223 Notes

Obit of the Day (Historical): Jesse James (1882)
One hundred forty years ago on April 3, 1882 Robert Ford, a member of Jesse James’ gang and living in James’ house, came up behind the famed outlaw and shot him in the head. Ford had hoped to claim the reward for James’ capture. (The novel, and later, film, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, document this incident excellently - even as works of fiction.)
Jesse and his brother, Frank, fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War as members of “Quantrill’s Raiders” a group of guerilla fighters who gained a reputation for killing unarmed soldiers and abolitionists. After the war there were rumors of the James’ getting involved in various bank robberies- which often involved the murder of one or more people - throughout their home state of Missouri, but no confirmation.
The first robbery that Jesse James was confirmed to have taken part in occurred in 1869 when he and another man (presumably Frank) robbed the Daviess County Savings Bank in Gallatin, Missouri. James shot a teller for killing James’ former commander, “Bloody” Bill Anderson, during the war. Tragically, it was a case of mistaken identity and James shot an innocent man.
The James brothers, along with the Younger brothers (John, Jim, Bob, and Clell), would rob stagecoaches and banks throughout the Midwest untilt he mid-1870s. In 1874, the Pinkerton Detective Agency was hired to find the James-Younger gang, instead the Pinkertons, led by founder Allen Pinkerton, so bungled the case (including the attempted arson of the James’ home - which killed a half-brother and took off Jesse’s mother’s arm) that the James brothers actually gained sympathy. (It also helped that the editor of the Kansas City Star, had an agreement with James to report the James-Younger gang as modern day “Robin Hoods” in exchange for the exclusive stories.)
The James-Younger gang came to a crashing halt though with failed robbery attempt in Northfield, Minnesota in 1876. Jesse was not there, but the Younger brothers, who were drunk, lost two men and killed two other innocent bystanders. Eventually the state authorities hunted down and arrested the Youngers while the James’ escaped into hiding.
By 1882, the James’ were done with robbery but still wanted for various crimes in Missouri. Robert “Bob” Ford was more interested in money ($5000 for the capture of Jesse) than loyalty. After Ford killed Jesse he wired the governor of Missouri for his reward. Instead Ford, and his brother Charley, were arrested, charged and found guilty of murder but the governor pardoned the brothers…who also received a share of the bounty. Missourians were outraged.
James was only 35.
Random note: Bob Ford would open a saloon in Colorado. In 1892, Edward Kelley walked into the saloon, said “Hello, Bob,” and shot Ford in the throat. Kelley was sentenced to life in prison, having his death sentence commuted because of a petition signed by those who still hated Ford. Kelley was pardoned in 1902.
Random note 2: Jesse James’ son, Jesse James, Jr., would become a lawyer.
Random note 3: Jesse James’ last grandchild died in December 1991. She never knew her grandfather but knew her uncle, Frank.
Additional sources: thepioneerwoman.com, geneaology.com
(The image, above, is a stereoscope of Jesse James’ body on display. The other men are unidentified. The image is courtesy of the Library of Congress.)

Obit of the Day (Historical): Jesse James (1882)

One hundred forty years ago on April 3, 1882 Robert Ford, a member of Jesse James’ gang and living in James’ house, came up behind the famed outlaw and shot him in the head. Ford had hoped to claim the reward for James’ capture. (The novel, and later, film, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, document this incident excellently - even as works of fiction.)

Jesse and his brother, Frank, fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War as members of “Quantrill’s Raiders” a group of guerilla fighters who gained a reputation for killing unarmed soldiers and abolitionists. After the war there were rumors of the James’ getting involved in various bank robberies- which often involved the murder of one or more people - throughout their home state of Missouri, but no confirmation.

The first robbery that Jesse James was confirmed to have taken part in occurred in 1869 when he and another man (presumably Frank) robbed the Daviess County Savings Bank in Gallatin, Missouri. James shot a teller for killing James’ former commander, “Bloody” Bill Anderson, during the war. Tragically, it was a case of mistaken identity and James shot an innocent man.

The James brothers, along with the Younger brothers (John, Jim, Bob, and Clell), would rob stagecoaches and banks throughout the Midwest untilt he mid-1870s. In 1874, the Pinkerton Detective Agency was hired to find the James-Younger gang, instead the Pinkertons, led by founder Allen Pinkerton, so bungled the case (including the attempted arson of the James’ home - which killed a half-brother and took off Jesse’s mother’s arm) that the James brothers actually gained sympathy. (It also helped that the editor of the Kansas City Star, had an agreement with James to report the James-Younger gang as modern day “Robin Hoods” in exchange for the exclusive stories.)

The James-Younger gang came to a crashing halt though with failed robbery attempt in Northfield, Minnesota in 1876. Jesse was not there, but the Younger brothers, who were drunk, lost two men and killed two other innocent bystanders. Eventually the state authorities hunted down and arrested the Youngers while the James’ escaped into hiding.

By 1882, the James’ were done with robbery but still wanted for various crimes in Missouri. Robert “Bob” Ford was more interested in money ($5000 for the capture of Jesse) than loyalty. After Ford killed Jesse he wired the governor of Missouri for his reward. Instead Ford, and his brother Charley, were arrested, charged and found guilty of murder but the governor pardoned the brothers…who also received a share of the bounty. Missourians were outraged.

James was only 35.

Random note: Bob Ford would open a saloon in Colorado. In 1892, Edward Kelley walked into the saloon, said “Hello, Bob,” and shot Ford in the throat. Kelley was sentenced to life in prison, having his death sentence commuted because of a petition signed by those who still hated Ford. Kelley was pardoned in 1902.

Random note 2: Jesse James’ son, Jesse James, Jr., would become a lawyer.

Random note 3: Jesse James’ last grandchild died in December 1991. She never knew her grandfather but knew her uncle, Frank.

Additional sources: thepioneerwoman.com, geneaology.com

(The image, above, is a stereoscope of Jesse James’ body on display. The other men are unidentified. The image is courtesy of the Library of Congress.)

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    Random note no.4 jesse james builds motorcycles
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