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From .1 photojii-aph taken in Platte City, IMo , 1S()4, when Quantrell 

attacked the town. Jesse James was then 

seventeen years old. 


Mother ol the James boys. 


From a photograph taken in Nebraska Cit3-, Xeb. iSTo. 





True Story of His Adventures 


Published by 


Cleveland, Ohio. 

"It required, indeed, all the excesses of the civil war of 
1881-5 to produce the genuine American guerrilla — more enter- 
prising by far, more deadly, more capable of immense physical 
endurance, more fitted by nature for deeds of reckless hardi- 
hood, and given over to less of penitence or pleading when face 
to face with the final end, than any French or Spanish, Italian 
or Mexican guerrilla notorious in song or story. He simply 
lived the life that was in him, and took the worst or best as it 
came and as fate decreed it. Circumstances made him unspar- 
ing, and not any predisposition in race or rearing. Fought 
first with fire, he fought back with the torch; and branded as an 
outlaw first, in despite of all reason, he made of the infamous 
badge a birthright and boasted of it as a blood-red inheritance 
while flaunting it in the face of a civilization which denounced 
the criminals while condoning the crimes that made them such." 
[From the book "Noted Guerrillas," by Major John N. Edwards.] 


Copyright 1906, by Arthur Westbrook. 


Tjr UNDREDS of different books have been writ- 
£JLg ten and published about Jesse James, and what 
^^J is commonly known as "The James Band." 
Many of these books were false from cover to cover. 
A few had in them a grain or two of truth upon which 
were strung whole chapters of untruths. I have read 
them all, and there is not one of them that did not 
d6 cruel injustice to the memory of my father and to 
his family. In none of these books, and in none of 
the thousands of newspaper articles that have been 
written about him, have I seen him credited with 
having in his nature any of the human attributes of 
kindness, charity or honesty of purpose. In all of 
these writings his true character is entirely lost sight 
of and distorted into that of a veritable Frankenstein 
who slew mercilessly and robbed for the mere love of 

This is because these writings were done by 
those who never knew my father. I defy the world 
to show that he ever slew a human being except in 
the protection of his own life, or as a soldier in hon- 
orable warfare. His only brother, whose name was 
linked with his in all the years of his life, is a free 
man to-day, acquitted of all crime. 

There were lovable and noble traits in the char- 
acter of my father, else why was it that for sixteen 
long years, when there was a price on his head that 


would have made his betrayer rich, not one could be 
found who would betray him. Did ever a man live 
who had such staunch friends, many of whom were 
persecuted and made to suffer because of the stead- 
fastness of their loyalty to him? Is it possible that 
an ignoble character could win and hold such friend- 
ships ? 

My object in writing this book is twofold. 
Thousands have asked me why I did not write such a 
book, and promised to buy one if I did write it. If 
all of these keep that promise it will have been a 
good business venture for me. One of my objects, 
then, in writing this book, is in the hope that it will 
bring some money for the support of my mother. 
My other object in writing it is to do something to 
correct the false impressions that the public have 
about the character of my father. Others may differ 
from me on this point, but I believe it my duty to 
the memory of my father that the truth about him 
be told. 

I make no claim to literary merit in this book. 
I have had little time in my life to go to school. In 
the years that boys usually spend in school I was at 
w^ork earning wages for the support of my widowed 
mother and the education of my fatherless sister. 
I have tried to make this book a straightforward 
account of the things I write about, as I see them. 


Kansas City, Mo., June 1, 1899. 

Chapter I. 


^WAS born August 31, 1875, in Nashville, 
Tenn. I recall with vivid distinctness an in- 

y cident that occurred in Nashville, when I was 
about five years old. At that time my father, Jesse 
James, was away from home. Dick Liddill was 
staying at our home during the absence of father. 
It was thQ night of St. Talentine's day. While 
mother and myself and sister and Dick Liddill were 
at home, there was a sound as if someone was throw- 
ing rocks against the front door. Dick started to 
open the door, but mother suspected that it was 
someone who had discovered who we were and were 
trying to entice Dick out to capture or kill him. She 
would not allow him to open the door. Dick then 
got my father's shot gun from a closet. Both of its 
barrels were loaded heavily with buckshot. Before 
my mother could interfere to prevent it, Dick aimed 
at the door and fired the charge of buckshot, tearing 
a great hole through the door panel and splintering 
it. Dick rushed to the door and threw it open and 
ran out on the porch. In the darkness he saw a man 
running around the corner. Dick fired the second 
barrel straight at him, barely missing him, the 


charge rattling against a lamp post on the street. 
We lived in the suburbs, and a great crowd that had 
heard the shots gathered to see what was the 
matter. Dick told them simply that he had shot at 
a burglar. 

We never knew positively who the mysterious 
one was that had frightened us so that night, but 
my father always thought it was a friend of his, who 
lived near us. Liddill had the reputation of being 
somewhat scary, and my father believed this friend 
threw the rocks at our house with the intention of 
playing a practical joke on Liddill, and to see how he 
would act. The theory seems all the more plausible 
because this friend came to our home very early 
the next morning and his face was unusually long 
and solemn. Whoever it was who threw the rocks, 
had a narrow escape from being killed. 

This dramatic scene of the shot fired through 
our door so suddenly and unexpectedly that night, 
will never fade from my memory. It is one of the 
earliest recollections of my life. 

The first remembrance I have of my father, was 
after we had moved from Nashville to Kansas City, 
a short time after this adventure of Dick Liddill 's. 
We lived in Kansas City, on East Ninth Street, be- 
tween Michigan and Euclid; on Troost Avenue, be- 
tween Tenth and Eleventh and on Woodland Avenue, 
between Twelfth and Thirteenth streets. I remem- 
ber those different homes in an indistinct way, al- 
though I have often visited them since I grew up. 

I remember very distinctly when we first came 
to Kansas City, we lived for a short time with 
Charles McBride, who was married to my mother's 


sister. At that time there was a large reward for 
the capture of my father, and I suppose he thought 
it unsafe to leave us at McBride's on account of the 
well-known relationship, and that detectives might 
take a notion to look there for him. My father 
came one day, I remember, and moved us away. I 
asked him where we were going and he said, 'Ho 
another town." We went to the Doggett House, at 
Sixth and Walnut, and engaged rooms. We had 
been there only two or three days, when, as I was 
playing on the street in front of the hotel, I saw my 
uncle, McBride, pass on horseback and I shouted to 

''Hello, Uncle Charlie! how did you get to this 

He spoke to me and rode on. When I went 
home and told my father about it, he at once paid 
his bill and took us away from there. 

I have heard my folks tell since, that while we 
lived on Woodland Avenue, in Kansas City, there 
was a vacant lot behind our house, and the father of 
Con. Murphy, the County Marshall, lived on the 
other side of this lot. At that time Marshall Murphy 
was very anxious to capture my father and nearly 
every night a posse would gather at Murphy's house 
and start out for the country around Independence 
and in the "Cracker Neck" district in search of mem- 
bers of the James band. My father used to walk 
over to Murphy's house in the evening when the 
posse would be starting out, and talk to them about 
their plans, and wish them good luck on their trip. 
I told Mr. Murphy recently about this and he 
laughed heartily at it. 


I remember seeing my father walking with a 
cane and limping, while we lived in Kansas City. I 
have been told since, that he did this, not because he 
was lame, but to help disguise himself. 

My strongest Tecollections of my father are of 
the times after we moved to St. Joseph, Mo. We 
went from Kansas City to St. Joseph in a covered 
wagon or "prairie schooner," drawn by two horses, 
and another horse, always saddled, leading behind. 
Charlie Ford drove the team. I sat most of the time 
on the seat with him, and father stayed inside the 
wagon until we were well out of Kansas City. We 
crossed the network of railroad tracks in the West 
Bottoms of Kansas City and drove up through 
Leavenworth and Atchison, Kan. It was my father's 
intention, when we started, to stop in Atchison 
and rent a house. When we reached Atchison we 
drove through the town and unhitched the horses at 
the edge of the town. Father and Charlie Ford rode 
back through the town to see if they could find a 
house for rent. They came back very soon and said 
the people were watching them suspiciously, so they 
hitched up again and drove on toward St. Joseph. 
This suspicion of my father's was probably un- 
founded. He and Ford were undoubtedly stared at 
with the same degree of curiosity that any strangers 
on horseback would have been looked at. But at 
that time there was a big price on my father's head, 
and it would be strange if he was not suspicious. In 
St. Joseph we lived first in a house, the location of 
which I have forgotten. From there we went to the 
house on the hill where my father was killed. 

It was while we lived in this house on the hill in 


St. Joseph that I best remember my father. I was 
then six years old. I remember my father as a tall, 
rather heavily built man, with a dark sandy beard. 
He was very kind to mother and to sister and to me. 
I remember best his good humored pranks, his fun 
making and his playing with me. I did not then 
know his real name or my own. I did not know that 
he w^as concealing anything from the public or that 
he was in danger of capture. He was living then 
under the name of Thomas Howard. My name was 
Charlie Howard, but my father and mother always 
called me "Tim.'' Father never called me by any 
other name than ''Tim." Charlie Ford, who was at 
the house a good deal of the time, went by the 
name of Charles Johnson. They claimed to be cousins. 

In those days in St. Joseph, father always kept 
at least two horses in the stable back of the house. 
Father was heavily armed at all times. In the house 
he kept a double barreled shot gun loaded with buck- 
shot, a Winchester rifle, a 45-calibre Colt's revolver, 
a 45-calibre Schofield revolver, and three cartridge 
belts. He never left the house without both of the 
revolvers and the three cartridge belts loaded, and 
some cartridges in his pockets. That was the way 
he armed himself when he went down towTi. When 
he went away to be gone any length of time he car- 
ried in addition to this, a small valise full of 
cartridges. When on a trip h© carried his Winches- 
ter strapped on the inside of a large umbrella. 

After my father's doath we sold a great many of 
these things at public auction. The little cartridge 
valise brought $15. We did not sell the revolvers 
or cartridge belts. T. T. Crittenden, Jr. has one of 


the revolvers now, which I gave him as a token of 
my friendship for him. My uncle, Frank James, has 
the other revolver. Two of the cartridge belts were 
stolen from the house by the people who crowded in 
after my father's death. The third cartridge belt I 
have now and I shall always keep it in remembrance 
of my father. 

At this same auction sale, after my father's death, 
we sold a little cur dog for $15. I felt the loss of 
the dog very much. The dog was given to my father 
by his half-sister, Mrs. Nicholson, when my father 
last visited my grandmother's home a short time 
before his death, and father brought the dog to St. 
Joseph with him. He rode in his arms on horse- 

My father was a great deal of the time at home 
while we lived in St. Joseph. He often took me 
with him for rides on horseback when the weather 
was fair. I generally rode in front of him, sitting 
astride of the horse's shoulders, and clinging with 
both hands to the mane. Sometimes I would ride 
behind him and hold on to his coat. These horse- 
back trips led away out into the country beyond 
sight or hearing of the town. I recall very distinctly 
that on one of these trips he sat me up on top of a 
rail fence, where I hung on by the stakes, and then 
he rode away and showed me how he used to charge 
the enemy when he was a soldier under Quantrell. 
With the bridle rein in his teeth, and an unloaded 
revolver in each hand snapping the triggers rapidly, 
he charged toward me on the gallop, and I thought it 
was great fun. 

One day the home of a preacher who lived in 

Things t remi^mbkr of my father. 11 

the suburbs of St. Joseph burned down, and the next 
day my father took me over on horseback to see the 
ruins. He talked quite awhile with the preacher and 
his wife. We found out after my father's death that 
this preacher used to live in Liberty, Mo., near the 
home of my people, and that both he and liis wife 
recognized my father. But they kept the secret 
well. They could have earned the $20,000 by be- 
traying my father, but they were loyal, as all friends 
of our family were in those days and in the trying 
times since then. 

The spring my father was killed there was a 
great parade in St. Joseph in celebration of some 
public event. My father rode on horseback, with 
me in front of him, with the parade over its whole 
route. Leading the parade was a platoon of mounted 
police, and father rode right behind them. 

One forenoon while my father was sitting at the 
window with me on his lap, he saw the chief of police 
of St. Joseph, and four men coming up the hill to- 
ward the house. Father got up hastily and sat me 
in a rocking chair, and told me to be very quiet. He 
ran out to the barn, and in a moment had his horse 
saddled. Then he came back into the house, and said 
a few words hurriedly to my mother while he put on 
his cartridge belts and revolvers, watching out of the 
window all of the time. He brought his Winchester 
rifle out of a closet and stood with it at the window, 
just far enough back so that the chief of police could 
not see him. The chief stopped in front of the house 
and put one foot and hand upon the fence as if to 
come in, and I saw my father take aim at him with 
the rifle. Then the chief evidently changed his mind 

12 J-^Sn JAM^. 

and went away. In a moment more he would have 
been killed. My father thought of course that the 
chief had discovered who he was, and was coming 
after him. We learned after my father's death that 
the chief was simply showing some strangers over the 
city, and had brought them over the hill on which 
our house stood, because it overlooked the whole city. 

My father used to hold me on his lap and talk a 
great deal to me about his adventures in th-e war. 
He used to talk to me about the James boys, and 
would read to me the accounts of their adventures that 
were published in the newspapers. He used to read 
to me from Major Edwards's book, stories about Quan- 
trell's band of guerrillas, and show me the pictures. 
I have only hazy recollections of these things, of 
course, but I remember that once he showed me a 
picture of one of the members of the guerrilla band 
who was living then, and said laughingly, that he 
had a good long neck to hang by. 

In days ^at father was lounging around the 
house, he often took the cartridges from his revolvers 
and buckled one of them around me, and strapped 
one with a handkerchief around my sister 's waist, and 
would say that I was Jesse James and that my sister 
was Sam Hildebrand. I remember well the name 
Sam Hildebrand, but I have never learned who he 
was, or if such a person ever lived. 

My father was alwaj^s heavily armed, and he 
told me that all the men went armed the same way. I 
thought that was true, because all the men I ever saw 
at our home were as heavily armed as he. 

The morning my father was murdered we had 
just finished breakfast. I heard from the front room 


the loud roar of a shot. My mother rushed in and 
screamed. I ran in after her and saw my father dead 
upon the floor, and my mother was down upon her 
knees by his side and was crying bitterly. My father 
was killed instantly by the bullet that Ford shot into 
the back of his head. He never spoke or breathed 
after he fell. 

Soon after the murder of my father a great 
crowd gathered outside the house. My childish 
mind imagined that these were responsible for the 
murder, and in great anger I lugged from its closet 
my father's shot gun and tried to aim it at the people 
outside, but my mother took it from me. 

Chapter II. 



HE story of the murder of my father and the 

immediate events that led up to it I have 
learned since from my mother, my grand- 
mother and others. Ten days before my father was 
killed, he and Charlie Ford and Bob Ford stayed all 
night at the home of my grandmother, Mrs. Samuels, 
near Kearney, Mo. My grandmother had known 
Charlie Ford for years, but this was the first time 
she had met his brother. Bob. She did not like the 
looks of Bob and she told my father that she did not 
believe Bob Ford was true. Father laughed at her 
and said : 

** Mother, I don't set much store by him either, 
but he has got into some trouble and Charlie wants 
him to go with us till he can get a chance to leave 
the country. I'll keep my eye on him." 

The last time that my father was at his birth- 
place was an ideal spring day. The grass and flowers 
were just coming up green and fresh, and the leaves 
were budding on the big coffee bean tree in the corner 
of the yard where he lies buried now. Father was 
in a good humor that day and he sat all of the after- 
noon with my grandmother in the shade of the porch 


and they talked together of old times. While they 
were sitting there a pretty red-headed woodpecker 
alighted on a tree fifty yards away and clung to the 
bark. My father pulled his revolver and said to my 
grandmother : 

"Mother, have you heard about my being a good 
shot; I will show you.'* 

He threw the revolver down on the little bird, 
pulled the trigger and it fell dead. 

My father was a wonderful marksman. I have 
heard his old comrades tell that seated on horseback 
with a revolver in each hand, he would ride at full 
speed between two telegraph poles, or two trees and 
begin firing at them when he was a few yards away, 
and before he was more than a few yards beyond 
them, he had emptied the chambers of both revol- 
vers, and the six bullets from the revolver in his left 
hand were buried in the pole to the left of him, 
while the six bullets from the revolver in his right 
hand were in the pole to his right. I think this 
story of his marksmanship was true, because several 
different men in whom I have great faith told me 
they saw it done more than once. I have heard other 
stories of his great skill with his revolver that are 
equally as wonderful as this. I have seen my father 
at practice shooting with a revolver. That was while 
we were living at St. Joseph and when he had taken 
me on a horseback ride to a lonely part of the country. 
But I was too young then to pay much attention to it, 
and I recall only that he was shooting at a mark on a 

After spending the day at the home of my grand- 
mother, my father and the two Ford boys rode away 


on horseback to St. Joseph. Father carried with him 
a small dog that was given him by his half-sister as a 
present to my' sister and me. Father carried that 
dog in his arms all the way to St. Joseph. 

The Ford boys killed my father for the reward 
that was offered for his apprehension. This reward 
was $5,000 for the apprehension of Jesse James and 
$5,000 additional reward for his conviction in any 
court. There has been a great deal of misunderstand- 
ing about this reward. It is generally believed that 
the reward was offered for the capture of Jesse James 
alive or dead. This was not the case. I have read 
the proclamation of Governor T. T. Crittenden offer- 
ing the reward, and it was as I have stated. 

The Ford boys had the confidence of my father. 
Charlie Ford had been with him off and on for years, 
and father had befriended him and protected him and 
fed him when he was penniless. Father had not the 
slightest suspicion that the Fords meant to harm him. 
This is proven by the fact that after breakfast that 
morning father took off his belt and revolvers and 
threw them upon the bed and threw his coat over 
them. He did this because it was a very warm morn- 
ing, and the belt and revolvers were tiresome to 
carry. Another reason was that it was necessary to 
have the doors and windows open, and father thought 
that people passing the house might be suspicious if 
they saw him armed. 

After my father put the revolvers upon the bed 
he noticed that a picture on the wall was hanging 
awry. He placed a chair beneath the picture and 
stood upon it to straighten it and then he started 
to brush the dust from it. Standing thus, his back 


was turned to the Ford boys, who were in the room. 
This was the opportunity the Fords had been wait- 
ing for. It was the very first time they had seen him 
unarmed since they knew him. Bob Ford drew his 
revolver, aim'ed it at the back of my father's head 
and cocked it. Father heard the click of the ham- 
mer and made a movement as if to turn around. 
But before he could do so Ford pulled the trigger 
and father fell backward dead. The Fords ran out 
and across the back yard fence, and went down town 
and surrendered to the authorities, telling that they 
had shot and killed Jesse James. Years afterward 
the Fords, who found themselves despised of all men 
because of this murder, denied that they shot my 
father for the reward, but that they learned that 
Jesse James suspected them of treachery and meant 
to kill them, and they shot him for self protection. 
That this story was absolutely false is proven by the 
fact that immediately after the murder Charlie Ford 
sent the following telegram to the Governor of Mis- 
souri : 

"I have got my man.'' 

Charlie Ford practically admitted in my presence 
and hearing that he killed my father for the reward. 
That conversation was held under the following cir- 
cumstances : 

Nearly three years after the murder, when I was 
nine years old, I was in Kansas City with my grand- 
mother. We were walking up Main street. I had 
hold of my grandmother's hand. Suddenly I saw and 
recognized Charlie Ford coming down the street 
toward us. I knew him the instant I saw him, and I 
was very much excited. I said to my grandmother: 


"Here comes the man who killed my father." 

It was the first time my grandmother had seen 
him since that day he was at her home with father, 
ten days before the murder. The sight of him made 
her weak and she sat down on a box in front of a 
shoe store. Ford saw her and went to walk past with 
his head turned the other way, but she called to him ; 

"You don't know me, Charlie?" 

He stopped and said: 

"Yes, I know you. You are Mrs. Samuels." 

"Yes, and you killed my brave boy; you mur- 
dered him for money. I ought to kill you," she 
said to him. 

He threw up both his hands in front of his face 
and answered: "Mrs. Samuels, don't say that. If 
you only knew what I am suffering, you wouldn't talk 
to me that way." 

' ' And what have you made me and mine suffer ? ' ' 
she said. 

"Mrs. Samuels, I have been in the blackest hell 
of remorse ever since it was done. But I didn't kill 
him. It was Bob did it," Ford said. 

"Yes, and you knew Bob intended to do it when 
you brought him to my house. You ate bread under 
my roof with blackest murder in your heart, and 
murder for money, too. There will come a day of 
terrible reckoning for you. ' ' 

I heard Charlie Ford tell my grandmother in 
that talk that he did not know that Bob intended to 
kill my father till they got to St. Joseph, and then 
Bob told him if he did not consent to it, he would 
kill him along with Jesse. Ford repeated over and 
over again, that he was suffering the worst agonies 


of remorse. The perspiration streamed down his 
face and there were tears in his eyes. He begged 
my grandmother to forgive him and she said : 

* ' If God can forgive you, I will. ' ' 

My grandmother asked him what he did with the 
$10,000 he got for murdering my father, and he re- 
plied : 

*'Mrs. Samuels, before God, w^e never got but a 
few hundred dollars of that reward. * ' 

I watched Charlie Ford closely while he was 
talking. I was only nine years old but I understood 
it all. I said nothing until he had gone on down the 

Then I said to my grandmother: 

*'If ever I grow to be a man I'm going to 
kill him." 

My grandmother said to me : ' ' You Tl never live 
long enough my son; God will never let an onery 
man like that live until then." 

Eleven months after that day, Charlie Ford 
committed suicide in Richmond, Mo., by shooting him- 
self. Bob Ford was shot and killed later in a 
gambling house in Colorado. 

A great many persons have asked me in recent 
years if I would have sought revenge on the Fords 
if they had lived till I grew up. I have never given 
a direct answer to that question. I answer it now by 
saying that I would not have troubled the Fords or 
sought an encounter with them or any of the other 
enemies of my father. I realize that the feelings and 
prejudices of the days of border warfare have almost 
passed away, that the times and conditions have 
changed and that it was a certainty that with a price 


of $10,000 on his head it was only a matter of time 
till some traitor would kill my father to get it, and 
that if the Fords had not done it some other would 

Every member of the James family has proven 
to the world in the seventeen years since my father's 
death that they are good citizens, and honest men 
and women. 

The conditions and events and prejudices that 
led my father to become a member of Quantrell's 
guerrilla band, and the story of the persecutions and 
proscriptions that prevented his honorable surrender 
at the close of the war, and made him an outlawed 
and hunted man, are told of in the succeeding chap- 

Chapter III. 



Y grandfather, Robert James, was a Baptist 
preacher of wide renown in the early days 

in Western Missouri. He was born and 

raised in Kentucky, and was a graduate of the George- 
town, Ky., college. His family was one of the old 
families of Logan County, Ky. My grandfather was 
married to my grandmother. Miss Zerelda Cole, one 
year before he graduated. He was then 23 years old, 
and she was 17. They met first at a religious gathering 
and it was a case of love at first sight. My grand- 
mother's people lived in Lexington, Ky., and she was 
educated in a Catholic convent in that city. The Cole 
family, of which my grandmother was a member, was 
of old Revolutionary stock. Her grandfather was a 
soldier in the war of the Revolution. My grand- 
mother's mother was a Lindsay, of the famous old 
Lindsay family of Kentucky. Senator Lindsay is a 
member of this family. 

My grandfather and grandmother were married 
December 28, 1841. The following August they came 
to Clay County, Mo., to visit the mother of Mr. James, 
who had married her second husband and was living in 
that county. He left my grandmother in Clay County 
and returned to Kentucky. He was to have returned 
the next Christmas, but the Missouri river was frozen 
and he had to postpone the trip. He came in the 
spring. My grandfather liked Clay County and he 
remained there, settling near Kearney. He combined 


farming with preaching and was very successful at 
both. He acquired a large and valuable farm, on 
which my grandmother yet lives, and from the product 
of this farm he supported his family, because he never 
asked money for preaching and the good farmers to 
whom he broke the bread of life gave him very little. 
He was a great exhorter and a fervid expounder of the 
Gospel. He founded the Baptist churches at New 
Hope and at Providence, which are yet in existence, 
He was a wonderful revivalist and he baptized many 
of the old settlers of Clay County who are yet living 
and many more who are dead. I have had old men 
and women tell me of seeing him go into the water 
and baptize sixty converts at one time. At this time 
when my grandfather baptized sixty converts without 
leaving the water, my father, Jesse James, was four- 
teen months old, and he was held up in his mother's 
arms and saw the ceremony. 

Years afterward, when my father had returned 
desperately wounded from the border wars, he was 
baptized not very far from the same place. 

In 1851 my grandfather, the Rev. Robert James, 
went to California. The day he started, Jesse James 
was four years old. He clung to my grandfather and 
cried and pleaded with him not to go away. This 
affected my grandfather very much, and he told my 
grandmother that if he had not already spent so much 
money in outfitting for the trip, and if he had not 
promised the other men who were going with him, he 
would give up the trip. It was a great desire to get 
money to educate his children, that led him to under- 
take the journey to the gold fields of California. My 
grandmother had a presentiment then that she would 

never see him again, and she never did. The overland 
trip from Clay County to California lasted from April 
12 to August 1, three months. My grandfather lived 
only eighteen days after reaching California, and 
was buried there. 

He had preached the gospel for eight years and 
received in all that time less than $100 for his ser- 
vices. He was a good Christian and a" noble man. 

The children of my grandfather were : 

Alexander James, born January 10, 1844. 

Robert James, born July 19, 1845, died in infancy. 

Jesse W. James, born September 5, 1847, died 
April 3, 1882. 

Susan L. James born November 25, 1849, married 
November 24, 1870, to Allen H. Palmer, died 1889. 

My grandmother remained a widow for four 
years. She married Dr. Reuben Samuels in 1855. The 
children born of that marriage were : 

Sarah L. Samuels, born December 26, 1858, mar- 
ried November 28, 1878, to William Nicholson. 

John T. Samuels, born May 25, 1861, married 
July 22, 1885, to Norma L. Maret. 

Fannie Quantrell Samuels, born October 18, 1863, 
married December 30, 1880, to Joseph Hall. 

Archie Payton Samuels, born July 26, 1866, mur- 
dered by Pinkerton detectives, January 26, 1875. 

My grandmother had eight children. Two of 
them were murdered. 

My grandmother lives yet on the old homestead 
near Kearney, Mo. Dr. Samuels, her second husband, 
lives with her, but is old and quite feeble. My 
grandmother is seventy-four years old, is vigorous and 
in good health. 

Chapter IV. 


^T^ HE Kansas Jayhawkers and Red Legs made 
■i- the Missouri guerrilla possible. When the 
^iail civil war broke out, Eastern Kansas was 
filled with abolitionists who formed themselves into 
marauding bands, called Jayhawkers and Red Legs, 
who invaded Western Missouri, ostensibly in the in- 
terests of the Union cause, but really for the purpose 
of plunder, making war an excuse for robbery. Jack- 
son and Clay Counties were settled mostly by people 
of Southern sympathies, many of them from Ken- 
tucky. The maurauding bands from Kansas stole 
and drove off horses and cattle, enticed negro slaves 
away, robbed and burned houses, hanged and shot 
men and insulted women. These outrages led to the 
organization of the Missouri guerrillas under Quan- 

Charles William Quantrell was born in Hagers- 
town, Md., in 1836. In 1855 Quantrell came to Kan- 
sas and joined his only brother and they /started on a 
trip overland to California, with a negro as cook and 
hostler. Although there was peace at that time, 
Western Missouri and Kansas were at war. Armed 
bands which called themselves ''patriots'' roamed 


over Kansas and made frequent dashes into Missouri. 
One night in the summer of 1856, when the Quantrell 
brothers were camped on the Little Cottonwood river, 
on the way to California, one of these bands of 
thirty-two armed men rode deliberately up and at- 
tacked the little camp. The elder Quantrell was killed 
instantly and Charles William Quantrell was left for 
dead. But he did not die. He lay in great agony for 
two days, scarcely able to move, keeping the coyotes 
and buzzards from the body of his brother. Early in 
the morning of the third day an old Shawnee Indian 
found and rescued Quantrell and buried his dead 
brother, and nursed Quantrell back to life. 

The experiences and sufferings of those two 
awful days and nights made a fiend of Quantrell. 
When he recovered he taught school long enough to 
pay the old Indian for his board and then he went to 
Leavenworth, and under the name of Charles Hart, 
he joined the Jayhawkers. He was promoted to the 
position of orderly sergeant, and held the esteem 
and confidence of all. But it w^as revenge he was 
after, and he bided his time. In the four years he 
was with the Jayhawkers, he killed thirty out of the 
thirty-two men who had' murdered his brother, and 
each one of them was shot mysteriously in the very 
center of the forehead. Quantrell was discovered by 
his comrades at last and then he fled '"to Jackson 
County, Mo., and organized QuantrelPs band of 

Major John N. Edwards says of Quantrell: 
*' One-half of the country believes Quantrell to 
have been a highway robber crossed upon the tiger; 
the other half that he was the gallant defender of 


his native South; one-half believes him to have 
been an avenging nemesis of the right; the other a 
forbidding monster of assassination. History cannot 
hesitate over him, however, nor abandon him to the 
imagination of the romancers. He was a living, 
breathing, aggressive, all-powerful reality— riding 
through the midnight, laying ambuscades by lonesome 
roadsides, catching marching columns by the throat, 
breaking in upon the flanks and tearing a suddenly 
surprised rear to pieces; vigilant, merciless, a terror 
by day and a superhuman if not a supernatural thing 
when there was upon the earth blackness and dark- 
ness. ' ' 

Major Edwards, in his wonderful book, '^ Noted 
Guerrillas, or the Warfare of the Border," speaks 
thus of the men who formed the guerrilla band 
under Quantrell. 

