17 Things That I Would Have Loved to Do With Jesse James

Jesse James.
Jesse James.
James in a portrait- style photo.
James in a portrait- style photo.
Jesse as a  boy.
Jesse as a boy.

Jesse James: More than famous.

Written-history states that Jesse Woodson James was born on September 5, 1847, in Kearney, Missouri. Jesse and brother Frank served for the Confederate Army prior to launching their somewhat successful criminal careers in the Old West. The James brothers' names were synonymous as bank and train robbers, leading the James-Younger gang. Gang member Robert Ford used a cowardly-gesture to take the life of Jesse James by shooting him from behind in 1882, after which James became a legend of the Old West.

The James brothers, Jesse and Frank were educated and originated from an upstanding family of farmers. Their father, the Rev. Robert James, was a Baptist minister who married Zerelda Cole James and moved from Kentucky to Missouri in 1842. In the summer of 1863, the James farm was brutally attacked by Union soldiers. Jesse was 16 when he and Frank became Confederate guerrilla soldiers, riding alongside William Quantrill and "Bloody" Bill Anderson to, in an indirect way, seek vengeance on the Union Army for the needless attack.

Movies were made about the lives of Jesse and Frank James.
Movies were made about the lives of Jesse and Frank James.
Jesse dressed in riding clothes.
Jesse dressed in riding clothes.
A serious Jesse James.
A serious Jesse James.
Jesse and Frank in the same photo.
Jesse and Frank in the same photo.
Jesse up close.
Jesse up close.

James' life was a life of turmoil.

In a more-honest approach, Jesse and Frank James were not just historical references. They "were" living history as they lived and robbed mostly at will each day that came. Jesse, the confident, natural leader, was quick to take charge of the James-Younger gang which rubbed Cole Younger, a known hot-head, the wrong way. Jesse and Cole were always at odds about things ranging from useful-tactics in how to rob their next bank or train to keeping themselves out of the limelight to live and rob another day.

In my years of serious-schooling, I studied the lives of Jesse and Frank James and couldn't make myself hate either. I realized that they had their reasons for what they did be it right or wrong. And it was not my place to judge.

What I would love to share with you now is a personal list I have compiled entitled:

17 Things That I Would Have Loved to Do With Jesse James

  1. Talk most of any night by the light of a campfire and let Jesse explain to me his personal reasons of why he had this passion for robbing banks and trains.
  2. Let Jesse teach me the right way to handle a Colt .45 and not hurt myself.
  3. Have a rousing game of Mumbly-Peg with Jesse to see who has the best nerves.
  4. Steal a few ripe watermelons with Jesse playing the "look out."
  5. Taste Jesse's cooking by camp fire. I would love to taste his bacon with fresh eggs and maybe a sourdough biscuit or two.
  6. Spend a summer day just fishing in a nearby creek or river.
  7. Convince Jesse that I came from the future and I know how he will depart this life to see if he would change his robbing ways and live longer.
  8. Ask Jesse to tell me all about his Baptist minister father and why he and brother, Frank, chose a life on the run rather than a life of doing right.
  9. Discuss the difference between the southern and northern governmental doctrines and get Jesse's bottom-line opinions on both.
  10. Race Jesse on horseback across the river or creek when we finished fishing.
  11. Teach Jesse some "old soft shoe" while we have time to kill.
  12. Teach Jesse the American classic, "Swanee River" then maybe we could sing a duet.
  13. Do some sparring with Jessee to keep his fighting skills sharp.
  14. Give Jesse a choice of learning how to Power Walk or a few Ballet steps.
  15. Arm wrestle Jesse in a spirit of fun and not tell who won.
  16. See if Jesse would talk about if he used confidence or self-trust to walk into a bank in broad-open daylight and rob a busy bank.
  17. Beg Jesse if he would let me ride with him and Frank just for a day or two.

Note: During Jesse doing these 17 things, I would be praying that he never asked about my time machine that I hid behind some bushes.

Jesse James fans: This is for you.

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Comments 10 comments

rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 20 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Very interesting, Kenneth. I'm glad I was not alive during that era. Looks as if he was quite a looker. I would probably have fallen for him hook, line and sinker!

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Lee Cloak 20 months ago

Ive always had an interest in this particular era of American history, a really great read, well done, thanks for sharing, voted up, Lee

Homeplace Series profile image

Homeplace Series 20 months ago from Hollister, MO

Had to check this one out. What fun! ;-)

Dana Tate profile image

Dana Tate 20 months ago from LOS ANGELES

You did a phenomenal job on this hub. I hate to admit it. But I am also intrigued as to what would make Jesse and his brother become bank robbers. Especially since their dad was a preacher. I'm sure they were the family embarrassment. This hub was funny, engaging and extremely well-written. Also loved the photo's I just had to vote up and awesome!

word55 profile image

word55 20 months ago from Chicago

I enjoyed the read Ken. I love to watch Westerns. You were very creative with this. You added great humor here too. Back in the day After I'd seen a good western I would get my holster, hat, gun and go play shoot em' up. It's funny, I never thought once about play/robbing a bank though. Maybe I figured it was too risky. Anyway, thanks for sharing. Voted up!

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 20 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author


I still enjoy Westerns. Rawhide, The Lawman, and Wagon Train are my faves. And when I was young, only when my dad had the money and could maybe get me a gun and that's it, I still played cowboys and what Indians I could find.

Thanks, bro, for the nice comment and great friendship.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 20 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author


Thanks for your sweet and honest comment. Jesse was that I assume, very photogenic. And you probably would have fallen for him, but consider this: What if you and Jesse had fallen in love and you had changed him into a model citizen?

Deep, huh?

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 20 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, Lee Cloak,

My sincere thanks to you for a great comment. I just did what I knew how to do. Fact is, I love this time in America. Sure it was violent, but at least these guys were not hypocrites.

Come back anytime.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 20 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Homeplace Series,

I am very glad that you came by and checked this hub out. I appreciate you very much.

Have a safe day or night--whenever you read this.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 20 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, Dana Tate,

Thank you for such a complimentary comment. I love your comments and how detailed they are. Thanks to you and ALL who left a comment here.

I have The Greatest Followers on HP.

Your Life-Long Friend, Kenneth :)

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