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Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Jesse W James in 1950 Police Gazette Article

As far as the whole story of Jesse Woodson James goes… the cat will never be completely out of the bag… But from time to time we get little snippets to help piece the story together… In this case the following doesn’t really reveal anything earth shattering and in reading it, it becomes clear that certain parts of the story still had not yet been told in 1950. It would be another 25 years before many well kept secrets came out, and another 40 years before even more… 

In Chapter 3 of the Black book it is mentioned that in 1950 after J Frank Dalton came out publicly admitting he was in fact the real Jesse Woodson James, that George McGrath, special investigator for the Police Gazette, wrote an article stating the authenticity of Jesse W James, that he was not killed in 1882, he was still alive and had been living under the name of J. Frank Dalton. I had always wanted to read the articles, but did not have access, one printed in April of 1950, the second in August of 1950. George McGrath clearly did not have all the facts, there is no mention in this article regarding Captain Harrison Trow, a name in which Jesse live under for over 25 years, nor mention of his true parentage but there is a few other little tid bits you might see if you are familiar with the Black Book, Jesse James was one of his names. One example is the mention of Col. James Russel Davis, who keep in mind, was the alias for the deadly Cole Younger. 

I just thought some of you might enjoy this first article from April of 1950, I will post the second August article in days to come… 

To this day it is still one of… the most incredible stories I have ever had the pleasure of investigating… At the time this article was written, Jesse was alive in Granbury Texas, but not doing so well at age 103


Jesse W James, Captain Trow, Older Captain Trow & J Frank Dalton


Police Gazette April 1950 Page 5 & 26 

Authentic Story of  The REAL JESSE JAMES

By GEORGE McGRATH Special Investigator for the Police Gazette


Page 5 

JESSE JAMES still rode in 1950! Ripping aside the musty camouflage of the years, the Police Gazette has conclusive evidence that the most famous desperado of the old West was not killed in 1882, but spent 68 secret, furtive years hiding under an alias while another man's body mouldered, in the grave under his tombstone! It is a tale of chicanery and double dealing which proves that truth is stranger than fiction. And there is incontrovertible evidence that the young killer whose bloody trail started with Quantrell's Guerillas and stretched through 18 years of western lawlessness, is the same white haired man of 102 who appeared in 1950 to claim his legendary legacy. Why, after all those years, did the crippled, dying J. Frank Dalton come out of Stanton, Mo., to claim his rightful name? The truth is that Jesse James knew he was reaching the end of the long trail which started in the callous days of the Civil War. He had little to gain. But all of the old enemies were gone who might exact retribution. In his condition, he was beyond the vengeance of the dusty laws of the past —and he wanted to clear the name of young Bob Ford, a friend who was accused of shooting him in the back for a $10,000 reward. Backing those startling and almost fantastic claims were four important facts: 

1. The pale blue eyes still flamed as in a hoarse, rasping voice, James told in detail facts and figures which tallied exactly with historical accounts of his depredations — accounts which could not have been memorized and related with such startling clarity by a man of his age.

2. Physical characteristics are undeniable when compared with exclusive photographs carefully preserved for years and brought to light by the Police Gazette.

3. The testimony of Mrs. Nellie Shevlin, wife of John Shevlin, one of the most honest and fearless law officers of the frontier, as related to this writer.

4. The sworn testimony of retired Union Army officer, Col. James Russell Davis [Alias Cole Younger] of Nashville, Tenn , a 109 year old, lifelong friend of the James family. Who then was buried at St. Joseph, Mo., in 1882? 

IT was a man named Charles Bigelow, a one time confederate of the James gang who planned to betray them to the Pinkerton Agency. And Jesse James sang in the church choir, with Col. Davis guarding his back, the day they buried "Jesse James!" The saga of the slaying of Jesse James is known to all: how Ford supposedly shot him in the back for the reward as Jesse straightened a picture on the wall. Actually, it was a cover up so that the harried Jesse could leave his reputation in a coffin with another man's bones and begin life over again in a new land. By innuendo, you gather a weird tale of political double dealing which helped fill the campaign coffers of Gov. Thomas Crittenden of Missouri. Afterwards, Jesse slipped away to South America and five years later returned to wander through Texas and Missouri as a farmer, teacher and lawyer named J. Frank Dalton. 

