July 1, 2011

1882 Article About the Life of Jesse James

The Bourbon News 
Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky: Tuesday, April 18, 1882.  
[Picture] Jesse James, The Bandit.  From the last photograph he had taken.  
The cut of Jesse James in this issue, was kindly loaned us by James J. Burns, editor of the Flemingsburg Democrat, who is not only a sprightly editor, but an accomplished wood engraver.  He copied it from a cut in the life of Jesse James published some two years ago.  The original photo was taken while the bandit was a guest at one of the principal Long Branch hotels, about the year 1870. 
The Dead Bandit. 
Jesse James was the son of a Baptist preacher of prominence and eloquence in his day.  The father was a native of Logan county, this state, and the mother, whose maiden name Zerelda Cole, was born in Woodford county, about half way between Versailles and Lexington, where her father kept a hostelry known as “Cole’s Tavern.”  On the death of her father the widow removed to the neighborhood of Stamping Ground, in Scott county, among her relatives, and there the future mother of the greatest bandit of modern times grew from childhood into girlhood, and from girlhood into womanhood, and there was married, in 1840, to Rev. Robert J. James.  In the subsequent year their first child, Frank, was born in Scott county.  In 1843 the Jameses removed to Missouri, setting in Clay county, where Jesse was born in 1845.  Mrs. James was a handsome, vivacious, devil-may-care girl, careless of good or evil report.  Tall, large-framed, and full of animal life, she was a universal favorite among those of the opposite sex, and her marriage to a clergyman was one of those surprises she was fond of indulging in.  Her hair was black as the raven’s wing, her eyes black and piercing.  Her temper was quick and fiery, her tongue sharp and cutting, and her enimity deadly and enduring.  She was constant and faithful in her friendships, and her hatreds were hot and undying.  She is now an exceedingly large woman, her hair sprinkled with gray, her eyes still keen and piercing, her temper as ungovernable as ever, and in all her ways, walks and talks, a fitting dam for such ferocious cubs as her two sons.  Her husband was a meek and humble-minded man and she made his life a hell, from which he finally fled to California, where he found the peace of death in 1851.  A few years afterwards the widow was married to Robert Mimms, whom she speedily harassed into the grave, and was succeeded in the connubial harness by Dr. Samuels, a prominent physician of Clay county.  To her is attributed the evil life led by her sons.  She upheld them in their career of crime, applauded their dare-devil deeds, and at all times extended them succor and protection.  All the affection in her nature is centered in them, and, while hard, and cruel, and vindictive toward others, she was ever the soft, loving, indulgent mother toward her children.  They inherited her own fearless spirit, and she gloried in them.  Deeds that filled the world with horror and heaped upon their names denunciation and detestation, she hailed as heroic and worthy of songs of praise and the hero’s wreath.
The Beginning of Crime. 
Driven by the home guards to seek safety in the Confederate lines, Frank and Jesse, joined the band of the notorious Quantrell, when Jesse was only a lad of fourteen.  At the sacking of the town of Lawrence, Kansas, this boy-fiend shot down women and children without compunction.  He subsequently boasted that he murdered thirty-six of the unarmed citizens with his own hand.  But the crowning horror of his life occurred on Tuesday, September 17, 1861, at Centralia, Mo.  On the morning of that day a gang of Quantrell’s band of cutthroats under Bill Anderson, galloped into this village, and after sacking the stores and plundering the houses of the citizens, waited for the coming of the train from St. Joseph, bound for St. Louis, which they stopped, made thirty-two sick federal soldiers, who were on their way to the hospital at St. Louis descend from the train, stood them in a row, and Anderson—the two James boys loaded his pistols as fast as they were emptied—shot the last man of them to death.  About the time this hellish crime was completed a company of union militia arrived, and the outlaws fired upon them with such effect that fifty of them were stretched dead upon the ground.  The guerrillas then galloped off, leaving the villagers the horrid task of burying the eighty dead.  While in Quantrell’s band the Jameses became intimate with Cole and Jim Younger, Jarrette, Clell Miller, George Shepherd, and other who afterwards were associated with them in the brigandage that rendered their names famous in the annals of crime.  
Fresh Fields and Pastures New. 