''As strange as it may seem, the perilous fasci- 
nation of fighting under a black flag — where the 
wounded could have neither surgeon nor hospital, 
and where all that remained to the prisoners was the 
absolute certainty of speedy death— attracted a num- 
ber of young men, born of higher destinies, capable 
of sustained exertion in any scheme or enterprise, 
and fit for callings high up in the scale of science or 
philosophy. Others came who had deadly wrongs to 
avenge, and these gave to all their combats that 
sanguinary hue which yet remains a part of the guer- 
rilla's legacy. Almost from the first, a large major- 
ity of QuantrelFs original command had over them 
the shadow of some terrible crime. This one re- 
called a father murdered, this one a brother waylaid 
and shot, this one a house pillaged and burned, this 

The border wars. ^t 

one a relative assassinated, this one a grievous insult 
while at peace at home, this one a robbery of all his 
earthly possessions, this one the force which com- 
pelled him to witness the brutal treatment of a mother 
or sister, this one was driven away from his own like a 
thief in the night, this one was threatened with death 
for opinion's sake, this one was proscribed at the 
instance of some designing neighbor, this one was ar- 
rested wantonly and forced to do the degrading work 
of a menial ; while all had more or less of wrath laid up 
against the day when they were to meet face to face, 
and hand to hand, those whom they had good cause to 
regard as the living embodiment of unnumbered 
wrongs. Honorable soldiers in the Confederate army 
—amenable to every generous impulse and exact in 
the performance of every manly duty— deserted even 
the ranks which they had adorned, and became 
desperate guerrillas because the home they left had 
been given to the flames, or a gray-haired father shot 
upon his own hearth-stone. They wished to avoid the 
uncertainty of regular battle and know by actual re- 
sults how many died as a propitiation or a sacrifice. 
Every other passion became subordinate to that of 
revenge. They sought personal encounters, that their 
own handiwork might become unmistakably manifest. 
Those who died by other agencies than their own were 
not counted in the general summing up of a fight, nor 
were the solacements of any victory sweet to them 
unless the knowledge of being important factors in its 
achievements. As this class of guerrillas increased, 
the warfare of the border became necessarily more 
cruel and unsparing. Where at first there was only 
killing in ordinary battle, there became t® be no 


quarter shown. The wounded of the enemy next felt 
the might of his individual vengeance — acting through 
a community of bitter memories — and from every 
stricken field there began, by and by, to come up the 
substance of this awful bulletin : Dead such and such 
a number, wounded none. The war had then passed 
into its fever heat, and thereafter the gentle and the 
merciful, equally with the harsh and revengeful, spared 
nothing clad in blue that could be captured. ' ' 

At the outbreak of the civil war my people lived 
near Kearney, in Clay County, Mo. My grand- 
mother being a native of Kentucky, was naturally a 
Southern sympathizer, as was her husband. Dr. 

In that neighborhood at that time were a great 
many sympathizers with the Northern cause. Many 
of these had formed themselves into organizations 
known as ' ' Home Militia " or * ' Home Guards, ' ' and 
these often operated in conjunction with the raiders 
from Kansas who came into Missouri to pillage and 
kill. Members of these organizations hated my 
grandmother because she was a Southern sympathizer 
and outspoken in her loyalty to the cause of the Con- 

The feeling in those days was very intense 
against Southern sympathizers. Northern spies in 
Southern uniforms would go to families and get a 
drink of water or something to eat, and the families 
would be persecuted for it and sometimes put in jail. 

In the spring of 1863 a band of Northern 
militiamen came to the home of my grandmother 
and demanded to know where Quantrell was. 
Quantrell's band had been in that neighborhood 


shortly before this, and these militiamen thought, I 
suppose, that my folks could be frightened into telling 
where they were, if they knew. My father was plough- 
ing corn with Dr. Samuels when the militiamen came 
up. They took Dr. Samuels from the plough and 
drove him at the points of their bayonets to a tree 
near the barn and put a rope around his neck and 
hung him to a limb until he was nearly dead. Then 
they lowered him, loosened the rope, and demanded 
that he tell where Quantrell was. He did not know, 
and of course could not tell. He would not have told 
if he had known. Three times they strung him up to 
the limb and lowered him. The rope cut into his neck 
until it bled. 

The militiamen drove my father, who was a boy of 
fifteen, up and down the corn rows, lashing his back 
with a rope and threatening him with their bayonets. 
They forced him up to the mulberry tree to witness 
the cruel treatment of his stepfather. 

When they were through torturing Dr. Samuels 
with the rope, they went to the house and pointing 
their guns as my grandmother, said : 

"You had better tell what you know." 

My grandmother answered: "I am like 
Marion's wife, what I know I will die knowing." 

Captain Culver was commanding the squad of 
militiamen. He shouted to the men under him, who 
were at the rear of the house with Dr. Samuels : 

"Bring him around here and let him bid his wife 
good bye." 

My grandmother asked him what he intended 
doing with her husband. 


"I'm going up here to kill him and let the hogs 
eat him, ' ' was the reply. 

They took him away and had been gone a short 
while, when three shots were heard in the direction 
they had gone. My grandmother thought they had 
killed him, and believed so for days afterward. But 
they did not kill him. They rode with him until 
midnight and lodged him, hungry and suffering great 
pain with his neck, in the jail at Liberty. 

After the militiamen had gone with his step- 
father, Jesse James said to his mother: 

"Ma, look at the stripes on my back.' ' 

My grandmother took off his shirt, and his back 
was livid with long stripes. My grandmother wept 
at the sight and he said to her: 

"Ma, don't you cry. I'll not stand this again " 

"What can you do?" she asked him. 

"I will join Quantrell," he said. 

"But they have stolen all the horses, and you 
have no money, ' ' she said. 

"Time will bring both," was the reply of my 

Soon after this my grandmother and her daugh- 
ter were arrested and taken to St. Joseph and thrown 
into jail, and kept there twenty-five days. No charge 
was made against her. She was imprisoned in this 
shameful way simply because she and her sons were 
Southern sympathizers. Is it to be wondered at that 
her sons, beaten, imprisoned, tortured, persecuted 
at every turn, and driven from home joined Quan- 
trell 's avenging band? 

That same spring after Jesse James had been 
beaten by the militiamen, Fletcher Taylor, a member 


of Quantrell's guerrillas, and one of the most des- 
perate fighters the world ever saw, came for him and 
took him to join Quantrell. 

The exciting life and the horseback riding with 
Quantrell agreed with my father. He had been a 
delicate boy, but in one winter he grew so stout and 
strong that when he returned home the following 
spring for a short visit, his mother did not know him 
at first. Fletcher Taylor came home with him on that 
visit. He said to my grandmother : 

"You didn't know the boy, did you?" 

'*No, I did not," his mother said. 

Taylor pointed to my father and said : 

"There is the bravest man in all Quantrell's 
command. ' ' 

"Yes, anyone would be brave if they had done 
to them what the militiamen did to him, ' ' was the 
answer my grandmother made to this. 

In his book, "Noted Guerrillas, or Warfare of 
the Border," Major Edwards says of the causes that 
drove my father to be a guerrilla: 

"His mother and sister were arrested, carried to 
St. Joseph and thrown into a filthy prison. The 
hardships they endured were dreadful, often without 
adequate food, insulted by sentinels who neither un- 
derstood nor cared to learn the first lesson of a soldier 
— courtesy to women — cut off from all communica- 
tion with the world, the sister was brought near to 
death's door from a fever which followed the punish- 
ment, and the mother— a high spirited and coura- 
geous matron— was released only after suffering and 
emaciation had made her aged in her prime. Before 


she returned to her home Jesse had joined the dreaded 

* ' Jesse James had a face as smooth and as innocent 
as the face of a school girl," says Major Edwards in 
his book. *'The blue eyes — very clear and penetrat- 
ing — were never at rest. His form — tall and finely 
moulded— was capable of great effort and great en-'' 
durance. On his lips there was always a smile, and 
for every comrade a pleasant word or a compliment. 
Looking at the small, white hands with their long, 
t-apering fingers, it was not then written or recorded 
that they were to become with a revolver among the 
quickest and deadliest hands in the West. Jesse's 
face was something of an oval. He laughed at many 
things. He was light hearted, reckless, devil-may- 
care. He was undaunted." 

Chapter V. 


"lAT HETHER or not my father was in the Law- 
, r.y., rence raid I am unable to say. I have heard 
^^lol some of his comrades say that he was there 
and some of them say he was not there. Jesse James 
was at Centralia, September 27, 1864. A train from 
St. Louis reached there at 11 o'clock that morning 
having on board twenty-four Federal soldiers. Quan- 
trell's guerrillas were there to meet it. As the train 
slowed up the soldiers looked out of the windows and 
saw the waiting guerrillas on the platform. One of 
the federals recognized Bill Anderson, one of Quan- 
trell 's bravest men, and said to his comrades : 

*'Lord! Lord! There is Bill Anderson! Boys, 
go. to praying." 

Bill Anderson 's sisters had been killed by Federal 
soldiers, and over their dead bodies he had sworn a 
solemn oath to never spare a Federal, and he never 
spared one. When he was killed the silken cord on 
which he tied a knot each time he killed a Federal 
soldier had fifty-four knots on it. 

The twenty-four soldiers were taken off the train, 
stood in line and shot. 

Later in the day, Major Johnson and three hun- 
dre(i Federal soldiers went three miles southeast of 


Centralia and attacked the two hundred and sixty-two 
guerrillas who were encamped there in the timber. The 
guerrillas came out to meet them. The story of the 
fight is best told by Major Edwards and it is a true 
account of it, as follows: 

"Major Johnson halted his men and rode along 
his front speaking a few calm and collected words. 
They could not be heard in the guerrilla ranks, but 
they might have been divined. Most battle speeches 
are the same. They are generally epigram.matic, and 
full of sentences like these: 'Aim low,' 'keep cool,' 
'fire when you get loaded,' 'let the wounded lie till 
the fight is over. ' But could it be possible that John- 
son meant to receive the charge of the guerrillas at a 
halt? What cavalry books had he read? Who had 
taught him such ruinous and suicidal tactics? And 
yet monstrous as the resolution was in a military sense, 
it had actually been taken, and Johnson called out 
loud enough to be heard from opposing force to 
opposing force : ' Come on, we are ready for the fight.' 

"The challenge was accepted. The guerrillas 
gathered themselves up together as if by a sudden 
impulse, and took the bridle reins between their 
teeth. In the hands of each man there was a deadly 
revolver. There were carbines also, and yet they 
never had been unslung. The sun was not high, and 
there was great need to finish quickly whatever had 
need to be begun. Riding the best and fastest horses 
in Missouri, the guerrillas struck the Federal ranks 
as if the rush was a rush of tigers. Jesse James, 
riding a splendid race mare, led by half a length, then 
Arch Clements, then Peyton Long, then Oil Shep- 
herd. There was neither trot nor gallop; the guer- 


rillas simply dashed from a walk into a full run. 
The attack was a hurricane. Johnson's command 
fired one volley and not a gun thereafter. It scarcely 
stood until the interval of three hundred yards was 
passed over. Johnson cried out to his men to fight 
to the death, but they did not wait even to hear him 
through. Some broke ranks as soon as they had 
fired and fled. Others were attempting to reload 
their muskets when the guerrillas, firing right and 
left, hurled themselves upon them. Johnson fell 
among the first. Mounted as described, Jesse James 
singled out the leader of the Federals. He did not 
know him then. No words were spoken between the 
two. When Jesse James reached to within five feet 
of Johnson's position, he put out a pistol suddenly 
and sent a bullet through his brain. Johnson threw 
out his hands as if trying to reach something above 
his head and pitched forward heavily, a corpse. 
There was no quarter. Many begged for mercy on 
their knees. The guerrillas heeded the prayer as a 
wolf might the bleating of a lamb. The wild rout 
broke away toward Sturgeon, the implacable pursuit, 
vengeful as hate, thundering in the rear. Death did 
its work in twos, in threes, in squads— singly. Be- 
yond the first volley, in which three were killed and 
one mortally wounded, not a single guerrilla was 

''Probably sixty of Johnson's men gained their 
horses before the fierce wave of the charge broke 
over them, and these were pursued by five guerrillas, 
led by Jesse James, for six miles at the dead run. 
Of the sixty, fifty-two were killed on the road from 
Centralia to Sturgeon. Todd drew up his command 


and watched the chase go on. For three miles 
nothing obstructed the vision. Side by side over the 
level prairie the five stretched away like the wind, 
gaining step by step and bound by bound, upon the 
rearmost riders. Then little puffs of smoke arose. 
No sounds could be heard, but dashing ahead from 
the white spurts terrified steeds ran riderless. Night 
and Sturgeon ended the killing. Five men had shot 
fifty-two. Johnson's total loss was two hundred and 
eighty-two, or out of three hundred only eighteen 
escaped. History has chosen to call this ferocious 
killing at Centralia a butchery. In civil war en- 
counters are not called butcheries when the comba- 
tants are man to man and where over either rank there 
waves a black flag. Johnson's overthrow, probably, 
was a decree of fate. He rushed upon it as if im- 
pelled by a power stronger than himself. He did 
not know how to command, and his men dfd not 
know how to fight. He had, by the sheer force of 
circumstances, been brought face to face with two 
hundred and sixty-two of the most terrible revolver 
fighter^ the American war or any other war ever 
produced, and he deliberately tied his hands by the 
act of dismounting, and stood in the shambles until 
he was shot down. Abject and pitiful cowardice 
matched itself against reckless and profligate desper- 
ation, and the end could only be just what the end 
was. The guerrillas did unto the militia just exactly 
what the militia would have done unto them if fate 
had reversed its decision and given to Johnson what 
it permitted to the guerrillas. ' ' 

Father was with Todd a few days after Centralia 
when they made a raid from their camp on the Black- 


water into Lafayette County to break up a German 
Federal military organization. The militia knew 
Todd and his guerrillas were coming and they formed 
an ambuscade of one hundred men in some hazel 
brush near the road and sent fourteen cavalrymen 
down the road to meet the guerrillas, and to fire 
upon them and to fall back past the ambush. Jesse 
James and ten men rode ahead of the main body of 
one hundred and sixty-three guerrillas. These ten 
men met the fourteen cavalrymen and charged them, 
driving them past the ambuscade. Todd and his 
one hundred and sixty-three guerrillas heard the 
firing in front and rushed up, and his command re- 
ceived the fire from the ambush full in the teeth. 
Todd and his men dismounted and rushed into the 
brush and killed all but twenty-two of the one hun- 
dred militiamen hiding there. While this was going 
on Jesse James and the ten guerrillas with him had 
killed ten of the fourteen cavalrymen farther down 
the road and were pursuing them when they ran at 
full speed into the advance of a Federal column two 
hundred strong. There was nothing for the eleven 
guerrillas to do but turn and run for dear life pur- 
sued by the two hundred Federals shooting and yell- 
ing. My father's splendid race mare, that had 
borne him so well in the Centralia fight, was killed 
beneath him. Father was shot in the left arm and 
side. He fell behind his dead horse and fought from 
there, shooting down five of the Federals closest to 
him. The balance of the guerrilla company came up 
at this critical time and drove off the Federals. In 
this day's fight one hundred and seventeen militia 
were killed and Jesse James killed ten of them. 

38 jnssn JAMES, 

There is not room in a book of this size to tell 
one-hundredth part of the adventures, the comings 
and goings, the hot battles, the victories and the hair- 
breadth escapes of Quantrell's guerrilla band, of 
which my father was a member. Only a few of 
these events, in which my father took a prominent 
part will be mentioned here. 

The attack of Plattsburg, Mo., by the guerrillas 
was one of these most thrilling events. The court 
house in the center of the square in Plattsburg was 
held by forty-six Federal soldiers heavily armed. 
Twelve guerrillas marched to the town in the night. 
Three hundred yards from the square they formed 
fours and made a charge forward. The garrison in 
the court house was warned of their coming, and 
every window was full of guns, and the square was 
swept by minnie balls. The twelve guerrillas at- 
tacked the court house in the face of a pitiless fire 
and captured it. Forty-six Federal soldiers surren- 
dering to twelve guerrillas, who broke to pieces the 
two hundred muskets they found in the court house 
and appropriated $10,000 in Missouri defence bonds 
they found there. The forty-six Federal soldiers 
were paroled under sacred promise that in the future 
they would treat non-combatants and Southern sym- 
pathizers with more mercy than they had done in 
the past. 

Leaving Plattsburg, the guerrillas crossed the 
Missouri river to Independence. Four miles from 
Independence there was a disorderly house kept by 
several women, and it was a resort for the officers of 
the Federal garrison at Independence. The guerrillas 
set a trap to catch these officers. 


Jesse James, dressed as a young girl, rode on 
horseback up to this house and called its mistress 
out. Imitating the voice and manner of a girl my 
father told her that he lived not far away, that he 
was a girl fond of adventure, and would like to come 
to the house that night, bringing two or three neigh- 
bor girls, "to have a good time.'* The mistress of 
the house consented, and the supposed girl on horse- 
back said he and the other girls would be there that 

The mistress sent word at once to the Federal 
officers in Independence that four new girls would be 
at her house that night. 

It was after dark when Jesse James and the other 
guerrillas rode up to the house, and dismounting, 
crept up and peered in at the windows. Twelve 
Federal officers were in there with the women. No 
guards or sentinels were out. The Federals felt 
secure. All the company was in one room, five 
women and twelve men. A cheery fire blazed and 
crackled on the hearth of the old-fashioned fire place. 

Jesse James, with five men, went to one window. 
Bill Gregg, with four men, went to another. Each 
of the nine guerrillas in the darkness outside selected 
his man. At a signal that had been agreed upon 
there was a crack of nine revolvers that sounded 
like the discharge of a single gun. The glass, shiv- 
ered in a thousand bits, crashed, and nine of the 
Federal soldiers fell dead at that first volley. The 
remaining three fell dead an instant later. The 
guerrillas mounted and rode away. 

The next fight of these guerrillas was in June, 
1863. Todd led the command of seventy guerrillas, 


and the plan was to capture and burn Kansas City. 
But on the way to Kansas City these seventy guer- 
rillas met in the old Sante Fe trail near Westport a 
column of two hundred Federals. These were sol- 
diers from Kansas, on their way to Kansas City. 
Todd drew his men up in line and said to them : 

''These Kansas soldiers are the fellows we want. 
They had better be fought out here in the open than 
behind brick walls." 

Todd formed his men behind a knoll near Brush 
Creek, and himself rode forward to reconnoitre the 
advancing column. The signal for the guerrillas to 
advance was when Todd lifted his hat. Todd 
mounted on a superb horse, stood in the middle of 
the road and watched the advancing Federal column. 
At the proper moment he turned to the knoll behind 
him and lifted his hat, at the same time hitching his 
revolvers around to his front. The seventy guer- 
rillas came over the hill and galloped down like a 
whirlwind into the faces of the two hundred soldiers 
who were a part of the Ninth Kansas cavalry under 
Capt. Thatcher. It was a hot day. The dust rose in 
clouds from under the hoofs of the horses and rolled 
above them. The battle was a hand to hand conflict. 
The guerrillas with their bridle reins in their teeth 
and a big revolver in each hand, rode right into the 
Cvolumn, firing with the right and left hand at once 
and never missing a man. In this fight my father, 
although he was only a boy, won this remarkable 
compliment from old Bill Anderson : 

''For a beardless boy he is the keenest and 
cleanest fighter in the command." 

Eighty Federals were killed before their column 


wheeled in a mad, clattering rout back to the Kansas 
prairies they had just left. The seventy guerrillas 
chased them, firing and killing as they went. The 
fleeing Kansas cavalry ran straight into a solid regi- 
ment of the Federal infantry and formed behind it. 
The guerrillas had to retreat but they had lost only 
three men. 

After this the guerrillas were unusually active. 
Eight of them came upon eight Federals and drove 
them into a barn and then set it on fire, and as the 
eight soldiers ran out to escape the flames each was 
killed in turn. 

Twelve guerrillas came to a tavern west of 
"VYestport, in Kansas, and killed eight Federal soldiers 
who were stopping there. 

Todd, with ten guerrillas, met eighteen Kansas 
Red Legs on the road to Independence, and killed 
fifteen of them. 

Poole and thirty guerrillas hid in the woods on 
a hillside that overlooked a spring on the road three 
miles west of Napoleon. Eighty-four Federal cav- 
alry came along and stopped there to water their 
horses. Thirty-three of the eighty-four Federal 
cavalry were killed and eleven badly wounded. 

Jesse James was in all of these combats. 

In July, 1863, Major Ransom and four hundred 
Federals, with two pieces of artillery, were met on 
the road between Blue Springs and Pleasant Hill by 
twenty guerrillas under Todd, who was one of 
Quantrell's lieutenants. The twenty guerrillas made 
a whirlwind charge into the ranks of the four 
hundred Federals and killed fifteen of them and 
wounded a dozen, and then fell back, and kept 


charging and then retreating down the road. Ransom 
pursued slowly, firing his cannon from every hill top. 
Quantrell 's full command joined Todd and formed in 
line of battle beyond a ford of the Sni that Ransom 
would have to pass. Quantrell cha:rged down upon 
the Federals as they were crossing this ford and 
forced Ransom to retreat to Independence, leaving 
seventy-three of his men dead behind him. 

Anderson, one of QuantrelPs officers, and twenty 
guerrillas, circled Olathe, Kas., and killed thirty- 
eight Federal infantry they found in a foraging 

After the Lawrence raid, in which the guerrillas 
killed a number of Kansans variously estimated to 
be between one hundred and forty-three and two 
hundred and sixteen, the Federals began scalping 
the guerrillas they killed in fair and foul fights. 
There had been no scalping before that. The first 
body scalped was that of Ab. Haller, a guerrilla of 
great courage and fighting energy. He was hiding, 
desperately wounded, in so-me timber near Texas 
Prairie, near the eastern limits of Jackson County. 
Seventy-two Federal soldiers found him there and 
demanded his surrender. But a guerrilla never sur- 
rendered at any time or place. Desperately wounded 
as he was, Haller, single handed and alone, fought 
from the brush the seventy-two soldiers and killed 
five of them before they succeeded in killing him. 
In the fight he was wounded eleven times. The fatal 
bullet went fair through his heart. His slayers were 
so infuriated at the gallant fight he made that they 
scalped him and cut off his ears. An hour or two 
later the body was found by Andy Blunt and a small 


party of guerrillas. ,When they saw the mutilated 
body of their brave comrade they took this oath : 

''Hereafter it is scalp for scalp.*' 

Thereafter a few of the more desperate guer- 
rillas scalped their victims, and a few of the Federals 
did the same. But in truth it must be said that most 
of the guerrillas and most of the Federals never 
mutilated a body. My father never did this, it is 
needless for me to say, and he disapproved of it most 
emphatically, but a few of the guerrillas had been 
desperately and shamefully wronged by the Kansas 
militia, and when they saw the bodies of their dead 
comrades mutilated they took an eye for an eye and 
a tooth for a tooth. 

There is not space here to tell of the many 
savage' combats that occurred between guerrillas and 
Federals all over Jackson, Clay and Lafayette 
Counties in Missouri, and Johnson County in Kansas, 
in these years of the war. The guerrillas were not 
always cruel. Sometimes they were merciful. An 
instance of this was when a company of guerrillas 
surrounded eleven Federals in a house of ill repute 
four miles west of Wellington in Lafayette County. 
The Federals were ordered to come out and they 
came. Ten of them were shot down. The eleventh 
could not be found. A search of the house was made 
and he was found dressed as a woman in one of the 
beds. He had hoped by this ruse to escape. This 
soldier fell upon his knees when he was discovered 
and begged piteously for his life. He promised, if 
he was spared, to desert the army and throw his gun 
away and go home to his mother. He prayed and 
wept. When he talked about his mother, and begged 


to be spared for her sake, Arch Clements, the most 
desperate of them all, took pity on him and said to 

*'Come, get up off your knees and go outside 
with me." 

Arch Clements led him out into the woods under 
the shade of a huge oak near the roadside. 

**For the sake of my dear mother do not kill 
me," he begged. He was almost a boy, with a fair, 
honest face. Clements halted him under the oak 
tree, out of sight of his guerrilla comrades and said 
to him, pointing down the road : 

' ' You are free ; go, and go quick. ' * 

The Kansas boy ran out into the darkness, and 
Clements discharged his pistol in the air and re- 
turned to his comrades, who believed that the pistol 
report they heard had sent a bullet through the 
young man's heart. 

My father was badly wounded and almost killed 
August 13, 1864, at Flat Rock Ford, over Grand 
river. Sixty-five guerrillas were camped there. A 
mile away lived a northern sympathizer who notified 
a body of Federals. Three hundred militia and one 
hundred and fifty Kansas Red Legs under Col. Cath- 
erwood were guided up to the foot of a ravine, 
where they dismounted and crept up to within range 
of the guerrillas before the Federals were discovered. 
Jesse Jaimes and Peyton Long saw the Federals first 
and gave the alarm. Bill Anderson, who was in 
command, shouted clear and loud: 

** Hurry up, men; half of you bridle up and 
saddle up the horses, while the other half stand off 
the devils." 


The guerrillas answered with a cheer. While 
half of them were saddling the horses the others 
formed in the hrush and with an incessant and un- 
nerving revolver fire kept the four hundred and fifty 
Federals at bay. As soon as the horses w^ere ready 
the guerrillas leaped into their saddles and charged 
the Federals. Sixty-five men against four hundred 
and fifty, but those sixty-five were whirlwind fight- 
ers and not one of them ever knew what it was to be 
afraid of anything. That charge was a death grap- 
ple. Peyton Long and Arch Clements fell each with 
a horse killed. Anderson and Tuck Hill each went 
down with slight wounds. Jim Cummings took An- 
derson up behind him, Oil Shepherd picked up Arch 
Clements and Broomfield took up Peyton Long, but 
Long's revolver was shot from his hand. Broom- 
field's horse was shot beneath him. Jesse James, 
Cave Wyatt, William Reynolds and McMacane 
charged clear through the four hundred and fifty 
Federals and then charged back again. Dock Rupe, a 
boy of seventeen, fell dead alongside of Jesse James. 

My father fell next, just as he was leading a 
third charge upon the Federals. He was hit twice. 
The first wound made him reel in his saddle and his 
pistol dropped from his right hand. He recovered 
himself and drew another pistol with his left hand 
and fired 'several shots. But a Spencer rifle ball 
struck him in the right breast, tore a great hole 
through the lung and came out his back near the 
spine. No man could bear up under such a wound 
as that. My father fell. Arch Clements sprang to 
his side and was standing over him fighting, when 

46 JffiSSB lAMSS. 

Clements was shot again in the face and again in the 
left leg and fell beside my father. 

The desperate and bloody grapple went on. 
Never did a handful of men fight against such terri- 
ble odds. The whole Federal force, cut to pieces by 
the guerrillas charges, retreated to heavy timber and 
reformed there, leaving behind seventy-six killed 
and one hundred wounded. The guerrillas took ad- 
vantage of this to get away, taking every one of 
their wounded with them. This they did in all their 
fights. A wounded guerrilla was never left behind, 
because the Federals showed no quarter to even 
wounded guerrillas. My father was sent to the 
home of Captain John A. Rudd, in Carroll County, 
and Gooly Robertson, Nat Tigue, Oil Shepherd and 
Peyton Long were detailed to guard him with their 
lives. It was not thought that my father would live 
through the night. Bill Anderson kissed him fondly 
as he parted with him, and my father, who did not 
think he had long to live took from his finger a plain 
gold ring and gave it to Peyton Long to be delivered 
to his sister Susie. 

My father was nursed to life and strength by 
Mrs. Rudd and Mr. and Mrs. S. Neale. 

The guerrillas who were in this desperate fight 
escaped with a loss of five or six and scattered out to 
reunite at an appointed rendezvous. 

The success of the guerrillas in such encounters 
as this at Flat Rock Ford was due to their own pecu- 
liar training, tactics and methods of fighting. The 
guerrillas were trained, as Major Edwards has said, 
** solely in the art of horseback fighting. To halt, to 
wheel, to gallop, to run, to swing from the saddle, 


to go at full speed horseback, to turn as upon a pivot 
— to do all these things and to shoot either with the 
right hand or the left while doing them — this was 
guerrilla drill and guerrilla discipline. Taking the 
first Federal fire at a splendid rush, they were to stop 
for nothing. No matter how many saddles were 
emptied, the survivors— relying solely upon the re- 
volver — were to ride over whatever stood against the 
whirlwind or sought to check it in its terrible career. ' * 
In September, 1864, my father had recovered 
from the terrible wounds he had received in the fight, 
at Flat Kock Ford. He left the Rudd home against 
the earnest protests of his nurses and physician, who 
said he was not strong enough to travel; crossed the 
Missouri river on a raft, and joined Todd in Jackson 
County. He was thin and pale as a ghost. Jesse 
Jajnes was in Todd's camp near Bone Hill when Gen- 
eral Sterling Price sent Capt. John Chestnut to Todd 
with a communication asking Todd, who was opera- 
ting with Quantrell, to gather up all the guerrillas 
he could and stir up the militia in North Missouri. 
Price was then preparing for his Missouri campaign. 
Todd immediately sent my father to Dave Poole in 
Lafayette County with orders to gather up his men 
at once. This order was executed and my father re- 
turned to Todd, who sent him with eleven men under 
Lieut. George Shepherd to cross the river into Clay 
County to harass the militia there. These men 
could not find a boat, and they crossed the river in 
an old horse trough, using fence rails for oars. Todd 
crossed the river a few days later. He surprised 
forty-five militia in camp and killed them all. The 
guerrillas went to Keytesville, which was held by a 


garrison of eighty militia. Todd and his men sur- 
rounded the fort and the eighty militiamen surren- 
dered without firing a shot. The prisoners were 

A few days later Todd's command came upon one 
hundred and fifty Federal soldiers escorting seventeen 
wagons. Ninety-two of the one hundred and fifty 
were killed. In this fight my father, as he galloped 
on horseback, killed a Federal lieutenant two hun- 
dred yards away. The lieutenant had just lifted his 
carbine to his face when a bullet from my father's 
heavy dragoon pistol crushed into his head. This 
remarkable shot was the talk of the command for a 
long time thereafter. 

