Rest in Peace Sam Shepard, bluegrass neighbor in Midway, Kentucky and the best Frank James ever.
Rest in Peace Sam Shepard, bluegrass neighbor in Midway, Kentucky and the best Frank James ever.
TOUR DIARY – DAY ONE
April 19, 2017 – Dan Pence and Tom Nall, president and past president of the International James-Younger Gang Inc., will arrive at the 200-year-old Hemp House here in Danville today. Then for three days, we will tour Kentucky and preview historic sites in preparation for the speaking events and tours that are scheduled for the 2017 annual conference in Georgetown come September.
Today, we will begin at Constitution Square. We will talk about the enduring relationship between John M. James, Frank & Jesse’s grandfather, with Judge Harry Innes, his clerk & later Justice Thomas Todd, & Benjamin Sebastian of the Spanish Conspiracy. We will also address what role John M. James may have had in the ten Danville Conventions and how the Spanish Conspiracy led to his ruin.
Next, we will retrace the ride of Frank James, the Younger & Pence brothers with William Clark Quantrill when they rode through Danville in 1864 on a mission to “visit” President Lincoln.
We will tour their escape route from Danville to Perryville and up to Sally Van Arsdall’s farm outside Harrodsburg. There, Maj. James Bridgewater, whose wife was a Pence, caught up with the band and attacked them in the middle of a cold January night. Four of the band was killed. Previously, the James-Younger Gang Journal published my account of this event, “Why, Maj. Bridgewater?”
We will then tour Oakland Church cemetery where Quantrill ordered their fallen men to be buried. We also will visit Spring Hill Cemetery in Harrodsburg, where Frank James and Black Jack Chinn exhumed their slain from Oakland Church Cemetery and re-interred them in the Confederate plot at Spring Hill around 1898.
Returning to Danville, we will visit Bellevue Cemetery and the grave site of the grandparents of Clell Miller, Henry Logan Thurmond & Mary Kenley-Thurmond. Clell Miller was one of the James-Younger Gang. He was killed in the Northfield Bank robbery.
We will round off today’s tour in Danville with visits to Weisiger Park next to the Boyle County courthouse where Joseph McAlister James, aka Joseph McJames, operated the St. James Hotel. We also will stop by the parking lot on Third St. backing up to the Boyle County jail where Joseph McJames owned and operated James Hall, Danville’s first and original theater, and convention center.
In the coming two more days, we plan to tour in Woodford and Scott Counties.
DAY TWO on TOUR
April 20, 2017 – Yesterday, after a full day of touring numerous historic sites relating to the pioneer settlement of John M. James in Kentucky and his pioneer families of Pence, Nalle, Vardiman, & Sallee, we ended our tour at Bellevue Cemetery in Danville.
Standing before the graves of Clell Miller’s grandparents, I received the ultimate compliment from Dan Pence. Turning to me, Dan said, “My grandfather would have loved to have known you.”
Dan’s grandfather is Samuel Anderson Pence, the author of I Knew Frank…I Wish I had Known Jesse. This book and its companion book Quantrill’s Guerillas 1861-1865 compiles Pence’s lifetime accumulation of history, stories, facts, and data relating to Pence’s personal relationship with the social communities and family of Frank & Jesse James. Dan edited and published his grandfather’s book posthumously. So much of Dan’s book is new and previously unpublished history. I have used this book often in my own research and writing.
I was thrilled to think Dan thought so kindly about my research and writing. Dan’s generous compliment could not have thrilled me more.
Today, we continue our tour in Georgetown and Midway and the historic site related to the James family there.
DAY THREE on TOUR
April 21, 2017 – So far, very few complications have arisen regarding our programming for the September conference. Everything is working out well and in some cases better than first thought. This conference is going to be great!
However, while conducting our tour, revelations have occurred to us which surprised us. There really is no reason why the three of us, all raised in the upper Midwest, should find ourselves bound together by Jesse James. Yet, here we are.
Yesterday, Dan revealed his story “You have to go to Kentucky.”
As a trained chemist, grown up In Michigan, Dan knew nothing of his connections to Jesse James. Not until Dan’s son brought home a book one day about Jesse James and Dan began to look at his grandfather’s box of memorabilia, did Dan begin to follow his path of spiritual discovery.
Following the neglected leads left to him, Dan began his journey. Dan’s door of discovery opened when a near stranger instructed him “You have to go to Kentucky. When Dan did, like me Dan discovered the unexpected.
