A Timeline of Events in the History of the James-Younger Gang, Page 3
This is the third, and final, chronology section of my website.
Sept. 6, 1883---Frank James is acquitted of participating the Winston train robbery and of having any part in the murders of William Westfall and Frank McMillan. The jury took only three-and-a-half-hours to reach the verdict.
Dec. 13, 1883---Frank is taken back to Jackson County, where he is released on bond. Almost immediatly after being released, he is arrested again though. He was shipped back to Gallatin, but after a few days in jail, he was released yet again.
Late 1883---Tom Webb/Jack Keene, who had been captured shortly after the Huntington, West Virginia bank robbery of 1875, is released from prison at Moundsville, West Virginia. He soon after disappears.
Jan. 25, 1884---A large fire breaks out at the Minnesota State Penitentiary at Stillwater. Most of the prisoners must be evacuated by the prison officials. During the evacuation, Cole Younger asks head guard George Dodd if he and/or his brothers could assist in some way. Dodd asks the three Youngers to help him evacuate the female prisoners, and this the Youngers do. Dodd even gives Cole a revolver, Jim an iron bar, and Bob an ax as tools that may come in handy. Once the evacuation is complete, the trio of Youngers immediatly return their tools.
Feb. 11, 1884---Gov. Crittenden dismisses all charges on Frank regarding the Blue Cut train robbery. Crittenden did this after the Missouri Supreme Court stated that no convicted felon could serve as a witness against someone in a criminal trial. This meant that Dick Liddil, who had been convicted of robbing the Muscle Shoals payroll, could not testify against Frank. The charges Frank faces regarding the murder of cashier John Sheets and the robbery of the Gallatin bank are also dropped shortly thereafter. Frank can't celebrate yet, though, since he is going to be sent to Alabama to be prosecuted for the Muscle Shoals payroll robbery of 1881.
Apr. 17, 1884---Frank is arraigned at Huntsville, Alabama for the Muscle Shoals robbery. Due to the fact that Frank actually did not participate in this robbery, several witnesses were called for the defense which stated that they had seen Frank on the day of the robbery hundreds of miles from the crime scene.
Apr. 26, 1884---Frank is found not guilty of the Mucle Shoals robbery. Thereafter he is returned to Missouri, where is immediatly arrested by the sheriff of Cooper County, John Rogers. Frank must now face charges of robbing a train at Otterville, Missouri in 1876.
May 4, 1884---Charlie Ford, who is suffering from tuberculosis and has become very paranoid after being ridiculed for the way he participated in the murder of Jesse James, shoots himself dead.
1884---Bob Ford and Dick Liddil, who had been pardoned of his crimes, travel to Las Vegas, New Mexico Territory. There, the two co-own a saloon.
Early 1885---The saloon owned by Bob Ford and Dick Liddil is sold. Liddil gets himself a new saloon and Ford becomes a Las Vegas city policemen. The local newspapers often make fun of him in his new job. Eventually, Ford is challenged to a target shooting match against Jose Chavez y Chavez, a man with a well-known reputation as a gunfighter. Chavez had even been a member of the Regulators and ridden with Billy the Kid during the Lincoln County War. Chavez easily bests Ford in the match, then challenges him to a duel. Ford wisely backs out and flees town. He later shows up running a saloon in the town of Cerrillos.
Feb. 21, 1885---The charges against Frank for participating in the Otterville train robbery are dropped by Gov. Crittenden himself. The actual reason for the charges being dropped is still unknown. The actual trial was supposed to begin two days later. With this last charge dismissed, Frank is now, for the first time in over twenty years, a completely free man.
Spring 1885---Frank, Annie, and six-year old Robert move into a house in Nevada, Missouri. The house had been bought for Frank by a friend named W. C. Bronaugh.
Fall 1885---W. C. Bronaugh, Frank's friend, becomes active in lobbying for the parole of Cole, Jim, and Bob Younger. Many believe that Bronough began lobbying for the Youngers' parole on Frank's behalf, and this theory does seem very likely. Eventually, a full scale parole drive is put together by friends and family of the Younger brothers.
1889---Bob Younger, who had never fully recuperated from the wounds he sustained during the Northfield bank robbery and his subsequent capture, begins to get more and more weak. Eventually, he is diagnosed with tuberculosis. It is believed by many that the tuberculosis is a result of the bullet he received in his right lung while surrendering at Hanska Slough in 1876. The parole drive becomes more intense now, as Bob does not have long to live. Many want to at least have Bob released, so he can die in his home state of Missouri. W. C. Bronaugh and former Minnesota governor William Marshall go so far as to ask the current governor, William Merriam, to let them stay in jail in Bob's place while he goes to Missouri to die. Merriam, however, won't argee to this. It should be noted that Merriam's father had been a passenger on the train at Gad's Hill that the James-Younger Gang had robbed in 1874. Throughout the Youngers' parole drive, Merriam stubbornly refuses to consider paroling the Youngers. It seems likely that Merriam holds a grudge against the Youngers for robbing and humiliating his father.
