The man in the mirror is Thomas Jesse Cole, a third cousin of Frank & Jesse James. Though unrelated, Thomas Jesse Cole had much in common with the man looking into the camera. He is Orson Grimmet. The two are standing at the bar in Grimmet’s saloon in Lander, Wyoming.
Orson Grimmet was born in Birmingham, England in 1850. When five years old. He and his parents arrived in America and headed west. Over several years they wandered around Utah and Idaho, where his father died. Orson’s mother moved on to Lander, Wyoming, where she died.
Though twenty-five years younger than Grimmet, Thomas Jesse Cole found himself orphaned to his mother at age four. His father, Ben Cole, had become crippled by a knee infection after bringing his family to Brownsville, Nebraska from Missouri. The infection claimed him at age forty. Jeanette Cole moved on with her son to Litchfield, Nebraska, where she died shortly after arrival.
In Lander, Orson became a stockman. He was elected Sheriff of Fremont County, serving two terms. He was active in Democratic politics, and invested in copper and gold mines. He belonged to the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, and the Knights of Pythias. All the while, he worked each day in the saloon, that became his unofficial office. There, he met Thomas Jesse Cole.
Sometime between 1893 and 1896, Thomas Jesse brought his wife and daughter to Lander. There, Orson Grimmet became a mentor to Thomas Jesse Cole. Unknown is whether the two were partners, or whether Orson was Thomas Jesse’s financier in his own saloon. Thomas Jesse is pictured here, standing behind his bar. The pair remained friends. Both were acquaintances of Butch Cassidy, who frequented each their saloons.
When Caspar, Wyoming elected Pat Royce sheriff, it was very likely Orson Grimmet who arranged the appointment of the daughter of Thomas Jesse Cole, Pearl May, as the first female deputy sheriff in Wyoming. In 1908, Thomas Jesse named his third son Thomas Orson Cole. Orson Grimmet died ten years later. Thomas Jesse Cole a decade after him.
Thomas Orson Cole
. Thomas Jesse Cole
.. Ben Cole
… Jesse Cole Jr.
…. Jesse Cole Sr.
….. Richard James Cole
…. James Cole
… Zerelda Elizabeth Cole & Robert Sallee James
.. Jesse Woodson “Jesse” James
.. Alexander Franklin “Frank” James
From the Phillip Cole Archive; The James Preservation Trust.
1. Orson Grimmet Saloon; Lander, Wyoming
2. Thomas Jesse Cole Saloon; Lander, Wyoming
3. Thomas Orson Cole; My First “Harley” 1928
The Civil War had begun to surround the old Virginia home that James Carter James once occupied at Plainview in Fauquier County before he died in 1842. His progeny occupied the place since.
Avoiding the war for the James family was impossible. On April 15, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln ordered 75,000 troops, authorizing the Union to launch an aggressive attack upon the Confederacy.
A series of assaults throughout January and February of 1862 culminated on February 25th in the capture of Nashville, the first Confederate capital to fall to the Union. Eight days later, Carter James youngest son, George Carter James, enlisted at age twenty in the army of the Confederate States of America. He joined Company A of the 9th Virginia Cavalry. His regiment was called Stafford’s Rangers.
In July of the previous year, the U. S. House of Representatives passed the Crittenden Resolution, declaring that the war’s objective was not to interfere with slavery. The resolution required the Union take no action against the South’s “peculiar institution.” The bill’s sponsor, John Jordan Crittenden of Frankfort, Kentucky wrote, the war’s objective was to “defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and to preserve the Union.”
Two weeks later, Congress passed the First Confiscation Act which emancipated slaves who served the Union during the war. In August, Gen. John C. Fremont ordered the emancipation of slaves in Missouri though Lincoln requested Fremont alter his decree. The following month, black troops were recruited in Kansas. By December, the Secretary of War issued a report authorizing the use of former slaves by the Army. At the same time, bills were introduced to abolish slavery.
The day after George Carter James enlisted, Abraham Lincoln requested Congress to pass a joint resolution urging for compensated emancipation. On March 10, 1862, President Lincoln met with Border State congressmen about the matter.
That very day on March 10th, two older brothers of George Carter James enlisted in Stafford’s Rangers, together with their brother-in-law. Edmond Thompson James joined with his brother John W. James. With them enlisted Richard Mortimer Crittenden, the husband of their sister Lucy Ann. Another sister, Sarah, married William T. Crittenden Jr.
Edmond Thompson and John W. James served Quarter Master duty. By December, Edmond was made a Sargent. After serving little more than a year, John W. James died on March 23, 1863, of an “inflammation of the bowels.” Edmond was severely ill the same month, but survived. Shortly afterward, Crittenden was assigned to detached service as a wagon master, a role he fulfilled through the end of the war, when he was paroled on April 15, 1865.
Through their service, Edmond was absent in March and again April of 1864. In July, as Confederate General Jubal Early got within five miles of Washington D. C. but was repelled, and again in August as Sherman began his march on Atlanta, Edmond was absent again. In this time, his brother George had gone AWOL. Edmond may have been sent to return George to duty. Both returned in August. On February 5, 1865, George was paroled, as Sherman scorched Georgia and South Carolina, and Jefferson Davis sued for peace. As Richmond fell, Edmond was paroled on April 18th together with George Mortimer Crittenden.
They all returned to Plainview to rebuild their lives in Fauquier County. George Carter James lived to 1890. Roger Mortimer Crittenden died in 1894. Edmond Thompson James lived well into the 20th century, dying in 1920 in his 85th year. John W. James gave his life to the war and to the Confederacy while on duty with Stafford’s Rangers.
The Ninth Virginia Cavalry – Company A
Stafford Rangers – Stafford County
JAMES, EDMOND THOMPSON: Enl. 3/10/62 in Co. A. Promoted to Sgt., 12/1/62. Absent sick, Dec. 1862. Absent on QM duty, March-April and July-Aug. 1864. Present at 10/6/64 final roll. Paroled at Blacks and Whites, 4/18/65.
JAMES, GEORGE C.: Enl. 3/5/62 in Co. A. AWOL, Nov.-Dec. 1863 and July-Aug. 1864. Present at 10/6/64 final roll. Reported to the Bureau of Conscription on 2/5/65 as being AWOL in Fauquier Co.
JAMES, JOHN W.: Enl. 3/10/62 in Co. A. On extra QM duty, Sept. 1862 thru Feb. 1863. Died of “Inflamation of the bowels,” 3/21/63.
CRITTENDEN, RICHARD MORTIMER: b. 9/30/1825. Enl. 3/10/62 in Co. A. On detached service as wagon master, March 1863 thru Aug. 1864. Present at 10/6/64 final roll. Paroled in Va., 4/15/65. d. 4/2/1894 in Stafford Co. bur. Grove Church, Fauquier Co.
(ed. Brother-in-law, spouse of Lucy James.
John W. James 1824-1863 Edmond Thompson James 1835-1920 George Carter James 1842-1890
. James Carter James & Martha Lee Tiller
.. Capt. Joseph James & Clarissa Brown
… George James Sr. & Mary Wheeler
…. Thomas James & Sarah E. Mason
….. John James, the Immigrant & Unknown
Official website for the family of Frank & Jesse James – Living lives, telling the story. Knowing self.
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