Bushwhackers 08: Death Pass

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The robbers inside the bank were thwarted when acting cashier Joseph Lee Heywood refused to open the safe, falsely claiming that it was secured by a time lock even as they held a Bowie knife to his throat and cracked his skull with a pistol butt. Assistant cashier Alonzo Enos Bunker was wounded in the shoulder as he fled through the back door of the bank.

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Meanwhile, the citizens of Northfield grew suspicious of the men guarding the door and raised the alarm. The five bandits outside fired into the air to clear the streets, driving the townspeople to take cover and fire back from protected positions. They shot two bandits dead and wounded the rest in the barrage. Inside, the outlaws turned to flee. As they left, one shot the unarmed cashier Heywood in the head.

Historians have speculated about the identity of the shooter but have not reached consensus. The gang barely escaped Northfield, leaving two dead companions behind. A massive manhunt ensued. It is believed that the gang burned 14 Rice County mills shortly after the robbery. The militia soon discovered the Youngers and one other bandit, Charlie Pitts. In a gunfight, Pitts died and the Youngers were taken prisoner.

Woodson, respectively. Frank seemed to settle down, but Jesse remained restless. He recruited a new gang in and returned to crime, holding up a train at Glendale, Missouri now part of Independence , [48] on October 8, The robbery was the first in a spree of crimes, including the hold-up of the federal paymaster of a canal project in Killen, Alabama , and two more train robberies. But the new gang was not made up of battle-hardened guerrillas; they soon turned against each other or were captured. James grew suspicious of other members; he scared away one man and some believe that he killed another gang member.

Joseph , Louisiana. A law enforcement posse attacked and killed two of the outlaws but failed to capture the entire gang. Among the deputies was Jefferson B. Snyder , later a long-serving district attorney in northeastern Louisiana. By , with local Tennessee authorities growing suspicious, the brothers returned to Missouri, where they felt safer. James moved his family to St. Joseph , Missouri in November , not far from where he had been born and reared.

Frank, however, decided to move to safer territory and headed east to settle in Virginia. They intended to give up crime. The James gang had been reduced to the two of them. With his gang nearly annihilated, James trusted only the Ford brothers, Charley and Robert. For protection, James asked the Ford brothers to move in with him and his family.

James had often stayed with their sister Martha Bolton and, according to rumor, he was "smitten" with her. Crittenden , planning to bring in the famous outlaw. On April 3, , after eating breakfast, the Fords and Jameses went into the living room before traveling to Platte City for a robbery. From the newspaper, James had just learned that gang member Dick Liddil had confessed to participating in Wood Hite 's murder. He was suspicious that the Fords had not told him about it. Robert Ford later said he believed that James had realized they were there to betray him.

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Instead of confronting them, James walked across the living room and laid his revolvers on a sofa. He turned around and noticed a dusty picture above the mantle, and stood on a chair to clean it.

Robert Ford drew his weapon, and shot the unarmed Jesse James in the back of the head. The death of Jesse James became a national sensation. The Fords made no attempt to hide their role. Robert Ford wired the governor to claim his reward.

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Crowds pressed into the little house in St. Joseph to see the dead bandit. The Ford brothers surrendered to the authorities and were dismayed to be charged with first-degree murder. In the course of a single day, the Ford brothers were indicted, pleaded guilty, were sentenced to death by hanging , and were granted a full pardon by Governor Crittenden.

The implication that the chief executive of Missouri conspired to kill a private citizen startled the public and added to James's notoriety.


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After receiving a small portion of the reward, the Fords fled Missouri. Craig, who were law enforcement officials active in the plan, were awarded the majority of the bounty. Suffering from tuberculosis then incurable and a morphine addiction, Charley Ford committed suicide on May 6, , in Richmond, Missouri. Bob Ford operated a tent saloon in Creede, Colorado. On June 8, , Edward O'Kelley went to Creede, loaded a double-barrel shotgun, entered Ford's saloon and said "Hello, Bob," before shooting Ford in the throat, killing him instantly.


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O'Kelley was sentenced to life in prison, but his sentence was subsequently commuted because of a 7,signature petition in favor of his release and a medical condition. The Governor of Colorado pardoned him on October 3, James's original grave was on his family property, but he was later moved to a cemetery in Kearney. The original footstone is still there, although the family has replaced the headstone.

Rumors of Jesse James's survival proliferated almost as soon as the newspapers announced his death. Some said that Robert Ford killed someone other than James, in an elaborate plot to allow him to escape justice. None of James's biographers accepted them as plausible. The report, prepared by Anne C.

Stone, Ph. Starrs, L. The theme of survival was featured in a documentary, Jesse James' Hidden Treasure , which aired on the History Channel. The documentary was dismissed as pseudo-history and pseudoscience by historian Nancy Samuelson in a review she wrote for the Winter — edition of The James-Younger Gang Journal. Dalton was allegedly years old at the time of his first public appearance, in May His story did not hold up to questioning from James's surviving relatives. James's turn to crime after the end of the Reconstruction era helped cement his place in American life and memory as a simple but remarkably effective bandit.

After he was covered by the national media as part of social banditry. Displaced by Reconstruction, the antebellum political leadership mythologized the James Gang exploits. Frank Triplett wrote about James as a "progressive neo-aristocrat" with "purity of race". Senators from the state, former Confederate military commander Francis Cockrell and former Confederate Congressman George Graham Vest , were identified with the Confederate cause.

In the s, after James' death, the James Gang became the subject of dime novels that represented the bandits as pre-industrial models of resistance. But there is no evidence that he shared the loot of his robberies with anyone other than his gang members; they enjoyed the riches with him. In the s, James was pictured as a psychologically troubled individual rather than a social rebel. Some filmmakers portrayed the former outlaw as a revenger, replacing "social with exclusively personal motives.

Jesse James remains a controversial symbol, one who can always be reinterpreted in various ways according to cultural tensions and needs. Some of the neo-Confederate movement regard him as a hero. Thousands of visitors watch reenactments of the robbery, a championship rodeo , a carnival , performances of a 19th-century style melodrama musical, and a parade during the five-day event.

Jesse James' boyhood home in Kearney, Missouri, is operated as a museum dedicated to the town's most famous resident.

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Each year a recreational fair, the Jesse James Festival, is held during the third weekend in September. William H. Fulkerson estate Hazel Dell. Festivities include telling Jesse James' history in stories and by reenactments of stagecoach holdups. Over the three-day event, thousands of spectators learn of the documented James Gang's stopover at Hazel Dell and of their connection with ex-Confederate Fulkerson.

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Russellville, Kentucky , the site of the robbery of the Southern Bank in , holds a reenactment of the robbery every year as of the Logan County Tobacco and Heritage Festival. This is a reference to a short time James supposedly spent near this area. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Jesse James disambiguation. Near Kearney, Missouri , U. Joseph, Missouri , U. Zerelda Mimms m. Further information: Social bandits and Robin Hood. Main article: Cultural depictions of Jesse James.