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Monday, March 09, 2009

His Mother Was Not Well Armed

Betty Duke thinks that her great-great-grandfather James L. Courtney was actually the outlaw Jesse James.

The first thing that made Betty believe that maybe these old tales were true was an old family photo she found of her great-grandfather Courtney’s mother. The woman in the photo was missing her right arm; James’s mother was also known to have lost her right arm during a dynamite explosion in her home.
If that weren’t enough, other evidence kept piling up. For instance, Betty found that her great-grandfather “accidentally” signed his diary “J. James” on several occasions. [Link]
This seems like pretty weak evidence to me. After all, seven out ten women in 19th-century America lost their right arms to dynamite explosions. (True fact. Look it up.) And I have been known to "accidentally" sign my diary "Mr. Angelina Jolie," but that doesn't make me Brad Pitt.

scenemaker

"After all, seven out ten women in 19th-century America lost their right arms to dynamite explosions. (True fact. Look it up.)"
--I find this to be a very remarkable claim. 70% of American women! Why don't I see more evidence of it in photographs? More mention in the literature? I took a quick shot at trying to look it up, but nothing popped up. Any suggestions were this claim can be corroborated?

Chris

Wait a few weeks for it to be repeated elsewhere on the Internet. Then it will be corroborated.

MDA

Chris, funny you should mention that statistic. I have been doing independent research on that very topic and I have found that in random samplings of 100 women, the numbers are very close. In one sampling I found that it was 67 out of 100. In another, 72 out of 100. A third was 69 out of 100.

I plan to publish my results next month.

Chris

Of course, this doesn't explain how the other 30% of 19th-century American women lost their right arms...

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