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June 29, 2015
Did Jesse James Change His Name To James L. Courtney of Post Oak? Johnson County, MO
Now here’s a nice comment from the blog of American Experience Production Assistant, Tory Starr:
“The new book The Smoking Gun, written by a woman claiming to be Jesse James’ great-granddaughter, claims that Robert Ford did not kill Jesse James. Supported with photographic proof, the book demonstrates how Jesse James pulled off one of the biggest bluffs in American history by faking his own murder in 1882, fleeing to Texas and dying there as James L. Courtney.”
If the general consensus is correct that the Courtney's changed their name to Haun forevermore, (and I'm not convinced this is how they became the Haun's), this indicates that they were either on the run from the law for some very serious crime they committed; or they were hiding a HUGE secret in order to protect someone.
On October 18, 1872 the real James Courtney AKA James Haun and his brother, Theodore Courtney AKA Theodore Haun, "proved up" their homestead in Morris County, Kansas under the surname of Haun.
My great-grandfather, Jesse James AKA James L. Courtney, was living in Texas by June 1871.
"Tracing one's genealogy can be difficult at times, especially when dealing with aliases and outlaws -- they, especially the James brothers, were very good at covering their tracks. As stated earlier, I think I know what happened to Jesse James but what happened to the real James L. Courtney? In attempting to solve this mystery I viewed so many rolls of microfilm that thousands of names rolled before my eyes as I slept -- it was a real nightmare. And just when I thought I had it all figured out, I would prove myself wrong.
Stephen and Dianah Andruss Courtney Warrensburg, MO 1852-1864
Stephen and Dianah Andruss Courtney are claimed to have been the real James L. Courtney’s parents, but I wasn’t convinced of that. He was supposed to be their oldest child yet he isn’t listed on the 1850 census records for Jefferson County, Tennessee:
Courtney, Stephen, Age 27
Courtney, Dianna D., Age 28
Courtney, Harriet E., Age: 1
Litrell/Lutrell?, Sarah, Age: 30
Frank and Jesse James
I find it odd that someone would list their youngest child completely forgetting their first born. Thinking maybe he was staying with his grandparents or other relatives I checked census records and still couldn’t find him. I even checked the neighbors looking for him, but by a stroke of luck I found my answer in some old letters in the possession of a relative of the Courtney family. On March 7, 1858 Dianah Andruss Courtney wrote a letter addressed to “William O’Brient at Johnson County, Missouri, Globe Post Office.” At the bottom of the page her daughter Harriet added the following note (written verbatim): “…Layette and Theodore is grate big boys…”
The 1860 census for Johnson County, Missouri lists the persons residing in the Stephen Courtney household as follows:
Name: Stephen Courtney
Age in 1860: 38
Birth Year: abt 1822
Home in 1860: Post Oak, Johnson, Missouri
Post Office: Globe
Household Members: Name and Age
Stephen Courtney 38
Dianah D Courtney 39
James L Courtney 14
Harriet E Courtney 12
Theodore N Courtney 10
Robert W Courtney
John A Courtney
According to another of Dianah’s letters the Courtney family traveled by boat from Tennessee to Missouri in 1852, settling in Johnson County until 1864. Some cite the following unproved claim as fact: “During the Civil War Dianah and the children fled to Johnson Co., Kansas(Missouri) when they were in danger from raiders. Stephen’s son, James Courtney, served in the Union Army at age 18, but when the war ended he was put on mop up duty and deserted. This desertion is said to cause the family so much shame that they changed their name to Haun and moved to the interior of Kansas. Haun Creek in Morris Co. was named for them.”
The story goes that before moving to Morris County Stephen and Dianah Courtney, with their children, lived in Miami County -- the last place they were known as the Courtney’s. Stephen Courtney reportedly changed his entire name to Andrew Jackson Haun. The rest of the family only changed their surnames, with the exception of Harriet who by that time had married Peter Black. Again, there is no definitive proof that Stephen Courtney changed his name. There is always the possibility that he may have died or that he and Dianah divorced. However, the general consensus is that Stephen Courtney assumed the name of Andrew Jackson Haun.
Harold Haun’s What’s In A Name ? relates that the 1870 census for Morris County, Kansas shows the following persons living in the Andrew Haun household:
Andrew Haun: Age 48
Dianah Haun: Age 49
James Haun: Age 23
Theodore Haun: Age 21
Robert Haun: Age 16
John Haun: Age 14
There are several versions of why the Courtney’s assumed aliases whispered among the Haun and Courtney families. One version has it that a member of the Stephen Courtney family stole a horse, and another claims that either Stephen Courtney or his son Robert killed a man and had to leave town to avoid arrest. Maybe both accounts are true but an article published in the Johnson County, Kansas newspaper in May 1867 leads me to believe the latter version is. I haven’t personally seen this article because Kathy Reynard, one of my detractors, found it and claims it didn’t mention any names. She sketchily claims that the article says a man shot his brother or father during an argument and after spending several hours in jail he was released. Later that night the entire family packed up and left.
