Jesse Woodson James
Jesse James was born September 5, 1847 in Clay county, the “Little Dixie” area of western Missouri, near present-day Kearney. James became a Civil War guerilla, an American outlaw, bank and train robber and leader of the notorious James-Younger Gang. During the war, he and his brother Frank joined Confederate guerillas, known as “bushwackers” under William Quantrill. The group became known as “Quantrill’s Raiders” and were famous for brutality and savage behavior.
After the war, the James-Younger Gang robbed banks, trains and stagecoaches throughout the Midwest, gaining national publicity and often popular sympathy, despite the brutality of their crimes. Eventually the famous Pinkerton National Detective Agency was hired to track down the gang. The Pinkertons were famous for “getting their man” in relentless pursuit.
As the notoriety of the gang grew, Jesse and his partners sometimes moved to keep from the “long arm of the law.” Jesse and brother Frank surfaced in Nashville, Tennessee, where they went by the names of Thomas Howard and B.J. Woodson. Jesse reportedly traveled to Malad City, Idaho, where he married a local girl, while at the same time engaged to a girl in Missouri. After a year, he returned to Missouri once more.
The James-Younger Gang met their match in Northfield, Minnesota, while attempting to rob the First National Bank of Northfield. Many of the gang were killed and or wounded, and only Jesse and Frank remained free and alive from the gunfight. The James-Younger gang was destroyed, though new recruits joined the James brothers in committing other crimes.
After eating breakfast in his home on April 3, 1882, Jesse laid his revolvers on a sofa and walked to straighten a picture hanging on the wall. He was shot dead in the back of the head by a member of his gang, Bob Ford, who had conducted secret negotiations with Missouri Governor Thomas T. Crittenden. Crittendon had vowed to capture the famous outlaw. Bob Ford and his brother were indicted, pleaded guilty, sentenced to death and granted a full pardon in a single day, then received only a small portion of the reward money. Jesse James was buried on his family property, later moved to a cemetery near Kearney, which became his final resting place.
Source: Wikipedia 2018