By Cristin Ross
It’s just a case of mistaken identity — or is it?
Louisiana author Reggie Anne Walker-Wyatt has some theories about the life and times of outlaw Jesse James. Those theories — including her claim there was more than one outlaw using the moniker Jesse James during the late 1800s and that the real James may have faked his own death and changed his name — that will be on display during the Rusk Pioneer and Heritage Festival, along with the photographic evidence that backs them up.
“All I’m asking is that people keep an open mind,” she said. “Look at my photos and information and then decide the merits of my theory. Why wouldn’t these men try to “die” and then start new lives? They were all very unique men.”
Walker-Wyatt began chasing the truth about J. Frank Dalton — who claims to have been the real Jesse James — when her great-great-grandmother Margaret Louisa Bass related a family tale that Dalton and the Youngers, members of his gang, stayed at the family plantation during the Civil War. When the author found documentation of her relative’s story in a book written by Cole Younger in 1903, she was intrigued enough to start unraveling the real story.
“It’s like a giant puzzle,” she said. “Each little bit of information that can be verified gets us that much closer to seeing the whole picture. It keeps me very busy.”
She collects information, stories, family histories from all over the South and compares new data to what she’s already been able to verify. Some stories are seriously historic, she said, and others border on the completely absurd.
“One of the more interesting ones I’ve come across is when they staged Jesse James’s funeral, they sewed a pig up in a suit and buried that instead,” Walker-Wyatt said with a laugh. “You get all kinds of information, you just have to use your own judgement as to which rabbit hole you want to go down.”
By Cristin Ross
- Local News
Breaking News: Dead body found near Reklaw; officials investigate
Law enforcement officials are investigating after a dead body was found near Reklaw.
- Jacksonville native promotes comedy gigs
Buoys near 1 property stir waters
A location along Lake Jacksonville has come under scrutiny recently from at least one resident because of city-placed buoys.
Intestinal parasite strikes Texas
State officials recently confirmed cases of an intestinal parasite in Texas.
Clardy appointed to select committee
Today, State Representative Travis Clardy was appointed by Speaker Joe Straus to the House Select Committee on Health Care Education and Training.
Area VBS programs ongoing for summer
Vacation Bible programs continue throughout the summer in Jacksonville, Rusk and Palestine.
- 4-H members compete in record keeping
The news that Father Mark Kusmirek would leave Jacksonville to accept a new assignment Aug. 1 in Longview spread quickly around town this month.
Alto City Council examines gas line issue
City leaders have started looking into the process of moving a gas line that runs from Alto through Wells along U.S. Hwy. 69 to meet requirements of TxDOT, which is widening the road through the city.
Proposed JISD budget to get hearing date
Jacksonville school board members will meet Monday evening for a combination budget workshop, regular board meeting and a summer board retreat, according to an JISD meeting agenda.
- More Local News Headlines
- Breaking News: Dead body found near Reklaw; officials investigate