EXCERPT: "The article concerns the legendary Wild West lawman Pat Garrett, who
gunned down the legendary Wild West outlaw Billy the Kid -- except that it seems
as though that story may not actually be true. According to the Times article,
"modern science is about to touch Garrett's fame in a way that some say could
expose him as a liar who covered up a murder to save his reputation."
The scenario being investigated is that Garrett killed the wrong man and then
covered that fact up to save his own skin. A more likely scenario though is that
Garrett actively conspired with the Kid to fake his death, after assisting him
in making an escape. The Times piece acknowledges that one enduring story "holds
that Garrett and the Kid may have been in cahoots for some reason and that
Garrett had stashed a gun in the outhouse at the jail that the Kid used to kill
the deputies and escape." Just weeks after that escape was when Garrett
supposedly killed the Kid.
But according to sources cited in the Times article, and elsewhere, the Kid may
have lived to the ripe old age of 90, after taking the name "Brushy" Bill
Roberts. Roberts died in 1950, shortly after his photo appeared in the January
21, 1950 edition of the San Antonio Express: (PHOTO) Roberts is the gentleman
standing in the center of the photo. To his right, seated, is Colonel James R.
Davis, who claimed to be a former U.S. Marshal for the Cherokee Indian Nation.
Davis was 109 when this photo was taken. To Roberts' left, lying in bed, is
102-year-old J. Frank Dalton. Dalton claimed to have been an even more notorious
Wild West outlaw than Billy the Kid: Jesse James.
And that brings us to our topic for this outing: the strange and twisted tale of
the man known as Jesse James. I actually started to write on this topic last
year, So let me now dust off that discarded missive and present it here for your
But wait a minute, you're thinking, what does Jesse James have to do with
gaining an understanding of twenty-first century U.S. politics? What does
America's most famous outlaw have to do with contemporary 'conspiracy theory'?
Where is the relevance? What, as my mother used to say, does Jesse James have to
do with the price of tea in China?
I'm not really sure why mom used to say that, just as I am not sure why any
statement by me or my siblings that began with the words "I want ... " would get
the response: "That's too bad; people in Hell want ice water." Apparently during
the 1960s and 1970s there was some sort of logistical problem with getting
adequate supplies of ice water to Hell, but I never really understood why that
meant that I couldn't have a BB gun.
But none of that really has anything to do with this story.
The question here is: what is to be gained from examining the life of Jesse
James? If this was to be a standard recitation of the life of the Wild West's
most notorious figure, then the answer would be: not much. But this isn't the
account of Jesse's life that has passed into popular mythology; this is the
account of Jesse's life that was told by his grandson.
If this account is accurate, and much of it does have a ring of truth to it,
then it illustrates once again the extent to which the official history of this
country is nothing but a tangled web of lies. But how much of this story is
true? That, alas, is difficult to determine. When the lies run so deep, when
they have been repeated so frequently as to become a faux reality - a collective
hallucination - then it is a daunting task finding anything close to the truth.
But whether true or not, it is a story that is too good to not pass along.
This story was published nearly three decades ago, by Jesse James III and a
writer by the name of Del Schrader, under the title Jesse James Was One of His
Names (the title refers to the claim that James operated under some six dozen
assumed identities). The book is all but impossible to find today.
Before we get to the alternative history, let's first review the facts of
Jesse's life that are generally agreed upon. Jesse James was the second son born
to a Baptist minister named Robert James and his wife, born Zerelda Cole Mimms.
The couple's first-born son was Alexander Franklin James, better known as Frank.
Frank entered this world on January 10, 1843, and Jesse followed on September 5,
Robert James died when the boys and a younger sister were still very young. In
1855, Zerelda married again, to a wealthy doctor, landowner, and slave owner
named Rueben Samuels. Six years later, the South seceded from the Union, forming
the Confederate States of America, and the bloody American Civil War began.
