Dear Bob James:
I finally obtained a copy of the October 1947 issue of "True, the Man's Magazine," and found the article which I have been searching for over the past year or so. I have returned to these forums for a short time to share this information and to try to tie up a few other loose ends from previous posts/speculations. Needless to say, this October 1947 True Magazine "article" turned out to be quite disappointing to me, as it does not provide very many answers to the various questions which have been raised on this forum regarding the picture itself. However, what we do learn from the "article" is the following:
1) The original framed picture which Clarence N. Bouyer viewed in New Mexico ( and of which he took a photo, which he then sent to True Magazine in order to get their opinion/authentication ) was not itself either a painting or a photograph. Bouyer ( who was a professional photographer, by the way: see below ) said "The picture has the appearance of great age and seems to be a composite made from daguerrotypes." Brown Brothers of New York ( specialists in historical photographs, to whom the editors of True Magazine submitted Bouyer's photo for an authentication report ) agreed with Bouyer's assessment when they stated that the picture ". . . is a composite, not a true group picture."
2) The photo of the picture which was published in the October 1947 issue of True Magazine DOES NOT have any names inscribed anywhere on the picture. From this we can conclude that the words "JESSE," "MOTHER," and "FRANK" ( written in white block-style capital letters ), which appear on many copies/photos of the picture, were NOT part of the original picture but were most likely inscribed on a PHOTO of the original picture, and then several copies were made and circulated of this INSCRIBED PHOTO ( these names were probably inscribed on the photo sometime in the late 1940s-1961 time period ).
3) Bouyer knew who owned the picture, and Bouyer said that the picture's owner claimed that the picture is a group picture of Jesse and Frank James and their mother. As there are no names inscribed on the original picture, apparently Bouyer questioned the owner of the picture as to who the people in it were, and the owner told Bouyer that the people were Jesse and Frank James and their mother. Apparently Bouyer wasn't 100% convinced of the truth of that claim AT THE TIME ( however, see more on this below ), which is why he submitted a photo of the picture to the MAN TO MAN ANSWERS Department at True Magazine, in order to get a second opinion. The owner of the picture may well have been Brooks Craig, as Mr. Dwight Traina has explained/discussed in several of his posts on this issue. The VERY IMPORTANT QUESTIONS still needing answers are: If Brooks Craig was indeed the friend Bouyer referred to and the owner of the original picture, how did this picture happen to come into Craig's possession, and where did he get the information that it was a picture of Jesse and Frank James and their mother, since these names were NOT inscribed on the original picture?
Addressing the question as to WHO inscribed the names "JESSE," "MOTHER," and "FRANK" in white capital letters on a photo of the original picture, and then had copies of the INSCRIBED PHOTO made and circulated, I discussed this question in considerable detail in my Post #980 ( July 30, 2004 ):
Quoting from my Post #980:
" . . . It appears that someone was collecting pictures, photos, etc. on Jesse James and his associates, and was 'labeling' them all, and in some cases also altering or 'doctoring' them. . . . Was this person . . . responsible for 'labeling' a copy of the picture with the 3 words 'JESSE,' 'MOTHER,' and 'FRANK'? Many of the pictures from this single source can be found in both Turilli's booklet 'I Knew Jesse James' and Howk's 'Jesse James and the Lost Cause.' Many of these photos and/or pictures appear to have been 'doctored.' Who was the mysterious person who was 'faking' all these photos and pictures in the 1940-1950 time period, and providing them to the authors of various books on Jesse James?
It is quite possible that Mr. John Purpura ( "Cosmo Wolff" ) has provided the answer to this question, in his Posts #3934 and #3957:
Quoting from Mr. Purpura's Post #3934:
"I went to Porterville [California] to meet Houk [Orvus Lee Howk], back in the late seventies. I was referred to a gentleman and I don't recall his name right off hand but may be able to research later, who owned a printing shop right in downtown. I think he was . . . related to the original families [who founded Porterville]. The pioneer of Porterville, Ike Porter was his name I think, supposedly rode with the James gang and Quantrill also. Houk came there during his research days but he and this Porter relative went after a number of Confederate treasures in the area. . . . The printer from Porterville, I think his name was Joe told me he and Lee [Orvus Lee Howk] had dug up several small canning jars of old silver coins, he showed me the broken jars."
