Jesse James
Outlaw
Jesse James
Jesse Woodson James was an American outlaw, gang leader, bank robber, train robber and murderer from the state of Missouri and the most famous member of the James-Younger Gang. Already a celebrity when he was alive, he became a legendary figure of the Wild West after his death. Some recent scholars place him in the context of regional insurgencies of ex-Confederates following the American Civil War rather than a manifestation of frontier lawlessness or alleged economic justice.
Biography
Jesse James's personal information overview.
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Popular photos of Jesse James
News
News abour Jesse James from around the web
A Hero's Legend and a Stolen Skull Rustle Up a DNA Drama
NYTimes - over 5 years
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Even with the best scientific techniques, you can't always get what you want. But if you try, as the Rolling Stones put it, sometimes you get what you need. Consider the case of Ned Kelly's skull. In Australia, Kelly needs no introduction; for Americans, it may help to think of him as Jesse James, Thomas Paine and John F.
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NYTimes article
Jesse James and Kat Von D Tweet About Missing Each Other - Zimbio
Google News - over 5 years
Newly engaged couple, Jesse James and Kat Von D, Stop by Swingers Diner in Hollywood for some lunch on a sunny afternoon. The two emerge after their meal and get into Kat's black Bentley convertible. (Bauer Griffin)more pics » Jesse James (Bauer
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Google News article
Top 10: Take a tour of Blue Springs' rich history - Blue Springs Examiner
Google News - over 5 years
There exists circumstantial evidence that Jesse James hid in the cellar after the Selsa Station train robbery. It is not part of the historical district, either. “It should be, it sits right on Walnut Street,” Potter said
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Google News article
Blue Chip Chat with ... Jesse James, South Allegheny High School - Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Google News - over 5 years
Didn't your parents know Jesse James was a famous outlaw? Well, my brother's name is Rick James and my Dad's name is Rick James. My Dad just wanted me to have a name everyone would remember. I'll see someone I haven't seen in 10 years and they remember
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Oakland convict sentenced to 21 years - San Jose Mercury News
Google News - over 5 years
Jesse James Blue, 23, avoided a harsher 50-years-to-life sentence after a jury decided earlier this year that the death of Ayesha Thomason, 18, occurred during a morning struggle in which Blue was either provoked or was acting under the heat of passion
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Kat Von D And Jesse James Break Up! - Terra.com
Google News - over 5 years
Jesse James and Kat Von D have broken up and called off their engagement, reports People Magazine. James told the publication: "I'm so sad because I really love her...The distance between us was just too much." Von D confirmed the news on Twitter: "I
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Jesse James reunites with Kat Von D - NZ City
Google News - over 5 years
Jesse James and Kat Von D have got back together and their engagement is back on. Jesse James and Kat Von D have got back together. The motorcycle entrepreneur - who was married to Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock for five years until 2010 - called ... - -
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Kat Von D and Jesse James are engaged again - CBS News
Google News - over 5 years
Jesse James and Kat Von D arrive at the Wonderland Gallery Opening on Sep. 2, 2010, in West Hollywood, Calif. (CBS) Maybe the second time is the charm. Kat Von D and Jesse James, who called off their engagement a month ago, are giving their ... - -
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Sandra Bullock No Longer in Contact with Ex Stepdaughter Sunny James - Us Magazine
Google News - over 5 years
Sandra Bullock and ex-hubby Jesse James' daughter Sunny are no longer in contact. The actress, 47, seems to be cutting all ties to James, even if that means distancing herself from his adorable 7-year-old. "Sandra doesn't communicate anymore with Sunny ... - -
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Jesse James a "Pig"? Kat Von D a "Dude"? Yup, Bombshell McGee's Sounding Off - E! Online
Google News - over 5 years
And now a little more than a week after he and LA Ink star Kat Von D called off their engagement, Ms. Bombshell is wasting no time ripping James. And Von D. Interviewed on New Zealand radio station's The Edge, the tattoo model/erotic dancer went into ... - -
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Kat Von D Snuggles Up to Jesse James in L.A. Ink Promo - Us Magazine
Google News - over 5 years
In a new promo for the TLC reality show, tattoo artist Kat Von D admits that it's not always easy dating the Texas-based motorcycle mogul Jesse James, 42. "[It's] a long distance relationship, but we're just making it work," she says. ... - -
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Next Season on LA Ink: The Engagement of Kat Von D and Jesse James - Stars of Reality
Google News - over 5 years
In case you were wondering, cameras were rolling for Kat's engagement to Sandra Bullock's ex-husband Jesse James. "The upcoming season will focus on the last nine months of Kat's life in which she has had a successful gallery opening, a whirlwind book
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Google News article
Kat von d is sad - Is the Wedding Called Off? - Gather Celebs News Channel
Google News - over 5 years
Kat von d tweets that she is sad and then she's out without Jesse James at a trendy eatery. Kat von d and Jesse James were due to get married this summer and with no news of this and Kat's sadness it looks like something is up, but what?
