America’s Admirable Outlaw: Jesse James

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Jesse James  was Americas admirable and infamous outlaw.

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Jesse James was born in Clay County Missouri in September 1847. He had two siblings with one father and four more siblings with another father. His own father died and widowed Jesse’s mother. They own a tobacco farm with a total of seven slaves. Jesse lived during the Civil War Era and after the Kansas – Nebraska Act there was a lot of atrocities in Missouri. Everyone was fighting over sides. Jesse and his family were Confederates and Jesse was a part of Confederate militias and used guerrilla warfare.

After the Civil War Missouri was in shambles and was economically destroyed. People were starving and dying. Jesse was wounded in the chest and was recuperating while his old commander kept the bushwhacker gang going. Jesse and his gang robbed a handful of banks throughout the United States.

One of the most famous is the robbery of the Clay County Savings Association in the town of Liberty, Missouri, on February 13, 1866. After their later robberies took place and they became legend. Jesse James did not become famous, however, until December 7, 1869, when he and (most likely) Frank robbed the Daviess County Savings Association in Gallatin, Missouri. The robbery netted little money, but it appears that Jesse shot and killed the cashier, Captain John Sheets, mistakenly believing him to be Samuel P. Cox, the militia officer who had killed “Bloody Bill” Anderson during the Civil War.

Jesse and his gang committed a series of crimes until their downfall in 1876. The James-Younger gang were attempting to rob the first National Bank of Minnesota. After the robbery and manhunt only two members, one being Jesse James, were left alive. Jesse soon after found his own new gang and set out for more crimes. In 1879, the James gang robbed two stores in far western Mississippi, at Washington in Adams County and Fayette in Jefferson County. The gang rested in some cabins when they attacked by police and were killed. Jesse and his brother were the only ones to survive and they fled to Missouri where they felt safer.

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Jesse went to the only people he trusted at that time which were Charley and Robert Ford. On April 3, 1882 Jesse was preparing for a robbery when he sat down for a minute and Bob Ford shot Jesse in the back of his head. Bob Ford then wired the Governor to claim his reward. The Ford brothers were charged with first degree murder and sentenced to death by hanging. All in the same day the Ford brothers were charged, indicted, and pardoned by the Governor. Jesse’s death was a national sensation. People lined up at the St. Joseph house to take a glimpse of the criminals’ dead body. His death marked the end of one of history’s most well-known criminal.

Jesse James was a historical figure. He was an example of how life was in the west during this time period. Jesse did what he had to do to survive and care for his family. He wasn’t a criminal, thief, or murderer. He was a struggling human in search for a better life for him and his family. Jesse was a father, husband, and man with a job to do. Jesse James’ death was the outcome to a corrupt life style and a struggling life which drove him to his crimes. He was intelligent, caring, courageous, ruthless and dedicated. Jesse James is the American outlaw everyone had nightmares about.

http://www.biography.com/#!/people/jesse-james-9352646

English: This building in Russellville, Kentuc...
English: This building in Russellville, Kentucky was once a bank robbed by the Jesse James gang (Photo credit: Wikipedia)