Quoting from Mr. Purpura's Post #3957:
"I remember the fellow from Porterville that Houk went to see, his name was Joe Edwards and he owned a Photo Studio. He was the person responsible for doing all the photo work for the books. I think he has many, many copies of the pictures which Houk had which were numerous and some were very old browntones."
Therefore, based on this information from John Purpura, more than likely it was the photo/printing expert Joe Edwards of Porterville, CA, who inscribed the words "JESSE," "MOTHER," and "FRANK" in white capital letters on a photo of the original picture.
Returning to the subject of Clarence N. Bouyer, Bouyer signed a famous affidavit in Tarrant County, Texas on May 20, 1948, which was only 1 day after "J. Frank Dalton's" famous "emergence" at Lawton, Oklahoma on May 19, 1948. Bouyer's affidavit is given in full at my Post #875:
Quoting from Bouyer's affidavit:
" . . . I am a veteran of both world wars, and have been studying and making pictures for years. I was born at Weatherford, Texas, in 1899, and attended public schools there. At the present, I am attending the Fort Worth School of Photography. I have met the man known as J. Frank Dalton. Before I met him I have compared picture ( see True Mag. October, 1947 ) of Jesse James to pictures of J. Frank Dalton. I am sincere in the belief that J. Frank Dalton and Jesse James are one and the same man. I met Jesse James ( or J. F. Dalton ) in November, 1947, at Gregg Memorial Hospital in Longview, Texas, and again at the Veteran's Hospital at Lisbon, Texas. In my own mind I am convinced that J. Frank Dalton and Jesse James ARE ONE and THE SAME MAN.
( Signed ) C. N. Bouyer"
Therefore, the sequence of events regarding C. N. Bouyer apparently is as follows. After being discharged from military service in WWII, Bouyer was in the general Roswell/Artesia/Bottomless Lakes, New Mexico area, where one of his friends apparently was Brooks Craig of Roswell, New Mexico. Apparently Bouyer was living in a rented cabin ( owned by Brooks Craig ) somewhere in the vicinity of Bottomless Lakes, NM, and Bouyer found the picture somewhere in the rented cabin. Being curious as to who the people in the picture were, Bouyer asked Brooks Craig about it, and Craig then informed Bouyer that the 3 people in the picture were Jesse and Frank James and their mother. The VERY IMPORTANT STILL UNANSWERED QUESTIONS are, where did Brooks Craig get this information from, and how did Brooks Craig happen to have this picture in his possession in the first place? Bouyer then took a photo of the original picture and sent it with an inquiry letter to the MAN TO MAN ANSWERS Department of True, the Man's Magazine. Those in charge of the MAN TO MAN ANSWERS Department of the magazine published Bouyer's photo along with their reply to Bouyer's inquiry in the October 1947 issue of the magazine. Merely a month after the True Magazine article had appeared, Bouyer somehow learned about J. Frank Dalton and where he could be found. According to Bouyer's affidavit, he first met Dalton in November 1947 while Dalton was at the Gregg Memorial Hospital ( Longview, TX ), and then he visited Dalton later when Dalton was at the Veteran's Hospital at Lisbon, TX. Did Bouyer buy the original picture from Brooks Craig and give it to Dalton as a gift when Bouyer visited Dalton in the hospital? If Bouyer didn't do this, where did Dalton get a copy of the picture from, since Dalton is known to have had it when he was living at Lawton, Oklahoma in the April-May, 1948 time period ( there is a famous photo by Robin Broun [who worked for the "Lawton Constitution" newspaper] of Dalton examining the picture while he was living at Lawton, OK at that time ).
