Sunday, February 17, 2008

J. Frank Dalton, Jesse James or Not?

The simplest answer to that question is “not”. I could end this article here and let it be that but I know a lot of you wouldn’t appreciate that, so here goes.

J. Frank Dalton may have been many things but Jesse Woodson James was not one of them. It would be simple to point out the discrepancies in the stories told by Orvus Lee Howk, a.k.a. Jesse Lee James III because he went way over the top when telling his stories of Jesse James. It would also be simple to point out all of the discrepancies in the names, dates and places that were allegedly given by J. Frank Dalton during the time he claimed to be Jesse James. The fact is, most of that has already been brought forward in several venues, including this one and has either been ignored, which doesn’t really make sense to a logical person, or the information has been subjugated with even more falsehoods and outright lies.

For those that refuse to see the problems with the information coming from Orvus Howk and J. Frank Dalton and don’t want to do any independent research then I would consider you a hopeless cause. For those of you that are on the fence or are open to changing your mind if the information warrants it then please read on.

We all know about the exhumation of Jesse James’ grave in Kearny, MO and we all know that it ended in a rather unsatisfying way, with several questions still unanswered properly because of where the DNA for testing was actually derived from. Most of us also know that the exhumation in Granbury, TX of J. Frank Dalton ended badly and didn’t resolve anything.

Scientifically, the best evidence I can point to that anyone could look at themselves is a show on the Discovery Channel last year about Jesse James. This two-hour show looked at the history of Jesse James and even did some research into the alleged faked death in 1882. Of particular interest was a retired F.B.I. forensic scientist who was an expert in face recognition and photograph comparison. In his comparison of a photo of J. Frank Dalton to a known photo of Jesse James it was determined these were two very different people. The comparative analysis showed very real and obvious differences between these two people. These differences were based on things that don’t change in a person with age such as bone structures and distances between immovable parts of the face. The differences were so obvious it is my opinion that any logical person looking at the same photos objectively could come to the same conclusion on their own. To me, a logical person, this would end the debate on whether or not J. Frank Dalton was Jesse James. The differences were that obvious.

Someone could go to the trouble and expense of exhuming J. Frank Dalton, now that they now exactly where he is, and do a DNA test if they wanted but for some reason none of the people who adamantly believe that J. Frank Dalton was Jesse James is in a big hurry to do that.

Now for a curve ball most of you probably weren’t expecting. The same forensic specialist compared a photo of the man that was identified as Jesse James killed in 1882 to the same photo known to be Jesse James. It turns out that the dead Jesse James and the photo of a live Jesse James weren’t the same people either. The differences in these two people weren’t as obvious as the differences between Dalton and Jesse James but there were differences. That leaves us with the conundrum of just when did Jesse James die and where is his body? And I might add, just who the hell was that in the death photo that was supposed to be Jesse James? I would grant you that there is a small amount of evidence that would indicate Jesse James didn’t die in 1882 but there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that J. Frank Dalton was not Jesse James.

This article won’t solve the problem of when did Jesse James die but in my opinion it should put to rest the argument of whether or not J. Frank Dalton was Jesse James, he was not.

I will take this opportunity to restate some information that was previously posted. That information has to do with some of the affidavits that Orvus Howk used to “prove” J. Frank Dalton was Jesse James. Some of those affidavits were purchased from another Jesse James want-to-be when his attempt to prove he was JJ failed. That imposter went to prison for shooting someone after it had been proven he wasn’t really Jesse James.

Will the real Jesse James please stand up? Or roll over, which is what he’s probably doing in his grave right now, where ever that is.

Just to recap, Orvus Howk purchased fake affidavits from another Jesse James imposter to prove that the imposter he was promoting was Jesse James. So when Orvus Lee Howk changed his name to Jesse Lee James III he knew he wasn’t related to the famous James boys. This would make Orvus Howk a con man in my book. Scientific evidence proves that J. Frank Dalton wasn’t Jesse James.

This brings us to the billion-dollar question. Since J. Frank Dalton was not Jesse James and Orvus Howk wasn’t related to the famous James boys then where oh where did all of the “secret” information about the Knights of the Golden Circle come from? Was this from the imagination of J. Frank Dalton or did Orvus Howk invent the “depositories” on his own? Maybe Howk took some fabricated stories from Dalton and embellished them on his own. I seriously doubt we will ever know the complete truth about Howk and Dalton because they both changed their names and moved from place to place more often than most of us by new pants.


roy said...

