Friday, May 23, 2008
A Hoax with a Brick Foundation?
I will start off by apologizing for the really bad photos posted with this article. The only ones I could get my hands on were photocopies from an old newspaper.
No matter who you are, especially if you are a treasure hunter, I’m sure you have heard the stories about Jesse James faking his death in St. Joseph, MO and living on under an assumed name someplace else. And causing lots of headaches for people like you and me I might add! If you are a regular reader of this blog you will also know that I DO NOT believe J. Frank Dalton was Jesse James. You may not know that I am still unconvinced that Jesse James actually died in 1882 as history reports it so I am keeping an open mind about his alleged death.
With that in mind I am presenting some information that I’m not quite sure what to make of and I will let the readers draw their own conclusions. The story goes that Jesse James faked his death and in some stories, Charlie Bigelow was killed in his place. In the book “Jesse James Was One of His Names” Del Schrader and Orvus Lee Howk go on to say that there were some carvings made in wet bricks, I believe it was three bricks and the carvings were made by John Trammell, the Jesse James slave that traveled with the gang. These carvings were to stand as testament that Jesse James was not killed in St Joseph, MO but it was in fact, Charlie Bigelow. The bricks were supposedly left behind on purpose to prove that Jesse James did not die that day.
On 11 July 1967 a young boy named Danny Hargrave found one of those bricks. One of the inscriptions on this brick was “3 killed here April 3 1882 John Bigelow Charles Bigelow Bert Bigelow”. Other carvings found on the brick included “777”, a horseshoe and a star. There are the initials of “J J” on this brick in one corner. There was also a dagger, an 8 or infinity sign along with other symbols on this brick. If you look closely at the photographs I have posted (and squint with one eye) you can see most of the carvings.
Now for the logical side of my brain to kick in, does it stand to reason that John Trammel or anyone else associated with Jesse James would find “wet bricks” to carve in with all of the commotion going on around the home because of the death? Also, there was no mention of John Trammell even being in St. Joseph, MO at the time. Did Trammell or someone else come back at a later date, maybe a much later date, to bury these bricks as “evidence” of a cover-up?
I guess you could logically assume that maybe they came back sometime later and placed the bricks there but that brings us to another problem. According to the local St. Joseph newspaper, old photographs of the spot where the one brick was found show that the grading of the land had been lowered more than ten feet “in later years” and prior to the brick being found. That would mean that the brick would have had to have been buried more than ten feet deep on the site of Jesse’s home in St. Joseph, MO when it was hidden. If you were leaving a clue behind for someone to find would you really bury a brick ten feet deep? The writer of the newspaper article surmises that the brick was placed at the site a long time after the grade was changed in an effort to confuse history. Personally, I think history is confused enough as it is and didn’t really need the brick.
That brings us to Orvus Howk and Del Schrader’s book. The book wasn’t written until the 1970’s, published in 1975, so Howk and Schrader would have been aware of the bricks existence because of the newspaper article and could have included it in the book as “proof”.
One problem with that so-called proof is Orvus Howk said that the brick had an inscription on it of “KGC”. This was a blatant lie because as you can see, even in my crappy photos, KGC is nowhere to be found on this brick.
Now it’s up to you to decide if the brick has any real part in history or if it affects how you hunt for that elusive treasure.