These considerations aside, the question still remains as to the ULTIMATE ORIGIN of this famous picture. I have previously discussed this question in my Post #1329:
Quoting from my Post #1329:
"The following information is from an article by Carl W. Breihan titled 'Alias Jesse James, Part 1,' found in 'Real West Magazine' ( January 1971 issue, pages 22-27 and 68-69 ). I quote verbatim:
'Mr. Denny Reno and his good wife . . . were show people who traveled with the circuses and carnivals in the summer time, and during the winter they performed at vaudeville theaters as acrobats and magicians. Sometime during 1900 or 1902 they were showing down in western Texas in the Panhandle District, and during their stay there they ran into another outfit along their own line and one day they went over to take in the sights of this other company. They ran into a man there who was a barker for some side show. They conversed with him casually, and after they introduced themselves to him he in turn told them that he was known as "Happy Jack" Dalton. Later on they became very well acquainted . . . He told her [Mrs. Reno] that his right name was John, but some friends began calling him Happy Jack because of his jovial disposition. . . . He [Dalton] told them that the name Happy Jack Dalton was an assumed one; that he had been an associate of the Daltons and Bill Doolin when he was a younger man and that was his reason for using that surname. . . . Dalton then showed the Renos a picture which he claimed to be his mother and himself. Doubtlessly it was, but it was not a photo of Mrs. James-Samuel. Later on, Dalton used this same photo in various publications; it showed two men and one woman: Jesse James, Frank James and their mother was his claim as to the identity of the persons in this photo. Still later, John Shevlin [1870-1954], another one-time owner of Dalton's [publicity/promotional] contract, stated the woman was Carrie Mimms. . . . "
Several important points are contained in the above passage:
1) "Happy Jack Dalton's" real first name was John, UNLESS he was lying to the Renos about this. If his real first name was John, obviously he couldn't have been Jesse James, whose real first name was Jesse. "Happy Jack Dalton's" real last name was NOT "Dalton." "Dalton" himself told the Renos the following:
" . . . He [Dalton] told them [the Renos] that the name Happy Jack Dalton was an assumed one; that he had been an associate of the Daltons and Bill Doolin when he was a younger man and that was his reason for using that surname. . . . "
Therefore, according to the above, not only was "Happy Jack Dalton" not Jesse James, but his real last name wasn't even Dalton. Since he claimed to have been an "associate" of the Dalton and Doolin gangs, experts on those gangs should search their databases to see if any of these gangs' associates whose first name was "John" could possibly be a match for "Happy Jack Dalton." By this means it might be possible to finally establish the true identity of "Happy Jack Dalton." However, the question would still remain whether "Happy Jack Dalton," "Frank Dalton" ( the famous writer who contributed to "The Crittenden Memoirs," 1936 ),and "J. Frank Dalton" were REALLY all the same person. The possibility exists that "Happy Jack Dalton" and "J. Frank Dalton" were 2 different individuals, possibly twin brothers or look-alike cousins.
2) In the year 1900 or 1902, "Happy Jack Dalton" ALREADY had a PHOTO of the famous picture allegedly showing Jesse and Frank James and their mother. This was about 45 YEARS BEFORE the general public learned about the picture through the October 1947 True Magazine article. Did "Happy Jack Dalton" possess the original picture itself, only a photo of the original picture, or both? If he did possess the original picture, did it somehow pass from his hands into the possession of the Craig family sometime in the 1900-1945 time-period? If so, was it "Happy Jack Dalton" himself who told the Craigs that the picture is a picture of Jesse and Frank James and their mother?
