The show is sponsored by the Mangham Civic Organization. Doors are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 100 photos and exhibit items detail the life of Jesse James, particularly his connections to Northeast Louisiana. Each photo or exhibit has explanatory material to help the viewer; moreover, the author herself will be available to elaborate on items attendees find interesting.
Walker-Wyatt, after years of study, contends the man history calls Jesse James may actually have been J. Frank Dalton, who used the James name as one of his several aliases. She says there may have been as many as three people who used the name Jesse James, and exploits of the individuals may have been rolled into the lore repeated in oral histories throughout the South.
Regardless of the actual name, she has accumulated a significant amount of material showing James spent a great deal of time in Richland Parish, actually living in Delhi at one point. He also has links to the southern part of the parish near Big Creek, where a male member of the family may once have been a blacksmith. The family is said to have lived in a house owned by the ancestors of local resident William “Junior” Jackson. Jackson, who remembers visiting the house as a child, has built a replica of the house and presented it to Walker-Wyatt, who will exhibit it at her show.
Walker-Wyatt’s exhibit is replete with scores of photos, documents, and other items about Jesse James. She has written a book about the outlaw, titled “Chasing Rivers, Trains, and Jesse James.” Copies of the book will be available for sale at the exhibit. Walker-Wyatt is also promoting the second book in her planned Jesse James trilogy, due to be released in 2009.
Another James connection, this one to Oak Grove, generated enough local interest for the town to have a Jesse James Festival, which featured Walker-Wyatt as its Grand Marshal. Walker-Wyatt has also shown portions of her exhibit throughout Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas, as well as at festivals in Winnsboro and Columbia. Walker-Wyatt is bringing her entire exhibit to the Mangham event.