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Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • BLOG: History of Otoe and Fremont counties - Death of Jesse James

  • Read interesting tidbits relating to the area's history.
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  • Death of Jesse James
    As spectacularly as he lived Jesse James, famous Missouri outlaw, died April 3,1882, in St. Joseph, shot by Robert Ford, a member of his gang.
    Unrecognized, the mild mannered outlaw had been living in St. Joseph with his wife and two children for nearly six months under the name of Thomas Howard.
    Hiding with him were two brothers, Charles and Robert Ford, recent additions to his gang. A $ 10,000 reward had been offered by the governor for James' arrest, delivery, and conviction since July 28,1882.
    Early on the morning of Aril 3,1882 James and the Fords had been to the stables currying their horses. The weather was warm, and when they returned to the house, James removed his coat.So as not to arouse his neighbors' suspicions, he also removed his gun-belt which he perpetually wore. Picking up a duster and turning his back to the Ford brothers, he stepped upon a chair to clean some pictures.
    The Fords, seeing him unarmed, reached for their guns. Robert drew his first. James fell to the floor, dying almost instantly from the bullet wound to his head.
    The Ford Brothers surrendered to Police Officers and according to tradition wired Governor Crittenden of their act. The news created great excitement all over America. Criticism of the way the outlaw met his death was widespread, but there was general satisfaction that his career was ended. The Fords were accused of killing James for the large reward and with the encouragement of public officials.
    They were arrested, tried for murder and found guilty, but the governor immediately pardoned them.
    Only a small part of the reward money reached their hands, however, and both soon met tragic deaths. The death of Jesse James broke up the James gang of which Jesse was the recognized leader.
    By Frank Triplett written in 1882 in Missouri, Day by Day.
    I often read a tidbit like this and want to find out, who was his wife, or his children. Where was he born? What did he rob? By applying the basics of genealogy research, I found his Parents were Robert Sallee James and Zerelda Elizabeth Cole. He was born near Kearney in Clay County MO on September 5, 1847. He married Zerelda Amanda Mimms on April 24 1874 in Kearney MO.
    They had three children all born in Nashville TN. Jesse Edward James born August 31,1875. Montgomery James born February 1878 and Mary Susan born June 17, 1879.
    From the 1850 census he was 4, living in Platt Township in Clay County, MO with his parents, brother Franklin 10, and sister Susan age 9 months.
    On March 20, 1868 the James Gang robs Southern Deposit Bank in Russelville, Kentucky.
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