This battlefield was described afterward in the 
following language: 

"The scene after the conflict was sickening. 
Charred human remains stuck out from the moulder- 
ing wagon heaps. Death, in all forms and shapes of 
agony made itself visible. Limbs were kneaded into 
the deep mud of the roadway, and faces, under the 
iron feet of the horses, crushed into shapelessness. ' * 

The march against Fayette began the morning 
of September 30, 1864. The town was reached at 
eleven o'clock that forenoon and the attack began at 
once. Four hundred Federal soldiers were garri- 
soned there. Todd had two hundred and seventy- 
seven men altogether. The Federals were behind 
such strong fortifications that they repulsed the 
guerrilla attack. When the guerrillas retreated Lee 
McMurtry was left wounded under the shadow of 
the stockade. Todd called for volunteers to bring 
him out. My father and Richard Kinney returned 


and ran in under a heavy fire from the stockade and 
carried McMurtry out to safety. McMurtry is now 
sheriff of Wichita County, Texas. 

The guerrillas under Poole joined General Price 
in his famous Missouri raid and remained with him, 
scouting and picketing and fighting with the advance 
until Price started Southward from Mine Creek. 
After Mine Hill they returned to Bone Hill, Jackson 
County, some going afterward into Kentucky with 
Quantrell, and some to Texas with George Shepherd. 
From that time on the days of the guerrillas in 
Missouri as an organized band were over. 



/k FTER the death of Todd, near Independence, 
^^^1 and the retreat of General Price from Mis- 
gBifel souri, the guerrilla band was broken up. 
Lieut. George Shepherd, taking with him Jesse 
James, Matt Wayman, John Maupin, Theo. Castle, 
Jack Rupe, Silas King, James and Alfred Corum, 
Bud Story, Perry Smith, Jack Williams, James and 
Arthur Devers, Press Webb, John Norfolk, James 
Cummings, William Gregg and his wife, Dick Mad- 
dox and his wife, James Hendrick and his wife, and 
others to the number of twenty-six, started south 
from Jackson County to Texas, November 13, 1864. 
November 22, 1864, Shepherd and his twenty-six 
veterans were riding southward on Cabin Creek, in 
the Cherokee nation. They met Capt. Emmet Goss 
of Jennison's old command, riding northward with 
thirty-two Kansas Jayhawkers. My father had a 
special grievance against Goss, who was six feet tall 
and had red hair and was a desperate fighter. My 
father had encountered him before and had sworn to 
kill him if he ever met him again. AYhen the two 
commanders lined up and charged each other my 


father rode straight for Capt. Goss. Goss fired at' 
him point blank four times while my father was try- 
ing to control his horse, which became unmanage- 
able in the melee, owing to the fact that my father 
was suffering with a wound in his left arm. My 
father got close to Goss at last and shot him through 
and through. Goss reeled in his saddle but held on 
and refused to surrender. My father fired again and 
killed him. Of the thirty-two Kansans, twenty-nine 
were killed and only three escaped. 

At Sherman, Texas, Shepherd disbanded his men 
December 2, and took a part of them into Yv^estern 
Texas. My father and seven others remained to 
take service with Arch Clements and the remainder 
of Bill Anderson's guerrillas. 

March 1, 1865, Clements and his command started 
on a march for old Missouri again. They had many 
fights and skirmishes on the way and after they got 
into Missouri. 

March 14, 1865, the guerrillas in Missouri held 
a conference to talk over a plan of surrender. The 
Confederate armies everywhere had surrendered, 
with the exception of Shelby's brigade, which was 
going into Mexico to espouse the cause of Maxi- 
milian. The guerrillas at this conference decided to 
surrender, with the exception of Clements, Jesse 
James and several others, and bearing a flag of truce, 
they marched into Lexington, Mo., to allow all who 
wanted to surrender to do so. My father rode at the 
head of the column and bore the white flag of truce. 
They held a conference with Major Rodgers and were 
marching out again, my father yet in front carrying 


aloft tlie white flag, when eight Federal soldiers fired 
point blank at them and were charged in turn by the 
guerrillas and routed. Four of the Federals were 
killed and two wounded. These eight who had 
charged the guerrillas were the advance of a body of 
sixty Federals, thirty Johnson County militia and 
thirty of the Second Wisconsin cavalry. A Wiscon- 
sin trooper singled my father out and charged him. 
At the distance of ten feet both fired together and 
my father's dragoon pistol bullet went through his 
heart. Another Wisconsin trooper charged my 
father, firing as he came. My father killed his horse 
and the trooper sent a pistol ball through my father 's 
right lung, the same lung that had been torn through 
by a bullet not so long before at the Flat Rock Ford 
fight. My father fell and his horse fell dead on top 
of him. As the Federals galloped past, five of them 
fired at my father as he lay pinned to the ground. 
My father pulled himself from beneath the horse 
and ran for the timber. Five Federals pursued him 
firing as they ran. My father turned once and at a 
distance of two hundred yards killed the Federal who 
was leading the chase. This caused a momentary 
halt of his pursuers, and during it he pulled off his 
heavy cavalry boots which were nearly full of blood. 
Before he started again to run in his stockinged feet 
he fired at his pursuers and shattered the right arm 
of one of them. The other three Federals were 
pressing him close. My father was getting weaker 
and weaker from loss of blood. The leader of the 
three pursuers yelled at him: 


''Damn your soul, we've got you at last. Stop 
and be killed like a gentleman. ' ' 

My father, at bay, tried to lift his heavy 
dragoon pistol but was too weak to lift it with one 
hand alone. He grasped it in his two hands and 
killed the Wisconsin trooper who had cursed him. 

The remaining one of the five turned and ran. 
My father staggered five hundred yards further and 
fell fainting upon the bank of a creek. 

This encounter occurred March 15, 1865. That 
night, the next day and all of that night and till sun- 
set of the third day, my father lay alone on the banks 
of the creek, bathing his wound and drinking the 
water. He had a burning fever, and the bullet hole 
through his lung gave him the most intense pain. 
At sunset of March 17, he crawled to a field where a 
man was ploughing and this man proved to be a 
friend of the Southern cause. This new-found friend 
carried my father on horseback that night to the 
home of Mr. Bowman, a distance of fifteen miles. 
There my father was tenderly nursed by his insepa-' 
rable companion Arch Clements, till the surrender of 
Poole, March 21, with one hundred and twenty-nine 
guerrillas. It was well understood by these guer- 
rillas and also by Major Rodgers to whom they sur- 
rendered, that my father was considered one of the 
number who surrendered, although his wounds kept 
him from actually surrendering. Major Rodgers 
understood this so well, and he was so fully con- 
vinced that my father would die, that he thought it 
unnecessary to parole him when he paroled the other 
guerrillas, and Major Rodgers declared then that 


this was why he did not parole him, because he 
thought it an unnecessary formality to go through 
with in the case of a dying man. 

I have gone thus into detail about this because 
it has been published thousands of times and is gen- 
erally believed, that my father did not surrender at 
the close of the war. He did surrender, and surren- 
dered in good faith. The attack upon him and the 
handful of guerrillas with him when they were re- 
turning with a white flag after negotiating the terms 
of surrender with the proper official, shows how bit- 
ter was the prejudice against the guerrillas. It was 
a prejudice that developed into a persecution most 
cruel and which prevented my father from surren- 
dering or from living at home, and which made him 
a hunted man, with a price on his head, for sixteen 
long years and finally caused his murder. Arch 
Clements refused absolutely to surrender on any 
terms; he preferred to fight to the death. 

To enable my father to reach his mother, who 
had been banished by Federal militia from her home 
in Clay County, to a home among strangers in Ne- 
braska, Major Kodgers furnished my father with 
transportation, money and a pass on a steamboat. 

To show how genuine was the surrender of my 
father, and that the Fedej-al forces thereabouts 
looked upon it as genuine, I will state, as a matter of 
fact, that while waiting at Lexington for a steam- 
boat up the Missouri river, my father became ac- 
quainted with the soldier who had shot him through 
the lung. He was John E. Jones, Company E, Sec- 
ond Wisconsin cavalry. My father and he became 
fast friends and exchanged photographs. 


At the time of this surrender my father had the 
scars of twenty-two wounds on his body. 

At this point I will quote again from the writings 
of Major John N. Edwards, that faithful historian 
of the guerrilla warfare of the border. He says in 
extenuation of the things the guerrillas did : 

**Was it justifiable? Is there much of anything 
that is justifiable in civil war? Two civilizations 
struggled for the mastery, with only that imaginary 
thing, a state line, between them. On either side the 
soldiers were not as soldiers who fight for a king, for 
a crown, for a country, for an idea, for glory. At 
the bottom of every combat was an intense hatred. 
Little by little there became prominent that feature 
of savage atrocity which slew the wounded, slaugh- 
tered the prisoners, and sometimes mutilated the 
dead. Originally the Jayhawkers in Kansas had been 
very poor. They coveted the goods of their Missouri 
neighbors, made wealthy or well-to-do by prosperous 
years of peace and African slavery. Before they 
became soldiers they had been brigands, and before 
they destroyed houses in the name of retaliation they 
had plundered them at the instance of individual 
greed. The first Federal officers operating in Kansas 
— that is to say, those who belonged to the state— 
were land pirates or pilferers. 

"Stock in herds, flocks, droves and multitudes, 
were driven from Missouri into Kansas. Houses gave 
up their furniture; women their jewelry; children 
their wearing apparel; storerooms their contents; the 
land its crops; the banks their deposits. To robbery 
was added murder, to murder arson, and to arson de- 


population. Is it any wonder, then, that the Mis- 
sourian whose father was killed should kill in return ? 
Whose house was burned should burn in return? 
Whose property was plundered should pillage in re* 
turn? Whose life was made miserable, should hunt 
as wild beast and rend accordingly ? Many such were 
in Quantrell's command — many whose lives were 
blighted; who in a night were made orphans and 
paupers; who saw the labor and accumulation of 
years swept away in an hour of wanton destruction; 
who, for no reason on earth save that they were 
Missourians, were hunted from hiding place to hiding 
place; who were preyed upon while a single cow re- 
mained or a single shock of grain ; who were shot at, 
outlawed, bedeviled and proscribed, and who, no mat- 
ter whether Union or Disunion, were permitted to 
have neither a flag nor a country." 

While quoting on this subject from the writings 
of Major Edwards, I wish to use one more extract 
from them, which gives Major Edwards' estimate of 
Cole Younger. He says : 

' ' The character of this man to many has been a 
curious study, but to those who knew him well there 
is nothing about it of mystery or many sideness. An 
awful provocation drove him into Quantrell's band. 
He was never a bloodthirsty or a merciless man. He 
was brave to recklessness, desperate to rashness, re- 
markable for terrible prowess in battle; but he was 
never known to kill a prisoner. On the contrary 
there are alive to-day tully two hundred Federal 
soldiers who owe their lives to Cole Younger, a man 
whose father had been brutally murdered, whose 


mother had been hounded to her death, whose family 
had been made to endure the torment of a ferocious 
persecution, and whose kith and kin, even to most 
remote degrees were plundered and imprisoned. At 
Lawrence he was known to have saved a score of 
lives; in twenty other desperate combats he took 
prisoners and released them; when the steamer Sam 
Gaty was captured, he stood there a protecting pres- 
ence between the would-be slayers and their -victims^, 
at Independence he saved more lives ; and in Louisiana 
probably fifty Federals escaped certain death through 
Younger 's firmness and generosity. His brother 
James did not go into the war until 1864, and was 
a brave, dauntless, high-spirited boy who never 
killed a soldier in his life save in fair and open bat- 
tle. Cole was a fair-haired, amiable, generous man, 
devoted in his friendships, and true to his word and 
to comradeship. In intrepidity he was never sur- 
passed. In battle he never had those to go where 
he would not follow, aye, where he would not gladly 
lead. On his body to-day there are scars of thirty- 
six wounds. He was a guerrilla, and a giant among 
a band of guerrillas, but he was one among three 
hundred who only killed in open and honorable battle. 
As great as had been his provocation, he never mur- 
dered; as brutal as had been the treatment of every 
one near and dear to him, he refused always to take 
vengeance on those who were innocent of the wrongs, 
and who had taken no part in the deeds which drove 
him, a boy, into the ranks of the guerrillas, but he 
fought as a soldier who fights for a cause, a creed, 
an idea, or for glory. He was a hero and he was 


'*John Thrailkill, another of QuantreU's band, 
who fought with Jesse James along all the border 
side, wa^ a Missourian turned Apache. He slept 
little; he could trail a column in the starlight; his 
only home was on horseback, and he had already 
mixed with the warp and woof of his young life the 
savage agony of tears. Thrailkill, when the war 
began, was a young painter in Northwest Missouri, 
as gentle as he was industrious. Loving a beautiful 
girl, and loved ardently in return, he left J^er one 
evening to be absent a week. At its expiration they 
were to be married. Generally the woman who is 
loved is safe, but this one was in peril. Her father, 
an invalid of fifty, was set upon by Federal militia 
and slain, and the daughter, bereft of her reason at 
the sight of the gray hairs dabbled in blood, went 
from paroxysm to paroxysm, until she too was a 
corpse. The wildest of her ravings were mingled 
with the name of her lover. It was the last articulate 
thing her lips lingered over or uttered. He came 
back as a man in a dream. He kissed the dead rev- 
erently. He went to the grave as one walks in his 
sleep. It was bitter cold and someone remarked it 
to him. 'Is it,' he said; 'I had not felt it.' Another 
friend, tried to fashion something of a solacement. 
The savage intensity of the answer shocked him: 
'Blood for blood; every hair in her head shall have 
a sacrifice!' The next day John Thrailkill began to 
kill. He killed over all Northwest Missouri; of the 
twenty militia who were concerned in the murder of 
his sweetheart '«« father, and, indirectly in the murder 
of his sweetheart, he killed eighteen. 


William Anderson was another of Quantrell's 
men who had a wrong to avenge. He was a strange 
man. If the waves of the civil war had not cast him 
Tip as the avenger of one sister assassinated and an- 
other maimed, he would have lived through it peace- 
fully, the devil that existed in him sleeping on, and 
the terrible powers latent there remaining unaroused. 
It is probable that he did not know his own nature. 
He certainly could have not anticipated the almost 
miraculous transfiguration that came to him on the 
eve of his first engagement— that sort of transfig- 
uration which found him a stripling and left him a 

*'He was a pensive, brooding, silent man. He 
went to war to kill, and when this self -declared prop- 
osition was once well impressed upon his followers, 
he referred to the subject no more. Generally those 
who fought him were worsted; in a majority of 
instances annihilated. He was a devil incarnate in 
battle, but had been heard over and over again to 
say: *If I cared for my life I would have lost it 
long ago ; wanting to lose it I cannot throw it away. ' 
And it would appear from the history of his career 
up to the time of his death, that what in most men 
might have been regarded as fatalism was but the 
inspiration of a palpable destiny Mortal bullets 
avoided him. At desperate odds fortune never de- 
serted him. Surrounded, he could not be captured. 
Outnumbered, he could not be crushed. Surprised, 
it was impossible to demoralize him. Baffled by ad- 
versity, or crippled and wrought upon often by the 
elements, he wearied no more than a plough that 

60 JESSlt JAMEd. 

oxen pull, or despaired never so much as the granite 
mass the storms beat upon and the lightnings strike. 
Shot dead from his saddle at last in a charge reckless 
beyond all reason, none triumphed over him a 
captive before the work was done of the fetters and 
the rope. His body, however, remained in the hands 
of the enemy, who dragged it for some distance as 
two mules might draw a saw log, and finally propped 
it up in a picture gallery in Richmond, Mo., and had 
pictures taken of the wan, drawn face of the dead 
lion and his great mane of a beard that was full of the 
dead leaves and the dust of the highway." 

Chapter VIL 


T> URINGr the war my grandmother, Mrs. 
^^ Zerelda Samuels, was banished from her 
W^ home in Clay County by the Home Guards. 
These Home Guards were Northern sympathizers 
whose chief business it was to harass and torment 
people living in the same neighborhood who were 
Southerners. As a sample of the persecutions of 
these ''patriots" I have heard my grandmother tell 
that once during the war, when my father was with 
Quantrell, a band of Home Guards came to her home 
and after plundering the bam came to the house and 
began nosing around. One of them said to my 
grandmother : 

*'Just show me a southern man and I'll show 
you a thief. ' ' 

My grandmother noticed hanging from beneath 
his overcoat the straps of a bridle of hers that he 
had just stolen from the barn. She pointed to it 
and asked sternly: ' 

*'What is that you have under your coatT' 

**0h, that is only a bridle that I pressed into the 
service," he replied. 


''Well, I will just press you/' my grandmother 
said, and she grabbed him and backed him up into a 
corner and choked him until he was blue in the face 
and his tongue hung out. One of his comrades ran 
to the door and yelled: 

''Help! help!" 

One of his comrades up by the barn shouted the 
inquiry : 

'''What's the matter down there?" 

"Mrs. Samuels is choking Sam to death," was 
the answer. 

A month or two after this happened this same 
soldier returned to my grandmother's house. She 
saw him coming and threw a shovel full of hot coals 
from the fireplace into his face and he ran away. 

My grandmother was warned by these Federal 
soldiers to leave Clay County and to go South, ' ' where 
she belonged," or she would be killed. She went 
away but she did not go South. My father told her 
not to go South, because, he told her, when the war 
closed times would be so hard she would find it diffi- 
cult to get North again, and if she did finally get 
back to Clay County she would find some Kansas 
Jayhawker squatted on her place. So my grandmother 
and her family moved North. She was first impris- 
oned in the jail at Weston for two days. Then she 
was released on her promise to leave the country. 
She hired a man to drive her to Nebraska and paid 
him $1 a mile for eighty-five miles. She and her 
family went in an open wagon in the bitter winter 
weather of February. The sleet often froze on her 
and her two little children as they drove northward. 


She went to Rulla, Neb., and her husband practised 
medicine there. 

When my father surrendered at the close of the 
war so badly wounded with a bullet through his lung 
that he could scarcely walk, he went on a steamboat 
from Lexington, Mo., up the Missouri river to my 
grandmother at Rulla, Neb. Richard West, one of 
Quantrell's guerrillas went with him and cared for 
him on the way. He reached Rulla in April. He 
stayed there with my grandmother eight weeks, and 
in that time he was often so near death that my grand- 
mother would bend over his bed and put her ear to 
his heart to see if it was yet beating. One day at 
the end of eight weeks he drew the face of his mother 
down to his and said to her : 

' ^ Ma, I don 't want to be buried here in a North- 
ern state." 

*'My son, you shall not be buried here," my 
grandmother told him. 

"But, ma, I don't want to die here." 

* ' If you don 't wish to you shall not, ' ' my grand- 
mother told him, and at once she announced to the 
members of her household: 

"We are going back to old Missouri if the trip 
kills every one of us. Jesse don't want to die here." 

She began preparing immediately for the trip 
and the very next day my father was put aboard of 
a boat bound down stream. He was so weak and 
sick that four men carried him to the boat as he lay 
on a lounge. He fainted while they were carrying 
him to the boat, and the people of Rulla tried to per- 
suade my grandmother to abandon the trip. But 


she would not listen to it. Her son wished to die on 
Missouri soil and that was enough for her. 

On the steamboat my father recovered conscious- 
ness enough to ask: 

"Ma, where am I?" 

**0n the boat, honey, going home,'' my grand- 
mother told him. 

"Thank the Lord," he said, and fainted again. 

The trip down river seemed to help him a little. 
He was landed at Harlem, across the river from Kan- 
sas City, and was carried to the home of John Mimms, 
who kept a boarding house there. 

He was wounded so badly that for months he 
could not even sit up in bed. He was nursed by 
Zerelda Mimms, my mother, and his sister, Susie 
James, she nursed him from early August till late 
in October, and then he was strong enough to be 
moved and he begged to be taken to his old home near 
Kearney. "WTien he left it was agreed between him 
and Miss Zerelda Mimms that if ever he recovered, 
they would be married. 

He was carried home in a wagon. When he 
reached home he could not walk a step. After a week 
or two of nursing he could walk across the room and 
used to say to my grandmother : 

"Ma, if I only get so I can walk through the 
whole house I will be happy. ' ' 

At that time his wounds discharged so that at 
stated intervals he had to lean over and allow the pus 
to drain into a vessel. 

He did not tell his mother of his engagement to 
marry until he was strong enough to ride out a little 
on horseback. Then he said to her one day: 

jlttxh thk war. 65- 

*'Ma, I am going to marry Zee/' 

My grandmother was opposed to him marrying 
anyone and she told him so, but he replied in a way 
that convinced her and silenced all her opposition 
to it: 

*'Ma, Zee and I are going to be married." 

As soon as my father was strong enough to get 
around he attended a revival service held in the Bap- 
tist church in Kearney and was converted and con- 
fessed religion, and was baptised and joined the 
church. His was a sincere conversion. No one who 
is acquainted with the life and doings of my father 
will accuse him of hypocrisy in this act because a 
hypocrite is a coward, and even the worst enemy my 
father ever had never accused him of cowardice. He 
would not stoop to hypocrisy to convince his enemies 
that his surrender at the close of the war was sincere, 
and that his only wish was to live a clean, honest, 
God-fearing life, and at peace with all the world. 

But the hatred of the Southern people that 
rankled in the hearts of the Northern militia and 
home guards during the war did not die down at its 
close. They yet hated the Southern soldiers who 
had honorably surrendered. Even in his desperately 
wounded condition my father was not permitted to 
stay at home. He was warned by friends and threat- 
ened by enemies. 

One night while he was sleeping upstairs at the 
home of his mother the family was aroused by the 
sound of signal whistles outside, as if someone was 
calling and answering. My father got painfully out 
of bed and crawled to the window and looked out. 
He saw six horses tied to the fence in front of th« 


house and he saw that they had on United States 
government saddles and he divined instantly that 
they were Home Guards. He got the heavy dragoon 
pistols he had carried through the war and came 
down stairs and said to his mother: 

^'Ma, the house is surrounded, but don't be 
scared, I have been in tighter places than this and 
come out all right. I will fight my way out." 

The six men came upon the front porch and de- 
manded the surrender of Jesse James. He asked 
them through the door what they intended to do with 

* * Hang you, by God, ' ' their leader answered. 

Thereupon my father, sick and weak as he was, 
threw open the front door, and, with pistol in each 
hand stepped out on the porch, and the six armed 
Home Guards backed away as the wounded Jesse 
James advanced, and finally broke into a run, re- 
gained their horses and galloped away. One printed 
account has it that my father killed three or four of 
the Home Guards that night, but this is untrue. 

My father knew well that after this repulse the 
Home Guards would return with a larger gang and 
would surely kill him if he stayed at home. So that 
very night he mounted a horse and rode away. 
There was snow on the ground and it was a bitter 
cold night. It was the night of February 18, 1867. 
He made a long ride that night to the house of a 
friend. His enemies were searching for him every- 
where, however, and they kept him dodging around. 
This caused his wound to open again and he became 
so ill that he could not be moved. He was hiding in 
a house in the timber and Dr. Woods attended him 


and nursed him so well that in the spring he was 
able to travel to New York City, and there he took 
steamer and went to California by way of the Isth- 
mus of Panama. He went to the home of his uncle, 
Woodson James, who owned a hotel near a hot spring 
of wonderful medicinal qualities and there he stayed 
for a year, and then returned quietly to his mother's 
home in Clay County, hoping that in that time the 
old prejudices and hatreds had died down and that he 
would not be molested if he stayed close to home and 
worked the farm for his mother. 

But he had been home but a short time when his 
old enemies, the Home Guards, smelled him out and 
came after him again. There had been a bank rob- 
bery in Gallatin, Mo., and one of the robbers, in es- 
caping, had narrowly missed being killed, and had 
left behind a horse that had once been the property 
of my father. This horse had been sold by my father 
to James Anderson, a brother of Bill Anderson. 
But it was identified as having once belonged to Jesse 
James, and that gave his persecutors a chance to ac- 
cuse him of the robbery and to swear out a warrant 
for his arrest. Sheriff Thomason and a posse went to 
my grandmother's house to arrest my father, who 
knew full well that if they ever got hold of him they 
would kill him. Jesse James was at home when the 
posse came, and saw them in time to get out the 
kitchen window at the rear of the house and run to 
the barn for his horse. The posse saw him as he 
mounted and they chased him up through the pasture 
When he thought he had gone far enough he turned 
in his saddle and shot the sheriff's horse dead and 
warned the posse that the first man who came a step 


nearer would be shot in his tracks. They knew he 
would do as he said and they returned to the house, 
and Sheriff Thompson took out of the barn my 
father's favorite horse Stonewall, and rode him away. 
My father returned in a few minutes, and when he 
found they had stolen his horse it made him very 
angry. He started after the whole posse but they 
got away. He rode on to Kearney and there he 
wrote a letter to the sheriff and mailed it, telling 
him that he did not wish to kill him because he had 
been a Southern soldier, but if he did not return 
Stonewall to his stall before the end of three days 
there would be trouble sure enough. Two days later 
the horse was returned and Sheriff Thomason never 
tried to arrest my father again. 

This incident forced my father to leave home 
again. That night he went to the home of General 
Jo Shelby, in Lafayette County, and stayed there 
six weeks. At the end of that time he became home- 
sick. General Shelby sent Dave Poole, a veteran ex- 
guerrilla, to my grandmother's house to test the 
loyalty of the negro servants and see if it would be 
safe for my father to return. Neither my grand- 
mother nor the servants knew Poole. My grand- 
mother had two servants, Ambrose, called "Sambo," 
and Charlotte. Both had been slaves in our families 
from their birth, and when freedom came to them 
with the Emancipation Proclamation they refused to 
accept it, preferring to remain at the old home, and 
they spent the rest of their days there and died there. 

Poole came to the house pretending to be a 
detective. He first went to the bam where Sambo 
was currying the horses, and shoved a big revolver 


Up against his face, and backing him into a corner 
demanded : 

*'Tell me where Jesse James is or I'll blow your 
damn brains out," 

*'I can't tell you, boss. I haven't seen him," the 
negro answered, and he stuck to it. 

Poole then went to the house and put a revolver 
to Charlotte 's face and demanded : 

*'Now tell me where Jesse James is or I'll kill 
you. ' ' 

*'Why, I haven' seen him since the war," she 

Poole went back to General Jo Shelby's and re- 
ported that the negroes were true blue. My father 
went home and almost the first thing he said to my 
grandmother was: 

**Ma, don't ever let Aunt Charlotte and Ambrose 
want for a thing as long as you have a crust of bread. ' ' 

Old Aunt Charlotte was a sincere Christian, and 
the falsehood she had told Poole worried her consider- 
ably, and she asked my grandmother if she thought 
God would mark down the lie against her. 

"No, my dear; you will wear a crown in glory 
for that," my grandmother told her. 

My father was home only a short time when the 
home guards smelled him out again and drove him 
away. From that time to the day of his death, four- 
teen years later, he was a hunted and an outlawed 

As a fitting close to this chapter I will quote 
again from the book by Major John N. Edwards, 
** Noted Guerrillas, or the Warfare of the Border." 
This book was published in 1877, and has long been 


out of print. It is a graphic and faithful account of 
the doings of the guerrillas and some of the happen- 
ings in Western Missouri immediately after the war. 
In this book Major Edwards says : 

**To the great mass of the guerrillas the end of 
the war also brought an end to their armed resist- 
ance. As an organization they never fought again. 
The most of them kept their weapons; a few had 
great need of them. Some were killed because of 
the terrible renown won in the four years ^ war ; some 
were forced to hide themselves in the unknown of 
the outlying territories; and some were mercilessly 
persecuted and driven into desperate defiance and re- 
sistance because they were human and intrepid. To 
this latter class Jesse James belonged. No man ever 
strove harder to put the past behind him. No man 
ever submitted more sincerely to the result of a war 
that had as many excesses on one side as on the other. 
No man ever went to work with a heartier good will 
to keep good faith with society and make himself 
amenable to the law. No man ever sacrificed more 
for peace, and for the bare privilege of doing just as 
hundreds like him had done— the privilege of going 
back again into the obscurity of civil life and be- 
coming again a part of the enterprising economy of 
the commonwealth. He was not permitted to do so, 
try how he would, and as hard, and as patiently. 

''Jesse James, emaciated, tottering as he walked, 
fighting what seemed to everyone a hopeless battle 
of 'the skeleton boy against skeleton death'— joined 
his mother in Nebraska and returned with her to 
their home near Kearney, in Clay County. His 
wound would not heal, and more ominous still 


every once in a while there was a hemorrhage. In 
the spring of 1866 he was barely able to mount a 
horse and ride a little. And he did ride, but he rode 
armed, watchful, vigilant, haunted. He might be 
killed, waylaid, ambuscaded, assassinated; but he 
would be killed with his eyes open and his pistols 
about him. The hunt for this maimed and ema- 
ciated guerrilla culminated on the night of February 
18, 1867. On this night an effort was made to kill 

* ' Jesse James had to flee. In those evil days 
bad men in bands were doing bad things continually 
in the name of law, order and vigilance committees. 
He had been a desperate guerrilla; he had fought 
under a black flag; he had made a name of terrible 
prowess along the border; he had survived dreadful 
wounds; it was known that he would fight at any 
hour or in any way; he could not be frightened out 
of his native state; he could be neither intimidated 
nor robbed; and hence the wanton war waged upon 
Jesse James, and hence the reason why to-day he is 
an outlaw, and hence the reasons also that— outlaw 
as ^e is and proscribed in county or state or territory 
—he has more friends than the officers who hunt him ; 
and more defenders than the armed men who seek to 
secure his body, dead or alive. 

