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Author Topic: 10 JAN 1843: THE BIRTH OF FRANK JAMES  (Read 34 times)
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« on: January 09, 2018, 11:52:06 pm »

He was the oldest of the James family children, a reader of Shakespeare, a family man, a farmer, a thief and a murderer. And he was, in his lifetime, and after, overshadowed by his younger brother Jesse. his name was Franklin Alexander James, and he was born on 10 January 1843, in Missouri.

Frank James' father, an itinerant preacher had left the family for the gold fields of Caslifornia, where he died. Frank, younger brother Jess and a half brother were raised by their mother Zerelda's second husband, Rueben Samuels, but Zerelda Samuels was the dominant pafrent, and influence on her sons' lives.

the James' farmed in clay county, Missouri, but they were a slave holding family, and the now Mrs. Samuels was a loud and vociferous supporter of both slavery and the South. so it is no surprise when war broke out, Frank James and his cousin, Coleman 'Cole' Younger, opted to fight for the Confederacy. Frank James and Younger initially fought in a uniformed militia. But James was captured and paroled by Federal forces. Rather than honor the parole, James [and younger], took to the bush, and joined the guerilla band of William Clarke Quantrill [Jesse was too young to join up].

Frank James participated in the raid on Lawrence, Kansas, where some 160+ men and boys were killed by the bushwhackers, and most of the town was burned down. He [and Younger] may then have re-joined regular Confederate forces. but when Quantrill was mortally wounded in Kentucky in 1865, Frank James was with him.

Starting in 1866, Frank and Jesse James [who had served with 'Bloody Bill' Anderson from 1864 on], the Younger brothers and several associates, launched what would be a 15 year crime spree of bank robberies, train robberies, stagecoach robberies and murder that ranged from Alabama to Iowa, from Texas to Minnesota.

And in that decade and a half crime wave, Frank James largely disappeared in the shadow of his younger brother, to the degree that Jesse, a stone killer in his own right, was occasionally blamed for murders Frank  committed, the most notorious being the bank teller in Northfield, Minnesota [Jesse never even entered the bank. He spent the entire time out in the street].

Northfield was the James-younger gang's Waterloo. All three youngers were captured, and sentenced to life in Stillwater prison. all the associates on the raid were killed. The only two to escape were the James boys. And after one further train robbery, both brothers disappeared for what appeared to be good. But Jesse couldn't give up the life [Frank apparently did]. And then Jesse was killed by Bob and Charley Ford, part of the dregs that constituted the last James gang, for a pardon and a sizable reward.

Frank James surrendered, survived trials in several states, and an extradition request from Minnesota, and spent the rest of his life on the straight and narrow [including a stint on the "crime doesn't pay" circuit with the then newly paroled Cole Younger. Frank James died hwere it had largely begun, on the family farm in Missouri, in 1915


You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
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