DALLAS -- An amateur historian has started another legal effort to conduct DNA tests to solve the mystery over the resting place of 19th century outlaw Jesse James.
Undeterred by a mistake that caused the wrong man to be unearthed from his decades-old grave last year, Bud Hardcastle is trying to prove James died and was buried in Texas -- not Missouri as the history books say.
Historians say James was shot and killed by a member of his own gang on April 3, 1882, in St. Joseph, Mo. Hardcastle is among those who believe the outlaw survived, assumed the name J. Frank Dalton and moved to Granbury, Texas, before dying in 1951 at age 104.
"I know what I'm talking about, and I'm not going to quit," Hardcastle, a used car dealer from Purcell, Okla., said Tuesday. "I set out to do this, and I'm going to do it."
Hardcastle filed a request Jan. 19 in Hood County court to remove and conduct DNA testing on Dalton's remains. The court is in Granbury, 25 miles southeast of Fort Worth, where a gravestone stands above Dalton's final resting place with the words "Jesse Woodson James," and the inscription, "Supposedly killed in 1882."
The first court-approved exhumation resulted in embarrassment when a misplaced headstone caused researchers to mistakenly remove the body of a one-armed man, William Henry Holland, who died in 1927.
"We want to do the same thing we did before. Of course, we're going to move over one spot," said Hardcastle, who has spent thousands of dollars in his quest.
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