Missouri Digital Heritage :: Divided Loyalties Opening Exhibit :: Divided Loyalties Audio Tour :: Panel 32 - Vigilante Violence - (The End of the James Gang)


Divided Loyalties Audio Tour
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[ Audio Transcript ]

Panel 32 - Vigilante Violence

- Seeking Justice for Wartime Crimes, Seeking Justic in the Press -

The James brothers directed most of their crimes against Union supporters and Radical Republicans, and because of this were regarded as heroes by many of Missouri's defeated Confederates. As you might imagine, there were also plenty of people who wanted them stopped.

  • The April 1875 letter to Governor Charles Hardin shown on this panel asks the governor to "do something to protect the innocent and law abiding from highway robbers and murderers."
  • In July 1881 Governor Thomas Crittenden issued a proclamation, shown here, offering a reward of $5,000 for the arrest of Frank and Jesse James. On April 3, 1882, Bob Ford, an acquaintance of Jesse's, murdered Jesse in his home in St. Joseph. Two weeks later, the governor pardoned Ford.
  • The photo featured on this panel was taken in 1912 and shows Frank James in front of his home in Kearney, Missouri. Frank surrendered to Governor Crittenden and was put on trial, but swayed the jurors with recollections of how hard life was during the war and was acquitted. He lived to old age, enjoying his status as a celebrated former outlaw.



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