Since 1865 it has been pretty much one eternal 
ambush for this man— one unbroken and eternal hunt 
twelve years long. He has been followed, trailed, 
surrounded, shot at, wounded, ambushed, surprised, 
watched, betrayed, proscribed, outlawed, driven from 
state to state, made the objective point of infallible 
detectives, and he has triumphed. By some intelli- 


gent people he is regarded as a mytli; by others as 
in league with the devil. He is neither, but he is an 
uncommon man. He does not touch whiskey or 
tobacco in any form. He never travels twice the 
same road. He never tells the direction from which 
he came nor the direction in which he means to go. 
There is a design in this— the calm, cool, deadly de- 
sign of a man who recognizes the perils which beset 
him and who is not afraid to die. He trusts very 
few people, two probably out of every ten thousand. 
He comes and goes as silently as the leaves fall. He 
never boasts. He has many names arid many dis- 
guises. He speaks low, is polite, deferential and ac- 
commodating. He does not kill save in stubborn 
self defense. He has nothing in common with a 
murderer. He hates the highwayman and the cow- 
ard. He is an outlaw, but he is not a criminal, no 
matter what prejudiced public opinion may declare, 
or malignant partisan dislike make noisy with reiter- 
ation. The war made him a desperate guerrilla, and 
the harpies of the war — the robbers who came in the 
wake of it, and the cut-throats who came to the sur- 
face as the honorable combatants settled back again 
into civilized life — proscribed him and drove him 
into resistance. He was a man who could not be 
bullied— who was too intrepid to be tyrannized over 
—who would fight a regiment just as quickly as he 
would fight a single individual— who owned property 
and meant to keep it — who was born in Clay County 
and did not mean to be driven out of Clay County— 
and who had surrendered in good faith, but who, 
because of it, did not intend any the less to have his 


rigMs and receive the treatment the balance of the 
Southern soldiers received. This is the summing up 
of the whole history of this man since the war. He 
was hunted, and he was human. He replied to pro- 
scription by defiance, ambushment by ambushment, 
musket shot by pistol shot, night attack by counter- 
attack, charge by counter-charge, and so he will do, 
desperately and with splendid heroism, until the 

The foregoing was written by Major Edwards in 
1877, five years before my father's death. 



OR sixteen years of his life, beginning witli 
r 1 1866 and ending April 3, 1882, when he was 
Wyjtl killed, my father was outlawed, and police 
officials and detectives were searching for him every- 
where, except in the right place to find him. In these 
long years he had many thrilling adventures, some 
amusing ones, and many narrow escapes none of 
which have ever been told in print before. Owing to 
the fact that my father had only two photographs 
ever taken and that these were in the hands of his 
family and were never seen by those who were search- 
ing for him, no correct picture of him was ever print- 
ed, and consequently his features were unknown to all 
except a few, and nearly all of these were loyal 
friends who could be depended on never to betray 
him under any circumstances. My father used to 
live in Kansas City and other cities, and go and 
come on the busiest streets in broad daylight, as any 
other citizen would, even when a large reward was 
offered for his capture. Of course he was in great 
danger of discovery at all times, and he was always 
heavily armed. 

While the officers were hunting for him at one 
time there was an agricultural county fair held in 

OUTI,A"WED Ais^D fiUNTlCD. -75 

Kansas City, and among the prizes offered was one 
for the best lady's saddle horse, which must be shown 
in action before the judges at the fair. My father 
attended this fair and entered his favorite horse, 
''Stonewall," for the prize. In the competition for 
the prize "Stonewall" was ridden by Miss Annie 
Ralston, and the horse took first prize. At that 
very moment there was a big reward offered for my 
father's capture. 

At another time my father entered a horse in 
the races at the Jackson, Miss., fair. The race was 
in three heats. My father was quite sure that his 
was a better horse than any in the race, but in the 
first heat he failed to win. My father suspected 
that the jockey was holding the horse in deliberately 
and for the purpose of making him lose the race, so 
my father himself rode the horse in the last two 
heats and won the race and the purse. 

A year or two after the close of the war my 
father and a companion who had been with him in 
Quantrell's command, were riding on horseback 
through the mountain districts of Tennessee. They 
stopped for dinner at a house along a country road, 
and while resting there learned that the woman of 
the house was a widow whose husband had also been 
a guerrilla with Quantrell, and had died a short time 
before of wounds received in one of the skirmishes 
of the last days of the war. My father noticed that 
the widow was very despondent, and he supposed it 
was because of the death of her husband. He talked 
to her in a consoling way, and she told him that 
what worried her most just then was that her house 
and little farm was mortgaged for five hundred dol- 


lars, the loan fell due that very day, and she expected 
the sheriff and the money-lender to come that after- 
noon, and foreclose the mortgage and order her off 
the place. My father had fought in the same com- 
pany with her husband in the war. He had five 
hundred dollars with him, but it was about all he 
did have, and he was a stranger in a strange land 
and could not spare the money. But he was deter- 
mined to aid the widow of his old comrade in some 
way. He said to her: 

''Suppose you had the five hundred dollars to 
pay the money-lender when he came, would you 
know how to sign up the papers and get your re- 
ceipts all correct so there would be no flaw in it?" 

She told him she did. He then gave her five 
hundred dollars, with instructions to be very partic- 
idar to see that the mortgage was taken up. My 
father inquired from her the road by which the 
sheriff and mortgagee would drive out, and then he 
and his companion bade the woman good-bye and 
rode away. But they did not go far. They dis- 
mounted not far from the widow's home, and led 
their horses into the brush and concealed them- 
selves. They saw two men go past in a buggy driv- 
ing in the direction of the widow's home. In an 
hour or two when these two men came driving back 
over the same road they were halted by my father 
and his companion. 

**Are you sheriff so and so?" 


**And money-lender so and so?'* 


** Throw up your hands." 


**Tlie sheriff and the money-lender obeyed and 
were relieved of the five hundred dollars, and then 
were told to drive on. This act of my father's was 
certainly open to criticism, but by it the widow's 
home and farm were saved to her and my father re- 
gained the money which he had to have to continue 
his journey. I give this as an example of how des- 
perate chances Jesse James would take to aid the 
widow of a comrade in distress. 

In the later years of his life my father stopped 
at the home of General Jo Shelby in Lafayette 
County, to rest himself and his horse from a long 
journey. General Shelby had a negro boy whom he 
thought a great deal of. This boy was a waif of the 
war who had drifted into General Shelby's camp 
during the war to get something to eat, and Shelby 
had adopted him. This boy had gone that day to a 
near-by town with a load of firewood to sell. On a 
former trip to town this negro boy had been set upon 
and beaten by the white boys of the town, and this 
time he took with him an old army pistol that he had 
taken from the General's room. When he reached 
town the boys set upon him again, and the negro boy 
pulled out his pistol and shot one of them in a leg. 
The wounded boy ran away howling, and the other 
boys followed him. The negro boy knew that the 
white folks would get after him for this, so he hur- 
riedly unhitched his mules, mounted one of them 
and started on a run for General Shelby's house. 
He was within a mile of the house when a posse of 
white men on horseback hove in sight on his trail. 
The boy urged his mule into a faster run, and had 
just reached the gate at the foot of the lane leading 


to General Shelby's house when the mob caught him, 
and dragged him from the mule and started away 
with him. 

My father had taken one of General Shelby's 
shot guns and was out beyond in a pasture hunting 
quail when he saw the mob ride up to the gate. He 
very naturally supposed that the mob had discovered 
that he was there and had come after him. He went 
on a run for the stable to get his horse, but before 
he reached there he saw the mob riding away with 
the negro boy. 

General Shelby was not at home, but his wife 
was there and she was almost distracted when she 
saw the mob capture her negro boy and ride away 
with him. My father declared that he would go and 
rescue the boy. She begged him not to do it. But 
he felt in duty bound, as the guest of his friend Gen- 
eral Shelby, to protect his servants in his absence, so 
he saddled his horse and went on a gallop after the 
mob. There were more than a dozen men in the 
mob. My father overtook them as they had halted 
on a high bridge over a creek and were getting 
ready to lynch the young negro. All of these men 
were armed, but my father rode right in among them 
and demanded: 

**What are you going to do with that boy?*' 

** Lynch him," answered a dozen men in chorus. 

**What has he done?" 

'*He shot a white boy. The niggers are getting 
too bold and we're going to make an example of this 

''No, you are not," my father said. *'That is 
General Shelby's boy and I am General Shelby's 


friend. If that boy has harmed a white man he must 
have a fair trial for it." 

The argument might have lasted longer and be- 
come more pointed and animated but a man in the 
mob recognized my father and exclaimed: 

''That's Jesse James." 

The men in the mob grew respectful at once, 
and asked what had better be done. 

' ' The best thing for you to do is to take this boy 
to Lexington and turn him over to the sheriff and 
have him put in jail, and let him get the same sort of 
a fair trial that a white boy would get. That will 
satisfy General Shelby, it will satisfy me, and it 
ought to satisfy you. ' ' 

The men in the mob agreed to it and went to 
Lexington and did as agreed. My father rode be- 
hind them to the outskirts of Lexington, and then 
rode away. 

The negro boy was tried by a jury and acquitted. 

Henry Clay Campbell was a soldier in Marma- 
duke's brigade of Price's army. He surrendered at 
Shreveport, La., and returned to his former home in 
Cooper County, Mo. A man who lived four miles 
from Butler, in Bates County, owed Campbell $1,000 
since before the war, and at the close of the war 
Campbell went there to collect the debt. This man 
who owed him had been a soldier in the Federal 
army, and when Campbell came to collect the $1,000 
this rascal set a gang of fifteen Federal soldiers upon 
him to kill him. These soldiers, on horseback, were 
pursuing Campbell, who was also on horseback, 
along a country road. My father. Arch Clements, 
Oil Shepherd, and two others saw the pursuit and 


they ambushed themselves near the road, and as the 
Federals rushed by six of them were shot and killed, 
and the rest gave up the chase of Campbell and es- 

As narrow an escape as my father ever had from 
capture was in the 70 's when he and a companion 
were riding through Jackson County one warm day 
in August. They had been riding all day Ind were 
tired and dusty when they came to the Little Blue 
river, and decided to halt there and take a plunge 
bath. They tied their horses in the brush, undressed 
and left their clothing on the bank and plunged 
into the water. They were in the water up to their 
necks and were talking to each other, and never 
dreaming of danger, v/hen suddenly from the bank 
came the stern command: 

** Throw up your hands.'' 

Jesse James and his companion turned their 
heads quickly, and there on the bank was standing a 
man with a double-barreled shot gun to his shoulders 
and the two muzzles pointing fair at the men in the 
water. There was nothing for the two naked men 
to do but to obey the command, and up went their 
hands. It was the first and only time my father 
ever put up his hands at the command of anyone, 
and it was the first and only time that he was ever 
captured. This time he was caught sure enough. 
His clothing and revolvers were on the river bank be- 
hind the determined looking man with the shot gun. 

^'Come out here/' was the next command. 

There was not time to form a plan of operation. 
But my father and his companion were used to sur- 
prises and to the necessity of quick action. Experi- 


ence together in different ** tight places/' had sharp- 
ened their wits so that each almost divined what was 
going on in the mind of the other, and without either 
having spoken a word to the other they acted in con- 
cert on a plan of escape. 

At the command of the man behind the shot gun 
my father waded slowly ashore, talking and arguing 
all the time wdth the man on the bank to distract and 
confuse him. The other man stayed in the water 
with his hands above his head, watching father and 
the man with the shot gun. My father walked up 
the bank, demanding earnestly all the while to know 
why two gentlemen enjoying a quiet bath after a 
day 's horseback ride should be disturbed in this rude 

As soon as my father reached the side of the 
man on the bank, his companion, who was in the 
water, gave a shrill war whoop and dived beneath 
the surface. This shrill yell so surprised and dis- 
concerted the man with the shot gun that he turned 
his head quickly away from my father, and looked 
at the man in the water. That was the chance my 
father had been waiting for. Quick as a flash he 
sprang upon the man, grabbing his shot gun and him 
at the same time, and they rolled over in the weeds 
locked together in a fierce wrestling match. They 
had hardly grappled each other before the man in 
the water was out and got hold of one of his own re- 
volvers, and the rest of it was easy. 

The man turned out to be a country constable 
who was out hunting for horse thieves. He came 
upon the two horses in the brush and jumped at the 
conclusion that the two men in the water were horse 


thieves, and determined to capture them. He never 
once suspected who the men really were that he had 
captured. My father dipped his shot gun in the 
water so it could not be fired, took away all his am- 
munition, and gave him a good ducking in the Blue 
and let him go his way. 

My grandmother was greatly harassed in these 
times by detectives who came to her home searching 
for my father. She learned to suspect every stranger 
who came there, and to be very wary in her talks 
with them. At one time during the war Fletcher 
Taylor and eight guerrillas who were traveling 
through Clay County near her home were very tired 
and hungry. They knew of only one house to which 
they might safely go and ask for food, and that was 
my grandmother's. Taylor had been there before 
with my father, and he supposed, of course, that my 
grandmother would recognize him and it would be 
all right. It was late at night when he and his eight 
companions rode up to the house and knocked at the 
door. My grandmother inquired from within: 

*'Who is there?" 

**It is Fletcher Taylor and eight guerrillas, Mrs. 
Samuels; we are very hungry." 

In those perilous times Federal soldiers often 
went in the guise of guerrillas to the homes of 
Southern patriots and asked for food or water, and 
if it was given them the people who gave it were re- 
ported and punished for giving aid and sustenance to 
the rebels. So my grandmother was very suspicious 
and cautious. 

*'I don't know you," she said. *'Go away and 
do not bother me.'* 


^'But I am Fletcher Taylor, who was here with 
your son Jesse." 

''That is a good lie. I never saw or heard tell 
of Fletcher Taylor," she answered. 

"But don't you remember, Mrs. Samuels, the 
good gooseberry pie and clean pair of socks that you 
gave me." 

My grandmother knew then that it was all right, 
and she threw open the door and prepared a meal for 
the hungry soldiers. 

One time after the war my father was at home 
and was lying on the floor reading a book, when his 
mother discovered three men coming up on horse- 
back. She called to my father ; he got up and looked 
out the window and saw that it was the sheriff. He 
went out the back door, and as he went my grand- 
mother said to him : 

"My dear boy, if it is necessary, fight till you 
die. Do not surrender." 

She gave him that advice because a little before 
that time two men who had been with Quantrell 
were arrested and put in jail at Richmond, and a mob 
had taken them out and hanged them. 

My father got to his horse and was so closely 
chased that he had to turn in his saddle and shoot 
the collar off the sheriff's neck. That ended the 

Among the many cruel falsehoods that have been 
told and retold, and printed and reprinted about my 
father, is that he murdered Whicher, a Pinkerton de- 
tective, near my grandmother's home and then car- 
ried the body to the banks of the Missouri river, 
fourteen miles distant, and ferried it across the river 


and left it in Jackson Caunty. Some writers have 
embellished this story and made it the more horrible 
by telling that my father hobbled the detective first 
and started him to running and then shot at him as 
he ran, clipping off pieces of his flesh ; and that after 
the man was dead, my father sliced off his ears and 
carried them around in his vest pocket. 

This story is absolutely false; and not only that, 
it is so ridiculous that any one would know it was 
false who cared to look at it in a fair way. It is a 
fact that Whicher was found dead in Jackson County, 
twenty miles or .more from my father 's home and on 
the other side of the river. He had simply been shot 
without any mutilation. If he had been shot near 
my father's home, is it likely that whoever killed him 
would have gone to the trouble of carrying the body 
away across to where it was found? It would have 
been much easier to have buried the body where it 
was killed. 

That story of Whicher 's killing was concocted 
by Pinkerton detectives, who knew my father had no 
hand in the killing. The man who killed Whicher 
is living in Texas today. 

Pinkerton 's detectives, in the pursuit of my 
father and their harassment of my grandmother, 
were guilty of as wanton and cruel a murder as was 
ever done anywhere. I can deny that my father 
ever killed a Pinkerton detective, and my denial 
bears the evidences of truth to substantiate it. But 
the Pinkerton detectives cannot deny that they mur- 
dered my father's half-brother, and shot off the right 
arm of my grandmother. They cannot deny it be- 
cauBe the proofs of the murder are plain. 


I recently heard my grandmotlier give the fol- 
lowing account of this murder: 

''It was long after the war, while my boys were 
hunted everywhere and detectives were coming to my 
home every little while. One dark midnight while 
only me and the doctor, and my colored woman and 
my eight-year-old son, Archie, were alone, a bomb 
C£ime crashing through the kitchen window. It was 
thrown with such force that it smashed the whole sash 
out and fell on the floor. We ran into the kitchen 
and there it lay blazing. It was wrapped around 
with cloth and soaked in oil. We rolled it into the 
fireplace to keep it from setting the house on fire. 
Then it exploded. A piece of the shell struck little 
Archie in the breast, going nearly through him and 
killing him almost instantly. Another piece tore 
my right arm off between the wrist and elbow. We 
rushed out doors but could see no one in the dark- 
ness. We found the house had been set afire and 
was blazing fiercely, but we put it out. Those fiends 
had intended to kill us all with the bomb and then 
burn us up. There was a light snow on the ground 
and the next morning we tracked the cowardly 
hounds, and it appeared there were eight of them. 
We found a revolver one of them had dropped, and 
it was stamped with the Pinkerton name.'' 

My grandmother has yet. at her home the half of 
this iron bomb-shell, and visitors to her home may see 
it there. It is wrought iron with a shell about 
one-fourth of an inch thick, and it is eight inches in 
diameter. The edges are torn and jagged by the 
force of the explosion that burst it asunder. A 
photograph of Archie Samuels, who was murdered 


by the Pinkertons, hangs in a comer in the parlor of 
my grandmother's home and it shows a bright, sweet- 
faced boy. Beside it on the wall, hanging in a faded 
frame, is a piece of exceedingly delicate needlework 
made by grandmother when she was a school girl in 
a Catholic convent in Kentucky. On the other side 
of it hangs the picture of a gravestone, and beneath 
the monument is this inscription: 

In Loving Remembrance of My Beloved Son, 

Jesse W. James. 

Died April 3, 1882. 

Aged 34 Years, 6 Months, 28 Days. 

Murdered by a Traitor and Coward Whose 
Name is Not Worthy to Appear Here. 

Before my father was killed, my grandmother 
did not know he was living in St. Joseph. She never 
knew where he lived at any time after the war, nor 
anything of his comings and goings. He came often 
to see her, but would never talk to her about himself. 
Once, shortly after his marriage, he visited his mother 
and she asked him where he was living, and he told 

*'Ma, don't ever ask me where my family is.*' 

^'Why?'' she inquired. 

** Because if you knew where we were living, 
every wind that blew from that direction would make 
you uneasy.'' 

A year or two ago my grandmother told in my 
presence and hearing the following to a reporter for 
the Kansas City Star; and it was printed in that 
paper : 

*'A few days ago," said Mrs. Samuels, **a man 


came here to look around and said to me he be- 
lieved my boys were after him once, 

*'No, sir;" I told Mm, V'my boys were never 
after you. If they had been they'd have got yon. 
If my boys ever started after a man they always got 

''My boys were brave. I saw enough of it." 
Mrs. Samuels laughed heartily and went on: "I re- 
member one day during the war, Jesse and three 
more of Quantrell's men rode up here to wash up 
and change shirts. They told me they were hard 
chased and while they were washing my colored boy 
held their horses back of the house and I watched 
from the front. By and by I saw about forty Fed- 
eral soldiers going up through the field over there 
toward old Dan Askew 's house. Dan was a North- 
ern spy. I shouted to Jesse : 

*' 'I see some Federals' 

" 'How many, mother?' asked Jesse. 

" 'About forty.' 

" 'Where are they?' 

" 'Going up through the field to old Dan As- 
kew 's. ' 

" 'Well, keep your eye on them, mother,' said 
Jesse, and they went right on washing. 

"In a minute I saw them coming down toward 
our house and I shouted: 

" 'Boys, they're coming to the house.' 

"Jesse was spluttering with his face down in the 
water basin and he stopped long enough to say: 

" 'Let 'em come, mother; there are four of us, 
and I guess we can whip forty Federals all right 
enough. ' 


*'I got scared and I ran back to where the boys 
were washing and begged them to run. 

*' 'Do go, Jesse/ I said. 'They're crossing the 
branch and will be right here in half a minute.' 

"Jesse just laughed at me and said: 'Don't get 
rattled, mother. I'm not going away from here with 
a dirty neck if I have to fight two hundred and forty 
Federals instead of forty.' 

"Well, sir, those four boys did not mount their 
horses till the soldiers were at the front gate and 
they heard the latch rattling. Then they sprang into 
their saddles, and leaped the back fence and rode 
across the pasture like mad. The Federals galloped 
around the house, part one way and part the other, 
and pulled their cavalry pistols, and such shooting 
and cursing you never heard. Our boys shot back 
as they ran, and the last I saw of them was a waving 
line of horses going over the top of the hill. I 
waited half an hour and then I could stand it no 
longer. I got on my horse Betsy, and went up over 
the hill expecting to find the bodies of four boys shot 
full of holes. About a mile from the house some 
one hailed me from the brush. 

" 'Where are you going, ma?' 

"It was Jesse, and he and the boys were coming 
down from the old school house leading their horses 
and looking for their caps they had lost during 
the fight. They wouldn't listen to anything I'd say, 
but rode back to the house with me after they'd found 
their caps. They washed up again and then rode away. 

"Jesse seemed to take delight in getting me 
scared and playing jokes on me. You know I was 
always watching out for detectives, and we had 


plenty of them spying around here. That was long 
after the war, when Jesse was accused of every bank 
and train robbery that was done. One day a big man 
rode up to the gate, hitched his horse and stalked 
right up to the house and demanded to know where 
Jesse James was. He said he was a detective and he 
pulled out a big revolver and threatened to kill him 
on sight. He took Jesse's gold watch out of his 
pocket and showed it to me, and said he had killed 
Jesse and took his watch. I told him I knew he was 
lying. He searched the house and barn, bulldozed 
my colored man and woman, and 1 followed him 
around, daring him to harm a hair of anyone around 
the place. At last he sat down in a chair and 
laughed until I thought he'd split. He told me he 
was Dave Poole, a friend of Jesse ^s, and he handed 
me' a letter from Jesse, who had told him to pretend 
he was a detective and give me a scare. Jesse had 
said to him: 

'' 'The old lady may take a shot at you, but if 
she doesn't hit you, go right in.' 

*'Some of the detectives that came prowling 
around here had narrow escapes," continued Mrs. 
Samuels. *'You see, they were all cowards; I never 
saw a detective in all my life who wasn't a coward, 
and Jesse knew that well enough, too. The detec- 
tives used always to come when they thought my 
boys were away, but two of them missed it once and 
came very near getting killed. Jesse was here one 
day when I saw two men coming down the road. 
We could tell a detective on sight, and we knew they 
were detectives. They stopped at the gate and hal- 
lowed. Jesse stepped just inside the door to the 


stairway leading to the attic and stood there with 
his revolvers in his hands. Jesse said: 

*' 'Go to the door, mother.' 

*'I opened the door and one of the men said they 
were cattle buyers, and asked if we had any fat 

^'Tell them yes, mother, said Jesse. 'Tell 
them the cattle are here and for them to come in and 
get them.' 

*' 'The cattle you are looking for are in the 
house; come in and get them!' I shouted. They 
talked together awhile in whispers and then went on. 
I guess that was as near as I ever came to seeing 
shooting right here in the house. 

*'But the funniest thing that ever happened was 
one day when a sheriff — I won't mention his name, 
because he is living yet— came here alone after Jesse. 
I had ten harvest hands at work in the field, and 
Jesse was hiding in the attic. When dinner was 
ready I brought Jesse down to eat first before the 
hands came in at noon. Just as he came down stairs 
there was a knock at the door. Jesse peeped out 
the window and said it was the sheriff. He drew his 
revolver and said: 

" 'Open the door, mother.' 

"I opened it and the sheriff walked in. 

*' 'Your gun, please,' Jesse said, as cool as could 
be, and the sheriff took out his revolver. 

" 'TJirow it over on the bed,' ordered Jesse, and 
he did so. 

*' 'Now, sit down and have dinner with us,' com- 
manded Jesse, and the two sat down at the table and 
chatted like old friends while they ate a hearty meal. 


After it was over Jesse handed the sheriff his revol- 
ver and bid him good-bye. The sheriff never came 
back. He was always a great friend of my boys 
after that." 

As an instance of the courage displayed by the 
survivors of Quantrell's guerrilla band, who were 
persecuted and driven from pillar to post after the 
war, I will tell here of an adventure of Clel. Miller, 
who was hounded by officers because he had been 
seen in company with my father. Miller had broken 
his leg in a fall from his horse and was lying at the 
home of his cousin near Carrollton, Mo. While he 
was there the sheriff of the county with a posse rode 
up and surrounded the house. The sheriff dis- 
mounted and came to the door and inquired: 

"I understand that Clel. Miller is here?" 

*'No, he is not here;" answered Miller's cousin, 
who had answered the knock at the door. 

**Yes, he is here. I have the information from 
a most reliable source. Unless you surrender him 
at once we will set fire to the house and smoke you 
all out." 

Clel. IMiller was lying on a sofa in the parlor 
and overheard every word of this conversation. Sud- 
denly he sang out : 

*'Yes, I am here in the front room with a broken 
leg and unable to move. Come in sheriff, and I will 
talk over terms of surrender." 

The sheriff knew that Miller's leg had been 
broken only a few days before. He had no fear of 
Miller, and he walked boldly in. 

''Take a chair and sit downf, sheriff, I want to 
talk to you," said Miller. 

92 j]ass« jame;s. 

The sheriff sat down and Miller said: 

"Give me a chance to fight the whole posse, and 
and you can take me, dead or alive/' 

''No; I will listen to no propositions. You must 
go along and take your chances at a trial in the 
court. ' ' 

' ' All right ; I will go with you if you will give 
me your promise to protect me from violence at the 
hands of the posse.'' 

"I will do that. I will be personally responsi- 
ble for your safety." the sheriff said. 

"That is satisfactory. Help me put my over- 
shoe on my good leg and I will go with you." 

The sheriff had no reason to suspect that Miller 
was not sincere. Miller reached under the sofa as if 
to get his overshoe, but instead of bringing out a 
shoe he jerked out a revolver and put it to the 
sheriff's ear. His manner changed instantly from one 
of politeness to fierceness. He threatened the sheriff 
with instant death if he did not obey. He took away 
the sheriff's revolvers and put them in his own 
pockets. Then he put his left arm around the 
sheriff's shoulders and leaned upon him for support 
and with the muzzle of his huge revolver stuck in 
the sheriff's ear he hobbled on one foot outside the 
front door. Standing there, in full view of the posse, 
he called out that if one man advanced a step toward 
him he would kill the sheriff and then shoot into the 
posse and kill all he could before he himself was 
killed. He made the sheriff order the posse to stand 
back and obey orders. Then the sheriff assisted 
Miller to the sheriff's horse and helped him mount, 
the sheriff himself getting up in front of him. Miller 


ordered the posse to stay where they were, threat- 
ening to kill the sheriff if one of them stirred. 
He rode with the sheriff for three miles and then 
made him dismount, thanked him, hade him good- 
bye, and rode away alone in the gathering darkness 
and escaped. 

My father was anxious at all times to surrender 
to the proper authorities, upon proper guarantees of 
protection from violence at the hands of his enemies 
and fair treatment at the hands of the officers of the 
law. These overtures on his part were spurned. 
My grandmother and friends of the family went to 
three different governors of Missouri and begged 
and pleaded for fair terms upon which he could sur- 
render. My father said to his mother shortly before 
his death: 

''I would be willing to wear duck clothing all 
my life if I could only be a free man.'* 

But all his pleadings for a fair chance to surren- 
der were spurned. His old enemies were working 
constantly to prejudice the public and the officers 
against him. For twelve years every train robbery 
and every bank robbery in the country was attribu- 
ted to him. I have looked through the old files of 
the daily papers published in Kansas City during 
those years, and it is really ridiculous to see what 
crimes were charged up to the account of my hunted 
and outlawed father. This week there would be a 
bold robbery somewhere in Missouri, and the news- 
papers in great head lines charge it to ''The James 
Gang Again." The next week there would be a rob- 
bery in Texas, and again it would be the "James 
Gang.'* To have committed one-fourth of the crimes 


charged to him my father would have to have been 
equipped with an air ship or some other means of 
aerial flight, for no known method of terrestrial 
transportation could have made it possible for him 
to rob a bank in West Virginia Monday night and 
hold up a train in Texas three nights later. 

Yet the credulous public believed the most 
of these stories. And the gangs who were doing 
these robberies wished the public to so believe, and 
in most of these robberies the leader always took 
pains to inform the robbed people that he was Jesse 
James, or to write a notification to that effect and 
leave it where it could be found. 

The very day upon which my father was killed 
there was a peculiarly bold and successful hold up 
and robbery of a train in Texas, and the newspapers 
over all the country attributed it to Jesse James. If 
there is anyone who doubts this to be true, he may 
prove it true by turning back to the files of the daily 
papers of that date and find the account of this train 
robbery upon the first page. In most of the news- 
papers the name "Jesse James" is the first and most 
prominent headline, and the succeeding headlines 
tell of how he and his "gang" held up and robbed 
the train. 

And at the very moment this train was robbed 
my father was lying dead in St. Joseph. 

The death of my father did not bring a cessation 
of train or bank robberies. This nefarious method* 
of robbery went right on and has continued to the 
present time, and probably will go on, like Tenny- 
son's brook, forever. 

The death of my father created one of the great- 


est sensations that the West had ever known. He 
was killed April 3, 1882. I have clipped from the 
Kansas City Journal of April 4, 1882, the news ac- 
count, head lines and all, of that tragedy, and here 
reproduce a part of it as a bit of history that will be 
found deeply interesting to all who have been inter- 
ested enough in the story this book tells to have 
read this far into it: 


The Notorious Outlaw and Bandit, Jesse James, 
Elilled at St. Joseph by R. Ford, of Ray County, 
a Young Man But Twenty-one Years of Age. 
—The Deadly Weapon Used Presented to His 
Slayer by His Victim But a Short Time Since. — 
Jesse in Kansas City During the Past Year and 
Residing on One of the Principal Streets. — Kan- 
sas City Excited Over the Receipt of the News. — 
Talks With People.— Life^ of the Dead Man. 