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Google News article
Fit Family Challenge with Coach Jesse James Leija - WOAI
Google News - over 5 years
Fit Family Challenge Head Coach Jesse James Leija says, "The first step is fit minds. Fit minds mean fit bodys, and fit body's mean fit minds." The Fit Family goal is to lead locals to a better lifestyle, to encourage everyday exercise and eating
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Google News article
Jesse James claims Sandra Bullock divorce not his fault - Hot Momma Celebrity Gossip
Google News - over 5 years
Jesse James, the custom bike expert who became a global focus of scorn last Summer for repeatedly cheating on his wife, Sandra Bullock now says he's 'cool' with the idea of breaking her heart. Already involved with “LA Ink” star, Kat Von D, ... - -
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Google News article
PIC: Kat von D Bonds With Jesse James' Daughter Sunny - Us Magazine
Google News - over 5 years
On Monday, Kat von D was snapped for the first time with Sunny James, the youngest daughter of Jesse James, her fiance. The LA Ink star (real name: Katherine Drachenberg), 29, and little Sunny caught the Tim Burton exhibit at LACMA
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Jesse James
    THIRTIES
  • 1882
    Age 34
    On April 3, 1882, after eating breakfast, the Fords and James went into the living room before traveling to Platte City for a robbery.
    More Details Hide Details From the newspaper, James had just learned of gang member Dick Liddil's confession for participating in Hite's murder, and grew increasingly suspicious of the Fords for never reporting this matter to him. According to Robert Ford, it became clear to him that James had realized they were there to betray him. However, instead of scolding the Fords, James walked across the living room to lay his revolvers on a sofa. He turned around and noticed a dusty picture above the mantle, and stood on a chair to clean it. Robert Ford drew his weapon, and shot the unarmed Jesse James in the back of the head. James' two previous bullet wounds and partially missing middle finger served to positively identify the body. The death of Jesse James became a national sensation. The Fords made no attempt to hide their role. Robert Ford wired the governor to claim his reward. Crowds pressed into the little house in St. Joseph to see the dead bandit. The Ford brothers surrendered to the authorities and were dismayed to be charged with first degree murder. In the course of a single day, the Ford brothers were indicted, pleaded guilty, sentenced to death by hanging, and granted a full pardon by Governor Crittenden.
    On April 3, 1882, Jesse James was killed by Robert Ford, a member of his own gang who hoped to collect a reward on James' head.
    More Details Hide Details Already a celebrity when he was alive, James became a legendary figure of the Wild West after his death. Despite popular portrayals of James as an embodiment of Robin Hood, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, there is no evidence that he and his gang shared their loot from the robberies they committed. Scholars usually place his actions in the context of regional insurgencies of ex-Confederates following the Civil War rather than a manifestation of alleged economic justice or of frontier lawlessness.
  • 1881
    Age 33
    In November 1881, James moved his family to St. Joseph, Missouri, not far from where he had been born and reared.
    More Details Hide Details Frank, however, decided to move to safer territory and headed east to Virginia. They intended to give up crime. The James gang had been greatly reduced in numbers by that time. Some had fled the gang in fear of prosecution, and many of the original members were either dead or in prison. With his gang nearly annihilated, James trusted only the Ford brothers, Charley and Robert. Although Charley had been out on raids with James, Bob was an eager new recruit. For protection, James asked the Ford brothers to move in with him and his family. James had often stayed with their sister Martha Bolton and, according to rumor, he was "smitten" with her. By that time, Bob Ford had already conducted secret negotiations with Thomas T. Crittenden, the Missouri governor, to bring in the famous outlaw. Crittenden had made capture of the James brothers his top priority; in his inaugural address he declared that no political motives could be allowed to keep them from justice. Barred by law from offering a sufficiently large reward, he had turned to the railroad and express corporations to put up a $5,000 bounty for each of them.
