Skip to main content

tv   The Civil War Civil War Origins of Frontier Outlaws  CSPAN  August 21, 2021 6:12am-7:06am EDT

6:12 am
american civil war museum interpretation specialist karissa marken talks about civil war guerilla fighters who later became outlaws in the west including jesse james, his brother frank and their gang. the event was recorded by the american civil war museum in june 2016. now, i will start off with a word of warning. when i compiled all of the
6:13 am
information i wanted to share with you all this evening, the first time i went through it and timed it i spoke for an hour and a half. so i hope you all are comfortable. we might be here a while. i'm just kidding, josie. don't get mad at me. yeah, so last year when josie was compiling this topic, the topics for this year she called me into her office one day and pitched me this idea as she mentioned, and then she ended up when i told her that -- and i agreed i probably knew somebody that might be interested in doing this topic, said she, well, you know, when i think of outlaws, scalawags and scoundrels only one person comes immediately to mine. i said, i'm so touched, that's exactly the type of characters every girl longs to be associated with. before you can really start
6:14 am
looking at the outlaws that the civil war -- the outlaw gangs that the civil war spun off, you kind of have to take a flip back and see -- kind of understand the guerilla warfare that was going on during the civil war, to kind of understand how that same mindset continued on after the war and kind of manifested itself in the wild west. so irregular warfare in the civil war, you have those who are somewhat associated with the organized military and calvary raiders kind of in the borderland area, kentucky and everything, were probably the most closely associated. then you had partisan rangers who were free and independent enough to act on their own, but they still kind of answered to the organized military. they were at least -- they kind of had the blessing of the government. and john moseby would fall under those. those were kind of the more civilized version of irregular
6:15 am
warfare. underneath that you had guerilla warfare, and really that was all across the south. and when i say guerilla warfare, i mean -- let me see if i can do this. when i say guerilla warfare, i mean that it is more people taking up arms for themselves and just kind of fighting. now, some of them may have done it because it was -- they were in a kill-or-be-killed situation. others just kind of used the chaos of the war to do whatever they wanted to. kind of like, cool, nobody is here to stop me so i'm going to go and take this from you, or maybe i have never liked you, i'm going to go shoot you and be done with it. there was a lot of that going on. then there were some who did kind of fight with a political cause in mind. they just were -- they didn't want to join the organized army because it would mean leaving home. they wanted to stay home and protect their family.
6:16 am
in their minds they were fighting for a political cause, they were just kind of doing it on their own. all of those fell into that category of guerilla warfare. while you saw it all across the south, it was mostly concentrated in a couple of areas. you see it in the mountain area here, appalachia in west virginia on down into georgia. then you also saw it in the ozark mountains in this area, missouri to arkansas, and then it was really prevalent and concentrated here on the frontier, missouri, kansas, where it had existed even before the war obviously. again, that was just -- if you research the topic, it is just an absolute mess and it really was a free-for-all. some of those ways that they fought continued on until after the war, but before you can understand what it morphed into after the war you have to understand that this mindset actually existed even before the
6:17 am
war. when the british army and the revolutionary war landed in south carolina and started marching north to virginia, they encountered guerilla warfare and guerilla fighter after guerilla fighter. most well-known would be the swamp fox, frances marion. he was not the only one they encountered. they dealt with guerilla warriors up into virginia. on the frontier you had bleeding kansas, you've got the whole fight over the settlements, of making the states between kansas and missouri and the fight over should it be a slave state or not. and then people like john brown who killed people because he can. a lot you could see before the war. appalachia had been settled by those with scots irish roots, so that created a culture that was
6:18 am
filled with endemic violence and retributive justice, where individuals were the guardians of their own self-interest. because of that, that's the mindset, the culture they're coming from, and the war really presented an opportunity for that concept to multiply unrestrained. law and order started breaking down, and so now suddenly what is already there is really bubbling up to the surface. additionally, you now have a bunch of weapons in circulation that were manufactured for the war, and so it is a lot easier to really get your hand on a weapon or multiple weapons. so all of that went into it as well. now, a historian named casey turfitiller wrote a book about something later than what we're discussing tonight, behe noted shock value always has a longer shelf life than tedious detail. that is really threw about the guerilla warfare during the war and outlaw stories after the war, because these stories were so violent and just kind of shocking to people that they
6:19 am
were passed down from generation to generation. many of them grew legendary, and eventually local amateur historians would be the ones to capture these accounts, but they just captured them. they did very little to actually verify their accuracy or curb the mythology that had been interwoven into them. it is tricky to sort fact from fiction in both the guerilla warfare during the war and what it morphed into after the war with the outlaw stories. that's something to kind of keep in mind as you hear information about some of these things. it is kind of like, okay, how much of it is actually true and how much of it is just speculation or grew out of that truth. many of these outlaw stories have become legends, and these outlaws have taken on a larger-than-life persona and a lot of the stories have really been romanticized as well. as kind of an example of this, you can see it is kind of hard to find fact from fiction.