In the Kentucky corporate offices of Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Dan met with Bill Samuel. Bill showed Dan Bill’s own neglected box of family memorabilia. Among the artifacts in Bill’s box were photos of Dan’s grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather.
Ever since then Dan has been on his own personal tour to discover what meaning Jesse James holds for him. Even on this preview tour of historic sites in Kentucky and after publishings his grandfather’s books, Dan is still learning more.
The three of us boys from the upper Midwest agree. We are traveling a curious path of divinity. We fully expect more revelations to come. Come to Kentucky, and you can, too. Join us and tour with us at the 2017 annual conference of the James-Younger Gang.
The face of the article, which is more about Frank James than Jesse James, presents an old-timey vibe, reminiscent of western pulp magazines of more than fifty years ago when sensationalism was the rage. Regretfully, the article then begins with the fake-news subject of treasure hunting for Jesse James hidden gold in Oklahoma. You have to leap past that hurdle and another hurdle at the end to get to the meat of Young’s story that is bonafide and new.
Roy B. Young employs the current rage of culling old newspapers, many now online, to tell a story either overlooked, forgotten, or not present in today’s history consciousness. Having culled most of these papers myself in their original depositories for a couple of decades, I noted a lot of familiar information in Young’s story. My forthcoming Volume IV of Jesse James Soul Liberty quintet is a biography of Frank James in his retirement years.
Informed as I think I am, Roy B. Young found lost history I did not know about. I’ve expressed my thanks to him for writing it. Nothing tickles a historian more, than learning something new he didn’t know.
Regrettably, Young ends his well-done story of Frank James, writing about the Jesse James imposter J. Frank Dalton. Why Oklahoma feels it necessary to include fake news as a necessary component to its true history is beyond me. Sensationalism calls into question any factual or true history associated with it.
This article would have truly been a superior one had it not been for the bookends of treasure hunting and J. Frank Dalton, framing it.
Forget for now Frank James being framed in this manner. Grab the fresh history Roy B. Young now offers anyway. Then wait for Jesse James Soul Liberty, Vol. IV, Frank James in Retirement to address Young’s speculation and provide you even more unknown history about Frank James in his retirement years.
Prior to writing her story, Wendi queried us about Burton Allen James, Indian Agent from the James family for the Sac and Fox Reservation. She also queried about Perry Fuller, the onetime business partner of Frank and Jesse’s uncle Thomas Martin James, whom I also wrote about in Jesse James Soul Liberty, Vol. I.
Since Volume IV of JJSL will address Frank James in his retirement, I was pleasantly surprised to read the outcome of Wendi’s article. Much of her story is focused upon Frank James in his career as a public speaker and as a race starter when he appeared in 1899 at the Osage County Fair.
Like Roy Young’s reporting on Frank James, Wendi Bevitt’s article brings fresh history into view. The freshness is in the details, such as how Frank James started a race.
Interesting, too, is the behind the scenes arrangements of a Frank James speaking engagement. History like this has not been published before and is a welcome addition to the historical record.
WENDI BEVITT is the owner-operator of Buried Past Consulting LLC, a firm specializing archaeological surveys, historical research and report preparations for both public and private sector clients.
Dave Pool and his exploits during and immediately after the Civil War are familiar to most students of James-Younger gang history. However, little seems to be known about Dave and his life after the war. Some history states that he went to Texas and became a wealthy cattleman. He reportedly lost most of his money then moved on to Arizona and died there in 1899.
MISSOURI – MONTANA – TEXAS
More information is now coming to light about Dave Pool and his brothers Christopher Columbus (usually C. C. Pool) and John A. Pool. C.C. served in the war too, but mostly with a Texas Partisan Unit. Brother, John, served with Quantrill and went just about everywhere Dave did during the war. All three brothers returned to Lafayette County, Missouri after the war and remained there for a short time. Then eventually, all three brothers ended up as well- to-do cattlemen in Texas. Dave did move on to Arizona and may have spent some time in New Mexico, as well.
