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Monday, February 8, 2021

Killing Jesse James

      Was it the notorious outlaw Jesse Woodson James who Bob Ford killed on April 3, 1882 in Ford's house high atop Lafayette Street in St. Joseph, Missouri? If not Jesse James, then who met his maker, courtesy of Bob Ford's revolver, on that fateful day?

     Some say the assassinated man was an unwitting stand-in by the name of Charlie Bigelow. Others announce that there were in truth two Jesse Jameses: one, the true Jesse Woodson James, and the other, Jesse R. James, who was a Jesse Woodson James look-a-like who could fool even Jesse's older brother Frank. In life and death, he passed himself off, it is said, as the authentic Jesse.

     Jesse James died on April 3, 1882 in St. Joseph, Missouri when he was shot in the head by a single bullet that did not exit his skull. In light of scientific findings, the claims of those who say that someone else died in Jesse's place, and that Jesse lived on to father additional children, are worse than nonsense. They are ludicrous in the extreme.

James E. Starrs (with Katherine Ramsland), A Voice for the Dead, 2005

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