Jesse James
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Jesse Woodson James (1847 - 1882)

Jesse Woodson "J.D." James aka Howard
Born in Kearney, Clay, Missouri, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 24 Apr 1874 in Kearney, Clay, Missouri, United Statesmap
Descendants descendants
Died in St Joseph, Buchanan, Missouri, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 22 Apr 2011
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Jesse James is notable.
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Jesse James was one of the most notorious outlaws in the American West, robbing trains and leading the James-Younger Gang.[1]

Jesse Woodson James was born September 5th, 1847 in Kearney, Clay, Missouri, United States to Rev. Robert Sallee James, a Baptist minister, and Zerelda Cole. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] Jesse was only three when his father died while on a trip to gold fields in California. Jesse's mother remarried twice. As a young man, Jesse was known to be a kind, religious fellow.[2]

Jesse Woodson James married Zerelda Amanda Mimms, a cousin, April 24, 1874 in Kearney, Clay, Missouri.[13][14][13] Jesse's surviving children with Zerelda were Jesse Edward James and Mary Susan James.[13] They also had twins who died in infancy, Gould and Montgomery.[15] Zee, as Zerelda was sometimes referred to, also miscarried one child.[15] Jesse may have been married to a Sioux woman before Zerelda and had a son with her. There has been no definite evidence to back up the family's claims, though.[16]

Jesse served in Captain William Quantrill's Partisan Rangers under Lieutenant "Bloody Bill" Anderson and Lieutenant Archie Clement after the Centralia Massacre, from 1864-5. He was wounded during the surrender at end of the US Civil War.[17][7] He and his brother Frank were part of a group called "bushwhackers", Confederate guerillas in the states of Missouri and Kansas during the US Civil War.[1] Jesse was known as being the "keenest and cleanest" fighter in Anderson's group.[2]

Following the war, the James brothers started their spree of robberies, hitting up banks, stagecoaches, and trains across the Midwestern states.[1] Their crimes were especially brutal and gained them notoriety across the country.[1] Despite a large portion of their gang being captured during a robbery in Minnesota, the James brothers continued to find new members. They experienced increased trouble, though, as law enforcement cranked up their efforts to capture the group.[1] The brothers moved their families to Tennessee for a time, Frank James living under the name Woodson and Jesse under the name of Howard.[18]

A collection of his known exploits:

  • 14 Feb1866 Clay Co Savings Bank: $60,000.00
  • Oct 1866 Alexander Mitchell Bank
  • March 1867 McLain Banking House
  • 4 Mar 1867 Richmond, MO: $4,000.00
  • 1868 Southern Banking Co, Russellville, Logan Co KY (his father's home) $14,000.00
  • 1868 Daviess Co Savings Bank: $7,000.00
  • 1868 Missouri State General Bank
  • 3 June 1871 Corydon, Wayne Co Iowa
  • 21 July 1873 Pacific Express train: $2,000.00
  • 31 Jan 1874 Iron Mountain Express train: $10,000.00 from passengers.
  • 1874 Texas stage coach
  • 1874 Kansas Bank
  • 1874 Tishimingo Brothers Bank, Corinth MS
  • 6 Sep 1876 Northfiled, Minnesota: 1st National Bank. Almost died, the Younger brothers caught and prisoned.
  • Oct 1879 Chicago and Alton Train: $40,000.00
  • Sept 1880 Wells Fargo Stage in Mammoth Cave, KY: $11,400.00
  • 1880 Muscle Shoals Alabama: Paymasters office: $3,000.00
  • 1880 Sexton Bank, Riverton, Iowa: $5,000.00
  • 17 Jul 1881
  • 1881 Chicago Rock Island and Pacific Railroad: $500.00
  • 1881 Chicago and Alton Rail Road: $1,500.00

Jesse James was killed by Robert Ford April 3rd, 1882 at 1318 Lafayette in St Joseph, Buchanan, Missouri.[1][12][19][20][13] Ford and his brother Charley were new recruits to the gang who arranged to use their status within the gang to apprehend Jesse and gather the reward money, as part of an agreement with the local sheriff.[1][13] Governor Thomas Crittenden had offered $10,000 for the capture of Jesse, dead or alive. Jesse was buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Kearney, Clay, Missouri.[19] The epitaph on Jesse's headstone in the family cemetery reads that Jesse was "Murdered by a traitor and a coward whose name is not worthy to appear here."[2]

