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Frank Dalton and his 1947 Confederate Veteran's Pension
Posted by: Philip K. Kromer (ID *****2798) Date: July 20, 2004 at 11:10:02
In Reply to: Re: Frank Dalton Cover Sheet for Pension File by Glynda of 15140

Dear Glynda:

According to Schrader and Howk's "Jesse James Was One of His Names" ( 1975 ), pages 97-98:

" . . . A keen student of law, old Jesse [that is, the Kentucky Jesse] in his final years set up a complex system of trust funds, which fed or drained a myriad of corporations. What was the old man's worth when he died in 1951? Relatives closest to him say the figure was somewhere between $1 billion and $2 billion with one estimate as high as $10 billion."

( page 111 ):

" . . . On his deathbed, old Jesse admitted he was William A. Clark [supposedly died on March 2, 1925], the copper king. James O. Howk, a son of Jesse's twin sister, Matilda, who was alive in 1965 and living in Arizona, said that he and his two brothers, Elmer and Bill, all worked 'for many years for Senator William A. Clark, the copper king, with the full knowledge that he was our uncle, Jesse W. James.' And old white-haired Carl O. Clark, Box 86, Death Valley, California, who died in 1967 in his 90s, admitted, 'For many years I served as Jesse W. James' double as copper king William A. Clark in Montana, Arizona and Utah.' Carl O. Clark also told Sarah Vaughn ( James ) Snow, author of 'This Was Frank James,' that he was her half-brother, admitting he was the illegitimate son of Alexander Franklin James ['Missouri Frank James' = ( supposedly ) 'Joe Vaughn' of Wayton, Newton County, Arkansas], old Jesse's Missouri-born first cousin."

Senator William A. Clark was one of the 3 richest men in Montana. C. B. Connolly, in his book "The Devil Learns to Vote," reports that William A. Clark's income in the early 1890s was $1 million a month from just one of his Butte, Montana mines. Clark, at one point, reportedly enjoyed a monthly income of $17 million. Based on this information, if William A. Clark and the Kentucky Jesse were really the same person, it is understandable how the Kentucky Jesse may have been worth at least $1-$2 billion in 1951.

If William A. Clark and the Kentucky Jesse were really the same person, then obviously the Kentucky Jesse didn't need a $100/month Confederate Veteran's Pension from the state of Texas. The question is, were Frank Dalton and the Kentucky Jesse really the same person? If they weren't the same person, Frank Dalton may have needed the $100/month pension, whereas obviously the Kentucky Jesse didn't. On the other hand, if Frank Dalton and the Kentucky Jesse really were the same person, why didn't Frank Dalton say on his pension application that he had been born on April 17, 1844 near Frankfort ( or at Louisville ), Kentucky ( which was the date on which Orvus Howk claimed the Kentucky Jesse had been born ), rather than that he had been born on March 8, 1848 in Texas? After all, what difference would his birthdate and birthplace have made, since Dalton himself ( assuming he was really the Kentucky Jesse ) would obviously have been aware that the name "Frank Dalton" or "J. Frank Dalton" didn't appear anywhere in the official military records of Quantrill's roster ( since Dalton, as the Kentucky Jesse = Jesse Woodson James, wouldn't have been using the alias "Frank Dalton" or "J. Frank Dalton," yet, at the time of his military service in 1863-1865 )? Also, apparently Frank Dalton was granted his pension based on information in an affidavit supplied by Solomon Bedford "Red" Strickland ( June 5, 1839 - 1947 ), rather than based on the information Dalton had himself supplied in his pension application ( which information the pension board was unable to verify ). All this being the case, the only reasons that come to mind as to why Dalton used March 8, 1848 ( rather than April 17, 1844 ) as his birthdate on his pension application, is because it "may" actually have been his true birthdate, and, it was the same birthdate he had given for himself in "The Crittenden Memoirs" ( 1936 ), in which he describes himself as having joined Quantrill's Raiders on the day of his 15th birthday ( March 8, 1863 ). He could always point to what he had written in "The Crittenden Memoirs" as corroborating evidence ( predating the pension application by at least 11 years ) of the information in his pension application.

Dalton's Confederate Veteran's Pension was approved on Aug. 19, 1947, and pension payments to him were allowed beginning on Sept. 1, 1947. Strange to say, September 1947 was precisely when Dalton's fortunes ( assuming he wasn't really the Kentucky Jesse ) began to change in other ways as well. Clarence N. Bouyer had found a framed picture ( now famous ) purporting to be of the Kentucky Jesse and Kentucky Frank James, with their mother Mollie Dalton, in an old cabin near Bottomless Lakes, New Mexico. A photo of this picture appeared in the Sept. 1947 issue of True Magazine. The public appearance of this photo in True Magazine was one of the main catalysts for the Jesse James "emergence" events of 1947/1948. Shortly after this photo appeared, Dalton broke his right hip at Longview, Texas in October 1947 ( the break was about 1/2 inch from a similar break which had occurred in 1937 ), and was confined to the Gregg Memorial Hospital ( Longview, Texas ) for several weeks. Dalton's whereabouts at the hospital became known, and relatives of the Missouri and Kentucky Jesses started visiting him there ( thinking he was the authentic Jesse James ), due to the excitement and publicity which had been generated by the photo appearing in True Magazine.

Subsequently, it became publicly well-known that Dalton was traveling ( and living, most of the time ) in states other than Texas. For example, after "emerging" in Lawton, Oklahoma in April/May 1948, Dalton ( accompanied by a registered nurse and Orvus Howk ) embarked on a nationwide tour. On July 4, 1948 Dalton was in San Francisco, and on July 7, 1948 he was the star attraction in a parade held at Guthrie, OK. In August 1948 Dalton was staying at the Parkway Hotel in Chicago. In mid-late October, 1948, after a stop in Atlanta, GA, Dalton and Howk travelled to Pensacola and Cottage Hill, FL, in order to pay a visit to the real Missouri Jesse ( Jesse Robert "Dingus" James ), who reportedly finally passed away in the mid-1950s. In November/December 1948, Dalton and Howk took up residence in Van Nuys, California. No wonder, then, if Dalton's pension payments were "suspended" by the pension board, effective as early as June, 1948 !!! Rudy Turilli ( died in 1972 ) was somehow able to wrestle "management" of Dalton away from Orvus Howk. Turilli then took Dalton to Meramec Caverns ( Stanton, Missouri ) in 1949, and featured him there as a tourist attraction ( billing him as the true Jesse James ). Dalton lived there for over a year, in a rent-free cabin ( provided courtesy of Turilli ) on the Meramec Caverns grounds. Eventually, Orvus Howk somehow got control over Dalton again, took him away from Meramec Caverns, and was Dalton's "custodian/manager" until Dalton's supposed death at Granbury, Texas on Aug. 15, 1951.

Based on the above scenario, I would conclude that Dalton only collected some $900.00 in Confederate Veteran's Pension benefits ( benefits for the 9-month period Sept. 1947 - May 1948 ). Presumably, Dalton's benefits were "suspended" starting in June 1948, and his pension claim itself was actually "cancelled" on Aug. 9, 1950.

Sincerely, and Lots of Love - -

P. K. K.


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