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In Conclusion

Mrs. Duke has accused Linda Snyder, Colleen Taylor and me of harassing her experts so much that they won't examine any more photographs for her. I called Megan Tormey once, two years ago, to see if Visionics would compare the undamaged picture of Diannah with a picture of Zerelda. I was told that Visionics will not examine any more pictures for anyone in this family, they never should have gotten involved, and they have washed their hands of the whole affair. Colleen, unaware of my call, did call Ms. Tormey and was told essentially the same thing. Linda Snyder emailed them and asked if they were aware that they were being misquoted on the internet. She received the following reply: "Please be advised that we have no comment on the subject as our technology is merely a facial recognition engine that uses a statistical algorithm to measure the spatial relationships between landmarks on the face in order to determine identity. We are not in the business of confirming identity of a genealogical nature, and have only confirmed that, based on mathematical algorithms, the faces in the photographs presented to us have statistical overlap in that regard."

Did anyone see the word "positive" in Visionics' statement?

Mrs. Duke's theories do seem to change with time, as we have seen. In her book, she felt that JLC might have been killed in the Civil War, and it was "sometime after that" that Jesse assumed his identity. In message 6851 on the James Genforum, she stated "I believe that my great-grandfather was Jesse James, and that he assumed the name of James L. Courtney when he came to Texas in 1871." After she seemed to have given up on the "he was killed in the Civil War" theory, I asked her to tell us, if the man in Texas was Jesse, what had happened to the real JLC? Could anyone really believe that he just had vanished, never contacting his family, while Jesse lived in Texas, and kept in close touch with all his family, including aunts, uncles and cousins? Mrs. Duke tells us that this has bothered her, but now she thinks she has it figured out. She now believes that it was when James L. Courtney became James L. Haun in the spring of 1867 is when Jesse started using the name James L. Courtney. But this doesn't really answer the question, does it? JLC was still living with his family in Morris County until 1871, as James L. Haun. So when he left Morris County, where did he go? Did he ever marry? This question remains unanswered. And so, Betty, you still have two major questions to answer. One, what were the results of the DNA tests you had done, and two, what happened to the real JLC, if the man buried in Blevins Cemetery is really Jesse?

You know, this whole thing has been extremely stressful for the Courtney family, especially the living grandchildren of JLC. There are only five living now; Mr. Jack Courtney, who provided the cheek swab for the DNA tests, is now deceased. I think Lois Ross, granddaughter of Herschel Shelton, has expressed the feelings of the family quite well in a message she posted to Mrs. Duke on Genforum. Mrs. Duke had remarked that most of her relatives are pretty sharp people, and "they'll come around in their own time." Lois replied, "Betty, I agree with you that most of your relatives are pretty sharp people, and that is exactly why NONE of them agrees with you. You took a photograph of Travis Barron from my grandfather and decided to identify it as JLC, I presume because Travis Barron does resemble Jesse James more so than James L. Courtney does. This is only one example of the many licenses you have taken with the truth. You do not have "evidence" as you call it, you have hunches, hypotheses, theories, which do not hang together very well. Many people have pointed out the inconsistencies in your theories. You are certainly entitled to go on whatever wild goose chase you want, but do not expect your relatives to follow you. You have missed out on the opportunity of a lifetime: to get to know your Courtney relatives and to celebrate our ancestry with us. If you wanted to write a book, the real story of James Lafayette Courtney would have made for interesting reading. You have alienated not only your family but also people in the tiny community of Blevins, who have worked hard to preserve and celebrate the history of their ancestors. You desecrated JLC's grave by staging a Confederate ceremony there, against the wishes of the family and the cemetery association. You have alienated people in the Falls County Historical Society. You failed to sway a judge to honor your request for the exhumation of JLC. You, Betty, requested the exhumation, and then you and your supporters viciously attacked my grandfather and the other Courtneys who opposed you. You accused them of being part of some well-funded conspiracy. You can continue to try to fabricate a lie, but it will be shown to be nothing more than that. You are not a James descendant. You are a Courtney, and you have cut yourself off from your family. I have refrained from participating too much in the GenForum debate because of the mudslinging that has ensued, but finally decided to speak up. I do not expect you to thank me for it. You may raise some interesting ideas, but in the end the "truth," as you say you are simply searching for, will come out. And JLC will be no more than JLC, who is buried in Texas, and Jesse James will be no more than Jesse James, who is probably buried in Missouri.

Signed, Lois Ross

Ladies and Gentlemen, I rest my case.
     Kathy

 

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