* ^ I 've got him, sure, ' ' was the telegram that came 
to the city yesterday. It was meaningless to almost 
everybody, yet it contained news of the greatest im- 
portance. Jesse James w^as the person referred to, 
and as he was a corpse, the sender of the dispatch 
was confident that he had him, sure. 

At 9 o'clock yesterday morning Jesse James was 
shot dead at St. Joseph, Mo., by Robert Ford, a 
young man about twenty-one years of age, from Ray 
County. Ford, being acquainted with the James 
gang, recently planned the death of Jesse. This 
plan was concocted in this city, and was, as it has 
been seen, successfully carried out. His brother 
Charles was with him at the time of the killing, and 


the wife of Jesse was in the kitchen of the house in 
which they were living. At his death, Jesse was 
hanging pictures. He had but a few minutes be- 
fore being killed, divested himself of his coat and his 
revolvers. He never spoke a word after falling to 
the floor. The slayers gave themselves up soon 
after the killing, and an inquest over the remains 
was begun. 


Special Dispatch to the Kansas City Journal: 

St. Joseph, Mo., April 3.— Between eight and 
nine o'clock this morning Jesse James, the Missouri 
outlaw, before whose record the deeds of Fra 
Diavolo, Dick Turpin and Shinterhannes dwindle 
into insignificance, v/as killed by a boy twenty-one 
years old, named Robt. Ford, at his temporary resi- 
dence on Thirteenth and Lafayette streets, in this 
city. In the light of all moral reasoning the shoot- 
ing was wholly unjustifiable, but the law is vindica- 
ted, and the $10,000 reward offered by the state will 
doubtless go to the man who had the courage to draw 
a revolver on the notorious outlaw when his back 
was turned, as in this case. There is little doubt 
that the killing was the result of a premeditated 
plan formed by Robert and Charles Ford several 
months ago. Charles had been an accomplice of Jesse 
James since the third of last November, and entirely 
possessed his confidence. Robert Ford, his brother, 
joined Jesse near Mrs. Samuels (the mother of the 
James boys), last Friday a week ago, and ac- 
companied Jesse and Charles to this city Sunday, 
March 23. 


Jesse, his wife and two children, removed from 
Kansas City (where they had lived several months 
until they feared their whereabouts would be sus- 
pected) to this city, arriving here November 8, 1881, 
coming in a wagon and accompanied by Charles 
Ford. They rented a house on the corner of Lafay- 
ette and Twenty-first streets, where they stayed two 
months, when they secured the house No. 1381 on 
Lafayette Street, formerly the property of Council- 
man Aylesbury, paying fourteen dollars a month for 
it, and giving the name of Thomas Howard. 

The house is a one-story cottage, painted white, 
with green shutters, and is romantically situated on 
the brow of a lofty eminence east of the city, com- 
manding a fine view of the principal portion of the 
city, river and railroads, and adapted by nature for 
the perilous and desperate calling of Jesse James. 
Just east of the house is a deep, gulch-like ravine, 
and beyond that a broad expanse of open country 
backed by a belt of timber. 

The house, except from the west side, can be 
seen for several miles. There is a large yard at- 
tached to the cottage, and a stable where Jesse had 
been keeping two horses, which were found there 
this morning. 

Charles and Robert Ford have been occupying 
one of the rooms in the rear of the dwelling, and 
have secretly had an understanding to kill Jesse ever 
since last fall. . Ever since the boys have been with 
Jesse, they have watched for an opportunity to shoot 
him, but he was always so heavily armed that it was 
impossible to draw a weapon without James seeing 
it. They declared that they had no idea of taking 


him alive, considering the undertaking suicidal. 
The opportunity they had long wished for came this 
morning. Breakfast was over. Charlie Ford and 
Jesse James had been in the stable currying the 
horses preparatory to their night ride. On return- 
ing to the room where Robert Ford was, Jesse said: 
*'It's an awfully hot day." He pulled off his coat 
and vest and tossed them on the bed. Then he said, 
''I guess I'll take off my pistols for fear somebody 
will see them if I walk in the yard." He unbuckled 
the belt in which he* carried two 45-calibre revolvers, 
one a Smith & Wesson and the other a Colt, and laid 
them on the bed with his coat and vest. He then 
picked up a dusting brush with the intention of dust- 
ing some pictures which hung on the w^all. To do 
this he got on a chair. His back was now turned to 
the brothers, who silently stepped between Jesse and 
his revolvers. At a motion from Charlie both drew 
their guns. Robert was the quickest of the two, 
and in one motion he had the long weapon to a 
level with his eye, and with the muzzle not more 
than four feet from the back of the outlaw's head. 
Even in that motion, quick as thought, there was 
something which did not escape the acute ears of the 
hunted man. He made a motion as if to turn his 
head to ascertain the cause of that suspicious sound, 
but too late. A nervous pressure on the trigger, a 
quick flash, a sharp report and the well directed ball 
crashed through the outlaw's skull. There was no 
outcry ; just a swajdng of the body and it fell heavily 
backwards upon the carpet of the floor. The shot 
had been fatal and all the bullets in the chambers of 
Charlie's revolver still directed at Jesse's head could 


not more effectually have decided the fate of the 
greatest bandit and free hooter that ever figured in 
the pages of a country's history. 

The ball had entered the base of the skull and 
made its way out through the forehead, over the left 
eye. It had been fired out of a Colt's 45 improved 
pattern, silver mounted and pearl handled pistol, 
presented by the dead man to his slayer only a fev/ 
days ago. 

Mrs. James was in the kitchen when the shooting 
was done, separated from the room in which the 
bloody tragedy occurred by the dining room. She 
heard the shot, and dropping her household duties 
ran into the front room. She saw her husband lying 
extended ^ his back, his slayers, each holding his 
revolver ih his hand, making for the fence in the 
rear of the house. Robert had reached the enclosure 
and was in the act of scaling it when she stepped to 
the door and called to him: *' Robert, you have 
done this, come back." Robert answered: *'I swear 
to God I didn't." They then returned to where she 
stood. Mrs. James ran to the side of her husband 
and lifted up his head. Life was not yet extinct, 
and when she asked him if he was hurt, it seemed to 
her that he wanted to say something, but could not. 
She tried to wash away the blood that was coursing 
over his face from the hole in his forehead, but it 
seemed to her that the blood would come faster than 
she could wipe it away, and in her hands Jesse James 

Charlie Ford explained to Mrs. James that *'a 
pistol had accidentally gone oflt." "Yes," said Mrs. 


James, "I guess it went off on purpose." Mean- 
while Charlie had gone back in the house and 
brought out two hats, and the two boys left the 
house. They went to the telegraph office, sent a 
message to Sheriff Timberlake, of Clay County; to 
Police Commissioner Craig, of Kansas City; to Gov- 
ernor Crittenden, and other officers, and then sur- 
rendered themselves to Marshal Craig. 

When the Ford boys appeared at the police sta- 
tion, they were told by an officer that Marshall Craig 
and a posse of officers had gone in the direction of 
ths James residence and they started after them and 
surrendered themselves. They accompanied the offi- 
cers to the house and returned in custody of the 
police to the marshal's headquarters, where they 
were furnished with dinner, and about 3 p. m. were 
removed to the old circuit court room, where the in- 
quest was held in the presence of an immense crowd. 
Mrs. James accompanied the officers to the house, 
having previously left her two children, aged seven 
and three years, a boy and a girl, at the house of a 
Mrs. Terrel, who had known the Jameses under their 
assumeu name of Howard ever since they had occu- 
pied the adjoining house. She was s-rpfltlv affected 
by the tragedy, and the heart-rending moans and ex- 
pressions of grief were sorrowful evidence of the love 
she bore for the dead desperado. 

The report of the killing of the notorious out- 
law spread like wildfire throughout the city, and as 
usual the report assumed every variety of form and 
color. Very few accredited the news, however, and 
simply laughed at the idea that Jesse James was 
really the dead man. 


Nevertheless the excitement ran high, and when 
one confirming point succeeded the other, crowds of 
hundreds gathered at the undertaking establishment 
where lay the body. At the city hall, at the court 
house, and in fact on every street corner, the almost 
incredible news constituted the sole topic of conver- 
sation, to the exclusion of the barely less engrossing 
topic of the coming election. 

Coroner Heddens was notified, and Undertaker 
Sidenfaden instructed to remove the body to his es- 
tablishment. This was about 10 o'clock. A large 
crowd accompanied the coroner to the undertaker's, 
but only the wife and the reporters were admitted. 
The body lay in a remote room of the building. It 
had been taken out of the casket and placed upon a 
table. The features appeared natural, but were dis- 
figured by the bloody hole over the left eye. The 
body was neatly and cleanly dressed; in fact, noth- 
ing in the appearance of the remains indicated the 
desperate career of the man or the many bloody 
scenes of which he had been the hero. The large, 
cavernous eyes were closed as in a calm slumber. 
Only the lower part of the face, the square cheek 
bones, the stout, prominent chin covered with a soft, 
sandy beard, and the thin, firmly closed lips, in a 
measure betrayed the determined will and iron cour- 
age of the dead man. A further inspection of the 
body revealed two large bullet wounds on the right 
side of the breast, within three inches of the nipple, 
a bullet wound in the leg and the absence of the tip 
of the middle finger of the left hand. 



The news of the killing of the famous outlaw 
created such an excitement on the streets of Kansas 
City as had not existed since the assassination of Pres- 
ident Garfield. Everybody was talking of it yester- 
day afternoon, and it was frequently heard that it 
was ''decidedly too thin." People would not believe 
it, and it is probable that when the patrons of the 
Journal read the account of it this morning that 
many of them will be unable to realize that the 
famous bandit, whose name is better known in Mis- 
souri than that of any statesman in America, has 
ended his eventful career. Groups gathered on the 
street corners to discuss the matter, and even the all- 
absorbing question of city politics was abandoned to 
ask *'who killed him?" ''when did it happen?" etc. 
The most ignorant as well as the wisest of the citi- 
zens were interested in the matter, and every repre- 
sentative of the press, as well as the members of the 
police force, were besieged with anxious inquiries. 
Occasionally a man is seen who denounces the deed 
as cowardly, and the wish was heard to be expressed 
that the man who did the killing might hang. At 
the station there was a crowd all the afternoon anx- 
ious to hear the very latest news. Mayor Frink and 
a crowd of the clerks and city officials were engaged 
in an animated discussion of the affair. Said the 
mayor: "I fully believe that he is dead this time." 

The Kansas City Times on this day printed the 
following description of Jesse James; 

Jesse James was about 5 feet 11 inches in height, 


of a rather solid, firm and compact build, yet rather 
of the slender type. His hair was black, not overly 
long; blue eyes, well shaded with dark lashes, and 
the entire lower portion of his face was covered by 
a full growth of dark brown or sun browned whisk- 
ers, which are not long and shaggy, but are trimmed 
and bear evidence of careful attention. His com- 
plexion was fair, and he was not sunburnt to any 
considerable extent, as the reader is generally led to 
suppose. He was neatly clad in a business suit of 
cassimere, of dark brown substance, which fit him 
very neatly. He wore a shirt of spotless whiteness, 
with collar and cravat, and looked more the picture 
of a staid and substantial business man than the out- 
law and desperado that he was. 

The widow of Jesse James was a neat and rather 
prepossessing lady, and bears the stamp of having 
been well brought up and surrounded by influences 
of a better and of a holier character than the reader 
would at first suppose. She is rather slender, fair 
of face, light hair, blue eyes, with high forehead and 
marks of intelligence very strikingly apparent. The 
two children, a little boy and girl, were neat and 
intelligeijt, and seemed to grieve much over the deed 
which had in one short moment deprived them of a 
father ^s love and protection. 

The Kansas City Times of April 7, 1882, pub- 
lished the following account of the funeral of Jesse 
James : 

Special to the Kansas City Times. 

Kearney, April 6.— Yesterday was a holiday at 
Kearney, near which is the home of Mrs, Samuels, 


mother of the noted Jesse James. Kearney is a 
town of between four hundred and five hundred in- 
habitants, situated on the Hannibal and St. Joe rail- 
way, twenty-four miles from Kansas City. At an 
early hour from all directions came people on the 
trains, on horseback and in vehicles, anxious to gaze 
upon the remains of the dead bandit. The metallic 
casket containing the body was taken to the Kearney 
house upon its arrival at 2:45 a. m. It was placed 
upon chairs in the office, and during the forenoon 
and a portion of the afternoon was surrounded by 
friends, relatives and strangers anxiously peering 
into the pallid features. No one who claimed to know 
him in life doubted that the remains were those of 
Jesse James. Photographs of the deceased in pos- 
session of the Times correspondent were compared 
with the corpse, and admitted by many of his friends 
to be genuine. No ill will was engendered or if any 
existed those possessing it were careful not to let 
their passions get the better of them. It seemed to 
be understood by everyone that the solemnity of the 
occasion demanded that everything be done decently 
and in order. 


Long before noon the town was full of people. 
The funeral procession started for the Baptist church, 
in which Jesse was converted in 1866. The edifice 
was filled, and for many there was standing room 
only. The pall bearers were J. D. Ford, Deputy 
Marshal J. T. Reed, Charles Scott, James Henderson 
and William Bond. There was another, a sixth pall 


bearer, a rather mysterious character, whom none of 
the other five seemed to know. He seemed to have 
charge of the cortege and directed the movements, 
but neither his fellow pall bearers nor the bystanders 
knew who he was. He was a stout and well pre- 
served man, of perhaps forty years, and seemed to 
understand what he was about, but no one could say 
who he was or where he came from. 

The relatives, consisting of Mrs. Samuels, Mrs. 
James and two children, Mr. and Mrs. Luther W. 
James, Mrs. Hall and Mrs. Mimms, were seated be- 
side the coffin, placed in front of the altar. The ser- 
vices were opened by singing the hymn, ''What a 
Friend We Have in Jesus.'' Rev. R. H. Jones, of 
Lathrop, read a passage of scripture from Job, com- 
mencing, ''Man born of woman is of few days and 
full of trouble." Also the fourth and fifth verses of 
the 39th Psalm, beginning, "Lord, make me to know 
mine end.'' He offered up a touching and pathetic 
prayer for the grief stricken mother, wife and chil- 
dren, asked the Lord to make their bereavement a 
blessing to them, by leading them to a true knowl- 
edge of himself. 


Bcv. J. M. P. Martin, pastor of the church, as 
an introduction to his discourse said : We all under- 
stand that we cannot change the state of the dead. 
Again, it would be useless for me to bring any new 
information before this congregation respecting the 
life and character of the deceased. 

The text which I have chosen to-day is the 24:th 
chapter of Matthew, 44th verse: "Therefore be ye 


ready, for in such an hour as ye think not the Son 
of Man Cometh/' First, I wish to call special at- 
tention to the certainty of the coming of Christ to 
each of us. There is a certainty of a grave before each 
of us. We cannot jump over it or pass it by. God^s 
word is written on His tablets for our instruction 
and guidance. It takes it for granted that there is a 
certainty of death. It is constantly warning us of 
this solemn fact. We talk of death to others, and 
dwell upon its terrors and are stricken down with 
grief when it lays its hand upon those we love, but 
seem unwilling to regard its certainty to ourselves. 
The truth I wish you to take home with you to-day 
is that Christ is sure to come to each of us. In the 
second place, Christ is sure to come at such an hour 
as we think not. He comes like a thief in the night. 
As the thief comes when we are least expecting it, so 
Christ comes. Whatever the past has been, we all 
have our idle dreams of the future. We all in our 
imagination have fancy pictures, and are apt to for- 
get the evils that are likely to befall us. If we could 
at all learn a lesson from the past, we would not ex- 
pect the future as our fancy paints it. Though we 
are assured that others shall die and not live, we feei 
for ourselves we shall live and not die. Shall we not 
set about for a future which is as real as life is real ? 
Our expectation then of the lengthening out of our 
lives will not keep away the coming of the Son of 
Man. Let us remember that He comes as a thief in 
the night, and not delay our preparations. But it 
seems idle to try to get men to make preparation for 
what seems imaginary. 


We will not entertain the fact as it is. It is nec- 
essary for us to prepare to meet our God. If men 
are so careful to prepare for things that pertain to 
this life, how much more important is it to prepare 
for things that pertain to the life to come? If we 
accept Christ our account will be acceptable to our 
Lord. How would we feel if God should come and 
we should be compelled to stand before Him unpre- 
pared? As I said before, we cannot change the past 
life or condition of the dead. I ask you to take your 
eyes off from that coffin ; I ask you to take your eyes 
off from the open grave and look higher. Let us not 
forget our duties and responsibilities in life. A true 
prophet is not without honor save in his own land, 
and those who point the way to righteousness are 
often unheeded. Notwithstanding the many un- 
heeded warnings, God is constantly reminding 
us and calling us to Him. At the same time that He 
points us to the grave and tells us to look into it, He 
says to us it is not all of death to die, not all of life 
to live. But we need not die spiritually. All we 
need do is to look and live. Yet we turn away, and 
turn away until our hearts become hard as stone. 
He askg us to turn to Him and promises us everlast- 
ing life. What more could he say? Let us see that 
we make ready and stand ready when He calls to us. 

Before the coffin is taken from the house, I have 
been asked to make one or two requests. As John 
Samuels is very low on account of the shock caused 
by the death of his brother, and as the grave is very 
near the house, Mrs. Samuels asks that those who 
are here will not go out to the house. It is feared 


that the excitement of seeing so many persons present 
will injure him. It is therefore requested that none 
but the friends and relatives go to the grave. 

My father was buried in a corner of the beauti- 
ful yard that surrounds my grandmother's home, the 
house in which he was born. The grave is beneath 
a giant coffee bean tree, and it is covered by flowers 
that are tended by his mother. A monument of 
white marble marks the grave. 



COME now to where I must speak of myself 
and the family left when my father was killed. 

Not long after his death, my mother and her 
two children moved to Kansas City to live and to 
earn a living. I was eleven years old when I an- 
swered an advertisement of a ''Boy wanted, '^ and it 
led me to the office of Thomas T. Crittenden, Jr., son 
of the T. T. Crittenden who was governor of Missouri 
when my father was killed. T. T. Crittenden, Jr., 
was in the real estate business, and it was to his office 
that I unwittingly went in reply to the advertisement 
and applied for work. He was greatly surprised, I 
have learned since, when I, together with other boys 
who were applicants for the place, wrote my name 
upon a sheet of paper to give him a sample of my 
handwriting. He employed me in preference to any 
other boy who was there, and I found in him the 
best and truest friend that I have ever known. He 
sold to my mother a lot of ground in Kansas City and 
loaned us the money to build a modest house upon 
it, taking my notes for the amount and assuring us 
that the notes should never go out of his hands, and 
that we should have our own time in which to pay 
them off. He kept his word. I remained with him 
as his office boy for one year. I went to school until 
I was fifteen years of age. Then I went to work in 
the Armour packing plant, and remained there six 


and one-half years, when I opened a cigar stand in 
the county court house. 

In all those years that I was working for wages 
I was paying a part of my earnings each month tak- 
ing up the mortgage on our home. The balance of 
my wages went to help support my mother and sister, 
and to keep my sister at school. She graduated from 
the High School in the class of '98. 

The most gratifying thing to me in all my life 
was when I was under arrest on a false charge of 
train robbery and men whom I had worked for, and 
men of well known integrity and honor in the com- 
munity, who had lived near me and watched me 
grow up, took the witness stand voluntarily and tes- 
tified under oath that they knew no young man in 
the city whose character was better than mine or 
whom they would trust farther. Since I was old 
enough to know anything I had striven industriously 
to build up and establish just that kind of a charac- 
ter and reputation, and when a set of unscrupulous 
detectives sought by false charges to tear down in a 
day what I had spent the few years of my life in 
building up, it was peculiarly satisfying to me to see 
that I was trusted and believed in by men whose re- 
gard I would rather have than the good will of all 
the detectives who ever lived and lied. 

I come now to an account of that conspiracy 
which was intended to be my utter ruin, and the ruin 
of my mother and sister as well. , This conspiracy, 
hatched in the brains of detectives, was intended by 
ruining me and mine to pay off old scores that the 
detective fraternity had against the James family for 
years past. 




HAT is known in the criminal annals of 
Jackson County, Missouri, as "The Leeds 
Hold-up/* occurred the night of Septem- 
ber 23, 1898, on the Missouri Pacific road near Leeds, 
Mo., eight miles south of Kansas City. In order to 
understand the events that followed this hold-up, re- 
sulting at last in my arrest and trial for the crime, it 
is best to give here the account of the robbery as it 
was published the next day in the Kansas City Star. 
That account, written by one of the most graphic 
writers on that great newspaper, follows: 

The dull explosion that was heard throughout 
the southeastern part of the city last night was 
the work of train robbers. It was not much after 
ten o'clock when the robbers dynamited the express 
car of a southbound Missouri Pacific train a few 
miles beyond Leeds and eight miles from Kansas 
City. That they did not blow off their own clothing 
was a wonder, for the car was razed, the great iron 
safe was shattered, and, for a distance of two miles, 
waybills and papers and fragments of baggage were 
scattered along the track. The party of masked 
bandits, thinking they had cut the telegraph wires 
to Kansas City, used no stint in the application of 


dynamite. They left a card with the express mes- 
senger stating that the supply of quails was good. 


Chief Hayes has in his possession the only tangi- 
ble clue of the man who did the work. It is a card 
handed to Express Messenger E. N. Hills by one of 
the robbers after they had finished. On one side is 
printed: ^'Vote for Robert W. Green, Republican 
nominee for county collector of Jackson County. '* 
On the reverse side this is printed with a dull lead 
pencil : 

We, the masked knights of the road, robbed 
the M. P. train at the Belt Line junction to- 
night. The supply of quails was good. "With 
much love we remain, 

John Kennedy, 
Bill Ryan, 
Bill Anderson, 
Sam Brown, 
Jim Redmond. 

Whoever the robbers are, one of them, the au- 
thor of the printed card, evidently has a smattering 
of Latin, as the last line on the card is ''we are ex 
comspert to.'' This is undoubtedly intended for 
ex co7ispectu, meaning ''out of sight." So the last 
words would read, ''we are out of sight.*' 

The Pacific Express company declares it lost 
nothing except smashed express matter. Last night 
officials of the company said that everything of value 
in the safe had been blown to pieces. 

The whole affair took only a few minutes. At 
9:40 o'clock the Wichita-Little Rock express stopped 


at the Pittsburgh & Gulf junction, fewer than eight 
miles south of Kansas City, and in thirty minutes 
the sound of the explosion was heard in the city. 

Word of the hold-up reached police headquarters 
between 10:30 and 11:00 o'clock. It was more than 
an hour past midnight when a special train bearing 
railroad and express officials, and police officers, 
started for the scene. 

After an hour of rushing and jerking through 
the inky darkness, the lights of a train were made 
out. Standing just across a trestle at what is most 
commonly known as "P. & G. Junction,'* was the 
southbound Little Rock and Wichita express. It 
swarmed with passengers. They were loud in their 
praises of the dispatch and nerve of the robbers. It 
was all over before they knew anything about it. 
Leaning out of the mail car, which had the front of 
the train, was John Nelson, the mail clerk. 

*'How did it happen?" *' Hanged if I know,'' 
he explained. "I heard a shot and looked out, and 
then I stayed inside my car." 

*' Where's the engine?" 

**Took it west of Swope Park and blew it up. 



Beside the trestle and the train, the only other 
things to be made out in the darkness were tha lights 
of a little shanty, a hundred yards away. Therein a 
blonde mustached man labored patiently with a bat- 
tered telegraph apparatus. 

' ' The tall man smashed it, ' ' he explained, ' * while 
the short man covered me with a Winchester ! ' ' 

Between his efforts to make 'the instrument 


work the operator added that the place was *'P. & G, 
Junction/' sometimes called Brush Creek junction 
and Belt Line junction, where the Kansas City, Pitts- 
burg & Gulf crosses the southbound Missouri Pacific, 
between Leeds and Dodson. He was D. M. Hisey, 
the Pittsburg & Gulf railway operator. 

*'It was just before the Missouri Pacific No. 5 
was due,*' he said, '*that they came in. By they I 
mean the tall man and the short man. The short 
man had a black mask over his face. He shoved a 
"Winchester into my stomach and ordered me to 
throw up my hands. The tall man had a cloth tied 
over his face. The mask on the short man slipped 
down, and I saw his nose and the upper part of his 
face. He had a big red nose. 

* * The tall man had a revolver and a pair of wire 
pliers. He tried to cut the wires and smashed at the 
switchboard with his revolver when he was unable 
to cut the cables." 

To appreciate this scene it should be understood 
that the little telegraph room is just big enough to 
contain three men and a gun. 

*'Just then the train crossed the trestle, and as 
it always does, stopped, '^ continued Hisey. **The 
short man shoved me along at the muzzle of the Win- 
chester, down the track to the train. I noticed that 
the mouthpiece of his mask was down over his chin. 
Around the engine were several men with black 
masks. They had the engineer and fireman down 
from the engine. They swore horribly. I think I 
saw seven of them. There was a shot. I was or- 
dered, along with the engineer, to uncouple the en- 
gine and express car. We complied! Did we com- 


ply quickly? You bet we did! Then they said to 

*' *Get on the train and stay on there, or we'll 
kill you!' 

''Then they whistled for a flagman and went off 
with the engine. About twenty minutes afterward 
we heard a tremendous explosion. The express mes- 
senger came running back and said the express car 
had been blown up. I began fixing my instruments 
and sent a message to Kansas City*. The big fellow 
who tried to cut off telegraphic communication was a 
lobster and didn't know how to do it." 

The engine of the relief train pushed the robbed 
and engineless express car ahead, for it was impossi- 
ble to pass it. It held the track. It was a slow, 
noisy procession. About one-half mile further on 
the caravan of coaches came upon a strange scene. 


Looming up in the flare of torches were two 
Kansas City policemen, Sergeant Caskey and Officer 
Harry Adams, who had driven out in a buggy and 
beaten the train. The conductor of the ill-fated 
train, Hans Carr, several deputy marshals, and a 
number of negroes with guns, were delving in a mass 
of debris by the track side in the weird torchlight. 
Broken trunks, women's finery, fragments of car 
roofs, a bicycle, men's underclothing, blackened 
valises, and a pulpy mass of a hundred different 
things were piled and scattered in the ditch along 
the left hand side of the track. The telegraph wires 
were festooned with wreckage. Here the express 
car had been blown up, but where was the car? 


* 'We're from the coal camp,'* said the armed 
negroes. ''We heard the explosion and came over 
to find out about it." 

The railway and express officials fell to heaving 
the fragments of baggage and express matter into 
the empty baggage car brought with the relief train. 
They found half of a 32-caliber revolver twisted as 
if given a wrench when heated redhot. A little 
lantern was found in the grass, intact, not a crack in 
its dainty glass. A section man picked up a sack of 
tobacco, dry and sweet. Working hardest of all was 
E. N. Hills, the express messenger. He had lost his 
hat, and a child's soldier cap, picked up in the 
wreckage, hung over a bump on his head where a 
robber struck him with the butt of a revolver. The 
express officials had a long talk with him before he 
talked of his experience. Then he denied being 
given a card with the message from Kennedy and 
Kedmond, saying: "We are the quail hunters." 

THE messenger's EXPERIENCE. 

"I was working away," said Hills, a smooth 
faced, nervous young man, "when I felt that my car 
was starting without the rest of the train. I looked 
out and saw some figures of men. I realized it was 
a hold-up and ducked in. Then they came to the 
side door and beat on it with their guns. 

" 'Let us in or we'll blow you up!' they said." 

"Where was your riot gun?" asked Mr. Moore. 

"I got a shell jammed in it," explained Hills. 

"And you let them in?" 

"To be plain about it," replied Hills to his chief, 
**I didn't feel justified in losing my life. I had no 


chance to put up a fight. I opened the door and 
three got in. They were masked and carried sacks 
over their arms. One man got the drop on me. 
They cursed me and asked how much money there 
was in the safe. I lied to them good and plenty. 

''They didn't ask me for the combination of the 
through safe, because they knew I didn't have it* 
^e had a good deal of talk. The mask of the man 
with the Winchester slipped and I tried to get a good 
look at him. Quick as a flash he hit me on the head 
with the butt of his revolver. 

''Meanwhile we were moving away. They put 
seven sticks of dynamite on top of the safe, set the 
small portable safe, the local safe which I showed 
them was empty, on top of the dynamite. The car 
stopped and they set a fuse. I saw a match struck. 
They jumped out leaving me in the car. 

** 'You stay and see how it goes!' they told me. 

"It was an awful moment. I begged for my 
life. I pleaded with them and they let me jump 
down. We all moved up on the other side of the en- 
gine. It seemed an age and there was no explosion. 
They explained that the fuse had gone out. I was 
afraid they would order me to go inside to investi- 
gate. Instead they told me to uncouple the car from 
the engine. Just as I was doing it there was a flash 
and roar. It seemed to me I was within a foot of it! 
I fell down. 

" 'Git!' somebody said, and I got down the 


The caravan went on through the darkness. It 
was now three o'clock in the morning. Somebody 


said that men had been seen driving rapidly throngli 
the darkness toward Kansas City in a buggy, just 
after the robbery. Employees of the Diamond Brick 
works asserted they heard two explosions following 
the first great explosion. At a point which the rail- 
way men said was about three and one-half miles be- 
yond the junction, burned a fitful, sullen fire. It 
was the wrecked express car and the killed engine. 

What a wreck it was! The car was literally 
razed to the flat car. Twisted irons and a flat, tan- 
gled mass of baggage, express matter and timbers, 
burned like a gigantic spent fire cracker or a huge 
bit of **punk." On the left side of the wreck, on 
the ground, lay the great iron safe. Its top was 
stove in and it was shattered as if riddled by a thir- 
teen inch shell. The crowds pulled out lumps of the 
fire proof cement lining as mementoes. 

City police, deputy marshals, sections hands, 
railway officials, passengers in dishabille from the 
sleeper, tall, thin strangers who came out of the 
darkness, gathered about the shattered safe helplessly. 


