See full story and photos here: Photographs Capture Jesse James!
© Betty Dorsett Duke 3/8/2014
A James family genealogist told me that the age-old mystery of Jesse James’ true fate could
be solved by following his paper trail. I doubted what she said at first but have since learned she
was right! In 1999 I failed to obtain a court order to exhume my paternal great-grandfather’s
grave (mainly due to lack of evidence) for DNA testing to determine his true identity. He was
known as James L. Courtney in Texas but according to old family stories he was really Jesse
James, America’s most famous outlaw.
This article only reports a fraction of the genealogical information that made me a believer in
genealogy and paper trails. Besides genealogical evidence I, with the help of others, have
amassed pictorial evidence that literally shows the man known in Texas as James L. Courtney
was really Jesse James. Then there’s his 1871 diary that he signed, “J. James” and “James L.
Courtney”, and mentioned historically recognized members of the James Gang. There’s a
preponderance of evidence that he was Jesse James, yet scientific DNA testing taken under strict
chain of custody guidelines, is needed to provide the ultimate identification proof…and it is currently underway!
Read More Here: Paper Trail Leads to Jesse James
Paper Trail Leads to Jesse James
Jesse James is Alive!
In Memory of Betty Dorsett Duke
My mother, my hero and best friend, Betty Gail Dorsett Duke; passed away at the age of 68 on August 29, 2015, in Temple, Bell County, Texas.
Betty was the author of three historical non-fiction books proving that the outlaw Jesse James was her great-grandfather and that he didn’t die as history reported. She was also an amazing wife, mother, and grandmother.
Her work will be continued through her son Daniel and her daughter Teresa.
Of the two above photos, the one on the left is believed by many credible researchers to be that of Wood Hite. He bore a resemblance to his cousin, Jesse James and it is said he even claimed to be Jesse James in several robberies (which is yet another reason why the authorities had to rely on Jesse's family and closest friends to identify him).
Notice the hair, the shape of his eyes and nose and the high forehead. He has a beard in the funeral photo and of course, he’s younger in the photo to the left but we believe it is Wood Hite in the casket.
Of course, it’s not up to us to prove who is in the casket, Betty Dorsett Duke has already proven who it wasn’t. Jesse James was at his funeral but he wasn’t dead. The funeral photo, courtesy of the Phillips Collection, provides more proof that Jesse James lived & died in Texas at the age of 97.
Jesse James was extremely intelligent, elusive and had a great sense of humor. This one 'takes the cake' in my opinion. He was an amazing man and it took one of his own descendants (Betty Dorsett Duke) to finally solve the case.
"Clay County Sheriff James Timberlake, (one of Jesse James' cousins just as Gov. Crittenden reportedly was), was in fact a pallbearer. James L. Courtney, a tall mysterious Texan known as having a fine tenor voice, may have also been a pallbearer and even sang at his own funeral...even though he claimed he wasn't there in the 1902 postcard."
"After Jesse James' name was officially killed off he lived out the rest of his long life at his Blevins, Texas home. Photographic evidence proved to be the key to unlocking the mystery of Jesse James' life and death," and continues to do so.
For just over two decades my mother, Betty Dorsett Duke; had researched her family story in an effort to determine whether or not her great grandfather was truly the Old West outlaw, Jesse Woodson James; who faked his death and lived to the age of 97 in Blevins, Texas under the alias James Lafayette Courtney. Several forensic photographic experts had verified that her family photos matched historically accepted photos of Jesse James, Jesse’s mother Zerelda, Jesse’s stepfather Dr. Reuben Samuel and other family members. Evidence was found in census records, birth certificates, newspaper articles from the time, countless books and other sources including Betty’s great grandfather’s diary in which he signed his name Jesse James. She even proved that the 1995 exhumation of the alleged grave of Jesse James in Kearney, Missouri, led by professor James Starrs; was tainted and proved nothing.
But, of all her discoveries in her search for truth, one of the discoveries that made her happiest was the photo she liked to call “the eBay photo” which clearly showed her great grandfather Jesse James sitting in his yard in Blevins, Texas next to Annie Ralston and Frank James along with several known family members and close friends standing behind them.’ It was truly an amazing find.
