Jesse James Essay, Research Paper
Jesse James and his gang were quite proficient and successful in bank robberies, stagecoach robberies and train robberies. James is one of the most interesting characters of the old west. Jesse James was born in Missouri on September 5, 1847. Jesse Woodson James was born to Reverend Robert and Zerelda James. At the age of three, Jesse s dad dies of food poisoning in a Placerville, California gold camp after deserting his family to seek riches during the gold rush. His mother remarries twice more. In addition to the two natural brothers he had, Jessie gained two stepbrothers and two stepsisters from his mother s third marriage. Jesse was skilled with horses and natural leader. He was never a very skilled marksman.
Jesse s brother, Frank James, left home to fight the rebel cause, he joined the Confederate Army in 1861 at age of 18. Jesse wanted to join his brother, but it wasn t till 1863 when he joined Bloody Bill Anderson s guerilla forces, even though Quantrill didn t really want him. Jesse acquired the nickname of Dingus. In 1864, Jesse is credited for killing Union Major A.V. Johnson at the massacre of Centralia. Jesse was wounded towards the end of the civil war; he took a .36 caliber slug in the left rib cage, dangerously close to the heart. His cousin Zerelda Mimms was most responsible for nursing Jesse back to health.
Frank and Jesse talked about forming a gang with Cole Younger. Before things were arranged, in February of 1866, Frank, Col and Jim Younger robbed the Clay County Savings Bank in Liberty, MO. Making around $72,000. Jesse s legend is embellished when he is placed at the scene as well; contrary to family members reporting Jesse sick in bed, with his chest wound still bothering him. Of October 30, 1866, Jesse and Frank are blamed for the robbery of Mitchell and Company banking firm of Lexington, MO, even though they were not in state at the time.
Jesse was very attached to his mother and usually hides out at her house after pulling a job. In March of 1868, the James brothers and Younger brothers robbed the Southern Deposit bank in Russellville, Kentucky for $14,000. That same year, they hold up Davies County Savings Bank of Gallatin, Mo. They get $700 and kill cashier John W. Sheets, placing murder on their hold-up charges. 1868-9, the boys spent most of the rest of these years in Nashville area. James and Youngers, rob a bank in Columbia, Kentucky and cashier R.A.C. martin is murdered for the $6,000 on April 29, 1872. Also in 1872, James Brothers rob the cashier at the Kansas City Fair of $8,000.
James brothers commit their first train robbery on July 21, 1873. Jesse is thought to be the mastermind behind robbing railroad express cars. They stopped the train by removing a portion of the track. They took $26,000 from passengers and the express car of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific RR near Adair, Iowa. Killing Engineer John Rafferty during the robbery. By that time the Pinkertons were after them. Pinkerton detective J. W. Whicher was killed while pursing the James brothers, allegedly by Jesse and Frank. Pinkerton sent more agents after them.
On January 15, 1874 Jesse James and party rob their first known stagecoach holdup of between $1,000 to $8,000 of cash and jewels near Hot Springs, Arkansas. Shortly after, they robbed the St. Louis Iron Mountain and Southern railroad train at Gads Hill, MO, makings of $10,000. While hiding out in Roscoe, Missouri, the Pinkertons caught up with the Younger brothers. John was shot in the neck and killed by Captain Louis J. Lull of the Pinkertons. This occurred on March 17, 1874. In1875, Pinkertons toss a smoke bomb into the Samuelson farm house in Kearney and the conclusion is that Archie Peyton Samuel thought it was a loose stick from the fire and tossed it back into the fire and it exploded, killing him and severely wounding Jesse & Frank s mother.
Three months later, Jesse married his cousin Zerelda. Many others had asked for her hand, but she wanted Jesse, even knowing he was an outlaw. They eventually had two children, Mary and Jesse. Shortly after, Frank marries Annie Ralston in Omaha, Nebraska. They eloped and her father had no idea who she was married to. Until a posse showed up at the Ralston house that he realized who is daughter had married.
The following year in 1876, Northfield, Minnesota folk open up on the James and Younger gang in their attempt to rob the First Nation Bank. It resulted in many of those in the James gang losing their lives. This time the citizens fought back, the thought they looked suspicious and alarmed the sheriff. The citizens were fighting the gang members; meanwhile the outlaws rode up and down the street firing randomly to try to get the people to stay away while they robbed the bank. The tellers resisted handing over the money. They tried escaping the bank. Charley Pitts and Bill Chadwell are killed. Cole, Jim and Bob Younger are shot to pieces and are captured two weeks later. The remaining robbers rode away, getting absolutely nothing for their efforts.
After lying back for a while, in October 1879, he was back to his old tricks with a new gang. They robbed the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific train near Winston, MO. Jesse James robbed four more trains in 1881. The last train robbery for Jesse was at Blue Cut, near Glendale, Mo. Nets $3,000 in cash and jewelry taken from passengers. Two of their gang members were captured after that one. On April 3, 1882, Jesse was killed. Shot by Robert Ford for the reward money. After jesses death, Frank turned himself in. However, he was never convicted of anything. Yet in America, legends die hard. Relatives of on J. Frank Dalton believe that James actually faked his death and lived a long life as Dalton, who lived till 1951. Jesses death will always be a mystery to some people.