Some people believe Jesse James faked his death.[21][22] Jesse's fame in life became only larger once he died, making him a legendary Wild West figure who was portrayed in stories and entertainment the world round.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Jesse James on
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 JESSE AND FRANK JAMES, Reprinted from Dorsey Dreams The Dorsey Family Newsletter, January - March 1984, Vol. II, No. 2, Page 70 - 74, Lois Colette Dorsey Bennington, editor
  3. "United States Census, 1850," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 April 2016), Jesse R James in household of Robert James, Platte, Clay, Missouri, United States; citing family 732, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). Year: 1850; Census Place: Platte, Clay, Missouri; Roll: M432_396; Page: 351B
  4. "United States Census, 1860", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 14 December 2017), Jesse W James in entry for Reuben Samuel, 1860. Year: 1860; Census Place: Washington, Clay, Missouri; Roll: ; Page: 969; Image: 425. Note: Note: Data: Text: Birth date: abt 1848 Birth place: Missouri Residence date: 1860 Residence place: Washington, Clay, Missouri, United States
  5. Burlington Weekly Hawkeye, The (Burlington, Iowa) Author: Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006. Note: Note: APID: 1,6738::462701579
  6. Daily Miner, The (Butte, Montana) Author: Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. Note: First ArticleNote: APID: 1,6661::463240193; Second ArticleNote: APID: 1,6661::462562308
  7. 7.0 7.1 National Archives and Records Administration. U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000. The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Record Group Title: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 1773 - 2007; Record Group Number: 15; Series Title: U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934; Series Number: T288 Ancestry Record 4654 #1027825
  8. Dalby, John. Minnesota Newspaper Headline Index [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 1999. Ancestry Record 3786 #19193
  9. American Civil War Soldiers Author: Historical Data Systems, comp. Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 1999.
  10. Historical Data Systems, comp. U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2009. Ancestry Record 1555 #2435842
  11. National Park Service. U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007. Ancestry Record 1138 #1056583
  12. 12.0 12.1 Library of Congress Photo Collection, 1840-2000 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007. Ancestry Record 1028 #421535
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 "Jesse James is Dead", County paper Friday, Dec 29, 1882 Oregon, MO Vol: 18 Page: 6
  14. "Utah, Obituaries from Utah Newspapers, 1850-2005," database, FamilySearch ( : 17 March 2018), Jesse James in entry for Mrs Zeralda Mimms James, 14 Nov 1900; citing Salt Lake Herald 7, The University of Utah. J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Official James Family Genealogy,
  16. Genealogy Forum post discussing what sources are available to support the theory about Jesse and Frank's possible Sioux families
  17. Cited in the family tree "JUSTIN CLAN COLONIAL AMERICA to MICHIGAN" created by "RogueSailor" Note: Note: Data: Text:
  18. "Frank James", Butler weekly times Wednesday, Aug 29, 1883 Butler, MO Vol: 5 Page: 5
  19. 19.0 19.1 Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 01 April 2019), memorial page for Jesse James (5 Sep 1847–3 Apr 1882), Find A Grave: Memorial #539, citing Mount Olivet Cemetery, Kearney, Clay County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .
  20. Weant, Kenneth. Missouri, Newspaper Death Index, 1822-1994 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 1997-1998. Ancestry Record 3074 #21372
  21. 1930 United States Federal Census Author: Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002.Original data - United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. Page: Year: 1930; Census Place: Liberty, Clay, Missouri; Roll: 1183; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 20; Image: 467.0. Note: Note: Data: Text: Birth date: abt 1844 Birth place: Missouri Residence date: 1930 Residence place: Liberty, Clay, Missouri APID: 1,6224::6432270
  22. 1920 United States Federal Census Author: Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.Original data - Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census Page: Year: 1920; Census Place: Higginsville, Lafayette, Missouri; Roll: T625_931; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 107; Image: . Note: Note: Data: Text: Birth date: abt 1856 Birth place: Missouri Residence date: 1920 Residence place: Higginsville, Lafayette, Missouri APID: 1,6061::65811148

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Memories: 3
Enter a personal reminiscence or story.
I was notified by Wiki that Jesse is my (2nd cousin 2x removed of husband of 1st cousin 8x removed).

Looking through my family tree on I see he's on my Mother's side of the family.

