The following makes the
case that Jesse James is buried in Granbury, Texas
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,
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
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 Platte City, Missouri in 1864
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
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 James Gang
Jesse James in his coffin surrounded by onlookers
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
|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
"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
On our Eyes on Texas Blog Is Jesse James Wanted Dead or Alive in Granbury Texas?
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
here to go to the Jesse James in Texas website where you can buy
The TRUTH About Jesse James by Betty Dorsett Duke
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,
On your page you should have the photo of Jesse James when he was there, took with some sheriff or somebody of that time.