Jesse Woodson James

Nebraska City, Nebraska, 1875

Jesse is another one of the most well known of The Missouri Partisan Rangers. Born Jesse Woodson James on September 5, 1847 in Kearney, Missouri to Baptist minister Robert and Zerelda Cole James and the younger brother of Frank James. His father heeding a calling left for California in 1850 with the intent of preaching to gold miners, but contracted cholera and died. Robert James is buried in an unmarked lost grave in Placerville, California.

By the time Jesse was eight, his mother had remarried twice more. From the third marriage, he gained two stepbrothers and two stepsisters. As a youth, he was a churchgoer, baptized at the Kearney Baptist Church and sang in the choir wanting to emulate his father and become a Baptist preacher.

Jesse had very little formal education but was skilled with horses and a natural leader. When a youthful fifteen years of age, he followed his brother Frank James into the ranks of Quantrill's Partisan Rangers. Jesse left Quantrill at Crawley's Ridge, Arkansas to go south and join with Missouri Confederate State Guard General Sterling Price.

Jesse survived the War. Along along with his older brother Frank and The Youngers, they made many daring raids and robberies agains the Federal banks and railroads which had taken severe measures against honest and hard working Missourians during the years of the war.

Sadly, Jesse was asssassinated (shot in the back of his head) by a dirty, rotten little coward, by the name of Robert "Bob" Ford in St. Joseph, Missouri on April 3, 1882.

But Jesse's memory and legend strongly and vividly live on.

God Bless you Jesse. Rest in peace...

Platte City, Missouri, 1864. Age 16.


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