3) John Shevlin ( 1870 - 1954 ) conducted research into the real truth about the picture, and somehow concluded that the woman in the picture was really Carrie Mimms ( whoever that is ) rather than Zerelda James Samuel. However, Orvus Howk ( in his book "Jesse James Was One of His Names," 1975 ) claimed that the woman in the picture is "Mollie Dalton" ( supposed wife of Captain George S. James of Ft. Sumter fame ) and that the 2 men in the picture are "Kentucky" Jesse Woodson James and his brother Sylvester Franklin James, rather than "Missouri" Jesse Robert "Dingus" James and his brother Alexander Franklin James. If the man usually labeled "JESSE" in the picture is really a son of "Carrie Mimms" ( note that John Shevlin never explicitly claimed this, he only poitively identified the WOMAN in the picture, so far as I know at this time ) then his surname must be "Mimms" UNLESS "Carrie Mimms" is the MAIDEN NAME of the woman in the picture, and UNLESS his actual father was someone whose surname was OTHER THAN "Mimms." At least all this gives us a place to start further research: based on deduction from all the above evidence, the REAL NAME of the man known as "Happy Jack Dalton" MIGHT very well have been "John Mimms." This conclusion, in turn, raises the further question,if "Happy Jack Dalton's" real name was "John Mimms," WHY did he claim to be the famous outlaw Jesse James?
One primary reason this whole subject is so confusing and potentially MISLEADING, is the observation that "Happy Jack Dalton" is on record ( as per the Renos' testimony ) as having an association with the famous picture as early as 1900-1902, and then "J. Frank Dalton" ends up ( as per Robin Broun's famous 1948 photo ) with what MAY have been the ACTUAL original of the picture at Lawton, Oklahoma in May-April, 1948. Therefore, on the SURFACE ( at least ), this chain of evidence/events IMPLIES that "Happy Jack Dalton" and "J. Frank Dalton" were actually the same person, since they BOTH appear to have had custody of ( or at least close personal association with ) the ORIGINAL picture, and they BOTH claimed to have been Jesse James ( "Happy Jack Dalton" made this claim to the Renos in the 1900-1902 time-period, and, curiously, "J. Frank Dalton" PUBLICLY made the VERY SAME claim beginning with his famous April 24, 1948 affidavit ). However, contrary to this seeming "pattern," the writer "Frank Dalton" ( who contributed to "The Crittenden Memoirs," 1936 ) NEVER publicly claimed that he was Jesse James. Although it may simply be a COINCIDENCE and/or a STRANGE TWIST OF FATE that both "Happy Jack Dalton" and "J. Frank Dalton" appeared to have custody of the ORIGINAL picture, what are the odds of that happening IF it wasn't an actual MATTER OF FACT? Sorting out the TRUTH from APPEARANCES/POSSIBLE COINCIDENCE in this case is DIFFICULT INDEED.
Finally, it is known that the writer "Frank Dalton" was in correspondence with Orvus Lee Howk prior to Feb. 12, 1943, which pre-dates their later association. This evidence is found in the book titled "The Jesse James Northfield Raid - Confessions of the Ninth Man" ( St. Cloud, Minnesota: North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc., 1999 ), by John Koblas. On page 15 of Koblas' book we find the following:
Frank Dalton letter to Mr. O. L. Hawk, Puallup [should be Puyallup], Washington, dated Feb. 12, 1943, in possession of Rice County Historical Society, Faribault, Minnesota:
" . . . [Frank Dalton speaking]: I saw Bill Stiles - who was under the name of 'Bill Chadwell' and was thot [sic] to be killed during the bank robbery - on one of my frequent boat trips down the Mississippi River in 1911. He was a fisherman just below Vicksburg. ( He died in 1922 or I wouldn't be telling of meeting him. ) He was under an assumed name of course. He knew me, as I did him, as we had been in the same Company with Quantrill during the war. He didn't know my wife, having never met her. She was with me, as she always was whenever possible. Bill was married and had a fine wife and family. We stayed a week talking over old times. His wife knew who he was, as also did Annie, my wife. Annie and I were writing stories and selling them to the newspapers of the towns along the river, but you can be assured that that's one feature story that we didn't write. This is the first time I've ever told it. You can use this in any way you wish if you think it of interest. . . . "
And so the research continues !!!
Sincerely, and Lots of Love - - -
P. K. K.