Jesse Woodson James
Photos From 1995 Interment

© MPR Virtual Museum Collection

Over the years many a long debate has occured over the assassination of Jesse Woodson James. History has been written that Jesse was murdered by Robert Ford in St. Joseph, MO on April 3, 1882.

But, through the years, some had suggested that a man by the name of Charlie Bigelow, who strongly resembled Jesse, had been killed. And that a hoax to throw off the authorites followed to save Jesse from punishment and possible death from Pinkertons and authorities. Even a few of Jesse's modern day relatives thought his death in 1882 was a hoax.

So, after all these years of speculation, in 1993 the families agreed to allow a medical team to finally have his body exhumed. Much DNA and forensic testing were done. The results came back on the skull, bone and tooth fragments that the body in the grave was indeed that of Jesse Woodson James.

After all the testing, media hype, etc, Jesse James was finally brought back to Kearney, Missouri and laid to rest for eternity on October 28, 1995.

Over 800 people were seated inside the Knights Of Columbus Community Center in Kearney, Missouri for the ceremony. Many more stood and sat outside to be a part of this historic moment.

Attending and participating in the ceremony at the Knights Of Columbus Community Center were many of Jesse's descedents including Judge James R. Ross from Fullerton California who is Jesse James' great grandson! Judge Ross had been a staunch supporter of the DNA testing and that the remains were indeed those of Jesse Woodson James.

At the Knights Of Columbus Community Center, a welcome was given by SCV Chaplain In Chief, Dr. Charles E. Baker. Scriptural readings were given by Reverend John H. Killian. This was followed by all present singing "Rock Of Ages."

A very stirring sermon was then delivered by Dr. Charles E. Baker. This was followed by all present singing "Amazing Grace."

The Eulogy was given by Past Commander In Chief Of The Sons Of Confederate Veterans, Mr. Robert L. Hawkins III. And then to close the worship services at the Knights Of Columbus Community Center, all present gave the "Comon Doxology" in unison.

The processsion moved on at this time to Mount Olivet Cemetery in Kearney, Missouri where a ceremony was held. Jesse James was buried with Sons Of Confederate Veteran Honors and a graveside ceremony in Mount Olivet Cemetery after his casket had been transported in an 1880's period hearse donated by Reid Millard Funeral Home for the ceremony and interment.

Present during the ceremony and services with full honors provided were the 5th Missouri Infantry, CSA Honor Guard. A befitting tribute to a Missouri Partisan such as Jesse Woodson James.

At a time just before the lowering of the casket into the grave, each of the 5th Missouri Infantry, CSA, pallbearers cut a Confederate Infantry button from their own uniform, laid them on the shut casket lid, and they were all lowered into the earth for eternity. A very symbolic gesture of love and compatriotism for a great man such as Jesse Woodson James.

It was a stirring and unforgettable event for all to attend and witness. And befitting a great man such as Jesse Woodson James.

May God All Mighty be with you forever, Jesse. And may those true Missourians, scholars and historians never forget you as our Missouri defender of honor, courage and the will to never give into tyranny.

Rest in peace, Jesse....

© MPR Virtual Museum Collection

* Photographs From Jesse's Internment *


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