Harold Haun, who may really be Harold Courtney, related some information that indicates the article was talking about the Courtney’s (written verbatim):
“Neal Lyons stated in his work on the genealogy of the Robert Wesley Courtney Haun family said that ‘Frank Haun, Robert's son, used to tell the story that his dad or granddad (?) had killed a man in Kansas or Missouri, and the family had to ‘leave in the middle of the night.’ But, the story was so vague, general and uncertain that it is nearly meaningless. The 1867 date is also suspect, but I can't prove anything right now.”
I emailed Harold Haun, a retired lawyer, on April 26, 2003 to tell him that some claim the Courtney shot dead was John A. Courtney, but that if he really married in 1879 he couldn’t have the Courtney killed in 1867. His answered, “Who is John, or rather, John who? The killing we are looking for could have happened in 1867, but there are other issues to consider. Some facts surrounding this time frame are important:
1. Stephen Courtney sold his land (or, at least some of it) in the fall of 1866 in Miami County on September 24, 1866 to Joseph Black (Father of Peter Frederick Black who married Harriet Elizabeth Courtney, daughter of Stephen and Diane Courtney, April 11, 1867. Incidentally, the Minister was Rev. M.M. Haun of Baldwin City, Kansas. I don't know how he fits in.) Did he leave Miami when he sold out? Don't know. If he did, where did he go? This information came from Joanne Black, her spouse is a descendant of Peter Frederick Black.
2. Stephen and Diane Courtney represented, in the deed, that they were residents of Marion County, Kansas. Marion County is southwest of Morris County, where they homesteaded. Why the representation? Was it true? Or, a deception? Don't know.
3. On October 18, 1872 the Hauns, including James and Theodore, "proved up" their homestead in Morris County, Kansas under the name Haun. They would have 7 years to "prove it up", during which they did not have to pay ad valorem (property) taxes on the farm. Counting back 6 years to October 18, 1866, they may have received their money from the sale of the Miami County land in September or October of 1866 or later. Or, it could have been they first filed back to 1865 to get the full 7 years. The records show Andrew Jackson Haun first paid the last half of the property taxes in 1872. The point is that this action apparently was done under the name Haun. And, it would be plausible that they would avoid paying taxes as long as they could.
The question is this: Where were Stephen and Diane Courtney in 1867? Or, were they Hauns in 1867? Miami County, Marion County, Morris County, all in Kansas; or Johnson County, Kansas or Missouri? Or, were they in all those places at different times during 1867? It requires more research and gathering of information to establish the "facts." Incidentally, there is a lot of confusion over which Johnson County (Kansas or Missouri) is relevant here. We know that they lived in Johnson County, Missouri from 1852 until 1864. On the other hand, the Miami County land was located about 2 miles south of the Johnson County, Kansas line.
The Hauns went to great lengths to protect their new identity; even the probate records of Stephen and Dianah mention their son James L. Haun living in Texas, although James had resumed the use of the Courtney name when he moved to Texas in 1871. No one knows why he did this. He sold the farm he had purchased in Morris County to his father, and also sold land that he had purchased in Johnson County, Missouri as James L. Courtney.”
In an effort to prove that my great-grandfather was not Jesse James’ mother, Zerelda James Samuel, is also said to have lived in Morris County at one time. Sure enough Jesse James’ name is mentioned in both Courtney and Haun family stories. The following email dated 8-7-99 was sent to David Hegdpeth from Harold Haun’s aunt, Derexa Seth (written verbatim):
…After reading your post this morning, my husband Laryl and I were discussing the Courtney/Haun story. He reminded me that local family members have told the story of hearing about Jesse James, his brother, and his mother staying here for a period of time east of, Morris County, Kansas where my sister-in-law now lives. What connection they had to the family, if any, I don't know. However, it would make one think they might have been doing more than just ‘passing through’. Could they have known the Courtney’s/Hauns? Also, people with the surname of Black reportedly owned most of the land east of Parkerville to the small town of Kelso, which is several miles, in the early days. Harriett married a Black, right? My sister-in-law’s farm probably was owned by the Blacks at one time. Then again, maybe there is no connection.”
Jesse James' mother, along with other family members, stayed in Morris County, Kansas after he left for Texas. Another item of interest that may connect the Courtney aka Haun family to the James Gang regards the Wilkerson’s. The 1880 census for Morris County, Kansas lists James and E. Wilkinson/Wilkerson as wards of the Courtney’s aka Haun’s. John Courtney aka John Haun married E. Wilkerson (his second wife). Knowing my family story and also knowing that something appears to have made the Courtney’s run from the law, I don't doubt for a second that the Wilkerson’s living with them were related to the James and Bill Wilkerson who rode with Jesse James. In fact, I think that at the very least the Courtney’s aka Haun’s provided a hideout for the James Gang."
By way of introduction my name is Betty Dorsett Duke, author of three books about Jesse James, (Jesse James Lived & Died In Texas (1998), The Truth About Jesse James (2007) and Jesse James– The Smoking Gun (2011). I am also the owner of Jesse James’ Death Hoax & Buried Treasures at www.jessejamesintexas.com.
Eric James was also the spokesman for the late Judge James R. Ross, the purported great-grandson of Jesse James. Read about Judge Ross’ official censure here: http://www.jessejamesintexas.com/rosscensure.htm.Eric James stepped into Judge Ross’ role in the campaign against me which is designed and operated like the dirty political campaigns politicians use against their opposition.