6:20 am
in arkansas in stone county there's a legend about the hess brothers who they say robbed a u.s. mint and made their way to stone county where a posse caught up with them, and a shootout occurred, the hess brothers were killed. when their bodies were examined, there was no gold on them. there's a legend in stone county that somewhere in those hills all of this gold that was robbed is hidden. is it there or not? who knows, but legend says it is. again, it can be kind of hard to know sometimes to know what is exactly is true or what isn't. so in appalachia after the war champ ferguson was probably the most well-known guerilla during the war.
6:21 am
he fought some with the organized troops, but he was really, really cruel and really murdered more than simply fighting in war. after the war he became only one of two former confederates who were executed for war crimes. but he, however, was definitely not the only person fighting the guerilla warfare in that area. i actually wrote a 150-page master thesis on the guerilla warfare in west virginia during the civil war. so if you need reading material google my name and guerilla warfare, you need to fall asleep at night, start reading it. guaranteed to put you right to sleep or your money back. now, what is interesting to me is if you start reading about appalachia in the late 19th century, early 20th century, especially kind of the moonshining that went on then, it is interesting that some of those stories that you read about moonshiners fighting the law enforcement officers sound eerily like the stories of guerillas fighting the soldiers during the war. so it seems to me that this mindset that took place with the guerilla warfare during the war started manifesting itself or showed again at least once the moonshiners really got going and were being -- trying to be clamped down. another thing that happened in appalachia after the war where many family feuds got started during the war. so many bush whackers in that
6:22 am
area had operated around the town where they were from and so they were known. everybody knew who they were. so their descendants were feared and hated in family lore of their opponents because they never left the area. richard curry and gerald hamm were two historians who studied appalachia and the guerilla warfare there, and they concluded there's no doubt that guerilla warfare intensified the spirit of lawlessness and intolerant vindictiveness that characterized the reconstruction era in that region. now, across the south you also had vigilante groups springing up after the war, and the same mindset that had given rise to do what you need to do in the war that manifested itself in guerilla warfare now suddenly became manifest in vigilante groups like the red shirts or the klan. those vigilante groups became the paramilitary wing of the democratic party and democrats would use them for wide-spread
6:23 am
systematic violence if they felt an immediate threat to their grasp of power. once they regained the power, when reconstruction kind of fizzled out and republicans lost the political power there in the south. in arkansas especially, the guerilla warfare had been pretty brutal and it kind of spilled over into post-war politics. that was -- and also very clearly into race relations and it culminated in the 1888 elections, which is one of the most corrupt in arkansas history. john clayton, who you see on the screen, was the republican candidate for the second congressional district and he ended up losing the election by 846 votes out of over 34,000 cast. now, you can say, oh, that's just terrible luck but it was more than luck. in plumerville, in conway county as the votes were being gathered in the ballot box, four masked and armed white men broke into the voting precinct and stole the ballot box at gun point. now, that area of town was the predominantly african-american area and therefore most of the votes would have been for clayton and probably would have been enough to push him over and win the general election. well, clayton hired the
6:24 am
pinkerton detective agency from chicago to investigate this. in that town there was a deputy sheriff named oliver bentley. he had a brother who threatened to talk to the pinkertons. now, this would have been very awkward for deputy bentley considering it was probably him who stole the ballot box and his blower would have known that, and so bentley killed his brother and he invented a story saying there's an accidental discharge with the gun. it is a pretty bad accident when somebody is shot five times. the death, however, was officially ruled an accident. so clayton decided to go to plumerville himself to investigate, even though he was warned, look, it is probably dangerous for you there, i went anyway. on january 29th of 1889 he was seated at a table in a boarding house getting ready to write a let to his children when somebody shot him through a window with a shotgun. it was described as it hit him so squarely that his brains burst about the room and it blew his head off is what was said. it was more than likely either
6:25 am
deputy bentley or bob pate, who was a local saloon owner, who did the killing. now, fortunately enough for them, bentley was the one who headed the investigation of the murder and bob pate was on the coroner's jury. so, unsurprisingly, they concluded that payton had been murdered, quote, at the hands of unknown persons. they claimed -- okay, there was a man who lived out in california who had been bitter enemies with clayton for the last 20 years. we think he might have traveled and killed him. that sounds good, right?