Here is his own story, told to me as he lay in bed waiting to make his final ride: "I was only 15 years old when I joined my brother, Frank, as a member of Quantrell's troop. About the war, I don't like to talk. It was war, and we perpetrated all the cruelties, I suppose, which soldiers have in all wars. We were no different. 

JESSE JAMES' "IDENTIFICATION MARKS" 1. Rope burns on neck. 2. Evidence of severe burns on feet. 3. Bullet hole through left shoulder. 4. Bullet hole in lower belly. 5. Bullet scars under left knee. 6. Bullet scar under right eye. 7. Bullet hole along hairline of forehead. A. End of index finger "chewed" off.

"But when the war ended, we hoped to be allowed to live in peace. I wanted to settle down and I started to study medicine, but it was too much for me. So I began to study law. "But they wouldn't let us alone "We were accused of treason, irregular murders and just about everything else. They hounded us and our only recourse was the things we did. "So we were driven into the life we lived — my brother, Frank, and our cousins, the Youngers, and the rest of our gang. I suppose we are accused of many things we didn't do But on the other hand there were a lot of things we did which were never blamed on us, so I guess it's about 50/50.

I was only 16 years old when we held up our first train, at Blue Cut, just east of Independence, Mo. From there we just kept on going." SON of a Baptist minister, Jesse was born in Clay County, Mo., in 1849. They were turbulent times but he said he "has no alibi because we did plenty of wrong things." Naturally, he would not admit participation in any holdups where law officers or citizens were killed. But he ran through the list of bank and train robberies glibly. Among the first were the Clay County Bank at Liberty, _Mo., where the gang got $70,000 on Feb. 14, 1866; the Lexington, Mo., bank holdup on Oct. 30, 1866, and the Savannah, Mo., robbery on March 2, 1867. The band then moved into Russell, Ky., in 1868, and in December, 1869, murdered a cashier at Gallatin, Mo. "I wasn't there," old Jesse rasped. "But I was at Corydon, Ia., and at Columbia, Ky., when a cashier was shot." Driven out of that territory, the gang for the next few years terrorized northern Mexico and the Rio Grande area of Texas. Then, in 1874, the desperadoes turned up at the Kansas City Agricultural Fair and held it up for $10,000. "What if I was to say I was Jesse James and told you to hand over that money box?" Jesse related he told the startled young cashier at the Fair. (Continued on page 26)…

 PAGE 26

"I'd see you in hell first!" the man replied. "Well, that's just who I am," Jesse said, leveling a revolver. "And you'd better hand it over." The man did. "Nobody knows why we did it, though," Jesse grinned painfully. "I had a great horse and I'd entered him in the races at the fair. One of the judges pulled him out of the race, disqualified him. So I said to Cole Younger: 'C'mon, we're going to get our money anyhow.' And we did." After that came the daring holdup at Gads Hill, where they ran the train onto a siding and leisurely stripped the passengers as well as the express car; another at Muncie, near Kansas City, and then an expedition by the gang to Huntington and Northfield, W Va. Where a large posse was supposed to have wounded Jesse. 

"They didn't, though," he said. But the heat was on and the gang broke up for two years. Then in 1879 came the sudden robbery of the Chicago and Alton train in Jackson County, Mo., and in July of 1881 the holdup of the Rock Island and Pacific Railway at Winston, Mo. "I wasn't there on that last one," the aged Jesse insisted. "But it was right after that I settled at St. Joe with my wife and Crittenden offered a $10,000 reward for me." 