Kathy Reynard was probably the first person hired to discredit me, or Judge Ross may have hired Eric James first, but whatever the case may be they resort to desperate measures to suppress evidence showing that Jesse James was my great-grandfather and did not die as history reports.
Regarding the James Preservation Trust, instead of relying on qualified experts to authenticate photographs/artifacts acquired and/or submitted, Eric James relies on Bethany, Missouri Disk Jockey Phil Stewart, who was once the self-described historian for the James Farm & Museum in Kearney, Missouri. Phil Stewart is closely associated with Eric James and Stray Leaves and wrote some of the articles currently presented on the website.
On December 14, 2011, Phil Stewart revealed disturbing information about Eric James in an email to me - excerpts follow:
"I guess you could say I had an "association" with Eric James, but it got to the point that he was falling into the category I mentioned of people who ignored facts in order to prove their point. He still claims a family connection to Jesse James, but still hasn't proven it to my satisfaction. His theory is based on rumors, speculation and the fact that his last name is James. I voiced my opinion and everything was fine, but it got to the point that he wanted me to "endorse" some things that I just wasn't comfortable with and that pretty much ended that. I know he still has me and some of my writing on his web site, which I guess is OK. But I'm just not going to "sell out" to help him or anyone else! Plus, he started getting a little nasty and personal with some of the "discussions" and I just don't think there's any need for that."
"And you're also right about Eric James....in a LOT of ways! He wants to be THE James authority and really doesn't care what he has to do and who he has to screw to get there. He's also not very concerned about accuracy and is very willing to twist things around to fit his theories. Basically, he's a very good salesman!! When he tried to manipulate (and buy) me to say things that just weren't true, or at least in serious doubt, I just told him that was as far as I was willing to go. Basically, he wanted me to authenticate some things so he could sell them at an inflated price to finance some of his "investigations" and I just wasn't comfortable with that. Not enough evidence to satisfy me.!!!"
Again, false allegations made by Eric James and his hired guns are included in a website first designed by Kathy Reynard and Linda Snyder (this is an alias for Carol Holmes) and is currently hosted on his Stray Leaves website. They named their website the same as my website but added a question mark to mock my website www.jessejamesintexas.com. See Google results for their website below and please note the question mark:
I dubbed Eric James’ employees as Hired Guns due to the simple fact that they fit the definition: “One hired to fight for or protect another; and one who is proficient at obtaining power for others.” But simply dubbing them hired guns is far different than having actual proof that they were hired. I do have proof.
On December 17, 2011 one of Eric James’ former hired guns I’ll refer to as J. V. issued a public apology on Jesse James Photo Discussion Forum (see link below) and also revealed that Eric James hired him and others (listed below) to do his dirty deeds. His post follows:
As a hired hand in response to Matt Hamlin and Dallas Hunt in January of 2010, I was pressured into a seek and smear mission in retaliation to their posts on Genforum. From there it went to various historical discussions and to Delphi going as far as to smear their friends. Little did I know about the consequences of my actions and I apologize for all the trouble I've caused everyone here, especially to that of Betty Duke and Greg Ellison.
Alias Frank Cole jv
Although the former hired gun said that Eric James hired him and his cohorts to “seek and smear” me, Greg Ellison, Dallas Hunt and others, it was actually much worse than just a smear campaign. Death threats and pornographic material were sent to me and Greg Ellison via email for over a year until the authorities caught him. Porn and death threats were also posted on Greg Ellison’s forum on numerous occasions. Not only was my life threatened but the lives of my family, Greg Ellison and his family, Dallas Hunt, members of Greg Ellison’s forum and others. These threats were also made against minors.
If anyone doubts the truthfulness of this information the former hired gun sent Greg Ellison an email stating everything posted on the forum (plus more). Yes, proof exists as well as many witnesses.
Greg Ellison asked the former hired gun the questions listed below and he (the former hired gun) answered them –his answers follow the questions:
Greg Ellison wrote: "I asked JV these question and his answers are in the next post: Jared,
I appreciate your efforts and I have a long list of questions.
1. Who hired you?
2. Are you positive Fran Bolton and Sally Anderson Goodson are not aliases for Carol Holmes?
3. Who is Gibson Moore and where is he from?
4. Is the James Farm involved including Marvin Leslie, Scott Cole and Terry Crews or did you use their names?
5. Do you know if there is still a credible threat to my family?
6. Why aren't you signing your post with your real name?
7. How were you pressured and who did it?
8. Who's the top dog causing all of this.
9. Why did you leave Lone Jack off of the list?
10. How much is Frank Huguelet involved in this. You mention two of his buddies and I know he is their leader?
I had this figured out a long time ago through some investigating that I had done. I knew how you were involved through your acting career and that they planned all along for you to take the fall and still do.
"No problem, Greg. I'm just glad I can finally get this off my chest. I'm tired of playing their games.
1. Eric James.
2. I believe Carol is Fran. I remember a few posts on Sally's Delphi site when Fran responded to questions made to Carol and then quickly deleted them and then came back on as Carol to leave the final response. She realized what user name she was using at the time. But Carol is definitely not Sally. Sally really had no interest in "Jesse James" matters. She came along to help Rollie with the Jay Longley/William Anderson thing because they are supposedly kin.