The peace of 1875 removed the mask of soldiery from the outlaws, and western Missouri became uncomfortably warm as a scene of operations.  Quantrell adjourned his band of marauders to Kentucky, being accompanied by Frank James.  Jesse and George Shepherd sought refuge in Texas.  In the encounter in Kentucky which resulted in the death of Quantrell and the extinction of his band, Frank, was, owing to a lucky accident, not a participant, but making his escape proceeded to Texas, where he and Jesse bought them a ranche, and for the next three years devoted their attention to farming.  The country was electrified in the spring of 1868 by intelligence of the robbery of the bank at Russleville, Ky., by five men in broad day-light, and in the presence of the dazed population of the town.  Those five men were Jesse James, Cole Younger, Alfred and George Shepherd and Jim White.  The bank was robbed of $14,000, and all escaped save George Shepherd who was captured and subsequently served a term of three years in the state penitentiary.  The remainder of the gang returned to Missouri, where, a few weeks afterwards, Frank and Jesse James and Cole Younger rode to the town of Gallatin, while Frank and Younger remained on their horses, kept the citizens at bay with their revolvers, Jesse entered the building, robbed the safe, shot the cashier dead, came out, remounted, and they galloped off.  Nothing more was heard of them until 1870, when they unexpectedly turned up at Corydon, Iowa, where the two Jameses and Younger robbed the bank of $40,000, and rode out to a political meeting near the town where Cole Younger interrupted a speaker to announce the robbery, after which, they put spurs to their horses and got away with their booty.  They again kept quiet for two more years, when Frank and Jesse James, Cole, Jim and John Younger attended the spring races of 1872 at Lexington, Ky.  Returning to Missouri, at the end of race week they rode into Columbia, where they robbed the bank,s hot the cashier dead and wounded a citizen, and got off scathless.  In the fall of the same year, the two Jameses and Cole Younger attended the county fair at Kansas City Mo.  There were from twenty to twenty-five thousand visitors, and after seeing all the sights, the five outlaws rode down to the entrance gate, when Jesse James dismounted, handed his bridle-rein to one of his comrades, approached the ticket-office where the cashier had just counted the receipts of the day and stowed them in a tin box.  The total amount was $10,000.  Speaking through the window he addressed the official: “What if I were to tell you that I am Jesse James, and order you to hand out that tin box of money what would you say?” “I’d say, I’ll see you in hell first,” was the contemptuous response, “Well, that’s just who I am, and you’d better hand it out pretty d—n quick or I’ll -----“ finishing the sentence by leveling a huge revolver at the cashier’s head.  The box was instantly handed out, the three began firing their pistols, and rode off with their booty.  Six weeks later Jesse James, Cole and Bob Younger, Clell Miller and Bill Chadwick, galloped into town of Ste. Genevieve, on the Mississippi, between Cairo and St. Louis,  and robbed the bank there of $40,000.  They were so hotly purued that they dropped a sack containing $17,000, but made off with the remainder of the booty. 
From the Banks to Railroads. 
After the Ste. Genevieve exploit nothing more was heard of them until June, 1873, when eight men—the two Jameses and three Younger, and three other whose names have never transpired—wrecked and robbed a train on the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railway, in Clay county, Missouri, obtained $6,000 from the express car.  Their next railroad exploit was at Gad’s Hill, Mo., on the Iron Mountain road, where the James’s, Jim and Cole Younger, and Clell Miller, took $10,500 from the express messenger and relieved the passengers of their valuables.  In 1874 Jesse James, Clell Miller, Bud and Thompson McDaniels and Jim Hinds wrecked and plundered a train at Muncie, a station sevel miles from Kansas City, from which they obtained $23,000 express money and valuable lot of jewelry.  They were so hotly pursued after this robbery that their old haunts in Clay county became unsafe, and after killing of Bad[?] McDaniels, by a squad engaged in tracking[?] them down, the gang separated, Jesse and Frank seeking refuge in Texas with a broth-in-law, from whence Frank went to Kentucky, where he was speedily joined by Cole Younger, Thompson McDaniels and Jim Hinds.  While there they planned the robbery of the bank at Huntington, W. Va., obtained $60,000.  They were pursued by a hundred men, and overtaken in the Kentucky mountains, about one hundred miles from the scene of their exploit, and a desperate fight ensured, in which Thompson McDaniels was killed and Hinds was captured.  Frank James and Cole Younger made their escape and joined Jesse in Texas, where they recruited several noted Texas outlaws from the Indian Territory, and returned to Missouri.  In July, [1875]*, they robbed a train on the Missouri Pacific road at Otterville, obtaining $15,000 express money.  Hastily dividing the money between them, five of the party returned south, and the James boys, Clell Miller and Bill Chadwell went on to Clay county. 
