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Eric F. James
Author of Jesse James Soul Liberty
Author of Jesse James Soul Liberty

Eric F. James's posts

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Cowans auction house got the genealogy and kinship wrong. However, in citing Eric F. James, Cowans concluded a successful auction and sale of an authentic Jesse James family image.
Unlike inflated dollar numbers commonly associated with claimed auctions for fake images of the Jesse James family, this authentic image sold for the realistic value of $360.

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WHAT'S THIS ??? "What happened in Missouri began in Kentucky"

This is the theme of the upcoming conference and family reunion of the International James-Younger Gang. Details of the event can be found on the EVENT link of the James family's official website Stray Leaves. The event is open to the public.

History has ignored the beginning of the story of the James-Younger Gang, their related families, and their social community. To read traditional history, everyone popped up in Missouri and all hell broke loose. No explanations given. In fact, the real history of the gang, the formation of their character, personality, and motivations, had been in the making as early as the American Revolution.

The waggoneers Joshua Logan Younger first met John M. James at Valley Forge. James supplied Gabriel Long, the grandfather of Nimrod Long, at the decisive Battle of Great Bridge. The “Fighting Baptists” became rebel Baptists as they bartered their support for the Patriot Cause for the separation of Church and State. Too impatient with the slow-moving founders George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, the rebel preachers self-exiled into the land of New Canaan, to live freely as they chose. The Cain-tuc was their seedbed of character building and institution formation, all of which survives and is still evident today.

They followed the Wilderness Trail of another waggoneer, Daniel Boone, into this bloody unknown. They learned guerrilla warfare from Native defenders of the land. They stole Native horses. They built churches, communities, and governments. They fought and died in battles, as fiercely as they raced their horses.

Others joined them on this first western frontier of America. The James, the Younger, the Cole, the Lindsay, the Scholl, the Hite, the Nalle, the Pence, the Chinn, their enslaved, and an ever-growing community of others. All assembled here first in Kentucky. Here, they bound themselves together to build character of self will and self-governing communities.

When threatened by Native and British forces, they wobbled to war again in the War of 1812, many of them sexagenarians to septagenarians followed by their family of cousins and older children. Old but fierce, they won the war, preserved the Union, and opened lands in the West and Northwest for new settlement.

When threatened by banks, financial predators, an unmanageable economic system, disease, and a disruptive and disintegrating class structure, they moved again. By then, what happened in Missouri had begun in Kentucky.

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The owners of fake Jesse James images never want to hear what the James family has to say, even when they ask. Sometimes, it takes some additional work to put the family's point across. When that doesn't work, the family protects the integrity of its identity by going public.

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No one among the family relatives of Robert Lee "Bob" James cried when Bob did not send them an invitation to his family reunion. Bob is known to practice the kind of isolation and secrecy perfected by his cousins in the Jesse James line of his clan.

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A guest blog on Stray Leaves by Tony Johnson reveals his quest to prove his family lore of kinship with the Jesse James family and the story DNA told him about all his family research.

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Ever since DNA testing became popular, countless claimants to the Jesse James family have been falling by the wayside in a flood tide of disappointment. Today I had to convey regrets to a family whose family lore firmly convinced them that they are related to Jesse James. Their DNA test confirmed they are not.

I've become complicit in creating this disappointment. If it had not been for the fact that our own DNA test resulted in finding an entire family line of James no one ever knew about, or anyone among the James family would recognize, I would be free of this exercise. Now, I cannot resist the idea that DNA will produce on more new line of our James to research, study, and learn from.

My purpose, I believe, is a worthy and worthwhile one. However, I still cannot believe why anyone would go to such lengths to associate their family with an outlaw.

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Nothing new here. Each time I speak I ask my audience, "How many of you are descended from William the Conqueror?" Practically every time, about three quarters of the hands will go up. To them I reply, "Hello, cousins!"
James III, pictured in this article, is one of the great grandfathers of the Jesse James family.

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Bill Penn is one of the authors who will be signing his book at our book fair. Here, Bill displays one of his other talents.

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