|Posted by Jay Longley on April 21, 2017 at 5:20 PM||comments (0)|
I believe that David E. George aka John Wilkes Booth spent the year of 1871 in Brownwood, Texas under the alias of John Ravenswood.
|Posted by Jay Longley on April 13, 2017 at 3:15 PM||comments (0)|
For you big-time treasure hunters and history buffs out there, I found this amazing article about treasure signs today. I nearly fell out of my chair when I read a portion of it that provided the final piece of the puzzle that my late best friend and KGC research and field work partner Colin Eby and I were working on shortly before his death! I sure wished that he had been here today so I could share this amazing find with him but I believe Colin felt the excitement I experienced from his place in Heaven.
|Posted by Jay Longley on March 2, 2017 at 7:15 PM||comments (2)|
Here is a cemetery list of many members of the Knights of the Golden Circle. This list represents a tiny portion of the KGC's hundreds of thousands of members but it may help you determine if your relatives or local men were Knights. I will also put the link in our Links section for future reference.
|Posted by Jay Longley on June 2, 2016 at 11:15 PM||comments (0)|
I just posted this on our Bloody Bill Anderson Mystery group's message board. Probably the greatest unsolved mystery of the town of Brownwood, Texas is the question "who was Brownwood's Henry Ford?" Many old-timers thought he was the outlaw Jesse Woodson James because Jesse and Frank James's mother Zerelda Samuel was seen at Ford's funeral in Brownwood in 1910 and Frank James spoke to the crowd at the funeral, warning them that if they "put a marker on Henry Ford's grave, I will return and blow it to Kingdom Come".
Several years ago, when I was searching for answers to the many mysteries surrounding Brownwood's Henry Ford, I briefly looked into the possibility that his outlaw & KGC connections were because he was somehow related to John Thomson Ford who was the owner of Ford's Theater where President Lincoln was assassinated in April, 1865. As a result of our rekindled interest in these mysteries, I decided to take another look into the biographical information of John T. Ford last night and I found several interesting things in his Wikipedia biography.
The first thing that caught my eye was the fact that he spent much of his younger years in Richmond, Virginia working first for his uncle as a clerk in his tobacco factory and then as a bookseller. Oddly enough, our Henry Ford's death certificate states that Henry was born in Richmond, Virginia. Could it be that our Henry Ford was the son (although he is not listed as being one of them in the article) of John T. or maybe a nephew who was the son of one of John T. Ford's brothers who lived in Richmond?
Then I read farther into the bio and learned that John T. was "a good friend of Lincoln's assassin John Wilkes Booth" (who I believe spent the year of 1871 in Brownwood) and that John T. and his two brothers were arrested for suspicion in the assassination and thrown into prison for over a month.
The third part that struck me was that John T. Ford's funeral was officiated by two Presbyterian clergymen of Baltimore. If you read my recent messages, you know that both Henry Ford and Jesse Woodson James were Presbyterians.
I think that we could very well be getting close to discovering exactly who Brownwood's Henry Ford really was so I encourage all members to get involved in this research and add your findings, opinions, and thoughts to our conversation.
|Posted by Jay Longley on December 4, 2015 at 7:30 PM||comments (0)|
I received this email from Ken McPheeters a few months ago. He was seeking information on some suspected Knights of the Golden Circle relics that he had acquired. I was able to authenticate them for him. I have his photos in a new album in our Photos section - http://knightsofthegoldencircle.webs.com/apps/photos/album?albumid=15937283
Good evening Jay,
I am the owner of McPheeters Antique Militaria and I am located in Comal County , not far from New Braunfels and just north of San Antonio . In the course of researching a group of artifacts I found your contact information and I am in hopes you may be able to help me.
Some years ago I purchased an Civil War era McClellan Saddle from northeast Texas . The saddle is of the style of other known private purchase saddles, acquired by officers and in some cases enlisted men, with their own funds as opposed to those issued by the army. Since the McClellan was the standard pattern issued by the army, many of these private purchase saddles followed the same design with some additional embellishments, determined by the financial ability of the purchaser. Of particular note on this saddle were two 1” diameter silver colored medallions – one on each side of the pommel – which bear identical “star and crescent” designs.
