Tag Archives: outlaw

Still WANTED…Francis Lawrence “Jimmy” Keating

For those who read about Jimmy Keating on page 196 in Volume I of Jesse James Soul Liberty, here’ s some supplemental information that didn’t make it into the book. The first is the fingerprint card for Francis Lawrence “Jimmy” Keating from Leavenworth Prison where he was incarcerated, following his train robbery with Jimmy Holden. The second is Keating’s FBI WANTED bulletin, issued by J. Edgar Hoover following Keating’s escape from Leavenworth Prison.

Jimmy Keating is still a wanted man. I continue to research for new information about him. For years, I’ve tried to learn more about his Keating genealogy. In recent weeks, I was contacted by one of his cousins and have been able to expand my knowledge about this silent and elusive criminal, who by chance became related to the James family. As the James-Keating family cousins were unaware of the cousin who contacted me, the contact cousin was also un-knowledgeable about his James-Keating cousins. I don’t foresee a family reunion in their futures, however.

I have enough material to write a book about Frances L. Keating, but my accumulated research is far from complete to tell Keating’s entire story. Presently in particular, I’ve been looking for information about one of Keating’s brothers, Robert “Bob” Keating, who died in Kansas City, according to a letter Jimmy Keating wrote when he learned in prison about his brother’s passing while reading the Kansas City Star.

From the documentation I have in hand, it’s clear Keating had outside support, both in the political community and among organized labor. Keating’s retirement was spent as president of a boiler maker’s local. I don’t believe more information about Keating will lead to where Jimmy Hoffa is buried. I don’t care about that. I do believe, though, from an historical point of view that James L. Keating was as interesting an outlaw as Jesse James.

One noticeable difference between Francis Keating and Jesse James is that Keating had the superior penmanship, and he could spell correctly. That’s the difference between graduating 8th grade and being home schooled.

Book Review – The Trial of Jesse James Jr. by Laurie Ann Little

BOOK REVIEW: The Trial of Jesse James, Jr.: The Son of An Outlaw Stands Accused, adapted by L. A. Little, (Vintage Antique Classics Publishing Co. 2012), 201 pp., soft cover, $14.99.

By Nancy B. Samuelson

The Trial of Jesse James, Jr. book

This book opens with a short section, “Beginnings” which gives a bit of the history of Jesse James Jr. (Jesse Edward James). This tells how Jesse Jr. applied for a job as office boy to Thomas T. Crittenden Jr., the son of the Governor who was responsible for the death of the outlaw Jesse James. Young James and young Crittenden became lifelong friends. Young Jesse met many influential friends in the Kansas City area. He was a well liked and had a reputation as a hard-working, honest young man.

The bulk of the book is a series of newspaper articles from The Kansas City Journal. These begin in September 1898 after the robbery of a Missouri Pacific passenger train near Leeds, Missouri. Jesse James Jr. was soon accused of taking part in this robbery. The newspaper articles continue through early March 1899 when Jesse was acquitted of all charges.

These articles tell about the accusations of W. W. Lowe, a suspect himself, and a switchman at the Santa Fe Railroad switch yards. There were other suspects as well including Andy Ryan, the brother of Bill Ryan of the old Jesse James gang, and Jack “Quail Hunter” Kennedy, who was suspected of a number of crimes.

Jesse Jr. maintained his innocence and had a wide circle of friends who stood by him during the trial for this robbery. He had four defense attorneys and they were able to get a new Judge to try the case. Affidavits were submitted to show that Judge Wofford was prejudiced against Jesse Jr. Wofford was replaced by Judge W. D. Shackelford of Boonville, Missouri. The Prosecuting Attorney was James A. Reed, later a U. S. Senator and a presidential aspirant. Reed had six other attorneys assisting in the prosecution.

The articles give a good look at some of the police procedures at the time. Suspects were detained but not arrested for some time. There is discussion of “Sweating” prisoners as well. Jury selection is discussed and a lot of testimony from witnesses is included in a number of the articles.

The trial ends in acquittal of Jesse Jr. on all charges. The jury was out for about one hour and only one ballot was needed to make the decision. The Prosecuting Attorney then dismissed the charges against the other suspects.

Frank James attended the trial and he is mentioned several times. Mrs. Samuel, grandmother of Jesse Jr., and other family members were present and testified in Jesse’s behalf.

One additional newspaper article appears near the end of the book. This is in February 20, 1910. W.W. Lowe, who was the primary accuser of Jesse Jr. admitted he lied about James’ involvement in the robbery and said his story was a frame up.

The book has a one-page epilogue about the later life of Jesse Jr. The last section of the book is a reprint of the first four chapters of Jesse James, My Father, written in 1899 by Jesse Jr.

The book is nicely produced and easy to read. The front cover has a nice photo of Jesse Jr. There are a few illustrations from the newspapers throughout the book. There are no notes nor is there an index.

Free Download – Sissy Spacek’s 20,000 Cousins

 

One unavoidable thing about dying is, you never know who’s going to come along later and become your cousin. Consider Frank & Jesse James.

The Academy Awards weren’t invented yet when the outlaw brothers were alive. They wouldn’t have a clue about how important and celebrated you could be once you owned  a coveted gold plated statuette.

So Frank & Jesse James couldn’t possibly appreciate how cool it is be a cousin to Academy Award winning actress, Sissy Spacek.

Looking at it another way, no one can say just how Sissy Spacek might react if she knew she actually is a distant cousin to America’s iconic outlaws, Frank & Jesse James.

One thing is for sure. Sissy certainly would be stunned to learn that she has over 20,000 kinfolk that she shares with the outlaws and their James family. You can download her kinship report for free from Stray Leaves.

If this kind of serendipity tickles you, consider this. Sissy Spacek won her Academy Award for portraying Loretta Lynn in the film The Coal Miner’s Daughter. Loretta Lynn’s ancestral cabin home in Butcher Hollar is just a short distance from Waverly, Tennessee, where Jesse first buried his infant twin boys Gould & Montgomery James.

If we all could stick around a little bit longer, we all could be meeting some very interesting new cousins.