Jesse James Rides Again

Jesse James Rides Again

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Jesse James Rides Again! History books say that Jesse Woodson James was killed on April 3, 1882, but others believe differently. (Hall) I believe Jesse James died in 1951 in Grandbury, Texas at the age of 103. Between 1882 and 1948 he went by many different names but mainly went by J. Frank Dalton. From the Civil War to Jesse James supposed death in 1882, Jesse was a major outlaw. After 1882 Jesse led a normal life and had many different professions.

Jesse Woodson James was born on September 5, 1847 in Western Missouri. Jesse’s father, a Baptist minister, Robert Salle James and his mother Zerelda Cole. Jesse had one whole brother Frank James and other half and step siblings. Jesse’s father died when he was a young boy and his mother remarried more than once. When Jesse was 17 he married a young girl, who was also his first cousin, named Zerelda Mimms. They had 2 children, Jesse Jr. and Mary. (O’Brien)

When Jesse was 14 years old, his brother Frank went off to fight in the war and joined the Quantrill’s Guerrillas. The Quantrill’s Guerrillas was a group of men from Missouri that formed a company of the Confederate Army. These men would hide in the bushes and woods and then ambush Union soldiers. The name bushwhackers came from these men. One day while Jesse was doing his farm work, many Union soldiers came to Jesse’s house. They tore up his house and attempted to hang his step-father, Dr. Samuels to try to get information out of them about the Quantrill’s Guerrillas. Jesse and his family didn’t tell where they were so the soldiers left. This made Jesse very angry. He went and found Frank and the Guerrillas and talked them in to letting him join at the age of 14. He rode
with the Guerrillas through many battles until they surrender at the end of the Civil War. He was wounded more than once while riding with the Guerrillas. Jesse rode with many different outlaws while with the Guerrillas, such as Bloody Bill Anderson, his cousins the Younger brothers, and many other men. (O’Brien)

After the Civil War, Jesse was an Outlaw. He rode with Frank, his cousins the Younger brothers, and many other men such as Bob and Charlie Ford, Jesse’s supposed killers.

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They called themselves the James’ Gang because Jesse and Frank was the head of the gang. Some people saw them as stone cold killers, as others seen them as more of a Robin Hood gang. Men who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. The James’ Gang robbed many banks and trains. They were constantly on the run from the authorities. Allan Pickerton and his detectives were assigned to the James’ Gang by the state of Missouri. Pickerton was after the gang for a long time and captured some of the gang but never got Jesse or Frank. (O’Brien)

A man by the name of Charlie Bigelow was calling himself Jesse James. This was causing a lot of attention to Jesse and his town that he didn’t want. So Jesse, Frank, Bob Ford, Charlie Ford and some of the member of the gang came up with a plan. Jesse was good family friends with the newly elected Governor of Missouri, Tom Crittenden. Since there was a price on Jesse’s head they came up with a plan that would get rid of the problem of Charlie Bigelow and the price on Jesse’s head. So they made a plan with the Governor that if he went along with the killing, that Jesse could fake his death and live a
normal life. Since Bob Ford was going to kill Bigelow he would get the reward money. They gave most of the money to the Governor and they split the rest between Bob and Jesse. So on April 3, 1882 Jesse sent Bob and Charlie Ford to take care of this problem with Charlie Bigelow. The history books say that Jesse James was shot in the back of the head while hanging a picture. Actually what happened was Bob Ford shot Bigelow in his barn. Charlie and Bob then moved the body in to the house, made the picture sideways, and shot a bullet in the wall. This is one part that proves that this was not Jesse James. When Charlie and Bob moved the body in the house they put a bullet in the wall so they would have a better story. But the autopsy said that the bullet was still in the head of Jesse James (Charlie Bigelow). Also in the picture of the body of Charlie Bigelow there were no exit wounds so there is no way there could be a bullet in the wall. Another part that says Jesse was not killed on April 3, 1882 is the doctor that did the autopsy on Charlie Bigelow was Jesse’s doctor. This doctor’s name was Dr. J.S. Preston. Dr. Preston knew that Jesse had conjunctivitis in his eyes. When Dr. Preston did the autopsy on Jesse James supposed body he did not have conjunctivitis. Dr. Preston stated after the autopsy that “if that was Jesse James…. He was the Queen of May”. (Turilli)

After Bob Ford killed Charlie Bigelow everybody that knew Jesse well just went along with everything. His gang and his close friends made an oath to keep Jesse’s identity a secret until Jesse got older and everything settled down. Jesse gang in the choir with his brother Frank at his own funeral. Jesse fled the country for about a year after he faked his death. After about a year he came back to Oklahoma Territory and had many
different professions. He worked in the Oil field, marshal over parts of the Indian Territory, and most shocking he was a U.S. marshal and even got into politics of the new state of Oklahoma. All the professions were under the name J. Frank Dalton. He also went by the names of James Cockran and Jesse Redmond. As I stated earlier Jesse and his family were good friends with Gov. Crittenden. Gov. Crittenden’s son wrote a book about his father and his days of Governing the state of Missouri. He asked J. Frank Dalton to write about his outlaw days in Missouri and about the war. In this book Dalton wrote about how he rode with Jesse James and his gang and with the Guerrillas. But there were no record of J. Frank Dalton riding with the James Gang or even with the Quantrill’s Guerrillas. But this man new things that only men that rode with these gangs would know. J. Frank Dalton wrote about 30 pages on this book. (Turilli)

When Jesse James a.k.a Frank Dalton finally wanted to reveal himself to the world in 1948 on May 19th, he did just that. It hit many news paper articles and front pages. But 4 other men earlier in the 1900’s tried to play themselves off as Jesse James and the people who knew the truth disproved them. When Frank Dalton reveled himself to the world as Jesse James no one to this day has disproved him. There has been more proof that his man is Jesse James than there is saying its not. (Hall) There were 2 members of his gang left when he came out. Colonel James R. Davis of Tennessee and the James Gang cook John Trammell. When the authorities went to get these men, both of them acted like they didn’t know what they were talking about. Then when the authorities returned to Jesse angry, he just laughed and said, “I was just making sure they stood by there word”. Since
the members of the gang took an oath you had to have a password so that they would know it for real. Jesse told the m “the goose flies high”. Then men returned to Col. Davis and Mr. Trammell and said “the goose flies high” and both men in return said “everything is lovely! Where is Jesse?” They both went to Lawton were Jesse was at the time and talked to him and spent time with there old friend. Both testified that this man was Jesse W. James. (Turilli)(Hall)

Jesse James led a very exciting life. From being an outlaw and robbing banks to being a U.S. Marshal and keeping the peace. I believe very strongly in that the man who died in August of 1951 was in deed Jesse Woodson James. I plan on helping my Uncle Bud Hardcastle prove that J. Frank Dalton was Jesse James. We could change the history books forever.

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