Charles Slocum, the engineer, and G. L. Weston, 
the fireman, said that they found the engine without 
water in the boilers and the crown sheet in danger 
of blowing out. They had drawn the fire to save 
the engine. They did not think the robbers were 
railroad men. 

*'Even farmers can throw a throttle nowadays," 
they said. 

Nevertheless, it was strange that the robber- 
engineer blew five blasts for a flagman as he pulled 

'The I.KKDS HOI.D-UP. 119 

out with the engine, notifying the train crew to send 
back a flagman, if he was a railroad ignoramus. 

When the train crew came up to the wreck they 
found it burning fiercely, and pulled off a good deal 
of debris to stop the fire. The big safe hung on one 
side by its iron stanchions, and the train crew and 
section men pushed it off. Such a joker dynamite is ! 
The fierce shock that razed a staunch car did not 
harm its trucks, and it was brought to Kansas City 
at daylight this morning. The small, portable safe 
was not in sight anywhere. It seemed to have been 
blown into inky space. Yet a barrel— a mere flimsy 
barrel — from which stuck whisps of straw, stood un- 
harmed and untouched in a corner wherefrom the 
walls had been ripped to the floor I Several trunks 
were uninjured, while the contents of others made a 
soft, pulpy carpet of the floor of the wrecked car. 

Scattered over the whole face of the scene were 
these cards: 




Married, Tuesday, September 27, 1898, 
Arkansas City, Kas. 

**If there was anything in that safe,'^ said Super- 
intendent Moore of the Pacific express, *'it was 
blown into smithereens! The robbers did not get a 

Two days after this robbery Governor Stephens 
offered three hundred dollars reward, and the County 
Court offered five hundred dollars reward, for the 
capture and conviction of any one of the robbers, 


making eight hundred dollars reward in all, a prize 
well worth working for by detectives. 

About this time there came upon the scene 
Thomas Furlong, of the Furlong Secret Service 
Agency, and Del Harbaugh, his chief assistant. 
Furlong was the detective of the Missouri Pacific 
railroad. Harbaugh was a man who had been a hack 
driver, and all around tough and "disreputable," for 
years in Lawrence, Kas., until he had been picked 
up by Furlong and given a commission as a private 
detective. Furlong turned over to Harbaugh the 
job of running to earth the robbers, and gaining 
thereby the reward, and whatever fame and glory 
would come from the achievement of such a clever 
detective feat. 

Harbaugh made his headquarters at the Savoy 
hotel. The following newspaper account of his do- 
ings, printed in the Kansas City Star, September 30, 
shows how his work was looked upon by a newspaper 

Headquarters for operations against the robbers 
have been transferred to the Savoy hotel, where 
Thomas Furlong, Del Harbaugh and other railroad 
detectives are staying. The movements of these 
men are exceedingly mysterious. Bell boys are 
kept on the jump delivering telegrams to the sleuths. 
The doors to their private apartments are locked and 
the keyholes stuffed with paper. There isn't a bell 
boy in the hotel who has read a line of '*01d Cap 
Collier" or *' Young Sleuth" for a week. Fiction has 
been discarded to watch the movements of real live 
detectives working on real live clues. 

th:^ i.e:eds HOI.D-UP. 121 


Chief Hayes and Marshal Chiles pay hourly 
visits to the big sleuths at the hotel. They go up 
and down stairs silently and talk in whispers. The 
mystery of it all is enough to drive bell boys and 
chambermaids to distraction. 

Last night Chief Hayes paced the length of the 
hotel office mopping the sweat from his face. Har- 
baugh and Furlong tip-toed down stairs and then the 
trio tip-toed up stairs. They were followed by John 
DeLong, the Missouri Pacific detective, who long 
ago acquired the sobriquet of ^'Gum Shoes.'' Later 
J. H. Schumacher, manager of the Pinkerton agency, 
came along and found his way on tip -toes to Fur- 
long's room. There they deliberated while a row of 
bell-boys stood in the hall expecting every minute to 
hear shots, shouts, screams and a wild denouement 
of the daring robbery. Even Sam Campbell, the 
hotel clerk, has grown nervous watching the myste- 
rious actions of his guests. 

After last night's conference Furlong took a late 
train out of town. Harbaugh had been out of town 
during the night before. 

At the county marshal's office this morning tele- 
grams came and went thick and fast. Mr. Chiles 
said he had nothing to give out, but that the robbers 
would be under arrest very soon. Chief Hayes said 
the same thing. Detectives who have not been ^'let 
in" on the case declared that this talk was all without 
foundation and was a ruse to gain time. They say 
the trail is getting cold. However, the story comes 


from sources of reliability that one suspect is actu- 
ally in the hands of the officers. 

A search of the hotels failed to find the prisoner, 
but there are thousands of places where the police 
could hide a prisoner and keep him safe from report- 
ers. The man under arrest is said to be a former 
railway employee. Detectives hint that the sweating 
process applied to the prisoner has been fruitful. 
They promise that other arrepts are to follow quickly. 


The theory of the detectives is that two of the 
robbers did not come to the city after the robbery; 
that they were countrymen and that they live not far 
from the place where the train was robbed. The 
railroad detectives say the Leeds robbery was the best 
planned of its kind that was ever committed in 
Missouri. Every detail was so carefully carried out 
as to leave no doubt that old hands did the work. 

The story that the thieves got only twenty-nine 
dollars for their work is hooted at as absurd. The 
Pinkertons insisted upon knowing exactly how much 
money was taken before they went to work on the 
case. It goes out now that the robbers got at least 
twenty-five thousand dollars. 

A telegram was received at police headquarters 
this morning from Constable Withers of Mayview, 
Mo., saying that he had arrested two suspicious look- 
ing men who he thought might be train robbers. 
The men carried Winchester rifles and large caliber 
self-acting revolvers, and displayed plenty of money. 
Chief Hayes will send two detectives to Mayview to- 
night to bring the men to Kansas City. 

thk i^kkds hoi.d-up. 123 

smith's tale. 

J. D. Smith, a man whom no one seems to know, 
came to Kansas City last night with Detective De 
Long ("Gum Shoes") of the Missouri Pacific railway 
secret service. Mr. Smith has harrowing and hair 
splitting details to tell of how he overheard the plan- 
ning of the recent hold-up in a box car at Ottawa, 
Kas., by three men whom he can positively identify. 
The story, coming as it does from a man in close 
touch with Detective DeLong, who is noted for be- 
ing able to supply necessary details when no one else 
can furnish them, is given little attention by those 
who are given to taking the train robbery seriously. 

Mr. Smith is a man of medium height, dark 
complexion and shrewd little eyes. He has a small, 
dashing mustache, and a little wisp of hair on his 
under lip. He hinted his story to a reporter for The 
Star this morning in an apparently very reluctant 
manner, with promises of the details to-morrow 
morning. In answer to vigorous questioning he said 
about the following: 

**It was in a box car at Ottawa, Kas., on the 
Tuesday night before the hold-up. Shortly after 
midnight three men got in the car and planned the 
hold-up. I saw them when they left the car at day- 
light, and can positively identify them. Later in 
the morning I saw them on the streets of Ottawa, 
and at noon I ate dinner at some restaurant with 
one of them. I learned from the conversation in the 
box car that one of the men is a bandit and outlaw 
from the Indian Territory. 

124 jKSs:^ JAMES. 


**I went to Omaha to see the exposition, and 
while in a barber shop I read in a paper of the hold- 
up. I kept the secret until I was on my way home, 
and somewhere between Omaha and Pattonsburg I 
told the Missouri Pacific conductor what I knew. I 
was on my way home to Halstead, Kas. The con- 
ductor telegraphed for Mr. DeLong, and he met me 
at Hiawatha, Kas., and brought me here.'' 

**Have you identified the man who is under ar- 
rest?" he was asked. 

*'I cannot talk to-day. Wait until to-morrow.'' 

**How do you identify the men you heard in the 
box car." 

''I can't talk today." 

*VWhat is your business?" Mr. Smith was asked. 

**I am a house painter by trade." 

Chief Hayes was asked what he thought of 
Smith's story. 

''What Smith? Who is Smith?" he answered. 

**The man who was brought here by Detective 
DeLong," he was told. 

* ' Oh, ' ' said the chief, with a look and a smile that 
meant worlds, ''Oh, rats." 

September 27, William W. Lowe, a railroad 
switchman, was arrested by the detectives with great 
secrecy and hidden away at the police station in 
Westport, and kept there for weeks, until he finally 
made what he purported to be a full and complete 
confession of his part and the part of others in the 
Leeds hold-up. This confession was as follows : 

"The following is my true statement of the 


train robbery on the Missouri Pacific railway at Belt 
junction on September 23, 1898, at or about tlie hour 
of ten p. m. : 

''The said robbery was planned and arranged 
for September 21, 1898, but was postponed on ac- 
count of rain until Friday night, September 23, 1898. 
The robbery was planned by myself, Andy Ryan 
and Jesse James, Jr. We three did not want to go 
alone, so Jesse James, jr., said he had some friends, 
who he called Charlie and the old man, and also a 
large man by the name of Evans. 

On the night of September 23, I left my home 
about 6:50 p. m., and took a Summit street car, and 
rode to the end of the Troost avenue line, from 
where I went to Thirty- fourth and Tracy avenue and 
met Jesse James, jr., and he told me that there was 
a buggy hitched in front of the two little brick 
houses south of his place, unoccupied. I went there 
and got the buggy. I drove around on Troost ave- 
nue and then back on Thirty-fifth street by a little 
clump of three or four small trees, and there I met 
another rig with a dark horse. They drove by me 
and stopped, and this man they called Charlie got 
out and came over to me and asked me where was 
the *Kid.' The old man was fixing something on 
the right shaft of the buggy that he was afraid would 
let go. 

*' There were four of us then that showed up — 
the big man would not get there before 8 p. m. 
Jesse James, jr., brought the sack which contained 
the costumes and guns. The costumes consisted of 
overalls, old hats, jackets and masks. This big man 


came, that made five, and then came Andy Ryan, 
which made up the party of six men. 

Jesse James, jr., Andy Ryan and myself got 
in the first buggy; Charlie and the old man and the 
big man got in the other buggy. Then we all drove 
east on Thirty-fifth street till we came to the rock 
road (Indiana avenue is known as the rock road), 
went south on the rock road to a point close to Brush 
creek, took the first road east after crossing Brush 
creek, for some distance, then turned into an old 
field, turned the buggies around facing the south and 
dressed, putting on masks and disguises. 

**I had on a pair of blue overalls, a check jacket, 
white hat and black mask; I had on a canvas belt 
with a big brass buckle, on one side of the buckle 
were three cartridge holders cut off. I cut them off 
myself. I had two revolvers stuck in the belt. I 
had in the hip pocket of my pants a 38-caliber revol- 
ver belonging to Henry Simms. I also had a 44- 
caliber revolver, which I carried in my hand; be- 
longs to Dick Spaw. 


**When we were dressed it was arranged for the 
old man to hold the horses. He said he had no gun. 
I gave him a little Colt's revolver, 38-caliber, that 
shoots a rim fire cartridge; it was an old style pow- 
der and ball, with a cartridge cylinder. To load it 
you had to knock a pin out and take the cylinder off. 
The sight was knocked off the end of the barrel. 
This gun was not returned to me. 

^'We five went through the weeds to the rail- 
road track, cat-a-corner, and cut a wire fence; went 


north on the Missouri Pacific track opposite the tel- 
egraph office. 

*'Andy Ryan and Jesse James, jr., went over to 
the telegraph office and took charge of the operator 
and destroyed all communication with Kansas City. 

** Myself, Charlie and the big man went down to 
capture the train. As the train came to a stop, with 
the air applied, and before the air was released, I 
shut off the cock at the forward end of the baggage 
car, holding the air set so he could not release it 
from the engine. I was then standing on the left 
side of the train going south. 

**I crossed over the platform of the baggage car 
to the right hand side and got up to the engine, and 
drove the engineer and fireman down to the big man. 
Charlie searched them to see if they had any guns. 

*'I took possession of the cab and blew the whis- 
tle five times, a signal for the flagman to protect rear 
end of train. 

Andy Ryan and Jesse James, jr., then came up 
with the operator. Charlie was on the engine with 
me; the big man, engineer and fireman and operator 
went and cut the baggage car loose from the train. 
I started the engine and when the cars were separated 
about ten feet, the air set; I got down on the cab 
and shut off the cock at back end of the tank and 
*bled' the car; that released the brake on the car. 

*'I then boarded the engine and pulled out. We 
stopped at the whistling post for wagon crossing. I 
stayed on the engine and filled the toiler with water. 
I got down off the engine and joined the party with 
the express messenger on the 'Frisco' track. 

128 JESS« JAMnS> 

*'I put a gun to the messenger's head and told 
him, ' God damn you, you got a key to that little safe 
and I want it. ' He said he had given it to them, mean- 
ing the members of the party who robbed the train. 

* * This messenger was taking a good look at one of 
the men with his mask off ; his attent,ion was directed 
to it and he made the messenger about face. 

*'The dynamite did not go off. I and the big 
man got into the car; there are two doors in the car 
— double doors. The safe was north of the door on 
the east side of the car. Dynamite was laid on top 
of the safe; The little safe was placed on top of the 
dynamite. I took my pocket knife and split the fuse. 
Then I struck a match and lit it, jumped out of the 
car, and then we thought it was not going to go 
again, so I got on the engine. 

**They ordered the express messenger to cut the 
engine off, and then the dynamite went off and 
blowed the safe. We went back to the car and found 
it all dark and full of smoke. 

** There was d lot of silver dollars in a pine box. 
After the explosion it was scattered all over the floor. 
What was got out of the safe was put in a sack and 
carried away by the big man. 

^'I supposed the engine was cut off from the car. 
I pulled up to the road crossing and there we burned 
up in the fire box of the engine all the costumes, 
masks, etc., except my overalls and belt. We then 
went to our buggies and left in the same order we 
went out in. 

** Between the hold-up and Leeds I threw away 
my overalls and belt. We came on the rock road to 
wThirty-fifth street, turned west and went to Tracy 


avenue. There Jesse James, jr., got out and left the 
shotgun and revolvers in the weeds. My 44 was left 
there also — this is the gun that belongs to Dick Spaw. 
Jesse said he. would leave it in the weeds or put it in 
the cellar of one of the vacant houses. 

''The shotgun Jesse had was a double barrel, 
breech loader, with hammers, and the case found in 
the buggy belonged to this gun. It was a heavy gun. 

*'We all got back in the buggy and drove to one 
block of the end of the Holmes street line, where 
Ryan got out. Jesse and I drove to the corner of 
block east of stable, where I got out and took the 
laprobe and rubbed the sweat off the horse. 

''I went through a vacant lot cat-a-corner. 
About midway of the block I threw away a handful 
of 38-caliber cartridges. I came out of the vacant 
block at the north-west corner through a gate which I 
found open, boarded a Holmes street car, got on front 
end on right side of car. Sat on the seat facing east. 
Andy Ryan was on the car, sitting beside me. We 
got off the car at Fourteenth street and Grand avenue 
and went to Fourteenth and Main, and got a glass of 
beer. We then v/ent up Fourteenth street to Broad- 
way and parted, Ryan going west on Fourt;eenth and 
I south on Broadway to Sixteenth and thence west on 
Sixteenth to my home, arriving at home at 11 :15 p. m. 

''The old man I refer to is about my height; 
weight about 150 pounds. From conversation I in- 
ferred that this old man is a relative of Polk's, and 
lives with Polk or near him. The big man known 
to me as Evans is described as follows: About six 
feet tall, weight 175 to 190 pounds, said to have 
come from Texas, and is a friend of Polk's. I un- 



derstand he is a friend of Seth Lowe, in Cracker- 
neck. '^ 

The inducements that were offered to Lowe to 
make this confession will be shown in the following 
chapter, as it was proven at my trial. There is no 
doubt in the minds of anyone who heard the trial 
that Lowe was really in the hold-up. He was prom- 
ised immunity if he would connect me with the rob- 
bery, and this promise was kept, because, immedi- 
ately after my honorable acquittal by a fair and in- 
telligent jury of twelve of the best citizens of the 
county, the indictment against Lowe was dismissed, 
and this self-confessed train robber walked out of 
the court room a free man. The cases against all of 
the other alleged train robbers were also dismissed 
and they were discharged from custody. This is 
positive proof, to me at least, that the detectives 
were after me alone, and failing to convict me, did 
not wish that justice be done, and did not seem to 
care whether train robbers ran at large in the com- 
munity or not. 

I was arrested October 11, 1898, charged with 
being the leader of a gang of robbers who held up 
the train at Leeds. The arrest created a great sen- 
sation, of course. I quote again from the Kansas 
City Star, my motive in giving newspaper accounts 
of this matter being that the public cannot then ac- 
cuse me of distorting the facts to favor myself, and 
certainly no one who read the accounts of this affair 
in the Star would ever suspect that paper of being 
biased in my favor. The Star said of my arrest : 

*'The arrest of young Jesse James aroused and 
stirred up that element in the community which is 


linked by old memories and associations with the 
border days, when the people of this country were 
divided on the issues of the civil war. Old men with 
excited faces and eyes flashing with anger appeared 
at police headquarters and around the jail early this 
morning and demanded to know where Jesse James 
was and by what authority he was held. The voices 
of these men trembled with excitement as they talked 
about the case. 

**At the court house the police were denounced 
for arresting James. Many of the people employed 
there made light of the police claim that they had a 
strong case, and it was evident that Jesse James, 
guilty or guiltless, had friends there. The arrest 
was spoken of by some as a very serious mistake, 
for it would be 'bad for the party.' 


** Judge Henry was very indignant at the man- 
ner in which Jesse James had been arrested. He 
said to a reporter for The Star this morning: 

** 'The manner in which this boy was kidnapped 
by the police was a damnable outrage. You must bear 
in mind that young Jesse James is not like other 
boys. He occupies a peculiar position in this com- 
munity. His father was a bandit and was killed for 
a reward. Young Jesse has grown up here, watched 
by everybody. Many watched over him with solici- 
tude for his welfare, advising him, guiding his foot- 
steps in the right, anxious for him to get along and 
be a good, clean man. 

" 'Many others watched him askance to see how 
soon he would show a tendency to follow in his 


father's footsteps. Many wished him ill. I have 
watched this boy closely. I know that no boy in 
the county has led a cleaner life. He has worked 
and slaved and saved, and alone and unaided has paid 
for the home in which he, his mother and sister live. 
It was his wages that clothed his sister and paid for 
her music lessons. No one ever saw this boy in a 
saloon. Who ever saw him out late at night? "Who 
ever heard of him being in a brawl or scandal? 
Here he has grown up with us, with his father's past 
to live down, and I say he has shown himself a well- 
balanced, worthy boy. 

* ' ' To brand that boy as a train robber, if he were 
innocent, would be a crime that would merit hang- 
ing. So I say that the police should have waited till 
they were sure he was guilty, and then they should 
have gone in open daylight and sworn out a warrant 
and arrested him, and placed him in jail so that his 
mother and sister could see him. Instead of that 
they kidnap him and hide him away. That is evi. 
dence to me that they do not know he is guilty. 
They kidnap him to put the thumb-screws upon him 
in secret and try and extort something from him. 
That is unlawful and unfair.' 

^ ''Chief Hayes said this afternoon that Jesse 
James was not even locked up last night. He was 
kept in a well furnished room, and was allowed to 
telephone to his mother and to his friends. The chief 
said he had talked very little to him about the case 
during the night. 



''Finis C. Farr, lawyer for Jesse James, said: 
'The grand jury has been in session for weeks. If 
the police have evidence against the boy why didn't 
they have him indicted. Jesse knew they were 
shadowing him. He had no intention of running 
away. He was tending his cigar stand in the court- 
house when he was kidnapped. Why did the police 
spirit him away unless it was to bulldoze and brow- 
beat him into saying something that would hurt him ? 
That is the Pinkerton way of doing things: It was 
the Pinkertons who threw the bomb into the house 
of this boy's grandmother and blew her arm off and 
killed her baby. The Pinkertons hate the whole 
James family. But I'll tell you they can't kidnap 
people in this community with impunity, no matter 
w^hether they are train robbers or not. Jesse had a 
right to kill those officers who took him without a 
warrant and he ought to have done it." 


**R. L. Yeager, a lawyer and president of the 
school board, went to see chief Hayes this morning, 
and demanded that Jesse James be released within 
an hour. Mr. Yeager said: 

*'I have been employea to defend Jesse James, 
who was kidnapped by the police unlawfully. He 
must be released or properly apprehended and held. 

*' Ex-Governor T. T. Crittenden said: 'The ar- 
rest of Jesse James is a greater crime than train 
robbery. If I were governor I would have the men 
who arrested him indicted.' " 


The Star said of my arrest upon tliis day: 

JESSE James's good record. 

** Jesse James' friends — and the young man has 
many, some of them among the responsible citizens 
of the town— are loth to believe the suspicions gath- 
ering about him. He has always been known as a 
steady, industrious and home-loving youth, fond of 
his mother, and willing to be guided by her wishes. 
To his mother any suggestion that Jesse has been 
guilty of wrong will come as a heavy blow. The 
same may be said of his grandmother, the aged Mrs. 
Samuels, who lives near Kearney. Mrs. Samuels 
lives in talking and thinking of her boy Jesse, and 
Jesse, jr., she idolizes, but, although her son was 
a bandit, she would not have Jesse, jr., go the same 
way. Jessie never has looked upon his father as the 
criminal that the world pictures him, yet the fact 
that there is a stain upon his father's name has 
always served as a governor in his actions. His em- 
ployers liked him and always spoke in the highest 
terms of his steadiness and unremitting application 
to duty. They say, too, that during the several 
years he was stock taker in the cured meat depart- 
ment he never was caught in a mistake. His salary 
was not large, but it sufficed for the modest needs of 
the family of three, and by careful economy permit- 
ted the saving of the money that paid for the home 
at 3402 Tracy avenue." 

Later on in the day I was admitted to bond in 
the sum of $2,500, furnished by E. F. Swinney, cash- 
ier of the First National Bank, and Finis C. Farr. 

Chapter XI. 

|Y trial on a charge of being the leader of 
the band which held up the train at Leeds, 
began in the criminal court of Jackson 
County, Mo., February 23, 1899. Of the five cases 
against men under arrest and indictment for this 
robbery, my case was selected for trial first, although 
I was many years younger than any of the others 
and had a reputation in the community that was 
spoken of by all the newspapers as good. The 
prosecution claimed that my case was selected for 
trial first because I was the planner of the robbery 
and the leader of the band. I believe that my case 
was selected for trial first because there was no case 
against any of the other men who were indicted for 
this robbery except W. W. Lowe, who confessed 
this robbery. My theory of the conspiracy to con- 
vict me is that Lowe actually wa5 in this robbery, 
that his wife, who was anxious to get rid of him, in- 
formed the detectives, and he was at once arrested 
and very damaging evidence accumulated against 
him by the detectives. I believe that every pressure 
that the ingenuity of the detectives could devise was 
brought to bear on him to make him confess who his 


accomplices were, but he steadfaatly refused to con- 
fess, owing to some sense of honor that he might 
have had or because he was afraid that his accom- 
plices might kill him if he did confess. The de- 
tectives then, either by inference or by direct state- 
ments made to him, gave him to understand that they 
believed I was in the robbery. Lowe saw by their 
statements that the detectives were anxious to fasten 
the crime on me. Lowe then intimated that I was 
in the robbery, and at once the detectives promised 
him immunity if he would confess, and not only that, 
but Del Harbaugh, the Missouri Pacific detective, 
promised that his case would be dismissed and he 
given a good position on the Missouri Pacific railroad 
if he would tell all. Lowe then confessed, not all at 
once, but piecemeal, that I was with him in the rob- 
bery. Of course he had to give the names of others 
who were in the robbery too, and he selected the 
names of men known to be acquainted with me. 
They were Andy Ryan, Charles Polk and Caleb 
Stone. Andy Ryan I had known almost from my 
infancy, owing to the fact that he lived in Kansas 
City and was a member in good standing of the city 
fire department, and as his brother. Bill Ryan, had 
been an acquaintance of my father, I came naturally 
to know Andy Ryan, and I never knew wrong of 
him. Andy Ryan was by no means an associate of 
mine ; I simply had a passing acquaintance with him. 
Polk I knew very well. He worked at Armour's 
packing house when I worked there. I had a little 
acquaintance with Caleb Stone, an old man of seventy 
years. The detectives knew that I knew all of these 


men, and in casting about in their minds for men to 
associate with me in Lowe's false confession of the 
train robbery, they probably selected these men al- 
most at haphazard, simply because they knew that I 
knew them. Certain it is that not a scrap of evidence 
was ever produced to show that Ryan, Polk or Stone 
had the slightest connection with the Leeds robbery, 
and they were discharged from custody as soon as I 
was acquitted. 

My theory as to why the detectives sought to 
convict me of the robbery, takes in several causes 
and motives on their part. There had been a num- 
ber of train robberies recently in Jackson County. 
The detectives were unable to capture the robbers. 
The railroad companies who employed these detec- 
tives, were naturally dissatisfied with their failure to 
do so. This incensed the detectives. When Har- 
baugh was brought into the case a man came who 
was wholly unscrupulous. He was found not to 
fail. He would catch someone. Harbaugh knew 
that if he could convict Jesse James for the robbery, 
after the failure of all the detectives who had gone 
before him and failed to convict anyone, it would 
win him a great reputation. This is why he sought, 
by a conspiracy, to convict me. 

The detectives even claimed that a man named 
Jennings, who was in jail at Springfield, was really 
Bill Ryan, and that Bill Ryan was in the robbery at 
Leeds. The detectives knew this to be absolutely 
false. Jennings is not Bill Ryan. 

The reader who will take the trouble to follow 
the trial as I will outline it here, will see how this 


theory of mine is borne out by the facts as they de- 
veloped, and at the end of the trial, which resulted 
in my acquittal, the reader will see the cases against 
all of the other men dismissed, and even Lowe was 
allowed to walk, a free man, out of the court room. 

As bearing out my theory of the conspiracy to 
convict me, I quote as follows from the Kansas City 
Star of October 12, 1898 : 

**Lowe was kept locked up. He was continually 
harassed by detectives, who plied him with ques- 
tions. Lowe is a Free Mason, and so is Harbaugh, 
the detective. Harbaugh promised Lowe that if he 
would confess he would guarantee that he would be 
given the lowest penalty, his child would be put in 
the Free Masons* home and cared for while he was 
in the penitentiary, and when his term was up he 
would be given a permanent job on the railroad, 
Lowe has a brother who is an engineer on the Mis- 
souri Pacific railroad, and the detectives sent for him 
and had him urge Lowe to make a confession. Then 
Lowe confessed that Jesse James was in the rob- 

The twelve jurors who heard my trial and re- 
turned a verdict of acquittal, were King R. Powell, 
William Ewing, Albert L. Miller, Eugene McEntee, 
John J. Durrett, William S. Rodgers, Leonard 
Veugelen, Samuel E. Spence, Joseph M. McConnell, 
William E. Mullens, J. E. Broughal and Harry G. 

Of these jurors the Star of February 22, 1899, 
said : 


''The jurors are regarded as excellent men, who 
will do their duty as their consciences see if 
N The Journal of the same date said ; 

** Neither side has been able to find a blemish 
upon the name and character of any of the jurymen. ' ' 

The Kansas City World of February 23 said : 

**Both sides consider the jury an exceptionally 
fine one. Every man on it resides in Kansas City 
and is apparently a man of more than ordinary in- 
telligence. ' ' 

While the jurors were being selected in the 
court room, it developed that detectives had ques- 
tioned them and attempted to influence them against 

My lawyers were Frank P. Walsh, Finis C. Farr, 
R. L. Yeager, president of the Kansas City school 
board, and Milton J. Oldham. The magnificent 
management of my case is due to the skill, ability 
and legal learning of these four splendid men. 

The county prosecutor who represented the state 
at the trial was James A. Eeed, and he was assisted 
by Frank G. Johnson. 

Of the interest which my trial excited, the Kan- 
sas City Star said during its progress: 

"In all the history of criminal courts in this 
country there has probably never been a trial in 
which there was so much strained attention by the 
spectators in the court room to every word and 
to everything done, as there is in the trial of Jesse 
James for train robbery, now on in the criminal 
court here. There have been many trials in which 
the public took a deep interest. In this same court 

140 jnssn jAM^s. 

room a woman was tried for her life not long ago ; it 
was a most interesting trial and the court room over- 
flowed day after day. There have been other re- 
markable trials. But in all these other trials the 
court room filled with a hodge-podge audience of all 
sorts of persons, who seemed to have come from 
mere curiosity, and y^eve ready to laugh at the most 
trivial thing. 

*^But in this trial of Jesse James every one of 
the hundreds in the court room seems to have a per- 
sonal interest in it. They watch things so closely. 
The feelings of suspense that seem to fill the very 
air of the crowded room, the looks of deep and at- 
tentive concern on every face, are quite wonderful to 
see. There is no levity, no laughter, and there are 
no interruptions. 

"This deep interest is probably because of the 
fact that the young man on trial is the son of Jesse 
James, the old rough riding bandit who kept the 
newspapers of the country well filled with news of 
his doings hereabouts for a good many years, and it 
is a thing quite remarkable that this young man, if 
he is guilty, should have taken up the desperate call- 
ing of his father. It is equally remarkable, if this 
son of a bandit is innocent, and the victim of a gigan- 
tic conspiracy on the part of the authorities either 
to hang him or send him to the penitentiary. 

*'The jurors seem to be more deeply interested 
in the trial than jurors usually are in cases they are 
trying. They do not miss a word or an act of the 
proceedings. They are thought by court house offi- 
cials to be jurymen of average intelligence and prob- 


able integrity. There are four old men on the jury 
with gray hair and beards. None of the other eight 
men appear to be more than forty nor less than 
twenty-five years old. 

