A James family genealogist told me that the age-old mystery of Jesse James’ true fate could
be solved by following his paper trail. I doubted what she said at first but have since learned she
was right! In 1999 I failed to obtain a court order to exhume my paternal great-grandfather’s
grave (mainly due to lack of evidence) for DNA testing to determine his true identity. He was
known as James L. Courtney in Texas but according to old family stories he was really Jesse
James, America’s most famous outlaw.
This article only reports a fraction of the genealogical information that made me a believer in
genealogy and paper trails. Besides genealogical evidence I, with the help of others, have
amassed pictorial evidence that literally shows the man known in Texas as James L. Courtney
was really Jesse James. Then there’s his 1871 diary that he signed, “J. James” and “James L.
Courtney”, and mentioned historically recognized members of the James Gang. There’s a
preponderance of evidence that he was Jesse James, yet scientific DNA testing taken under strict
chain of custody guidelines, is needed to provide the ultimate identification proof…and it is
currently underway. Read More Here: Shelton_Connection_To_The_James_Family
© Betty Dorsett Duke 3/8/2014