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The Legend of Jesse James has spread far and wide, spanning great distances and time, even now in the 21st Century Jesse James is still a man of mystery and intrigue. We have gotten more inquiries about Jesse James, from our Eyes on Texas website, than any other subject. 

Jesse JamesWe have been asked many times if we believe Jesse James is buried in Granbury, Texas. 

We think not. 

We think Jesse James is likely buried in the plot you will find a photo of below. In Missouri.

Granbury, Texas is very near Stephenville, Texas. Not that there is any connection between UFO sightings and Jesse James sightings.

The following makes the case that Jesse James is buried in Granbury, Texas

Jesse James Wanted PosterThe legend of Jesse James does not mention his most extraordinary feat--that he staged his own death. According to Bud Hardcastle (a Jesse James historian) and Granbury residents, this definitely is the case.

Jesse James led the life of a Confederate hero while riding with Quantrill's Raiders and robbing trains. Then, some say, Bob Ford, a former friend, took his life by gunshot in April of 1882 in Missouri.

In the early 1900's, however, J. Frank Dalton traveled from town to town and claimed to be the real Jesse James. The man who claimed to be Jesse James died at the age of 103 and is now buried in Granbury, Texas.

The questions that are unanswered are: Who is buried in Missouri, if not Jesse James, and why would the real Jesse James come to Granbury?

Hardcastle is probably one of the few people who can answer all the questions. Stories of Jesse and Frank James' escapades in Oklahoma and Texas were numerous, but they were unproved. Bud Hardcastle considered this a challenge and has been hot on the trail of the truth for fifteen years.

Hardcastle answered the first question this way. "If you were Jesse James (or if you are yourself and the law is wanting you) and you had a chance to fake your death and have the law stop hunting you--would you fake your death?

Jesse James in 1864
Jesse James in Platte City, Missouri in 1864
Frank & Jesse James
Frank & Jesse James
  click a thumbnail to view a photo 

Hardcastle tells the story of how a man named Charlie Bigelow was really the person buried in Missouri. "Bigelow was robbing things and using Jesse's name, and that's one of the reasons they probably identified him as Jesse...and Bigelow was buried as Jesse James."

According to Hardcastle, the people who identified the dead body in 1882 had ulterior motives as relatives or members of Quantrill's Guerillas. Quantrill's men had all ridden with Jesse and they had taken an oath to protect each other. By identifying the body as Jesse James in 1882, they were setting the real Jesse free. Hardcastle also states that after Jesse staged his death he married several times. He had families all around and stayed with them when he was in hiding.

Hardcastle adds that an old newspaper article stated, "The doctor who examined the body told Jesse's son that the corpse was not that of Jesse James because Jesse James had conjunctivitis of the eyes." Hardcastle continued, "I did find out that he had cataracts and the people that knew him knew that he blinked his eyes quite a lot. Even Belle Starr made that statement." He also said that six months before Jesse died, he went completely blind. "The man buried in Granbury, Texas, went blind. The man who was killed and buried in Missouri did not have the eye problem, and according to the doctor, also had black hair. Jesse James had red hair."

Why, then, did Jesse James travel under the name J. Frank Dalton? The late Ola Everhard took care of Jesse James when he became ill, and the outlaw would tell her all the stories about his life.


The Jesse James Gang
The James Gang
Jesse James in his coffin.
Jesse James in his coffin surrounded by onlookers
Jesse James after he was killed.
Jesse James Death Photo
  click a thumbnail to view a photo 

One of the stories notes that Jesse's mother, Zerelda, was originally a Dalton. After her father died, the girls were all placed in a Catholic Convent until their mother remarried a Mr. Cole. Zerelda and the other girls were brought out as the Cole girls. Since Dalton was Zerelda's maiden name, Jesse later adopted it as his own, and the letter "J" at the beginning of his name stood for Jesse Frank Dalton.

The final question Hardcastle answered was, "Why did Jesse come to Granbury to die?"

Jesse and Orvis Lee Hawk were broke in Gilchrist, Texas. Golda Rash Hawk took them to the Sam Rash home that she owned. For eight days, Jesse lay dying, while Hawk put posters on the outside of the house inviting people in at an admission price to see the real Jesse James. Hardcastle has all the documents and letters to prove his statements.

Further support for Jesse being buried in Granbury includes Granbury resident Winnie Flint's stories her father, the late Clyde Roberson, told about Jesse James.

"Daddy went to see Jesse James while he was alive here in Granbury, and he saw his scars. They were identical to the ones Jesse James had. Daddy was pall-bearer for Jesse James when he was buried here, and my mother, the late Emma Roberson, played the piano for the funeral," she stated.

In another story, written by the late Wayland Adams, son of Bull Adams from Glen Rose while in a V.A. Hospital in Dallas in 1975, Wayland Adams wrote, "At the Reverend George English's funeral in 1923, Daddy (Bull Adams) introduced me to two men whom I remember most distinctly. Both wore long black Prince Albert coats. One had a black handle bar mustache and a very stern look on his face. The other wore a slight smile and seemed a lot more friendly. Daddy introduced me to the one with the black handle bar mustache as Uncle Frank and the other as Uncle Frank's brother. "There's Frank and Jesse James," I could hear everybody at the funeral saying.

