DEAR SIR: I and my brother Frank are charged with the crime of killing the cashier and robbing the bank at Gallatin, Mo., Dec. 7th, 1869. I can prove, by some of the best men in Missouri, where I was the day of the robbery and the day previous to it, but I well know if I was to submit to an arrest, that I would be mobbed and hanged without a trial. The past is sufficient to show that bushwhackers have been arrested in Missouri since the war, charged with bank robbery, and they most all have been mobbed without trials. I will cite you the case of Thomas Little, of Lafayette county, Mo. A few days after the bank was robbed at Richmond, in 1867, Mr. Little was charged with being one of the party who perpetrated the deed. He was sent from St. Louis to Warrensburg under a heavy guard. As soon as the parties arrived there, they found out that he (Mr. Little, Tom Little Lynching Story Link) could prove, by the citizens of Dover, that he was innocent of the charge — as soon as these scoundrels found out that he was innocent — a mob was raised, broke in the jail, took him out and hanged him.
Governor, when I think I can get a fair trial, I will surrender myself to the civil authorities of Missouri. But I never will surrender to be mobbed by a set of bloodthirsty poltroons. It is true that during the war I was a Confederate soldier, and fought under the black flag, but since then I have lived a peaceable citizen, and obeyed the laws of the United States to the best of my knowledge. The authorities of Gallatin say the reason that led them to suspect me was that the mare left at Gallatin, by the robbers, was identified as belonging to me. That is false. I can prove that I sold the mare previous to the robbery. It is true that I fought Deputy Sheriff Thomason, of Clay county, but was not my brother with me when we had the fight. I do not think that I violated the law when I fought Thomason as his posse refused to tell me who they were.
Three different statements have been published in reference to the fight that I had with Thomason, but they are all a pack of falsehoods. Deputy Sheriff Thomason has never yet given any report of the fight, that I have seen. I am personally acquainted with Oscar Thomason, the Deputy’s son, but when the shooting began, his face was so muffled up with furs that I did not recognize him. But if I did violate the law when I fought Thomason I am perfectly willing to abide by it.
But as to them mobbing me for a crime that I am innocent of, that is played out. As soon as I think I can get a just trial I will surrender myself to the civil authorities of Missouri, and prove to the world that I am innocent of the crime charged against me.
Jesse W. James
Outlaw Jesse James was murdered in his Missouri home by fellow gang member Robert Ford on this day in 1882
BIO STAFF APR 3, 2017
|Gov. Thos. T. Crittenden, Missouri Governor from Warensburg Issues a Proclamation - Wanted Dead or Alive Frank and Jesse W. James. 1881|
|Missouri Governor Thomas T. Crittenden|
Law partnership with Sen. Francis Marion Cockrell in Warrensburg.
Gov. Thomas T. Crittenden - Warrensburg
|Frank James circa 1865|