In Conversation with…Daniel Duke

Philippa Lee: Dan, so good to be in conversation with you again! Square readers will remember our last interview in 2010 – ‘Meet the Author‘, which was after your first book ‘Jesse James and the Lost Templar Treasure’ was published.

You co-authored a second title ‘The Mysterious Life and Faked Death of Jesse James’, with your sister Teresa Duke.

And now you have the hat-trick of the series with your latest book ‘Secret History of the Wild, Wild West: Outlaws, Secret Societies, and the Hidden Agenda of the Elites’.

All the book titles are brilliant; they are an immediate draw for those who love history, mystery, and secrets!

The exciting bit for me is that you are the great-great-grandson of the outlaw Jesse James – that is incredibly cool – so, briefly, if you could tell our readers a bit about your family history and how your journey with the books began, that would be great.


Daniel Duke:  It’s great to speak with you again, I always enjoy our conversations, and thank you for interviewing me, it is an honor.
My late mother; Betty Dorsett Duke, authored three books about our family story proving that Jesse James did not die as history states, that he faked his death and live to a ripe old age, dying in 1943 at the age of 97 in Blevins, Texas and that he was my great, great grandfather.
After my mother passed, my sister Teresa F. Duke and I vowed to continue her work and several years later, my first book was published.

PL: The books offer evidence from Jesse James’s secret encoded diaries – do you still have those in your possession?

DD: Yes, my sister Teresa and I still hold possession of Jesse’s diaries and other materials that belonged to Jesse which were passed down through our family.

PL: Jesse was very well-connected and had close ties with other notorious outlaws, such as Johnny Ringo, Jesse Evans, and Billy the Kid, can you give us an idea of how they all knew each other?

DD: Many stories about outlaws and other figures in the Old West seem to isolate them into separate groups. Growing up, I had always viewed historical figures in much the same way, so I was a bit surprised to find out that Jesse James and others actually knew one another in varying ways. Jesse James and Johnny Ringo were actually cousins.
Jesse James and Billy the Kid had a meeting in July 1879 at a hotel and spa in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and Jesse Evans; another gunfighter had known and ridden with not only Billy the Kid, but other well-known outlaws in that time.
Pat Garrett, who is said to have shot and killed Billy the Kid was also a former member of Billy’s gang and later became a Freemason, as was Jesse James.

PL: Another intriguing fact is that Jesse was related, by blood or marriage, to powerful people in law enforcement and politics, including the elite families behind the Copperheads and the Knights of the Golden Circle organizations – why did we not hear of this before?

It’s a very exciting narrative and I bet it has drawn attention from the conspiracy theorists. What kind of feedback or correspondence do you get from readers of your work?

DD: I have had a lot of feedback from readers, and in most cases they are excited to have learned about the connections that Jesse had with powerful figures in his day (and after).
Some conspiracy theorists claim they knew it all along and I like to point out to them, that what they’ve read in terms of conspiracy theories, isn’t always nefarious.
I have a friend; for example, who doesn’t believe in conspiracies at all, to which I argue, our court systems around the globe have tried and convicted countless people for conspiracy, so denying that they exist is sort of complicated.

PL: We all know the names Jesse James, Billy the Kid etc., from the Wild West movie genre, but these Old West outlaws were much more than just outlaw cowboys, weren’t they?

You reveal that James and these other infamous guys were part of a larger organization – one that is centuries old, and a big part of U.S. history from the streets of early America, right through to the highest levels of government.

That’s a big reveal! Is the organization still going and more importantly, are you going to tell me…or would you have to kill me? (*laughs*)

DD: One organization that I have been hard pressed to find information on is the Knights of the Golden Circle aka K.G.C.
Some theorize that Albert Pike and Jesse James were both members but I have never seen any proof.
Until I see any proof of their membership in that group, I will continue to doubt it.
Jesse was related to one of the founders of the Knights of the Golden Circle and that is the closest I have seen as far as any affiliation with it.
I do know however; that Albert Pike, Jesse James and Pat Garrett, to name a few, were all Freemasons.
In fact, Jesse rode with a group of men during the Civil War who camped with Albert Pike and his troops. I have often wondered if that was when Jesse decided to become a Freemason.
As you know, I too am a Freemason and I know you are, so killing you would be out of the question (*laughs*)

PL: It’s incredible to think that Jesse James faked his death and lived out his life under an alias, but now you reveal that Billy the Kid did the same!

I just love this piece from Chapter 4 of the book where you discuss how ‘faking their deaths in addition to the activities that Jesse James, Billy the Kid, and a few other outlaws were involved in, would have required some form of protection.

One source of protection was the Freemasons.’ That’s a real nugget of gold – Jesse’s (and Billy’s) Masonic membership! Can you elaborate a bit on those points?

DD: Protection was sorely needed by these men, and the brotherhood of Freemasonry, in small lodges around the Old West; where members were related to one another and in many cases held the same beliefs, both political and religious, makes a perfect setting for one brother to help another.
Now I understand in our current times, how some may feel that statement is a wild one, but when viewed in the light of our history, stemming from the Knights Templar who themselves were claimed to have been outlaws and pirates, it isn’t hard to imagine the same thing happening in times of chaos like that following the American Civil War.

