Jesse James

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September 05, 1847 – April 03, 1882

There are those who achieve legendary status through their infamous life. And then there is Jesse James.

Jesse Woodson James is, perhaps, the most famous American outlaw of the late 19th Century. Along with his brother, Frank – and more than a few versions of his famous gang – James parlayed his unscrupulous days as a Confederate guerrilla (AKA, “bushwhacker”) during the Civil War into a career of robbing banks and trains for more than a decade during the vulnerable Reconstruction period. The James gang was responsible for robberies and murders stretching from Mississippi to Minnesota. His reputation grew and grew as he evaded justice at every turn all while writing to the public in open letters published in the Kansas City Times newspaper. Jesse James was already a legend whose deeds were embellished and regaled when he was shot in the back of the head by Bob Ford – one of his own trusted affiliates – in his own home in St. Joseph, MO. The fact that Ford had conspired with the then-Governor of Missouri to bring Jesse down only added to his status as a larger-than-life caricature. Despite all of the truly, truly terrible things Jesse James did, he still remains one of the most popular figures in American history.

James was initially buried at his family’s farm in Kearney, but some 20 years later – following the death and burial of his widow, Zerelda – his body was moved to Mount Olivet to be buried alongside her.

Burial

Mount Olivet Cemetery, Kearney MO

Specific Location

To the west of the main shelter as you enter the cemetery, right next to a large cedar tree.

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