A few years later, a collector here in Texas purchased a Colt M1851 pistol from a family estate east of Corpus Christi . The grip was decorated with an inlaid silver star and crescent design on one side and three silver stars on the other. At the time of the purchase, the family members told him that the original owner of the pistol had served in the Confederacy, had been a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle , and he had the grips so decorated in association with his membership in the organization. Knowing about the medallions on my saddle, the new owner of the pistol shared the information regarding the decoration on grips and the original owner’s affiliation with the KGC.
This same collector eventually located two other Colt pistols of the same vintage, both with similar star and crescent decorations on the grips. Like the first Colt, these two were both located in small communities in the coastal plain between Corpus Christi and Galveston . Neither of these two pistols were accompanied by any provenance or history relating them to a member of the KGC.
It never rains but it pours. I was contacted by a couple in Vermont who in the course of building collection of antique bridle bits, purchased a mid-19th Century European bit decorated with brass medallions bearing the same star and crescent design as the medallions on my saddle. The importation of horse equipment from Europe was not unusual during the 1800’s, especially during our Civil War and in particular by the Confederacy. While the bit did not have any provenance or history attached to it, having studied the horse equipment of the period, I am inclined to think both the bit and the presence of the medallions is genuine and most probably dates to the era of the Civil War.
The final artifact to surface is a Morgan Saddle that was part of an identified Confederate Texas soldier’s grouping. The saddle has two of the exact same medallions on the pommel that are present on my saddle. The soldier served with Texas cavalry units during the war and brought the saddle home with him. In addition to the provenance, the saddle is also fitted with iron stirrups which have a star cast into the tread – a known pattern of stirrup that has been closely associated with Civil War Texas cavalry units. It is distinctly possible that the soldier rode this saddle from Texas into the war, and managed to keep it to bring it home, and that it was something he owned before or at the onset of the war.
I have attached photos of all of these pieces to this email."
|Posted by Jay Longley on January 29, 2015 at 6:05 PM||comments (0)|
The Travel Channel will broadcast Expedition Unknown: The Legend of Jesse James this Thursday night, January 29, 2015, at 8:00 p.m. Central Time. Our Bloody Bill Anderson Mystery group's member Bud Hardcastle will appear in this episode so I remind you to set your recorder and mark your calendar because you won't want to miss it.
|Posted by Jay Longley on January 4, 2015 at 8:15 PM||comments (0)|
I originally posted the following message on our Bloody Bill Anderson Mystery group's message board in July, 2006, shortly after creating our group.
I was called to the Library Annex today to pick up an article about
Wild Bill Longley and, since I was there, I started thumbing through
a few more local history books and what I discovered blew my mind! I
picked up a typewritten book entitled "Memoirs of Brooke Smith of
Brownwood, Texas" written by "Himself". He wrote it from 1933-35.
Brooke Smith, like Henry Ford, was one of the early-day leaders of
Brownwood, Texas. He moved to Brownwood in the mid-1870's and opened
a general mercantile and soon became a well-known and respected
banker and civic leader. Since he was only a boy at the beginning of
the Civil War, he remained at home with his parents in Indiana after
moving there from Virginia where his family owned several slaves.
Apparently, he abided by the "Code" (of silence) that Henry Ford's
great grandson Lex Johnston mentioned in his book about his great
grandfather because nothing is said about the mysterious Henry Ford
or Bill Anderson in his book. But, to my knowledge, the page I am
about to quote below has never been revealed in recent decades until
"...his passage to Detroit, and arriving there he crossed the river
to Windsor, Canada, and stayed there until the war ended. He was
there about a year, and when he came home he had about a quart cup
full of silver money. We hadn't seen anything but greenbacks for
four years, and we thought Channing was rich. When the soldiers came
after Channing and asked where he was, Pa said, 'He said he was going
to slip over into Kentucky and join John Morgan's cavalry.' During
the war, after so many had volunteered and gone South, our vicinity
was about equally divided between the remaining northern and southern
sympathisers, and the friends of the South organized a secret
society, known as "The Knights of the Golden Circle". Our attic was
one of their favorite meeting places; they would come dark nights,
quietly, singly, and in every conceivable disguise. Camp Morton, at
Indianapolis, was a Federal military prison, and there were some
twenty to twenty-five thousand Southern prisoners confined there.