Dave stayed around the Lafayette County area for some time, but by 1873, he is in Montana. Brother C. C. Pool received a letter from Dave, who is said to be in Montana in the cattle trade. Dave reported he was doing well and that he was getting “fat and sassy” on grisly [sic] and antelope. He also promised to send his little nephew a juvenile grisly [sic] for a pet. (TWC March 29, 1873)
In August 1874, Dave is back in Lafayette County. He served on a committee for a public picnic in the area, and he signed a letter endorsing Alexander Graves, Esq. for County Attorney. (TWC August 1, 1874) Later in the year, Dave is visiting his brother and friends in Carroll County, Missouri. John Pool was now living in Carroll, County. (TWC December 26, 1874)
Dave was confined to his room in May of 1875, so he must have been ill. But by July, it was reported that Dave had left for the western border of Kansas, on the look-out for some good kine (cattle). The newspaper quipped, “Dave, are you going to start a dairy?” (TWC May 15, and July 17, 1875)
Later in 1875, Dave is back in the Lexington area and was en route for Waverly, Missouri. He was said to be a full-fledged partner in the metallic weather strip, lately patented by Hogman & Shomate. Capt. Pool was to depart for England in the spring to solicit orders for the weather stripping. (LWI November 20, 1875) No evidence has yet been found that Dave went to England.
Early in 1878, Dave is back in Lexington, and it was reported that he now owned a cattle ranch in Texas. The paper also stated that Dave would take a wife back with him. (LT, February 15, 1878) The news of marriage was not accurate, as he did not marry until later. In March 1879 one A.W. Hilliard sent a lengthy letter to the Lexington Weekly Intelligencer from Taylor County, Texas. He discussed the finer points of settling in Texas and said many Missourians were now living there. He mentioned both Capt. Dave Pool and his brother Capt. C.C. Pool. He said that Dave had passed through his area on the way to Sweetwater. Dave had said that neither Comanche, Kiowa nor Yonkaway [sic] squaw could capture him. The only squaw to whom he would surrender alive lived in “Old Lafayette.” Dave was to leave soon for New Mexico, where he had a ranch and a fine herd of cattle. (LWI March 29, 1879) The following month a Texas newspaper reported that Dave Pool of Quantrill’s band flourishes at Coleman, Texas. (TWDS April 1879)
A TEXAS LONG-HORN
In 1881, Dave was again visiting in his home state. Both Dave and C.C. Pool visited the newspaper office, and the editor said he had received a regular “long-horn” visit. The paper also mentioned that C.C. Pool had moved to Texas several years ago. C.C. had grown to immense physical proportions and had a thriving cattle business. C.C. was back with his wife and was visiting friends and family. Both of the Pool brothers returned to Texas within the next few days. (LWI February 5 & 12, 1881) The following month Sam Redd, who had been absent from Lexington for seven years, also visited the newspaper. He was accompanied by J. L Peacock, another ranchman. These men discussed recent cattle deals that concerned Dave Pool. Pool & Redd and W. A. Redd and Peacock & Bros. had sold ranches, horses and 5,730 head of cattle for the sum of $95,500. They had sold because they were about to overstock their ranges. They have now organized a company J. M. Peacock & Co. with capital of $150,000 and will establish a ranch in northwestern Texas. These gentlemen were to leave the next day to join J. H. Peacock and Capt. Dave Pool. The newspaper staff wished the men success. (LWI March 12, 1881)
In the summer of 1881, Dave Pool attended a reunion of ex-confederates in Dallas, Texas. Dave served as an assistant marshal for the event, and his residence was said to be in Tom Green County, Texas. Other well-known Missouri Confederates also attended including Gen. Francis Marion “F.M.” Cockrell, Col. Jeremiah Vardeman “J. V.” Cockrell and Col. Sidney D. “S.D.” Jackman. Col. Jackman now lived in San Marcos, Texas. (TDWH August 11, 1881) In December Capt. Dave Pool was back in Lexington. The paper said he likes “long horn” in summer, but when winter arrives he prefers to come to old Lafayette and spend the evenings among God’s people. (LWI December 10, 1881)
MARRIAGE TO LORA M. KIRTLEY
In January 1882, it becomes clear why Dave is back in Lafayette this time. Mr. and Mrs. William & Elizabeth Shelby Kirtley announced the marriage of their daughter Lora M. to F.M. Poole on January 24, 1882. The editor thought friends might not recognize Dave under his proper initials and added that the gentleman concerned was Capt. Dave Poole. The bride is described as one of the fairest and best of Lafayette County’s women. (LWI January 21, 1882) A week later the newspaper devoted almost a full column to a lavish description of the wedding. Many guests are named, dresses are described, and many of the gifts are listed and described. One gift of note was the paw of a bear that was killed by Capt. Matt Ham in Texas two weeks before. General Jo Shelby and some other notables attended the wedding. The happy couple would remain in the Lexington area for four or five weeks and then return to their home in Colorado City, Texas. (LWI January 28, 1882)