6:26 am
unfortunately, he was so old by this point he was kind of crippled and confined to his bed so he couldn't make the trip. they also stated they received a letter from somebody in london who had kind of hinted towards the fact that jack the ripper was the one who traveled from london and made this murder. to add really insult to injury, the lady who ran the boarding how where clayton was murdered presented clayton's family for a bill for the damages her boarding house sustained because she said his blood stained her carpet and she took a loss on that. republicans were not given any sympathy whatsoever in arkansas. interestingly enough, clayton was later declared the winner of the election so they had to do another election because the seat was left vacant. his assassin was never found. bentley, deputy bentley later became the justice of the peace and he presided over a trial in which they put a man on trial for the murder from minnesota. by that point the man had been dead for two years and bentley
6:27 am
found him guilty and said "case closed." they didn't look into it any further. so that's kind of one story of how this idea of, we can just take matters into our own hands, manifested itself in arkansas. in arkansas where it is really tied to organized politics, out west it was more of the men who made their own law or they disregarded the laws that were in place. michael fellman is a historian who wrote "inside war," which is really the definitive work on guerilla war during the war. he concluded male kin, property, security, decent communications, all building blocks of the normal life, they had to lie and cheat and bear false witness to survive. how do you pack up and move on when the war is over? it is not easy. some people who tried, and others lost everything and they ended up moving away. a great many miss sureans moved down to texas immediately after the civil war ended and others didn't try. they decided to take the law into their own hands, keep doing what they had been doing. many of those who went that
6:28 am
route had fought under one of two men during the war, william quantrill, was one of the most notorious guerillas of the civil war. he was known for the massacre at lawrence, kansas, where he and his men slaughtered hundreds of civilians simply because it was a union-backed town and the union senator liked to go there as lot. they killed union men and unionists without distinction. they killed anybody they wanted to. he himself was killed before the war ended but his band did not disband. the other one was bloody bill anderson. he was one of the most brutal guerillas of the war. he actually started as a lieutenant under quantrill but concluded that quantrill was not vicious enough, so he broke off and had his own group. he also was killed before the war ended. following the war, many of anderson's men kind of banded together with quantrill's men and they kept their own groups. one of those men was archie clement, who was known as anderson's head devil or anderson's head demon. he was a small man, only 5 feet tall, weighed 130 pounds, so he was known as little archie. but he was a consummate killer who was ferocious and liked to scalp his victims. he was only 17 years old when he became a lieutenant in anderson's company and after anderson's death he took command of the band. he didn't try to surrender at the end of the war, he had no interest in doing so. he began robbing banks.
6:29 am
in fact, he joined the james gang, which we will get to later, and he helped on their first robbery. as well as frank and jesse james are still kind of known, authorities just suspected clements and didn't turn attention to the james brothers until long. at the election of 1876 he took a band of the former gangs and attacked the town of lexington, missouri, on election day. they managed to intimidate the town enough the republican party was defeated in the general election. when the missouri state militia came to find them, he faded into the hills. on december 13th of that year, for some reason clements decided it would be funny, a big joke to try to enlist his own men in the missouri state militia. he goes back into lexington and
6:30 am
the head of the militia allowed him to come in because they didn't want to start out this fight in the city streets. signed up his men and he peacefully leaves, but he circles back and went to the city hotel where he is having a drink and the militia heard he was there. so they sent men to arrest him for bank robbery, and he starts a gun fight. he gets on his horse, tries to make it out of town, but he was shot off of his horse and he was mortally wounded. when the soldiers approached him though, he was still trying to coke his revolver with his mouth so he could get off one last shot before he died. a soldier approached him and said, "arch, you are dying, what do you want me to do with you?" he responded, "i have done what i always said i would do, die before surrender," and that he did. you have quantrill's group as well who didn't disburse. since quantrills and anderson's men were guerillas instead of general soldiers they were denied the clemency given to the confederate army after the war ended. many of the gangs stayed
6:31 am
together for protection. some like frank and jesse james took it as an excuse to become criminals and bank robbers. you have the james brothers on the left, frank is to the left and jesse to the right of him. the james/younger gang probably became the most notorious in american history. the james brothers remained the central power structure of the gang. frank and jesse had a very normal childhood. their parents met at a revival in kentucky. their father later became a baptist minister in missouri, and frank was the oldest child. the next child died as an infant and then jesse was born and then they had a younger sister. when she was an infant and jesse was three, their father was invited to go to california with a wagon train leaving from the area of men who wanted to go to california to look for gold, and they invited their father to go along as the chaplain. so he accepted, but he never made it home. he contracted a fever in
6:32 am
california and died of. the mother remarried. and frank was said to be withdrawn and a bible-reading boy who had a great interest in his father's sizable library, particularly shakespeare. and jesse was noted to be noble hearted and assertive. they had a normal family life. there was nothing that would make you guess what later they would become. frank desired higher education. he was looking forward to going to college, but when he turned 18 the civil war broke out. so he enlisted in the missouri state guard, which was a confederate union because he supported the confederacy. he fought with that guard in a couple of battles and then he returned home. it was either due to injury or illness. while he was home he was arrested by the local militia who were union sympathizers and they refused to let him go until he signed an oath of allegiance. that meant he could no longer fight in the organized forces of the confederacy. he, however, did not want to let
6:33 am
the war pass him by without doing his part so he joined quantrill's men in july of 1862. three months after the raid on lawrence, kansas, that i mentioned earlier, union soldiers invaded the samuel family farm and wanted to know information about quantrill's location. they questioned jesse, who was 15 at the time. he refused to tell him anything so they horse whipped him and took dr. samuel and strung him up and hung him from a tree in the backyard. the doctor actually survived the ordeal, but the whole experience left jesse very embittered, very angry, so he joined anderson's guerilla forces the next year when he was 16 years old. after the war jesse tried to ride into lexington, kansas, with a white flag to surrender but the union solders shot at him.