Apr. 15, 1889---Bill Ryan is released from prison in Missouri. Thereafter, he disappears.
Sept. 16, 1889---Bob Younger dies of tuberculosis at the prison hospital. His brothers Cole and Jim and visiting sister Rhetta are at his side. His friend and deputy warden, Jacob Westby, is there as well. A funeral service is held for Bob at the prison a few days later, and then his body is sent by train back to Missouri.
Late Sept. 1889---After another funeral service for Bob at Lee's Summit, Missouri, he is buried next to his mother at the Lee's Summit Cemetery.
1892---Frank James gets a job working for a livestock importer in Paris, Texas. His job requires him to travel all over the country.
June 8, 1892---Bob Ford is operating a saloon in Creede, Colorado. A few days previously, he had gotten into an argument with one Ed O'Kelly (or just Kelly). On this day, O'Kelly enters Bob's saloon with a double-barrel shotgun and without any warning, empties both barrels into Bob and kills him. O'Kelly is subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment at the Canon City Penitentiary.
1894---Frank James quits his job working for the livestock importer. He leaves Texas and returns to Missouri. He moves his family to St. Louis, where he works as a doorman at the Standard Theatre. He works a second part-time job starting horse races at the local race track.
1898---Jesse Edwards James, Jr., son of Jesse James, is accused of participating in a train robbery. For the most part, he is accused only because of his father's reputation. He is soon acquitted of the charge.
Nov. 13, 1900---Zee James, who had been suffering from a deep depression ever since her husband Jesse's death, dies herself. It is believed that the recent accusations made against her son for train robbery contributed to her death as well. Zee is buried at the Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Mt. Olivet, Missouri.
1900---Jesse Edwards James's book, 'Jesse James My Father' is published. He soon after marries one Stella McGown. The couple will end up having four children.
July 1901---Dick Liddil dies of a sudden heart attack at a horse race track.
July 10, 1901---The Minnesota Board of Paroles finally elects to parole Cole and Jim Younger. Cole is by this time fifty-seven and Jim fifty-three. They had each been in prison for twenty-five years. The news is given to the two men that night. They are both overjoyed.
July 11, 1901---Cole and Jim Younger step out of the prison at Stillwater for the first and last time. The two gets jobs in Stillwater working at the P. N. Peterson Granite Company making tombstones. Over the next few years, Cole enjoys his freedom and tries to live every day to its fullest. Jim, meanwhile, retreats inward and becomes despondent. The bullet in his head that he received at Hanska Slough had never been removed, and it's believed that this caused much of his depression. However, Jim does end up falling in love with a reporter he met while in prison, Alix Mueller. The two plan to marry soon, although the conditions of Jim's parole forbid him to marry.
Nov. 1901---Frank James joins a touring theatrical troupe. The troupe travels the country and Frank has small roles in the plays.
Early 1902---Frank quits the theatrical troupe and takes Annie and son Robert to live with him on his mother's old farm in Kearney, Missouri. Zerelda, in her seventies, still lives there but cannot handle the farm by herself. Reuben Samuel by this time had been committed to the State Insane Asylum and would be dead shortly. Since Jesse's death, tourists had come to the farm by the hundreds to see his grave and visit with his mother. Now, with Frank living there, even more tourists would arrive. Frank, however, was uncomfortable by the tourists and often avoided them.
Jan. 29, 1902---Alix Mueller appeals to the governor of Minnesota to allow her and Jim Younger to get married. The governor never replies. Soon after, Alix's parents, who disapprove of her relationship with Jim, make her move back to the family home in Boise, Idaho. Jim becomes even more depressed after this.
Spring 1902---Jim Younger takes a job working in Minnesapolis at a cigar store owned by James Elwin.
June 29, 1902---Jesse's body is excavated from his grave on his family's farm. It is moved to the Mt. Olive Cemetery and reburried there beside his wife Zee.
July 1902---Jim loses his job at the cigar store. He attempts to get a new job at several places, but can't acquire one.
Oct. 19, 1902---Jim sends a telegram to Alix Mueller in Idaho. The entire telegram simply tells Alix not to write him anymore. He then retreats to his hotel room at the Reardon Hotel. That night, around eight o'clock, Jim shoots himself in the head with a pistol he acquired. The wound is not immediatly fatal, and it takes several hours for Jim to actually die.
Late Oct. 1902---Jim's body is sent to Missouri, where a funeral service is held. He is then buried along side his mother and brother Bob at the Lee's Summit Cemetery.
Jan. 1903---Cole Younger puts in an application for a pardon.
Feb. 4, 1903---Cole Younger is granted a conditional pardon from the Minnesota Board of Paroles. The two conditions are that he must leave Minnesota and never return and that he cannot place himself on any kind of exhibition.