3. Gibson Moore as "GibMoore" was a member on Butch's site some years ago. Not sure where he is now but I got some private messages before from him on Delphi to aid in the attacks on you and your friends. He could be Eric James, Michael, or even Frank Huguelet in disguise. He was very pushy.
4. No. I remember Butch even banning Eric James a couple years ago.
5. None. Truth be told I'm not that kind of guy and you're more protected than you know even if there was a credible threat. But I will tell you this. Eric James spun a web of crap and I thought it was this big game. Frank Huguelet was and still is his side man. Alex Nelson is an alias of his. He paraded around as various user names and made those threats on your forum. He was hysterical about it. But there is no threat to you or your family.
6. I sign it either jv or just J.
7. I was doing research on the old west and Jesse James as a class assignment. I got to know Eric James through his site and that's when he went on about you and Betty and everyone else months after getting to know him. He was pissed that Butch banned him from Delphi and he claimed you were after him and he needed a little help fighting back. He offered money and credentials to my school if I went along with it. Venable, Graf, Moore, Dodd, Blankenship, Mathis, Goodson, Fran/Carol and Rollie all went along with it saying they could get me good marks and build my rep. And since I knew too much about their plan to smear you guys they threatened to smear my name and mess things up for me academically if any of that got out. It was a really weird situation. And as odd as it was, they tried to be "nice" about threatening me. Little did they know that the FBI saw it all.
8. Eric James. But Frank Huguelet is his "behind the curtain" go to guy. They're both pulling the strings.
9. He didn't get involved. He actually liked you. At least before your falling out. It's obvious he's been swayed by those crooks too.
10. You got it right. Up until the FBI got involved he backed away. But he's still out there ready to pounce when the time comes. He insulted me pretty good and threatened to kick my ass when I told the FBI everything and told Eric James off. Well, that and when I told them that I wanted nothing to do with their crap anymore. They didn't take that very well.
Like you said, I think a lot of this was obvious. But I'm not pursuing an acting career. I did some theater in college and high school but I worked in media for a time, too. I did some independent stuff on the side but nothing anymore. I recently fell on some hard economic times and "career" really isn't in the equation anymore. It sucks.
I won't take the fall anymore. They know it and so does the FBI. Those s*** of b****** are being watched now.
Anything else let me know.”
The following article gives a good summary of Eric James and his hired guns:
Now that the reader knows a just a little about the tactics Eric James and his hired guns have used for the past seventeen years it’s time to begin my rebuttal to the false allegations made by them. Actually most of their allegations can be answered by the reader viewing the photographic evidence that proves my great-grandfather was Jesse James. So if my answers aren’t satisfactory please go view them because they speak for themselves.
If the reader has any suggestions for information that needs to be added please let me know:
1. Despite Eric James and his hired guns claim that Jesse James AKA James L. Courtney’s YDNA matches the YDNA of the real James L. Courtney AKA James Haun's YDNA, which, according to them, proves my great-grandfather was not Jesse James but the real James L. Courtney, here's an excerpt from The Truth About Jesse James (2007), my second book, that tells the fact of the matter:
"Dr. Salih (a DNA expert in San Antonio, Texas) issued the following statement regarding the Hired Guns’ false report:
“With regard to the question about the basis for exclusion in forensic case-work (such as this case) a difference at any single locus is considered the base for exclusion. Exclusion in this case is the lack of relationship between two families. Unproven mutations can not be used to justify the exclusion as has been suggested in this case. They have to show that other members of these families have a similar mutation as was found in this case.”
There is now proof that the 1995 DNA results highly touted as proving Jesse James died and is buried as history reports are actually fraudulent, yet Eric James and his hired guns disregard this information:
The Hired Guns are very aware that there was a real James L. Courtney. They are also aware of the entire evidence presented showing that my great-grandfather was NOT the real James L. Courtney. He was only using this name as his alias as evidenced by the following photographic evidence:
This photo (link below) is located in The William Clarke Quantrill Man Reunions compiled by Don Hale. It was a newspaper photo of a Quantrill Reunion that appeared in the Kansas City Post in 1921. James Courtney is clearly visible in the photo between two Quantrill veterans. Miss Lizzie Wallace who held the reunions for over twenty years is the woman in the back. Jesse James AKA James Courtney appears to be wearing the same coat as he is pictured wearing in three photos in Betty's First Book "Jesse James Lived and Died in Texas." This proves he was none other than the legendary Jesse James!
For those not familiar James Courtney is the large man on the left with the dark open coat. Take note of how everyone is looking directly at him as if they know they are in the presence of a so called "dead man".
Even though Eric James and his hired guns have been exposed they continue to “seek and smear”…and no telling what else. I believe they do this for the following reasons:
·To confuse those unfamiliar with my story or anyone else’s story that they don’t agree with;
·To make it appear that my family was lying;
·To disrupt and discredit my continued research/writing; and
·To prevent book sales or movies deals based on my books.