Recently my sister, Teresa Duke, discovered a photo that would have made our mother proud. This photo (courtesy of The Phillips Collection) is titled: Jesse James Funeral and it shows exactly what my mother Betty Dorsett Duke, has been saying all these years: “Jesse James attended his own funeral” and “Wood Hite (Jesse’s cousin) was the one who was killed and passed off as Jesse.”
I contacted the agent of The Phillips Collection and he was very kind and graciously gave me permission to post the photo with the provision that I list who he and his team believe some of the people in the photo are and then I will list who my family and others believe they are. So, I will post the photo with his identities first and I will follow that with the photo listing the identities which we believe to be correct. Below those I will go into more detail with photo comparisons so as to show why we believe as we do.
Our family photo and tin type of Jesse James match the Jesse James funeral photo. Their ears, facial features, hairline and build are the same.
Former Deputy County Counselor for Clay County, MO says the 1995 exhumation of the purported grave of Jesse James was "Phony".
"Stephen Caruso, deputy county counselor for Clay County [Missouri] at the time, protested the exhumation from the start. Today, he will tell you the whole thing was “phony.”
“They tried to do DNA testing on remains that weren’t Jesse James,” Caruso said.
Caruso claims that at one point someone lost Jesse’s hair that was to be tested, but then it suddenly turned up. He claims someone submitted their own hair in place of the lost hair." - Courtesy of Kevin M. Smith
Death threats end with interesting revelations
The man who threatened the lives of my family, as well as mine, (and others), names Eric James as the man who hired him (see below).
Eric is the owner of Stray Leaves website at http://www.ericjames.org/Contents_for_James_Genealogy.html
As a hired hand in response to Matt Hamlin and Dallas Hunt in January of 2010, I was pressured into a seek and smear mission in retaliation to their posts on Genforum. From there it went to various historical discussions and to Delphi going as far as to smear their friends. Little did I know about the consequences of my actions and I apologize for all the trouble I've caused everyone here, especially to that of Betty Duke and Greg Ellison.
Alias Frank Cole
"I asked JV these question and his answers are in the next post:
I appreciate your efforts and I have a long list of questions.
1. Who hired you?
2. Are you positive Fran Bolton and Sally Anderson Goodson are not aliases for Carol Holmes?
3. Who is Gibson Moore and where is he from?
4. Is the James Farm involved including Marvin Leslie, Scott Cole and Terry Crews or did you use their names?
5. Do you know if there is still a credible threat to my family?
6. Why aren't you signing your post with your real name?
7. How were you pressured and who did it?
8. Who's the top dog causing all of this.
9. Why did you leave LoneJack off of the list?
10. How much is Frank Huguelet involved in this. You mention two of his buddies and I know he is their leader?
I had this figured out a long time ago through some investigating that I had done. I knew how you were involved through your acting career and that they planned all along for you to take the fall and still do.
"No problem, Greg. I'm just glad I can finally get this off my chest. I'm tired of playing their games.
1. Eric James.
2. I believe Carol is Fran. I remember a few posts on Sally's Delphi site when Fran responded to questions made to Carol and then quickly deleted them and then came back on as Carol to leave the final response. She realized what user name she was using at the time. But Carol is definitely not Sally. Sally really had no interest in "Jesse James" matters. She came along to help Rollie with the Jay Longely/William Anderson thing because they are supposedly kin.
3. Gibson Moore as "GibMoore" was a member on Butch's site some years ago. Not sure where he is now but I got some private messages before from him on Delphi to aid in the attacks on you and your friends. He could be Eric James, Michael, or even Frank Huguelet in disguise. He was very pushy.
4. No. I remember Butch even banning Eric James a couple years ago.
5. None. Truth be told I'm not that kind of guy and you're more protected than you know even if there was a credible threat. But I will tell you this. Eric James spun a web of crap and I thought it was this big game. Frank Huguelet was and still is his side man. AlexNelson is an alias of his. He paraded around as various user names and made those threats on your forum. He was hysterical about it. But there is no threat to you or your family.