Feb. 16, 1903---Cole arrives on a train at Kansas City, Missouri, where he meets his niece and nephew, Harry and Nora Younger Hall. The trio takes another train to Lee's Summit that same day. Cole is finally home, for the first time in nearly twenty-seven years. He will spend the next few months meeting up with old friends and relatives.
Mar. 1903---Cole write an autobiography called 'Cole Younger, By Himself.' The book is nearly entirely fictional and sells poorly. Later that month, Cole telephones Frank James at a Kansas City hotel. The two met later that day in Independence. The two ancient outlaws and best friends see each other in person for the first time in nearly three decades. The two end up deciding to buy an interest in the Buckskin Bill Wild West Show, owned by H. E. Allott. Cole will end up serving as the show's manager, with Allott as assistant manager, and Frank as arena manager. The show's name is changed to 'The Great Cole Younger and Frank James Historical Wild West Show.' Thereafter, the show begins touring the country.
Sept. 21, 1903---Cole and Frank demand that they be released from the Wild West Show. They are not let go and end up staying with the show for a few more months. The show had become a disaster since it began, and that's the reason Cole and Frank wanted out.
Nov. 1903---Cole and Frank leave the Wild West Show. Cole had to pull a pistol on one of the show's owners in order to be allowed to quit.
Early 1904---Cole and Frank return to their families in Missouri. Cole ends up becoming the president of the Hydro-Carbon Old Burner Company, but soon leaves the job. Frank, meanwhile, simply continues to work on the old James-Samuel homestead.
Aug. 1905---Cole is named president of the production company of the Kansas City, Lee's Summit, & Eastern Railroad. He eventually leaves the job and begins making nightly appearences with the Lew Nichols Carnival Company.
1907---Frank and Annie James buy a ranch in Fletcher, Oklahoma.
Mar. 1, 1908---Reuben Samuel dies at the State Insane Asylum in St. Joseph, Missouri. He is buried at the Mt. Olivet Cemetery.
1908---Cole quits the Lew Nichols Carnival Company.
1909---Cole begins touring on the lecture circuit. His lecture is called 'What My Life Has Taught Me' and it basically informs people about the negative sides of outlaw life and alcohol. He tours throughout the Midwest, South, and Southwest.
1910---Cole's lecture ends and, with the money he made doing it, purchases a house in Lee's Summit. He lives there with his niece, Nora Younger Hall. He is known for sitting on his porch often and talking with neighbors and friends. The neighborhood kids like Cole and begin calling him 'Uncle Cole.'
Feb. 10, 1911---Zerelda Samuel is taking a train back to Kearney after visiting Frank and Annie at their Oklahoma home. On the way, she suffers a heart-attack and dies. She is eighty-six at the time of her death. Shortly thereafter, she is buried at the Mt. Olivet Cemetery next to sons Jesse and Archie, husband Reuben, and daughter-in-law Zee.
Spring 1911---Frank and Annie James sell their Oklahoma farm and return to living on the James-Samuel homestead in Kearney. Frank is visited there often by old friends. He is also visited by son Robert and nephew Jesse Jr. Being back in Missouri also allows Frank to travel to Lee's Summit to visit Cole, which he does quite often.
Aug. 21, 1913---Cole becomes a confirmed Christian and joins the Christian Church of Lee's Summit.
Feb. 18, 1915---Frank James dies of a heart attack at his family home in Kearney. When Cole hears the news, he retires to his bedroom for the rest of the day.
Late Feb. 1915---Frank is cremated in St. Louis and his ashes is thereafter stored in a vault at the Kearney Trust Company.
Early 1916---Cole's health begins to steadily decline.
Mar. 19, 1916---Cole has niece Nora Hall bring Jesse Jr. and friend Harry Hoffman to his bedside. This she does, and for the next few hours, Cole confides in the two men by telling him many of his secrets from his outlaw days. He even ends up confessing that it was Frank James that killed cashier Joseph Heywood back at Northfield. Both Jesse and Hoffman are sworn to secrecy.
Mar. 21, 1916---Cole Younger dies of natural cause in his Lee's Summit home. He is the last member of the James-Younger Gang to die.
Late Mar. 1916---Cole is buried in the Lee's Summit Cemetery next to brothers Jim and Bob and his mother.
Oct. 11, 1935---Mary James Barr, daughter of Jesse James, dies in Claybrook, Missouri.
July 6, 1944---Annie James dies of natural causes at the James-Samuel farm in Kearney. She is shortly thereafter buried at the Hill Cemetery in Independence. Frank's ashes are buried alongside her.
Mar. 26, 1951---Jesse Edwards James Junior dies of natural causes in Las Angeles, California. He had been suffering from severe depression near the end of his life, brought on mainly by constant men claiming to be his dead father.
Nov. 18, 1959---Robert Franklin James, son of Frank James, dies at the James-Samuel farm of natural causes.