6:34 am
they wounded him so he actually went to nebraska for a little while while he recovered before he was able to come back. interestingly enough, those who knew him at that time described him as a very reliable young man who was always dressing well and reading his bible and regularly attending church. they said he never swore or took the lord's name in vain, but he preferred when he was angry to make his own swear words up. his favorite was dingus, which his brother frank promptly nicknamed him because he thought it was so funny. jesse claimed he was had been forced into a life of crime because of what his family suffered during the war. after the war he turned to outlawing. then you have the younger brothers, or younger -- four of the 14 younger siblings are pictured on the right. cole younger was the seventh of the 14 younger children. he supported the confederacy, even though their father supported the union. cole actually became part of quantrill's men and he served in the regular confederate army as well later and was made a captain there. when he returned home after the war though he found the family
6:35 am
home in ruins, and he was very embittered over that. he continued to associate with some of his old comrades from the war so quickly he joined with the james' brothers and began what he claimed was taking revenge against yankee capitalist banks and railroads. his brother jim was a bush whacker the entire war under quantrill, and after the ward he had a number of jobs including being the deputy sheriff in dallas county, texas, from 1870 to 1871. by 1873, however, he joined his brother as part of the james gang. bob younger was the youngest brother. he was child 13 out of 14. he was too young to fight with quantrill, which meant he was at home and he witnessed firsthand his father killed by union solders and his home burned to the ground. as soon as his brother cole joined with the james brothers after the war, he joined the gang as well. their first bank robbery occurred on february 13th of 1866. they robbed the clay county savings association in liberty, missouri, and made off with $60,000 in cash and bonds. it was my far their most lucrative bank robbery of their year. this robbery was the first daylight, peace-time armed bank robbery in u.s. history. now, during their escape,
6:36 am
gunfire erupted and an innocent 17-year-old bystander was killed. this actually set kind of a precedence for the james/younger gang because innocent bystanders were often killed during their bank robberies. soon however they tired of robbing only banks. part of that was that banks started to install time-lock vaults and it was harder to rob them. they began to turn their focus on railroads and stage coaches as well because those carried large shipments of money. their first train heist was july 21st of 1873 when they robbed the chicago rock island and pacific railroad while it was traveling in iowa. five members of the gang pulled some track up and when the train hit that it derailed and overturned and the locomotive engineer was actually killed in that. now, we've said that the james/younger gang lived by the horse and died by the horse. those who fought with quantrill during the war learned the importance of having a good horse, and jesse james especially had developed into an expert horseman.
