Results for - Frank and Jesse James - The Final Chapter ** After nine years of courtship, Jesse James married Zerelda Mimms, on April 24, 1874. In June of 1874, Frank married Annie Ralston in Omaha, Nebraska.
2,297 voters participated in this survey
Jesse and Zerelda honeymooned on the Gulf of Mexico at Galveston, Texas. Though the brothers settled down for a time with their new brides, the gang was blamed for almost every bank, stagecoach, or train robbery that occurred almost anywhere in the west. Zerelda Sr., the ever protective mother, began her own public relations campaign, spreading the folksy tales of the James gang and their roles as Robin Hood figures, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.
1. On February 6, 1878, Frank and Annie James give birth to Robert James and on June 17, 1879, Jesse and Zee gave birth to a daughter they named Mary Susan who was born in Nashville, Tennessee where Jesse and Zee stayed with Frank and Annie for a time. With new gang members, the robberies continued over the next several years including a stage hold-up near Mammoth Cave, Kentucky and a bank robbery in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and a train robbery in Winston, Missouri. Jesse moved his family to St. Joseph, Missouri. Renting a house on 1318 Lafayette Street on December 24, 1881, the family settled in under Jesse's assumed name of Tom Howard. With a $10,000 reward over his head, Zee tried to get Jesse to take on a more normal life. And Jesse agreed, right after one last great bank robbery in Platte County, Missouri. Jesse had finally decided to retire, hopefully with enough money to become a gentleman farmer. Did you know $10,000 USD in 1881 has a relative project worth of $18,791,333.05 today?
2. Planning the robbery with Bob and Charles Ford, whom Jesse had worked with in the past, the Ford brothers visited the James home in St. Joseph on the morning of April 3, 1882. Outlining his plans for the robbery with Bob and Charles in the parlor of his home, Jesse noticed that a framed needlepoint picture, done by his mother, was hanging crookedly on the wall. Standing on a chair to adjust the picture, Jesse turned slightly as he heard the sound of Bob Ford's cocked pistol. Bob shot Jesse just below the right ear and Jesse toppled to the floor dead. Jesse was 34 years old. At the sound of the gunshot, the children ran into the room, being the first to reach him. Zee followed, trying desperately to stop the blood. Bob Ford was already out the door and Charles spent a few moments trying to tell her how the gun had gone off accidentally. Then, he too, made a quick exit, running after his brother. Are you surprised he was shot by a member of his own gang?
3. Robert Ford killed James for two reasons. The first was that Ford had killed a man by the name of Wood Hite in January of 1882. When word of the shooting resulted in Ford's arrest he informed the officers that he had access to the much wanted Jesse James. In a deal made secretly with Governor Thomas T. Crittenden, the governor promised Ford a pardon for the Hite murder if he would kill James. There was also a $10,000 reward on Jesse's head that Ford hoped to collect. Initially, Ford was charged with murdering both Wood Hite and Jesse James, but true to his word Governor Crittenden pardoned him while he stood trial for the murder. As to the money, he received only a fraction of the reward. Do you think he should have received any of the reward?
4. Returning to their hometown of Richmond, Missouri, Bob, and Charles were not greeted kindly and residents found the killing of Jesse James so distasteful that they made life unbearable for the two brothers. Charles Ford fled Richmond when he heard that Frank James was searching for them to kill them in revenge for his brother's death. Charles kept running from town to town for the next two years, changing his name several times. He finally committed suicide in 1884. In the meantime, Bob Ford was capitalizing on his betrayal of Jesse James, taking to the stage, appearing in an act entitled Outlaws of Missouri. Night after night, Ford retold his story, carefully omitting that he had shot James in the back. But, this charade was short-lived as he was greeted with catcalls, jeers, hoots, and challenges. Ford later took off to Las Vegas, New Mexico and then Creede, Colorado, where he was shot down in his own saloon on June 8, 1892. Are you surprised by how differently the brothers handled the aftermath?
5. After his death, Jesse was packed on ice and taken by train to Kearney, where he was displayed and viewed by hundreds of friends, admirers, and curiosity seekers. Later he was buried on the family farm in a plot near the house so that Zerelda Sr. could keep an eye out for trespassers or souvenir hunters. His tombstone read: "In Loving Memory of My Beloved Son, Murdered by a Traitor and Coward whose name is not worthy to appear here." Jesse's mother, Zerelda Sr, allowed tourists to view the grave of her son for 25 cents and sold rocks from his grave. Legend has it that when the rock supply ran low, she simply restocked from the river. She also gave paid tours of the farm shortly after Jesse's death, a practice that was continued by Frank in later years. Are you surprised their Mother earned a living, making his grave and their home a tourist attraction?
6. On October 4, 1882, Frank James surrendered to Missouri Governor Thomas Crittendon. The 39-year-old bandit marched into the governor's office and took off his gun belt, placing it before Crittenden and saying: "Governor Crittenden, I want to hand over to you that which no living man except myself has been permitted to touch since 1861." Frank was tired of the outlaw life – of being hunted for over twenty years, of living in a saddle, of knowing no peace. Universal sympathy for Frank James and his family was exhibited by the public. After a number of long trials, Frank was acquitted on all counts. Returning home to the James Farm, he took up a number of peaceful pursuits, working as a horse trainer and a racetrack starter. Are you surprised Frank James was acquitted?
7. Later, when Zerelda could no longer live alone, her son's body was moved to the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Kearney, Missouri and placed next to his wife on July 29, 1902. Frank James was present at the re-burial of his brother. In 1903 Frank James appeared in a small Wild West show with his friend Cole Younger, who had been released from prison in 1901. On February 10, 1911, Zerelda Samuel, after visiting Frank and Annie at their home in Oklahoma, suffered a heart attack on the train back to Kearney at the age of 86. She is buried at the Mt. Olivet Cemetery next to sons Jesse and Archie, husband Reuben, and daughter-in-law "Zee", Zerelda James. Frank James, at the age of 72, died from natural causes at the James Farm on February 18, 1915. His wife Annie Ralston James spent her widowhood at the farm. If Jesse James had not been assassinated do you think he could have lived a quiet life as a farmer?