6. I sign it either jv or just J.
7. I was doing research on the old west and Jesse James as a class assignment. I got to know Eric James through his site and that's when he went on about you and Betty and everyone else months after getting to know him. He was pissed that Butch banned him from Delphi and he claimed you were after him and he needed a little help fighting back. He offered money and credentials to my school if I went along with it. Venable, Graf, Moore, Dodd, Blankenship, Mathis, Goodson, Fran/Carol and Rollie all went along with it saying they could get me good marks and build my rep. And since I knew too much about their plan to smear you guys they threatened to smear my name and mess things up for me academically if any of that got out. It was a really weird situation. And as odd as it was, they tried to be "nice" about threatening me. Little did they know that the FBI saw it all.
8. Eric James. But Frank Huguelet is his "behind the curtain" go to guy. They're both pulling the strings.
9. He didn't get involved. He actually liked you. At least before your falling out. It's obvious he's been swayed by those crooks too.
10. You got it right. Up until the FBI got involved he backed away. But he's still out there ready to pounce when the time comes. He insulted me pretty good and threatened to kick my ass when I told the FBI everything and told Eric James off. Well, that and when I told them that I wanted nothing to do with their crap anymore. They didn't take that very well.
Like you said, I think a lot of this was obvious. But I'm not pursuing an acting career. I did some theater in college and high school but I worked in media for a time, too. I did some independent stuff on the side but nothing anymore. I recently fell on some hard economic times and "career" really isn't in the equation anymore. It sucks.
I won't take the fall anymore. They know it and so does the FBI. Those sons of bitches are being watched now.
Anything else let me know.
Now for the comparisons:
First, I would like to point out that we believe, as do many historians; that Zerelda was 6 feet tall. It’s been well documented. At first glance she does appear to be shorter than those around her but if you will notice the ground on which they are standing, it appears to be sloped which is likely the result of soil heaped near the grave. Jesse’s feet appear to be somewhere between 6 to 8 inches higher than Zerelda’s. Jesse was over 6 feet tall (which has also been well documented).
Our team agrees with the Phillips Collection team in regards to the identities of Frank James and Zerelda James Samuel, so there’s no need in my opinion to show comparisons of Frank and Zerelda at this time.
So I will get to the comparisons of the two stars of this photo: Jesse James and Wood Hite.
For the first photo comparison I’ll start with Jesse James.
Barron's, Dorsett's, James' and Shelton's
How I Connect to the James Family of America
Betty Dorsett Duke © February 19, 2014
According to a great genealogist (who wishes to remain anonymous) Clyde C. Barrow also had a Blevins, Texas connection. According to her his grandmother was Mahala Ann Barron. The reader may recall that my paternal great-great-grandfather was Thomas Hudson Barron of Blevins, Texas.
Laura Anderson Way did the following family tree for me but another genealogist previously made all the connections referred to in this post - their respective research confirms the other's findings:
Mahala Barron was married to William Wilson Walker and their daughter, Cumi Walker, was the mother of Clyde Chesnut Barrow. Mahala Ann Barron is the daughter of Samuel B Barron and Phoebe Barber. Samuel B. Barron was born in 1808 in Georgia and Thomas Hudson Barron was born 1796 in Kentucky. Thomas Hudson Barron family can be found in Charles County, Maryland and tie into the Lindsey family. Mahala Barron has family ties to the Lindsey family and many of the family names associated with those of Thomas Hudson Barron.
