First, a little background information on the organizational structure of the KGC ( Knights of the Golden Circle ):
From "Jesse James Was One of His Names" ( 1975 ), by Del Schrader with Jesse James III ( = Orvus Lee Howk ), page 187:
"One of the deadliest, wealthiest, most secretive and efficient spy and underground organizations in the history of the world was The Knights of the Golden Circle, which operated over the globe for sixty-five years ( 1851-1916 ). Ranking below the Golden Circle in this order were The Knights of the Golden Stirrup, The Knights of the White Camellias, The Knights of the Inner Circle, The Knights of the Outer Circle and The International Anti-Horse Thief Association ( TEXYS ). The original Ku Klux Klan was the military arm of The Knights of the Golden Circle. There were several dozen "front" organizations, but only a few received any publicity."
From "Jesse James and the Lost Cause" ( 1961 ), by Jesse Lee James ( = Orvus Lee Howk ), page 14:
[J. Frank Dalton speaking]: " . . . 'Why, do you know, some experts had me die at Brownwood, Texas, along about 1913, some such year. I wasn't there either. But my kin and my loyal friends let it ride, and never let on any differently. Just because the dead man going by the name of Ford happened to have a certain tattoo on his right forearm like many of us had, they once again presumed Jesse Woodson James died, and at Brownwood, Texas. The same tattoo on Jim Sears' right forearm was the cause of another rumor that I had died not far from Florence, Colorado, near Wetmore, Colorado,' said JWJ. 'That tattoo was on the right forearm of each and every member of the Inner and Outer Circle [on these groups, see the information above] as well as upon the arm of each and every official of the International-Anti-Horse-Thief Association [see above], of the old bunch.
The tattoo was a thin ribbon affair with the letters . . . Tex-Y-S, in light blue ink, and tinged with red coloring; just a small, insignificant narrow tattoo on the right, inside forearm,' explained old JWJ, with a grin.
'Jesse R. James [ = Jesse Robert "Dingus" James = the "Missouri Jesse" ] had this same tattoo, and also a red heart tattoo on his same forearm. I don't know why he had that heart inked onto his arm any more than you might know. I do know it's there though, and so do you,' laughed JWJ."
Dear Readers: The version of J. Frank Dalton's POST MORTEM EXAMINATION REPORT which appears in "Jesse James and the Lost Cause" ( 1961 ) ( pages 171-172 ), differs in several particulars from the version of the POST MORTEM EXAMINATION REPORT which appears in "Jesse James Was One of His Names" ( 1975 ) ( pages 277-279 ), which I have given in full in my previous post on this subject. The version of the REPORT which appears in Howk's 1961 book notes the existence of the above-mentioned Tex-Y-S tattoo on the inner side of J. Frank Dalton's right forearm, whereas the version of the REPORT printed in Howk's 1975 book does not list the existence of the Tex-Y-S tattoo on Dalton's right forearm. The 1961 version of the REPORT also lists Lee Howk ( = Orvus Lee Howk ) as being present at the Dalton post mortem examination ( which occurred on August 17, 1951 at the Estes Funeral Home in Granbury, Texas ), while the 1975 version of the REPORT does not mention that Lee Howk was present there.
Why did Orvus Howk not want these 2 particular facts to be known by the readers of his 1975 book? To me it seems it was rather pointless of Howk to eliminate them from the 1975 book, as they had already appeared in the 1961 book, and most of the readers of the 1975 book would doubtless seek out the 1961 book in order to read it, if they hadn't already read it prior to reading the 1975 book. By eliminating these 2 particular facts from the 1975 book, it appears to me that Howk was trying to hide something. Do suppressed photos exist of all Dalton's scars and bullet wounds, but showing the absence of any Tex-Y-S tatoo on his inner right forearm? If such photos do exist, they would prove that the man who died on Aug. 15, 1951 wasn't either Jesse Woodson James ( the "Kentucky Jesse" ) or his relative Jesse Robert "Dingus" James ( the "Missouri Jesse" ), who both, reportedly, had the Tex-Y-S tattoo. If Howk could somehow claim that he wasn't present at Dalton's post mortem examination, it would also allow him to claim that he didn't know whether or not the Tex-Y-S tattoo was present on the right forearm of the actual man being examined. If the man actually prepared for burial by Ben Estes turned out, in the final analysis, to be someone other than J. Frank Dalton, Howk could therefore claim ignorance of this since he wasn't present at the post mortem examination. This evidence ( that is, the fact that the Tex-Y-S tattoo is enumerated in the "1961 version" of Dalton's POST MORTEM EXAMINATION REPORT, but is absent from the "1975 version" of the REPORT ) and train of reasoning leads me to the conclusion that Howk knew, by 1975 at least, that the man actually prepared for burial by Ben Estes was not J. Frank Dalton.
Given below, for the convenience of readers who may not have access to Howk's "Jesse James and the Lost Cause" ( 1961 ), is a verbatim transcription of J. Frank Dalton's POST MORTEM EXAMINATION REPORT, as it appears in that book.
( from "Jesse James and the Lost Cause," pages 171-172 ):
"THE STATE OF TEXAS, COUNTY OF HOOD
POST MORTEM EXAMINATION held upon the body of JESSE WOODSON JAMES, alias J. FRANK DALTON, and other aliases during his lifetime, said examination being held at the ESTES FUNERAL HOME, Granbury, Hood County, State of Texas, on August 17th, 1951 A.D. The body of JESSE WOODSON JAMES then being held pending funeral arrangements at the said Este's Funeral Home. Jesse James died at 6:45 P.M., August 15th, 1951.