(Jim Smith was a prisoner there). Indianapolis had a large supply
arsenal, with arms and munitions and military food supplies. The
plan was that John Morgan would come over from Kentucky with his
cavalry army, and make a swift raid to Indianapolis, and that as he
came along, the Southern sympathisers would join and augment his
forces, and at the appointed and expected time the Knights of the
Golden Circle would gather at Indianapolis from all over the State,
all in all would have made a pretty large fighting force. There was
a book-binder in Indianapolis named H.H. Dodd, and the big long
revolvers to be supplied to the Knights of the Golden Circle were
shipped to Dodd from Hartford, Connecticut, labeled "Sunday School
Books', and these pistols were known as 'Dodd's Sunday School Books',
and those things would shoot; it is claimed that they would shoot
through a telegraph pole, or would shoot through a span of mules and
break both legs of the rider. My father was allotted one of the
Sunday School Books, and it is now in our family and is loaded with
the same loads he put in it to take to Indianapolis. Margan
attempted his contemplated raid, but it was not successful. Indiana
had too many railroads and too much telegraph line that cavalry
travel could not compete with, and before he got well on the way he
was overwhelmed with numbers and driven back to Kentucky. Some one
had tipped the secret of the expedition, and given the plan away, and
that is the reason that Morgan's expedition was not a big success.
The plan was to raid the arsenal, free the prison, and arm the
prisoners, which, together with Morgan, the Knights and the
prisoners, would have made history. Dodd was betrayed, arrested, and
given the death penalty, and was confined in the Indianapolis jail.
The next night was cold and drizzling, and someone went to the jail,
attracted his attention, and threw him a ball of twine, which he drew
up, sawed out of prison, came down the rope and escaped to Canada,
where he remained until the war was over. He came back to
Indianapolis and was never executed. Then there were the public
political parties that had their organizations and their flag poles
and their public speakings and torch light processions and
|Posted by Jay Longley on July 19, 2014 at 8:20 PM||comments (0)|
I was driving on Fisk Avenue in Downtown Brownwood this week when I passed the parking lot where Scott Wolter and his ground penetrating radar operator said that the gpr had indicated an anomaly that could have been a tunnel was 2.5 feet under the strip of grass beside the concrete parking lot. I noticed that there was a dark patch in the grassy area about where they had drawn off a rectangular section with orange spray paint before I arrived on the scene to film part of the Brownwood segment. The dark patch seemed to be the same size as the small area that had been spray painted so I drove behind the lot on Pecan Street, parked my car, and walked over to take a closer look. Sure enough, the ground had been disturbed sometime in the past few months but it was long enough in the past that some weeds had started growing over it where only grass had been the day we shot the segment. The rest of the small strip still was covered with the grass, just as it was last September.
As I said before, I never witnessed the gpr running so I can't say whether or not it was ever turned on during the 11 hours I was with the crew. I was always kept away from the gpr operation. The small area that had been outlined in orange paint was not over the spot where I believe the front loader operator's equipment had fallen through the tunnel entrance years ago. I believe that spot was under the concrete parking area and not under the grassy strip.
While Scott Wolter used the time period necessary in obtaining the proper permits to dig in the alleged gpr location as an excuse not to dig and see what, if anything, was 2.5 feet down, apparently someone else didn't need an excuse not to dig. Someone has dug up the spot fairly recently. Now the big question is who did it? By the way, permits have never been required to dig on private property downtown and I knew when Scott and the gpr operator started discussing that on camera, that it was just a dodge but it was not my place to object to the way he directed his own show.