VISIT WITH FRANK JAMES
In December 1882 Dave Pool is back in Lexington and in January 1883 he makes a visit to Frank James in the Independence jail; he spent an hour or two visiting with Frank. Dave is now said to be a resident of Texas and worth a million dollars. He is described as of commanding appearance and wearing a beard reaching to his knees. (RD December 28, 1882, and TBWT January 31, 1883)
In February 1883, J. A. Peacock and Capt. Redd are again visiting in the Lexington area. Again their cattle companies are mentioned as J. A. and J.C. Peacock, Capt. David Pool, S. B. Redd and W. A. Redd. These men have now invested in a new bank that is to be open for business in a few days. The bank will have capital Stock of $15,000. W. A. Redd is the vice president of the new bank. Dave Pool is not listed as a member of the bank staff, but he is likely an investor in the firm. The location is said to be Colorado, Texas. (This is the Colorado National Bank of Colorado City, Texas.)(LWI February 3, 1883)
There are other developments in Dave Pool’s life at this time. The newspaper reminded readers that at Capt. F.M. Poole’s marriage they mentioned a unique gift of a bear’s foot sent by a friend. The paper now says that on St. Valentine’s Day, this week, the singular coincidence occurs that he has been presented with two bare feet, those of a hale and hearty little son. (LWI February 17, 1883) In March, the Pools and some of Mrs. Pool’s relatives returned to Colorado City, Texas. (LWI March 31, 1883) In August Capt. Pool and family were again visiting from Colorado, Texas. Dave is to attend the ex-confederate reunion at Jefferson City. Mrs. Pool is visiting her family. Dave has been called to Gallatin for the Frank James trial the previous week. (RD August 30, 1883) Several Texas newspapers also noted that Dave Pool had been called as a witness in Frank James trial in August 1883.
In May 1885, a Mr. Joseph B. Silver returned to the Lexington, Missouri area after a cattle buying trip to Texas. Dave Poole entertained Mr. Silver royally while Silver was in Colorado City, Texas. Silver said Pool was now banking at that place. The Pools had an elegant house and two splendid babies. Pool also treated Mr. Silver to an airing behind Pool’s spanking team of horses. (LWI May 30, 1885)
On September 30, 1897, the Mexico Weekly Ledger (Mexico, Missouri) had a long article about Quantrill and his men. The report states that Dave Pool was now living in Arizona. The Arizona Republican, July 13, 1898, said, “Captain Dave Poole, whose military experience was acquired more than a generation ago, was in town yesterday wanting to enlist for the war in the capacity of Troop A, Arizona Cavalry.”
In June of 1899 newspapers all around the country announced the death of Dave Pool in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Dave died on June 3, 1899 at age 61. One newspaper reported that Dave had become security for a large debt for friends and because of this he had lost the greater part of his fortune. He had been undaunted by this and began anew in Arizona and before his death had amassed a considerable fortune again. (OGB June 24, 1899) When Frank James learned of Dave Pool’s death, he said, “I can hardly believe it. I knew Dave Poole well, and I want to say that God never made a truer soul, and no man was a stauncher friend than he. When he was once your friend he was always your friend, and he didn’t go around feeling the pulse of the public to find out how you stood with other people. He stuck to you through thick and thin, good and evil report.” (TBWT June 8, 1899)
Dave’s family remained in Arizona and continued in the ranching and farming business. His wife married again but divorced her husband, Ernest A. Panknin, on grounds of desertion in 1920. (AR June 30, 1920) Dave’s daughter, Willie Elizabeth, married Claude Marlar in Phoenix in June 1906. The couple planned to make their home in California but soon returned to Arizona, and Claude was in the cattle business. (AR June 17, 1906) Claude died of heat prostration in August 1915. (AR August 21, 1915) For some time after that Willie appears to be living with her mother and brother, Francis Marion “Frank”, on the family ranch near Scottsdale, Arizona. The family is frequently mentioned in the Scottsdale news items in the Arizona Republican. Willie Elizabeth later married Frank L. Criswell. Frank Criswell died in 1928; Lora M. Kirtley Pool Panknin died in 1934; Francis Marion “Frank” Pool died in 1940, and Willie Elizabeth died in 1977. The entire family is buried at the Greenwood Memory Lawn Cemetery in Phoenix. Dave Pool was first buried in the Confederate Cemetery in Phoenix. However, he now rests beside his family in the Greenwood Cemetery.