2. Hired Gun Kathy Reynard wrote:
“On page 131 of Mrs. Duke's book we see a page of figures that look like slender, lazy figure eights, lying on their side, with different markings on each one. The caption says "A page from J. L. Courtney's diary shows the code he often used. On the page he inadvertently signed his name `J James'."
My editor did insert a caption in my first book, Jesse James Lived & Died In Texas (1998), which says the marks were treasure markers. But the fact is that cattle brands were used as treasure markers and some of the marks are just treasure marks. A number of my great-grandfather’s treasure caches, which he documented their location by encoded treasure maps with Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) symbols, have been recovered.
3. Hired Gun Kathy Reynard also stated:
“One of the cornerstones of Mrs. Duke's book is her claim that there was a strong connection between the James/Samuel and Courtney families without distinguishing between the Clay County Courtneys and the Johnson County Courtneys, sixty miles away and across the Missouri River. Linda Snyder (an alias for Carol Holmes) and I independently studied these families before we became aware of each other's research and neither of us found any connection.”
Answer: Linda Snyder is one of Carol Holmes’ (one of Eric’s hired guns) aliases, and as Carol Holmes she wrote the following article stating why she believes the Clay County, Missouri Courtney’s are connected to the Johnson County, Missouri Courtney’s and more:
4. Kathy Reynard quoted me as saying “Jesse James AKA James L. Courtney used code when making entries in his diaries and drawing his treasure maps.”
She attempts to discredit my statement by writing: "JLC did use a very basic code at times. The five vowels a, e, i, o and u are replaced be numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5; the numbers 6, 7, 8, and 9 are assigned to consonants, but different consonants in each message. It is so basic, I don't know why he even bothered."
Ha! Code only seems simple once it's broken...and the Hired Guns sure didn't break it.
Jesse James was reportedly the treasurer of the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) and they did in fact use code. Please read the following excerpt from my second book, The Truth About Jesse James (2007):
"A small booklet describing the rituals of the secret order known as The Knights of Labor, also known as the Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor, was found in my great-grandfather’s personal belongings. This organization is said to have been the KGC reorganized under a different name. (See photo of the booklet in Chapter Thirteen.)"
5. Kathy Reynard wrote the following: "George Roming of El Paso personally saw at least 30 bars of gold, weighing 15 to 20 pounds each, stacked on a shelf in Grandpa's barn. Now I ask you, folks, would a man this paranoid leave all that gold in the barn, unguarded?"
Yes, ma'am Kathy Reynard, you can bet your boots that Jesse James could do whatever he wanted to do, including leaving that gold unguarded - the people in his community were not stupid.
5. Kathy Reynard wrote: "Yet another of Mrs. Duke's overstatements is the claim that all of her photographs of the Courtneys have been positively matched to photos of the James family. This will be fully discussed in the Photographs section."
The Visionics Corporation is a leading provider of fingerprinting, identification and information systems for law enforcement. Visionics is also recognized as the leader in Face Recognition Technology. In June of 2002, Visionics Corporation was merged with Identix Incorporated. The merged company continues to lead its industry in the area law enforcement and identification technology including facial, fingerprint and biometric identification. The company is particularly known for their Face Recognition Technology which has become so important and prominently featured in the media post September 11, 2001. The team from Visionics Corporation (now Identix) examined the photographic evidence in June of 1998 and issued the following findings from their Research & Development offices in Jersey City, NJ:
Statement of Recognition
"Dr. Joseph J. Atick and Megan G. Tormey from Visionics Corporation examined the photographs through computerized matching, analytical as well as visual inspection techniques. They concluded with reasonable confidence that the faces in question matched each other and belonged to the same individual."
"After visually inspecting both sets of photographs (Dukes and historically accepted photos of the James family), the Austin Police Department Forensic Science Multi-Media Lab determined, with a high degree of certainty, that the faces in question match."
- William S. McCann
Forensic Science Multi-Media Lab Supervisor
Austin Police Department
6. The Hired Guns claim that a postcard mailed to my great-grandfather signed “Mother” and mailed from Morris County, Kansas proves he was the real James L. Courtney.
It will interest them to know, if they don’t already know, that Jesse James’ mother, Zerelda James Samuel, is also said to have lived there. Sure enough Jesse James’ name is mentioned in both Courtney and Haun family stories. (The real James L. Courtney, along with his parents and siblings, changed their surnames to Haun after the father was imprisoned for being considered disloyal during the Civil War and also for consorting with Quantrill. Jesse James assumed the name of James L. Courtney when he (Courtney) assumed the alias of James Haun.) The following email dated 8-7-99 was sent to Dr. David Hegdpeth from Harold Haun’s aunt, Derexa Seth (written verbatim):
…After reading your post this morning, my husband Laryl and I were discussing the Courtney/Haun story. He reminded me that local family members have told the story of hearing about Jesse James, his brother, and his mother staying here for a period of time. They stayed in a house east of Parkerville, Morris County, Kansas where my sister-in-law now lives. What connection they had to the family, if any, I don't know. However, it would make one think they might have been doing more than just ‘passing through’. Could they have known the Courtney’s/Hauns? Also, people with the surname of Black reportedly owned most of the land east of Parkerville to the small town of Kelso, which is several miles, in the early days. Harriett married a Black, right? My sister-in-law’s farm probably was owned by the Blacks at one time. Then again, maybe there is no connection.”
