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Jesse James is murdered

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Apr 3, 1882:

 

Jesse James is murdered

 

One of America's most famous criminals, Jesse James, is shot to death by fellow gang member Bob Ford, who betrayed James for reward money. For 16 years, Jesse and his brother, Frank, committed robberies and murders throughout the Midwest. Detective magazines and pulp novels glamorized the James gang, turning them into mythical Robin Hoods who were driven to crime by unethical landowners and bankers. In reality, Jesse James was a ruthless killer who stole only for himself.

 

The teenage James brothers joined up with southern guerrilla leaders when the Civil War broke out. Both participated in massacres of settlers and troops affiliated with the North. After the war was over, the quiet farming life of the James brothers' youth no longer seemed enticing, and the two turned to crime. Jesse's first bank robbery occurred on February 13, 1866, in Liberty, Missouri.

 

Over the next couple of years, the James brothers became the suspects in several bank robberies throughout western Missouri. However, locals were sympathetic to ex-southern guerrillas and vouched for the brothers. Throughout the late 1860s and early 1870s, the James gang robbed only a couple banks a year, otherwise keeping a low profile. Scissors-32x32.pnghttp://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/jesse-james-is-murdered

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The War on Terror, 1865
The Civil War in Missouri and the Rise of Jesse James

An Essay by T.J. Stiles

The essay that follows was delivered as the annual James Neal Primm Lecture at the St. Louis Mercantile Library on September 11, 2006.

Call them scenes from an insurgency. A man answers a knock at the door and is riddled with bullets. A platoon of soldiers storm a farm and torture the head of the household for information. Several guerrillas stop at another farm; when they get food and supplies, they reveal themselves to be soldiers in disguise, and arrest the inhabitants. Some troops stop a civilian on the road and ask his allegiance; when he says it’s to the government, they reveal themselves to be insurgents in disguise, and murder him.

These are all examples from the guerrilla conflict in Missouri during the Civil War. It’s hard to miss the resemblance between these scenes and those in Iraq today. I don’t believe in drawing simple lessons or parallels from the past, but as I try to explain Missouri’s guerrilla conflict and the resulting postwar banditry, I have to acknowledge the resonances with the Iraq war and fight against Islamic terrorism. Does a better understanding of what happened a century and a half ago help us understand what is happening today? Well, we can only hope. The questions we must ask, if not the answers, are certainly much the same.

Making allowances for an earlier era and smaller population, the devastation of the guerrilla war in Civil War Missouri is certainly Scissors-32x32.png
http://www.tjstiles.net/work7.htm

 

Frankjesse-210-exp.jpg

Fletch Taylor, Frank James, and Jesse James (photo obviously taken prior to the amputation of Taylor's right arm in 1864 http://www.tjstiles.net/work7.htm

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