Political Double Dealing And that, apparently, is where the political double dealing began. For Col. Davis reveals that on the night before "Jesse James" was slain the night of April 2, 1882 — the much sought Jesse had a secret rendezvous with Gov. Crittenden. "They sat on a log in the woods, with me on guard against a surprise, and talked for more than an hour," Davis related. "I know what they said, but I'll be damned if I'll tell. Let's say it was mostly political." But Col. Davis swears that of the $10,000 reward, Ford, the killer of "Jesse James," received only $800. The rest, it is intimated, found its way into a political campaign fund — the payoff on escape from a reputation. James and Davis both insist that the first time Crittenden ran for governor, the notorious Jesse contributed $35,000 to his campaign funds.

It is significant that the next day after the James Crittenden rendezvous, Bigelow, who was known to be working for the Pinkertons, disappeared and never was heard from again. And all concerned identify old pictures labeled "Jesse James' corpse," as a picture of Bigelow. Col. Davis arrived at the James, or "Howard" cabin shortly after the news reached St. Joseph that Jesse had been shot by Ford. "A little later," the Colonel related to this writer, "Jesse's mother arrived. She came and looked down at the body and said: 'That's not my son.' "So I took her out in the kitchen and told her, `Zarelda, come here and let me talk to you.' I told her there was a $10,000 reward on Jesse's life. I said: `Let this fellow pass for Jesse and that will get the law off his trail and give him a chance to live a decent life.' She thought a few seconds and said: 'I am going to take your advice.' Then she went in and said: haven't seen my son for a long time. Let me look at him again.' 

"She stared at him for three or four minutes and then put a handkerchief to her face, started to cry and screamed: 'That's my son.' "But when she came out in the kitchen she was dry eyed — and she winked at me.”Not only that, but Jesse insisted on going to the funeral and singing with the choir. I sure was nervous, I'll tell you, and stood back to back with him to keep an eye on everybody. After that, he went to New Orleans and shipped to Buenos Aires." The testimony of Mrs. Shevlin, whose husband broke up the "Wild Bunch" and other bands of desperadoes, also bears heavy weight. "John and I were in a town in Colorado some years later and he pointed Out two men to me," she said. "He told me they were Bob Ford and Frank James and said: `That's a queer one, all right. It makes me wonder: "My husband told me that Jesse and Frank both had vowed that if either of them was slain, the other would avenge his death. John said: 'I can't imagine Frank consorting and hobnobbing with Ford. It just doesn't make sense.' “It does in the light of recent developments — for Ford did not kill Jesse James. Somebody, whether it was Ford, Jesse or another of their idle band, cut down Bigelow, the man who was preparing to betray them to the Pinkertons. Then they passed the body off as that of "Jesse James." 

The 1882 file of the Police Gazette, which featured a special edition on Jesse James at the time the Ford brothers, Bob and Charles were making personal appearances, reads in part: "The death of the noted outlaw was witnessed by none but the Ford brothers." And again: "The two Ford brothers immediately delivered themselves to the authorities and were confined in jail, charged with murder ... They refused to be interviewed, but these facts ... were elicited. In July 1881, Robert engaged in the detective business in Kansas City. lie soon got his credentials as detective and engaged in the hunt for Jesse James. Charles engaged to help, and aided by their victim's confidence in them, they carried out the plot ..." So it was that the feared bandit rode out of his sordid life to a chance at respectability — and finally has ridden back to clear the name of a friend accused of treachery and finish his long, violent journey under his own banner, the once feared name of Jesse James!

END of April Article 1950

Kentucky Born April 17th 1844, Jesse James’s adventurous life came to an end on August 15th 1951 at 6:35 PM

Jesse Woodson James and His Full blood Brother Sylvester Franklin James, 1895, Huntsville Alabama. Photo by W. W. Fox. Courtesy of the G G Grand Daughter of Jesse Woodson James. Karen… 

For more of the story may I suggest the following… 



Video of Jesse Woodson James in 1948

Death of the Republic
An assessment of the black book,
(Jesse James was one of his names), and the book Utah Gold Rush.
Was Jesse James murdered in 1882?
What was the Civil War Really about?

(The Black Book)
Jesse James was one of his Names


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