"Then in 1936, Jesse James went to the town of Graham, proceeded to get drunk, and told everyone who he was. he got arrested and put in jail for disturbing the peace. He was booked under his true name, Jesse James. He called his son Richard who came and got Daddy. They drove ninety-to-nothing to Graham and got him out of jail at 4:00 in the morning.

"I didn't see him anymore until the early spring of 1951 in Glen Rose. He and Dad had been on a spree all week, talking about old times. Daddy introduced him to me as J. Frank Dalton."

"Jesse James was born in 1847 in Missouri and sang at his own (Bigelow's) funeral around 1882. He died in 1951 and was buried in Granbury, Texas. Daddy attended his funeral."

Now you know why Jesse James came to Granbury---and why he staged his own death.

By Craig Williams

Visit our Eyes on Texas Blog to make a comment or share info about Jesse James
On our Eyes on Texas Blog Is Jesse James Wanted Dead or Alive in Granbury Texas?

This is believed to be the gravesite of Jesse James.


The TRUTH About Jesse James

Betty Dorsett Duke’s provocative new book, The Truth About Jesse James, makes a convincing case that Jesse James pulled off one of the biggest hoaxes in American history by getting away with his own murder. Despite 1996 DNA results highly touted as proving with a high degree of certainty that Jesse James died and is buried in Kearney, Missouri just as history reports, the author presents findings from her investigation of the 1995 exhumation and subsequent DNA testing showing why they are tainted and proved absolutely nothing.

Duke heard old family stories for as long as she can remember that her great-grandfather, known in Texas as James L. Courtney, was really Jesse James. For years she just chalked them up as tall Texas tales, but upon following the trail of clues her great-grandfather cached in his personal diaries, photographs, and treasure maps she was able to determine that the old family stories are true -- her great-grandfather was Jesse James. Her matching photo case provides persuasive visual evidence that Jesse James assumed the alias of James L. Courtney, hightailed it to Texas, and lived to tell his grandchildren stories about his amazing exploits.

click here to go to the Jesse James in Texas website where you can buy
The TRUTH About Jesse James by Betty Dorsett Duke

A Bigelow Question About Jesse James

I found your website "Eye on Texas; The Truth About Jesse James" and thought you might be able to help me with a few questions. 

As you are certainly aware one of the stories / legends about Jesse James is that Charlie Bigelow was killed in his place. Although there has been much said about the life of Jesse James and his history I have not been able to discover much about the supposed Charlie Bigelow. 

I have read that he may have been from Bigelow, MO and that the town was named after his family. I have also found that the town may have been named after a wealthy English businessman that invested in the railroad. This leads me to believe that there may have not even been Bigelows in the small town. 

With all of the alias that the outlaws used I wonder if “Charlie Bigelow” might have been one that Jesse James used thus confusing who was actually murdered. They say that Charlie looked liked Jesse, maybe it WAS Jesse? 

My hopes are that you can help me with my research on Charlie Bigelow. Did he even exist? If so, where was he actually from? If Jesse was the one actually killed by Bob Ford then what happened to Charlie? Was he even a Bigelow or was it an alias that Jesse or some other outlaw used at one time? 

Any light you can shed on this mystery would be greatly appreciated. I hope to write an article for the Bigelow Genealogical Society’s newsletter, Forge. 

Thanks for your time and efforts on this matter.

Sincerely,
Doug Bigelow

Email Mr. Bigelow if you have any info you can share with him.

One of Geronimo's Relatives Weighs in on Jesse James

The man known as deacon reminds me of some of the Jennings. They were in Kansas City, Missouri at that time, left in 1869. Albert A. Jennings, who is a cousin of the James Brother, as well and the Youngers, he was there in Missouri for while since he left Reddish River North Carolina after his marriage to his wife Mary Pollanna Muse. 1853, the son of John Thomas Jennings and Nancy I. Irving or Irvin, one of the founding people probably founded the place between Fort Worth and Dallas. I suspect Albert A. Jennings was a member of the James gang. For some reason he changed his last name from Jennings to Gennings or Gennins, like he was on the lam.

Also have you heard the story were Jesse James sold the rifles and ammo to the Lakota Sioux that ended in the destruction of another cousin, General George Armstrong Custer, even though he really deserved what he had did to my red brothers.

Guess I would classify myself part Indian, for interest sake, i am married to the great great great granddaughter of Geronimo, through his second wife and daughter Tosey, who married Jose Ramirez. Of course my wife was born in a place called Idabel, Oklahoma.

On your page you should have the photo of Jesse James when he was there, took with some sheriff or somebody of that time.

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| Granbury 4th Parade | General Granbury's Birthday | Cowgirl Parade | Peach Festival

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