History of Barron Family: John Barron came from Ireland. In this family were Thomas & Teresa. John Barron lived near Elizabeth Town, KY and married Sarah Tweedell of VA. John Barron was a farmer. In this union were Joseph, Benjamin, Matthew, Martha, Mary, Harrison, Jinken Rogers, Thomas, Susan, David & Miles. They moved from KY to Sangamon Co., IL, later moving to Astoria, Fulton Co., IL. and Falls County, Texas:
Jesse James' Lindsay/Lindsey family (his maternal grandmother was a Lindsay/Lindsey) as well as the Barron's Lindsay/Lindsey family were in Charles Co., Maryland at the same time [which points to the fact that they were the same family]. The James and Barron (also known as Barns and Barrow, Barber / Barbee, Wilson/ Walker) families connect to one another. Please check out the information on all the URL's contained herein:
What this all boils down to is that Jesse James' grandmother (Zerelda Cole James Simms Samuel's mother, Sarah Lindsay Cole Thomason) and Thomas Hudson Barron (THB), my paternal great-great-grandfather, were related to each other through the Lindsay's. Who knew that Jesse James would become his (THB's) son-in-law? I would have been related to Jesse James even if he hadn't married THB's daughter, Mary Ellen Barron. To the best of my understanding I would have been related to Jesse even without the Lindsay connection - my Shelton (Chilton) family is also connected to Jesse James' family.
When William T. Anderson (aka Bloody Bill) was reported to have been killed, a friend known only as F.M.R. placed a flag on the body with the inscription “Let it not be contaminated by Federal hands.” Author, Betty Dorsett Duke reveals the likely identity of F.M.R. along with several other illuminating finds.
Now for Wood Hite:
Who was William T. Anderson's friend, F.M.R.?
For as long as I can remember I’ve heard old family stories that claim my paternal great-
grandfather, known as James L. Courtney in Texas, was really Jesse Woodson James. I’ve
dedicated the past two decades to determining the truth of the matter. The findings of my
research, as well as the research of many others, resulted in convincing me that the old family
stories are true – Jesse James lived in Texas from 1871 until his death in 1943 under the alias of
James L. Courtney. Y-DNA testing is the final step of my investigation and is currently
underway. From this point forward I’ll refer to James L. Courtney as the real James L. Courtney
in order for the reader to differentiate him from Jesse James.
Jesse James was the son of Robert Sallee James and Zerelda Elizabeth Cole. The real James
L. Courtney was the son of Stephen Courtney and Dianah Andruss. Jesse James and the real
James L. Courtney were cousins - both of them descended from Sarah E. Mason Barbee James. 1
Jesse James was the third great-grandson of Sarah Elizabeth Mason Barbee and Thomas James
(her second husband), and James L Courtney was the fourth great-grandson of Sarah Elizabeth
Mason Barbee and Andrew Barbee (her first husband).
Photographs Capture Jesse James !
Clyde C. Barrow/Barron (of Bonnie & Clyde fame) also had a Blevins, Falls Co., Texas connection:
Jesse James attended his own funeral
Photograph courtesy of the Phillips Collection
Jesse W. James Handwriting Comparisons
Pictured below are three pages from my great-grandfather's original 1871 diary, which is now part of my copyrighted (C) Betty Dorsett Duke Collection. He signed his diary “J. James” and “James L. Courtney”. Jesse W. James was his real name and James L. Courtney was his alias.
Continue at the following link: Jesse W. James Handwriting Comparisons
Read more here: Who was William T. Anderson's friend, F.M.R.?
Quantrill's Guerrillas in My Family Tree
Betty Dorsett Duke © 2012
I’ve always heard that Jesse James was my father’s (Jesse W. Dorsett) grandfather so it was no surprise when research yielded strong evidence that the family story is true. Jesse James was one of Quantrill’s Partisan Rangers, commonly referred to as guerrillas. Many sources have reported that most of Quantrill’s men were related either by blood or marriage, so, again, it was no surprise that I’m related to a number of the men who rode with Quantrill, some of whom later rode with Jesse James. However, I was definitely surprised when genealogist, Laura Anderson Way, found that I’m also related to a number of Quantrill’s guerrillas through my mother’s (Dorothy Fay Burt) side of the family.
My fourth maternal Great-Grandmother Phoebe Angeline Liggett was the aunt of Kansas City Marshal Liggett who was involved in Jesse James' 1879 death hoax at Short Creek. Oliver "Ol" Shepherd who Rode with Quantrill and later Jesse James was related to the Boggs’; in fact his full name was reportedly Oliver "Ol" Robert Boggs Shepherd. On page 86 of Frank And Jesse James: The Story Behind The Legend, (bottom paragraph), Ted Yeatman said that George Shepherd and Oliver "Ol/Oll" Robert Boggs Shepherd were brothers and they both rode with Jesse James. However, fellow researcher, Dallas Hunt, pointed out that they were actually first cousins.
