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Outlaws of the Old West

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Jesse Woodson James was the leader of the James-Younger Gang.

 

 

Jesse James in 1864

Jesse Woodson James in Platte City, Missouri  in 1864

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Jesse Woodson James (1847-1882)Born in Clay County, Missouri on September 5, 1847, he and his brother Frank were brought up by their mother after their father left for the California gold fields and never returned. Slave owners, the family supported the Confederate cause during the Civil War and when William Quantrill established a band of guerilla fighters, both Frank and Jesse joined him. After the war, Jesse became the famous outlaw and leader of the James-Younger Gang, robbed banks, stagecoaches and trains for the next sixteen years.

On April 3, 1882, Robert (Bob) Ford and his brother Charles called upon Jesse at his home in St. Joseph, Missouri. The brothers had joined the James Gang and while Jesse was laying out his plans for the next holdup, he turned to adjust a picture on the wall. While his back was turned, Bob Ford shot him from behind. James was 34 years-old. Ford was forever after known as "that dirty little coward.” His brother Charles, so feared for his life by retribution by Frank James, that he committed suicide just two years later. Bob Ford, was himself, shot in 1892.  More ...

 

 

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