PL: You explore how both Jesse and Billy continued working for the ‘nameless organization’ after their faked deaths. 

I’m thinking that this all needs to be made into a film. Any chance of that, and if it happens, who would you like to see play Jesse?

There’s a lot of contention I believe as to what he actually looked like, so it could be a fun casting choice.

DD: Oh I definitely agree! I think a film would be an amazing way to get the story out to the public and right a few wrongs in the process.
As far as actors, that is a tough one. There are several but Jared Padalecki from the TV series ‘Supernatural’ and ‘Walker’ comes to mind.
He’s tall and bears a resemblance to Jesse when Jesse was younger.

PL:  Finally, is there any more to reveal – can we expect another book?

DD: With all of the people throughout history who played a role in this story involving Freemasons, alchemists and people from various esoteric traditions throughout history, I think this is one of those stories that can go on for years and barely scratch the surface.
My late mother, my sister, and I all started this research so as to find out who was right, my family legend or accepted history.
We have proven that our family story is right and that history can be mistaken.
We never expected our family story; involving an Old West outlaw to lead us into such a deep and mysterious world involving Freemasonry, Templar treasures and so much more, but it is a road we are glad to have traveled, and we don’t plan on stopping now. There will definitely be more!

Huge thanks to Dan for taking time out of a very hectic schedule to share more of his incredible research and family history. No doubt there will be more to talk about very soon.

Check out an extract of ‘Secret History of the Wild, Wild West – Outlaws, Secret Societies and hidden Agendas of the Elite’ on the following page!


Daniel Duke, the great-great-grandson of Jesse James, grew up surrounded by stories of lost outlaw treasures. For more than two decades he has researched the mysteries involving his family, Freemasonry, and the Knights Templar. He lives in Texas.

Meet the Author

Daniel Duke, the great-great grandson of Jesse James, grew up surrounded by stories of lost outlaw treasures.


Book Review – JSecret History of the Wild, Wild West

Exclusive Extract of Daniel Duke’s new book ‘Secret History of the Wild, Wild West – Outlaws, Secret Societies and hidden Agendas of the Elite’.

Book Review – Jesse James and the Lost Templar Treasure

Lost Templar Treasure: Secret Diaries, Coded Maps, and the Knights of the Golden Circle 


Article by: Philippa Lee. Editor

Philippa Lee (writes as Philippa Faulks) is the author of eight books, an editor and researcher.

Philippa was initiated into the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons (HFAF) in 2014.

Her specialism is ancient Egypt, Freemasonry, comparative religions and social history. She has several books in progress on the subject of ancient and modern Egypt.  Selection of Books Online at Amazon

Jesse James and the Lost Templar Treasure:
Secret Diaries, Coded Maps, and the Knights of the Golden Circle

An investigation into the lost treasures of Jesse James and the Freemasons and their connections to the Templars, Rosicrucians, and the Founding Fathers

• Explains how Jesse James used techniques involving sacred geometry, gematria, and esoteric symbols to hide his treasures and encode maps

• Provides instructions for using the encoding template employed by Jesse James and the Freemasons to hide and recover treasure and sacred relics

• Shows how the encoding template confirms the existence of treasures on Oak Island and Victorio Peak and can be traced to a 16th-century book containing a secret map of the New World and the “hooked X” of the Knights Templar

Jesse James left behind secret diaries and coded treasure maps. Working to decrypt these maps, Daniel J. Duke–the great-great-grandson of Jesse James–reveals hidden treasures yet to be recovered as well as connections between the infamous train robber and Freemasonry, the Knights Templar, the Founding Fathers, and Jewish mysticism.



The Mysterious Life and Faked Death of Jesse James: Based on Family Records, Forensic Evidence, and His Personal Journals

A deep investigation into historical documents that prove the notorious outlaw Jesse James faked his own death

• Presents the legend of Jesse James and counters it with the real story, based on family records

• Provides photographic evidence, a journal of Jesse James’s, and historical records that prove James faked his death, verified by experts and civic authorities

• Debunks the 1995 DNA test results of James’s supposed remains

The story of the notorious outlaw Jesse James’s assassination at the hands of Robert Ford has been clouded with mystery ever since its inception.

Now, James’s great-great-grandchildren Daniel and Teresa Duke present the results of more than 20 years of exhaustive research into state and federal records, photographs, newspaper reports, diaries, and a 1995 DNA test in search of the truth behind Jesse James’s demise.



Secret History of the Wild, Wild West

By: Daniel Duke

Jesse James and many other Old West outlaws were much more than just wild cowboys.

As author Daniel Duke–the great-great-grandson of Jesse James–reveals, Jesse James and other infamous outlaws were part of a larger organization, centuries old, that has affected U.S. history from the small, rural streets of early America to the highest levels of the nation’s government, with continuing influence to this day.

Drawing on his great-great-grandfather’s secret diaries, Duke unravels the hidden history of the Wild West to expose the outlaws, politicians, and secret societies who were pulling strings behind the scenes.

He examines Jesse James’s close ties with other notorious outlaws, such as Johnny Ringo, Jesse Evans, and Billy the Kid, and demonstrates not only how Jesse James faked his own death and lived out his life under an alias, but how Billy the Kid did the same.

He also details how both Jesse James and Billy the Kid continued their work for the nameless organization after their faked deaths. 


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