New Book: ‘The Mysterious Life and Faked Death of Jesse James’

I am very happy to announce the soon to be released book, ‘The Mysterious Life and Faked Death of Jesse James‘ by Teresa Duke and Daniel Duke,which is slated for release June 9th, 2020 via Inner Traditions – Bear and Company.

“A deep investigation into historical documents that prove the notorious outlaw Jesse James faked his own death

• Presents the legend of Jesse James and counters it with the real story, based on family records

• Provides photographic evidence, a journal of Jesse James’s, and historical records that prove James faked his death, verified by experts and civic authorities

• Debunks the 1995 DNA test results of James’s supposed remains

The story of the notorious outlaw Jesse James’s assassination at the hands of Robert Ford has been clouded with mystery ever since its inception. Now, James’s great-great-grandchildren Daniel and Teresa Duke present the results of more than 20 years of exhaustive research into state and federal records, photographs, newspaper reports, diaries, and a 1995 DNA test in search of the truth behind Jesse James’s demise.

Explaining how the accepted version of the history of Jesse James is wrong, the authors confirm their family’s oral tradition that James faked his own death in 1882 and lived out his remaining days in Texas. They methodically unravel the legend surrounding his death, with evidence vetted by qualified experts and civic authorities. They share the journal of their great-great-grandfather, kept from 1871 to 1876 and verified to be written in James’s handwriting. They reveal forensically confirmed photographs of James before and after his supposed killing, including one of James attending his own funeral. Examining James’s life both before and after his faked death, they provide an account of where he lived and who he associated with, including his interactions with secret societies. They compare the contradictory newspaper reports of James’s death with accounts by his family and associates, which support that the man buried as James was actually his cousin, and reveal how James tricked authorities into believing he had been killed.

Further supporting their claim, the authors debunk the DNA test results of the exhumation of James’s body in 1995. The Dukes detail the ways in which the test was fraudulent, an assertion supported by the deputy counselor for Clay County at the time of the testing. Backed by a wealth of evidence, the descendants of Jesse James conclusively prove what really happened to America’s Robin Hood.”

TheMysteriousLifeandFakedDeathofJesseJames
‘The Mysterious Life and Faked Death of Jesse James’ by Teresa F. Duke and Daniel J. Duke

Available for pre-order now and slated for release June 9th anywhere books are sold!

Thanks to our late mother/author Betty Dorsett Duke, my sister/author Teresa Duke, our ancestor Jesse Woodson James, our wonderful agent Fiona Spencer Thomas, our friend Matt Hamlin and friend/author Pip Lee and others.

Also, a huge thank you to our great publisher Inner Traditions/Bear & Co.

You can read our first book review here:  Whiskey & Wit Book Reviews! 

Please stop by my Goodreads page as well.

You can find the book at the locations below and many others around the globe.

https://www.innertraditions.com/books/the-mysterious-life-and-faked-death-of-jesse-james

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-mysterious-life-and-faked-death-of-jesse-james-daniel-j-duke/1133754602

https://www.amazon.com/Jesse-James-Lost-Templar-Treasure/dp/1620558203/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Jesse+James+and+the+lost+templar+treasure&qid=1578359919&sr=8-1

https://www.booksamillion.com/product/Q652533276?id=7838954230285

https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Mysterious-Life-and-Faked-Death-of-Jesse-James/Daniel-J-Duke/9781620559666

 

 

 

Lost photo of Jesse James & Robert Ford is found, authenticated

Lost photo of Jesse James & Robert Ford
Lost photo of Jesse James & Robert Ford

The only part I disagree with is when they say Robert Ford was his assassin. Jesse wasn’t assassinated.  The man who was assassinated was passed off as Jesse.

“Lois Gibson, forensic artist and analyst for the Houston Police Department, claims Wednesday she’d identified an image of one of America’s most notorious outlaws, Jesse James.

Now an undated tintype photo, purportedly of James seated beside his one-time partner and eventual killer Robert Ford, could bring some serious big bucks to the farming family who turned it in.

James is a legendary icon of Western folklore.  Read more here:  Lost Photo of Jesse James & Robert Ford

Looking Back

Looking back over the years with Mom, watching her research and write three books proving that Jesse James faked his death and lived the remainder of his life on a farm in Texas.  Here’s some photos from an interview several years ago with Mom (Betty Dorsett Duke) and former Texas Attorney General Waggoner Carr done by TV producer, news anchor and investigative reporter, Bill Kurtis regarding the outlaw Jesse James. This was at the Mustang Cafe in Dallas, TX about a year or two before Waggoner Carr passed away.

Bill Kurtis' Interview with Betty Dorsett Duke and Waggoner Carr  regarding Jesse James
Bill Kurtis’ interview with author Betty Dorsett Duke and former Texas Attorney General Waggoner Carr regarding Jesse James
Bill Kurtis Interviewing Betty Dorsett Duke regarding Betty's great grandfather, Jesse James
Bill Kurtis Interviewing author Betty Dorsett Duke regarding Betty’s great grandfather, Jesse James
Bill Kurtis Interviewing former Texas Attorney General, Waggoner Carr regarding Jesse James
Bill Kurtis Interviewing former Texas Attorney General, Waggoner Carr regarding Jesse James
Bill Kurtis, Betty Dorsett Duke & Waggoner Carr talking over lunch at the Mustang Cafe in Dallas, TX
Bill Kurtis, Betty Dorsett Duke & Waggoner Carr talking over lunch at the Mustang Cafe in Dallas, TX

In Memory of Betty Dorsett Duke

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.

Paper Trail Leads to Jesse James

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:  Shelton_Connection_To_The_James_Family

© Betty Dorsett Duke 3/8/2014

Rebuttal to Eric James

Betty Dorsett Duke, author and great granddaughter of the outlaw Jesse James; rebuts the false accusations and claims made by Eric James.

You can read it all here: Rebuttal_to_Eric_James

Think you know the story of Jesse James?

Many people see or hear the name Jesse James and think they know the story. Most of us have heard the age old lie (which Jesse needed people to believe), but if you want to know the truth check out the authors website here …

Jesse James in Texas

And to find out more about her latest book, click the photo below

Jesse James - The Smoking Gun

April 3, 1882 Jesse James’ Greatest Hoax by Betty Dorsett Duke

Rabbits Foot

I wrote the following Introduction for my second book, The Truth About Jesse James (2007). At that time the eBay photo of the James and Jackson families hadn’t surfaced. Step back in time with me and you’ll see just how much progress has been made towards revealing Jesse James’ true fate:

Introduction

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. This book adventure will first critique the commonly accepted history, and then to for a fascinating conclusion. Each reader will then 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 would you 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 Jesse James 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 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.

Even if the age-old rumor is true that Bob Ford did not shoot Jesse James dead , he deserves credit for sending Jesse’s legendary status soaring through the annals of history that fateful day. A song was even written about the dirty deed done to some poor yet unidentified soul, because contrary to what you may have heard DNA testing has not yet proved who lies in the grave bearing Jesse Woodson James’ name:

It was Robert Ford, that dirty little coward
I wonder how he does feel
For he ate of Jesse’s bread and he slept in Jesse’s bed
Then laid poor Jesse in his grave.
Poor Jesse had a wife to mourn for his life
Three children, they were brave;
But that dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard
Has laid poor Jesse in his grave.

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’ purported grave. The DNA results are highly touted as proving with science that Jesse died and is buried just as history reports, but the truth of the matter is that they proved absolutely nothing.

No one 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’s 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, so why wouldn’t he try it again in 1882 and succeed?

I’ve spent the last twelve 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 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 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 about my great-grandfather. I 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 fact