Here's are just some of
the reasons why I believe my great-grandfather was in fact Jesse James:
1. J. L. Courtney's military records and Grandpa's diary indicated that
Grandpa was not J. L. Courtney, the union soldier. J. L. Courtney's
Certificate of War Service in the Union army records him as being 5 feet
10 inches tall with dark hair. My great-grandfather had sandy brown hair
and was 6 feet 4 inches tall. Some may think that Grandpa was too tall to
have been Jesse James because Jesse was reported to have been between 5
foot 9 inches and 5 foot 11 inches tall. John N. Edwards was a journalist
who served in the Civil War with Jesse James. In his book, Noted
Guerrillas, he described Jesse as being "a tall finely molded man." Jesse
James' parents were tall - in fact his mother is reported to have been six
feet tall. It stands to reason that Jesse James probably followed suit.
2. According to Grandpa's diary and oral family history, he named his
favorite horses John and Reb. While anything is possible, I find it hard
to believe that a "Yankee" would name his favorite horses after "Johnny
Reb," because of the bitter feelings that lasted well into the twentieth
century between the North and the South. Some of Grandpa's own relatives
did not speak to each other ever again because they fought on opposite
sides during the Civil War.
3. There are at least five know James' Gang members listed by their first
names or last names (or an initial) in Grandpa's diary. These members
include Bud Singleton, Bill Wilkerson, Jim Clark (an alias used by Jim
Cummins), John Moore, J. White (probably James White). Other suspected
gang members are listed by their last names only - McDaniels (Thompson
McDaniels?), Jones (Payne Jones?), Devers (Jim Devers?), Anderson (Jim
Anderson? - brother of Bill Anderson), Cooper (Ben Cooper?), and Hines
(Jim or John Hines?).
4. There are many ex-Confederate soldiers and ex-Confederate guerrillas
listed in Grandpa's diary. For instance, "Cournal Pickit" (Grandpa spelled
phonetically) was George Bible Pickitt, who later became General Pickitt,
head of the Confederate army camp near Decatur, Texas. Pickitt's son Tom
rode with Billy the Kid.
5. Grandpa 'accidentally' signed his diary "J. James" several times.
below, a page from James. L. Courtney's diary.
6. Grandpa wrote the following rhyme in his diary: "When stemm and tryst
James L. Courtney is my heist." Stemm: a line of descendants from a
particular ancestor; tryst: a prearranged meeting place; heist: a robbery.
I believe this indicates that Grandpa stole the name James L. Courtney.
7. On July 27, 1871, Grandpa wrote in his diary that he "went a-hunting
with the schoolmaster." J. Frank Dalton, an ex-Confederate guerilla who
claimed to have been with Quantrill in the Lawrence raid in Kansas, said
that Quantrill didn't die as history reports, but moved to a town in
Texas, where he taught school under the name of Bedicheck. It was named
after schoolmaster James Madison Bedicheck, who became a schoolteacher
after the Civil War. James Bedicheck was with Quantrill in the Lawrence,
KS raid. He is buried in Eddy, Texas, about seven miles west of Blevins.
Further research has determined that James Madison Bedicheck was not
Quantrill, but there are indications that Quantrill did use the alias of
Bedicheck, and that he did teach at the Bedicheck Academy.
8. In Louisiana, on January 8, 1874, a mail stage between Monroe and
Shreveport was robbed. According to Grandpa's diary, he and Jim Snodgrass
were in Shreveport January 5-14. When Grandpa began documenting the trip
on January 1, Jim Snodgrass was referred to as Jim Clark. But on January
8, Jim Clark suddenly became Jim Snodgrass. Known James Gang member Jim
Cummins used the alias Jim Clark. On January 3, Grandpa and Jim Clark
"started for Bud." Cole Younger, a well-known James Gang member referred
to as Bud, was in Louisiana during the last part of December 1873 through
January 1874. It appears as though Jesse James, Jim Cummins and Cole
Younger robbed that stage.
9. Three of Thomas Barron's sons had fought for the South during the Civil
War, one of them losing their life. If Grandpa had really fought for the
North, would Barron have welcomed him with open arms into his home,
treated him like a son, and consented to the marriage of his daughter to
This document from Rev. James' (Jesse James' father) probate papers
provides legal proof that Jesse James' middle initial was in fact "W".
His full name is recorded as Jesse Woodson James by James Harris, the
administrator of Rev. James' estate. Dated April 21, 1850. Book C, Page
109, Section 110. State of Missouri, County of Clay.
JESSE JAMES HIDEOUT
Location: Courthouse lawn, Highway 79, Center Street, Archer City.
City: Archer City
Marker Erected: 1972
Jesse James, celebrated 1860s-1882 Missouri outlaw, used to visit in
in house built by Stone Land and Cattle Company for its manager, Allen
(1848-1927), his Confederate comrade of the Civil War and husband of his
Susan (1849-89). With Frank James, his brother and aide, the outlaw
chief hid at
the Parmers' when hunted for train and bank robberies or on other
Jesse James was killed in 1882; Frank and his wife continued to visit at
Parmer's house, which was later moved from original site. Parmer brought
family of respected, upright citizens. Erected by Archer County
Survey Committee. House is shown only by appointment, 1972.
Letters To Be Burned
A historian from Archer County, wrote a book about the area, “Trails
Through Archer.” In this book he writes about Jesse James being in the
area of his sister Susan James Palmer in 1884. By 1884 Jesse James was
suppose to have already been dead. At the time of this writing, Susan
James Palmer was living in Henneritta, Texas between Wichita Falls and
From the book “Trails Through Archer” Loftin writes:
A daughter of Jesse’s niece, Allen Palmer’s granddaughter, has told an
Archer City Historical Commission that in her mother’s trunk are many
letters, some of which will prove that Jesse wrote to his sister, her
grandmother, dated and post marked – Heneritta, Texas 1884. These
letters the mother had planned to burn, but they are not lost, have been
promised to the county commission.
Tales Through Archer
Published by Nortex Press
Published in the U.S. by Eakin Publications
P.O. Box 23006
Austin, Texas 78735
Interview of Baker for WPA project in 1937: Mr. Baker story tells of
working cattle up
along the Chisholm Trail in Indian Territory (Chickasaw Nation Or
Pickens Co or later
Carter Co Ok) Mr. Baker became ill and stayed the the ranch of Allen
Parmer and Mrs. Parmer took care of him. Mrs. Parmer told him the man he
met on previous stay was Jesse James. Article states that Mrs. Allen
_Dorthy Christopher Parmer Gen Forum
Hi Bubba Yes I can sent a copy I think it was around 1879/80 And guess
live in Wichita, Ks, do you need anything from here? I also have a Baker
but she was in Georgia, Married to my greatgrandfather Joseph E.
Whitehead, Sarah was her name.