TWC The weekly Caucasian (Lexington, Missouri)
LWI Lexington Weekly Intelligencer (Lexington, Missouri)
LT Liberty Tribune (Liberty, Missouri)
TWDS The Weekly Democratic Statesman ( Austin, Texas)
TDWH The Dallas Weekly Herald (Dallas, Texas)
RD Richmond Democrat (Richmond, Missouri)
TBWT The Butler Weekly Times (Butler, Missouri)
OGB Oak Grove Banner (Oak Grove, Missouri)
AR Arizona Republican (Phoenix, Arizona)
This article is published simultaneously in the James-Younger Gang Journal, Volume 23, Issue 1, March 2016
By Eric F. James
“Major Bridgewater, Why?” first appeared in the James-Younger Gang Journal. It appears here in a revised and enhanced edition.
“They gutted my office pretty effectually.” So telegraphed Capt. William R. Gross to his Union superiors from the train depot in Danville, Kentucky.
The Raid on Danville
By January 29, 1865, all hostilities of the Civil War had ceased. Regardless, the telegraph message of Capt. Gross stated that thirty-five guerrillas, dressed in Union uniform, sacked his Union telegraph office that morning. The town’s boot store was plundered, too.1 Their horses were refreshed, probably from William Sallee’s Livery at Fourth and Walnut Streets, a block south of the courthouse. Oddly, one of the band also robbed a bookstore.2
Gross further reported the guerrillas were under the command of a Capt. Clark, who identified his group as the Fourth Cavalry from Missouri, on their way to Washington to have a personal meeting with President Lincoln. Capt. Gross broadcast that Clarke’s band headed west for Perryville at 11:15 a.m.
Judge Fry Gives Chase
From an earlier experience, Judge Speed Smith Fry of Danville learned not cotton to the idea of guerrillas, masquerading in Union uniform, especially in his town. Fry had earned his rank of Brigadier General at the Battle of Perryville He still retained his command of Danville’s Home Guards.
The Battle of Mill Springs outside of Somerset, Kentucky is where Fry killed General Felix Kirk Zollicoffer of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, seemingly over an issue of mistaken dress and identity. When the hapless General Zolly rode up to Fry out of a foggy early morning rain, wearing a “light drab overcoat, buttoned to the chin.” Fry, who was “in undress uniform,” presumed the rider to be a Union officer like himself. Zolly ordered Fry to cease his fire. Both clustered together, riding so closely that their knees touched. Then Fry objected insistently. “I do not intend to fire upon our men.” Out of the misty drizzle, Capt. Henry M. R. Fogg of Zollicoffer’s staff suddenly rode forward and fired at Fry, killing his horse. “Sir, these are the enemy!” Fry instantly drew his revolver and shot Gen. Zollicoffer in the breast. His rebels secured Zollicoffer’s horse, but Fry seized the dead man’s saber. A letter in Zolly’s pocket revealed Zollicoffer’s actual Confederate identity.3 Fry sneered, “You sneaking cowardly, infernal scoundrels, why do you not come up and fight us like men?”4
His ire raised again; Judge Speed Smith Fry now suspected Gen. Clarke of Missouri to be none other than William Clark Quantrill. With Danville’s Home Guards, Judge Fry gave chase from his home at Spring House Farm. He headed down the pike, eight miles to Perryville.
Maj. Bridgewater in Stanford
Four miles southeast of Danville, Maj. James H. Bridgewater received the telegraph message in Stanford, Kentucky. Bridgewater had been in the Union Secret Service, commanding scouts who chased Confederate guerrillas throughout central Kentucky. Only recently, Maj. Bridgewater had organized the Hall’s Gap Battalion of Home Guards. Most everyone in Stanford was a Southern sympathizer, who considered Bridgewater’s guards as being guerrillas themselves, not at all for the South but the Union.
Bridgewater Family Terror
None of the Northern guerrillas was more nefarious than Maj. Bridgewater’s older brother Augden.
A retreating Confederate Army captured Augden Bridgewater’s Home Guard in 1862 after the Battle of Perryville. Augden escaped. His captain, Harbert King, and King’s two sons John Franklin and William Alexander King, were captured and hanged.5 Acting as a Union Home Guard since the Battle of Perryville, Augden “terrorized Lincoln County and robbed indiscriminately.”