My blog entry about my appearance on America Unearthed: Lincoln's Secret Assassins - http://knightsofthegoldencircle.webs.com/apps/blog/
|Posted by Jay Longley on May 25, 2014 at 4:05 PM||comments (2)|
The Truth About My Appearance on America Unearthed: Lincoln's Secret Assassins - Season 2
In the months leading up to the filming of this episode, I was in regular contact with Committee Films and I spent many hours providing them with factual information regarding John Wilkes Booth's reported stay in Brownwood in 1871, Jesse Woodson James aka "J. Frank Dalton", Henry Ford of Brownwood, the locations of several entrances to the KGC Tunnel Network under Downtown Brownwood, and many other topics which they said they were interested in. Most of that information and more can be found on this website. I was with the crew in Downtown Brownwood for 11 hours in September 2013. Much of it was while being recorded as I gave as much information about the subjects as I could. They promised that they would return to Brownwood to do a much more detailed account but when the show aired in February, I was truly disappointed in the results. They made it look like I believed that our Henry Ford was Jesse James, which I don't believe and which I told them I didn't believe. I also told them that I believed "J. Frank Dalton" was and why. We spent a lot of time as I detailed the circular route of the KGC Tunnel Network under Downtown Brownwood too but when the show was edited, they took out the top half of the route which included me saying that one tunnel went from the Old County Jail (Museum) across Main Street to the old Ford School. My tunnel route was confirmed when Scott Wolter and I took a trip during a break in the filming to visit the Courthouse and the Old Jail. Nick, the Museum manager, took us under the old jail and showed us exactly where the tunnel was and it clearly led precisely to where I had told Scott it did. I didn't have my camera with me but Scott took some photos of it with his. After the show aired, I wrote to one of the contact people with the film production company that makes America Unearthed for the History Channel and asked for Scott Wolter's email address because I wanted him to send me some copies of the photos he took of the tunnel entrance. I never heard back from them again. Also, in the program, Scott says that they left the ground penetrating radar operator and equipment with me. That is simply not true. I met the gpr operator when he arrived from Ft. Worth about lunchtime as Scott, the sound and film crew and I were about to take a lunch break and he began scanning some of the areas while we were at lunch and when we were filming in other locations downtown so I never got to see him actually using the machine. Scott and the crew continued filming me until an hour or so after the gpr man had left to return to Ft. Worth late that afternoon. Their filming of the descendent of Gen. Joseph Shelby didn't happen until a day or two after they had shot the Brownwood part of the episode. Scott Wolter made several inaccurate statements during the episode. Many of them were done after the filming during the "editing" process. I made one very clear and non-negotiable stipulation when I finally agreed to meet with Committee Films for the show. That was that I would not say anything that I didn't believe was true or accurate and they assured me that they didn't want me to and that they would portray my statements accurately. Well, that's not the way it turned out but a few good things did come out of doing the show. One was that it put a brief spotlight on our town and county and another is that every time the show reruns, the viewership of our affiliated KGC and Bloody Bill Anderson websites skyrocket. Needless to say, I won't be doing any more tv shows based on our work here in the foreseeable future. I will say whatever I want the public to know about my beliefs about the KGC, Bill Anderson, Jesse James, and anything else on this message board, on the webs.com sites, and on other sites on the Internet. I may do some YouTube-type videos in the future but I haven't decided that yet.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bloodybillandersonmystery - My Yahoo group where we have been researching these topics since 2008.
|Posted by Jay Longley on April 28, 2014 at 7:10 PM||comments (0)|
After my appearance on H2 Channel's America Unearthed - Lincoln's Secret Assassins in February, 2014, interest in the Knights of the Golden Circle history has grown tremendously. I will be giving tours of some of the KGC historic sites in Brownwood and Brown County, Texas for people who want to learn more about the history of our town and county. Several of the old stone buildings that the Knights constructed are still standing in Downtown Brownwood and they will be some of the highlights of your tour. I will also answer any of your questions during the tour to the best of my ability. Brownwood, Texas was a stronghold and safe haven for the Knights of the Golden Circle and for numerous famous outlaws of the time. For tour prices and details, please email me at: [email protected]