Tag Archives: Thomas

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.

The Landers, Wyoming Saloon of Jesse James Cousin

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.

PEDIGREE

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

PHOTOS:
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

Christmas Rap from the Family of Frank & Jesse James

Season’s Greetings from Stray Leaves.

For over fifteen years, the late Thurston James played Santa Claus at the Sherman Oaks Galleria in Sherman Oaks, California. Countless children, former children, and children at heart recall Thurston fondly.

Here Thurston shares a special Christmas tune he wrote and performed for his own grandchildren. The pictures are from the 1909 Victorian home in Danville, Kentucky, of Thomas Stratton Lanier Sr. & his wife Margaret Sallee, related to the James family. The home as seen was formerly owned by Stray Leaves publisher Eric James.

Alfred H. Pence, Cousin of the James Gang, Has died

Alfred Harris Pence Sr. died September 30, 2010 at Fort Logan Hospital in Stanford, Kentucky. He was a third cousin, twice removed of Bud & Donnie Pence of the James Gang.

The earliest Pence family migrated as early as 1800 from Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley to Lincoln County where Stanford is located. Then, Emanuel Pence bought 250 acres on Logan’s Creek from Jacob Swope.

By then, John M. James, the progenitor of the family of Frank & Jesse James, had been residing in Lincoln County at Crab Orchard for fifteen years. The great-grandfather of the Younger Gang, Col. Charles Lee Younger, also had made settlement in Lincoln County at Crab Orchard. In 1800, John M. James partitioned a portion of Lincoln County and departed the area to establish his own Pulaski County, where he became its first judge-executive and state representative.

Among other local neighbors of the Pence, Younger, & James families in Lincoln County were the family of Far West frontiersman William Lewis “Bill” Sublette, and his brothers Milton Green & Solomon Perry Sublette. Their departure from Crab Orchard to the Far West would not occur until the 1820s.

Rev. Jeremiah Vardeman, who was born at New River in Fincastle County, Virginia, migrated to Crab Orchard in 1779 with his father Johannes Vardeman, an axman who cut the Wilderness Trail into Kentucky with Daniel Boone. Before he had become a preacher, Jerry Vardeman eloped with Betsy James, the daughter of John M. James. Later as a successful preacher, Rev. Jeremiah Vardeman baptized Robert S. Thomas, the first president of William Jewell College in Missouri. Vardeman founded the School of Theology at William Jewell, and also gave Frank & Jesse’s father, Rev. Robert Sallee James, $20,000 to also become a founder of William Jewell College.

Lincoln County, Kentucky, and its communities of Stanford and Crab Orchard forged a cohesion and force among the Pence, Younger, & James families that remained strong and powerful until the end of the Civil War.

**************************************

The following obituary for Alfred Harris Pence Sr. was published in the Advocate-Messenger newspaper of Danville, Kentucky.

STANFORD — Alfred Harris Pence Sr., 90, of Stanford died Thursday at Fort Logan Hospital in Stanford.

Born June 20, 1920, in Stanford he was a son of the late Alfred L. and Nannie Woods Pence.

He was a life-long member of New Beginnings United Methodist Church, a Navy veteran of World War II serving in the South Pacific, and a 64-year member of Caswell Saufley Post No. 18, American Legion. He graduated in 1942 from the University of Louisville College of Pharmacy (now the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy) where he was a member and chaplain of Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity.

Mr. Pence was the pharmacist and co-owner of Colemans Drugstore in Stanford and was the first pharmacist at Fort Logan Hospital, retiring after 20 years of service. He was a 50-year member of the Kentucky Pharmaceutical Association.

An active member of the community, he served on the Stanford Chamber of Commerce and the Stanford City Council, was a member of the Lincoln County Historical Society and Masonic Lodge No 60, as well as various other community activities.

Survivors include his wife of 68 years, Bettie Marie Bryan Pence of Stanford; four children, Alfred Harris Pence Jr. (Jackie) of Stanford, Ruth Anne Lowe of Lexington, William E. Pence (Carol) of Lexington and Bettie Sue Holthouser (James) of Memphis, Tenn.; 12 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a son-in-law, Dr. Charles Lowe, and a sister, Anne Elizabeth Gaines.

Visitation is 5-9 p.m. today at Spurlin Funeral Home.

The funeral service will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010, at New Beginnings United Methodist Church. The Rev. Jeremy James will officiate. Burial will be in Buffalo Springs Cemetery. Military rites will be performed by Caswell Saufley Post 18, American Legion.

Casketbearers will be Bryan Pence, Chris Lowe, Matthew Lowe, Adam Holthouser, Cole Pence and Casey Cushenberry. Honorary bearers will be Robert Gaines, Ben Gaines, Sam Matheny, Buddy Pence, Cecil Witt, Cabel Francis, Jack Bright, Brent Iler, Josh Gordon, Joe Glenn Cushenberry, Matthew Darling, Jonathan Dahmer and Jim Holthouser.

Memorials in lieu of flowers may be given to the New Beginnings United Methodist Church Stained Glass Fund, or the Lincoln County Educational Fund, P.O. Box 423, Stanford, KY 40484.