The examination disclosed before several witnesses present at the time and at the same date of August 17th, at about 3:00 P.M. of that date, the following: TO WITT:
1. Height: 5 ft. 8 1/4 in. tall as nearly as could be determined lying flat on the back.
2. Eyes were blue, long hair was white, fair skinned.
3. Bullet wound through the left shoulder.
4. Bullet wound in the lower left side of the belly.
5. Evidence of rope burns on his neck, wore shirt size 17 1/2.
6. Bullet wound on right side of his neck.
7. Bullet wound between the shoulders at the base of his neck.
8. Bullet wound along the hair-line above both eyes or between both eyes.
9. Bullet wound under the right eye causing that eye to droop slightly.
10. Small scar along under right eyelid may have once been due to removal of mole.
11. Scar of some undetermined kind on the lower lip.
12. Powder burns across the chin hidden by the Buffalo Bill type of goatee.
13. Two bullet wounds on right shoulder.
14. Three or four bullet wounds indicated above elbow on left arm.
15. Three or four more bullet wounds along the left arm from wrist to the elbow.
16. Tip end sort of "chewed" off the end of left index finger.
17. Two bullet wounds in the right chest near the nipple.
18. Bullet wound along the right side near second lower right rib.
19. Evidence of several bullet wounds up and down right arm probably 8 or 10 wounds.
20. Both feet show evidence of having been severely burned, scars on both knees.
21. At TATOO on inner side of right forearm, 'Tex. Y's.'
22. Bad wound on back between both of his hips.
Those present at the above examination were, Sheriff Oran C. Baker of Hood County, Texas; Harley Cherry, Este's Funeral Home, Granbury, Texas; Mack Tidwell a citizen of Hood County, Texas; Joe Deering a rancher of Hood County Texas; DeWitt Travis an oilman, Box 42, Longview, Texas; and Lee Howk of Box 733, Angleton, Texas.
Oran C. Baker
Joe L. Deering
Mack L. Likers
STATE OF TEXAS, COUNTY OF HOOD
Before me a NOTARY PUBLIC in and for Hood County, State of Texas, personally appeared and known to me to be Oran C. Baker, Sheriff, Hood County, Texas, Harley Cherry, Mack Tidwell, Joe Deering, citizens of Hood County, Texas, who depose and state that the above statements are true and correct to the best of their knowledge and belief. Subscribed and sworn to before me the 28th day of August, 1951, A.D.
E. B. Price
Justice of the Peace/exOfficio
Notary Public in and for Hood County, Texas"
Another notable peculiarity of these proceedings is that the POST MORTEM EXAMINATION occurred on August 17, 1951, but those who were present at the examination didn't have their report notarized until some 11 days later, on August 28, 1951. Also, notice that DeWitt Travis and Lee Howk were not included on the list of those who statements on Dalton's POST MORTEM EXAMINATION REPORT were notarized by E. B. Price on Aug. 28, 1951. Of course, Travis and Howk could both argue that they couldn't be present in Price's office on Aug. 28th for the notarization, but, nevertheless, "how convenient," since without their participation in the post mortem exam being notarized, from a legal point of view their presence at the exam was no better than "hearsay," meaning they might not have really been there. And, if they weren't there ( from a strictly legal point of view, at least ), then, legally, neither of them could be "held" to any statements made in the POST MORTEM EXAMINATION REPORT. This would allow them, at any time, to eliminate any statements from the report, without being subject to any serious legal repercussions which might otherwise arise. As a legal technicality, then, Howk's nonappearance on the list of those whose statements on the POST MORTEM EXAMINATION REPORT had been notarized, may have been the original legal "loophole" which allowed him to alter the wording of Dalton's POST MORTEM EXAMINATION REPORT in his 1975 book, without fear of encountering any serious legal repercussions.
If Dalton's original POST MORTEM EXAMINATION REPORT was actually nothing more than a fabrication ( as I suggested it may have been in my previous post about this matter ), if DeWitt Travis and Howk were aware that it was a fabrication, and if Travis and Howk were aware that J. Frank Dalton was not actually the man who had died on Aug. 15, 1951 and was being prepared for burial by Ben Estes, they both might ( obviously ) have wanted to avoid having their statements on the REPORT being notarized. This could explain why, in fact, they were both not present in Price's office on Aug. 28th to have their statements notarized. Therefore, in effect, they had never said ( from a strictly legal point of view ) anything about the man who died on Aug. 15, 1951: anything they were "reported" to have said ( such as on Dalton's POST MORTEM EXAMINATION REPORT ) was nothing more than "hearsay," from the legal point of view. Looking at the whole matter from this point of view, the "1975 version" of the REPORT doesn't ( technically, it "cannot" ) contradict the "1961 version" of the REPORT, from the legal point of view, at least as far as Travis and Howk are concerned, since DeWitt Travis and Howk never had their statements on the original REPORT notarized in the first place.
The upshot of all this is: If the man who actually died in Granbury on Aug. 15, 1951 turns out, in the final analysis, to be someone other than J. Frank Dalton ( Jesse Woodson James ), Howk can claim that he didn't know this and wasn't a party to it, since, legally speaking, he wasn't present at Dalton's post mortem examination, and therefore had no way of knowing that it wasn't Dalton. It appears that Howk provided himself with this "legal loophole" as a way of avoiding being accused of lying about who actually died in Granbury on Aug. 15, 1951, and that he employed this subterfuge because he actually was present at Dalton's post mortem examination and knew that it wasn't really J. Frank Dalton who had died and was being examined.
More Grist for the Mill - -
Sincerely, and Lots of Love - -
Philip K. Kromer