Again, Jesse James’ mother and other family members are rumored to have stayed in Morris County, Kansas after he left for Texas.
Another item of interest that may connect the Courtney aka Haun family to the James Gang regards the Wilkerson’s. The 1880 census for Morris County, Kansas lists James and E. Wilkinson/Wilkerson as wards of the Courtney’s aka Haun’s John Courtney aka John Haun married E. Wilkerson second. Knowing my family story and also knowing that something appears to have made the Courtney’s run from the law, I wouldn’t doubt for a second that the Wilkerson’s living with them were related to the James and Bill Wilkerson who rode with Jesse James. In fact I think that at the very least the Courtney’s aka Haun’s provided a hideout for the James Gang.
7. My late Aunt Irene Dorsett Short King told her "Courtney" cousins about their grandfather being Jesse James. She wrote the following to Herschel "H. C." Shelton on February 22, 1973 (Carol Holmes said he paid some of them to discredit me.):
“…Mama always said something about Grandpa (the man known in Texas as James L. Courtney) knowing something about Jesse James - when I see you I will tell you more about this -- as it might have been a family secret.”
I am only privy to the following portion of the letter Mae wrote in response to a letter she received from Aunt Irene (written verbatim):
“You have asked some questions that I will attempt to answer. You asked about the Haun’s. Max Courtney found out that Grandpa Courtney’s family came to Oklahoma Territory and changed their names to “Haun” because of some criminal charge against them (see note below). In those days Oklahoma was fairly safe for fugitives because it was not a state. That is why all of them “clam up” when someone mentions their past. You know Grandpa never talked of his family. So the rumor was that our grandfather had changed his name, but it was not he but his brothers who did it.”
Now about what Mae said – “Grandpa never talked about his family.” Ha! Photographic evidence shows that the James family was his family – he is pictured with them – see bottom row far right. http://www.jessejamesintexas.com/EbayPic8.jpg
8. Eric James and Hired Guns picture a letter on their website with the following heading in their ongoing effort to discredit my family story and my findings:
G. P. Whitsett J. R. Whitsett
OFFICE OF Whitsett & Andruss
PROPRIETORS OF Lamar Livery, Sale & Feed Stable
On Broadway, half block north of Square.
Lamar, MO., January 11, 1887
I emailed the following photo to Ron Wall, (his wife is related to Sim Whitsett, a noted Quantrill guerrilla) to see if he thought the man standing next to my great-grandfather is Sim Whitsett and this was his reply:
"After using some simple photo software to overlay the photo of the face in your picture on one regarded as an authentic picture of Sim as an old man, the two faces seem to match to an incredible degree. I then reversed the photos, overlaying the known Sim Whitsett photo on your photo with the same striking result. I certainly do not qualify as an expert, but my experiment seems to indicate that the two pictures are of the same man.”
Jesse James AKA James L. Courtney (left) and James Simeon “Sim” Whitsett (right).
In the following posts I (Jeszsgrl) explain to my cousin Eldon Courtney why the hired guns allegations are wrong:
One of the things that I take as absolute fact is our great-grandfather's own written words: "When stemm and tryst James L. Courtney is my heist." He himself said he stole James L. Courtney's name.
Strong circumstantial evidence has been presented showing that Stephen Courtney became Andrew Jackson Haun and that his wife, Dianah, and sons, including James L. Courtney, all kept their given names but changed their surnames to Haun when Stephen did. Harriett, their daughter didn't have to change her name to Haun because she married a Mr. Black. You should also search for how and when James Haun died. This is why I believe you are running into a dead end - the real James L. Courtney became James Haun and at that point the name of James L. Courtney became officially (yet unrecorded) dead and would have remained dead if Jesse James hadn't taken it for his own.
Have you ever tried to find how and when Stephen Courtney, Dianah Courtney, Theodore Courtney, and his Courtney brothers died? It's my guess that you won't find them and will run in to another dead end. Why? Because they all became Haun's. What was the last year you found the Courtney family - the parents and their children - on a census record? Some claim they changed their surnames to Haun after 1865 and before 1870.
Right now I, as well as many others, feel that we have all the proof we need to prove that Jesse James was known in Texas as James L. Courtney due to the photographic evidence - those pictures don't lie. They're not fraudulent like the 1995 DNA results. Like that old saying goes, "Money talks". It's really bad that our true heritage goes to the highest bidder...but they didn't ever think they would get caught in their own game.
I would still like to exhume our great-grandfather's grave for DNA comparison testing against Sue Laura Hale's DNA. I absolutely won't trust any DNA sample or sequence that has anything to do with Professor Starrs, Clay County, Missouri, or the Hired Guns. What's scary is that even though J. V. named Eric James as his boss it stands to reason that someone with deeper pockets is funding the "seek and smear" campaign.
Eldon, your questions remind me of questions I once asked until answers were found. Here's an excerpt that I really hope you'll read from The Truth About Jesse James (2007) because I believe it may help answer your question:
Tracing one's genealogy can be difficult at times, especially when dealing
with aliases and outlaws because they were very good at covering their tracks.