*'If Jesse James is innocent, he is the victim of 
one of the most gigantic conspiracies ever concocted 
to convict a man. ' ' 

The proceedings on the first day of the trial 
were reported as follows in the Kansas City Star. I 
prefer to use the newspaper accounts of the trial 
because I cannot then be accused of making misrep- 
resentations : 

William W. Lowe the principal witness against 
Jesse James in his trial on the charge of robbing a 
Missouri Pacific train near Leeds on the night of Sep- 
tember 23 last, was on the witness stand in the crim- 
inal court all yesterday afternoon and a part of this 
forenoon. Lowe told how he had known Jack Ken- 
nedy and Andy Ryan for many years when Lowe 
lived in Independence, and they lived near there. He 
told about meeting Kennedy here in Kansas City last 
winter, and said he was an alibi witness for Kennedy 
in Krueger's court, and that Jesse James was a wit- 
ness there for Kennedy, too; that Lowe and Jesse 
met there for the first time, became acquainted and 
kept up this acquaintance, which led up to the train 

Lowe told every detail of the robbery with 
great minuteness, giving little incidents, such as 
whom they met, what routes they traveled, what 
conversations were held, and every little thing that 
was done. They planned first to rob the train in the 


early part of September, lie said, but Jesse post- 
poned it because his uncle was in town then. They 
planned it next for September 21, but it rained hard 
that day and it was postponed again. 

Lowe said that while planning the robbery he 
was at the home of Jesse James several times, and 
the night of the robbery the party started from near 
there. He described the interior of the James home 
and drew with a pencil before the jury what pur- 
ported to be a plan of the interior of the place. He 
said there were in the robbery himself, Jesse James, 
Andy Ryan, a man who was called Evans, who was a 
stranger to him, whom he had never seen before or 
since, and two other men, one an old man, who were 
introduced to him by Jesse ; they were called Charlie 
and Harry. 

The police claim that the man Evans was Bill 
Ryan, in jail at Springfield for the Macomb rob- 
bery, and that the men called Charlie and Harry 
were old Caleb Stone and Charles Polk, both under 
indictment now. But Lowe would not identify Caleb 
Stone yesterday in the court room. That was a 
dramatic incident of the trial. It was during the 
cross-examination of Lowe by Mr. Walsh, lawyer 
for Jesse James. Caleb Stone sat at the end of the 
lawyer's table, right behind Jesse James, and facing 
Lowe and the jury. 

*'Whom do you say were in this robbery with 
you besides Jesse James, Ryan and Evans?" asked 

*'Two men called Charlie and the 'Old man.' " 

** Describe them." 


** Charlie was about my size." 

*'What sort of a looking man was the *01d 

*'He was an oldish man." 

** Would you know him if you saw him again?" 

*'I don't know." 

Mr. Walsh turned to where Caleb Stone sat and 

''Stand up, Mr. Stone." 

Caleb Stone stood up and looked sharply at 
Lowe. He is an old man, small in size, bent and 
slightly stoop shouldered, with gray mustache and 
chin whiskers, and rather plainly dressed. 

''Is that the man?" asked Walsh. 

Lowe merely glanced at Stone, and said: 

"I wouldn't identify him." 

*'Do you think it's he?" 

**I wouldn't say." 

*'Does it look like the man?" 

*'I can't say; I don't know." 

"You saw the 'old man' plainly the night of the 
robbery, did you not?" 

"I saw him there." 

"Did he have a mask on?" 


"And you don*t know whtth«r this is the man 
or not?" 


"WTiy did you go into a robbery with three men 
you did not know, and had never seen before?" 

"Jesse- told me they were all right, and Jack 
Kennedy told me I could bank on anything Jesse 


said, because he was all right/' 

Another interesting point in the trial late last 
evening was when Mr. Walsh asked Lowe why he 
confessed to the police. 

''I refused for fourteen days to tell a thing. 
They tried to get me to tell, but I wouldn't. I 
waited for these men who were in the robbery with 
me to help me out, and I waited fourteen days in jail 
and they never did a thing for me. I made up my 
mind that they had 'ditched me,' and I was up agin 
it anyway, and I just told the whole business from 
start to finish." 

A surprising development was when Lowe de- 
nied last evening that he had ever made a written 
confession or statement, or had ever signed his name 
to one. 

Mr. Walsh had a copy of The Star of last Octo- 
ber, with Lowe's confession in full printed on the 
first page. Mr. Walsh questioned him about it, and 
questioned him again closely this morning. Mr. 
Walsh read the printed confession. It tallied in 
every particular with the story told yesterday and 
to-day by Lowe on the witness stand. Lowe said 
when asked about it: 

"I never did write down a word about the rob- 
bery; I never dictated a statement to a stenographer 
or to anyone else, and I never signed my name to 
any statement or confession." 

Lowe stuck to it in spite of all questioning, that 
he never made a written confession or statement. 

**I told the police and detectives the whole 
truth," he declared, "and if they wrote it down that's 
their business." 

Thk trial for train robbkry. 145 

**Did they write it down in your presence?" 

''No, sir." 

The cross-examination of Lowe by Frank P. 
"Walsh, attorney for Jesse James, gave an idea of 
what the plan of the defense would be in regard to 
his testimony. Mr. Walsh questioned Lowe for two 
hours last evening, and resumed the cross-examina- 
tion when court opened this morning. It was a very 
skillful arrangement of questions. The impression 
sought to be conveyed by these questions was that 
Lowe was really in the robbery; that after he was 
arrested the railroad and express companies' detec- 
tives and the police tried to get him to confess; that 
Lowe w^ould not tell anything about it; that they 
used every inducement they could to get him to con- 
fess, promising him immunity and part of the reward, 
and convincing him that they had him "dead to 
rights," and threatening to convict him sure unless 
he confessed; that the detectives kept asking him if 
he knew Jesse James and Jack Kennedy, and gave 
him to understand if he would implicate Jesse James 
in it he would be given immunity; that then Lowe 
did make an alleged confession, protecting the men 
who were really in the robbery, and telling that 
Jesse James, Ryan, Polk and Stone were in it. 

''When did you first see any of these detectives?" 
asked Mr. Walsh. 

"One came to my house and represented that he 
was working for the claim department of the street 
railway, and that I was witness to an accident on 
the Twelfth street incline, and that he wanted to 
talk with me about it. I knowed right away that he 
was a detective." 


''When did you see him next?" 

''When they came to arrest me, some time after 

** "Where did they take youT' 

''To the Savoy hotel/' 

Lowe told this story this morning in answer to 
questions of how he came to confess to the police : 

"They took me from the Savoy to No. 3 police 
station and locked me up. I was there several days, 
and then they took me to the Westport station. For 
fourteen days they kept after me, telling me each 
visit they made the evidence they had against me, 
and it was good, straight evidence, too. They kept 
getting after me stronger and stronger all the time. 
They brought my wife down to see me, and she told 
me she had told the police all she knew. They 
"wouldn't let me see an attorney, nor no one else, 
and they kept telling me what they had agin me. 
Finally I asked to see my brother, and he came and 
advised me to tell all, and I did so." 

"Didn't they promise you immunity?" 

"No, sir." 

"Didn't they promise you a reward?" 

"No, sir." 

"Weren't you indicted for this train robbery 
jointly with Jesse James?" 

"I don't know." 

"Do you mean to say you don't know?" 

"No, I don't know." 

"Wasn't a copy of the indictment served on 

"It might have been. I don't remember." 


** Didn't you know that under that first joint in- 
dictment, the state would have to discharge you be- 
fore you could go on the stand and testify ? ' ' 

*'No I didn't know." 

**You know that they had you and Jesse and the 
others indicted separately afterward, and that now 
they can use you as a witness without first discharg- 
ing you?" 

^'I don't know." 

The theory of the defense on this point is that 
Lowe and Jesse James were indicted separately so 
that the state could use the indictment as a club over 
Lowe's head to force him to testify. 

*' Where have you boarded in Westport since 
your arrest?" asked Walsh. 

**I've taken my meals at the Harris house." 

*' Haven't you gone out bird hunting since your 

*'I went down the railroad track with an officer. 
I had a little cartridge gun and was shooting grass- 

*'Did Detective Harbaugh tell you that a reward 
was offered for the conviction of the robbers or one 
of them, and that he would divide it with you ? ' ' 

''No, sir." 

''Didn't they promise you immunity?" 

"No, sir." 

"Didn't Chief Hayes advise you to confess?" 


"Did he make any promises?" 

"He said if I would confess it would go light 
with me. He said he would make no promises ex- 



cept that he would use his influence. My brother 
came and advised me to tell it all, too." 

''Didn't the officers keep asking you before you 
confessed, if you knew Jesse James?" 

"Yes; they asked me once and I told them I 
knew him. ' ' 

''Didn't they tell you they had evidence against 
Jesse James and Jack Kennedy?" 

"No: I think not." 

"When you first told about this robbery, did 
you tell the names of all who were in it?" 


Mr. Walsh here began a new series of questions 
on a point which the defense thinks is a strong one 
in its favor. 

"Who was it took the stuff out of the safe that 
night after you had set off the dynamite?" 

' ' The man they called Evans. ' ' 

C Evans is the alias of the man supposed to be 
Bill Rvan.) 

"Did he gjet any money out of the car?" 

'*I saw him get packages out." 

"How big packages?" 

Lowe pointed to two law books on a table and 
said "As big as the two of them together." 

"You say that several times before this robbery 
you stood at the Union depot and saw them trans- 
ferring money packages from an Omaha express car 
to this one you robbed?" 

"I said I saw them transfer packages I thought 
was money." 


**Was the package Evans took out' the same 
shape and size?" 

**Yes; it looked just like it." 

**What did Evans do with the package he took 
from the safe ? ' ' 

*'Put it in a sack." 

**How big a sack?" 

** About a two bushel sack." 

"What did he do then?" 

**He swung the sack over his shoulder and left." 

'*Didhe go with you?" 


*'Do you suppose it was money he got in that 
package ? ' ' 


**And you had never seen this man Evans before 
in your life ? ' ' 


**And never since?'' 


**And you didn't know who he was?" 


**You let a stranger walk away with what you 
thought was the money after you had risked so much 
to rob the train ? ' ' 

*'I supposed he was all right." 

Mr. Walsh questioned Lowe further about what 
occurred at and near the home of Jesse James when 
Lowe went there the night of the robbery. Lowe- 
said he went to the house and inquired of Jesse's sis- 
ter for Jesse. She told Lowe he had gone to put his 
aunt, Mrs. Palmer, on a street car to go to the Union 



depot. Lowe sat down on the porch and in a little 
while Jesse came in the back door and called him out 
to the back and pointed to a clump of trees and said 
the horse was tied there and for him to go over. 
Lowe went and found the horse, which was restless. 
Lowe unhitched the horse and drove it around the 
block. Jesse came and said he had been to a drug 
store to show himself, so as to fix an alibi. Jesse 
and Lowe started in the buggy and picked up Andy 
Ryan at Thirty-fifth street. They drove out a ways 
and caught up to the other two men in a buggy. 
One of these said everything was all right, the big 
man meaning Evans, would be out at the scene of 
the robbery. 

That ended the cross-examination by Mr. Walsh. 
Prosecutor Reed asked Lowe if he and Jesse and 
Ryan talked on the drive back to town about the 
money got in the robbery. 

**Yes,'' said Lowe; **Ryan told me they didn't 
get anything. He said too much dynamite was used 
and it blew everything to the devil. I told him I 
didn't believe Evans got nothing. I believed he got 
something. ' ' 

Lowe said that he went to the jail last August, 
when this robbery was planned, in response to a let- 
ter from Kennedy. 

"Is this the letter?" asked Mr. Reed, handing 
him an envelope and letter. 

*'Yes, sir; that's it." 

The letter was shown to the jury. The envelope 
was addressed in ink: "Mr. Bill Lowe, 1001 West 
Sixteenth street, Kansas City, Mo." It was stamped 
and had passed through the mail and had been deliv- 

ths triai, for train robbkry. 151 

ered to Lowe: It bore the postmark: ** Kansas 
City, Mo., August 15, 10 P. M., '98. The letter was 
written with a lead pencil on a sheet of note paper 
and was as follows : 

8:15, '98. K. C, Mo. 
Mr. Wilum lowe. 

dear frend bil i thoght at i wuld write 
you a few lines unce for the first time say bil 
when you get this please cum down if you can. 
yours as ever 

J. F. Kennedy. 

This is important evidence for the state if it is 
actually proved to be Kennedy's writing. The law- 
yers for the defense realized this and examined the 
letter closely. Mr. Farr showed it to Major Blake 
L. Woodson, who had once defended Kennedy on a 
charge of train robbery and was in the court room. 
Woodson said he thought it was not Kennedy's 

Prosecutor Reed showed Lowe a card on the back 
of which this was written : 

*'We the masked knights of the road, robbed 
the Missouri Pacific at the Belt Line junction to- 
night. The supply of quails was good. With much 
love, we remain, John Kennedy, Bill Ryan, Bdll 
Anderson, Sam Brown, Jim Redmond. We are ex 
com spect to.*' 

This card was handed to the express messenger 
by one of the robbers the night of the robbery. 
Prosecutor Reed asked Lowe: 

'*Did you ever see that card before?" 



**The Sunday night before the robbery we were 
at Andy Ryan's house and Jesse showed me that 
very card.'* 

Edwin E. Hills, the express messenger who was 
held up, was the next witness, and part of his testi- 
mony was quite dramatic. He told what has never 
been made public before — exactly how much money 
was on the express car and how much the robbers 
got. It has always been a matter of speculation 
with the public as to how much was stolen that 
night. Hills, the messenger, says they got only $30. 
Hills is a man of about thirty, with a sandy mus- 
tache. He talked in a very loud tone, giving 
straight, direct answers to questions. He said he 
was in charge of the express car the night of the rob- 
bery. Then he went on: 

''As we stopped at the Belt Line crossing the 
night of the robbery I heard some talk outside and a 
flag signal of five blasts. I heard the word 'injector' 
spoken outside the car. In a minute or two the car 
started again and I noticed it was not the usual mo- 
tion of the train. I looked out and saw the balance 
of the train behind us and just the express car at- 
tached to the engine. I made up my mind we were 
being held up. I got my shot gun and laid it on my 
box and hid my personal valuables. The car stopped 
and some one knocked on the door and with an oath, 

" 'Open the door or we'll blow your car to 

"I parleyed with them and looked out. I saw 
the forms of several men. I heard some one say: 


'We'll get the dynamite and blow him up.' I 
told them never mind, boys, I'll open up. They 
ordered me to put up my hands. I put them up. 
One climbed up and ordered me back in the end of 
the car. Another got in.'* 

Hills told about how they placed the little safe 
on top of the dynamite on the big safe and blew it 
up, and tried to make him stay in the car when the 
explosion occurred. He described the explosion, 
which knocked him flat where he stood by the en- 
gine. He said as the robbers left one of them handed 
him a card. 

Prosecutor Reed showed him the card intro- 
duced in evidence a short time before, and identified 
by Lowe. Hills said ; 

* ' The leader handed me that card and told me to 
show it to the newspapers in the morning." 

''Describe the leader, the one who got in the car 
and did so much talking," said Prosecutor Reed. 

**He had on a black mask, dark coat like a mack- 
intosh, that came almost to his heels, and he carried a 
double barreled shot gun when he first got in the car. ' ' 

"What money did you have in the car that 

*'One sack of silver with $1,000 in it, a package 
of $590 in currency, two C. 0. D. packages contain- 
ing $18 and two packages of government war bonds, 
amounting to $560." 

''How much of this was recovered?" 

*'A11 but thirty dollars of the silver dollars, 
which were lost. The other packages were recovered 
intact. ' ' 


* * Did you get a good chance to observe the leader 
who was in the car with you ? ' * 

"The best chance I had was while he was in the 
rear of the car, where the light was quite dim. He 
wore a black mask of glazed oilcloth." 

Prosecutor Reed showed the glazed mask found 
in the weeds near the scene of the robbery and iden- 
tified by Lowe yesterday as very much like the one 
worn by Jesse James. Hills said it was like the one 
worn by the leader. 

** Describe the leader's appearance.'' 

**He was a small man, five feet six or seven 
inches tall, weighing one hundred and thirty to one 
hundred and forty-five or one hundred and fifty 
pounds. He had very sharp, piercing eyes, and a 
nose rather prominent." 

At the request of Prosecutor Reed, Jesse James 
stood up and looked, without a trace of nervousness, 
straight at the witness. 

**How did the leader's height compare with the 
height of the defendant?" asked Prosecutor Reed. 

*'I should say he was about the same height." 

**How does he compare as to breadth of shoul- 

"About the same. He bore a general resem- 
blance to the man who just stood up." 

"You say you noticed the leader's ej^es. How 
does the defendant's eyes compare with them?" 

"The robber's eyes wepe large and piercing eyes, 
as this man has." 

"Is the defendant the man that was there that 
night and wore the coat and mask ? ' ' 

" I am unable to state. ' ' 


Hills then told the following story, giving it 
with good dramatic gestures, imitations and general 
effect : 

"The next afternoon after the robbery I went 
to the court house to get a good look at Jesse James 
an(i see if he was the man who held me up." 

''Who told you to goV 

"Superintendent Moore of the Pacific Express." 

"Tell what occurred." 

"I went in the court house and Jesse was not 
there. I strolled around and soon he came in and 
went behind his cigar stand. I walked up and looked 
him square in the eye and said: 

"1 want a cigar." 

"I looked square into his eyes and he dropped 
his eyes and raised them and dropped them again. 
I found fault with the cigar he handed me and 

** Young man, I was out late last night and I'm 
a little nervous. I want a nice, mild cigar to settle 
my nerves. 

"He reached in and got one and I paid him. As 
he handed me the change he said in a deep tone of 
voice : 

*** Thank you, sir.' " 

"Did his voice resemble any you had ever heard 

"No; it was not his natural voice even." 

Court adjourned for noon at this point. 

After the court adjournment at noon Frank P. 
Walsh, attorney for Jesse James, was asked what he 
thought of the testimony of W. W. Lowe. He said: 


*'The most important thing for the defense is 
that Lowe now denies positively that he ever made a 
written confession; that he ever dictated a confes- 
sion, or that he ever signed his name to any state- 
ment whatever. When we showed him his confes- 
sion published in the Star, October 13, he said it was 
not his, that he never made it, but we will prove 
that Lowe did make the confession printed in the 
Star of that date. 

*'The reason Lowe denies that confession now is 
because there are discrepancies between his confes- 
sion and his testimony now. For instance, there is 
a discrepancy in the time he says he left the point 
near the James home to go to the robbery, and there 
is a discrepancy between his statements with regard 
to where he met Evans. 

"In his printed confession he says he met the 
big man Evans near the James home. He says he, 
Jesse and Andy Ryan got in one buggy and Charlie, 
the 'old man' and Evans got in another buggy, and 
all drove out together. Now he swears that he and 
Jesse got in the buggy and drove out and overtook 
Andy and they drove on and overtook Charlie and 
the *old man' in another buggy, and that the first 
time he saw Evans was after he got to the scene of 
the robbery. 

** Another thing, Lowe denied positively yester- 
day afternoon that he had been promised anything 
to confess. I asked him positively yesterday if the 
police promised to be light on him if he confessed. 
He said, *'No.'' This morning he admits that this 
promise was made to him.'* 


Prosecutor Reed was asked today why Lowe 
denied his confession. 

*'Why," said Mr. Reed, **he never did make a 
written confession, and never did sign one. He told 
the officers, I suppose, the whole truth, and they 
wrote it down in a condensed form, and that is what 
The Star printed.'* 

When court met after the noon recess today, 
Hills, the messenger, was put on the witness stand 
again and was asked by Prosecutor Reed: 

*'Did you ever hear the voice of Jesse James at 
any other time than when you were at his cigar 

''Yes, sir." 

**At the Westport police station." 
** Where did you ever hear that voice before?" 
**The night of the robbery." 
** Whose voice was it?" 
*'The voice of the leader of the gang." 
Charles A. Slocum, engineer of the train that 
was held up, was called next. He said they got to 
Belt Line crossing about 9:59 or 10 o'clock. The 
train stopped at the crossing. A man stepped up to 
the engine cab with a gun. He told them to get 
down and they did so and held up their hands. The 
man who ordered them down had an Irish brogue. 
One of the men on the ground said to another: 
*' 'All right. Bill, get up in the engine.' " 
"The man called Bill got up in the cab and blew 
five blasts on the engine whistle as a signal for the 
brakeman to go out behind with a flag." 


*'Had William W. Lowe ever worked with you 
before, Mr. Slocum?" asked Prosecutor Reed. 

*'Yes, sir.'* 

''Did you get a good look at the robber who 
climbed up in your cab ? ' ' 

''Yes, sir.'' 

*'Was he WiUiam W. LoweT' 

''Yes, sir; it was William W. Lowe." 

Slocum told the story of how the baggage car 
was uncoupled, and all that was done, his story agree- 
ing in every particular with the testimony of W. W. 
Lowe and Hills, the express messenger. 

"Did you get a good look at the man who 
marched the express messenger out at the point of a 
gun ? ' ' 

"No; I didn't see him closely." 

' ' Describe him as near as you can. ' ' 

"He weighed about one hundred and thirty- 
five or one hundred and forty pounds and slim 
built, and wore a long coat nearly down to his 

Jesse James stood up at the request of the pros- 
ecutor, but Mr. Walsh objected to Slocum giving 
his opinion, because Slocum had said all he knew v^^as 
that it was a slim man. The court sustained this 

"What sort of a looking man was the one who 
guarded you at the engine?" 

"He talked with an Irish brogue and had a pecu- 
liar way of throwing his head forward, and he talked 
in a nice, easy tone." 

"Have you seen that man since?" 


*'I couldn't say positively.*' 

Sloeum had been taken to Mansfield to see Bill 
Eyan, under arrest there for robbing a Memphis 
train. The theory of the state is that Bill Ryan was 
the Evans of the Leeds hold-up, but Sloeum would 
not say that the Evans of the Leeds hold-up was the 
man under arrest at Mansfield. 

**What is your best judgment about it?" 

*'I do not know positively.*' 

Prosecutor Reed pressed the question and Walsh 
objected. The judge finally interfered and asked 
Sloeum : 

^ ' Now, sir, if you saw that man again would you 
recognize him ? ' ' 

*'If I saw him act and heard his voice I could 
probably say." 

*'Have you seen the man since?" 

"I have seen a man who answers very well the 
description of that man." 

*'Did you recognize him as the same man?" 

*'I wouldn't say positively." 

Prosecutor Reed asked: "Where did you see 
that man?" 

"At Mansfield, but I would not swear positively 
it was the same, but he tallies well with the same 

Mr. Walsh, in cross examining Sloeum, asked: 
"Did you know positively that it was W. W. Lowe 
when he got in the engine that night?" 

"I thought it was him." 

"Did he call you by name, or you call him?" 



**How long had Lowe worked for you before 

'*He had fired for me at different times." 

**Will you swear positively that it was William 
W. Lowe who held you up that night?" 

Mr. Slocum hit the arm of the witness chair 
very vigorously with his clinched fist as he answered : 

*'I made up my mind right then that it was 
Lowe, and I haven't changed it since." 

"When did you first tell that it was Lowe?" 

"About two days after the robbery I told it to 
Del Harbaugh, the detective. I think I told my fire- 
man, too." 

"Were you trying to conceal that you recog- 
nized Lowe?" 

"I didn't want to say anything to hurt him. I 
didn't want to cause him trouble." 

E. L. Weston, fireman of the train, testified next 
and his story of the details of how the train was 
held up agree with the stories told by Lowe, Hills 
and Slocum. Mr. Walsh asked him on cross exam- 
ination : 

"Do you know W. W. Lowe?" 

"Yes; I've known him for ten years." 

"Was Lowe the man who got into the cab?" 

"I don't know." 

"Did you see Lowe there that night?" 

"I don't know." 

Weston testified that he had been to Mansfield 
and saw the man under arrest there and thought it 
was one of the men who was at the engine the night 
of the robbery, but would not say it was the 


E. M. Hisey, the telegraph operator at Belt 
Line junction, who was captured by the robbers, was 
the next witness. He said he was leaning back in 
his cliair in the telegraph shanty and a man came in 
and with an oath ordered him to throw up his hands. 
Another man came in and smashed the telegraph in- 
struments with a pair of pliers. 

Prosecutor Reed showed him the pliers which 
were found the next morning on the ground, and 
Hisey said they were the same. Hisey said the man 
who held him up had a shot gun and shoved it in his 
face and cursed and was very fierce, threatening to 
kill him. There was a man in the office waiting to 
get a ride on a freight train, and the robbers held 
him up, too, and marched both of them down to 
where the rest of the gang had held up the train. 
One of the tv/o robbers who took him from the shanty 
called the other Bill. 

* ' The man who held me up had a light hat on, a 
black mask with the eyes showing and a long rubber 
coat nearly to his heels. I heard it rattle. I saw 
his chin. He was a small man, who would weigh 
one hundred and forty or one hundred and forty-five 
pounds, a young fellow. He swore nearly every 
word he said. 

**Have you seen the man since who held yo]i up 
that night ? " asked Prosecutor Reed. 

**I have seen a man I think is him." 


Hisey pointed straight at Jesse James and said 
positively : 

*'That fellow sitting right there." 

**Who, Jesse James?" 


*'Yes; Jesse James. I think he is undoubtedly 
the fellow ; there is no mistake about it. ' ' 

This was by all odds the strongest evidence 
against Jesse James produced at the trial so far. It 
amounts almost to a positive identification. Jesse 
James did not flinch under it or show signs of nerv- 

Hisey testified further that he saw Jesse James 
in the Westport jail after the robbery and he noticed 
the moment he went in that Jesse watched him. He 
saw Jesse at the court house and said to him there : 

**I have been mistaken about the color of your 
eyes. It looked to me as if you had dark eyes, but 
I see now that they are light. It seemed that they 
were dark when you had that mask on.'* 

Mr. Walsh, in cross-examining Hisey, asked 
this question : 

"Didn't you say in Witte's saloon, in Leeds, a 
month after this robbery, that it was not Jesse James 
who held you up ? " 

"No, sir." 

"Didn't you say, in the presence of Murphy, 
Mason, Miller, Noland and others, in that saloon, 
that you had seen Jesse James since the robbery, 
and it was not Jesse who held you up ? " 

"No, sir; I did not." 

The Star of February 25 printed the following: 

"The most positive identification of Jesse James 
as one of the Leeds train robbers was made in the 
court room this afternoon by William J. Smith of 
Stotesbury, Missouri, who was a passenger on the 
Missouri Pacific train the night it was held up. 
Smith testified that he was riding in the smoking car 


and got out when the train was held up and walked 
up among the robbers. One of the robbers put a gun 
against his breast and ordered him back into the car. 

''Did that man have anything over his face?" 
asked Prosecutor Reed. 

**He had nothing over his face. He had some- 
thing black around his neck, as if it were a mask, 
slipped down." 

*'How light was it?" 

**It was very light. The light streamed out the 
mail car door." 

**Did you get a good look at that man!" 

* * Yes, sir ; I got a good look at him. ' ' 
**Do you see that man in the court room?" 

Mr. Smith pointed to Jesse James, sitting fac- 
ing him and said : 

*'Yes, sir; there he sits right over there," 

**You mean the defendant, Jesse James?"* 

**Yes, sir; it was Jesse James." 

Frank P. Walsh began the cross-examination of 

* * Where were you bom ? ' ' 
** In Kentucky." 

**How long have you lived in Stotesbury?" 

**Two years." 

** Where did you live before that?" 

**0n a farm in Cass county." 

**How long did you farm there?" 

** Eleven years." 

Mr. Walsh volleys him with questions about 
Detective Harbaugh and other detectives. He asked 
if Harbaugh had been ' ' with you a good deal lately. ' ' 
Smith said that he first saw Harbaugh a month ago 


when Harbaugh went to his home in Stotesbury with 
Detective Bryant to see what he knew. Smith said 
he was staying here with his brotherrin-law, E. T. 
Bergen, who drives a hack for the Depot Carriage 
company. He said that detectives were not paying 
his way here, but he expected his expenses to be 
paid for coming here to testify. He said Harbaugh 
was not paying him. Smith said he was working for 
the Pittsburg & Gulf railroad. 

The next day of the trial this fellow Smith was 
put on the stand and had to admit that he had been 
in jail for burglary, and that for the sake of his 
family his friends bailed him out. Scarcely anyone 
in the court room believed any part of the testimony 
of Smith. 

The Star's account of the rest of the testimony 
this day was as follows: 

*'S. M. Downer, a freight conductor on the Mis- 
souri Pacific, testified that Sunday, August 28, while 
his train was coming to Kansas City two men boarded 
it when the train stopped at the Belt Line crossing. 
They got on midway of the train and climbed on top 
of a car. Downer sent his rear brakeman up to tell 
them to get off. The two men walked back over the 
top of the train to the caboose. The larger one 
clambered into the caboose and the other stayed out- 
side. The man who went in said : 

*'Mr. Downer, I'm a railroad man, I'm switch- 
ing in the Sante Fe yards. I've been out here to a 
Dutch picnic in Swope park and if I don't get in on 
your train I '11 be too late for my work. ' ' 

Downer asked him his name and he said it was 


Bill Lowe. That started a conversation, because 
Downer knew Lowe's brother. 

"Who was with Lowe?" asked Prosecutor Reed. 

**A young man of twenty- three or twenty-four 
years, smooth faced, weighing from one hundred 
and thirty-five to one hundred and fifty pounds." 

"Do you think you would recognize him if you 
saw him?" 

"I have seen the young man since, but I won't 
swear to it, ' ' answered Downer. 

Judge Shackleford asked Downer: "Could you 
be reasonably certain of this young man if you saw 

"Yes," answered Downer. 

"Now, Mr. Reed, you may ask him who it was/' 
said the judge. 

"Who was it?" asked Reed. 

"I think it was that young man sitting there," 
pointing to Jesse James. 

"You mean Mr. James?" 

"Yes, sir; Mr. James." 

Mr. Walsh cross-examined Downer: 

"Did you get a good look at the young man 
who was with Lowe?" 

