New photo proves Jesse James faked his death

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 attended his own funeral

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.
jj funeral their labels

Now for the corrected version of the photo:

our labels

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 around 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 their comparisons 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.

jj picture compared

Now for Wood Hite:

wood hite in casket

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.

He Saddled up and rode into Eternity

On February 18, 1915 Frank James saddled up and rode into eternity. Tipping my hat to Frank. Below is a link to an old article regarding Frank’s last ride.

http://theoutlaw-jessejames.blogspot.com/

And here’s a little tribute song I think Frank would have liked.

“The Kansas City Star” (Missouri) Sunday, February 21, 1915

Yesterday the relatives and friends of Frank JAMES gathered on
the JAMES farm, near Kearney, Clay County, for the funeral.

A strange funeral! Not a prayer. Not a song. No word from a
minister. Just a short speech from a man who saved him from
the gallows, and was his intimate friend — that, and tears of real
love and affection.

Maybe, after all, those tears coursing down the cheeks of old men
who had fought with him, who had seen his loyalty and friendship
tested in the “dark days,” who knew of his struggles to “beat back”
to good citizenship, held greater promise for his soul than all the
prayers, that might have been said, or hymns sung.

Frank JAMES was one guerrilla beloved and looked up to by all the
others. Those veterans of the days of the “red border” went long
distances to be at his funeral yesterday. One came all the way from
Oklahoma. One got up from a sick bed to go, and as he helped carry
the body of his old comrade, he staggered under the weight.

When Judge John F. PHILIPS, in his funeral speech, standing beside
the coffin, half turned and laid his hand upon it and said:

“Since his surrender he acquitted himself always as a man of high
honor,” a dozen voices, tremulous under the weight of years, answered:
“Amen.”

“From my many conversations with him I learned that he believed in the
divine authenticity of the Bible,” the judge said, “He believed in the divinity
of Jesus and had sublime faith that his sins were forgiven and that he was
the recipient of God’s mercy and that his soul was saved. He told me that
he did not join a church because that act would be misconstrued; the
world would look upon it as some sort of hypocrisy, as being done for show.
He did not believe that it was necessary to join a church. Knowing that he
had been saved by grace, believing that this was a matter between his own
heart and God alone, he did not think that religious services were necessary
at his funeral. He met death serene and unafraid, confident of the future.

The whole countryside went to the funeral. The buggies line the fence for a
long distance each side of the road gate. Not one-fifth of the crowd could get
into the house. And the country roads were thick with black, sticky mud, and
there was promise of rain in the lowering clouds. Those who went by train had
to go three miles from Kearney to the JAMES farm and there they waited for
hours, walking about the farm, standing in groups on the wet sod under the
bare trees, talking of the old times.

There was Morgan MATTOX who was a comrade of Frank JAMES under
Quantrell, the raider. He came all the way from Bartlesville, Ok., to be at the
funeral, and, out under the big coffee bean tree, besides the grave of Jesse
JAMES, he told stories that made the blood tingle, more thrilling than you’ll
find in any story book, and the hero of them all the man lying dead within the
little cottage.

“Ah, he was the fighter for you — never afraid, true always to his comrades, a
fine soldier” said MATTOX.

There was William GREGG, Quantrell’s lieutenant. who received Frank JAMES
into the band when he was a beardless boy, his heart aflame with hate of the
“blue bellied Yankee soldiers.” GREGG is old and feeble now and it was a great
effort for him to go from his home in Kansas City to the funeral.

“The last time I saw Frank JAMES was last spring when I was down with
pneumonia,” said GREGG. “He came out to my house to see me, and, as he
was leaving he came up to me and laid a 10-dollar bill in my hand and said:

“Bill, take it, you need it, I know; and when you want more let me know and it will
come to you.” And the tears rolled down the sunken cheeks of William GREGG
as he told it, and his voice choked.

The pallbearers were:

Ben MORROW of Eastern Jackson County
George SHEPARD of Lees Summit
John WORKMAN of Independence
George WIGGLETON of Independence
William GREGG of Kansas City

all old Quantrell men;

T. T. CRITTENDEN, whose father, while governor of Missouri, received
the surrender of Frank JAMES.

Among those from Kansas City at the funeral were Judge Ralph LATSHAW,
Charles POLK, Lynn S. BANKS, William M. CORBETT, Hal GAYLORD
and “Dusty” RHOADES.

Immediate relatives of Frank JAMES who were present were:
Mrs. Betty PATTON, his aunt
Mrs. J. C. HALL, half-sister
Mrs. William NICHOLSON, half-sister
John SAMUELS, half brother
Jesse JAMES, Jr., nephew *[recent evidence suggests JJ Jr who couldn’t have been considered a “Jr” because his middle name was Edwards and not Woodson; was very likely the son of Wood Hite who was Jesse and Franks cousin]
and his family, and his sister.”
Source: http://forums.delphiforums.com/n/mb/display.asp?webtag=Zeke1&msg=707.7