Jesse James was one of America’s most notorious outlaws. He hailed from the rough and tumble state of Missouri, the twelfth state to join the Confederacy. The region he came from was known as little Dixie because Southerners had settled there.
You could say that Jesse’s role model for some of his behavior may have been his very own “rough and tumble” grandmother Zerelda. One day she had quite a confrontation with the Home Guard, a militia-type group made up of Union sympathizers.
One of them had come onto her property and said, “Just show me a Southern man and I’ll show you a thief.”
He had a lot of nerve to say this as he had just stolen something from her barn. Noticing that he was up to no good, she said to him, “What is that you have under your coat?”
“Oh, that is only a bridle that I pressed into the service,” the man replied.
“Well, I will just press you,” she said. Zerelda then backed him into a corner and choked him until his face turned blue.
The same unfortunate guy came back about a month later. Zerelda, not about to have any more trouble from him, threw hot coals into his face, settling the possibility of his reappearance once and for all.
Then there’s the story from Jesse’s son about the sheriff and his men who came to the house to arrest Jesse. But he saw them coming and jumped on his horse and took off. During the chase that followed, Jesse shot and killed the sheriff’s horse.The sheriff went back to the outlaw’s barn and took his favorite horse, Stonewall.
Jesse wrote a letter to the sheriff saying he really didn’t want to have to kill him because the sheriff had fought for the South. But if he “did not return Stonewall to his stall before the end of three days, there would be trouble sure enough.” Two days later the horse was returned. That’s how Jesse rolled!
In the above featured image you see a gun once owned by outlaw Jesse James. The image is a detail of a painting by celebrated artist Bruce K. ‘The Rise of Jesse James’. The painting will be at the Coeur d’Alene fine art auction on July 29th: