image is a famous historically accepted photo of Jesse James dead taken in 1882.  

The Truth About Jesse James
Jesse James signature
Young Jesse James

Despite 1995 DNA results highly touted as proving Jesse James was shot dead by Bob Ford in 1882 and is buried just as history reports, he instead pulled off one of the biggest hoaxes in American history by getting away with his own murder, and hightailing it to Texas where he lived under the alias of James Courtney for the rest of his long life.


Ears & Hairline Reveal That One Of The Men Pictured Below Is Not Jesse James

I believe this entry from his diary is just one indication that Grandpa stole the name James L. Courtney.  Stemm: a line of descendants from a particular ancestor.  Tryst:  a prearranged meeting place.  Heist: a robbery.
Jesse James
Jesse James eBay photo
Jesse James The Smoking Gun

The right image is the most famous historically accepted photo of him alive believed to have been taken ca 1875.  There's no way his hair grew back by the time he was reportedly shot dead in 1882.    The ears in the death image come to a point on top yet they are rounded in the 1875 image of him alive.  Ears don't change with the exception of drooping ear lobes as one ages - again, the cartilage does not change.


Jesse James AKA James L. Courtney signed his 1871 diary "J. James

"When stemm and tryst James L. Courtney is my heist." 

Available for Purchase:  

'Jesse James

the Smoking Gun' 
by Betty Dorsett Duke

You can find this book at either of the links below:

(Or at a bookstore near you)