Finally, Augden was hunted down. He was cornered in Harrodsburg with a wagonload of loot. He was shot in the face, leaving his entire jaw dangling. A doctor wired his jaw to his tongue. Augden then was jailed briefly in Stanford before being sent to the Kentucky penitentiary. Subsisting on liquids sipped through a quill until he got religion, Augden Bridgewater repented and was released to return to Stanford.6
Maj. James Bridgewater Gives Chase
Upon the telegraph news, Maj. Bridgewater mobilized the Hall’s Gap Battalion and headed for Harrodsburg up the old buffalo trace, north of Perryville. Maj. Bridgewater assumed Fry would drive Clarke’s band from Perryville. Harrodsburg, a staunchly Confederate bastion of Southern sympathy, would be the guerrillas’ nearest destination of safety.
Late in that cold and snowy night, Maj. Bridgewater found a detachment of the guerrillas four miles west of Harrodsburg. The band, including Frank James, Bob Younger, Allen Parmer, and the Pence brothers Bud and Donnie was concealed in the home of Sallie Ann Van Arsdale.7 Maj. Bridgewater would not wait for the break of dawn to commence slaughter.
Frank James long since had learned how to protect himself when taking refuge for the night. Even when called to dinner at the home of his Samuels kinfolk in Nelson County, Frank waited until all others sat at the table. He then walked the exterior perimeter of the home, surveying the horizon, before taking his customary seat at the table with his back towards an interior wall. Frank performed the same ritual before retiring for the night.8
When Maj Bridgewater assaulted the Van Arsdale farmhouse full bore, with Kentucky rifles and keen marksmanship famed since the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, the unforeseen force against Frank James and Quantrill’s men turned deadly.
Bridgewater’s First Assault
Elisha Farmer of Bridgewater’s Home Guard held position behind a field fence. Holding only a pistol, Farmer held his fire, waiting for a reachable and precise target. Bridgewater’s assault raged for ten or fifteen minutes, Farmer recollected.
In a lull, two riders emerged in the field before him. Farmer took aim between two fence rails and shot. Down and dead fell the first rider. The second rider, later identified as Frank James, escaped death by a hair second.9
Escaping with Frank was Allen Parmer. That night, Quantrill had partitioned his original band of forty-two into three squads, housing each third in separate farmhouses. Parmer reported, “Quantrill flew into a terrible rage when we told him about it, and he wouldn’t believe it. He sent Chat Rennick, Frank James, Peyton Long, and myself back to see if we could get any of the wounded boys out. They killed Chat Rennick on the way back.“10
Quantrill lost nine of his forty-one men that night. Jim Younger and three others were captured. The arrested were ordered to bury Quantrill’s dead in the cemetery of the Oakland Methodist Church.
In his retirement, Frank James returned to the scene later in 1889. With the help of Col. Jack Chinn and his son Kit who lived on the other side of Harrodsburg, Quantrill’s fallen were exhumed and re-interred in the new Spring Hill Cemetery in the town of Harrodsburg. Spring Hill Cemetery had been dedicated to the fallen soldiers of the Confederacy.
Bridgewater’s Second Assault
Ten days later, Maj. Bridgewater struck again at 2:00 a.m. west of Hustonville where Quantrill had been spotted. On this occasion, Bridgewater killed four more of Quantrill’s band. The balance fled barefoot in the snow when Bridgewater captured all of their horses.
In Kentucky, Quantrill never gained more distance on President Lincoln than Georgetown, Kentucky. Lincoln soon was killed on April 15th.
On May 10th, Quantrill was shot up and left for dead in the farm field of Dr. James Heady Wakefield in Nelson County. Quantrill had taken refuge there. When alerted to the shooting of Quantrill and his being severely wounded, Frank James was found reading a book he had picked up while in Danville. In a Louisville hospital, Quantrill got religion. He was baptized a Catholic like the Youngers. Quantrill then expired on June 6th. Frank James retreated to a home on the railroad tracks not too far from Samuel’s Depot, where he and Quantrill’s band surrendered on September 26th. Frank James then was paroled.
Before the Civil War in Stanford in 1858, James H. Bridgewater and his brother Augden had been members of the Lincoln Lodge No. 60 of the Free & Accepted Masons.11 At that time, Stanford elected Bridgewater as Sheriff. When Bridgewater ran for election to the state legislature, his popularity faded, and he was not as successful.
After the war, Stanford began to view Maj. Bridgewater more as a hindrance. Settling into a position with the Freedman’s Bureau, Bridgewater sought protections for the formerly enslaved. In May of 1867 at Louisville, Bridgewater turned in a list of “regulators” he believed were terrorizing Stanford’s former slaves and staunch Unionists. “Regulators used terror tactics both to stymie political competition for the building blocks of state power, including the offices of sheriff and magistrate and to impose a white supremacist social order after the form abolition of slavery.”12
On July 17, 1867, an assassin’s bullet brought down Maj. James Bridgewater.