6:37 am
he believed the best mounted man often won because it allowed them to easily outmaneuver and outrun anybody who was pursuing them. william cody, or buffalo bill, allegedly told authorities, quote, that's why the james brothers are making fools of you, they ride superior horses. jesse actually imported many of his from kentucky because he wanted thoroughbred horses. they had great stamina and they were very well schooled. so they remained calm even if gunfire broke out. actually his favorite horse was named stonewall, named for
6:38 am
stonewall jackson. he took a picture with it in 1875. it is the only picture of jesse james with a horse that exists. in 1874, both jesse and frank got married and retired from their outlaw life for a while. lived near nashville, tennessee. jesse became a respected citizen of the area and got involved in horse racing there and even rode in many of the races. however, there's no national network at the time so catching the outlaws proved to be a very hard task since they were so hard to track. the missouri governor had tired the pinkerton detective agency to look for them, and the pinkertons were pretty upset they had not been able to arrest even a single member of the gang. even though the gang had kind of stopped, they continued hunting for them. they thought they had tracked jesse and frank to the home of their mother and stepfather. the james brothers however were not there. the pinkerton's did not know that. they surrounded the cabin, they tossed in an explosive device. they claimed it was only a smoke bomb, but those inside the cabin saw something smoking and tossed it into the fire. those inside the cabin were frank and jesse's mother, stepfather and 9-year-old half-brother. the device exploded and killed their half-brother and blew the arm off their mother. this made the james brothers absolutely livid. they took revenge on the
6:39 am
neighbor who had allowed the pinkerton's to stay on their farm and kind of spy out the james' farm, and this also made them return to outlawry full time. they continued to rob all sorts of things. now the demise of the james/younger gang occurred at northfield, minnesota bank robbery. they attempted to rob the bank on september 7, 1876. jessie and frank james when bob younger went inside the bank while cole and others stayed outside. they stood guard outside. those inside of the bank demanded that the vault be opened so they could take the money. the clerk refused so they shot him and killed the man. however, that turned out to be their demise because that gunshot alerted the citizens of town that there was a bank robbery going on and so they all rushed and took up their arms and started shooting at outlaws outside of the bank. miller and chadwell were killed
6:40 am
and cole younger was wounded. he was hit in the thigh. by this point frank and jesse and bob younger in fled from the bank, and bob as he was running was shot in the elbow. so the gang took off. they were pursued by posses and they eventually split up. the younger brothers and charlie pitts went one direction, the james' brothers went the other direction. the posse ended up catching the younger brothers near medelia, minnesota, on september 21st. that's over 400 miles away from where they robbed the bank. a gun fight erupted and charlie pitts was killed and all three of the younger brothers were killed further but finally they surrendered. the three men who were killed in this robbery, clell miller was only 14 years old when he joined anderson's band during the civil war. his only time in combat was -- and actually the skirmish where anderson was killed. he was captured but not killed due to his young age. he was sent to prison. his father managed to claim the
6:41 am
family supported the union as and was able to get him out of prison. the joined the games gang. he was accused of being part of a robbery which he claimed he wasn't and he was acquitted on it but he later said, quote, he might as well join them because his reputation had been ruined by the trial. then there was bill chadwell from minnesota. he was the one who suggested the gang go up to minnesota to rob the banks because he said he could easily get the men and out of the state. he clearly miscalculated. the final was charlie pitts who was sam wells. he had been a childhood friend of the james brothers and fought with quantrill. he was 28 years old when he was killed. he was married and had two children. during the shootout when the posse cornered them, colt younger later said he told charlie he could surrender when
6:42 am
it was evident that they couldn't escape, but he replied, i'll not go, i can die as well as you can. as soon as he said that he was shot through the heart. so the younger brothers were tried and found guilty of murder and sentenced to 25 years in state prison. bob younger died in prison in 1889. jim was pardoned in 1901 but the next year he committed suicide. the reason he did was because he fell in love with a newspaper writer named alice but his patrol terms were so strict he was not permitted to marry. cole was pardoned in 1901. he received an official pardon in 1903 at which point he was reunited with frank james and they toured on a wild west show for a while. after that he went on a lecture circuit preaching the evils of crime. in later he wrote an autobiography. in his last years he was known as an elderly church goer where he -- because he said he converted and became a christian and he died quietly in his sleep. the arrest of the younger brothers signalled the end of the james/younger gang. during their 15-year crime spree
6:43 am
the gang committed 26 holdups and made off with more than $200,000 and killed at least 17 men. now, mean while the james brothers had escaped and made their way back to missouri where they eventually moved back to nashville, tennessee and lived peacefully for the next three years. however, jesse started a new gang in 1879. they again committed robberies throughout missouri, kentucky, iowa, arkansas, kansas and even into west virginia. the governor of missouri eventually stepped outside of the law and put together a large reward to try to stop this. he couldn't use state funds for that reward, and so he actually got the railroad companies to put up the money since it would benefit them to catch jesse james. the reward was large enough it made one of the gang members turn traitor. when jesse was 34 years old his wife, he's there on the right, his wife pleaded with him to live a more normal life, and he agreed that sounded good, but