This is a very interesting article on J. Frank Dalton. The only discrepancy is the affidavits. Although it is widely believed, there has never been any real proof the affidavits were the same used by John James. I am not saying I disagree, it is a possibility. On the subject of the death photo, I am glad you pointed this out. Many people ave seen this program are quick to point out the evidence shown. However, they never mention the death photo comparison. As many people know, Frank James lived in Fletcher. On several occassions he told people his brother was alive. In 1906 he started the horse races at the Comanche Carnival in Comanche, IT. When asked about his brother, he responded, "If I knew noone would molest him, I would introduce him. He is within shooting distance." Did he make comments for show or did he make them because they were true? The truth may never be known. However, many people who knew him personally believed Jesse was still alive.

Betty Duke said...

Technically speaking, to the best of my knowledge no one has ever shown the questioned affidavits that John James and J. Frank Dalton reportedly both used to the general public. The following excerpt is from my latest book, "The Truth About Jesse James".

"Apparently John James read extensively about Jesse James during his year in prison, because soon after his parole he once again assumed the name of Jesse James. Carl Breihan relates that John James claimed to be the Jesse Woodson James in the 1930’s and had affidavits to validate his story. However, he was discredited at a court hearing held to validate his story because he did not know the name of Jesse James’ half-brother, Archie Peyton Samuel, killed in the Pinkerton raid at the James/Samuel farm in 1875. He was later identified as an escapee from an old soldier’s home in Illinois. Just months after John James’ death J. Frank Dalton stepped into his role of playing Jesse James armed with the same affidavits John James used to validate his claim. In one instance, Dalton’s promoters even claimed that he was the same man as John James, despite the fact that John James was already dead.”

Source: Steele, Philip W., The Many Faces of Jesse James, Pelican Publishing Company, Gretna 1998.

SirPwn4g3 said...

Pictures of J. Frank Dalton's affidavits can be found at the Jesse James Wax Museum in Stanton Missouri.

Anonymous said...

i"ve studied many of the pictures with comparisons made by layering. Through this there is a great many similarities between bone structure that was performed by fbi analysts. the program is very simple and in fact the the changes the facial structures that many beuse that are said to not change as in the show on discovery are flawed. It is well known that bone structure in the face does change due to age. My evidence for this is the pictures of Mr. james at the age of sixteen are much different from his pictures of him in his twenties. These pictures do not fit in the facial profiling program and that was used by the fbi as a control. This of course was edited by the producers because the implication would be that the pictures were not of Mr. James to begin with. There are only a handful of authenticated pictures of Mr. James that exist. These photos where not published until after the death of Frank James and also family members that had these photos. Of those photos their quality is very poor and enhancement techniques are not helpful due to the way the photos having been produced on paper that does not allow for sustaining microscopic enhancement. None of this has been discussed by you. There are techniques that can be done with measurements that do not require enhancement. The best is the growth of anatomical parts. The ears and nose continue to grow and can through mathmatical certainty be used to validate location and height on the skull. J Frank Dalton has been found to have these measurements to be within these known changes. The angle of theses picture comparisons have also been proven by an independent military facial comparison team to be consistant as the same person. They did not know that the person in question was Mr. James. they were able to determine over 20 points of similarity which the baseline is >12 points. The computer process is used in identifying terrorist identification and is as accurate as DNA. The growth of hair or plastic surgery to change facial structure does not change the outcome. Distance of the camera also does not affect the outcome.

Lou Kilgore said...

there is no certified picture of Jesse James , plus no one ever claimed that J. Frank Dalton was that same man, quite the opposite. his claim was that the Clay Co. man was a stand in.
There is no records of any marriage of Jesse James to Zee Mimms in Clay or Jackson Co. Mo., and no record of Frank James and Annie Ralston either.
There is a record of Jesse doing one death hoax down on Short creek near Northwest Arkansas.
There is no record of any inquest into the death of Jesse James in Clay or surrounding areas of Mo. No matter what you read about it.
I am pretty sure that I know who J. Frank Dalton was but that doesn't mean that Jesse didn't fake his death a second time. I firmly believe he did.

okie treasure hunter said...

Actually J. Frank Dalton did at first claim he was the Missouri JJ, but later changed his story. If you want I'll send you a original copy of Jesse James Rides Again. This is the first version of his story before Houk and the others started changing it.

The reason there is no record of the weddings is that they were wanted men and couldn't very well waltz into the courthouse. I have a copy of Frank James will and numerous photographs of him from his time here in Oklahoma.

Anonymous said...

Jesse James III was a personal friend of mine from 1956 until his death. He was a total fake as was J. Frank Dalton. 'Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Jesse james is my cousin. I don't know much about him, and I've been researching him lately to find out more about him. And this definitely is an interesting article

Anonymous said...

It's unbelievable how deluded the story of Jesse James is.