At the onset of war, Frank James joined an elite Confederate military unit known
as Quantrill's Raiders, and brother Jesse, who wasn't yet 18 when the Civil War
ended, soon followed suit. The 200-man force, led by homicidal schoolteacher
William Quantrill, included an elite sub-group led by the possibly even more
homicidal William "Bloody Bill" Anderson.
Anderson once reportedly lined up a group of captured Union soldiers and
personally executed all twenty-six of them. Included in his elite unit were such
luminaries as Thomas Coleman "Cole" Younger and, of course, the James brothers.
These men, and the rest of the Raiders, made a name for themselves during the
war by repeatedly perpetrating massacres of both soldiers and civilians. The
Raiders' most notorious act was the August 21, 1863 burning and pillaging of
Lawrence, Kansas that left more than 150 unarmed civilians dead.
After the war, the James brothers and various others embarked upon a life of
crime in the Wild West, robbing banks and trains and stagecoaches and doing all
the other sorts of things that the Wild West outlaws were supposed to have done,
just like they do in the books that we have all read and in the movies and
television shows that we have all seen.
In April 1874, Jesse's uncle, Methodist minister William James, officiated at
the wedding of Jesse to his cousin, Zerelda Amanda Mimms -- not to be confused,
of course, with his mother, Zerelda Cole Mimms. Frank took as his bride a young
schoolteacher named Anna Ralston.
Meanwhile, local authorities and the notorious Pinkerton organization -
forerunner of the modern FBI - relentlessly pursued the James Gang in a
cat-and-mouse game that now captures the imaginations of millions of Americans
who are prone to view the James brothers as romantic anti-heroes.
In an example of law enforcement excess from the days of yore, the Pinkertons
once reportedly tossed a bomb into the Samuels' family home. Frank and Jesse
weren't there, but the blast reportedly killed their disabled half-brother and
blew off one of their mother's arms.
Missouri Governor Thomas Crittenden ultimately put a $10,000 price tag on the
James brothers' heads -- an unprecedented reward in those days. Jesse was
allegedly shot in the back by the Ford brothers, Charles and Robert, on April 3,
1882. He was buried on the Samuels' farm. Frank reportedly attended the
services, alongside a veritable army of law enforcement officers, even though he
was wanted "dead or alive" at the time.
Frank later surrendered to authorities and was brought to trial for his crimes;
he was twice acquitted of all charges brought against him. Frank James remained
a free man until his death in 1915. Charlie Ford, meanwhile, caught a bullet to
the head, while brother Bob met up with a fatal shotgun blast.
All of that, alas, can be found in official retellings of the legend of the
larger-than-life Wild West outlaw known as Jesse James. But that isn't quite the
whole story, at least not according to Jesse James III and a number of witnesses
cited in the James/Schrader book.
Jesse, you see, was a member of an occult-based 'secret society,' The Knights of
the Golden Circle, that formed the core of the massive intelligence apparatus
assembled by the Confederacy. Other key members of the order were President of
the Confederacy Jefferson Davis, Albert Pike (a notorious occultist who has been
credited with playing a key role in the creation of the Ku Klux Klan), and
Captain William Clarke Quantrill, whose Raiders were essentially an early
version of an elite, 'Special Forces' unit.
The South did in fact have an extensive intelligence infrastructure. And Albert
Pike was a key figure in that intelligence network. The only real news here is
the claim that Jesse James was a key figure within that intelligence community
as well. And, of course, the business about The Knights of the Golden Circle.
Schrader claims, quite credibly, that the Confederate intelligence network did
not simply disappear with the official end of the war; it remained largely
intact and continued to fight the war from 'underground' for another two
decades. And it continued to be under the control of the Knights of the Golden
Circle. Jesse James remained a key figure.
The James Gang's train and bank robberies, it is claimed, were fundraising
operations to finance the activities of the Knights of the Golden Circle, as
well as to wreak general havoc with the plans of the Northern
reconstructionists. James is also said to have been involved in supplying
weapons and training to the Plains Indians, as a means of waging proxy war
against the Union Army.