As stated earlier, I think I know what happened to Jesse James but what
happened to the real James L. Courtney? In attempting to solve this mystery
I viewed so many rolls of microfilm that thousands of names rolled before my
eyes as I slept -- it was a real nightmare. And just when I thought I had it all
figured out, I would prove myself wrong.
Stephen and Dianah Andruss Courtney are claimed to have been the real James
L. Courtney’s parents, but I wasn’t convinced of that. He was supposed to be their
oldest child yet he isn’t listed as living in their household in the 1850 census record:
Courtney, Stephen, Age 27
Courtney, Dianna D., Age 28
Courtney, Harriet E., Age: 1
Litrell/Lutrell?, Sarah, Age: 30
I find it odd that someone would list their youngest child completely forgetting their
first born. I now realize that maybe the census taker simply didn't list him or whatever.
Thinking maybe James L. Courtney was staying with his grandparents or other relatives
I checked census records and still couldn’t find him. I even checked the neighbors looking
for him, but by a stroke of luck I found my answer in some old letters in the possession of a
relative of the Courtney family. Dianah Andruss Courtney wrote a letter addressed to
“William O’Brient at , Globe Post Office, Missouri.” At the bottom of the page her daughter
Harriet added the following note (written verbatim): “…Layette and Theodore is grate big boys…”
The real James Courtney’s middle name was Lafayette and apparently Harriett misspelled it.
The 1860 census for Johnson County, Missouri lists the persons residing in the Stephen Courtney
household as follows:  (This is the family of the real James L. Courtney, not our great-grandfather.)
Name: Stephen Courtney
Age in 1860: 38
Birth Year: abt 1822
Home in 1860: Post Oak,
Post Office: Globe
Household Members: Name and Age
Stephen Courtney 38
Dianah D Courtney 39
James L Courtney 14
Harriet E Courtney 12
Theodore N Courtney 10
Robert W Courtney
John A Courtney
According to another of Dianah’s letters the Courtney family traveled
by boat from TN to MO in 1852, settling in Johnson County until 1864.
Some cite the following unproved claim as fact: “During the Civil War
Dianah and the children fled to Johnson Co., when they were in danger
from raiders. Stephen’s son, James Courtney, served in the Union Army
at age 18, but when the war ended he was put on mop up duty and deserted.
I don’t buy it but some claim this desertion is said to have caused the family
so much shame that they changed their name to Haun and moved to the
interior of Kansas. Haun Creek in Morris Co. was named for them.” 
The story goes that before moving to Morris County, KS they lived in
Miami County, KS -- the last place they were known as the Courtney’s. Stephen Courtney reportedly changed his entire name
to Andrew Jackson Haun. The rest of the family only changed their
surnames, with the exception of Harriet who by that time had married
The 1870 census for Morris County, Kansas shows the following persons
living in the Andrew Haun household:
Andrew Haun: Age 48
Dianah Haun: Age 49
James Haun: Age 23
Theodore Haun: Age 21
Robert Haun: Age 16
John Haun: Age 14
Eldon, note the given names and ages of the Courtney's and Haun's - this
pretty much proves they were the same family which also proves that
James L. Courtney became James Haun.
In 1864 the family moved from Johnson County, Missouri to Miami County, Kansas, which was about 55 miles from the old James farm.
The 1865 Kansas State Census for lists the family under the name of
Courtney. Some claim they may have stayed a while in, ???, which was
about 40 miles from the old James farm.
In the mid-1860’s the family moved near Council Grove, Morris
County, Kansas, about 8 miles north of the Santa Fe Road. At this
time the Courtney surname was changed to Haun. This is the same
county and place Bloody Bill Anderson lived in. Everyone in the Courtney family kept his or her first name except Stephen who became Andrew Jackson Haun.
The distance to the old James farm from was about 110 miles, but
conveniently located along a major travel route. This would be a
great hide-away at a safe distance from the normal residence of Frank
and Jesse. Within a few months after the Haun’s settled in Morris
County, Kansas, Frank and Jesse conducted their first bank robbery.
In two years the family relocated 2-3 times. These moves may have
been due to the war conditions of the time or may have been necessary
to protect Stephen’s true identity.
 Census Year:1850 STATE:TN County: Jefferson District: 13TH
MICROFILM#: M432-885 ENUMERATOR: James Baker Enum Date:
14th day of December, 1850.
This is why I believe the real James L. Courtney AKA James Haun married
Susan Eubanks and died in Meeker, Oklahoma. We know that Jesse James was living as the real James L. Courtney. We know he knew the Courtney family well; ; we know he knew the Andruss family well; and that he married Mary Ellen Barron - as evidenced by the eBay photo pictured above pointing her out as Mrs. Jesse James and our great-grandfather out as Jesse James.
9. The hired guns are desperately trying to prove that my great-grandfather was not Jesse James but was instead actually the real James L. Courtney AKA James Haun. The real James L. Courtney had a brother named Theodore Courtney AKA Theodore Haun. I offered proof from my great-grandfather’s diaries written by his own hand in his own words that he was not the real James L. Courtney - he wrote that he “rote a leter to cosin Theodore.” The real James L. Courtney and Theodore Courtney were in fact Jesse James’ cousins.
