Jesse Robert James, alias J. Frank Dalton claimed he married several times and even had children out of wedlock. When you live over 100 years it is entirely possible to have had several long marriages. It will take more research to identify the wives of Jesse Robert and Sylvester Franklin James. The important matter is that we can now discern the various characters that make up the legend of Jesse James.
J. Frank Dalton stated that his uncle, Robert Sallee James went to California in 1851 to get away from Zerelda by faking his death. Robert secretly returned to Clay Co., MO after his death ruse and ran off with the much younger Sara Mulkey. He took Sara away to SE Kansas and they married. Robert Salle James & Sara had two children prior to Robert’s real death in the Civil War.
After the War, Jesse Robert James went to call on the widow Sara Mulkey-James (seated below). It seems they hit it off and had a son together. Jesse Robert James was living under the alias of Charles Johnson at the time and gave their son the same name, Charles Johnson Jr. pictured as a young lad below.
Charles Johnson Jr. sits in the foreground here. Note the huge bulges under Charles senior’s jacket hiding his guns.