George and Oliver Shepherd's names are included in the list of Quantrill's guerrillas that I am related to though my mother due to the Boggs connection....
Read full article here: Quantrill's Guerrillas in My Family Tree
On June 28, 2010 Dallas Hunt fired a fatal shot into Prof. James Starrs' 1995 Jesse James DNA results...results highly touted as proving the famous outlaw died just as history reports. Betty Dorsett Duke had mortally wounded them years earlier but they were dying a lingering death. Hunt's bullet, fired from a 1902 news article, found its mark. Luther James gave a reporter his eye witness account of Clay County, Missouri Sheriff Timberlake opening the casket in the James/Samuel family farmhouse before the burial and, to his horror, saw that the limbs of the purported corpse of Jesse James were missing. According to Timberlake, "The limbs had been taken off at St. Joseph, Missouri."
Femur bones, the longest and thickest bones of the human skeleton, extending from the pelvis to the knee, were found by Prof. James E. Starrs and his exhumation team in the grave marked as that of Jesse Woodson James in Kearney, Missouri's Mt. Olivet Cemetery, fully expose the 1995 DNA results as being totally fraudulent, at least in Duke's opinion it does. See photos of the exhumation, including the femur bones :
Whose grave did Prof. Starrs exhume and whose DNA is he touting as being that of Jesse James?
The Jesse James death mystery continues...
November 2, 2010 - The following picture provides definitive proof that Betty Dorsett Duke's great-grandfather one of Quantrill's Confederate guerrillas during the Civil War, and was not James L. Courtney the Union soldier as he pretended to be:
October 7, 2009 - On August 25, 2009 I was delighted to receive an email from my cousin Eldon Courtney, not only because I had never had the pleasure of meeting him before, but because of what he had to say. Please read the following excerpt from his message:
"Hi Betty, my name is Eldon Courtney, eldest brother to Max Courtney, but I agree with you wholly as does most of my family."
Max Courtney is one of my most adamant detractors.
February 27, 2009 - The JAMES, WHITSETT, & ANDRUSS CONNECTION
Read more here: http://jessewjames.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/the_james_whitsett_andruss_connection.pdf
February 7, 2009 - This letter is displayed on Eric James' Stray Leaves website in an attempt to discredit me and my family story, but it actually provided new evidence that helps prove James L. Courtney was Jesse James.
October 28, 2006- Betty Duke was featured in the recent Wild West magazine in the editorial section, "The Never-Ending Death of Outlaw Jesse James."
April 14, 2004- I participated in a shoot for Mystery Hunters that will air on Discovery Kids in America in October.
Mystery Hunters is a television show in which two young intrepid investigative reporters and a venerable if sometimes overzealous stage magician search for answers to some of the greatest mysteries on earth and beyond.
Mystery Hunters is seen in the United States, the United Kingdom, India and in Canada for Discovery Kids and YTV.
August 11, 2003 - Information posted on how to help celebrate the 156th birthday of Jesse James in St. Joseph Missouri.
July 22, 2003 - Article form the Sun-News of the Northland, Missouri. Controversy Arises During James Family Farm Reunion. New developments in the search for the real Jesse James.
June 9, 2003 - Link added to the Gunfighters.com Web site.
June 6, 2003 - Investigating History, "The Mystery of Jesse James", Kurtis Productions
May 5, 2003 - Recommendation from author and Civil War researcher John Collier
April 20, 2003 - Letters to the Editor from the April, 2003 issue of Wild West Magazine
April 20, 2003 - Letter from James Ross offering an opposing opinion
January 15, 2001 - This Week In History April 2 - 8, The History Channel
Photograph courtesy of the Phillips Collection
Now for our findings regarding the photo:
© Betty Dorsett Duke 3/10/2014
After fifteen years of trying to prove to the world that Jesse James got away with his own
1882 murder and lived on in Texas as James L. Courtney, a photograph I had the good fortune of
winning on eBay in 2010 literally told the story without one word having to be uttered or typed.