“Jesse James AKA James L. Courtney wrote in his diary, “January 28, 1872 -- Sunday morning at Barron’s and remained there all day & rote to leters one to Rat and the other to cosin Theodore & Miley was here.”
The hired guns are desperately attempting to prove that Jesse James was writing to another Theodore whose last name was Heaton, but they have not been able to prove that this Theodore was still alive in 1872. They wrote:
Andruss, Elizabeth Ann 20 Dec 1822, TN – ca. 1858, Jefferson Co, TN Married William C. Heaton
Children: Mary Dorthulla; John Harvey Levi; Harriet Josephine; Sarah Elizabeth; Theodore born about 1850; John Roten; William Chew.
Photo By Billy Calzada/San Antonio Express-News Betty Duke, who says she is the great granddaughter of the outlaw Jesse James, believes that he is buried in Blevins, Texas, between Temple and Waco, in this grave. Courtney is a family name. Billy Calzada / San Antonio Express-News
BLEVINS — On a serene hilltop in this quiet Central Texas farming community, one of the fundamental tenets of American history is under attack.
For decades, Southerners have disagreed on Jesse James' place in the nation's collective memory. And now, decades after his death, there's disagreement on his final resting place.
History says James was buried in Kearney, Mo., after being gunned down on April 3, 1882, in his St. Joseph, Mo., home by fellow gang member Bob Ford.
But a Texas woman says James lived and died here, 30 miles south of Waco. He faked his death in Missouri, she says, and lived out his days here as a gentleman farmer. He died peacefully in 1943 and is buried under the name James L. Courtney in a family grave plot overlooking Deer Creek in Falls County.
Betty Duke, 64, says there are photos and writings that prove her point. Her only goal in writing three books about Courtney's claim, she says, is to make sure that her great-grandfather's legacy is honored and that history is accurate.
“This is the story we were told as we grew up,” she said. “I suspect it was well known to people around here, too. Some of them have told me so.”
Officials with the James Farm and Museum, a historical site in Missouri, have heard the story — and others like it — before.
“There are several people out there with alternate scenarios,” said director Elizabeth Beckett. “They have believable stories, without a doubt. But a person can't just read one book. You have to know the whole picture. There are people who come here and don't think that Jesse is buried here. That's fine.
“But we've got the real deal here.”
Jesse James occupies a peculiar place in American history and in the folklore of the Deep South.
Throughout history, some have viewed James as a murderous, bank-robbing thug. Others, however, speak of him as hero who never surrendered after the Civil War. To them, he fought the institutions — banks and railroads — that ran roughshod over the common man.
In that way, Martha Grace Duncan says, James fits the mold of “the noble bandit.”
Duncan, a law professor at Emory University, wrote “Romantic Outlaws, Beloved Prisons: The Unconscious Meanings of Crime and Punishment,” which analyzes why some outlaws are treated with reverence in folklore
Robin Hood is the best example of the noble bandit. He stole from the rich, gave to the poor, and fought against the usurper King John, while remaining loyal to Richard the Lionheart.
“We may not want to be revolutionaries or rebels or criminals ourselves,” she said, “but we can't help being fascinated with those who do step over the line and succeed in hiding out. A part of us is attracted to this.”
James was no Robin Hood. He robbed the rich, but many of his biggest fans have overlooked the fact that he kept the money for himself and his gang and gunned down innocents in the process.
For a small core of die-hard fans, Duncan says, that doesn't matter. The overall fight, they say, was more important than a few misdeeds.
“For some Southerners,” she says, “there was a situation of moral inversion. The legal government, after the war, was in the wrong in their minds.”
The official story is that James went underground and was living under an assumed name when he was shot.
Duke says that was a setup, too. The body identified as James, she suspects, may have been one of his cousins. During that time, there were copycats robbing banks throughout the South and Midwest.
Her great-grandfather told his family that he arrived in Texas in 1871 in Clay County, which is near Wichita Falls on the Oklahoma border.
The assumed name Courtney, Duke says, was likely borrowed from a family that lived near James' boyhood home. The birth date on the Courtney tombstone, she says, jibes with the birth date James' mother gave to authorities at the time of his death.
In his diary, which Duke has kept, Courtney signed his name “J. James” on several occasions. Family members say he was suspicious of strangers and had inexplicable stockpiles of cash hidden in his house and barn and buried all over the farm.
Even more compelling, she says, are several old family photographs. When compared to documented photos of James, the resemblance is striking.
Another family photo shows James Courtney's mom missing an arm. Historical records state James' mom, Zerelda Samuel, lost an arm when hired guns, trying to kill or capture James, firebombed the family's farmhouse.
Beckett, the museum director, is polite when addressing Duke's research, but she isn't buying it. She says a 1995 exhumation of James and subsequent DNA testing showed there was a 99.5 percent chance that the right guy is in the right grave.
The conflicting stories, Beckett acknowledges, are good for business. When James' remains were exhumed — ostensibly to prove that he wasn't buried in Kearney — museum visitation doubled. She has no problem with Duke making her case in the court of public opinion because it drums up business for her museum and interest in history.
And Duke is happy to oblige her.
Says Duke: “It's our heritage. It's important that history gets this right.”