6:44 am
first he wanted to commit one last robbery because he said that would permit him to retire and live the life of a gentleman farmer after he got this money. so he began planning it with bob and charles ford. bob ford is here on the right. on april 3rd, 1882, they were in jesse's cabin planning this robbery when jesse noticed a needle work on the wall was crooked. it was one his mother had made, had stitched. so he pulled a chair over and stood on the chair to straighten it, and he heard the cocking of a pistol. bob ford cocked his pistol so jesse turned his head to look at him. as he turned his head bob shot him. the bullet entered below his right ear. he was killed instantly. his wife and children were in the next room. they came rushing into the room to see what happened. bob fled immediately. his brother charles was also there. charles stuck around for a minute or two trying to convince them the pistol had gone off accidentally and he eventually turned and ran as well. now, interestingly enough, the picture here in the middle shows bob ford and jesse james together. last october a woman came forward and said that her grandmother -- this was a family picture they were handing down,
6:45 am
and she claims that, you know, this was a real picture. somebody from the houston police department who does all of their facial recognition analysis took a look at it and concluded this is a legitimate photo. a couple of the james' brothers historians however don't really like the idea of robert ford and jesse james being in a picture together and they're claiming it is a fraud. so there's a lot of up roar over whether or not this is actually a real picture, and it is going on right now. so it is kind of interesting. i wanted to show that to you all. after bob ford murdered jesse james the ford brothers expected to be treated as heroes, but instead they got public abuse because it seemed such a cowardly way to kill jesse james. they killed him for two reasons. the first one was the $10,000 reward. that sounded pretty good to them. the second was bob ford had actually been accused of murder and the governor of missouri agreed he would pardon him from that murder if he would kill jesse james.
6:46 am
he took him up on that offer. he was charged with jesse james but he was pardoned. three months later frank james surrendered to the governor. the public offered such universal sympathy that even though frank underwent several long trials he was acquitted of all crimes. he returned to the james farm and he worked as a horse trainer and actually started a racetrack. he lived to be 72 when he died of natural causes. now, the james brothers' most outspoken defender was really the one who allowed them to have such a long career and to be remembered as they are. this is virginia-born newspaper editor john newman edwards. he was general shelby's adjunct during the war and after the war he helped found the "times." the confederates were ban issued from holding office at the end of the war and he tried to reverse that. he use it his newspaper to provide alibis and excuses for the james brothers. he made them out to be striking back against perceived corruption and graft and the criminality of republican rule in missouri and he created a
6:47 am
folk hero status for them. when jesse was killed in 1882, edward wrote a flattering obituary and he arranged for frank james to be able to surrender to the governor. he didn't know he would be fully acquitted but without too much backlash there. his flattering treatment of jesse james undoubtedly formed the basis of the heroic legend still associated with the outlaw. part of the obituary reads, no one faced the outlaw, one against 20 until he disarmed his and turned his back to his assassin, the first and only time in a career that passed from the realms of an almost
6:48 am
fabulous romance into that of history. we call him outlaw, and he was, but fate made him so. later he continued, when the war closed jesse james had no home, prescribed, hunted, shot, driven away from his people, what else could the man do with nature except what he did do. he had to live. it was his country. the graves of his kindred were there, he refused to be banished from his birthright, and when he was hunted he turned about and hunted his hunters. would to god he were alive to make a butchery of a few of them. this is an editorial in the newspaper. it shows the change of time. this claims that the james brothers were forced to become an outlaw. to me it doesn't hold water. there are numerous examples of those who fought in the war under quantrill even who chose not to become an outlaw after the war. one was alan palmer who joined quantrill's gang at 15. after the war he attended bryant
6:49 am
and stratton's business college in st. louis. in 1870 he married susan james, the younger sister of frank and jesse, and they had four children. he was a farmer and a stock raiser and i wandered around a bit and dabbled in business, but i bring him up to say you would think if somebody had to become an outlaw it would be somebody who fought with quantrill during the war, liked to wander a bit and married into the james' family, but he died in 1927 of a heart attack. so he certainly lived a life on the reside of the law following the war. then there was also captain william gregg who fought under quantrill also. after the war he game a prominent farmer and deputy sheriff of jackson county, missouri. he did write a manuscript on jesse james and served as one of the paul bearers for john and cole younger, so he kept up his old war associations but for the rest of his life he was a deputy sheriff. there was jim cummings clark who i think has an interesting
6:50 am
