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Jessie James. The early years. Robert Sallee James Born July 7 th 1818 in Kentucky 1838 enrolled at Georgetown College Kentucky While there he met and married 16 year old Zerelda E. Cole When he graduated they left for Clay County Missouri Moved in with Zerelda’s mother

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Jessie james

Jessie James

The early years

  • Robert Sallee James

  • Born July 7th 1818 in Kentucky

  • 1838 enrolled at Georgetown College Kentucky

  • While there he met and married 16 year old Zerelda E. Cole

  • When he graduated they left for Clay County Missouri

  • Moved in with Zerelda’s mother

    • Zerelda born in Kansas moved to Missouri as a child before heading back to Kentucky for school

  • Why are the details on the previous page important?

  • Both parents came from a strong pro-slavery state

    • Would affect their understanding of America life

  • Missouri was accepted into the union as a slave state

  • Although over time it would come to resemble the north more than the south

  • With one exception

  • An area known as ‘Little Dixie’

  • Can anyone guess where Clay County was?

  • Robert James became a preacher in Clay County

  • Passionate – turned the church around

    • (great awakening attitude)

  • Success led the congregation to grow and a new Church was built

  • Built with aid of slave labor

  • The slaves used belonged to Preacher James

  • 1 in 4 people in clay county were held in bondage

  • The James family were southern focused

  • When they set up in their own house

  • They grew cash crops to be sold to the south

  • Preacher James

  • A) was a slave holder- eventually owning seven slaves

    • Apart from one slave they had brought from Charlotte

    • all were purchased in Missouri

    • all were purchased as children

  • B) Baptist split into Northern and Southern conventions in 1845

  • Based on position over slavery

    • Preacher James went with the southern convention

    • Speaking out against Chandler and Love, two abolitionist preacher in the region

  • January 10th 1843

    • 19 day before her 18th birthday

  • Zerelda gave birth to Alexander Franklin James

    • Frank for short

  • This year would also be important for the family in another way

  • Year that the first large wagon train left Missouri for the move west to Oregon

  • Eventually Preacher James decided that he was needed more further west than in Missouri

  • July 19th 1845 Zerelda gave birth to a second son

    • Robert James

    • He lived for only 5 days

  • September 5, 1847 Zerelda once again gave birth to a son

    • Jesse Woodson James

  • Early April 1850 Preacher James let for California

  • He would not survive to the end of the year

  • He died in California leaving Zerelda a widow

  • Zerelda and the families life was now in uncertainty

    • She was a widow

    • 25 years old

    • Two toddlers and an infant

    • Three room house and six slaves

  • November 21, 1850

  • She was in court to learn what would happen to her

    • As a widow she had very few rights

    • Property was sold off

    • Creditors appeared out of the woodwork

  • Garland Gentry appointed to work the farm on her behalf to raise money to help children (legal owners) for a share in profit

  • One year later Gentry sold the crop for $66.50

  • Of which $51.84 was Zerelda’s share

    • However he also charged $38.45 for his services

  • September 30th 1852

  • Married Benjamin A. Simms

    • Twice Zerelda’s age

    • A local wealthy farmer

    • She would leave him in 1853

    • He died January 2, 1854

  • September 12 1855 married Dr Reuben Samuel

  • It was at this time that she is reported to have become the strong dominant woman she was often reported as

    • From this time on the farm was known as

    • “Mrs Samuel’s place”

  • Over the next six years Jessie grew up at the farm

  • Living in a world that was southern

  • Slaves did the work

  • The crops were sent south

  • Then the civil war began

  • Early May 1861 the family all drove into to town for Frank was Joining the confederate army

  • Jessie was 13

  • We must also remember what had been occurring in the region before this date

  • John Brown had become famous in Kansas

  • The state next to Missouri

  • Border Ruffians had slipped into Kansas to cause havoc and bloodshed

  • As well as to ilegally vote

  • Less well known is that Brown and others led raids into Missouri to free slaves

  • Both Border Ruffians and Brown were paramilitary arms of the pro and anti slavery faction