  • 1879
    Age 31
    In 1879, the James gang robbed two stores in far western Mississippi, at Washington in Adams County and Fayette in Jefferson County.
    More Details Hide Details The gang absconded with $2,000 cash in the second robbery and took shelter in abandoned cabins on the Kemp Plantation south of St. Joseph, Louisiana. A law enforcement posse subsequently attacked and killed two of the outlaws but failed to capture the entire gang. Among the deputies was Jefferson B. Snyder, later a long-serving district attorney in northeastern Louisiana. Jesse James would live another three years until his demise in, coincidentally, another St. Joseph, in northwestern Missouri. By 1881, with authorities growing suspicious, the brothers returned to Missouri where they felt safer.
    He recruited a new gang in 1879 and returned to crime, holding up a train at Glendale, Missouri (now part of Independence, Missouri), on October 8, 1879.
    More Details Hide Details The robbery was the first of a spree of crimes, including the holdup of the federal paymaster of a canal project in Killen, Alabama, and two more train robberies. But the new gang did not consist of battle-hardened guerrillas; they soon turned against each other or were captured, while James grew paranoid to the point where he scared away one of his gang, and it is believed by some that he killed another.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1876
    Age 28
    Later in 1876, Jesse and Frank James surfaced in the Nashville, Tennessee, area, where they went by the names of Thomas Howard and B. J. Woodson, respectively.
    More Details Hide Details Frank seemed to settle down, but Jesse remained restless.
    On September 7, 1876, the James-Younger gang attempted a raid on the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota the opening day of hunting season in MN.
    More Details Hide Details After this robbery and a manhunt, only Frank and Jesse James were left alive and uncaptured. Cole and Bob Younger later stated that they selected the bank because they believed it was associated with the Republican politician Adelbert Ames, the governor of Mississippi during Reconstruction, and Union general Benjamin Butler, Ames' father-in-law and the Union commander of occupied New Orleans. Ames was a stockholder in the bank, but Butler had no direct connection to it. The gang attempted to rob the bank in Northfield about 2 p.m. on September 7, 1876. To carry out the robbery, the gang divided into two groups. Three men entered the bank, two guarded the door outside, and three remained near a bridge across an adjacent square. The robbers inside the bank were thwarted when acting cashier Joseph Lee Heywood refused to open the safe, falsely claiming that it was secured by a time lock even as they held a bowie knife to his throat and cracked his skull with a pistol butt. Assistant cashier Alonzo Enos Bunker was wounded in the shoulder as he fled out the back door of the bank.
  • 1875
    Age 27
    They suspected Askew of cooperating with the Pinkertons in the January 1875 arson of the James house.
    More Details Hide Details
    Across a creek and up a hill from the James house was the home of Daniel Askew. He is suspected to have been killed by James or his gang on April 12, 1875.
    More Details Hide Details
    Allan Pinkerton, the agency's founder and leader, took on the case as a personal vendetta. He began to work with former Unionists who lived near the James family farm. On the night of January 25, 1875, he staged a raid on the homestead.
    More Details Hide Details Detectives threw an incendiary device into the house; it exploded, killing James's young half-brother Archie (named for Archie Clement) and blowing off one of the arms off the James family's matriarch Zerelda Samuel. Afterward, Pinkerton denied that the raid's intent was arson, but biographer Ted Yeatman located a letter by Pinkerton in the Library of Congress in which Pinkerton declared his intention to "burn the house down." The raid on the family home outraged many. The Missouri state legislature narrowly defeated a bill that praised the James and Younger brothers and offered them amnesty. Allowed to vote and hold office again, former Confederates in the legislature voted to limit reward offers that the governor could make for fugitives. This extended a measure of protection over the James-Younger gang. (Only Frank and Jesse James previously had been singled out for rewards larger than the new limit.)