story. the encyclopedia of western gun fighters lists his occupations as thief, soldier, laborer and law officer. because why not? when he was 17 he stole a mule from his stepfather and fled to texas where he and a friend sold the mule, stole $1,400 from a ranker and returned to missouri. he became a trusted lieutenant for quantrill after the war -- during the war, and after the war he tried to surrender but his surrender was not honored so he returned to a life of thievery and wandering. after and on he joined the james' gang and in 1887 he moved to colorado where he found work digging a pipeline into town. he then secured an appointment as a city marshal and he enforced the law by clubbing ruffians with his fists. he was rumored to continue his criminal activities from time to
6:51 am
time though. this was never proven. he was fired. he offered to kill one for 15 cents or 2 for 25 cents, which ever you prefer. he remained in that town until he was shot to death on august 7th, 1895. he was walking down main street and shot in the back. no real investigation took place. the killer was never discovered. rumor said several prominent businessmen wanted him gone and he was gone. you see, jim was one of those men that won't let nobody shoot
6:52 am
him. there you have it. author mccoy was another outlaw. in december of 1855, he married the daughter of a well to do family. they had two cons. -- sons. one of whom died during the war. after the war his life a career get a bit more hazy. he was a member of the james younger gang. he was a city boy. it didn't really fit the mantra some of the other members, but he did note john jarrett who served as a captain under shelby and had a james connection, so he probably made the connection there. he was believed to be one of those involved in the killing of a pinkerton agent investigating the james, and he was identified as one who participated in numerous robberies through the first half of the 1870s. he and his wife, however, in 1870s had a farm in missouri and
6:53 am
two more sons were born in the beginning of that decade to the family. according to family history though, arthur didn't like farming so he went to texas to see about getting into cattle and living there potentially. legend now takes over where history has ended, and legends say he was arrested for stage robbery near austin, texas. but by 1874/75 he had effectively vanished. nobody really knows what happened to him. by 1880 his wife listed herself vanished. by 1808 his wife had listed herself as a widow. presumably he died by that point. the only reason i bring him up is to point out not all outlaws had been guerrilla fighters. mccoy was a city boy and fought in the organized forces during the war. he was a drifting. that personality with the james brothers had started really appealed to him so he turned to that type of life after the war. then there is belle star, she was one ferocious woman. she was born myra may belle
6:54 am
shirley in 1848 and her nicknames from the outlaw or bandit queen. shy trained to be a pianist. her older brother, john addison who was nicknamed bud had taught her to use guns and right voices and many believed she joined here on some of his raids during the war. bud died in 1864. by that point belle's father's business as an inn keeper was ruined so the family moved to texas and belle's life trajectory went from being a middle class woman to one who associated with outlaws. she married jim reed in 1866 and they had two children, pearl and eddie. jim reed joined the raiders and also fled to texas following the war where he and belle got
6:55 am
married. he had become involved in the tom star gang, he became a wanted man when he allegedly murdered somebody. he fled with his family to california. shortly after eddie's birth in 1871 they returned to missouri and jim reed rode off and on with the james younger game and the tom star gang. in april of 1874 he robbed the austin/san antonio stage and belle was named as an accessory on the indictment but there was no evidence against her so they dropped the charge. jim, however, was on the run and a deputy sheriff cornered and killed him in august of 1874. belle sent her children to live with their grandparents and, again, legends taking over here where we have no history but traditionally it is believed that she was on the run from the law and drifted into oklahoma indiana territory where she began to lead her own gang of cattle and horse thieves.
6:56 am
she married sam star, a cherokee and he was actually tom star's son, the gang that her first husband had ridden with. they married in 1880 although legend says it could have been a common law marriage as had her first marriage to jim reed. who actually knows. they lived on cherokee land and built a house where they would harbor outlaws. in 1883 belle and sam were convicted of stealing horses and spent nine months in jail in detroit. belle was known as a felon and dressed the part. she wore gold ear presentation and a man's hat with feathers and velvet skirts. she was arrested twice more but never convicted for lack of evidence. in 1886 sam was killed in a gun fight with an old enemy and she remarried for the third time to a man named bill july. bill july was 15 years younger than her and she started calling him july star. i don't know if he officially took that name but that's what
6:57 am
she called him. he shortly after she were married was summoned to fort smith, arkansas, because he then accused of stealing a horse and she accompanied him part of the way and decided to turn back. on her way home as she was still right outside of fort smith on february 3, 1889 she was just shy of her 41st birthday, she was shot in the back from two shotgun blasts. by this point in her life she had many enemies including her two children. nobody knows who could have killed her. bill july believed it was a man named edgar watson who had rented land from him. he was a fugitive wanted for murder and when belle found out she had kicked him out of his house and sent him on his way. watson was arrested on the suspicion he had murdered her but since there were no witnesses they couldn't prove anything so he was released. it's a mystery as to who killed belle star. the farrington brothers, hillary and levi, had both been con
