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Conspiracy Unlimited: Jesse James and the Lost Templar Treasure

Richard welcomes the great-great grandson of a famous American outlaw to reveal how Jesse James left behind secret diaries and coded treasure maps after faking his death in 1882.

Guest: Daniel J. Duke is the great great grand son of Jesse James. He grew up surrounded by stories of lost outlaw treasures. Fore more than two decades he has researched the mysteries involving his family, Freemasonry, and the Knights Templar. In his book, Jesse James and the Lost Templar Treasure, he reveals hidden treasures yet to be recovered as well as connections between the infamous train robber and Freemasonry, the Knights Templar, the Founding Fathers and even Jewish mysticism. He is the author of Jesse James and the Lost Templar Treasure.


Story by Peter Meyler

Cities may have their urban legends of giant rats or crocodiles in sewers, but up here we have our own legends. And these rural legends aren't about some unlikely, cold -blooded crocodile hiding underground. Here in the hills, the cold-blooded killer was Jesse James. And he travelled the same roads we use today. At least that's the story as it has been told since the 1870s.

Jesse was horn in Kearney, Missouri, in 1847. He had one older brother, Frank. One of Orangeville's past residents. Louise Kyle went to school with Frank and Jesse in Missouri. She recalled that they were kind and pleasant-looking boys. They met at socials and dances and lived d typical small-town American life.

The James teenage life was thrown into turmoil with the onset of the Civil War. Frank and Jesse joined `Bloody' Bill Anderson's wing of Quantrill's Raiders. This tough group of southerners lived life on the run, creating havoc with their guerrilla warfare tactics and kill-or-be killed attitude.

The James boys were at loose ends after the war. Frank and Jesse formed the James-Younger Gang with former confederate comrades to continue their fight against the northern reformers. At first they concentrated on bank robberies and the gang was not averse to shooting anyone who got in their way.

In 1873, they added train robberies to their repertoire. It may have been after a botched train robbery at Turkey Creek, Iowa, that Jesse came to Ontario. The gang had derailed a Chicago, Rock Island land Pacific train. The locomotive skidded off the tracks and careened into a ditch, resulting in the death of the engineer. In the confusion, Jesse and the gang missed the three-and a half tons of gold bullion in one of the cars. They barely managed to escape from the authorities with $3,000 of mail and booty stolen from the passengers. Frank and Jesse weren't seen for months.

Jesse is known to have roamed widely and he had a, habit of sending letters to newspaper editors. In one of those letters he wrote, "I am generally [sic] where people least expect me." Was one of these places Ontario?

In Guelph township, a man riding a beautiful horse gave a $20 gold American coin to little Joan Lillie who was keeping loll. The man was said to be Jesse James. Meanwhile in West Garafraxa Township, Bob Gow, an octogenarian, remembers a story about Jesse James he heard as a young boy. Sitting at the kitchen table, his uncles would recall their grandfather’s encounter with the American outlaw.

Jim Gow had a logging operations in the Luther and Grand Valley area. The logs were cut and floated down the Grand River to a sawmill east of Fergus. Jim Gow said he hired Jesse James for a day of work at his camp. He recalled that the American was a very good worker.

Jesse next showed up in an article in the Arthur Enterprise News. It described the Missouri bandit riding a beautiful horse up the Owen Sound Road and staying in Proton Township where he lodged in a shed near Hopeville.

The Mount Forest Confederate in 1953 added to the story. Mrs. Arthur Tavles of Hopeville, the granddaughter of William Armstrong, told the paper, "A man named Clark, whose real name was Chadwell, approached Grandfather and explained that they were not quite settled in the shack and would father give them their meals. Later he confided to Grandfather that his companion was Jesse James. "To help with their train robberies, the James gang had hired a man known as Bill Caldwell - perhaps the 'Chadwell'of Mrs. Tayles' memory.

William Armstrong had described Jesse James as "a fair-sized man." Indeed, Jesse was a hefty man, five-foot-ten and about 180 pounds. The Arthur paper said that Jesse headed east, toward Shelburne, after his stay in Proton.

The next account of Jesse comes from Mulmur Township, where folklore says he buried gold along 10 Sideroad. The story goes that a poor landowner, John Bailey, suddenly had the means to build an expensive house with stained-glass windows. The Mulmur legend tells of the treasure being buried in a 45-gallon barrel topped with a large iron casing and covered with a large flat stone. From 1928 or earlier, treasure hunters began occasional forays into the township to dig for gold. In the early 1960s, a Shelburne scrap metal dealer removed a 600 pound flat stone from the area. The last excavations were made in the early 1970s, but nothing was ever found.

Was Jesse really here? He did have a connection here in his old school friend Louise Kyle. And Simon Jelly of Shelburne was said to have joined Jesse. Was he the mysterious Canadian who rode with the gang, according to the stories in the States?

Posted by George Freund on July 20, 2019 at 7:54 PM 113 Views