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Merle & Jesse - Distant Cousins?

A an old family story says we are related to Jesse James and possibly Merle Haggard.

An old story has been told among my mother's relatives for several generations. The story claims that my 2nd great grandmother was related to Jesse James. 

My great aunt Mina Brown Hemminger did a lot of genealogy research on her family over the years. One document of Mina's says, "Stories handed down from my [maternal] grandmother, Sarah Elizabeth James McWhorter, were that her grandfather, David James, was a first cousin to Jesse James' father, Robert Sallee." A story like that certainly makes genealogy research a lot more interesting. 

I've had an opportunity to look through Mina's notes, correspondence and documentation, but unless I'm overlooking something I don't see any hard evidence of the connection. On the other hand, I haven't found anything that refutes it either; there is more work to do.

Mina had another interesting genealogical possibility via her paternal grandmother, Sarah M. Haggard Brown. Family rumor has it that through this grandmother there is a connection to country musician Merle Haggard. As with the Jesse James connection I still have a lot of research to do, but my initial glance at the data indicates that if there is a connection between Sarah M. Haggard Brown and Merle Haggard, the common ancestor was pretty far back. Possibly as far back as the late 17th or early 18th century. 

I look forward to tracing these lines to see where they lead. I won't be disappointed if it turns out there is no connection. The detective work is most of the fun anyway.

Linked toMina Brown; Sarah Martha Haggard; Sarah Elizabeth James

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