Previously, twenty-seven-year-old Walter G. Saunders made an attempt on Bridgewater’s life. Bridgewater’s brothers and nephews repelled Saunders when they appeared in the street carrying Spencer carbines.
A subsequent attempt against Bridgewater occurred on Danville Avenue in Stanford at the crossing of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad.
On July 17, 1867, however, Bridgewater was playing cards in a saloon. Saunders appeared again with four men of his own. They chased Bridgewater to a stairwell where they killed him.
At the trial of Walter G. Saunders in Crab Orchard, no prosecution witnesses showed up to testify. Afterward, Stanford elected Walter G. Saunders as Sheriff, but Saunders only lived another ten years.13
Ever since the assassination of James H. Bridgewater, candidates for Sheriff’s office in Stanford, Kentucky customarily demonstrate their Southern sympathy.
His Masonic Lodge buried Maj. Bridgewater with Masonic Rites.14 He is presumed buried in an unmarked grave near his father-in-law Abraham Dawes outside Stanford on Howell Lane, off Route 127 at the foot of Hall’s Gap. Immediately adjacent and across Howell Lane lay buried the enslaved of the Dawes family.
Bridgewater’s Southern Family Revealed
One issue remains unresolved in the saga of Maj. James H. Bridgewater’s pursuit of Quantrill, Frank James, the Younger brothers and especially the Pence brothers.
With Maj. Bridgewater murdered and buried, Bridgewater’s widow and children departed Kentucky with Sarah Pence-Dawes, Bridgewater’s mother-in-law. They moved to Missouri, first to Warrensburg in Johnson County about 20 miles southeast of Kansas City. They subsequently removed to Nevada in Vernon County.15 One of Bridgewater’s sons settled in Kansas City.
Also living in Missouri in Pettis County was Rebecca Younger, a first cousin of Bob Younger whom Bridgewater captured. Bridgewater cousins of the Major proceeded to live among Rebecca Younger’s nieces and nephews there.
Maj. Bridgewater’s mother-in-law is Sarah Pence, who removed her family to Nevada, Missouri.16 Back in Stanford, Kentucky, the parents, nieces, and nephews of Sarah Pence-Bridgewater stayed to continue populating Lincoln County. Today, they lay buried in Buffalo Springs Cemetery outside Stanford.
Sarah and her Pence family, like Maj. Bridgewater’s wife Susan Dawes and Bridgewater’s children, are cousins of Bud and Donnie Pence, whom Bridgewater hunted to kill on his chase to Harrodsburg.
The question left unsettled no doubt in the mind of Maj. Bridgewater’s widow, as well as for history, is – Maj. Bridgewater, why?
1 Sanders, Stuart W. “Quantrill’s Last Ride.” America’s Civil War Vol.12. March 1999, p.42-48.
2 Brown, Richard C. A History of Danville and Boyle County, Kentucky, 1774-1992. Danville. Bicentennial Books. 1992. p. 41.
3 Louisville Daily Courier, March 1, 1862. The text of the full letter addressed to “Gen. F. K. Zollicoffer,” is reproduced.
4 Interview with Col. Speed S. Fry, 4th Kentucky Infantry, to the Editors of the Louisville Journal. Danville, Kentucky, Feb. 23, 1862.
5 A year before the battle, King had written to his neighbor Capt. Isaac Singleton, whose son was hanged with King’s two sons. Letter of Capt. Harbert King to Capt. Isaac Singleton, dated, “Camp Robinson, Kentucky, Oct. 16, 1861,” in possession of King descendant Madelene Henley.
6 Obituary. Lafayette Advertiser, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2, 1893. p. 6, col. 5.
7 Sanders, Stuart W.
8 Author’s interview with Robert Hamlin, great grandson of bourbon distiller Taylor William Samuel 1821-1898, the brother of Dr. Reuben Samuel. Danville, Ky. March 18, 2004.
9 Author’s interview with Jack Farmer at age 76, great-grandson of Elisha Farmer. Stanford, Ky. June 16, 2007. The attack pistol remains in the possession of Jack Farmer. Jack Farmer has since deceased.