In 1861, at the onset of the Civil War, populist Benito Juarez had been legally
elected president of Mexico. While his imperialist northern neighbor was
preoccupied with waging a brutal war of self-destruction, Juarez set about
instituting a number of reforms that proved to be popular with the Mexican
people, but not so popular with the Western powers. In 1864, French forces
dispatched by Napoleon III deposed Juarez and installed Maximilian as Emperor of
Mexico. Maximilian, the brother of Austria's Emperor, Francis Joseph, had
previously been the Archduke of Austria.
After the Civil War ended, Maximilian's unstable puppet regime continued to be
threatened by forces loyal to Juarez. According to the Schrader book, a force
composed of 2,000 Missouri cavalrymen and a regiment of Confederate-led Red Bone
Indians was dispatched to Mexico in support of Maximilian. When this force ran
into stiff resistance, an elite force was sent to the rescue; that force was led
by Captain William Quantrill and Colonel Jesse James.
History books say that Maximilian was executed by firing squad on June 19, 1867,
after being captured by Juarez loyalists. Schrader and James claim that he was
rescued by the James/Quantrill team and transported back to the States, where he
lived out his life under the name John Maxi. The James' team also allegedly
transported a vast amount of plundered wealth back to the States, for which they
were richly rewarded by Maximilian.
James is said to have been one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in
America, even before being rewarded by Maximilian. He is said to have invested
heavily in the Texas oil boom, and to have provided financial backing for the
Hughes Tool Company, founded by Howard Hughes, Sr., and the Ford Motor Company,
founded by Henry Ford.
The most fascinating part of the Jesse James story, as presented by James III
and Schrader, concerns another rather notorious figure in American history whose
death has been called into question by numerous researchers: John Wilkes Booth.
An inconvenient and therefore unmentionable fact is that Booth was not acting as
a lone assailant when he shot President Lincoln; he was acting as part of a
larger conspiracy, as was openly acknowledged at the time. No fewer than six
additional conspirators were brought to trial; four received death sentences and
two were sentenced to life imprisonment.
Booth, of course, never stood trial. He was allegedly killed by agents who were
attempting to capture him. Schrader and James, and numerous others, say that
Booth's death was faked to allow him to escape prosecution and punishment. They
also say that Booth, like James, was an agent of the Confederate intelligence
Booth is said to have functioned as a courier -- and his career, it must be
said, would have provided the ideal cover for such activities. It will be
recalled that Booth was one of the most popular actors of his day. As such, he
traveled extensively with various productions, and therefore had the unusual
ability to move rather freely between North and South.
The story goes that after killing Lincoln, Booth was given safe passage to Texas
by the Confederate underground. Once there, he took the name John St. Helen and
worked as a bartender. A problem arose, however, when Booth developed a drinking
problem, and with it a tendency to shoot off his mouth about the life he used to
Booth, in other words, became a liability that had to be dealt with. Sent to
deal with the problem was none other than Jesse James, accompanied by William
"Wild Bill" Lincoln, a distant cousin of the slain former president. The pair
tracked Booth to Enid, Oklahoma, where he was poisoned.
Now I will be the first to admit that the claim that famed Wild West outlaw
Jesse James was sent as an assassin to 'neutralize' notorious presidential
assassin John Wilkes Booth seems a little, shall we say, iffy. Strangely enough
though, the authors back that incredible claim up with a sworn statement by
William "Wild Bill" Lincoln:
"Our branch of the Lincoln family was never satisfied with what really happened
to Booth, and I spent fourteen years of my life running down the true story.
Strangely enough, I learned it from Jesse W. James, head of the Confederate
underground. I was present at Booth's real death."
So there you have it -- the Jesse James story from a slightly different
perspective than it is normally told. I leave it to each of you to decide for
yourselves whether to file this one in the 'truth is stranger than fiction'
file, or in the circular file. Meanwhile, I've got to move on to other things -"