  • 1874
    Age 26
    Jesse and his cousin Zee married on April 24, 1874, and had two children who survived to adulthood: Jesse Edward James (b. 1875) and Mary Susan James (later Barr) (b. 1879).
    More Details Hide Details Twins Gould and Montgomery James (b. 1878) died in infancy. Jesse, Jr., became a lawyer who practiced in Kansas City, Missouri, and Los Angeles, California.
    Two others, Captain Louis J. Lull and John Boyle, were sent after the Youngers; Lull was killed by two of the Youngers in a roadside gunfight on March 17, 1874.
    More Details Hide Details Before he died, Lull fatally shot John Younger. A deputy sheriff named Edwin Daniels also died in the skirmish.
    The Adams Express Company turned to the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in 1874 to stop the James-Younger gang.
    More Details Hide Details The Chicago-based agency worked primarily against urban professional criminals, as well as providing industrial security, such as strike breaking. Because the gang received support by many former Confederate soldiers in Missouri, they eluded the Pinkertons. Joseph Whicher, an agent dispatched to infiltrate Zerelda Samuel's farm, shortly afterwards was found killed.
  • 1869
    Age 21
    The 1869 robbery marked the emergence of Jesse James as the most famous survivor of the former guerrillas.
    More Details Hide Details It was the first time he was publicly labeled an "outlaw," as Missouri Governor Thomas T. Crittenden set a reward for his capture. This was the beginning of an alliance between James and John Newman Edwards, editor and founder of the Kansas City Times. Edwards, a former Confederate cavalryman, was campaigning to return former secessionists to power in Missouri. Six months after the Gallatin robbery, Edwards published the first of many letters from Jesse James to the public, asserting his innocence. Over time, the letters gradually became more political in tone, denouncing the Republicans and voicing James' pride in his Confederate loyalties. Together with Edwards's admiring editorials, the letters turned James into a symbol of Confederate defiance of Reconstruction. Jesse James's initiative in creating his rising public profile is debated by historians and biographers, though the tense politics certainly surrounded his outlaw career and enhanced his notoriety.
    Jesse James did not become well-known, however, until December 7, 1869, when he and (most likely) Frank robbed the Daviess County Savings Association in Gallatin, Missouri.
    More Details Hide Details The robbery netted little money, but it appears that Jesse shot and killed the cashier, Captain John Sheets, mistakenly believing him to be Samuel P. Cox, the militia officer who had killed "Bloody Bill" Anderson during the Civil War. Cox had earlier been a partner of the firm Ballinger, Cox & Kemper with Gallatin businessman J.M. Kemper whose son William Thornton Kemper, Sr. went on to found two of the largest banks headquartered in Missouri (Commerce Bancshares and UMB Financial Corporation) but the business relationship had dissolved by the time of the robbery. James's self-proclaimed attempt at revenge, and the daring escape he and Frank made through the middle of a posse shortly afterward, put his name in the newspapers for the first time. An 1882 history of Daviess County said, "The history of Daviess County has no blacker crime in its pages than the murder of John W. Sheets." The only known civil case involving Frank and Jesse James was filed in the Common Pleas Court of Daviess County in 1870. In the case, Daniel Smoote asked for $223.50 from Frank and Jesse James to replace a horse, saddle, and bridle stolen as they fled the robbery of the Daviess County Savings Bank. The brothers denied the charges, saying they were not in Daviess County on December 7, the day the robbery occurred. Frank and Jesse failed to appear in court, however, and Smoote won his case against them.
  • 1868
    Age 20
    In 1868, Frank and Jesse James allegedly joined Cole Younger in robbing a bank at Russellville, Kentucky.
    More Details Hide Details
  • TEENAGE
  • 1867
    Age 19
    On May 23, 1867, for example, they robbed a bank in Richmond, Missouri, in which they killed the mayor and two others.
    More Details Hide Details It remains uncertain whether either of the James brothers took part, although an eyewitness who knew the brothers told a newspaper seven years later "positively and emphatically that he recognized Jesse and Frank James... among the robbers."
