Revealing Photos Shed Light on Mystery
Jesse Robert James
aka Jesse Frank Dalton
Claimant to 70 alias identities
Head Shape: Oval form
Eyes: Blue – Right & left eyelids cover top of iris.
Left eye points more toward the nose.
Ears: Right lobe is blunted, Left lobe longer.
Both elongate significantly in later years.
Nose: Uniform, slightly larger, downward slope.
Nostrils teardrop flare back toward the face.
Mouth: Average sized with broader archers bow upper lip.
Chin: Broad round jaw line.
Shoulders: Straight, square shoulder line.
Jesse Robert James of Scott County, Kentucky, aka Jesse James.
(Father: George James, wife Mattie) Appears in 1870 Census as -Son: Jesse James.
There are three main schools of thought regarding the true identity of the Outlaw Jesse James.
Tradition states Jesse Woodson James was killed in 1882. An unfitting and unlikely end of a legend.
Some say he assumed the identity of a cousin murdered in his place, Jeremiah “Jesse” Mason James.
The distinct defect (cleft helix) at the top rim of his ear, sets the corpse apart from Jesse W. James.
Others believe the Outlaw legend belongs to J. Frank Dalton who lived until 1951. Dalton claimed his real name was Jesse Robert James, 1st cousin to Jesse Woodson James. He maintained his claim to his death at 104 years old.
Genealogy records show Jesse’s father, Robert Sallee James had a brother named George James. George had a son named Robert Woodson James who also went by the nickname, Jesse. He gave a list of 72 aliases that he used in his long lifetime.
Those who subscribe to the J. Frank Dalton figure as Jesse James will be pleased to see him here in signature black attire. The black guns, gloves, coat and hat make for an imposing look of ferocity. The stone cold look in his eyes is indicative of his signature kill, which was to shoot a man over the left eye.
However, Dalton also said he was a lawman in his long life, noting that there is a star on his hat. There was in fact a Frank Dalton who served out of the Ft. Smith US Marshall’s office. None the less, outlaw or lawman, the photo is a spectacular specimen. The line between the two dangerous professions was very narrow, and was often interchangeable.
Jesse Robert James alias: J. Frank Dalton claimed he was the son of Confederate Capt. George James who fired on Ft. Sumter, which ignited the Civil War. Jesse Robert James had a brother named Sylvester Franklin James, together their gang robbed banks, trains and stagecoaches. They were one of several “James Gangs” and all of them were connected as clandestine spies in the super secretive Knights of the Golden Circle.
Jesse Robert James, aka Jesse Frank Dalton admitted to the 1882 murder ruse of Jesse James in St. Joseph, MO. The conspiracy was committed with the help of the Governor, Sheriff Timberlake, the assistant Coroner and a squad of 52 former rebel allies. Timberlake, the sheriff of Clay Co. suddenly appeared an hour after the murder in St, Joe.
Buchanan Co. was out of his jurisdiction, yet he deputized James Gang members and took over the crime scene, the body and all of the evidence. They used only one news reporter, got the assistant coroner to do the autopsy, which was never signed and later stolen from the country coroner’s office files. The list of “irregularities” are documented in the 130 page Jesse James Forensic Report.
Dalton’s version of the killing is consistent with the forensic evidence collected and evaluated in The Jesse James Forensic Report, presented to the American Academy of Forensic Science conference by RJ Pastore in 2004.
The photo below is much later in his adult life judging from the receding hair and style of cloths. It is an uncanny lookalike photo, he could pass for JWJ were it not for the giveaway earlobes. His right eye looks off to the left just like Frank James. His hairline is straighter than Jesse’s as well.
There was an armed standoff at the train depot between Sheriff Timberlake and KC Detectives sent to retrieve the corpse. The Sheriff and deputized James Gang members were moving the body to Kearney, against the orders of the Governor and Attorney General. The Detectives were vastly outnumbered and the conductor walked up and said, “Now take it easy boys, no need to pull your pops out here”. It was enough for cooler heads to prevail, and the James Gang left with the body.
It is an ironic coincidence that Dalton had his photo taken wearing a conductor’s hat. What better vantage point to have in leading a grand conspiracy to commit a very public murder and dispose of all the evidence, including the body. By taking over as the train’s conductor he controlled the means of transport with total authority. It also gave him free access to monitor the telegraph office at the depot station. They had every angle carefully covered.
The 1882 murder plot allowed Jesse Woodson and Jesse Robert James to go free, living long active lives of adventure and intrigue.
Jesse W. James took the name of the murdered cousin, Jeremiah “Jesse” Mason James. Dalton employed many colorful persona, both living and fictional that served his purposes.
There are many outrageous claims made by Dalton as retold in the book, “Jesse James Was One of His Names”. Not the least of which was his assertion that he murdered the Copper King, William A. Clark, took on his identity and bought his way in to congress. He was censured for vote fraud and bribery and removed from office. He then ran again for the next term, was re-elected and served the full term. There is even more to the story… for another time.
The precious moments captured in this collection have been rescued from obscurity and help to reassemble their extra-ordinary lives.
J Frank Dalton is buried in Grandbury, TX. The headstone reads, Jesse W. James 1847 – 1951. He was allow that honor because he once sued to regain his Jesse James name and the judge ruled that he had never changed his name to Dalton legally, so he was still Jesse James in the eyes of the court. The autopsy found 36 bullet wounds among the injuries.
Whatever we call him, among the 72 aliases, he is best know as Jesse Frank Dalton. The tales of his extra-ordinary life are recounted in the book, “Jesse James Was One of His Names”, by Del Schrader. There are many outrageous tales and claims in the book, but a little research soon proves many of them true. Either way, it is a great piece of history that would have died with him had he not shared it all. Rest in Peace