The Northfield Affair. 
While in hiding there, Chadwell, who had been a professional horsethief in Minnesota, induced them to go up into that State for the purpose of robbing the bank at Northfield.  Chadwell and Bob Younger went on several days in advance of the others to reconnoiter the country.  In the latter part of August, 1875, the remainder of the gang, consisting of Jesse and Frank James, Cole and Jim Younger, Clell Miller, and Charles Pitts, followed them.  On the afternoon of September 7th the entire party galloped into the town, shooting right and left in order to intimidate the population.  They halted in front of the bank, which the Jameses and Bob Younger entered.  Haywood, the cashier, refusing to open the safe, was shot and killed by Jesse James.  The citizens, seized their arms and gave the bandits instant battle.  Chadwell and Clell Miller was shot dead from their horses, Jim Younger was shot through the mouth, a bullet pierced Franks James’ left leg, but the six survivors succeeded in getting clear of the town, only to be pursued with a pertinacity that knew not weariness.  The blood that flowed from Jim Younger’s wound made a plain trail, which led to a proposition from Jesse James that he be killed.  To this Cole Younger would not agree, but swore that he would kill the first man who suggested such a thing again.  Then Jesse proposed that they separate, which was agreed to, whereupon the two James rode off in a northerly direction, and succeeded in making their escape, after being pursued for five hundred miles.  The three Youngers and Pitts remained together, the former only to be shot down and captured, while the latter was killed outright.  The Youngers are now serving a life sentence in the Minnesota penitentiary.  The Jameses succeeded in reaching Texas, where Frank had a surgical operation performed on his leg at Waco.  His wound made him a cripple for life.  
A New Gang. 
In 1879 Jesse James returned to Clay county, Mo., and succeeded in recruiting a new gang, consisting of Ed. Miller (brother to Clell); Jim Cummings; Tucker Basham., Ed. Ryan and Dick Little.  Frank James’ wound incapacitated him from continuing the life of a highwayman, and he had settled down to farming peaceably in Texas.  The first exploit of the new gang was the robbery of a train at Glendale, in Mo., obtaining $25,000 from the express messenger.  The gang immediately separated, Jesse James, Ed. Miller and Jin Cummings started to Texas.  In southeastern Missouri they were overtaken and joined by George Shepherd, an old comrade, who attempted to kill James, and did severely wound him, in revenge for the murder of a nephew of his by the famed bandit, as he said, but in reality to obtain the $5,000 reward that had been offered his death or capture.  He was confined to his bed by his wound until January, 1880, when he returned to Missouri, where he was shortly followed by Frank.  They gathered two Kentucky cousins, Clarence and Wood Hite, Dick Little and Jim Cummings, and on the 15th of July, 1881, at Winston, Ill., robbed a train of $15,000 express money, nearly as much more in money and jewelry from the passengers, and murdered conductor Westfall and a train named O’Connell.  These murders were committed by Jesse James.  Governor Crittenden, on behalf of the State, and the Representatives of the railroads and express companies met together in St. Louis, and offered rewards aggregating $50,000 for the apprehension, dead or alive, of the robbers. 
The Last Robbery. 
This did not deter the bandits, for, on September 7th, less than two months[?] after the Winston robbery, they wrecked[?] another train on the Chicago and Akron[?] road at Blue Cat, about two miles from Glendale[?], the scene of the former robbery, from which they secured large booty from the express company and the passengers, after h[????] [???] Fox, the express messenger. 
The Death. 
Of the great bandit at the hands of Bob Ford, a cowardly detective employed by the Governor of Missouri, and his burial at Kearney, Clay county, Missouri, the particulars of which are so recent a publication that we desist epitomizing in this boiled-down-sketch which we very skillfully John G. Craddocked from a more copious account in the Breckinridge News.**

*Obviously 1886 is a typo, because (for starters) this paper was printed in 1882. I think it is probably meant to be July 1875 because the next paragraph describes August 1875.

**There are no April 1882 issues of the Breckinridge News available on the LOC website, so I was unable to find the source article. 

The Bourbon News, Paris, Ky, April 18, 1882

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