"No; I only glanced at him as he was crossing 
the car next to the caboose." 

"On such a slight glance are you willing to 
swear that Jesse James was the man?" 

"I haven't done so." 

"You don't want to swear this young man is the 





1 answer in this way, to my best judgment. I 
say he is the one, but I will not swear positively 
to if 

The next three witnesses were T. H. Hutchison, 
a grocer and a school director of Leeds, who swore 
that Sunday, August 28, W. W. Lowe and Jesse 
James called at his store; Walter Hutchinson, his 
son, who saw Jesse and Lowe there, and Burt 
Meyers, a young man who saw them, too. 

T. H. Hutchison said he became acquainted with 
Jesse James last July, when Jesse went to him to try 
and get a place for his lister to teach school. 

*'I was in my store August 28 when Jesse and 
another man came in. a little after one o^clock and 
asked for a drink. I drew a fresh bucket of water. 
They talked awhile. The big man pointed to a shot 
gun on the wall and said it was like one his father 
used to own. When they were leaving Jesse asked 
me who got the school. I told him and he said it 
was just as he had expected. They went south in the 
direction of Belt Line junction." 

W. W. Lowe was brought into the court room 
and Mr. Hutchison pointed to him and said : 

**That is the man who was with Jesse.'' 

Walter Hutchison and Bert Meyers swore that 
they were at the store when Jesse and the other man 
were there, but they could not say that the other man 
was Lowe. 

Francis McGingan, a coal miner, said he went 
to the scene of the hold-up the next morning and 
found false whiskers. He was shown those in the 
court room and identified them. 


The next three witnesses were Will Starkey, 
Ben Shaeffer and A. J. Theakston. They were 
working for the Missouri Valley Bridge Company 
Sunday, August 28, finishing a new bridge for the 
'Frisco road near Leeds and near where the train 
was held up. Starkey knew Jesse James, because 
Starkey boarded with one of the school directors and 
Jesse had been out there to try to get a place for his 
sister to teach school. Starkey testified that Sunday 
afternoon, August 28, he saw Jesse James and an- 
other man walking on the Missouri Pacific tracks 
near where the hold-up was. He pointed out Jesse 
to the other workmen on the bridge. Shaeffer and 
Theakston corroborated this and had their time 
books in court to prove that they did work on that 
bridge that afternoon. 

There was one witness that the state did not call 
and he was H. P. Vallee, the brakeman of the train 
upon which Lowe said he and I rode in from Leeds. 
Soon after my arrest I secured the following affidavit 
from Vallee : 

"H. P. Vallee, of lawful age, being duly sworn, 
upon his oath says that he is in the employ of the 
Missouri Pacific railroad as brakeman on a freight 
train; that he was acting in that capacity on the 
freight train on that road known as second No. 208 
on the 28th day of August, 1898, when W. W. Lowe 
and another man rode on that train from the Pitts- 
burg and Gulf crossing to Sheffield on that line ; that 
S. M. Downer was the conductor of the train; that I 
have seen and conversed with Jesse James today and 
am positive that he was not the man who was on the 
train with Lowe on that occasion; nor have I ever 


said or intimated that he was, but "upon the contrary 
I have at all times since I was first asked to look at 
James and identify him said that he was not the 
man. The man who was on the train with Lowe was 
taller than James and had sandy hair and three or 
four days growth of sandy beard. I have never seen 
James on any train at any time." 

To show now how the railroad detectives con- 
spired to convict me I wished, of course, to have 
VaLlee as one of my witnesses. He would have been 
a nlost important witness in my behalf. His testi- 
mony would have impeached Lowe and proven his 
story to be false. To prevent my getting him as a 
witness the railroad company took him away from 
his job in Missouri and gave him another job as 
brakeman on their line in Kansas, and told him he 
would lose his job altogether if he came and testified 
for me. The law is that a man cannot be com- 
pelled to come from one state into another to be 
a witness in a case. So I was utterly powerless to get 
Vallee to testify for me. Milton J. Oldham, one of 
my lawyers, tried to learn from the railroad com- 
pany the location of Vallee but they refused to tell 

The day that the state closed its testimony 
against me the Kansas City Star printed the follow- 

'*The past life and character of Jesse James and 
his general reputation in this community, where he 
has lived since he was a child, will be shown by the 
defense before it closes its side of the case in the 
trial of Jesse James for train robbery, which de- 
fense began in the criminal court this morning. It 


is likely that this testimony about the good habits of 
Jesse and his devotion to his widowed mother and 
his orphaned sister will have as much influence with 
the jury in reaching a verdict as anything else in the 

"To look at young Jesse James as he sits day 
after day in the court room it is hard to believe that he 
is a train robber or a criminal of any sort. He does 
not look nor carry himself like the men who rob 
trains usually do. He is boyish in his looks; he is a 
boy in his actions. He has nothing of a hardened 
look on his face. He does not seem to take the trial 
as a very serious matter. He listens to the impor- 
tant testimony and follows it intently, but in the in- 
tervals when questions are asked about things of 
lesser interest he talks, jokes and laughs with the 
newspaper reporters and with others and seems to 
take a boyish interest and delight in any kind of a 
laughable thing that happens. 

**This morning when the trial was in progress 
and a witness was giving important testimony a 
young man whom Jesse knew very well entered and 
sat down close to him. Jesse leaned over and whis- 
pered : 

**How did the Tigers come out at Lawrence?" 

A whispered reply was made and Jesse laughed 
and asked again : 

**Who played guards? Who played in my 

Jesse is a member of the Tigers' basket ball 
team that played the Lawrence team Saturday. 

So far, neither the mother, sister nor grand- 
mother—old Mrs. Samuels— of young Jesse James 


has been in the court room, but they will be there 
and they will tell what a good boy Jesse has always 
been. This will be among the most important testi- 
mony in behalf of Jesse. It will require strong evi- 
dence to convince the average juror that a young 
man only twenty-two years old, who has been 
almost the sole support of his mother and his sister 
since he was eleven years old, who worked through 
all these boyhood years almost without losing a day, 
who deprived himself of the things boys love and 
carried his wages home every payday and gave his 
earnings to his mother to help pay off the mortgage 
on the house, and who actually did alone and un- 
aided, pay for this home; it will be hard to make 
the average juror believe that that boy robbed a 

When the jurors see the young man*s mother on 
the stand and hear her tell these things; when they 
hear his sister tell of his love and devotion to her, 
and that it was his wages that kept her at school and 
gave her a musical education; when the old grand- 
mother tells how kind and devoted this only son of 
her bandit son has been, it will go a long way with 
the jury. 

And these things are true. Jesse James has 
been a model son and brother. The people of this 
community have watched him grow up and until this 
charge of train robbery was brought against him 
there was nothing wrong ever heard of him.'^ 

I quote the newspaper account again of my 
defense, as follows: 

Cassimer Welsh, a deputy marshal, was sworn 
and testified : 


I and Deputy Marshal Leahy went to the 
scene of the robbery the night of the robbery and 
talked to Hills, the express messenger. We asked 
Hills for a description of the men. He said the man 
who seemed to be the leader and did all the talking 
was a big man. We asked him to describe him and 
just then Sergeant Caskey came in with his uniform 
on, and Hills pointed to Caskey and said the leader 
was about the size of him. Hills said the leader was 
over six feet tall." 

"How does Sergeant Caskey compare in size 
with Jesse James ? ' ' 

* ' Caskey is almost twice as large. ' ' 

*'Did Hills at any time describe a man who an- 
answer to a description of Jesse James." 

Deputy Welsh answered very positively : 

**No, sir; he did not describe anyone who would 
answer to a description of Jess James." 

Charles K. Bowen of the Kansas City View Com- 
pany, testified that after the arrest of Jesse James he 
went with Finis C. Farr, one of Jesse James' law- 
yers, to the scene of the robbery and talked with 
Hisey, the telegraph operator who was held up by 
the robbers. 

**I asked Hisey if it was Jesse James who held 
him up and he told me that it was not Jesse James. 
He said he had been down to the court house and 
looked at Jesse, and it was not he who held him up." 

Prosecutor Reed, on cross-examination, asked: 

**Are you sure Hisey told you it was not Jesse 

"I am as positive as that I am sitting here. 
Hisey didn't have any reservation. He said he could 


not tell who it was who held him up and hadn't the 
least idea who it was.'' 

H. B. Leavins of 3341 Forest avenue, secretary 
of the Lombard Investment Company, testified that 
the night of the robbery he saw Jesse James at the 
south end of the Troost avenue car line at 8:15 
o'clock, or very near that time. 

Mrs. H. B. Leavins testified that the night of 
the robbery she and her husband were at the end of 
the Troost avenue car line and saw Jesse help his 
mother and another woman and two children on the 

*'What time was that?" she was asked. 

''Some time between 8 and 8:30 o'clock, as near 
as I can tell." 

Charles W. Hovey, a deputy county clerk, said 
that the night of the robbery he saw Jesse James at 
the drug store at the end of the Troost avenue line 
at 9 o'clock. He was sure it was 9 o'clock because he 
heard the curfew whistle blow. Mr. Hovey also testi- 
fied as follows: 

"After Jesse was arrested he came to me and 
asked me to go over to the city hall with him to see 
S. M. Downer, conductor of a freight train. I am a 
notary public and Jesse wanted me to take Downer's 
affidavit. I took my notarial seal with me. . Jesse 
James asked Downer in my presence and hearing if 
he had said that he would identify Jesse as the man 
who rode in with Lowe from Belt Line junction 
Sunday afternoon, August 28. Downer said he had 
not said it was Jesse, and he would not say that it 
was Jesse who was on the train. Jesse asked him to 
make an affidavit to that effect and Downer said, 



*No; he had a good job on the Missouri Pacific road 
and he was not going to lose it by making affi- 
davits.' " 

George TV. Tourtellot, superintendent of the 
Armour Packing company, was the first witness ex- 
amined after the noon recess and the first witness to 
the good reputation of Jesse James. 

"How long have you known Jesse James?" was 
asked him. 

*' Seven or eight years." 

''How long did he work for the Armour Pack- 
ing companj^?" 

**Six years." 

*'Are you acquainted with his reputation in this 
community for honesty, uprightness, truth and 
veracity ? ' ' 

"I am." 

"What is it?" 

"It has been first-class in every respect." 

C. E. Jones, a druggist of Thirty-third street 
and Troost avenue, testified next that Jesse James 
was in his store the night of the robbery as late as 
8:45 o'clock and talked to John Noland, who was 
playing the slot machine, and that Jesse got some 
pennies and played the slot machine, too, and was in 
the store six or eight minutes. 

Walter Gaugh, a bookbinder, testified that the 
night of the robbery he left the junction of Ninth 
and Main streets at 8 :30 o 'clock and went on a cable 
car to the end of the Troost line and got to the end 
of the line at 9 o'clock or a little after, and saw Jesse 
James there. 


Charles Howard, of Hill & Howard's drug 
store at the end of the Troost avenue ear line, testi- 
fied that Jesse James was in the store at 8:55 o'clock 
and took a glass of soda water. 

"Miss Murray, a stenographer in the New York 
Life building, was sworn and testified that in Novem- 
ber she took the deposition of Hisey, the telegraph 
operator. She had this deposition with her and said 
Hisey gave it under oath. The following questions 
asked Hisey and his answers were read to the 

* 'I will ask you who those two men were that 
oame and held you up, if you know ? ' ' 

**I was not acquainted with the gentlemen." 

**Did you know them at any time?" 

*' Never met them before to the best of my 

**Have you ever met them since?" 

''I could not say positively that I have, and I 
could not say positively that I have not. That is a 
pretty hard question to answer." 

This testimony is important as tending to im- 
peach Hisey, who says now that one of the men was 
Jesse James. When Hisey was on the stand the 
other day these questions and answers in his deposi- 
tion were read to him and he denied that he gave the 

James S. Rice, a watchman at the end of the 
Troost line, testified that he saw Jesse James in Hill 
& Howard's drug store at 9 o'clock. Rice said he 
came out of the drug store just as the curfew whistle 
blew, and Jesse James entered the store at the same 


G. W. Daniels, a Wells-Fargo express messen- 
ger, testified next that he saw Jesse James in Hill & 
Howard's drug store at 9 :10 or 9 :15 o'clock. Daniels 
said he was driving north on Troost avenue and was 
passing J. J. Squires' house, six blocks from the 
drug store, when the 9 o'clock curfew whistle blew. 
He drove leisurely to the drug store and saw Jesse 
in there. Daniels said he told his superintendent 
about it a few days after the robbery. 

Dr. T. J. Beatty testified that he saw Jesse 
James in the barber shop at Thirty-third street and 
Troost avenue at seven o 'clock. When the doctor told 
this Prosecutor Reed asked him with a laugh: 

*'What time did the curfew whistle blow that 

*a don't know." 

**You mean to say you didn't hear it." 

^'I didn't hear it." 

**What time did the explosion go off ?" 

*'I don't know." 

** Didn't hear that either, hey?" 


Joe Gorsuch, a bill clerk for the Kansas City, 
Fort Scott & Memphis road, testified that he saw Jesse 
James at 8:30 o'clock at the end of the Troost avenuf 
line the night of the robbery. 

Mrs. Ida Foster lived on the other sid* of the 
street from Jesse James and a half block south, at 
the time of the robbery. She sat at the window 
till 7:30 o'clock with the trees in plain sight to which 
W. W. Lowe says the horse used by the robbers was 
hitched. There was no horse and buggy there up to 


7;30 o'clock. She could say nothing about it after 
that time. 

Mrs. 0. D. Stanley who lived in the same house 
with Mrs. Foster, testified that the night of the rob- 
bery she sat on her front porch from 7:30 until 9 
o'clock. The trees to which Lowe says the horse and 
buggy stood were across the street and in full view, 
and she was sure there was no rig there. On cross 
examination Mrs. Stanley said her husband came 
home at 7:30 o'clock that night, and she poured the 
coffee for him, and she could not remember whether 
she did or did not stay with him in the house while 
he ate his supper. 

Mrs. J. M. Bunch lives at 3338 Forest avenue, 
near the James home. The night of the robbery she 
and her husband were sitting on the steps of their 
house when Jesse James passed at 9:10 or 9:20 
o'clock. They spoke to him and he answered and 
went on and into his own home. Mrs. Bunch fixed 
the time because she heard the curfew blow. 

J. M. Bunch corroborated this testimony of his 

* ' How did you fix the time that Jesse James went 
past your house before anyone accused him of any- 
thing?" asked Prosecutor Reed. 

*' Jesse came to see me seven or eight days after 
the robbery and asked me if I remembered it. He 
said officers were suspecting him." 

At the end of this testimony, which shows that 
Jesse James was at Thirty-third and T roost as late 
as 9 o'clock, one of the lawyers of Jesse James whis- 
pered to a friend: 


**Now you see why W. W. Lowe repudiated his 
confession printed in The Star. In that confession, 
it appeared that they started to drive out to rob the 
train between 8 and 9 o'clock. After Lowe made 
that confession, the state took all our witnesses before 
the grand jury and foimd out that Jesse was at 
Thirty-third and Troost avenue after 9 o'clock, and 
so Lowe had to repudiate that first confession and 
change his testimony to fit with the testimony of 
ours. ' * 

William Car gill, assistant superintendent of the 
Armour Packing company was sworn next, and asked : 

*'How long did Jesse James work at your pack-, 
ing house ? ' ' 

** Eight years.'' 

**What is his reputation in the community?'* 

**His reputation was the best. I considered him 
a model young man while he was in our employ. ' ' 

Judge John W. Henry, of the circuit court, a 
former member of the supreme court, was the next 
witness. He said the reputation of Jesse James was 

E. F. Swinney, cashier of the first National 
bank, testified next that the reputation of Jesse 
James was good; there was none better. Then court 

The Kansas City Journal reported as follows the 
next day's proceedings in court: 

**An old woman yesterday tottered into the 
court room where Jesse James is being tried on a 
charge of train robbery. Her steps were unsteady 
as she tremblingly felt her way over the floor to the 


witness stand. She was supported on the one sid« 
by a stern-faced, steely-eyed man of middle age, 
while on the other, guiding her with tender care, 
was a young woman. The hair of the old woman 
was whitened with the weight of years and troubles 
and her failing eyesight had necessitated the use of 
gold rimmed glasses. 

That old woman was Mrs. Zerelda Samuels, the 
mother of Jesse James, a man who less than a quar- 
ter of a century ago was the most noted bandit of 
the world. Jesse has gone to join the silent major- 
ity, shot to death by a treacherous comrade. The 
young woman who was so solicitous for her welfare 
was her granddaughter, Mary James, the sister of 
the defendant. 

As the aged woman made her way to the wit- 
ness chair she was obliged to pass her grandson. He 
arose, pressed her hand, and was greeted with a soft 
smile from the grandmother's eyes. 

The tension in the court room was great as Mrs. 
Samuels took her seat. As she sank back in the 
witness chair she faced the entire assemblage, 
and five hundred pairs of eyes were fixed upon 

They noted the tremor of the aged hand, the 
glossy whiteness of the hair upon which rested a 
simple and becoming bonnet of black; the plain 
black silk dress— everything. Every ear was on the 
alert to hear the words which she would utter. 

**Hold up your right hand and be sworn," 
boomed forth the clerk of the court. 

Up went the right arm, but the hand was miss- 


ing! Nothing but an empty sleeve— empty nearly 
to the elbow — greeted the vision. The minds of all, 
unconsciously, instantly reverted to the tragedy in 
which she lost that hand so many years ago, when 
Pinkerton detectives are said to have thrown a dyna- 
mite bomb into her house, killing an infant in her 
arms and maiming herself for life. 

**You hereby swear that everything you say 
upon this stand shall be the truth, the whole truth, 
and nothing but the truth ?*' 

*'I do.'* There was nothing weak about this re- 
sponse. While given in a low voice, it was clear 
and distinct, and after its utterance the jaws closed 
with the snap of determination. 

*' Please state to the court your name, age and 
residence,'' said Attorney Yeager, who conducted 
the examination. 

**My name is Zerelda Samuels, I am seventy- 
four years of age, and I live in Clay County." 

**Do you know the defendant?" pointing to 
Jesse James. 

*'Yes; he ia my grandson." 

The examination of Mrs. Samuels elicited the 
fact that she had arrived at the James home the day 
before the train robbery, from Clay County, and 
that she had reached the house about noon. She 
said that upon her arrival Mrs. Allen Palmer, a mar- 
ried daughter, together with her two children, were 
there, but that they left that night. She testified that 
Jesse left with his mother, his aunt and the children, 
to place them on a cable car that night before 8 
o'clock. She did not remember when Jesse had got 


back to the house, but it was some little time. It 
was moonlight, warm, and they were sitting upon 
the porch. She said that Jesse had come in the back 
way, around the house, and joined herself and Mary 
James on the porch. Some little time afterwards 
Mrs. James returned, and they were all seated there 
together when she heard the explosion. She asked 
Jesse what it was. She didn't remember exactly, 
but she thought he said it was a blast at the coal 
mines. They went to bed about 11 o'clock. 

*'Was there any man there that evening to see 
Jesse ?'* 

*'No, sir; there was no man there at all but 

** Are you sure?" 

**Yes, sir; I am." 

**Why did not Jesse go to the depot with his 
aunt and mother." 

** Because I asked him to stay with me. And I 
didn't think there was any use for both of them to 

She stated most positively that Jesse did not 
leave his home after he had returned from the cable 
car that night. 

Mrs. James, the mother of the defendant, was 
next called. She gave her age as fifty-three. She 
told of going to the depot with Mrs. Palmer and her 
children, who took the 9:05 ''Katy" for Texas. She 
left them before the train pulled out and went straight 
home. When she arrived there she found Mrs. 
Samuels, Mary and Jesse seated upon the front 
porch. They remained there until about 11 o'clock 


and then retired. She did not hear the ex- 
plosion. She is somewhat deaf. She was positive 
that- Jesse did not leave the house after she had re- 
turned that evening. 

*'Call Miss Mary James," said Mr. Walsh to a 
deputy. The sister of the defendant came in from 
the witness room and took the chair. She is a sweet 
faced young woman of nineteen, was quietly dressed 
in black and wore black gloves. 

*'I have lived in the city for sixteen years,*' she 
said in response to a question. **I have attended the 
Woodland, Morse, Linwood, and Central High 
school. ' ' 

"You are a graduate of the last?*' 

*'Yes, sir." 

She corroborated the evidence of her mother 
and grandmother. She said that her mother returned 
from the depot on the night of the robbery between 
9 :30 and 10 o 'clock. They were seated on the porch 
when she came and Jesse had not been home long. 

**We heard the explosion shortly afterward," 
she said, **and grandma asked Jesse what it was. 
No, I don't remember what he answered." 

* ' Did any man come up and ask where Jesse was 
that night?" 

* * Why, no, ' ' surprisedly. 

**Was there any man there at all that night?" 

**None other than Jesse." 

Following is the newspaper account of my testi- 
mony given in my own behalf; 

On his direct examination Jesse said he was 
twenty-three years old last August and had lived in 


Kansas City sixteen years. He went to the Morse, 
Linwood, Webster and High school. He went to 
work at the Bee Hive when he was eleven years old. 
Then he worked for Crittenden & Phister as zm office 
boy for ten months. He next worked three months 
for the Germania Life Insurance company. He 
went to work at Armour *s packing house June 12, 
1891, and quit there January 15, 1898, and opened a 
eigar stand in the court house. 

**Are you acquainted with W. W. Lowe?'* he 
was asked. 

**Yes, sir.'' 

**How long had yom known him prior to this 

*' Since last May. I met him first in Krueger's 
court and he came to the court house a few times 
and bought cigars." 

*'Do you know Andy Ryan?" 

**Yes; he came three or four times ta the court 
iiouse to buy cigars." 

**Did you ever aak Lowe how to rob a train?" 

**I did not." 

**Did you ever plan to rob a train?" 

^'I did not." 

Jesse said that the night of the robbery he waa 
shaved at 7 o'clock, at 7:30 he went home, at 8 or 
8:15 he went with his mother, aunt and two cousins 
to the cable car. He was around Thirty-third street 
and Troost avenue till 9 o'clock or a little after, when 
he went home and stayed all night. 

Jesse denied that he was at Andy Ryan's house 
with Lowe September 21; he denied that he wrote 


the card which one of the robbers gare to the ex- 
press meesenger. He said he was not the man who 
rode in on a freight train with S. M. Downer, Sun- 
day, August 28. 

*'You say you never met Lowe at any other place 
than you have mentioned; in Krueger's court and at 
your cigar stand, four or five times?" asked Prose- 
cutor Reed. 

"I never did." 

**You never had any business with him?" 

''Never, except to sell him cigars and tobaeco, 
the same as any one eLse." 

**You never had any other meeting or business 
or transaction with him at any time or place?" 

'*I never did." 

**Look at the outside of this envelope and see 

whether or not it is your handwriting." 


Eeed handed Jesse the eaavelope of the Lowe 

*'It looks very mueh like my writing, but it is 
not miae," answered Jesse, pronouncing each word 
distinctly and with emphasis. 

**Look at this letter and say if you wrote it." 

Jesse looked over the Lowe letter and answered 
as before ; 

*'It looks very much like mine, but it is not 

''Didn't you take that letter to the Sante Fe 
yards where Lowe worked as a switchman, and 
didn't you leave it there for him?" asked the prose- 



**Did you go to Leeds with Lowe, Sunday, 

August 28?'' 

'a did not.'' 

''Were you ever at Leeds?" 

*'Yes; about two hundred times." 

**What was your business there?" 

'*To get the school for my sister to teach, and 
bicycle riding." 

Jesse said that last summer he tried to induce 
the school directors of Leeds to give his sister Mary 
a place, and he rode out there a great many times on 
his bicycle. He was out there Sunday, August 21, 
on his bicycle and was in Hutchison's store. 

I have given here a summary of the evidence for 
and against me. The arguments of the counsel to 
the jury consumed a whole day. The speeches were 
very eloquent. I have no space here to produce any 
part of them. The jury retired and took only one 
ballot, which was unanimous for my acquittal. 

After my acquittal the newspapers of the West 
commented on it liberally. I give here a few of 
these editorial comments : 

''Jesse James may be guilty, but we believe the 
weight of the evidence was in his favor." — Lexing- 
ton (Mo.) Intelligencer. 

"The acquittal of Jesse James will be heralded 
with pleasure by all who know his peculiar history. 
A set of scoundrels were trying to rivet a chain 
around him and we are glad of their failure."— Pierce 
City (Mo.) Democrat. 

"Jesse James has been acquitted at Kansas City 
of the charge of train robbery. But no train robber 

THK TRIAI, for train ROBBERY. 185 

need take any encouragement from that. The people 
of this state are dead set against this crime. The 
evidence did not show James guilty. Under the evi- 
dence as presented he ought to have been acquitted. 
No juror who regarded and valued his oath could 
have voted otherwise. The detectives made the case 
against Jesse James. They originated it, worked it 
up, found the witnesses, wrote out their confessions 
for them, furnished them money for their testimony, 
had him indicted and had charge of the prosecution, 
and they were employed to do this by the railroads. 
The detectives wanted big game. They wanted to 
make a big show, a spectacular demonstration. The 
conviction of Jesse James would terrorize train rob- 
bers more than would the conviction of twenty ordi- 
nary train robbers. So all hands joined in to send 
him to the penitentiary.'^— Brunswick (Mo.) Bruns- 



nN bringing this book to a close, 1 wish to thank, 
from the bottom of my heart, those friends who 
came to my help and support when indeed I 
needed friends. I know that without the moral and 
material support those friends gave me the con- 
spiracy of detectives to ruin me might have been 
successful. I can name here only a few of those 
friends. Among them were Thomas T. Crittenden, 
who was governor of Missouri when my father was 
killed. Mr. Crittenden has taken a deep interest in 
my welfare since my boyhood, and when I was ar- 
rested for robbing a train he was one who came to 
my support and declared openly that he believed I 
waa innocent. Another friand who st©od by Bie 
through thitk and tkim was Tom Crittenden, son oi 
the former governor. When I was aja!wrt;«(d T<Htt 
Chittenden eame to me and said : 

'^3^6sse, I have knows you since you W6»c a little 
haj. I have helped jou an«[ watched yon closel^fi, 
and have been very «olicitoui as to your fulmw. 
Tea gained my cooifidence and I believed in you. I 
want to know now if yoa IhBlped to rob this tuaiji or 


if yon knew anything about it. I want you to tell 
the whole truth.'* 

I replied to him : * ' Tom you are as good a friend 
as I have on earth. No one ever knew a James to go 
back on a friend. If I'd lie to you now I ought to 
be hung like a damned cur. I tell you I am abso- 
lutely innocent, and all I ask is a fair trial and I'll 
prove it. ' ' 

He said to me then: ^*I'm going to accept your 
statement of your innocence as true. I believe you 
are telling the truth, and I 'm going to stand by you. ' ' 

At that time Crittenden was a candidate for re- 
election to the office of County Clerk. The Kansas 
City "World, in commenting on this recently, said : 

**The friendship existing between Tom Critten- 
den, county clerk, and Jesse James, jr., is quite well 
known in Kansas City. The newspapers referred to 
it often during the recent trial of the boy, on a 
charge of train robbery, and many marveled at evi- 
dences of fellowship so staunch as to outlive the 
effects of evil report against this scion of Jesse James, 
sr., the bandit. Mr. Crittenden never doubted the 
innocence of his protege. Though the trial occurred 
in the heat of a political campaign, in which Mr. 
Crittenden was a candidate for re-election and when 
to avow sympathy for an accused train robber was to 
iaake enemies, still he stood by young James, and 
helped him with his time, money and influence. 

**A political campaign was on. Crittenden wa« 
a candidate on the democratic ticket for r«-eleetion 
to tke office of county clerk. The campaign was a 


warm one and the question of train robbery was an 
issue in it. 

*' Under those circumstances and in the face of 
that sort of campaign, it was perilous for a democratic 
candidate to openly avow his championship of one of 
the alleged train robbers. But Crittenden made no 
half way business of it. 

*'He furnished the bond for Jesse's release. He 
retained lawyers to defend him, and helped gather 
evidence to acquit him. He was criticised severely 
for this, and it was even said that his action would 
cause the defeat of all the democratic candidates. 
Then came the acquittal of Jesse, but not before the 
day of election which brought the re-election of 

** After the acquittal, Crittenden assisted Jesse in 
renting and stocking a cigar store on one of the 
principal streets, and the young man attends strictly 
to business and is making money. His best friend 
is yet T. T. Crittenden, jr.'' 

Other friends who came to my help were Frank 
P. Walsh, E. F. Swinney, R. L. Yeager, Finis C. 
Farr, Milton J. Oldham and Judge John W. Henry. 
I wish to speak also of the fair rulings made by 
Judge Dorsey W. Shackleford, who presided at my 
trial, and by his justness secured for me a fair and 
impartial trial. 

To all of these friends I have this to say, that 
through no fault of mine shall they ever have cause 
to regret that they gave me the hand of friendship 
when enemies had conspired to ruin me. My con- 
duct in the future shall be as it has been in the past. 

IN CONCI«USI01f. 189 

My chief aim has always been, and shall continue to 
be, to show by my daily life, and by strict attention to 
the business I have established, that I am worthy of 
the respect of all good citizens and of the friendship 
of those who choose to be my friends, and the 
friends of the family of Jesse James, my father. 

I have one thing more to say in conclusion. I bear 
no ill will or feelings of malice toward anyone. Some 
of my best friends are men who were Federal soldiers 
and who fought my father and were fought by him 
in honorable warfare. I am sure if my father were 
living to-day he would be the friend of these old 
enemies and they would be friends of him. I recall 
that in Lexington, at the close of the war, he and the 
man who shot and almost killed him became after- 
ward warm personal friends. 

I have had an uphill fight. I ask the public to 
give me the credit of having worthy motives, and of 
being desirous of succeeding in the world as a busi- 
ness man and a good citizen of the good old State of 
Missouri, on whose soil my iather fought and bled 
and suffered as few men fought and as few men 
suffered for