Holland > Morgan > Osborn > Copeland > Osborne >Hash > Field > James

The first surname "James" that comes into my family tree shows as followed:

Mary James > George James > Joseph James > William James > John James > Robert James > Jesse James.

posted 8 Apr 2019 by Jennifer Holland   [thank Jennifer]
I have a 2 great uncle, Adam Stump Yoakum, who moved from West Virginia to Fannin Co., Texas. There is a story told in my family that Jesse James visited Adam at one time in Texas and carved his initials in the wood fireplace surround. I understand the home burned in the 1970s so there is no proof of this anymore.
posted 3 Apr 2019 by Karen Parker   [thank Karen]
Side note by Kay-Lynne North:

About 10 years ago I was talking to my grandmother (father's side) and great grandmother. While talking to them, they told me that my family were distant cousins of Frank and Jesse James. I don't remember for sure, but my grandmother might have a list of people in our family tree that will show exactly how we are related. I will try to ask her about it in the near future.

posted 1 Apr 2019 by Abby (Brown) Glann   [thank Abby]
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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Jesse by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. Y-chromosome DNA test-takers in his direct paternal line on WikiTree: It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share some percentage of DNA with Jesse:

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Comments: 14

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James-20871 and James-761 appear to represent the same person because: clear duplicate. Please allow merge.
posted by Carolyn Adams
edited by Carolyn Adams
James-20871 and James-761 do not represent the same person because: There is no sourcing for either this wife or this child.
posted by Debra (Downs) Allison
I just found out im related to Jesse James because of my mothers mother,mother which would be my great grandmother and her name is Ernestine Tubbs her maiden was Garrett so her name befor marriage would of been Ernestine Garrett when she got married it became Ernestine Tubbs so im related to Jesse James because of my great grandmother on my mom side of the family dont know very much else yet still learning and trying to find all my relatives dead or alive i would like to connect wit my family and get to know them
posted by Ginger Davis
The James' lived down the street from my Sevier ancestors in Hallsville, Missouri for a time. The Sevier farm /home caught fire and they ended up in Liberty, Missouri. I remember growing up and seeing the"birthplace" sign of the James family home. Always was obsessed with them, being nearby and movies, plus a train in my backyard and one in my great-grandma's. Had a feeling was related, from the Gedmatch above (right side) DNA match. So, now I just need to find the line and link everyone together. Too cool.
posted by T.C. Justine Baker
Jesse James, American Outlaw is your 11th cousin four times removed.
posted by [Living Corwin]
I am distantly related to Jesse James via both his Mimms and his Yates.
posted by Jim Yates Jr
As a serving member of Quantrill's Raiders, Jesse James deserves a Confederate Army icon for his service. There is reason to believe that he never stopped being a Confederate soldier, rather than being an outlaw.

The famous song "Jesse James", was composed by one of his former slaves about his exploits and assassination.

posted by Dan Sparkman
Have been attempting to untangle my own jungle of Jameses & decided to check in here. Agree with Milton Garrison's posting of a year & a half ago. If "famous" people are so messed up when the correcting data is so easily available, how can the lesser knowns be trusted?
posted by Jeanette Burton
This is so messed up. Susan Lavenia James is shown as a child of Jesse-- she is his sister.

See Jesse and Frank James: The Family History for his Samuel siblings. Under siblings- Susan Lavenia is listed twice--once with her married name of Parmer. Shows he was husband of Amanda Amanda- one Amanda needs to be removed. Please give documentation of when he married Sallie James; I have read all the books I can find on him and I have never seen that he was married to a Sallie or married a second time. Why not do these two proposed merges?

posted by Milton Garrison
Jesse James MTDNA mitosearch ID is EEYCU
posted by Angela Hockenberry

We have added your profile to this space page where we are keeping up with western profiles in hopes of starting a project. Would you be interested in a project about the American West?



posted by Paula J
James-5026 and James-761 appear to represent the same person because: I NOTICED THIS A WHILE BACK, I AM RELATED THROUGH THE WOODSONS. THIS IS A DUOLICATION. THANKS, GENE ADKINS
James-1701 and James-761 appear to represent the same person because: Same Jesse James but if merged it will create one 'ell of a domino effect
posted by Clint Norwood
Is Jesse Woodson james - profile 2632 - the famous Jesse James?
posted by [Living Barnett]