10 Hale, Donald R. We Rode with Quantrill, self-published 1975. ed. 1982, p. 147.
11 Records of Lincoln Lodge No. 60 of the Free & Accepted Masons, confirmed by Chaplain David Gambrel in preparation for the Bridgewater dedication service.
12 Rhyne, J. Michael “A Murderous Affair in Lincoln County: Politics, Violence, and Memory in a Civil War Era Kentucky Community” American Nineteenth Century History, Volume 7, Issue 3, September 2006, pp. 337 – 359.
13 The Advocate-Messenger, June 14, 2007. Danville, Ky. Also, David Gambrel, Vice-President, Lincoln County Historical Society. Saunders tombstone in Crab Orchard Cemetery identifies him as born in 1840 and died in 1877. His epitaph reads, “A kind husband and affectionate father and a friend to all.”
14 Records of Lincoln Lodge 60.
15 1870 Census. Johnson County, Hazel Twp. Missouri. Also, 1900 Census. Vernon County, Richland Twp., Missouri.
From Phil Stewart’s Archive, first published on Stray Leaves in 1999.
By Phil Stewart
Frank James received more education as a young man than did most rural Missouri farm boys of the 1850s and 60s. The James farm was just a mile from Somersette school. Frank attended regularly…almost enthusiastically…until he was eighteen years old.
In addition to “The Three Rs,” Frank developed a love for classic literature. He would sit for hours with the works of Shakespeare and other famous writers of the time. His father, the Rev. Robert Sallee James, had been a scholarly man himself. Frank had his father’s collection of books readily available. Frank’s love for literature would remain with him throughout the dark years of the Civil War, and even through the outlaw years to come.
Many researchers believe that Frank James desired to further his education by attending William Jewell College in nearby Liberty. There is no doubt Frank had the intellectual capacity. His acceptance into the college was a given. His father had been a major influence in the founding of the school, and had been a member of the first Board of Trustees. Any such plans were dashed, though, with the coming of the Civil War. Frank James was 18 years old in 1861, and like most young men, left home to serve “the cause.”
The blood, death, and brutality of the border war could not extinguish the love Frank James had for reading, knowledge, and for classic works of literature. They became his passion. It is difficult to imagine one member of Quantrill’s Raiders sitting around a campfire reading anything, let alone reading English literature like Frank.
If Frank desired to further his education, the circumstance had changed. Like most schools of the area, William Jewell College closed shortly after the opening shots of the war. The college would not reopen for nearly three years. Frank still had his father’s library. Shakespeare had become his favorite works. He read and reread the plays until he could snap out a quote for almost any situation. During the war, Frank and been tabbed with the nickname “Buck.” “Professor” might have been more appropriate afterward.
If more education was out of the question, Frank certainly could put Shakespeare to work on behalf of the James Gang…which is exactly what he did at Gad’s Hill, Missouri. Frank James lifted the script of Shakespeare’s HENRY IV for a train robbery, during which Frank performed Shakespeare for a captive audience.
ANALYSIS by Drew Fracher
So, what about this play?
Although called HENRY IV, I believe that this is the story and journey of his son Hal, the Prince of Wales, who will go on to become Henry V.
Here we have a young man who knows in his heart that he will inherit a huge job…and who is trying his best to have some fun before the fact. I realize that much of what Hal I doing is not avoiding responsibility, but trying to learn as much as possible about the job to come. Trying to experience the society that he will eventually be in charge of from all levels, figuring out what fairness and justice are all about, who you can trust and what realis is important in his own world. A journey all of us must go through.
Hal clings to his life and friends in the tavern as substitutes for the things that are lacking in his relationship with his father. Hal and his dad are having trouble communicating. We witness Hal’s coming of age, his growth to manhood and an acceptance of huge responsibility, all the steps on his rocky road.
The good news is that he not only survives, but flourishes. There are no true villains or heroes here, only different sorts of people trying their best to figure out how to make it in the world. That is perhaps what I like best, that no one is clearly in the right and politics is politics, then and now.
COMMENTARY by Eric F. James
As a former actor myself, I perceive Frank James as Prince Hal…an eldest son, a carefree and boisterous youth, distinguished in war, a “wild prince” given to audacity and rebellion.
Henry IV expelled and banished his son, Hal. Did Frank James spiritually experience a similar disapproval by his deceased father?
Frank James was 27 years old at the time of the Gad’s Hill train robbery. His performance from HENRY IV in the middle of the robbery intentionally may have been foreshadowing his expected retirement.
RELATED: More from Phil Stewart’s 1999 Archive