  • 1866
    Age 18
    This was a time of increasing local violence; Governor Fletcher had recently ordered a company of militia into Johnson County to suppress guerrilla activity. Archie Clement continued his career of crime and harassment of the Republican government, to the extent of occupying the town of Lexington, Missouri, on election day in 1866.
    More Details Hide Details Shortly afterward, the state militia shot Clement dead, an event James wrote about with bitterness a decade later. The survivors of Clement's gang continued to conduct bank robberies over the next two years, though their numbers dwindled through arrests, gunfights and lynchings. While they later tried to justify robbing the banks, these were small, local banks with local capital.
    On June 13, 1866 in Jackson County, Missouri, two jailed members of Quantril's gang were freed by a gang and the jailer killed.
    More Details Hide Details It is believed the James Brothers were involved.
  • 1864
    Age 16
    In the summer of 1864, Taylor was severely wounded, losing his right arm to a shotgun blast.
    More Details Hide Details The James brothers joined the bushwhacker group led by Bloody Bill Anderson. Jesse suffered a serious wound to the chest that summer. The Clay County provost marshal reported that both Frank and Jesse James took part in the Centralia Massacre in September, in which guerrillas killed or wounded some 22 unarmed Union troops; the guerrillas scalped and dismembered some of the dead. The guerrillas ambushed and defeated a pursuing regiment of Major A.V.E. Johnson's Union troops, killing all who tried to surrender (more than 100). Frank later identified Jesse as a member of the band who had fatally shot Major Johnson. As a result of the James brothers' activities, the Union military authorities made their family leave Clay County. Though ordered to move South beyond Union lines, instead they moved across the nearby state border into Nebraska.
  • 1863
    Age 15
    Frank James followed Quantrill to Texas over the winter of 1863–1864.
    More Details Hide Details In the spring he returned in a squad commanded by Fletch Taylor. After they arrived in Clay County, 16-year-old Jesse James joined his brother in Taylor's group.
    In 1863, he was identified as a member of a guerrilla squad that operated in Clay County.
    More Details Hide Details In May of that year, a Union militia company raided the James-Samuel farm, looking for Frank's group. They tortured Reuben Samuel by briefly hanging him from a tree. According to legend, they lashed young Jesse. Frank eluded capture and was believed to have joined the guerrilla organization led by William C. Quantrill. It is thought that he took part in the notorious massacre of some two hundred men and boys in Lawrence, Kansas, a center of abolitionists.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1852
    Age 4
    After Robert James' death, his widow Zerelda remarried twice, first to Benjamin Simms in 1852 and then in 1855 to Dr. Reuben Samuel, who moved into the James' home.
    More Details Hide Details Jesse's mother and Reuben Samuel had four children together: Sarah Louisa, John Thomas, Fannie Quantrell, and Archie Peyton Samuel. Zerelda and Reuben Samuel acquired a total of seven slaves, who served mainly as farmhands in tobacco cultivation. The approach of the American Civil War loomed large in the James-Samuel household. Missouri was a border state, sharing characteristics of both North and South, but 75% of the population was from the South or other border states. Clay County was in a region of Missouri later dubbed "Little Dixie," as it was a center of migration from the Upper South. Farmers raised the same crops and livestock as in the areas they migrated from. They brought slaves with them and purchased more according to their needs. The county counted more slaveholders, who held more slaves, than other regions of the state. Aside from slavery, the culture of Little Dixie was Southern in other ways as well. This influenced how the population acted during and for a period of time after the American Civil War. In Missouri as a whole, slaves accounted for only 10 percent of the population, but in Clay County they constituted 25 percent.
  • 1847
    Born
    Jesse Woodson James was born in Clay County, Missouri, near the site of present-day Kearney, on September 5, 1847.
    More Details Hide Details This area of Missouri was settled by many Southerners and became known as Little Dixie. Jesse James had two full siblings: his older brother, Alexander Franklin "Frank" James, and a younger sister, Susan Lavenia James. His father, Robert S. James, was a commercial hemp farmer and Baptist minister in Kentucky, who migrated to Bradford, Missouri, after marriage and helped found William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. He was prosperous, acquiring six slaves and more than of farmland. Robert James traveled to California during the Gold Rush to minister to those searching for gold; he died there when Jesse was three years old.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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