6:58 am
federal guerrillas before the war and decided that robbing banks was a food post-war occupation. they also robbed trains. they robbed the mobile and ohio railroad in union city, tennessee, in 1870. while the pinkertons were hot on her tail and hillary farrington shot william pinkerton in the side when the detective had him cornered in a kentucky farm. pinkerton was not killed, he managed to subdue hillary and cuff him. the next day they were en route to columbus, kentucky, when hillary broke loose and grabbed pinkerton's shotgun. the gun graze the his skull but not skill him. pinkerton delivered an angry upper can you tell that sent hillary flying backwards over the railing, he landed on the paddle wheel and i bet you can guess what happened next, he was chopped to pieces. his brother had been captured in
6:59 am
illinois, he had been returned to tennessee for the trial, however, there were many angry people in the town that this had happened and while he was in prison awaiting his trial a mob formed, broke into the prison and took him out and lynched him. these are some of the most notorious of the wild west gangs. outlaw gangs existed before the war so those who liked to operate outside the boundaries of the law tended to be attracted to that area, however, those who had fought in the civil war that we just covered and looked at really set a precedence for many who came later that really created the wild west stories that we hear about. i'm just going to braefl highlight a couple of them. the dual and dalton gang was in operation for a year from 1891 to '92, the dalton brothers had been u.s. deputy marshals in fort smith, arkansas, but turned to a life of crime because they discovered that robbing trains and banks was actually an easier way to make a living than living on the right side of the law. the gang attempt add robbery in
7:00 am
kansas in october of 1892 and the gang members who were all involved in that robbery were all killed after which this picture was taken as proof that they were killed. now, there are some members of the gang who weren't there and so -- and that was including bill dulan, so he took the remaining members and formed a group and for three years that gang robbed banks, stage coaches and trains in arkansas, oklahoma and kansas. he held something of a robin hood image and was well-liked by many people. it was those people who actually helped him and his gang evade the law. the gang was dissolved when bill was tracked down and killed in 1896. then there is kid curry whose real name was harvey alexander logan. he was known as the wildest in butch cassidy's outlaw gang known as the wild bunch. that gang included the sundance kid, will carver an many others. some of them posed for a photo in 1901 which i have put on the
7:01 am
screen for you. the pinkertons learned about the photo, got a copy of it and put it on wanted posters all across america. probably a bad idea for them to have posed for this photo. kid curry during his lifetime was wanted on warrants for 15 murders, but it was generally believed that he had murdered at least twice that number and william pinkerton called him the most vashs outlaw in america and said, quote, he has not one single redeeming feature. he is the only criminal i know of who does not have one single good point. >> which one is he? >> i am not sure. it's a good question. i tried to -- i tried to find the identities, but i just kept running into lists that all gave me different information so i'm not positive and did i not spend enough time looking into it to truly be able to answer that question. then there was cherokee bill whose real name was crawford goldsby, he was responsible for the murders of seven men and he and his gang terrorized the
7:02 am
indian territory for two years. he was 18 when he began his life of outlaw and he and his cook group robbed banks, stage coaches and stores and were willing to shoot just about anybody who got in their way. he was caught in 1895, he was only 19 at the time he was caught. he was taken to fort smith, arkansas, put on trial for three days but the trial was predetermined, the result was predetermined he was sentenced to hang on march 19, he had just turned 20 at the time. he was hanged shortly after 2:00. he was asked if he had any last words, to which he replied i came here to die and not make a speech and that's exactly what he d then there's henry star, his uncle was the notorious sam star who was married to belle. henry was not at all fond of belle, he found her to be crude and reprehensible and he would quickly inform anybody who asked about the relationship that he
7:03 am
was -- she was his aunt by marriage only. so you know you've got to be a pretty interesting woman to be reviled like that by an outlaw like henry star. he spent 32 years in crime, he claimed to have robbed more banks than both the james younger game and the dualen dalton gang put together. he robbed banks on authority back and robbed his last in a car. allegedly he robbed 21 banks during his outlaw career and made off with nearly $80,000 all on his own. now, the legend has really romanticized many outlaws, especially the james brothers through originally dime novels and editorials like we heard earlier. then later i think through tv shows and movies it's really how most people in the public know about these men. a lot of them have become these robin hood-type figures versus the evil law men and though we
7:04 am
did hear about quite a few evil law men it is interesting that that's the typical way that wild west outlaws had been characterized. i want to leave with you this thought, the encyclopedia of western gun fighters noted while the history of these old west gangs is often romanticized it should not be forgotten that they were nothing more than thugs. i want to thank you guys again for coming out this evening. we've got a few minutes for some questions and answers if anybody needs to slip out, feel free to do so, but if anybody
7:05 am

32 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on