William Settle's works inspired Ted Yeatman and like Yeatman said in his book, "A considerable body of new information has come to light that has significantly altered what is known." Working with Betty Duke on her upcoming book for the past 5 years I would have to agree with Mr. Yeatman. Yeatman goes on to say that his book is intended as a supplement to Settle's impressive and pioneering volume. It was William Settle who encouraged Ted Yeatman's work on the Tennesse years of the James brothers. Had Settle not have passed on before Yeatman's book was finished Settle was to have written an introduction to his present book. Ted Yeatman also states on page 12 of his Preface, "Adding some details lacking in Settle's work, I have decided to write this as a narrative, telling what I believe probably occured based on a variety of sources. I hope other scholars will excuse me for taking this route. While it was not my original intent to give a detailed, blow-by-blow account of the James brothers' lives, I have tried to provide a reasonable background of intersting new or obscure material relating to their lives and the lives of those associated with them." For a Jesse James researcher this book is a handy tool.
Yeatman said something in the last paragraph on page 13 that really caught my attention. He said, "Just who were Frank and Jesse James? While all the pieces of the puzzle may never be found, my hope is that this research will shed new historical light on one of the great American legends." I is of my opinion that all the players on this Gen Forum have a piece of the puzzle. All the writers out there,such as Yeatman, Stettle, Dacus, Love, Croy, Buel, Tripplet, Breihan, Brant and most recent Betty Duke also hold puzzle peices that when put together form a picture of the Jesse James story like no other.
Can you imagine how many letters from James family members sit out there in boxes or trunks yet to be read waiting to be read or thrown away by some family member or left to the dust.